General Dentistry

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Dental visits are extremely important, and it is not just about getting checked for cavities. The emphasis is more on your oral health in an attempt to ensure it is in top shape because having a healthy mouth is linked to having an overall healthy body. A number of conditions that affect the body can display early symptoms in the mouth. Conditions of the heart are a point to note in these cases. The bacteria which have been found in the mouth can create problems for you throughout the body and affect you negatively.

General dentistry definitely involves regular oral hygiene visits to enable your dentist to assess the overall state of health in your mouth. This also involves screenings for oral cancer, periodontal evaluations, regular x-rays, removal of tartar and also any stains in your mouth. It is definitely worth taking some time off for the prevention of unhealthy conditions within the body emanating from the mouth.

When you visit your dentist for general dentistry, they will also be looking forward to maintaining the fillings in your mouth and trying to restore a healthy smile for you. Restorations are meant to be long-lasting, but they definitely don’t last forever. Repairs and replacements are needed, and it is the job of the dentist to keep your oral health in great condition to ensure you are able to keep your teeth and smile for a lifetime.

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Given below are some reasons why you should be looking forward to maintaining your oral hygiene regime and regular checkups.

  • Detecting a dental problem early is extremely important to maintain a healthy mouth.
  • Success in detecting problems early will make it possible for you to minimize and procedures that are required and also to save money.
  • Recommendations about remaining vigilant of routine checkups for you and your family are made by dentists regularly.
  • Teaching children at home to practice effective oral care is also equally important for their gums and teeth.

Despite regular visits to your dentist, you must understand that emergencies can occur at any time, and if you sense a problem with your teeth, you shouldn’t be ignoring it. You should contact your dentist immediately because it can mean the difference between losing a tooth or saving one.

Cleanings and Exams

Your Oral Health Depends on Regular Cleanings and Exams
Your oral health is extremely important for more than one reason.  Recent research has uncovered a direct link between your oral health and your overall health.  The bacteria that is produced when a person has gum disease has been discovered in those who have heart disease.  This makes it necessary for us to maintain good oral health.

An Exam and X-rays
When you come into our office, we will do a very thorough exam.  This will include x-rays and an oral cancer screening.  We will look for decay, signs of gum disease and other problems that we could prevent from turning into a much bigger one.  Prevention can save you time and unnecessary expense in the dental chair.

Why It Is Necessary to Have your Teeth Cleaned Professionally
Most of us would like to think that we can take great care of our teeth without seeing the dentist, but the fact is, even the most avid brushers and flossers miss plaque and decay that can only be detected with a thorough exam.
Plaque and tartar (calculus) form on our teeth. Plaque is soft and sticky, and can usually be brushed off at home using your toothbrush. However, tartar is plaque that has hardened on the tooth surface. It forms above and below the gum line (like a splinter in your gums), and can only be removed with dental instruments, and not with your toothbrush.

The Benefits of A Professional Cleaning From Our Team

  • Our professional cleanings in our office can be viewed as a preventive measure to destroy harmful bacteria, plaque, and tartar that creates serious dental and health issues.
  • It is now clear that the bacteria that causes gum disease can be directly related to heart disease, diabetes, and many other diseases.
  • With professional cleanings, you can be assured that you are taking an important, proactive measure to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and a host of other dental and health problems.

If you haven’t had an exam or cleaning in a while, then give our office a call today.  We would be glad to help you make sure your oral health and overall health are the best they can be.

Gum Disease Treatment

Gum Disease is Life-Threatening and Most Don’t Know it
Most people don’t like to think about the possibility of having gum disease.  As a matter of fact, it’s a pretty scary thought.  What most people are unaware of is that gum disease, or what is called periodontal disease, is life-threatening.  Recent research has provided sound evidence that gum disease is linked to many life-threatening illnesses and diseases.

What Is Periodontal or Gum Disease
Periodontal disease is an infection that affects the bone and tissues that surround your teeth.  If you gums are “tight” and pink in color, that is a sign that your gums are healthy.  If the gums are red, inflamed and become spongy, this is the sign of gum disease and can cause your infected teeth to become loose.

Gum disease is caused when there is a build of plaque caused by bacteria.  This plaque produces toxins and enzymes that irritate the gums causing infection and inflammation.  This is followed often by gums that are tender and bleed when brushing.

