has had the opportunity to work with many families who have come from near and far to experience the warm, individualized care which defines our office.
In order to provide the best possible care for our patients, our office uses state-of-the-art technologies for all of our procedures. These new technologies allow us to diagnose dental concerns at early stages, treat your dental issues with precision, and provide high quality restorations. Our dental software system maximizes your time and our office efficiency. When you visit us, you can be confident that you are receiving the finest and most advanced in dental care.
Click the Services below for more information on each subject.
ORAL HYGIENE CARE
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things that you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel well, but they also make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being.
Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help prevent problems before they develop. In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems. These include:
- Brush thoroughly twice a day and floss daily
- Eat a balanced diet, and limit snacks between meals
- Use dental products, including toothpaste, that contain fluoride
- Rinse with a fluoride mouth rinse if your dentist advises you to do so
- Make sure that your children under the age of 12 drink fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement, if they live in a non-fluoridated area
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when a cavity reaches all the way into the pulp chamber, which contains the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. Sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to become damaged, requiring root canal therapy as well. Whether infected or damaged, the treatment involves the removal of the affected nerves and blood vessels, cleaning and shaping of the area, and sealing the canals of the tooth with an inert material called gutta percha. Generally, a post and core and a crown are then needed to strengthen the tooth against fracture. This is a risk due to the removal of the blood supply, which provides nutrients to the tooth. If a tooth is not treated, it may demonstrate symptoms of an acute or painful infection, or a chronic or quiet infection. Both infections add stress to the immune system and can become dangerous. This is especially true if there are other medical problems which increase the risk for infections, such as diabetes, immune suppression, chronic steroid use, valvular heart disease, joint replacements,etc. Symptoms of an acute pulpal infection include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain with biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. Chronic infections usually display few or no symptoms. The person is unaware of any problem until x-rays are taken during a dental checkup. Alternative care is to extract the tooth, but endodontic treatment is generally the treatment of choice.
A dental implant is an ideal tooth restoration for people who are missing one or more teeth. A dental implant is a hollow metal post which is surgically placed by a periodontist or an oral surgeon. In essence, the implant functions as a root. Once the bone surrounding the implant has had time to heal and integrate, a custom abutment and crown are constructed, and placed onto the implant post. While implants are typically more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, they provide superior benefits. Implants are stronger than natural teeth and generally last 10-20 years. They are often more favorable than bridgework, since they do not require any treatment of the neighboring teeth. To receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. You must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits as these are critical to the long-term success of these restorations.
Bonding is a conservative way to repair slightly chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. During dental bonding, a white filling is placed onto your tooth to improve its appearance. The filling "bonds" with your teeth, and because it comes in a variety of tooth-colored shades, it closely matches the appearance of your natural teeth.
Bonding is less expensive than other cosmetic treatments and usually can be completed in one visit to our office. However, bonding can stain and is easier to break than other cosmetic treatments such as porcelain veneers.
Good oral hygiene should always be practiced, since the loss of a single tooth can have a major impact on your oral health and appearance. Although dentists will use every measure to prevent tooth loss, there are still some occasions when a tooth may need to be extracted. A tooth may need to be extracted if the following occurs:
- Severe decay
- Advanced periodontal disease
- Infection or abscess
- Orthodontic correction
- Malposed teeth
- Fractured teeth or roots
- Impacted teeth
After careful examination and treatment, the dentist may recommend that a tooth be extracted. Before a tooth is removed, an x-ray will be taken in order to understand the shape and position of the tooth, its roots, and nature of the surrounding bone. Based on the degree of difficulty, we may refer you to a specialist called an oral surgeon. A certain amount of pain and discomfort is to be expected following an extraction, which can be minimized with pain medication and ice packs applied to the face for 20 minutes per hour for the first 48 hours. After a routine extraction, discomfort should lessen within three days to two weeks. If you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever, please call our office immediately.
NIGHTGUARDS / MOUTHGUARDS
Custom designed mouthguards and nightguards are made of flexible plastic and molded to fit the shape of your teeth. Mouthguards are recommended to protect the jaw and teeth during any physical activity in sports such as boxing, football, basketball, or any other activities where your mouth may get hit. In addition to protecting your teeth, these guards protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips, and cheek lining. Nightguards are recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth at night and help to protect the teeth and TMJ (jaw joint).
