We offer all aspects of dentistry in our office. From your bi-annual check-up and cleaning to dental implant restoration and dentures, we do it all! Take a look below for detailed explanations of some of the dental procedures we perform, and feel free to ask us if you have any questions.
DENTAL CLEANING AND EXAM
We pride ourselves in providing thorough and painless cleanings and exams. At these bi-annual (sometimes more often) check-ups, we will clean the teeth of any plaque and tartar (calculus) build-up, evaluate the health of the gums, take x-rays (radiographs) and check for any cavities (caries). During these appointments, we also evaluate the way your teeth fit together and may recommend a nightguard or orthodontic treatment (braces or clear aligners). It is also at these appointments where you can request teeth whitening or cosmetic dentistry.
The most common dental problem is caused by cavities. Cavities or "caries" are colonies of bacteria living in your tooth. The bacteria feed off of the sugar in the food that you eat and drink, and the acidic waste that is secreted slowly breaks down your teeth until there is a hole, or cavity, in it. We remove the soft portion of the tooth and replace the hole with a tooth-colored (resin composite) or silver (amalgam) restoration.
ROOT CANAL THERAPY
Sometimes a cavity may go so deep into the tooth that it affects the nerve. This can cause a lot of pain, swelling, throbbing, and even headaches. The nerve is important because it provides the tooth with nutrients and helps us feel is we are biting too hard, or eating foods that are too cold, hot, etc. However, in this case, the nerve is not going to heal on its own, it needs a root canal. In this procedure, we clean out the nerve and any bacteria that have made its way down the canal of the root. We then seal the canals and close the tooth up. A root canal is just the beginning process of the healing of the infection. It may take a few months for the body to get rid of any residual bacteria or infection.
When a tooth has had a root canal, a large filling, or has cracked, it will often require a crown. The purpose of a crown is to strengthen the remaining tooth, which has been weakened due to the lack of remaining tooth structure. As shown in the picture above, about 0.5 -1 mm of the circumference of the tooth is removed to give space for the tooth-colored (ceramic) or gold crown.
In most cases, a crown is a great option to prolong the life of the tooth, but sometimes if there is not enough tooth left, or the tooth has too big of a crack, we may recommend to extract the tooth instead of saving it.
As much as we want to try and save teeth, there will be times when it just isn't possible. These situations include having a crack that goes too deep, having a tooth that is too loose (due to bone loss), or having a cavity that is too big. In these situations, it is best to get the tooth out before it causes pain or infection. We numb the area so that patients will not feel any pain, but they might feel a little pressure as we wiggle the tooth and its roots out.
This is generally regarded as the " best" option when it comes to replacing a tooth, as it is the most similar to a natural tooth. As seen in the photo above, a titanium root is placed where the tooth used to be, and a crown is placed on the titanium root. This option is the most expensive, takes time for the bone to heal around the implant, and may not be possible for everyone, depending on the quality and quantity of the bone in the area.
A Bridge uses the teeth on either side of the missing tooth to "bridge the gap."
A crown is placed on each adjacent tooth, and a false tooth is connected to the two. For this option to be viable, the patient should have relatively healthy teeth to support the missing space. They also need to have adjacent teeth. Patients will typically choose this option if the adjacent teeth already have large fillings or crowns, so that we are not drilling on perfect teeth to make space for the crown. The cost for this option is between an implant and dentures.
The last option for tooth replacement is a denture. A denture is an acrylic plate with false teeth attached to it. The denture needs to come out every night and be cleaned. Dentures may also change the way a person eats and talks due to the feeling of having something foreign in their mouth. Dentures can be very beneficial, especially if multiple teeth are missing, as they can span a large distance. Dentures are also the lowest cost option when it comes to replacing teeth.