Bonding is a conservative way to repair slightly chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. Tooth bonding can also be used for teeth fillings instead of amalgam fillings.
A bridge may be used to replace missing teeth, help maintain the shape of your face, and alleviate stress in your bite.
With the advent of new aesthetic dental treatments, a beautiful smile is now easily within your reach!
Crowns are a restoration used to improve your tooth’s shape or to strengthen a tooth.
Dentures are natural-looking replacement teeth that are removable. There are two types of dentures, full and partial.
When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, you and your dentist will set up an appointment for this procedure.
Fillings are used to treat a small hole, or cavity in a tooth. Dentists remove decayed tooth tissue and fill with material.
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth.
An implant is a new tooth made of titanium and porcelain that looks just like your natural tooth.
If you have a tooth with a diseased nerve, you can save that tooth with a root canal treatment.
Using sealants on your teeth gives you an extra line of defense against tooth decay.
High fear of dental care? Complex dental problems? You can benefit from sedation dentistry.
We offer a variety of products and procedures available to help you improve the look of yours.
Millions suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurrent headaches. In some cases this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD.
There’s no reason to put up with gaps in your teeth or with teeth that are stained, discolored, badly shaped, chipped, or crooked.
The removal of wisdom teeth has become so commonplace that it is almost a rite of passage for young adults.
Tooth bonding can also be used for teeth fillings instead of amalgam fillings. Many patients prefer bonding fillings because the white color is much less noticeable than the silver amalgam fillings. Bonding fillings can be used on front and back teeth depending on the location and extent of tooth decay.
Bonding is less expensive than other cosmetic treatments and usually can be completed in one visit to our office. Depending on the location and situation, bonding may not always be a good choice. To work well, the tooth must have good structure, and it must be able to stay dry while placing the bond. Also, bonding can stain and is easier to break than other cosmetic treatments such as porcelain veneers. If it does break or chip, tell your doctor. The bonding can generally be easily patched or repaired in one visit.
A bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. Your bridge can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.
The success of any bridge depends on its foundation — the other teeth, gums, or bone to which it is attached. Therefore, it’s very important to keep your existing teeth, gums, and jaw healthy and strong.
Cosmetic dentistry is art and science working seamlessly together to offer smile enhancement, restoration, and maintenance for your optimal dental health. Using cutting-edge techniques and advanced materials, our office proudly offers you a beautiful, natural smile and all the benefits that come with it. You will look and feel better because a beautiful smile is a healthy smile.
You no longer have to suffer missing, chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. We encourage you to explore our service options to find a treatment that works for you.
There are several different reasons that a tooth might need a crown:
- Broken tooth
- Cracked tooth
- Missing significant amount of tooth because of a large filling or root canal
- Cosmetic reasons, like discoloration or poor tooth structure
Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay. When a tooth is cracked or when a significant portion of your tooth is missing, a crown is often the best option. Crowns are preferred in many cases because they are strong, they last a long time, and they look good.
Crowns are “caps” cemented onto an existing tooth which fully cover the portion of your tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes your tooth’s new outer surface. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are most often preferred because they mimic the translucency of natural teeth and are very strong. Every situation is unique, so for best results you must use the material that is best for that particular tooth.
Crowns are often preferable to silver amalgam fillings. Unlike fillings which apply metal directly into your mouth, a crown is fabricated away from your mouth. Your crown is created in a lab from your unique tooth impression which allows a dental laboratory technician to examine all aspects of your bite and jaw movements. Your crown is then sculpted just for you so that your bite and jaw movements function normally once the crown is placed.
Dentures are no longer a one-size-fits-all experience. All of our patients are unique, and we create custom, one-of-a-kind dentures that feel good and look natural.
- Full dentures are given to patients when all of the natural teeth have been removed. Conventional full dentures are placed after the gum tissue has healed which can take several months. Immediate full dentures are placed immediately after the teeth have been removed, and may require frequent adjustments during the first couple of months of use. Another option is overdentures, which are full dentures supported by implants. Anchoring to implants improves the ability to chew and keeps them from moving. This is especially helpful for lower dentures.
- Partial dentures are attached to a metal frame that is connected to your natural teeth and are used to fill in where permanent teeth have been removed. Partial dentures are considered a removable alternative to bridges.
If you would like to learn more about dentures, you can read about them on the American Dental Association’s website.
How do I know if I dentures are the right choice for me?
Dentures are not for everyone. If you’re interested in learning more about dentures, and want to know if they are the right choice for you, please schedule an appointment. Our doctors will be happy to answer any questions you might have, and can determine the best course of treatment for your ongoing dental health.
