During your initial visit, your dentist will give you a comprehensive exam. The dentist and hygienist assigned to you will make sure to:
Examine diagnostic x-rays (radiographs):
Necessary for finding decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. These x-rays are also used to diagnose developmental problems of teeth growing in.
Screen for oral cancer:
Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
Check for gum disease:
Examination of the gums and bone around the teeth to find any signs of periodontal disease.
Check for tooth decay:
Use of special dental instruments to test all tooth surfaces for decay.
Examine existing restorations:
Check current fillings, crowns, and other restorations
Professional Dental Cleaning
One of our dentist will perform a professional dental cleaning (dental prophylaxis) during your exam. The cleaning will involve:
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus comes from plaque build up that has hardened around the tooth. It forms both above and below the gum line, making the use of special dental instruments necessary to remove it from around the teeth.
- Removal of plaque: A sticky, almost invisible film, plaque is actually made up of living bacteria, food debris and saliva. When it forms on the teeth, the bacteria produces poisons that infect the gums, causing them to inflame. This inflammation is one of the first signs of periodontal disease.
- Teeth polishing: Through teeth polishing, your dentist can remove stains and plaque that did not come off during the rest of the cleaning.
We have the latest technology of x-ray machines to minimize radiation exposure, and be faster and more comfortable.
Used as a preventive, diagnostic tool, dental x-rays, or radiographs, provide your dentist with a look at what’s going on under the gum line. The information that these x-rays provide is used to detect any abnormalities that aren’t visible during the actual exam or cleaning. Without these x- rays, your dentist will not have a complete picture of your mouth, and many problems could go undetected for a long period of time.
Dental x-rays often reveal:
- Abscesses or cysts
- Bone loss
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
- Decay between the teeth
- Developmental abnormalities
- Poor tooth and root positions
- Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line
X-rays help your dentist detect these dental problems at their earliest stages, which saves you time, money and pain in the long run!
Are dental x-rays safe?
Our everyday environment exposes us to natural radiation all the time. Dental x-rays from a full- mouth series emits the same level of radiation that a person receives on a daily basis from natural sources. The low-level of radiation emitted by dental x-rays is considered safe, but we still take precautions to minimize how much exposure our patients receive. Using lead apron shields to cover the patients’ bodies enable us to keep our patients’ radiation exposure at the lowest level possible. In addition, our state-of-the-art digital x-rays reduce exposure by up to 90 percent when compared to traditional film methods.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
Based on your medical and dental history, as well as your age, risk for disease and current signs/symptoms, your dentist will be able to recommend the best time frame for dental x-rays. In the end, the frequency of these x-rays will depend largely on your individual needs.
We recommend a full-mouth series of x-rays for all our new patients, so we have a better idea of their current dental health. The full-mouth series is typically good for three to five years. Bite- wing x-rays, on the other hand, should be taken once or twice a year during regular check ups.
The main goal of our team is to provide our patients with healthy, good-looking smiles that will last them a lifetime. Taking good care of your teeth at home goes a long way in achieving such a smile. Incorporating healthy meals into your diet, reducing the number of snacks you eat and brushing and flossing your teeth daily will all help reduce your chances of dental disease.
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially right before you go to bed. In addition, an ADA-approved toothpaste and soft bristle tooth brush will make a difference in the effectiveness of your routine.
- When brushing your teeth, hold the tooth brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums. Use small, circular motions to brush your teeth and make sure you can feel the brush’s bristles on your gums.
- Make sure to brush the whole surface of each tooth – the outer and inner sides and the biting surface.
- To clean the inside of the front teeth, use the tip of your tooth brush
- Remove extra bacteria from your mouth by also brushing your tongue. This will also help freshen your breath.
- Electric tooth brushes are recommended, as they are the most effective in removing plaque while still being gentle on your gums and teeth. To use an electric tooth brush, put the bristles on your teeth and let the brush do the rest.
Daily flossing allows you to clean between the teeth and under the gum line, while at the same time preventing plaque build up and protecting your gums and teeth from the damage that plaque can cause.
- When you floss, use 12-16 inches (30-40 cm). Wrap the floss around your middle fingers and leave a couple inches between your hands.
