- Remove plaque from the teeth
- Polish and remove stains from teeth
- Remove calculus (tartar) above the gum line
- Oral cancer screening
- Gum disease evaluation
- Visual examination of tooth decay
- Examination of diagnostic x-rays
- Evaluation of status of current restorations
We cannot express enough how important it is to see your dentist regularly. Remember, preventing disease is always better than treating disease.
As you age, certain changes to the teeth, gums, and salivary glands commonly occur:
- Receding gum lines
- Damage to fillings
- Dry mouth (which can, also, be caused by certain medications or health conditions)
- Do you smoke?
- Are you pregnant?
- Do you have diabetes?
- Do you grind or clench your teeth?
- Are you currently taking oral contraceptives?
- Are you under a great deal of stress?
- Do you have bad breath?
- Are your gums red and swollen?
- Do your gums bleed when brushing and/or flossing?
- Are your gums pulling away from your teeth or receding?
- Do you have teeth that appear to be loosening?
- Have you noticed a change in the way your teeth fit together?
- Have you recently lost a tooth?
If you answered YES to 2 or more of these questions, you might be at risk or you may already have Periodontal Disease. See your dentist or hygienist for a complete periodontal diagnosis.
A silver (or amalgam) filling is a mixture of approximately 50% silver/tin alloy and 50% mercury. After tooth decay is removed and cleaned, this gray colored material is packed into the tooth and shaped.
Though silver fillings contain some mercury, current studies indicate what appear to be no measurable health risks to patients.
A composite filling is a tooth colored quartz-like material. After tooth decay is removed and cleaned, this tooth colored material is layered into the tooth. Each layer is hardened or cured with highly intense visible light, and the final surface is shaped and polished to match the tooth. The final restoration is virtually invisible.
A crown (often called a cap) covers the tooth and restores it to its original shape and size. Decay is removed and cleaned from the tooth and a highly accurate impression or mold is made of the prepared surface. This mold is used to create a model of the tooth which is then sent to a special laboratory that will create a gold or porcelain (tooth colored) crown. The crown is then cemented onto the prepared surface of the tooth.
A bridge is a single appliance that is generally attached to two teeth on each side of the space where a tooth is missing. An artificial tooth attached in the middle of the bridge fills in the gap where the missing tooth was. The teeth on either side of the gap are prepared for crowns (see crowns) and a highly accurate impression or mold is made of the prepared area. This mold is used to create a gold or porcelain (tooth colored) bridge in a special laboratory. The bridge is then cemented onto the prepared surface of the teeth, effectively creating the appearance of a “new” tooth.
Inside each tooth is a pulp chamber that contains the nerves and blood supply for the tooth. When the pulp becomes infected due to decay or injury to the tooth, the pulp must be removed from the center of the tooth and the canals of each root. Once the infected pulp is removed, the remaining chamber is filled with a rubber-based material to seal it off.
There are two types of dentures – complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. A partial denture not only fills in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from shifting.
Dentures are very durable appliances and will last many years, but may have to be remade, repaired, or readjusted due to normal wear.
Braces apply tension to slowly reposition teeth within the jawbone. After the initial application, the orthodontist adjusts the tension of braces over a number of visits, spaced over a period of one and a half to three years.
Braces are used for both practical and cosmetic reasons. In adults, braces may be required in preparation of certain dental procedures. New options like clear braces provide a more convenient alternative to traditional braces. Each patient’s needs are different. See your dentist to determine is braces are right for you.
Tooth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up maybe needed every several years, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.