Helping our patients maintain a healthy mouth and smile is the main goal of general dentistry. We prefer to provide more minor, preventive care than to see patients suffer with more intensive treatments from a problem that was not managed in time. We want to ensure that your oral health is in its optimal state and positively contributing to the health of your entire body. We are here to brighten your smile and pave the way for a brighter life.
It is important to brush your teeth at least twice daily to help remove plaque and food particles that get stuck to your teeth. It is recommended that you brush your teeth for two minutes (or longer), though most people rush through this time. You need to make sure that you reach every side of each tooth, including the inside and outside. To help keep your breath fresh, you should also brush your tongue. Then, you can begin flossing.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. Gum disease is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults, and because it is virtually pain-free, many patients do not know they have the disease.
During each regular checkup, your dentist will check for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the space between your teeth and gums.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque (a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth). If the plaque is not removed (by flossing, brushing, and regular dental checkups), it will continue to build up and create toxins that can damage the gums. Periodontal disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. Periodontal disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Gingivitis — This is the early stage of gum disease, when the gums become red and swollen, and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
- Periodontitis — If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, and the gums and bone that support the teeth will become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected with periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or be removed by a dentist.
Certain factors can increase a patient's risk of developing periodontal disease, including:
- Smoking or using chewing tobacco
- Certain types of medication such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
- Bridges that no longer fit properly
- Crooked teeth
- Old fillings
While it is possible to have periodontal disease and not know it, some symptoms can include:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
Treating Gum Disease
Treatments for gum disease can vary depending on the severity of each individual case.
Typical treatments include:
- Non-surgical treatments such as at-home periodontal trays, and scaling and root planing (deep cleaning)
- Periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery
- Dental implants
Preventing Gum Disease
Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are important for maintaining your health and the health of your smile. You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal disease, and by practicing good oral hygiene at home, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting gum disease. Remember to brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits to help keep your smile healthy.
For most people, achieving a healthy, beautiful smile is the reason for choosing to receive orthodontic care. If you’re self-conscious about your smile, having braces will greatly improve the way you look and feel.
When your treatment is complete, you will have the smile you’ve always dreamed of as well as the confidence to show it off! We also want you to feel comfortable and confident throughout your entire orthodontic experience, so our practice is dedicated to making sure that you receive the quality care you deserve.
How Orthodontic Treatment Works
Orthodontic appliances are made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to the proper position.
Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can now choose brackets that are clear or metallic, and in some cases, choose the color of your appliance. Wires are far less noticeable, and the latest materials are designed to move teeth faster with more comfort. Today, any age is a great age to wear braces!
Duration of Treatment
Depending on several factors, including age, treatment method, and how minor or severe your case is, treatment time varies and can last between one and three years. For children, receiving interceptive, or early treatment, can also help provide a quicker treatment time later on in life. A big factor to a successful treatment is you, the patient! The more involved and diligent you are, the quicker and more efficient your treatment will be.
Before beginning your orthodontic care, your doctor will discuss all of your options and provide an estimate for how long your full treatment may take. Please contact our practice to schedule an appointment and learn more about orthodontics and the treatments we provide.
Types of Braces
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth by using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.
Self-ligating braces are made from the same materials as traditional braces; however, self-ligating braces do not require the use of elastics, meaning fewer appointments and less friction being placed on the tooth. Self-ligating braces come with traditional metal, ceramic, or clear brackets. They are the same size as metal braces, but they use a specialized clip in place of elastics to help the archwire guide teeth into place. The clip helps reduce the amount of pressure being placed on the tooth and requires fewer adjustments because there are no elastics to replace.
Clear (Ceramic) Braces
Ceramic braces are made of clear materials and are therefore less visible on your teeth than metal braces. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. While they are visually less prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene, as ceramic braces are larger and more brittle than their metal counterparts. For these reasons, ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth rather than on lower teeth.
Clear aligners are a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth like braces. Not only are the aligners invisible, they are also removable, allowing you to eat and drink what you want while in treatment. Plus, this helps to make brushing and flossing less of a hassle. The aligners are comfortable and have no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment.
Gold braces are similar to traditional metal braces. Like traditional metal braces, gold braces are made of stainless steel; however, they are coated in gold. The gold coating may be considered a more cosmetic option than traditional metal braces. And, the cost of gold braces is surprisingly comparable to most clear braces.
Lingual braces are hidden behind the teeth and are therefore “invisible” when you smile. Lingual braces are 100% customized to match the shape of your teeth. Lingual braces are a very reasonable option for athletes, models, actors/actresses, musicians who play wind instruments, and adult professionals.
TMJ - TMD
Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurring headaches. In some cases, this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD.
Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.