If you have decided a guard is right for you, an impression of your teeth will be taken, which will then be sent to a lab to make a custom fit appliance. With mouthguards, you can choose from a variety of colors – even matching your team colors! On average, guards last between 3 and 10 years.
Molar and sometimes premolar teeth have grooves on the biting surfaces which allow plaque to accumulate. These areas are difficult to brush because the bristles of the brush cannot get down to the depth of the grooves. Cavities will develop over time, and this is not a desirable option! The hygienist will place a very thin coating of plastic into the grooves, smoothing them so that they can be kept clean with normal brushing. The sealants lower the risk for decay on the biting surface of the teeth, but do not replace the need for excellent home care.
DENTAL CLEANING & QUADRANT SCALINGS
A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning you receive from a dental hygienist at least twice a year. Most dental cleaning appointments require approximately 45 minutes. They focus on removing plaque and biofilms, which contain bacteria, as well as calculus, which is a calcified version of plaque. Leaving plaque and calculus in place can lead to unhealthy gums and tooth decay. A routine dental cleaning should include scaling and polishing. For children and older adults, topical fluoride is strongly recommended. Annually, the hygienist will complete periodontal probing, which determines the depth of the pocket around a tooth. Ideally, this should be no deeper than 3 millimeters, which is the depth to which toothbrushes and floss can reach.
Scaling and root planing are the names of the treatments performed for the removal of plaque and tartar from all tooth and root surfaces, which ensure that the root surface is smooth. Dental hygienists traditionally perform scaling by hand. However, new and advanced technology has led to more modern methods such as electric scalers. This sophisticated tool allows dental scaling to be performed more efficiently and in less time. Both electric and manual scaling methods can be combined to achieve the best results.
Quadrant scalings are performed in areas of the mouth where there are deep pockets. The purpose of the quadrant scaling is to attempt to regain some soft tissue attachment, thus decreasing the depth of the pocket, and making it possible for you to better maintain your oral hygiene. Persistent pocket depths of 5 millimeters or more may require local antibiotic placement, which generally assists in decreasing pocket depth. Combined with excellent home care and frequent professional cleanings, most patients can stop the progression of periodontal disease. When this is not possible, a referral to a periodontist may be indicated.
DENTURES – complete, partial, and implant retained
A denture is a removable prosthetic appliance which replaces missing teeth and the surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures available - partial and complete dentures. Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain, while complete dentures replace all the teeth in the upper and/or lower arch. Dentures should restore your function and appearance. With well-constructed dentures, it should be difficult if not impossible to know that you are using a denture, and they may actually improve your smile!
Complete dentures are used to restore your smile and mouth function, if all your teeth in an arch have been lost. The dentures are custom-created to resemble natural teeth, with the color, shape, and position of the teeth designed for each individual patient. Complete dentures are removable, and should be taken out and stored in water 8 hours per day in order to give the underlying tissues a chance to breath. Because they fit the tissue tightly, dentures may initially require some adjustments, but within a short period of time, they are comfortable and indispensable.
After teeth have been missing for a while and dentures have been in use, the natural bone can waste away leaving a narrow and short ridge of bone on which to sit the denture. When this occurs, the dentures tend to slide around in the mouth, making eating and speaking challenging. The implant-retained denture is a nice option, where implants are placed in the bone and stay in the mouth, but allow attachment pieces on the denture to “click in” and hold the denture in place.
Partial dentures are a removable appliance used when one or more natural teeth still remain in the upper and/or lower arch. They may be either all plastic or plastic attached to a metal framework with the latter being more common. The partial attaches to the teeth with clasps, and replacement teeth sit in acrylic, which resembles the tissue around natural teeth. This fills the space created by missing teeth, restoring function and preventing further damage due to shifting of remaining teeth into unfilled spaces.
TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint. Temporal refers to the temple area of skull. Mandibular refers to the mandible, or lower jaw. Joint refers to the point where the bone of the mandible interacts with the base of the skull in the temple area and allows the lower jaw to open and close. Aside from the two bones that meet here, there are five major muscles involved as well as the cartilage which sits between the two bones. Problems in this joint may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, excess muscle tension, or damage to the cartilage in the joint.
Problems in this area can cause:
- Difficulty/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face.
