Scaling and root planing of your teeth is a procedure usually recommended for patients suffering from periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the inflammation of the periodontium or supporting structures of the teeth. Build-up of biofilm (plaque) and calculus (tarter) can cause irritation of the gingiva that over time can lead to irritation of the bone and ligament that holds the tooth in the mouth. Without routine dental appointments the build-up can cause bone loss and loosening of the teeth. Scaling and root planing, or a deep cleaning, is a cleaning that involves getting underneath the gums and cleaning all of the built-up calculus from the tooth surfaces while also planing the surface to remove any rough spots. After the scaling and root planing procedure we follow up with you 4-6 weeks later to evaluate the gums.
Radiographs are an important part of a dental exam. Cavities that form in between the teeth are sometimes undetectable in the mouth and can only be seen by x-ray. We recommend yearly bitewing x-rays. We also recommend a full mouth set of x-rays or panorex be taken once every five years. This allows us to visualize the roots of each tooth, look for dental infections, and evaluate bone levels, root canals, fillings and crowns that are already in your mouth. We understand that you may be concerned with the amount of radiation you are exposed to during dental x-rays. Based on research the amount of radiation you receive during dental x-rays is minimal, much less than any medical x-rays and slightly more than you receive from being outside on any given day.
Removable partial dentures prevent the shifting and movement of remaining teeth while at the same time giving the patient an esthetic and functional result. Partials are removable appliances that hook around the remaining teeth and fill the spaces left by teeth that have been removed. We offer both the traditional cast metal partials and the Valplast partials made of flexible acrylic.
Oral cancer affects more than 34,000 Americans every year. It usually begins by a small unnoticed red or white spot in the oral cavity. Oral Cancer Screenings are an important part of the dental exam and performed at every cleaning appointment.
Topical fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay by strengthening the enamel that covers the outer surface of the tooth. We routinely use topical fluoride on our most susceptible patients, those under the age of 15. We use a fluoride varnish that is painted on the teeth, hardens into a sticky material upon contact with saliva, and remains on the teeth until brushing. This allows the fluoride to stay on the teeth for a longer period of time than other types of topical applications and prevents the patient from accidentally ingesting the fluoride.
When a tooth has decay the cavity must be removed in order to prevent it from getting larger. After the dentist removes the decay the tooth must be filled. We offer both the amalgam (silver) and composite (tooth colored) fillings. Amalgam fillings are used primarily for posterior teeth. Composite fillings are made of resin material and are bonded into the teeth. Composite fillings are available in a number of different shades of white in order to properly match the remaining tooth. The doctor may recommend a certain type of filling based on the location or tooth.
Endodontics, or root canal, is the removal of the pulp (nerve and blood supply) of a tooth. A root canal may be necessary due to an infection in the tooth, a cracked tooth, deep decay, trauma or a large break in the tooth. We “numb” the tooth and remove the nerve of the tooth. We then place a rubbery material, called Gutta Percha, into the canal where the nerve was removed. A temporary filling is placed for a few weeks while the infection clears. After a root canal the tooth no longer has a blood supply and is more likely to fracture. Sometimes the tooth does not have enough core strength or remaining structure and requires a post. For those teeth, a post is placed partially into the canal where the nerve was located and helps give strength to the filling (or core). In most cases we recommend that a crown be placed over the tooth to protect it.
Our patients who have few or no remaining teeth are candidates for dentures. We offer complete dentures for patients without teeth. We also offer immediate dentures for patients with remaining teeth. Immediate dentures are placed the day teeth are removed. With both types of dentures we offer Kenson brand portrait teeth for excellent esthetics. We work with the patients to fabricate dentures that have a natural appearance and function well.
The most likely place to get cavities is in the biting surfaces of your back teeth (molars). Bacteria and food hide in these areas and toothbrush bristles are unable to get into the deep grooves and pits in order to clean them. Sealants are small pieces of plastic that are placed in the deepest grooves of these teeth to protect them from getting decay. We recommend sealants be placed once when the 6 year molars fully erupt (about 7 years of age) and again when the 12 year molars fully erupt (about 13 years of age).
Regularly scheduled dental prophys are an important factor in maintaining oral health. We recommend that most patients have dental cleanings every 6 months. At this appointment we take any necessary radiographs (x-rays), remove all tarter or calculus and plaque that has built up above and below the gums, discuss the best ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy, perform an oral cancer screening, evaluate for bruxism and other TMJ issues and examine your teeth for cavities or other problems. Maintaining regular appointments helps prevent gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (inflammation of the supporting structures of the teeth).