We care about overall health of your mouth. That’s why we make sure your teeth and the rest of your mouth are in their best health state before we commence any purely optional cosmetic dentistry. That’s why we are very meticulous in our diagnostic procedures and diligent in our general dental work.
Scaling and root planing
If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, or periodontitis, the most important (but not the only) treatment we prescribe for you is so called deep cleaning. Periodontitis is caused by bacteria living in the build up on the roots of the teeth. These bacteria cause destruction of the surrounding bone with subsequent deepening of gum pockets. Over time, if gum disease is left untreated, the process of bone destruction continues, causing teeth to lose their bone support. They become more and more loose, and eventually fall out completely. Most of the time this process is painless, although sometimes it is accompanied by sporadic gum infection (abscesses) and pus production.
We’ve developed a systematic approach to the treatment of gum disease. We use all available means of killing the disease causing bacteria: mechanical, chemical and physical.
First, we mechanically remove build-up (tar and calculus) with bacteria on it from your teeth by cleaning the root surfaces below the gum line. In the process, we leave the root surface as smooth as possible to prevent future bacterial colonization. This process is deep cleaning, or scaling and root planing. Then we chemically disinfect your gums by irrigating them with anti-bacterial solution in the office. We also give you anti-microbial mouth rinse to use at home. Then we further attack the remaining bacteria by using the physical energy of lasers. We establish a maintenance protocol for you to constantly monitor the condition of your gums and treating them when the need arises.
It is imperative that you stick to the suggested gum disease treatment program in the office, as well as maintaining oral care hygiene routine at home. Remember, once it’s been lost, the bone will never grow back! Please help us help you keep your gum disease progressing further.
Amalgam fillings (sometimes called “silver fillings”) are a mixture of mercury liquid and small pieces of silver and other metals such as copper, tin and zinc. Amalgams have multiple disadvantages. Amalgam is a metal, which expands and contracts with hot, cold and biting. Therefore, with every meal the teeth are being weakened and over time and depending on the size of the filling the tooth becomes susceptible to fracturing. Amalgam fillings also raise a red flag because they contain mercury, which is a very toxic element. The literature is very unclear as to the amount of mercury that is released from amalgams and the long-term effects on the entire body. The safety of amalgam fillings has been in question for a number of years due to concerns over the absorption of elemental mercury contributing to several diseases, including Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis dementia and arthritis.
Composite Resin Fillings
If you look in the mirror and are discouraged by the unsightly gray fillings that have dulled your once youthful smile, then it’s time to consider replacing them with tooth colored restorations. Very small fillings can be restored with tooth colored bonding materials.
A composite resin is a tooth-colored plastic mixture filled with glass (silicon dioxide). Introduced in the 1960s, dental composites were confined to the front teeth because they were not strong enough to withstand the pressure and wear generated by the back teeth. Since then, composites have been significantly improved and can be successfully placed in the back teeth as well. Composites are not only used for restoring decay, but are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth. There are no known health risks of receiving composite fillings. Composite resin dental fillings were created as an alternative to traditional metal dental fillings. Tooth fillings colored to look like a natural tooth are known as composite resin fillings and are made of a plastic dental resin. Composite resin fillings are strong, durable, and make for a very natural looking smile. Many dental insurance plans cover their use.
How are composite fillings placed? Following preparation, the dentist places the composite in layers using a light specialized to harden each layer. When the process is finished, the dentist will shape the composite to fit the tooth. The dentist then polishes the composite to prevent staining and early wear.
Pros and Cons of Composite Resin Fillings
Advantages: The composite of composite resin fillings bonds to further support the remaining tooth structure, which helps prevent breakage and damage to your tooth. They certainly look better, and are color blended to match your natural tooth color. These fillings are often used to improve the appearance of misshapen, chipped, or discolored teeth.
Composite resin fillings last about six to twelve years or more, and the procedure usually takes just one visit to your dentist. There is very little sensitivity to hot or cold items often experienced with amalgam fillings. The dentist won’t need to drill as much of the tooth structure as with amalgam fillings.
Disadvantages: Composite resin fillings require more time to apply than amalgam fillings. This results in an increased cost for placing composite fillings.
Some indications of the need for root canal treatment may be:
- Spontaneous pain or throbbing while biting.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
- Severe decay or an injury that creates an abscess (infection) in the bone.
Saving the tooth maintains space, keeps other teeth from shifting, and eliminates the need and cost of a bridge or implant and crown. Although seemingly expensive, it is actually quite cost effective. Remember, once your teeth are gone, they’re gone!
A root canal is really not as bad as it is sometimes made out to be, and in our office, we try to make it as pleasant as possible. Here’s how it works. Root canal treatment consists of the removal of the infected or irritated nerve tissue that lies within the root of the tooth. It is this infected pulp tissue that eventually causes an abscess.
The first step in a root canal is to obtain access to the nerve. This is accomplished by establishing a small access opening in the top of the tooth. It will be done under a local anesthetic. The length of the root canal is determined and the infected pulp is removed. Usually at the same visit, the canal where the nerve is located will be reshaped and prepared to accept a special root canal filling material. The number of visits necessary to complete your root canal will depend upon several factors, including the number of nerves in the tooth, the infected state of the nerve, and the complexity of the procedure.
The final step in your root canal will be the sealing of the root canal with a sterile, plastic material, called gutta percha. This is done in order to prevent possible future infection.