The American Dental Association has said that periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease, respiratory problems, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, premature births and rheumatoid arthritis.  This potential health problems should never be ignored and if you have the symptoms of gum disease, you should get in to see a dentist right away before the problem worsens.

What are the Common Symptoms of Gum Disease?

  • Swollen gums
  • Dark build-up between the teeth
  • Bleeding gums when your brush your teeth or floss
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Decaying teeth

Gum Disease Risk Factors
The main cause of gum disease is plaque build-up on the teeth.  However, there are other factors that can affect the health of your gums:

  • Your age is a factor as studies have shown that older people have higher rates of gum disease.  It is estimated that 70% of Americans, 65 and older, have periodontal disease.
  • Smoking and other tobacco use has proven to increase your chances of gum disease.
  • Genetics can play a role in gum disease.  Studies have shown that some people are more likely to develop gum disease even if they have an excellent oral hygiene program.
  • Stress has been linked to gum disease as stress makes it more difficult to fight off infections like gum disease.
  • Some medications such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants and certain heart medications can affect your gum health.
  • Clenching and grinding your teeth can damage the tissue of your gums and speed up the rate at which they are destroyed.
  • Other systemic diseases can affect gum health by worsening your body’s inflammatory system.
  • Poor nutrition and obesity have also proven to affect gum health.  Because gum disease begins with an infection, poor nutrition can worsen your gums.

It is possible for a patient to detect any of these signs, but usually people can have gum disease without even knowing it. For instance, most people just ignore bleeding gums when flossing, but this can actually be a sign of periodontal disease.

How we Determine the Severity of Gum Disease
We can assess how severe your gum disease may be by conducting what is called a periodontal probe in order to measure the pocket depth.  A health pocket around your teeth is about 3mm or less deep.  The greater the depth of the pocket the more severe the gum disease is.

If the pocket around your teeth attracts food particles, tartar or bacteria, the gums and bone will pull back and off the tooth root.  This is called gum recession.  The resulting condition is a deeper pocket which leads to a progressive breakdown of the tissue and the bone.  If you experience large amounts of bone loss, it will lead to more tooth loss.

How do we Treat Gum Disease

  • We must remove the plaque and tartar that are contributing to the build-up of bacteria in the mouth causing the disease.
  • We treat the disease based on the severity of it in your case.  If you have the early stages of periodontal disease, which is called gingivitis, we typically do a routine cleaning and the infection is gone after a couple of visits.
  • If the disease is more severe, we will typically do a deeper cleaning called a scaling and root planing.  This is followed by using an antibiotic called ARESTIN in the pockets of the teeth.

When the treatment is finished, we generally want you to come back in for a follow up visit.  We check the pockets again and go over a plan for you to do at home to help keep your teeth and gums in better condition.  Most people are not aware that when you are diagnosed with gum disease, you most likely will always have it.

If your gums are tender, swollen and bleeding, then you need to see a dentist right away.  Gum disease should never be taken lightly and should receive your immediate attention.

Tooth Extractions

If the Tooth Cannot be Saved, Extractions are Sometimes Necessary
There are many reasons a tooth may need to be pulled or what is commonly called an extraction.  Most of the time it is because a tooth is too traumatized to be saved.  This could be from decay, gum disease, a bad crack or a severely broken tooth.  Any one of these reasons could be causing your terrible pain and removing the tooth will stop the pain your having.  Whatever the reason, we are committed to helping you get out of pain in the most comfortable way possible.

What Can I Expect with an Extraction
We always do a very thorough exam before attempting to extract a tooth.  Sometimes, there are problems that cannot be seen with the naked eye and so a set of digital x-rays will be necessary in order for us to see clearly what is going on with your teeth.

Once we have a set of x-rays and we determine that it is safe and the best course of action is to pull the tooth, we will numb the inside of your mouth in so that you don’t have any discomfort while pulling the tooth.  You will feel a little tugging and pressure as we remove the tooth.

If you have extra anxiety and fear about having an extraction done, then we do offer sedation services that will enable you to be totally relaxed during the procedure.  We can discuss with you what type of sedation would be best for your situation

What Do I Do about My Missing Tooth or Teeth
No one likes losing their teeth.  It can create other hardships for you such as making it difficult to chew your food or speak properly.  If the tooth is in a very prominent place visually, it can cause some embarrassment.

