Basic Dental Health

 

Cleanings

Dentists are not your typical doctors. We like to see you before you have any pain or teeth issues. This way we can help you learn how to take care of your teeth and hopefully help prevent any cavities from forming. When you visit us, one of the people you will meet is a dental hygienist. Dental Hygienists are specially trained to remove plaque, tartar (calculus), and stains, which are harmful to your teeth. Our hygienist will counsel you on how to best care for your teeth at home. In some cases, they can offer some aids that might make it easier for you to take care of your teeth. It is important to have your teeth professionally cleaned every 3-6 months. Your dental hygienist will determine how frequently you should be seen. The frequency of professional teeth cleaning depends on the health of your teeth and gums. For example, healthy children and adults should have their teeth cleaned at least every 6 months. If you're a smoker or have gum inflammation, bleeding gums, gum disease, extensive restorative work or have invested in veneers, you should visit your hygienist more frequently then twice a year for proper maintenance in order to retain ideal oral health. By having your teeth professionally cleaned every 3-6 months, not only are we removing the acid-forming bacteria that break down your tooth's enamel surface, but we can also detect problems and intervene when we discover something harmful. Through periodic radiographs (x-rays) and examinations by a doctor, as well as routine cleanings, we will help you achieve and preserve your smile.

 

Fillings
Fillings are done to remove decay, and replace the affected tooth structure. It is called a filling because a new material fills a hole that is caused by decay from bacterial and plaque buildup. Modern day techniques mostly involve treating affected teeth with bonded tooth-colored composite resin fillings. When caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly. If not treated, decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth would need a root canal treatment or extraction.

 

Bonding
Bonding involves adhering composite resin material that is matched to the color of the tooth, to the front of the tooth. There are many reasons for undergoing a bonding procedure: 

  • Repair damage done to the tooth by decay

  • Alter the alignment of the tooth 

  • Close gaps between the teeth 

  • Simple cosmetic purposes.

First the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the bonding and to hold it. A gel is applied to micro-etch the tooth surface, and a primer/bond agent is applied so the material adheres to the surface. Then the material itself is placed on the tooth and hardened with intense light. The composite resin material is shaped and polished to get a lustrous finish as a last step.

 

Sealants
This is used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn't brush, but because they're too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. These will develop cavities over time, and you don't want that. The dentist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.

 

Non-Surgical Gum Treatments

The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for ones teeth. Collectively, these structures are 

referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium (gum disease) may be as follows:

  • Gums that are red and bleed easily

  • Persistent bad breath

  • Gums that are pulled away from the tooth

  • Loose teeth 

  • Changes in the position or bite of the teeth 

Any of these signs may mean something is wrong. With the proper care, however, it may be possible to return them to a healthy state. This is where appropriate gum treatments come in. If you're having a problem, come in and see us so we can take care of it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic, along with local antibiotic agents. If the gum disease gets too severe it may need to be treated through surgery or extraction. This is why it is important to get it treated at the first sign of a problem.

 

X-Rays
This is a focused beam of X-Ray particles through flesh and bone which produces an image on special film, showing the structure through which it passed. This gives the familiar black and white images that doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems. X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnostic process, and not to use them could lead to undiagnosed disease. Without an X-ray of the whole tooth, and supporting bone and gum tissues, there is no real way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention. In our office we use digital radiography which allows us to take X-rays using 50-70% less radiation versus conventional X-rays. Coupled with computer monitoring, digital x-ray technology allows us to enhance the images for better diagnosis of any dental concerns.

 

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