Caring for your dentures
Dentures, just like natural teeth, require daily maintenance in order to stay clean and keep bacteria from growing inside of your mouth. Keep your dentures clean and your smile healthy:
- When handling your dentures, stand over a clean, folded towel or a sink full of water. This way, if you accidentally drop your dentures, they are less likely to break.
- Your dentures are not immune from plaque and tartar build-up, so it’s important that you brush your dentures every day. To brush your dentures, use a soft-bristled brush and gently brush the surfaces of the dentures being careful not to break or bend the plastic. In between brushings, it’s important to rinse your dentures after each meal.
- Use a gentle cleanser to clean your dentures. Many toothpastes, household cleaners, and mouthwashes can be too hard on your dentures, so it is recommended that you use a mild hand or dish soap to get your dentures clean. Be sure to check for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval to choose products that are safe for your dentures, or ask our doctors about which products may be best for you.
- When you are not wearing your dentures, they need to be kept moist. Dentures that are not kept in a denture cleaning solution or in water can dry out, lose their shape or even crack and break. Certain styles of dentures require certain soaking solutions, so be sure to ask our doctors which solution is best for you.
- Even if you have a full set of dentures, it’s important to keep your gums and tongue clean. Be sure to use a soft-bristled brush to gently clean your gums and tongue every day.
If by chance your dentures do break, please contact our practice and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Broken dentures that don’t fit properly can cause irritation to your gums and mouth. Also, remember to continue scheduling regular dental checkups every six months to make sure that your smile stays healthy for many years to come.
There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth and jaw at risk of decay, so your doctor may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.
The root of each tooth is encased within your jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and your tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, your dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with your doctor any concerns or preferences for sedation.
If your dentist can tell that there are going to be complicating circumstances, he may refer you to an oral surgeon.
Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, your dentist may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth. Depending on the situation, you will have several different options: implant, fixed partial denture (bridge), or a removable partial denture.
Post-op Instructions for Extractions
- Bite on the gauze for at least one hour.
- When you remove the gauze, if it runs deep, dark red blood, then place gauze, cotton or wet tea bag over the area and bite down for another hour.
- Do not rinse or swish your mouth out.
- Do not drink any alcoholic beverages.
- Do not drink any carbonated drinks like Coke.
- Do not smoke.
- Do not spit or suck (do not use a straw).
- It is normal to ooze a little blood for 24 hours.
- Eat ice cream or soup. Do not chew today.
- You can brush your teeth, but avoid the area around the extracted tooth for 24 hours.
- You can swish your mouth gently with mild salty water (1/2 teaspoon salt with one glass of water)
- You can eat, but chew on the other side for a few days.
- You can brush your teeth in that area, but very gently.
Traditional dental restoratives (fillings) include gold, porcelain, and composite/amalgam. The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, such as in the back of the mouth.
Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are usually used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important. They can be used on the back teeth as well depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay. Composite resins are usually more costly than the older silver amalgam fillings.
What’s Right for Me?
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and expense of dental restorations:
- the components used in the filling material
- the amount of tooth structure remaining
- where and how the filling is placed
- the chewing load that the tooth will have to bear
- the length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth.
The ultimate decision about what to use is best determined in consultation with your doctor. Before your treatment begins, discuss the options with your doctor. To help you prepare for this discussion it is helpful to understand the two basic types of dental fillings: direct and indirect.
- Direct fillings are fillings placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include dental amalgam, glass ionomers, resin ionomers, and composite (resin) fillings. The dentist prepares the tooth, places the filling, and adjusts it during one appointment.
- Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. They include inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns, and bridges fabricated with gold, base metal alloys, ceramics, or composites. During the first visit, the dentist prepares the tooth and makes an impression of the area to be restored. The dentist then places a temporary covering over the prepared tooth. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory which creates the dental restoration. At the next appointment, the dentist cements the restoration into the prepared cavity and adjusts it as needed.
Preventing Gum Disease
It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. At each regular checkup the dentist will measure the depth of the shallow v-shaped crevice (called a sulcus) between your tooth and gums to identify whether you have gum disease.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums.
Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line in the sulcus, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket; generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket.
Periodontal diseases are classified according to the severity of the disease. The two major stages are gingivitis and periodontitis.
In the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
In the more advanced stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth become seriously damaged. Whereas healthy gums and bone anchor teeth firmly in place, infected gums can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or have to be removed by a dentist.