Other things missing teeth can lead to, can cause further complications down the road such as bone loss in the arch and movement of the teeth around where the tooth is missing.  These are a couple of reasons you should consider replacing your missing teeth with a prosthetic of some type.  The type you would use depends on how many teeth you have missing.  If it is just one or two teeth, then a single implant might be the solution.  If it is more than that, then a partial, bridge or denture might be the answer.

The best solutions for missing teeth are always dental implants.  These could be individual implants placed in the area of the missing tooth or teeth or they could be an implant-supported bridge or denture.

Once your teeth are extracted, then it is important to consult with the doctor about what solution you may want to use to fill these gaps.  We will be happy to go over each in detail so you will have a full understanding of what solutions are available as well as cost involved.

If you feel you need an extraction, the first thing to do is come in and get an exam so we can see if that is the best course of action.  We practice conservative dentistry and we want to do what is best for you.

Oral Hygiene Instructions

Oral Hygiene Instructions — Follow these for a Healthy Mouth
Our office firmly believes that oral hygiene is the initial step with the patient to having a healthy and a beautiful smile. It is the prime reason why we recommend that our patients should do their best to take care of their oral health at home. This is a recommendation that has also been made by the American Dental Association [ADA].

At home oral hygiene is not difficult because you just have to follow the instructions provided by your dentist. They will include:

  • Brushing 2-3 times a day by using a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Flossing once to twice a day.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet.
  • Limiting your consumption of sugary foods and beverages.
  • Limiting the usage of alcohol, smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

We also recommend using two additional products for good at-home oral care. These are a Sonicare Toothbrush and WaterPik flossers. A sonic toothbrush and waterpik are great tools that will help you remove more plaque and tartar than a conventional toothbrush.

Patients are requested not to forget scheduling their regular six-month checkups for themselves and their families. The ADA has recommended routine checkups for every individual over the age of four, every six months.

The professional cleanings provided by our office can be considered as a preventive measure which can destroy harmful bacteria and plaque that can create serious dental and health problems. Contact us today if you are due for a six-month checkup.

Root Canal Therapy

Reasons We May Recommend a Root Canal
There is nothing that causes a dental patient more anxiety than hearing the words “root canal.”  They are already in pain and they think there is going to be more associated with the root canal.  

However, this is really a misconception.  Root canals are designed to relieve you of pain.  

Root canal treatment is just a way to fix a tooth that has been severely damaged by decay. It is quick and ordinary and done several times a week by most dentist. Root canals are tiny canals inside the tooth that contain the blood vessels and the nerves. They can keep the tooth alive by giving it the senses to feel pain and cold. This part of the tooth is known as the pulp. Teeth normally have between 1-4 canals.

When the pulp within the tooth gets damaged, you are likely to begin having tooth ache and sensitivity. The spreading infection can create puss to build up inside the tooth leading to an abscess. At this point, the tooth can die, and no more sense can be felt.

Root canal treatment is safe and a treatment that is used widely. It involves removing the damaged pulp along with the infection, cleaning the canals and injecting a type of plastic into the tooth. Before the introduction of root canal treatment, the only option available to get rid of the infection was to remove the infected tooth.

What’s Involved in a Root Canal Treatment
A root canal is fairly straightforward.  We will first get you numbed up for the procedure.  We want you to be comfortable and anxiety-free during this treatment.

The problem occurs when the tooth contracts a deep cavity, fracture, or other traumatic problem. Now the harmful bacteria can gain access into the canals, thereby infecting the healthy pulp. If the patient doesn’t get treated right away, the infection will worsen, causing the pulp to die. This is what causes an abscess, which is an infection of the bone at the end of the root.

To prevent this often extremely painful and unhealthy outcome, the patient’s tooth is completely numbed. The pulp and nerve are removed so that we can clean and re-seal the inside of the tooth where the problem exists.

The next step involves placing a special filling into the roots and rebuilding the tooth’s core. When complete, a temporary, tooth-colored crown (until your permanent one is created) is placed to seal the top of your tooth.

We may prescribe antibiotics and pain medication but most patients who have undergone a root canal with us report little discomfort or pain.

If you are in need of a root canal, we will make you comfortable and then if you are in pain, focus on getting you out of pain.  We are here to help, so call our office today if your tooth is hurting or your gums have become swollen and inflamed.

To Ensure Your Dental Treatment is Affordable, We Accept Most Forms of Insurance