Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic Dentistry Can Give You a New and Improved Smile

The goal of cosmetic dentistry is to improve the appearance of your smile. Unlike general dentistry, which is primarily concerned with treatments needed to address problems like tooth decay, cosmetic dentistry provides a variety of treatments to help make your teeth more attractive. The type of treatment you receive depends on what is needed to improve the appearance of your teeth.

One of the most commonly desired treatments is whitening. This is the appropriate treatment if there is discoloration caused by foods or smoking. If there are severe stains or discolorations in the tooth enamel, your dentist may recommend composite bonding or dental veneers. Either of these options will give you a bright, natural looking smile. If some of your teeth have darkened due to old silver amalgam fillings, they can be replaced with new materials that closely match the color of your natural tooth enamel.

Treatments such as dental bonding and veneers can also be used to correct other cosmetic problems such as worn, chipped and cracked teeth. Veneers may also be used to correct excessive gaps between the teeth. Misaligned and uneven teeth may sometimes require orthodontic measures such as braces, but in some cases these problems can be treated more quickly and successfully by using composite bonding and sculpting. Missing teeth can be corrected with a bridge or an implant.

In short, cosmetic dentistry can be used to correct almost any imperfection in your smile. Although not everyone wants a perfect smile, most people would not mind improving theirs in some way. If you would like to learn more about what cosmetic dentistry can do for your smile, please contact our office for a friendly consultation about which treatment will best fit your needs.

Crown and Bridge Work

Crown and Bridge Work Can Be Extremely Rewarding

To restore your smile, dentures should be the last option. Working with a good dental team is essential in creating a treatment plan for your crown and bridge work that will improve your smile. Cosmetic details and pain management are some of the most important factors to consider.

Crowns may be recommended when a tooth has become fractured, when there is an old filling of significant size or a tooth has been damaged by decay. Bridges may be recommended after suffering a tooth loss.

With crowns and bridges it is important that you maintain ongoing preventive dental care visits and keep a good oral hygiene.

A good professional team will work with you to achieve optimum dental health while addressing your questions and concerns compassionately and honestly.

Tooth Decay and Fluoride

Though dentists educate patients about dental maintenance, few actually follow these preventive measures. As a result, many patients end up with cavities that can lead to potentially painful procedures and additional dental issues that could have been prevented.


Preventing Tooth Decay in Children

Perhaps one of the most essential steps in preventing dental problems is to introduce children to their family dentist as soon as their first tooth emerges. Though children’s teeth will eventually be replaced by permanent versions, establishing health habits is crucial for exceptional dental health later in life. Parents and dentists can become essential partners for better oral health care when it is promoted early in life. By providing essential care in the form of brushing and flossing instructions, unnecessary dental procedures, pain, and monetary provision can be saved throughout a child’s life.


Evolving Dental Care for Families

As a child grows older, their permanent teeth begin to take the place of replaceable baby teeth. However, these new teeth may not be as straight as a child or parent envisioned. At this point in time, it may be necessary to begin discussions pertaining to the right time for braces. Temporomandibular disorders can make this decision difficult, as they must be addressed in order to properly fit these devices. However, it is important to remember that tooth decay doesn’t stop when braces are placed, so it is crucial to maintain a good dental hygiene regimen and fluoride treatments.


Fluoride and Tooth Decay Education for Adults

The importance of regular visits to the dentist are often emphasized for younger individuals, but is often overlooked when it comes to adults. Regular cleanings are beneficial for plaque and tartar control, that could lead to larger health issues, such as periodontal disease, if left unaddressed. However, many adults experience sensitive teeth, which may make it difficult to withstand cleanings or even regular brushing. Yet, a dentist can help recommend treatments and devices that can help with this discomfort.


Areas of Dental Concern

Since many adults put their own dental health to the side for financial reasons or time constraints, what happens when dental problems do arise? In essence, the quicker the problem is detected and corrected, the less painful and time-consuming treatment will be. Patients can avoid painful root canal treatments and the removal of impacted wisdom teeth by following dentist recommendations for treatment. In some cases, the tooth or multiple teeth may not be salvaged, in which case restorative dentistry may be necessary. Implants and bridges can be used to replace single or multiple teeth. Afterwards, mouthguards can be utilized to protect these sensitive structures and cosmetic enhancements.


