General Dentistry

Some of our General Dentistry services include:

DENTAL CLEANING – A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning you receive from a dentist or dental hygienist. Most dental cleanings take approximately 45 minutes.  Cleanings should be performed every six months to prevent excessive plaque buildup.  Plaque left untreated can lead to unhealthy gums and tooth decay.  During your routine cleaning we will remove excess plaque and polish your teeth.

SEALANTS – Sealants are used to fill narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing.  In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn’t brush, but because they’re too narrow to allow even one bristle into them.  To avoid cavities developing over time, the dentist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.

FILLINGS –  A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape.  If you have a tooth that requires a filling, the dentist will first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material.  A filling helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter.

The dentist will work with you to determine which material is best, depending on the extent of repair, where in the filling is needed, and cost.  The primary filling material is briefly explained below:

Composite resins are custom made to the exact color of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance. While white fillings may be less noticeable than other materials, they usually only last between 3 and 10 years and may not be ideal for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time.  They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco.

If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown (or “cap”) may be recommended.  Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated through root canal therapy or through a procedure called pulp capping.

SEDATION DENTISTRY/DENTAL ANXIETY – Dental sedation is a technique that can be used when a patient suffers from dental anxiety or dental phobia.  We are happy to offer a number of solutions for our patients to make their dental visit as comfortable as possible.  Sedation dentistry techniques enable patients who might otherwise avoid the dentist, to receive dental treatment necessary for a healthy smile. Depending on the extent of the anxiety or phobia, varying degrees of dental sedation can be utilized as described below.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation – Nitrous Oxide sedation, also known as “laughing gas” is commonly used to make treatment more comfortable.  This sedation is inhaled through a mas
k that allows you to breathe in the medication and induces a state of relaxation.  Local anesthetic will be administered in conjunction with nitrous oxide to eliminate pain.

Oral Sedatives – This medication can be given to a patient the night before a dentistry procedure or 30 minutes to an hour prior to the dental appointment, depending on the severity of the anxiety. Oral sedatives do not provide pain relief, so an injection of local anesthetic will also be administered.

NON-SURGICAL GUM TREATMENT – The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for  teeth. All structures are also referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house.  Signs of unhealthy periodontium include: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth.  With proper gum treatments,  it may be possible to return gum tissue to a healthy state.  If you’re having a problem, come in and see us so we may treat it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic, along with local antibiotic agents.  It is important to have gum problems checked promptly, as gum disease left alone may eventually need treatment through surgery or extraction.

TOOTH EXTRACTIONS – Good oral hygiene should always be practiced since the loss of a single tooth can have major impact upon your
oral health and appearance.  Although dentists will use every measure to prevent tooth loss, there are still sometimes necessary occasions when a tooth may need to be extracted.  A tooth may need to be extracted for the following reasons:

                • Severe decay
                • Advanced periodontal disease
                • Infection or abcess
                • Orthodontic correction
                • Malpositioned teeth
                • Fractured teeth or roots
                • Impacted teeth

After careful examination and treatment, the dentist may advise to have a tooth extracted.  Before a tooth is removed, the dentist will take an x-ray in order to understand the shape and position of the tooth and surrounding bone.  Based on the degree of difficulty, we may refer you to a specialized oral surgeon.

For a simple extraction, we will first apply a local anesthetic to prevent pain and discomfort. The tooth will be loosened with a tool called an elevator and then removed with dental forceps. Once the procedure is complete, the area may be closed with one or two stitches.  We will then provide you with care instructions to alleviate discomfort and ensure proper healing.

WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTIONS – Wisdom teeth are the last molars or “third molars” that develop on each side of the jaws.  Wisdom teeth usually emerge in the back of the mouth between the ages of 16-20.

Wisdom teeth are a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy and properly positioned.  Often, however, problems develop that require their removal. When the jaw isn’t large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth, they can become impacted (unable to come in or misaligned). Wisdom teeth may also grow in sideways, emerge only part way through the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.

A wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively routine procedure.  The dentist will numb the area in your mouth with a local anesthesia or use IV sedation so you are asleep during the procedure.

After the tooth is removed, we will provide care instructions to ensure proper healing.  Some pain and swelling may occur but will normally subside after a few days.  You should call your dentist if you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever.

ROOT CANAL TREATMENT – Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when an untreated cavity reaches all the way to this pulp.  Treatment may also be needed when deep restorations or trauma to a tooth cause nerve damage.  Once the pulp becomes infected, it can begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is known as an abscess).  If the pulp is infected, not only is it painful but it will require treatment as it cannot heal on its own.   Symptoms that indicate the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth.  However, sometimes no symptoms are apparent and you may be unaware of any problem until a checkup.

A root canal is performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp and disinfect the canals of the tooth.  Alternate treatment would be to extract the tooth.  Once the infection is resolved, the canal is filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy.