Preventive and Diagnostic
An oral examination is a visual inspection of the mouth, head, and neck, performed to detect abnormalities. A comprehensive evaluation may also include radiographs and a periodontal (gum) examination. This will help the doctor to detect cavities, problems in existing dental restorations, gum and bone recession, or other abnormal conditions within the mouth, head, and neck area.
A dental cleaning, also known as an oral prophylaxis, is the removal of dental biofilm (plaque) and calculus (tartar) from the teeth. Specialized instruments are used to gently remove these deposits without harming the tooth. An ultrasonic device that emits vibrations and is cooled by water may be used, as well as hand instruments to remove all deposit on the tooth and root surfaces. Once all the tooth surfaces have been cleaned of biofilm and calculus, the teeth are polished.
Many sports require athletes to use a mouth guard to protect their teeth while practicing and playing. Frequently used in contact sports, the mouth guard covers the gums and teeth to provide protection for lips, gums, teeth, and arches. A properly fitted mouth guard can reduce the severity of dental injuries.
Composite fillings use tooth-colored material to restore teeth with cavities and maintain a natural appearance. Once the decay is removed, the tooth is filled with a composite material which is then cured using a specialized light to harden the material. Composite fillings can be completed in one visit.
An inlay or onlay is a partial crown restoration that can be placed when there is not sufficient tooth structure to support a filling but enough tooth structure left that a full crown is not needed. Inlays/onlays are made of porcelain or gold, and they aesthetically and functionally replace the missing tooth structure. Inlays/onlays are completed in 2 visits.
Planmeca® E4D CAD/CAM technology allows the dental team to fabricate same day dental restorations including inlays, onlays, crowns and bridges. CAD/CAM is an acronym that stands for computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing. This technology provides patients with durable, esthetic, well-fitting single and multiple tooth restorations in a more efficient manner. The first step in using CAD/CAM technology is tooth preparation. Next, a digital impression is taken that sends the prepared tooth’s exact dimensions into a computer. Afterwards, the computer software creates a virtual restoration replacement part for the missing areas of the tooth. The software then sends the virtual restoration data to the milling machine, where the replacement part is carved out of a solid block of ceramic or composite resin. The restoration is adjusted in the patient’s mouth and cemented or bonded in place.
A crown, also referred to as a cap, is a dental restoration that completely covers the outside of a tooth that is cracked, broken, worn down, or severely decayed. Dental crowns are usually completed in two visits. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared (shaved down) and an impression is taken. A temporary crown is placed while the permanent crown is fabricated. During the second visit, the permanent crown is carefully fitted and then cemented into place.
A bridge can replace missing teeth without the use of a denture or dental implant. A bridge is composed of two crowns and a replacement tooth or teeth. Crowns are typically placed on the teeth on either side of the space, with the fabricated tooth or teeth attached in between.
Dental implants are composed of three pieces: a small screw made of a biocompatible metal called titanium, an abutment which connects the screw and the final restoration, and the final restoration. The screw, which is placed in the jawbone, acts as a replacement for the tooth root, providing a strong foundation for fixed or removable replacement teeth. The screw begins to fuse with the bone over the course of a few months. After the fusing process, known as osseointegration, the abutment is inserted into the screw to allow for the permanent attachment of the restoration.
Our office offers at-home bleaching treatments. At-home bleaching requires an impression of the teeth to be taken to make a customized mouth guard to hold the whitening gel, containing carbide peroxide, against the teeth. Once the mouth guard is made, it is worn for a period of time, as instructed by our office. Your whitening progress will be checked as necessary.
Invisalign® takes a modern approach to straightening teeth, using a custom-made series of aligners. These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable, and virtually invisible plastic that you wear over your teeth. Wearing the aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place, based on the exact tooth movements our office plans out for you. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You just switch to a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete. You’ll achieve a great smile with little interference in your daily life. The best part about the whole process is that most people won’t even know that you’re straightening your teeth.
Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain used to recreate the natural appearance of teeth. To place a veneer, a thin layer of the original tooth enamel must be removed. Afterward, an adhesive layer is placed between the prepared tooth and the veneer. The adhesive is then hardened with the use of a specialized curing light.
Cosmetic bonding is the process of filling or restoring teeth with a tooth-colored material in order to improve a tooth’s appearance. In order to bond a tooth, composite material is added to the tooth structure to adjust the size, shape, or color of the existing tooth.
Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure used to treat gum disease. During the scaling process, specialized dental instruments are used to remove dental biofilm and calculus from beneath the gums. Planing is the procedure used to smooth the tooth roots after the scaling process. Root planing helps the gums heal and reattach themselves to a cleaner and smoother root surface.
A tooth that can’t be saved with restorative materials may need to be removed. Before removal of the tooth, the area will be numbed with a local anesthetic. The tooth is loosened from the jawbone and surrounding ligaments and tissues with a gentle rocking motion. Once it is loose, it is gently removed. Stitches may be necessary after the removal of a tooth.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is similar to a sliding hinge that connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ disorders can cause pain in the jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. To treat TMJ disorders, first the cause has to be identified. In less severe cases, TMJ disorders can be treated with self-managed care (eating soft foods, using ice packs, avoiding extreme jaw movement) or nonsurgical treatments (anti-inflammatory medications, Botox® injections, stabilization splints, or night guards).