Some factors increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
- Tobacco smoking or chewing
- System-wide diseases such as diabetes
- Some types of medication such as steroids, some types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
- Bridges that no longer fit properly
- Crooked teeth
- Fillings that have become defective
If you notice any of the following signs of gum disease, see the doctor immediately:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
It is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend on the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. If the disease is severe, you may be referred to a periodontist, who specializes in gum disease. A periodontist can provide you with more extensive cleaning and treatment to help control the disease.
Good oral hygiene at home is essential to keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. You don’t have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
If you have missing teeth, it is crucial to replace them. Without all your teeth, chewing and eating can destabilize your bite and cause you discomfort. When teeth are missing, your mouth can shift and even cause your face to look older. Implants are a great way to replace your missing teeth.
Your implant is composed of two parts that mimic a tooth’s root and crown. The implant’s “root” is a titanium steel rod placed into the jaw bone to act as a root. Once the rod is in place, a porcelain crown is attached to replace the top part of your tooth.
Implants may also be used to anchor dentures, especially lower dentures that tend to shift when you talk or chew. Plus, for patients with removable partial dentures, implants can replace missing teeth so that you have a more natural-looking smile.
Inside each tooth is both the pulp and the nerve. The nerve is the vestige of the tissue that originally formed the tooth.
When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp. Germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. Left without treatment, pus builds up at the root tip in the jawbone, forming a “pus-pocket” called an abscess. An abscess can cause the pulp tissue to die. When the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result. Certain by-products of the infection can injure your jawbones and your overall health. Without treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.
Treatment often involves from one to three visits. During treatment, your general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems of the pulp) removes the diseased pulp. Next the pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are cleaned and sealed. Often posterior (back) teeth that have endodontic treatment should have a cast crown placed in order to strengthen the remaining structure. Then, as long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups so that the root(s) of the restored tooth are nourished by the surrounding tissues, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.
Most of the time a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort, involving one to three visits.
Sometimes brushing is not enough. Everyone has hard-to-reach spots in their mouth and brushing doesn’t always fully clean those difficult places. When that happens, you are at risk of tooth decay.
Dental sealant is a plastic resin that bonds to the deep grooves in your tooth’s chewing surface. When sealing a tooth, the grooves of your teeth are filled and the tooth surface becomes smoother — and less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, tooth brushing becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.
Sealants are usually applied to children’s teeth as a preventative measure during the years of most likely tooth decay. However, adult’s teeth can also be sealed. It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every person has unique needs. Your dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.
Sealants generally last from 3 to 5 years. However, it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact so if your sealant comes off you must let your dentist know.
You can benefit from sedation dentistry if you experience one or more of the following:
- High fear of dental care
- Complex dental problems
- Traumatic dental experiences
- Fear of needles and shots
- Trouble getting numb
- Sensitive teeth
The two most common types of sedation dentistry are:
- Oral Conscious Sedation
- Inhalation Sedation
Oral Conscious Sedation
Through this type of sedation you will experience very deep relaxation while still being conscious. Your doctor will provide you with an oral medication that is easy to swallow, safe, and low cost. Most adults will receive Halcion (triazolam), though children are usually given a liquid medication like Versed (Midazolam). When the medication takes effect, you will be able to speak and respond to external requests.
Inhalation sedation uses Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen (laughing gas) to help your body achieve a relaxed state. This is the most popular form of sedation used in dentistry today.
Everybody loves a bright white smile, and there are a variety of products and procedures available to help you improve the look of yours.
Many people are satisfied with the sparkle they get from brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, and regular cleanings at the dentist’s office. However, if you decide you would like to go beyond regular care to make your smile look brighter, you should investigate all of your options.
Finding the Best Treatment for You
Schedule a visit with your dentist to learn whether whitening procedures would be effective for you. Whiteners do not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellowish teeth will probably bleach well, brownish teeth may bleach less well, and grayish teeth may not bleach well at all. Likewise, whitening may not enhance your smile if you have had tooth-colored fillings or crowns. The whitener will not affect the color of these materials and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile. In these cases, you do have other options, such as porcelain veneers.
Tooth Whitening Treatments
- Professional teeth whitening with your doctor
- At-home whitening system
- Whitening toothpaste
When selecting a whitener or any dental product, be sure to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance — your assurance that a product has met ADA standards of safety and effectiveness.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening by your doctor is your best choice when you need immediate whitening results. This procedure is called chairside bleaching and may require more than one office visit. Each visit may take from sixty to ninety minutes.
During chairside bleaching, the dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the oral soft tissues. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth.
At-Home Whitening System
There are several types of products available for use at home which can either be dispensed by your doctor or purchased over the counter. They are generally teeth whitening trays (mouthguards), strips, or paint-on products.