The Cycle of Prevention, Treatment, and Maintenance

Like many other parts of the human body, teeth must be maintained throughout the course of a lifetime. They are essential for food consumption, speaking, and cosmetic appearance. Therefore, patients should invest in high quality dental care for themselves and their family.

Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy is a very common technique that is performed by a dentist or endodontist.

This procedure is necessary when a tooth’s nerve chamber has either become damaged through some form of trauma or infected by decay. Root canal therapy is usually the only way that the tooth can be saved. Otherwise it would need to be removed, which would leave a vacant hole in the patient’s mouth.

Within the outer shell of every tooth is a chamber filled with soft tissue containing nerves and blood vessels. All of this is collectively referred to as the pulp, which enters from the bone up through the root canal. This entire system will provide nourishment to the tooth’s cells. The decay or injury can cause significant damage to or infect the tooth pulp. Through the procedure of a root canal treatment, the dentist will remove the pulp that is infected or damaged. This will help to maintain all other parts of the root structure that remains.

Pain or throbbing when biting, sensitivity to cold and hot foods and severe decay that has created an abscess in the bone are all signs that root canal therapy may be required. A person experiencing any of these symptoms will need to make an appointment with his or her doctor to have a full examination.

The procedure is relatively simple and can be performed as an outpatient procedure in the dentist office. The tooth will be anesthetized and then an opening will be created through the tooth crown, going into the pulp chamber. The canal’s length will be determined. All of the unhealthy pulp will be extracted. The dentist will clean the canal, enlarge it and shape it as necessary. The canal will then be filled and sealed. Finally, the tooth is sealed using a filling material. In most cases a crown will then be added for more protection, made either of gold or porcelain.

The root canal therapy has been given a bad reputation over the years. However, nowadays it should be a painless procedure under local anaesthesia. It is the better alternative than having a tooth removed and subsequently having either a hole where the tooth was or having an artificial tooth put in its place.

Only a dentist will be able to determine if a root canal treatment is the best route to go. The moment a person begins to experience any of the warning signs, an appointment should be made. Getting immediate dental health can be enough to save the tooth, or even prevent the need for root canal therapy in certain cases. Otherwise a person may end up losing the tooth because he or she hesitated in making an appointment for too long.

Partners for Better Oral Hygiene

When you follow the advice given to you by your dentist or dental hygienist, you become a partner for better oral hygiene.

If you want to have good dental health, you need to start by brushing your teeth at least twice a day. Using dental floss is an effective way to reach areas between your teeth that you cannot reach with a toothbrush. It is highly recommended to visit your dentist on a regular basis for a dental exam and professional cleaning. Doing this, it will help you to maintain your dental health.

By following the advice of dentists and dental hygienists to brush and floss on a regular basis, you will have less plaque in your mouth. Plaque contains harmful bacteria that produce acids that weaken and even damage the tooth enamel if it is not removed. So if you can get rid of the plaque, it helps prevent tooth decay. Reducing the amount of plaque and bacteria helps you to have healthier gums. This will give you better oral hygiene.

The Right Time for Braces

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that helps with the proper alignment of teeth and jaws. This will help to improve a person’s smile and overall oral health. It will be done to improve problems such as crooked and over-crowded teeth as well as underbites and overbites.


The right time for braces

The right time for braces is typically anywhere between the ages of 8 and 14, as soon as adult teeth are in. Younger patients often have optimal results because they are still growing. But also older patients can experience very good results by orthodontic treatment. This is why more and more adults are also choosing to get braces for correcting and improving their smile.

A dentist will be able to determine what type of braces will need to be worn. Usually small brackets are fixed to the teeth and connected with a metal wire. By tightening this wire and thus applying pressure, the teeth and jaw are gradually shifted.

Each patient will have a different treatment plan when it comes to braces. The more complicated the bite or spacing, the longer the treatment. The average person will wear full braces for a time between 18 to 30 months. A retainer will then be worn for a few months up to a few years to keep the teeth in their place.

With today’s modern orthodontic techniques the treatment is usually very well tolerable. Typically the discomfort is mild and only lasts for a small amount of time.

The patient wearing braces will also have to maintain a balanced diet and avoid some foods. Starchy foods that generate plaque and acid must be eliminated. This includes chips, sweets and soda.

Home care with braces is very important. A soft-bristled brush must be used and flossing in between braces is of utmost importance.

