Dental prophylaxis (cleanings) are important for the detection, treatment and maintenance of gingivitis and periodontitis (bone loss around teeth). Our hygienists are the experts at removing the biofilms (plaque) and calculus (rock hard tartar) off of your teeth, above and below your gums. There are numerous benefits to your bone, gums, teeth and health to have regular cleanings by a professional.
Dental exams are performed ideally at 6 month intervals. The rationale for this frequency is that problems in the mouth will typically go from non-existent to existent in 6 months. Additionally, dental problems often go from small problems to large problems in a 6 month time frame. It is important to communicate with your dentist any time between scheduled exams if any unusual swelling, pain, noise or any other concern suddenly arises. Ignoring these symptoms until a scheduled exam typically results in more expensive and/or painful treatment choices.
The taking of dental radiographs is purely because because without them your dentist would only know half the story. Our office prescribes radiographs not based upon when insurance companies pay for them, but by when they are needed. For example, if a 45 year old has, no risk factors for bone loss, no fillings and has never had a cavity, they need radiographs once every 2-3 years. If a 13 year old has 3 new cavities every 6 months, that child needs x-rays every 6 months. Are radiographs safe? No, even though the amount of radiation is small. That is why we take prescribing them at appropriate intervals very serious and base their need upon each patients' past and present health conditions.
Sealants are plastic coatings that are placed into the deep grooves and pits of mostly permanent molars, but occasionally may be recommended on any other tooth (including baby teeth) if special circumstances indicate using them. In our practice, we recommend sealants be placed as soon as the tooth erupts to reduce the chance of decay in these areas by up to 85%. Again, we don't prescribe sealants based upon insurance, we base the need for sealants upon the risk for decay. From time-to-time sealants need new material added to them, completely replaced or removed.
Our office uses fluoride varnish treatments. The benefit of a fluoride varnish over a gel or foam is that gels and foams give an individual approximately 45 minutes of remineralizing benefits. The varnish will form an invisible resin on the teeth. Dietary and toothpaste fluoride will then lock into the resin, which allows for a gradual release of fluoride ions resulting in tooth remineralization for weeks to even months. High risk individuals benefit from monthly applications.
The most widely recommended technique for proper brushing is known as the Modified-Bass Technique. This technique requires the toothbrush bristles to be at 45 degree angle against tooth (bristle tips towards gums). Once in position, jiggle the brush in tiny half circles, then with a flick of the wrist roll the bristle tips up towards the chewing surface of your tooth. This will sweep the loosened plaque up away from your gum line. Make sure to get all the inside (tongue and palate), outside (cheek and lip), and chewing surfaces of every tooth.
Flossing properly can be tricky and the few people in our society that do floss are often using bad techniques. Ask our hygienist for a demo. The key to proper flossing is the "C" or "U" shape around the tooth with the floss. This technique allows the floss to slide under the gum and grabs the plaque off the tooth from its thinnest, most susceptible area to decay. If you use pre-threaded flossers, make sure you pull it forward/backward or side to side to make this shape. Sometimes your hygienist or dentist may recommend other tools and techniques to aid cleaning between the teeth.
Every 6 months our patients receive an oral cancer screen, in which we palpate your head and neck lymph nodes, TMJ, floor of your mouth and saliva glands. We also visually inspect your tongue, cheeks, palate, throat, face, neck, arms, and legs for anything out of the ordinary. Radiographs (x-rays) are also useful ways of detecting some cancers of the head and neck. If something was to ever start hurting, look unusual, burn or a sore wasn't healing, DON'T wait for your check-up, call and get an appointment asap. If you're currently with a dentist who doesn't regularly perform oral cancer screenings, switch dentists- it could save your life!
Contrary to popular beliefs, sugar does not cause cavities. The bacteria that lives on our teeth, under our gums, roof of our mouth, on our tongues, and on our tonsils eats the sugar we put in our mouths. This bacteria then releases lactic acid as a by-product into the mouth and on the tooth resulting in demineralization or weakening of the enamel, which eventually leads to decay. To simplify the chaos of what's good and what's bad for you and your teeth, follow two easy rules: 1. The only drink you can routinely have between meals is water (not flavored or vitamin water). 2. The only snack you should have routinely between meals is vegetables. Almost ALL other drinks and foods have some form of sugar, acid or both and FREQUENT consumption will eventually lead to tooth decay. Even healthy foods such as milk and fruits should be consumed during meal times only. Eat three meals a day. If your doctor or dietitian ever recommends numerous small meals or to eat frequently throughout the day, you're at very high risk for decay and should consult a dentist.
Our practice places both white (resin/composite) and silver (amalgam) fillings. Some areas of the mouth dictate one type of filling material versus the other. If the filling is visible in the smile we make every effort to make the filling white, so it's not visible. Studies prove that multi-surface white fillings on back don't last as long as silver fillings of the same size. Every time a dentist has to replace a filling it microscopically fractures the tooth and upsets the nerve, putting the tooth at risk for future problems.
Crowns come in 3 main forms, all porcelain, all metal or porcelain fused to metal. Our practice does all 3 types and one of our dentists can educate you as to which is the best type based on your situation. To make a crown typically it takes two visits. The first visit involves reducing (shaving down) the tooth to allow room for proper mouth closure when the crown is placed. This reduction sometimes requires the tooth to need a root canal and/or post prior to crown placement to allow for proper restoration of the tooth. At the end of the first appointment, the dentist takes an impression to send to the lab for your crown to be made. You leave our office with a temporary crown. You'll return to our office in approximately 2 weeks to have your custom made crown cemented on your tooth. Often times patients get around to crowns after the tooth breaks. At risk teeth, some teeth with root canals, cracked teeth or those teeth with the filling wider than a 1/3 of the tooths' width, ideally should be crowned.