- Guide the floss between your teeth with your thumbs and forefingers, using a back-and-forth motion.
- Curve the floss around each tooth and make sure to get under the gum line, gently moving the floss up and down along the side of the tooth.
- If you struggle with conventional floss, try using a floss holder.
Rinsing your mouth with water after brushing (and after meals if you don’t have a chance to brush) is another important step in home dental care. If you like to use an over-the- counter product for rinsing, you can talk with your dentist to find out the best one for you.Depending on your dental health, your dentist might recommend that you also use other dental aidsl, such as tongue cleaners, rubber tip stimulators, irrigation devices, interdental brushes, medicated rinses and fluoride.
Stainless Steel Crowns
Permanent crowns can be made from stainless steel, all metal (such as gold or another alloy), porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, or all ceramic.
Stainless steel crowns are prefabricated crowns that are used on kids molars primarily as a temporary measure. The crown protects the tooth or filling while a permanent crown is made from another material. For children, a stainless steel crown is commonly used to fit over a primary tooth that’s been prepared to fit it. The crown covers the entire tooth and protects it from further decay. When the primary tooth comes out to make room for the kids molars, the crown comes out naturally with it. In general, stainless steel crowns are used for children’s teeth because they don’t require multiple dental visits to put in place and so are more cost- effective than custom-made crowns and prophylactic dental care needed to protect a tooth without a crown.
A filling is a material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after he or she removes any tooth decay. To fill a tooth, your dentist will:
- Numb your teeth, gums, tongue, and surrounding skin. Your dentist will first put a substance that feels like jelly directly on the area to start the numbing process, and then inject an anesthetic to complete it. Some dentists will give you nitrous oxide gas (laughing gas) to reduce your pain and help you relax.
- Sometimes use a small sheet of rubber on a metal frame (rubber dam) to target the decayed tooth and to stop liquid and tooth chips from entering your mouth and throat.
- Drill out all the decay and replace it with a filling.
Fillings can be made from many types of material. Talk to your dentist about which type would be best for you.
- Amalgam is the easiest material for a dentist to use. It is the fastest and least costly choice. Amalgam is a mixture of mercury, silver, tin, or other metals.
- Composite resins are tooth-colored fillings. Composite resin is easier than gold for a dentist to work with and usually is less expensive than gold.
- Ionomers are tooth-colored materials that dentists often use for small cavities or cavities between teeth. Some ionomers release small amounts of fluoride, which may help you if you often get cavities.
- Gold is costly and is harder for your dentist to work with. This makes the procedure take longer and cost more.
- Ceramics are costly tooth-colored fillings. They require special equipment and may require dental lab support. You may need several appointments.
If plaque and tartar is left on the teeth, as we mentioned before, it provides the right conditions for bacteria to thrive. The bacteria irritate the gums, which means that they bleed more easily. You may notice this if you are brushing your teeth, or eating, and sometimes your gums may bleed a bit. This is the early stage of gum disease called gingivitis. If you have gingivitis, your dentist or hygienist will clean your teeth by scaling and polishing them. They may also recommend an antiseptic mouthwash containing chlorhexidine (e. g. Corsodyl in the U.K.), and show you how to brush and floss your teeth effectively. Most adults have some degree of gum disease.
If gingivitis not treated and nothing is done about it, the inflammation will work its way down towards the foundations of the tooth causing a “periodontal pocket”. Again, within the confines of the pocket, the conditions are such that the bacteria can have a right old party, and cause more damage.
Gum disease can break down the support (bone) structures of the teeth, so that eventually, they will become loose. The problem is that until it gets quite severe, the person often has no symptoms. Sadly, the damage to the support structures of the teeth is irreversible. The good news is that if gum disease is caught in time, its progression can be halted and improved upon, and that is the key.
To stop gum disease from progressing, your dentist may advise periodontal therapy, or deep cleaning. This gets rid of the bacteria in the pocket and provides the necessary conditions for healing to occur.
A tooth extraction, or exodontia, is the removal of a tooth. Reasons for a tooth extraction include decayed or broken teeth. They may also be removed to make room for other teeth or an orthodontia treatment. Throughout history, tooth removal has been used to treat a variety of illnesses before the discovery of antibiotics as chronic tooth infections were linked to a number of ailments. There are two main types of tooth extractions: simple extractions and surgical extractions. Simple extractions are performed on visible teeth in the mouth under local anesthesia.
The tooth is loosened from its socket and then removed with dental forceps. Surgical extraction is a more complicated procedure done on teeth that have broken under the gum line or have not fully erupted and is generally done under general anesthesia. Find out more about tooth extractions and removal, postoperative care, and potential complications.
Mouth guards are coverings worn over teeth, and often used to protect teeth from injury from teeth grinding and during sports.
There are three types of mouth guards:
- Stock mouth protectors are preformed and come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and can be bought at most sporting good stores and department stores. However, little can be done to adjust their fit, they are bulky, make breathing and talking difficult, and they provide little or no protection. Dentists do not recommend their use.
- Boil and bite mouth protectors also can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. The “boil and bite” mouth guard is made from thermoplastic material. It is placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure.
- Custom-fitted mouth protectors are individually designed and made in a dental office or a professional laboratory based on your dentist’s instructions. First, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and a mouth guard is then molded over the model using a special material. Due to the use of the special material and because of the extra time and work involved, this custom-made mouth guard is more expensive than the other types, but it provides the most comfort and protection.
Generally, mouth guards cover your upper teeth only, but in some instances (such as if you wear braces or another fixed dental appliance on your lower jaw), your dentist will make a mouth guard for the lower teeth as well. Your dentist can suggest the best mouth guard for you. An effective mouth guard should be comfortable, resist tears, be durable and easy to clean, and should not restrict your breathing or speech.
If you grind your teeth at night, a special mouth guard-type of dental appliance — called a nocturnal bite plate or bite splint — may be created to prevent tooth damage.
Want a brighter smile? When it comes to tooth-whitening, you’ve got two options: in-office-based teeth bleaching, or at-home care.
Both tooth-whitening options use peroxide-based bleaching agents. At-home systems contain from 3% to 20% peroxide (carbamide or hydrogen peroxides). In-office systems contain from 15% to 43% peroxide.
Generally, the longer you keep a stronger solution on your teeth, the whiter your teeth become. However, the higher the percentage of peroxide in the whitening solution, the shorter it should be applied to the teeth. Keeping the gel on longer will dehydrate the tooth and increase tooth sensitivity.
There are pros and cons to each option, but before you try at-home tooth-bleaching kits, be sure to talk to your dentist. Not everyone will see good results. Bleaching will not whiten porcelain crowns or composite tooth-colored bondings.
Tooth restorations are the various ways your dentist can replace missing teeth or repair missing parts of the tooth structure.Tooth structure can be missing due to decay, deterioration of a previously placed restoration, or fracture of a tooth. Examples of restorations include the following:
- Fillings are the most common type of dental restoration. Teeth can be filled with gold, silver amalgam, or tooth-colored plastic materials called composite resin fillings.
- Crowns are a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, appearance, to hold a bridge in place or cover a dental implant.
- Bridges are false teeth that are designed to “bridge” the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Bridges can be anchored on either side by crowns and cemented permanently into place.
- Implants are replacement tooth roots. Implants are actually a small post made of metal that are placed into the bone socket where teeth are missing. The implant is covered with a replacement tooth called a crown.
- Dentures are a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. They are made of acrylic resin sometimes combined with metal attachments. Complete dentures replace all the teeth; partial dentures are considered when some natural teeth remain and are retained by metal clasps attached to the natural teeth.
It takes a dental team to assess and plan dental implant placement and restoration — the fabrication of the crowns, bridgework or dentures that attach atop the implants and are visible in your mouth. The dental team consists of a dental surgical specialist — a periodontist, oral surgeon, or a general dentist with advanced training in implant surgery; a restorative dentist, who plans and places the tooth restorations; and a dental laboratory technician who fabricates them.
Placing dental implants requires a surgical procedure in which precision channels are created in the jawbone, often using a surgical guide. The implants are then fitted into the sites so that they are in intimate contact with the bone. They generally require two to six months to fuse to the bone before they can have tooth restorations attached to them to complete the process.