Temporomandibular Disorders

The Temporomandibular Joint

The temporomandibular joints lie on either side of the head directly in front of the ears. Here the back of the lower jaw (mandible) meets the temporal bone. These joints normally allow the mouth to smoothly open, close and move from side to side for biting, chewing and talking.


Temporomandibular Disorders

Temporomandibular disorders, also known as TMD or TMJ disorders consist of any abnormality, pain or dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint. Symptoms of the condition might develop in one or both joints. The abnormality also often impinges on delicate nerve tissue in the joints and causes pain. Individuals may experience TMD temporarily or problems might become permanent and require medical intervention. Most patients develop the condition between the ages of 20 and 40. Statistics indicate that females experience TMD more frequently than males.


TMD Symptoms

TMD symptoms often begin as clicking, crunching, grating or popping noises heard when opening or closing the mouth. Chewing problems occur because the lower and upper teeth do not come together properly. Patients may experience facial pain or tenderness in one or both jaws around the joint area. Individuals might also develop earaches, headaches, neck aches or upper shoulder pain. The face on the affected side may swell. Some people endure dizziness, hearing difficulties or ringing in the ears. As the condition worsens, the jaws may lock preventing the mouth from opening or closing completely.


Causes of TMJ Disorders

Malocclusion of the teeth („bad bite“) can be a cause for the development of TMJ disorders.
Also chronic teeth clenching or grinding causes articular disc damage, which prevents fluid movements of the joint. Some people clench or grind their teeth while asleep and may awaken with ear or jaw pain. Other people subconsciously perform the action while under stress. Visible signs of this behavior include abnormal wearing on teeth surfaces. Habitually biting fingernails, chewing gum or chewing food on one side of the jaw may also lead to TMD.
Damage to any component of the joint because of trauma may also create TMJ disorders.


Treatment for Temporomandibular Jaw Disorders

If there is malocclusion of the teeth, the dentist will work to align the teeth and correct the bite.
Preventing teeth clenching and grinding relieves tension in the soft tissue of the joint. If the behavior occurs at night, patients may require custom-made soft dental appliances, which keep teeth separated. When the action occurs secondary to stress, patients may benefit from stress management counseling. Dentists might also suggest resting the jaws by not chewing crunchy or hard foods. Patients should also avoid opening the mouth fully. In the presence of an inflammatory process, pain or muscle spasms, dentists suggest over-the-counter or prescription medications. Physical therapy often helps patients. As a last resort, patients may require TMJ arthroscopic procedures that correct structural abnormalities.

Dental Implants

Tooth loss can have a negative effect on personal appearance as well as with dental health. When someone loses one or several teeth, it can cause the other teeth to shift out of position. Often, this will lead to changes in one’s bite, decay, gum disease and the loss of more teeth. A dentist will be able to tell a person if he or she is eligible for an implant.

Through the use of dental implants, it is possible to replace one tooth or a series of multiple teeth. Every implant will consist of a metal anchor that goes into the jawbone as well as a protruding post. The post will then receive an artificial tooth that has been specifically outfitted for it.

Implants have been used for bridge support, replacing partial dentures as well as securing a fixed denture into place. The entire process will require surgery. Depending upon the amount of work that needs to be done, the process could take as long as a year to be completely finished.

There is a multi-step process to place an implant inside of the mouth. Each implant is different based upon location in the mouth as well as the reason for the implant to be placed in general. Therefore the steps can vary slightly. Local anesthesia will be used for the first step. This includes placing a metal anchor into the jawbone. This is commonly referred to as an artificial root. As the bone grows, it will help to root the anchor, which can take between 3 and 6 months. A healing cap will be placed on the anchor as the implant heals within the jawbone. After a few months, the healing cap is removed and a metal post can be affixed to the anchor. After everything has healed, an artificial tooth or crown is made in the laboratory, based upon an impression of the mouth. It will then be affixed to the post. The tooth can be affixed using either cement or a screw. The new crown fitting may take several appointments. A dentist may have to make adjustments to the way it is secured or to the actual shape of the crown.

Once an implant is properly in place, it will require significant care. Brushing and flossing should occur twice daily, just as with normal teeth. It’s also important to get around all areas of the crown and floss around the sides. Some foods should also be avoided. This includes hard and sticky objects, such as hard candy or caramel.