- Pain in the jaw area
- Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
- Swelling on the sides of the face
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area
- A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
- Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth
Should you notice any of these symptoms, let your doctor know. Your dentist can help indicate the presence of TMD and create an effective treatment just for you.
There are a few simple steps you can take at home or work to prevent TMD from becoming more severe, or to prevent it from occurring:
- Relax your face — remember the rule: "Lips together, teeth apart"
- Avoid grinding your teeth
- Avoid constant gum chewing
- Don't cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder — either use a headset or hold the receiver in your hand
- Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
- Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
- Practice good posture — keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared
Emergency Dental Care
If you experience a dental emergency, be sure to call our practice as soon as possible. If you need immediate attention after hours, call our emergency phone number and our on-call staff member will help you. If you are unable to reach our office during an emergency, dial 911.
We are here to help you, any time, any day. When your dental health is at risk, we will do everything we can to make sure that you're treated as soon as possible. While dental emergencies are rare, they can happen, and it's important to know how to take care of your teeth no matter what. Common dental emergencies include:
- Broken or cracked tooth/teeth
- Broken jaw
- Permanent tooth knocked out
- Object caught between teeth
- Severe toothache
Oral Cancer Screenings
Our office is not only dedicated to your smile, we're also dedicated to your overall wellness. We take a holistic approach to your dental care, which includes an oral cancer screening as a part of your regular exam. Like many kinds of cancer, oral cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
- Red or white spots or sores anywhere in the oral cavity
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
- A lump, thickening, or rough spot
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
Our team is trained in a simple, quick screening that involves an examination of your oral cavity as a whole, and not just your teeth, to detect cancerous and precancerous conditions. Besides a visual examination of your mouth, we will also feel the tissue of your mouth and throat to detect any abnormalities. If we find an area of concern, we may perform a simple test, such as a brush test, which collects cells from a suspicious lesion in the mouth to be sent to a laboratory for analysis. If this test comes back atypical or positive, we may recommend a biopsy.
Aside from receiving an oral cancer screening during your checkup at our office, there are many things you can do to help prevent oral cancer.
- The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid all tobacco products and only drink alcohol in moderation.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
- Limit your exposure to the sun and always wear UV-A/B-blocking, sun-protective lotions on your skin as well as your lips.
- During your next dental appointment, ask your dentist to perform an oral exam. Early detection of oral cancer can improve the chance of successful treatment.
Cleanings And Exams
Having a dental practice perform a checkup and regular cleaning gives a preventive approach to dental care. These general dentistry treatments help prevent problems with your teeth, gums and jaw bones, or they catch and manage problems before they worsen. During your visit, our doctors will take a picture of the current standing of your dental health and what would be needed to keep your oral hygiene in its best state.
Composite fillings act as a dentistry solution for problems such as tooth decay or cracks. A composite filling is a tooth-colored plastic and glass mixture used to restore decayed teeth. This procedure is also utilized for cosmetic improvements of the smile by fixing any discoloration or reshaping any disfigured teeth.
Root canals are needed when decay and bacteria spread for too long without treatment. At a certain point, this decay makes it to the pulp inside the tooth. This pulp includes nerves, therefore infection generally causes a lot of pain. Since this is happening on the inside of the tooth, you won’t necessarily see the damage. Instead, you could feel it through pain and notice other signs that include bleeding, swelling and bad breath.
An extraction is performed to remove a tooth, whether because of disease, crowding, or damage. When extractions are required, the area around the tooth will be numbed and your dentist will remove the tooth. A small amount of bleeding is normal, as your mouth will replace the removed tooth root by forming a blood clot in the area.
Using the most advanced dental technology possible is just as important as staying up-to-date on the latest treatment techniques. Because our practice is dedicated to providing you with the safest and most convenient treatment options available, we utilize advanced digital X-ray technology in our office.
Digital X-rays provide several advanced imaging options designed to save time, provide clearer dental photos, and expose patients to less radiation than traditional X-ray technology.
Our practice is focused on making your dental experience as comfortable as possible. At your next appointment, we'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.
A Clear Vision of Your Dental Health
You know the importance of prevention when it comes to your dental health, and we’re always looking for new, improved ways to help you achieve a healthy smile for life. While X-rays provide valuable information, they don’t give a complete view of everything that is going on inside your mouth.
With the use of an intraoral camera, we can see every aspect of your teeth and mouth with incredible detail, uncovering cracked teeth, plaque deposits, cavities next to fillings, and excessive wear. When we can discover oral problems early on, your treatment is much less invasive and much more cost effective.
Our intraoral camera is small, about the size of the mirror we use during your regular hygiene appointments. You probably wouldn’t even notice we’re using it, except that with the intraoral camera, you have the opportunity to see everything we see on a monitor.
This is a great tool to help you become more informed about your dental health, as it gives you a clear understanding of your teeth’s condition, and it allows you to make a more informed decision regarding your treatment options.