The tooth will then possibly need a post and core and a crown in order to re-establish normal form and function. This decision will be based upon several additional factors. If treated early, root canal therapy need not be uncomfortable.
Another “Old Wives’ Tale” is that by removing the nerve, the tooth becomes “dead.” This is not true. The tooth is very much alive and functioning because it receives a source of blood supply and nerve supply from the surrounding tissues that hold it in place in your jaw bone. The tooth will have no sense of feeling to hot, cold, or sweets but will be responsive to biting pressures etc. With the proper restoration the tooth should last as long as your other teeth and can even be used as an anchor tooth for a partial denture or cemented bridge.
Sometimes when there has been long-standing infection or abscess, there may be some soreness associated with the first or second root canal visit. If this is the case, you will be given specific instructions to follow to minimize the discomfort. When an infection is present, it may be necessary to take an antibiotic. If pain is present, analgesics may need to be prescribed. In either case, be sure to call our office if either of these problems should arise.
For millions of Americans with missing teeth, dentures offer an opportunity to lead a normal, healthy life. Although nothing can look, feel and function just like your own natural teeth, a well-made denture can restore your much deserved comfort and beautiful smile.
Nowadays, several types of dentures are available. Which one is best for you depends on the number of missing teeth, their location in the mouth, and the condition of the remaining teeth:
- Complete dentures replacing all the teeth in one jaw
- Partial dentures replace several teeth and are stabilized by the remaining teeth with metal components (traditional design) or ‘fexible” partial dentures with natural , gum-colored clasps; they are much better looking and provide you with greater comfort.
- Implant supported dentures
The Pros and Cons of Dentures
Advantages: Dentures definitely provide a great smile with a very natural appearance. They’re made of very durable materials and last very long when properly taken care of. Typically dentures last from five to ten years. They also correct several problems, from speech to chewing, for many patients.
Disadvantages: There’s no doubt that dentures take a little getting used to. There is maintenance involved, and initial speech issues to overcome (these are temporary and last only a couple of days). Mouth irritation or sores may occur, but are usually caused by poor dental hygiene, and not removing your dentures when needed. It is common that your mouth change over the life of your dentures, so even though they last long, they may need to be replaced to achieve a better fit before they are worn out. With a denture a person typically chews at only 15-23% efficiency compared to a person chewing with their natural teeth. In the case of a full upper denture, the upper palate is covered which can reduce taste of foods you’re chewing.
Do you suffer form any of these?
- Jaw joint Pain
- Jaw joint noise or clicking
- Limited mouth opening
- Ear congestion
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loose teeth
- Clenching or grinding
- Facial pain
- Sensitive teeth
- Chewing difficulties
- Neck pain
- Postural problems
- Tingling of the fingertips
- Hot & cold sensitivity of teeth
- Nervousness or insomnia
Signs & Symptoms of TMD
Pain or dysfunction of the head and neck is a very common condition and one that might be resolved very simply or might be very complex and frustrating to treat, depending on the circumstances.
The bite can be a factor in many types of pain or functional problems because of the inter-relationship of the overall musculoskeletal system. Since there is a relationship between the teeth, jaw joints, head and neck muscles, and head posture, a problem in any one of these areas may affect others. These can include painful clicking or popping of the jaw joint, various types of head and neck pain, swallowing problems, and excessive snoring or sleep apnea, just to name a few.
If it is suspected that you suffer from this type of problem, the neuromuscular dentist may ask you if you have any of the symptoms shown above.
In addition, they will be looking for a number of signs in your posture, appearance and condition of your teeth, and existing bite that might aid in diagnosis. An imperfect bite often plays a significant role in these conditions and the dentist experienced in treating them may resolve the problem. However, diagnosing these problems can be very difficult at times and may require the collective efforts of your dentist and other health care professionals. These may include your physician, and ear, nose, and throat specialist, physical therapist, chiropractor, or message therapist.
There are so many dental applications for laser energy. It can be used to whiten your teeth, improve the contour of your gums, treat gum disease ( periodontitis) by decontamination and disinfection of gum pockets. It also proved to be extremely effective and painless in treatment of aphthous ulcers (canker sores).
The dentists’ understanding of caries decay and its treatment has been changed dramatically over the past decade. We now know that dental caries is an infectious, communicable disease, and it should be addressed as such in its diagnosis, treatment and prevention. In our office, we are currently developing a comprehensive caries management and prevention system that will allow us to recognize patients with increased risk for caries decay and help them to control this destructive process with dietary changes and specific supplements administration (ask us about fluoride rinses, Biotene and Xylitol products; we have them available for your use at home). Using cutting-edge technology such as digital caries diagnosis allows us to catch decay at an early stage. Recent introduction of micro-burs allows us to remove only decayed part of the tooth, leaving the rest of it strong and intact. We want you to keep your new smile healthy . That’s why we are so serious about keeping it decay free.
Our Cam_X by Spectra allows for us to detect any dental decay that, in turn, allows us to remove the decay. The advantage to this cavity detection aid is that it shines a safe, fluorescent light onto the tooth’s surface. This offers color images that are available immediately to our computer system. The Spectra benefits the patient and the doctor. It is not only less expensive because of the fewer treatments but it is not invasive to the patient and leaves your mouth with better tooth preservation.
We feel strongly that we have responsibility to provide our patients with an access to the most knowledgable specialists in different fields of dentistry. We want you to be able to explore all treatment modalities available today.