A bridge is just like the description for the crown, the main difference is that a bridge consist or two or more crowns. Bridges are a good way to replace missing teeth without have to take something in and out each night. Sometimes bridges might require the dentist to prepare non-root canaled or untreated teeth resulting in future dental needs for that tooth or a whole new bridge. Thoroughly discuss with your dentist if a bridge is your best option.
Root canal therapy is complete removal of the nerve and blood vessels along with diseased tooth structure within the root(s) of a tooth. Patients will often ask if we take the whole root out for this procedure, we don't, just the stuff in the middle of it. Root canals are necessary if teeth are abcsessed, trying to abscess, fracture results in nerve exposure, and in some cases root canals are necessary for proper restoration (fixing) of teeth. Root canals are typically performed in one visit and typically you'll leave with a temporary filling in your tooth. It is very important to follow through with placing a permanent filling and/or crown on the tooth soon after your root canal because now your tooth is hollowed out, brittle and prone to breakage and/or leakage. Oftentimes, if a root canal fails it is because proper restoration of that tooth does not occur in a timely manner.
Partial dentures are a removable and economical way to replace one or numerous teeth in the mouth. Some partials are made with metal which often require some minor alterations to teeth to allow them to lock on to the remaining teeth in your mouth. Other partials offer the benefit of being metal-free, which is more esthetic and often requires no tooth alteration. These metal-free partials are highly desired by a lot of our patients, but not every patient is a good candidate for these partials, without compromising some of the function a partial is meant to replace. With all partials, it is important that all of the teeth that a partial is hooking to are in good shape with adequate bone support. Most partials are made in two-three easy visits.
Complete dentures replace all of the teeth on the top, bottom or both arches. Dentures become necessary when too many teeth require expensive or extensive work or with lots of bone loss. Complete dentures are desired to keep the muscles of the face from collapsing in, restore your ability to eat, talk, and self-esteem. Dentures often take between 4-6 appointments to make (except in cases where dentures are being put in on the same day as your exctractions. Most patients have a high level of satisfaction with their upper dentures because it suctions to your palate. However, many patients struggle with the bottom denture because it just floats on the ridge. There are options to help lock your dentures into place, see below in the Dental Implants.
We offer a wide variety of cosmetic procedures. Patients are encouraged to share with us the things they might not like about their smile. Some times the problem is as simple to fix as whitening the teeth or as complex as crowning and/or veneering the vast majority of teeth. We also fix gummy smiles and teeth that are stained, missing, crooked, uneven, short, skinny, spaced, and just about any other thing that could make a patient unhappy with their smile. With the numerous treatment options that exist for every patients unique situation, it is important to communicate your concerns of what you'd like to change to your dentist. Our main tools for improving smiles is orthodontics, bonding (white filling material over tooth), porcelain veneers, crowns, tooth replacement, and bleaching (take home and in-office). Improving a smile is a tremendous way to increase one's self-esteem, improve job opportunities, relationships, etc...
There are two different types of dental implants. Traditional implants (like a bolt) and mini implants (like a wood screw). Both types can be used for denture stabilization and for single/multiple tooth replacement. Both types have pros and cons. All implants are placed into the bone and help maintain bone in areas without teeth. If you're missing any teeth, your replacement options will always include implants as the premier choice. Please check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxGL1YFH9d0&feature=plcp and http://www.minidentalimplantsdaytonoh.com/index.php for more information!
A frenum is the band of tissue that connects the insides of your lips, cheeks and tongue to your gums. Some times it becomes necessary to eliminate these bands when they cause issues, this is a frenectomy. Some newborns will be unable to open wide enough to latch or if they can latch, their short lingual (under the tongue) frenum will encourage improper suckling motion for the tongue. This improper motion of the tongue often leads to a powerful "sucking", not gentle suckling. Without intervention, the mothers nipple will often become flattened, peaked and/or bloodied. Additionally, the parents often report that their child is often gasey, fussy, and wants to feed very frequently (only to fall asleep quickly). Tongue-tied babies can grow into toddlers who use their fingers to swallow, have speech delays, speech problems, and possible orthodontic issues. A lot of tongue-tied infants will have a prominant frenum inside their upper lip which can lead to improper lip flare leading a broken nipple seal leading to excess air during feed. A lot of adult patients who need partial or complete dentures made will also require removal of these frenums if they are so prominant or poorly positioned. These frenums can cause dentures to not seat fully and/or bounce with chewing.
Wisdom teeth are the furthest back teeth in the mouth. When we recommend your wisdom teeth to be taken out, it's because there is a problem with them or a high likelihood that their position and/or appearance will result in a future problem. Not everyone needs their wisdom teeth out, but most mouths are just not big enough to allow for proper eruption and/or cleaning of these hard to reach areas. As with all procedures, we weigh the benefits versus the risks when recommending wisdom teeth to be extracted.
In some situations, circumstances dictate using some method to help keep our patients as stress-free as possible during their dental porcedures. Our office uses either nitrous oxide sedation, combination oral medication with nitrous oxide. Based upon you or your child's level of fear, anxiety, age, disability or amount of teeth that require attention, we'll recommend the most appropriate level of anxiety reduction necessary.
How would you feel if we told you that in about the time you have between cleaning appointments, we could make your teeth straight using clear brackets and white wires? With the use of 6 Month Smiles short-term orthodontics, 85% of adults can have the smile they want in 1/4 of the time with 1/2 the cost as traditional orthodontics. Call today for your free orthodontic consultation.