- Crowns and Bridges
- Cosmetic Fillings
- Tooth Whitening
- Root Canal Therapy
- Scaling and Root Planing
- Cosmetic Dentistry
- VELSCOPE Oral Cancer Screening
- Soft Tissue Laser
Initial Oral Examination
Your initial oral examination includes a visual examination, charting, periodontal probing, diagnosis and treatment recommendations. We will also take x-rays, which includes the panoramic x-ray for proper diagnosis of the anterior (front) and posterior (back) teeth as well as the bite-wing x-ray series for proper diagnosis of proximal decay of posterior teeth.
An alternative to veneers is a process called bonding, in which a tooth-colored material that looks like the enamel of your teeth is molded and shaped, and then hardened and polished. Bonding can be used to improve the color of a tooth, or close unsightly gaps.
Bonding is generally not as permanent a process as veneers, and can be vulnerable to the same kind of staining your natural teeth are prone to. Bonding can also be more prone to chips and cracks than veneers.
Caps are generally preferred to bonding when such a procedure isn't deemed to be effective in the long run.
Crowns are synthetic caps, usually made of a material like porcelain, placed on the top of a tooth.
Crowns are typically used to restore a tooth's function and appearance following a restorative procedure such as a root canal. When decay in a tooth has become so advanced that large portions of the tooth must be removed, crowns are often used to restore the tooth.
Crowns are also used to attach bridges, cover implants, prevent a cracked tooth from becoming worse, or an existing filling is in jeopardy of becoming loose or dislocated. Crowns also serve an aesthetic use, and are applied when a discolored or stained tooth needs to be restored to its natural appearance.
Unsightly metal fillings can make an otherwise perfect set of teeth look unattractive. Now there are fillings specially designed to match the natural color of the tooth. Directly-bonded, tooth-colored resin fillings can make a tooth look like new, whether they are used for small areas of decay or to replace current fillings.
Implants are synthetic structures that are placed in the area of the tooth normally occupied by the root. Implants are anchored to the jawbone or metal framework on the bone and act as a foundation for an artificial tooth or permanent bridge. In some cases, implants can be used to attach dentures.
Special thin laminates, called veneers, can often be used to correct discolored, worn down, cracked and chipped teeth. Veneers can also be used to close unsightly gaps between teeth. Stronger types of veneers made of porcelain, also called composite veneers, typically last longer because they are bonded to the tooth.
Some commercially available "whitening toothpastes" can be somewhat effective at removing stains and making teeth a few shades brighter. However, many of these products have abrasive substances that can actually wear away your tooth's enamel.
Bleaching agents actually change the color of your teeth, but only are effective on certain types of stains. For example, bleaching agents have a difficult time removing brownish or grayish stains. These products also are not as effective on pitted or badly discolored teeth, or on restorations such as crowns, bridges, bonding and tooth-colored fillings (porcelain veneers or dental bonding may be more appropriate in this case).
Professional bleaching performed by our office is considered to be the most effective and safest method; done properly, tooth whitening can last as long as five years. Over-the-counter whitening systems are somewhat effective as long as they are monitored and directions followed closely.
Sealants are liquid coatings that harden on to the chewing surfaces of teeth and are showing a great deal of effectiveness in preventing cavities-even on teeth where decay has begun.
The pits and grooves of your teeth are prime areas for opportunistic decay. Even regular brushing sometimes misses these intricate structures on the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
The sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces and are designed to prevent the intrusion of bacteria and other debris into the deep crevices on the tops of teeth.
Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a remarkable treatment with a very high rate of success, and involves removing the diseased tissue, halting the spread of infection and restoring the healthy portion of the tooth. In fact, root canal therapy is designed to save a problem tooth; before the procedure was developed and gained acceptance, the only alternative for treating a diseased tooth was extraction.
Tooth extraction procedures today are far less painful than ever before, thanks to powerful anesthetics and sedatives. In many cases, a patient who has tooth pulled experiences little or no discomfort, and only minor bleeding.
Before a tooth is extracted, the area surrounding the tooth is numbed with a topical/and or injectable anesthetic such as Novocaine.
Patients with extracted teeth sometimes need to take an antibiotic, and at the very least, take precautions following the procedure to ensure that infection doesn't occur.
Scaling and Root Planing
Advanced gum disease sometime requires the dentist to clean below the gum line to remove stubborn, crusty deposits called tartar or calculus, and to remove damage near the tooth root. This is done to prevent further damage and restore and stabilize the tooth.
For some patients, a local anesthetic is administered to the affected area. Then, a small scaling instrument and/or ultrasonic cleaning device are used to remove the deposits.
After cleaning, the root may need to be smoothed, or planed, to restore it as much as possible to its original shape. Planing also allows your gum tissue to better attach itself and heal properly.
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjacent tissues. It is made of acrylic resin, sometimes in combination with various metals.
Common aesthetic dental procedures can be performed to correct misshaped, discolored, chipped or missing teeth. They also can be used to change the overall shape of teeth-from teeth that are too long or short, have gaps, or simply need to be reshaped.
Some of the more common procedures involve:
- Bonding - A procedure in which tooth-colored material is used to close gaps or change tooth color.
- Contouring and reshaping - A procedure that straightens crooked, chipped, cracked or overlapping teeth.
- Veneers - A procedure in which ultra-thin coatings are placed over the front teeth. Veneers can change the color or shape of your teeth. For example, veneers have been used to correct unevenly spaced, crooked, chipped, oddly shaped or discolored teeth.
- Whitening and bleaching - As the term implies, whitening and bleaching, a rapidly increasing procedure, are used to make teeth whiter.
VELSCOPE Oral Cancer Screening
When used as an adjunctive aid in combination with traditional oral cancer examination procedures, VELscope facilitates the early discovery and visualization of mucosal abnormalities, including oral cancer. In one or two minutes, with no rinses or stains required, a VELscope system examination helps healthcare professionals assess their patients' overall oral health.
Invisalign is an alternative to wire braces that uses transparent, incremental aligners to adjust teeth.
Soft Tissue Laser
Dental lasers can reshape gum tissue (soft tissue laser) to expose healthier tooth structure.