A healthy mouth can be obtained by following proper hygiene. A dentist will detail exactly what kind of care will be needed in regards to an implant.


What are mouthguards?

Mouthguards are flexible, plastic mouthpieces that protect the teeth from damage during recreational or sporting activities.


When should a mouthguard be worn?

Whenever there is a need to protect the teeth and mouth from injury, a mouthguard should be worn. Since more than 200,000 injuries to the mouth and jaw occur each year, dentists encourage the use of this product for all types of potentially dangerous sporting activities.


How does this device prevent injury?

Because of the way a mouthguard fits over the teeth and gums, many types of injuries can be avoided such as chipped teeth or tooth loss. Also lips and cheeks can get cut or bruised during a high-impact sport. This device helps to move the soft tissue away from the teeth, keeping the mouth protected from this sort of injury. This guard also helps to protect jamming of the lower and upper jaw and is potentially preventing more serious injuries such as cerebral hemorrhage, concussion, neck injuries and jaw fractures.


What activities would be safer with use of a mouthguard?

You should wear a mouthguard during sports that involve physical contact and high-impact sports. These sports include softball, wrestling, basketball, lacrosse, rugby, skating, soccer, martial arts, bicycling and skateboarding.


Are mouthguards required for any types of sporting events?

At this time, five amateur-level sporting events require use of mouthguards, both during competitions and during practice. These include women’s field hockey, men’s lacrosse, boxing, ice hockey and football.


Should children wear mouthguards?

Some schools that participate in contact sports encourage the use of this equipment for protection. Parents and teachers should become informed of the potential for mouth injury during school and after-school sporting events, and encourage the use of a mouthguard.


Are there different types of mouthguards?

There are three kinds of mouthguards: stock, mouth-formed and custom-made.


What is the cheapest mouthguard available?

A stock mouthguard is cost-effective but offers a limited fit adjustment. This piece offers the lowest amount of protection and may interfere with breathing or speech, as the jaw must be closed while wearing.


What is the most popular mouthguard?

Mouth-formed mouthguards are worn by many athletes. These are made from thermoplastic material and have to be first put in hot water and then shaped around the teeth with the fingers for a good fit.


Which mouthguards fit the best and provide the most protection?

Custom-made mouthguards are the best choice since they are made specifically for your mouth. This is the most expensive option, but lasts the longest, is the most comfortable and provides the most protection.


What is the best way to take care of a mouthguard?

After every use, your mouthguard should be cleaned with warm water and a toothbrush and toothpaste and then be soaked in mouthwash. It should be stored in a plastic box that allows air circulation to assist with drying and prevent the growth of bacteria. It should never be left in direct sunlight or exposed to high temperatures. Be sure the mouthguard is not bent, and never use another person’s mouthguard. The mouthguard will have to be replaced when you see excessive wear or damage.

If you experience any problems with your mouthguard, please contact your dentist.

Cosmetic Dentistry

In today’s culture, a great smile is a passport to personal and professional success. Yet according to a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, over half of all Americans are dissatisfied with their smiles.

Your dentist is your smile’s best friend. Cosmetic dentistry techniques have improved greatly over the past decades. If you’re unhappy about your smile, or embarrassed by stained or yellow teeth, excessive tooth wear or the appearance of dark fillings, consider one of the following options:

Bleaching and Teeth Whitening: over time, even the best cared for teeth will develop some degree of discoloration. It’s an inevitable consequence of drinking coffee in the mornings or sipping that occasional glass of wine. Bleaching is a whitening procedure that can even reverse discoloration of teeth that have undergone root canal procedures. While many tooth whitening products are sold commercially for use at home, the safest and most effective bleaching is achieved through treatments recommended by your dentist. Some of these treatments can be done at your dentist’s office while some can be done in the privacy of your home.

Bonding: Bonding is a procedure that uses dental composite resins to restore chipped or cracked teeth, fill in gaps between teeth, and actually change the shape and appearance of teeth. Composite resin is also a great alternative to traditional amalgam fillings for filling a decayed tooth. Bonding is one of the easiest and most affordable of all cosmetic dentistry treatments.

