Periodontics / Gum Disease/Cleanings
Everyone has heard of gum disease, but what is it? When the tissue around the tooth, like a moat around a castle, builds up a gritty material, it gets infected. This material is made of calcium and is called calculus. The calcium comes out of the saliva in your mouth. Some people accumulate more than others, so we suggest patients have two to four cleanings a year. Cleanings are based on these accumulations of calcium and the patient’s ability to clean it off.
If patients have not been in for a long time, a more involved procedure is needed taking more time and possible numbing of the areas affected. This is called scaling (cleaning) and root planning (smoothing of the root tissues). This type of cleaning goes deeper and is more aggressive. However, once the bulk calcium is removed, almost all patients go into normal cleaning mode.
Occasionally, gum disease affects an area where a lot of bone is lost. At this time, a referral to a periodontal specialist might be in order. I have a great working relationship of over 25 years with a local periodontist.
Endodontics / Root Canal
Commonly called Root Canal Therapy, this procedure is needed when a tooth has a cavity or fracture that has grown large enough to invade the nerve. When the nerve is infected, it dies partially or fully, and an abscess occurs. An abscess is a hole in the bone that forms from the breakdown of the nerve. The hole fills with pus and causes pressure in the bone with ensuing pain. Bone has hollow spaces called trabeculae. So that is why it hurts sometimes and other times not. The infectious pus gains pressure and pushes its way into the next chamber with ensuing pain. Finally, it tracks out into the jaw, causing a pus-filled boil or swelling.
Antibiotics can relieve pressure and pain, but the root canal procedure makes it permanent. We remove the nerve and debris, relieve pus pressure, and fill the canal with a natural rubber material called gutta-percha. Once the tooth is plugged, we place a ceramic pot in the biggest canal and fill the hole we made with a white filling material. This is called a post and core. Finally, an impression is taken for a new crown. The crown is needed to protect the newly dried-out tooth. With no blood supply, a tooth is more brittle and needs a helmet to protect it.
These procedures, commonly called caps or crowns, are made of either gold, porcelain fused to gold, or all-porcelain. These jackets or helmets are placed over teeth to protect them from further trauma. Common tooth breakers are:
Many times these items crack the tooth, and a few weeks later, the piece falls out flossing or when eating something sticky like bread.
The actual crown prep process involves taking off all the enamel with a diamond following the contours of the tooth. Then, an impression is made and sent to a laboratory where your crown is hand-made by a technician. Our relationship with our lab has been a wonderful one of over 20 years. Having a great lab that can deliver a demanding dentist's criteria is of utmost importance. This will become a part of your body for decades to come, after all.
Fillings today are made of a plastic resin with tiny glass balls mixed, thus, the word composite. We presently use some of the best bonding materials and composites in the industry.
You will find that when we finish your fillings, they will be bumpy. That is because we try to give your teeth back the natural valleys, peaks, and grooves they once had. This allows you to chew your food more easily and effectively. It does not shorten teeth over the years as with flat or soup bowl fillings done by some dentists and also creates a more youthful smile. This also reduces the burdens placed on your stomach and intestines. Many dentists don’t care, have the ability, or understand why this is so important, but it is!
When cavities create a large hole in your tooth, composites can hold your tooth together. That is because they adhere to the tooth. When the walls get too thin, we suggest a crown, and the existing filling can make a good base or core. Because fillings come in a range of colors, we can match them to your teeth, making your smile aesthetic and functional.
Oral Surgery Implants/Bridge work/Partials
A tooth extraction is always a last resort for a tooth that can not be saved. Teeth can need to be extracted due to accident, gum disease, fractures etc.. Some patients may benefit from premedication prior to a tooth extraction to ease the anxiety of this procedure.
Implants are generally titanium screws placed in the bone, and act as the root of a tooth. An implant crown (visible tooth structure) is attached to the implant. Implants are a wonderful options to replace a missing tooth and is the closest to a natural tooth both visually and structurally.
Bridgework is a series of crowns that also replaces a missing tooth. Bridgework is a great option for patients that have a missing tooth and are looking to fill that void as well as treat the surrounding teeth with crowns.
Removable partials are used when many teeth are missing. This option is less expensive and more feasible for some patients. Partials are made of white metal with pink gums and white teeth made of acrylic (plastic) material. A partial will clasp onto existing teeth to stay in place.
Your Invisalign treatment consists of a series of nearly invisible, removable aligners that you change every two weeks for the next set of aligners. Each aligner is individually manufactured for your teeth and your teeth only. As you replace each aligner, your teeth will move – little by little, week by week – until they have straightened to the final position prescribed by your dental practitioner.
What’s more, a virtual treatment plan generated by Align Technology’s unique ClinCheck® software shows the series of movements your teeth will go through throughout the treatment, which allows you to see upfront what your teeth are expected to look like at the end of the treatment. From the results of the ClinCheck software, your custom-made, clear aligners are produced especially for you.
If you're ready for a smile that transforms your appearance, Invisalign is your answer. Although there are many choices out there, no other treatment works as comfortably as Invisalign.