Teeth Whitening Trays
These products contain peroxide(s) which actually bleach the tooth enamel. Carbamide peroxide is the bleaching agent and comes in several different concentrations (10%, 16%, and 22%). Peroxide-containing whiteners typically come in a gel and are placed in a mouthguard. Usage regimens vary. Some products are used twice a day for 2 weeks, while others are intended for overnight use for 1-2 weeks. If you obtain the bleaching solution from your doctor’s office, they can make a custom-fitted mouthguard for you that will fit your teeth precisely. Currently, only dentist-dispensed, home-use, 10% carbamide peroxide tray-applied gels carry the ADA Seal.
Teeth Whitening Strips
Teeth whitening strips are thin, flexible plastic (polyethylene) strips with a thin film of hydrogen peroxide bleaching on one side. Whitening strip kits come with two types of strips: strips for the upper teeth and strips for the lower teeth. The bleaching agent is applied by placing the strips across your teeth and gently pressing the strips into place to ensure contact with all your teeth. Teeth whitening strips are typically worn for 30 minutes a day, twice a day. The duration of treatment will vary.
Teeth whitening can have minor side effects and you should speak with your doctor if these become bothersome. For example, teeth can become sensitive during the period when you are using the bleaching solution. In most cases, this sensitivity is temporary and should lessen once the treatment is finished. Some people also experience soft tissue irritation, either from a tray that doesn’t fit properly or from solution that may come in contact with the tissues. If you have concerns about such side effects, you should discuss them with the doctor.
All toothpastes help remove surface stain from your teeth through the action of mild abrasives. “Whitening” toothpastes in the ADA Seal of Acceptance program have special chemical or polishing agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaches, these ADA accepted products do not alter the intrinsic color of teeth.
Your temporomandibular joints, or jaw joints, connect your lower jawbone to your skull. As you may imagine, these joints get quite a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.
Symptoms of TMD include:
- Pain in the jaw area
- Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
- Swelling on the sides of the face
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area
- A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
- Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth
Should you notice any of these symptoms, let us know! We can help advise you as to whether they indicate the presence of TMD, and what sort of treatment is appropriate for you.
If you don’t have any of these symptoms, let’s keep it that way! There are some simple things you can do at home or work to prevent TMD from occurring in your jaw joints:
- Relax your face – remember the rule: “Lips together, teeth apart”
- Avoid grinding your teeth
- Avoid constant gum chewing
- Don’t cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder – either use a headset or hold the receiver to your ear
- Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
- Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
- Practice good posture – keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared
Today, a veneer placed on top of your teeth can correct nature’s mistake or the results of an injury and help you have a beautiful smile. Veneers are a highly popular solution among dental patients because of their lifelike tooth appearance.
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells crafted of tooth-colored materials (such as porcelain) designed to cover the front side of your teeth. To prepare for veneers, your doctor will create a unique model of your teeth. This model is sent to the dental technician to create your veneers. Before placing your new veneer, your doctor will remove a small amount of your tooth to make room for the veneer.
When placed, you’ll be pleased to see that veneers look like your natural teeth and even resist staining. Though veneers are stain resistant, your doctor may recommend that you avoid coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco to maintain the beauty of your veneer.
Wisdom teeth are a type of molar that is found in the very back of your mouth. There are four wisdom teeth: upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right. These teeth usually appear in late teens or early twenties but may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry. The most common type of impacted wisdom tooth is “mesial”, meaning that the tooth is angled forward toward the front of your mouth.
When a tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. If it is not removed, you may develop gum tenderness, swelling, cysts, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.
Each patient’s situation is unique, and your dentist will take x-rays and discuss your particular needs with you. If your dentist recommends removal of your wisdom teeth, it is best to have them removed sooner than later. As a general rule, wisdom teeth are removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the teeth’s roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extraction easier.
In order to remove a wisdom tooth, your dentist first needs access to it. To make this process most comfortable, your dentist will numb the area with a local anesthetic. Your dentist can even use additional medication to safely sedate you during the extraction if you are feeling nervous about the procedure. Because the impacted tooth is frequently under the gums and still encased in your jaw bone, your dentist will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth. To minimize the amount of bone that must be removed, your dentist will often “section” your wisdom tooth so that each section can be removed through a small opening in the bone.
Once the teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Healing time varies depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction. Your dentist will share with you what to expect and provide instructions for an efficient healing.
If your dentist can see that there may be complicating circumstances with the extraction of your wisdom teeth, he may refer you to an oral surgeon.