Dental treatments for this condition can include replacing missing teeth, repositioning teeth, adjusting the bite, filling gaps between teeth, etc. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic night guard is used to prevent the damage caused by clenching or grinding, including muscles spasms which may contribute to the problem. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.
A filling or restoration is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay or fracture back to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth which requires a filling, the dentist will first remove the decay, clean the affected area, and create retention for the restorative material of choice. The selected restorative material will then be used to replace the lost or removed tooth structure, and restore the tooth to a more normal appearance. A filling also helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter. There are a variety of filling materials available including gold, silver, plastic and porcelain. The dentist will work with you to determine which material is best for you, depending on the extent of the repair, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost. Each of the filling materials is briefly described below:
- Gold fillings are custom made in a laboratory and then cemented into place. While gold fillings are often the most expensive choice, many consider it the best filling material. Gold inlays are well-tolerated by gum tissue and may last more than 20 years
- Amalgam (silver) fillings are a less expensive choice and are tolerant to wear. However, due to their dark color, particularly as they age, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations, and are not recommended for fillings in very visible areas such as front teeth. These restorations usually last 7 to 10 years.
- Composite (plastic) resins are matched to the color of your teeth, creating a more natural appearance. While white fillings may be less noticeable than other materials, they usually only last approximately 3 to 7 years. They may not be ideal for large fillings since they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea, tobacco, or red wine.
- Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays and are custom made in a laboratory, and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth, resist staining, and are about the same cost as gold fillings. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth, making the filling nearly undetectable.
Veneers are a dental procedure in which a covering is placed over the outside (visible area) of the tooth. Veneers are usually only placed on the part of the teeth that are visible when talking or smiling, and generally no further back than the canines, although occasionally the first premolars may be considered for treatment. The procedure can be direct or indirect. The direct technique usually involves placing composite resin on the outside of the tooth, and is usually referred to as bonding. There are limitations to this procedure, including duration of the veneer and possible discoloration of the material due to the dyes in food and drink.
The indirect technique usually involves two appointments, because the veneers will be fabricated at a dental laboratory. At the first appointment the teeth are prepared, impressions taken, and the teeth are given a temporary covering. In two to three weeks, the veneers are back from the laboratory, the temporaries are removed, and the veneers are bonded to the teeth. The laboratory-fabricated veneers are usually made using porcelain or pressed ceramic. They tend to be more natural in appearance, less apt to discolor or stain, and less prone to fracture.
The advantage of veneers over crowns is that much less tooth material is removed, and the procedure is generally more comfortable. Veneers are recommended for teeth that are poorly positioned, colored, or shaped.
CROWNS AND BRIDGES
Crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth which are damaged, or to take the place of missing teeth. A crown, also referred to as a cap, is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth. A crown not only strengthens a tooth, but it can dramatically improve a tooth's appearance, shape, and alignment.
Crowns may be used to:
- Replace a large filling when there is little tooth structure remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Restore a dental implant
- Correct a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Protect a tooth that has had root canal treatment from fracture.
A bridge is a nice option for restoring function to a space created by missing teeth. A bridge, as with a bridge spanning a river, uses teeth on either side of a space to support replacement tooth/teeth. Crowns are placed on the teeth on either side of the space (abutments), and the replacement tooth/teeth (pontics) sit in between the abutments. The bridge is one piece and cemented into the mouth using permanent cement. This allows the chewing forces placed on the pontic to be supported by the abutments. A bridge replaces the missing tooth both functionally and cosmetically. Bridgework is as much an art as it is an exact science. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material made to match your natural tooth color. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or esthetics.
WHITENING INCLUDING BOOST!
Tooth whitening is a popular procedure to make teeth whiter and brighter, and therefore more attractive. Bleaching can be used to whiten stained and discolored teeth, or simply to enhance a dull smile. Either way, tooth whitening is a safe and relatively painless procedure, and is an option for most patients. Our office offers three methods of whitening: in-office whitening, custom tray whitening, and disposable tray whitening. In-office whitening is an ideal procedure for anyone who wants immediate results. Because the entire procedure takes place in our office in about an hour and a half, it is the perfect choice for busy individuals and those who want immediate results. In this process, an inert gel is applied to your gums to protect the soft tissue. A bleaching agent is then applied to your teeth in increments. You leave with custom trays for at home touch-ups. The result is dramatically whiter teeth that will last for years.
Tray whitening is a less expensive whitening treatment you can use while in the comfort of your own home to more gradually whiten teeth. First, we will take an impression of your teeth to create a customized clear tray which you will wear when whitening your teeth. Within a few days, your trays will be ready to be picked up, and we will show you how to place the special bleaching solution into the trays. The whitening gel trays should be worn 30-60 minutes up to twice a day. At the end of this period, you will see maximum whitening results that are nothing short of dazzling. Touch-up treatment can be used at your convenience to maintain your new smile.
Disposable trays consist of a ten day supply of pre-filled upper and lower bleaching trays. The concentration of the bleaching agent is lower than the other two options, but stronger than over-the-counter bleaching strips, making the bleaching process a little slower. These trays usually reach from first premolar to first premolar in the arch. The cost of the disposable trays is less than either custom trays or in-office bleaching, and it works well for those who do not anticipate needing frequent touch-ups and are interested in bleaching only their front teeth.
PERIODONTAL (GUM) TREATMENT
The gums, ligaments, and bone form the foundation for our teeth. All of these structures are also referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a poor foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of an unhealthy periodontium include: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the teeth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these may be a sign of disease. With proper gum treatments, however, it may be possible to return the tissue to a healthy state. If you're having a problem, come in and see us so we can diagnose and treat your condition right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning, also known as quadrant scaling, often completed under a local anesthetic, and can include the placement of antibiotic agents. If the gum disease becomes too severe, it may need to be treated through gum surgery or tooth extraction. This is why it is important to have it treated at the first sign of a problem.
Click the Technologies below for more information on each subject.
X-RAYS AND DIGITAL X-RAYS
X-rays are a focused beam of x-ray particles passed through bone which produce an image on a special film, showing the structure through which it passed. This provides the familiar black and white images doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems and disease. Without an x-ray of the whole tooth and supporting bone and gum tissues, there would be no way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention.
In our office we use digital radiography which allows us to take x-rays using up to 90% less radiation than conventional film x-rays. Using this technology, we are able to take an x-ray of your mouth by using a small sensor which records the image of your teeth and sends it to a computer. The result is a highly detailed image of your mouth that can easily be enhanced to better diagnose dental concerns, and determine the very best treatment for each case.
Our office utilizes electronic claims processing. This means that rather than sending your dental claim through the mail, it is sent electronically to your insurance company with the click of a button. By filing your claim electronically, information is submitted more efficiently and with fewer errors. This benefits our patients, because the turn around time on claims is faster and fewer claims are returned or denied. We are happy to submit your dental claims to your insurance company on your behalf.
We use small cameras about the size of a pen, called intraoral cameras, to help clearly see the condition of your teeth and gums. With this advanced technology, we can zoom in on small diseased areas, cracks, chips, and worn fillings with extreme precision. The full-color images taken with the intraoral camera are sent to a computer screen, so we can clearly see and diagnose dental problems much earlier than with traditional dental technology. Because images are displayed on our screens, patients will also be able to see areas being treated, and are thus able to gain a better understanding of dental procedures being performed.
Our office is a completely digital (paperless) dental office. This means all x-rays and charting are completed and recorded with the aid of the computer. This technology allows us to maintain your dental records electronically, and lessens the unnecessary paperwork used with traditional paper charting. Traditional paper charting is difficult to keep standardized from doctor to hygienist to assistant. Even handwriting differences and coding make the charts appear different. The computer eliminates this problem by using consistent charting methods which are accurate and precise, making it easy to read your dental chart and see up-to-date information. Digital charting standardizes the charting process so it is clear, easy to understand, and enables us to provide the most accurate and precise care for our patients. When needed and with your permission, this method also allows us to quickly and securely share information with your other health care professionals.
AUTOMATED APPOINTMENT REMINDERS
Because we all get busy, our office uses several methods to remind our patients of up-coming appointments. These courtesy reminders come in the form of phone calls, emails, and text messages. Although we make every attempt to reach you directly, it is ultimately your responsibility to come to scheduled appointments. Because we set aside the time for your care, failure to notify our office of a cancellation 72 business hours prior to the scheduled appointment may result in a charge. Please see our missed appointment policy for more information.