When there is a malfunction in one’s bite, there are usually numerous signs that will appear before the patient experiences pain. These signs can include things such as obvious premature wear on the teeth, broken or chipped teeth, or loose teeth. Many times patients will experience other symptoms such as tension headaches or sore muscles which they don’t realize may be directly related to one’s bite. A thorough examination and diagnosis will help you to understand the cause and effect relationships which indicate the need for occlusal therapy (bite adjustment).
Restorative materials are selected according to the functions required of them. Crowns (caps) and bridges are typically fabricated of gold or ceramics, or a combination of the two. For example, in front teeth, esthetics are a prime concern, so a tooth colored material such as porcelain, ceramic or composite resin (plastic) will likely be chosen for fillings, crowns or veneers. In the back of the mouth, where function is a greater concern due to the stresses of chewing and grinding, a more durable material such as gold, or silver amalgam may be chosen. Some ceramic materials are suitable for posterior teeth, but none of them have the proven durability and longevity of gold. Quite often, the tooth preparations for gold restorations can be designed to minimize the display of gold. Composite resins, due to their poor wear resistance, and tendency to expand and contract, are usually not the best choice for filling molar teeth. You may, of course, discuss your options with your dentist.
Wear and fracture of teeth, tender muscles, and headaches are sometimes an indication of bruxism, grinding, and clenching. Often this occurs during sleep, and the patient is totally unaware of the problem. This is evaluated through a thorough examination of the occlusion (bite), the muscles of the head and neck,and the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). Occlusal treatments vary depending upon specific diagnoses, and could consist of bite splint therapy, mouthguards or nightguards, bite adjustment, orthodontics, restoration, or any combination of these.
A dental implant is a titanium cylinder that is surgically placed in the jaw bone. Once the bone has integrated (the bone has attached to the cylinder), the process of fabricating a restoration begins. This could be in the form of crowns, bridges, or dentures. Implant supported prostheses are a predictable and comfortable alternative to conventional restorations or dentures when indicated.
When a tooth has had a root canal there is no longer a blood supply to the inside of the tooth. As a result, the tooth may become brittle and susceptible to fracture under the stress of normal function. Usually, teeth requiring root canal treatment have already been weakened by decay and or large fillings. A crown will surround the tooth to strengthen and protect it from chewing stresses.
Oral cancer screening is a routine part of a dental exam. Early detection is the key in treating oral and other cancers. Your dentist will carefully examine the inside of your mouth and tongue for flat, painless, red or white spots or patches. We will also examine your lips and neck for swelling or growths. The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid tobacco products and alcohol.
Dental x-rays or radiographs provide valuable information when your dentist examines your teeth. The x-ray will help your dentist detect what is happening beneath the visible oral tissues and detect dental disease that is not visible by looking at your teeth and other tissues in your mouth. X-rays pose a small risk compared to undetected dental disease. Many dentists, including our office, use a digital imaging system that uses less radiation than conventional x-rays. Guidelines for taking x-rays vary from patient to patient. History of medical problems and previous dental treatment will help your dentist decide what is best for you. Generally, we follow the American Dental Association’s guidelines for when x-rays are needed. We take x-rays of your posterior teeth (bitewings) every 24 to 30 months and full mouth x-rays (FMX) every 7-10 years. We sometimes take x-rays more often, especially of individual teeth, to help your dentist evaluate your teeth for dental disease.
Worn tooth enamel, a fractured tooth or the exposed root surface of a tooth (receding gums) can all contribute to sensitivity to cold, hot and touch. Using a soft toothbrush, a recommended electric toothbrush and correct flossing technique are critical in preventing receding gums. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth contains compounds that help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve inside your tooth. Daily use of sensitive teeth toothpaste is necessary before sensitivity will be reduced. If this is not effective, your dental professional may suggest the use of home fluoride treatments or in-office desensitizing treatments.
Xerostomia, or, dry mouth is a common condition usually caused by a reduction in saliva production. Dry mouth occurs as a result of certain medical and psychologic conditions, and is usually a side effect of medications. Difficulties associated with dry mouth include problems speaking and eating, a throat that is constantly irritated and a burning sensation. If dry mouth is not treated it can damage the teeth. Severe tooth decay occurs when not enough saliva is present to wash away food, moisten the mouth and neutralize acids produced by the bacteria in the mouth. We can offer several options, such as sugar free gum and candy, to stimulate saliva flow. Artificial saliva oral rinses can replace moisture. Taking good care of your teeth and gums and seeing your dentist more often is critical if you have dry mouth.
Researchers have found that periodontitis (gum disease) is associated with other health problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, pre-term and low birth weight, and diabetes. Your mouth contains many types of bacteria and these bacteria can be introduced into your body through brushing, flossing, dental treatment and eating. Once in your body the bacteria can cause inflammation in your blood vessels and organs that can lead to disease. Maintaining good daily oral hygiene with daily brushing and flossing is the best prevention as well as seeing your dentist regularly to treat any dental disease.
External staining can be caused from eating and drinking habits or smoking. Intrinsic (within the tooth structure) is typically caused by genetic factors, or the use of certain medications during the childhood years when the permanent teeth are developing. Whitening can only be used on natural teeth (not fillings or crowns). There are many over-the-counter and in-office whitening products. Whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide to bleach the stains beneath the tooth surface. Consult with your dental professional for the appropriate whitening product for your stain.
Determining how often you should have you teeth cleaned depends on your level of home care, innate disease resistance, and dental history. Having your teeth cleaned twice a year works well for most people, but for many, more frequent visits are necessary. People with high risk of gum disease might need to have visits at three or four month intervals. It is also important to know that more frequent visits may become necessary if there is a change in your oral status.
Calculus, also referred to as tartar, is plaque that hardens from inadequate oral hygiene. Calculus is a normal mineral deposit that must be removed professionally. It is similar to gallstones and kidney stones.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that surround the teeth. There are two major types of periodontal disease, gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is inflammation of only the gum tissue and is reversible. Bleeding, tenderness, and swollen red gums are very common characteristics of gingivitis. Periodontitis is more destructive and is irreversible. Bone loss, pocket depths, and mobility of the teeth are common characteristics of periodontitis. Patients with periodontitis require extra time and more in-depth cleanings.
Our office will file your insurance claims as a courtesy, however, we do not accept assignment of benefits from any insurance company.
We accept cash, checks, Visa and MasterCard for payment. We also offer a financial plan through CareCredit.
You will meet our dentists and staff. Your first appointment involves a detailed dental exam, digital x-rays, cancer screening, occlusal (bite) assessment, personalized treatment plan, discussion of treatment and payment options. We allow 60-minutes for this appointment.