Porcelain Laminate Veneers: porcelain laminate veneers are extremely thin shells customized to fit over the fronts of your teeth. Porcelain laminate veneers are designed to cover crooked, stained or misaligned teeth. While dental veneers can be made either of composite resin or of porcelain, porcelain might be a better choice because it resists staining and looks more tooth-like. The veneer will be custom made in a dental laboratory so that it fits precisely over the tooth it’s meant to cover. It will also be closely color-matched to all surrounding teeth so that your porcelain laminate veneer looks like part of your own natural smile.

Inlays and Onlays: porcelain inlays and onlays allow you to preserve your natural teeth in situations where decay is far advanced. Previously, your only alternative might have been a crown. Inlays and onlays are a great alternative to amalgam fillings because they can be precisely matched to the color and shape of your natural teeth. Inlays and onlays are not sensitive to cold and heat like amalgam fillings. Dentists say they actually help strengthen your teeth.

Orthodontics: orthodontics, or teeth straightening, is becoming an increasingly popular procedure among adults. These days one out of five orthodontic patients is over the age of 18. Crowded and misaligned teeth are not only unsightly, they can also contribute to oral health problems. Malocclusions make it difficult to floss effectively. Malocclusions are also a leading cause of TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). Many options are available these days besides traditional metal braces. Orthodontic patients can choose among clear, ceramic or metal braces. Treatment time varies from a few months to a year and a half.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease includes conditions of the gums and supporting bone, like gingivitis and periodontal abscesses. Periodontitis, as a severe manifestation of periodontal disease, can result in the loss of bone around the teeth and therefore loss of teeth.


The Causes of Periodontal Disease

The human mouth is full of bacteria that create plaque on the teeth. Plaque can be removed with regular brushing and flossing, but it may be impossible to remove all plaque from the teeth. If plaque is not removed, the bacteria in it produce chemicals that can cause inflammation of the gum tissue. Also plaque can harden and become tartar that harbors bacteria further irritating the gums. A professional cleaning is necessary to remove tartar.


Types of Periodontal Disease

There are many stages of gum disease, but two of the most common are gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis causes swelling, tenderness, and bleeding of the gums. It is the first stage of gum disease. Gingivitis does not cause a loss of tissue or bone. Gingivitis can often be fixed with an improvement in oral hygiene.

Periodontitis is an advanced stage of gum disease that affects the periodontium (tissue surrounding the teeth). Due to inflammation, it causes the deterioration of the gum and bone, gums become loose and separate from the teeth. The spaces that are formed (gum pockets) become infected. As the condition advances, it can cause a major loss of bone, which can result in loose or lost teeth.


Risk Factors for Gum Disease

Although poor oral hygiene is generally the largest cause of periodontal disease, certain behaviors and conditions can increase an individual’s likelihood of getting the disease.

  • Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for gum disease. People who smoke are more likely to develop gum disease. Smoking can also decrease the odds of successful treatment.
  • Diabetes causes individuals to have a higher risk of developing gum disease as it makes the body more prone to infections.
  • Certain medications can reduce the amount of saliva that is produced. An inadequate amount of saliva in the mouth can increase the risk of infection in the mouth.
  • Diseases that weaken the immune system, such as AIDS, and their treatments can have a negative effect on the gums.
  • Stress can cause the body to produce hormones that can increase the body’s susceptibility to infections.


Treatments for Periodontal Disease

The type of treatment that is used to manage gum disease depends on the severity of the disease. An evaluation is done by a periodontist (specialist in diagnosing, preventing and treating gum disease).

Individuals who suffer from gum disease will generally be advised to improve their oral hygiene. Special toothpastes and oral rinses may also be recommended.

Periodontists will generally use deep-cleaning methods like scaling or root planing to remove tartar and plaque from the teeth and below the gum line. These procedures smooth the teeth and help remove the bacteria, which can allow the gums to heal.

Surgery may be necessary if there are deep pockets in the mouth or extensive bone loss.

Plaque and Tartar Control

How Do Plaque and Tartar Form?

Plaque build-up is something that every person experiences. Plaque is a transparent film coating the teeth and is made by bacteria, proteins and food particles. Over time (24 hours), when it is not cleaned off properly, plaque hardens and can become tartar (dental calculus). Tartar is made up of minerals that bind on the tooth and cannot be removed by regular brushing.


Plaque and Tartar control

Plaque cannot be avoided, but it can be controlled by good oral hygiene which should therefore be a basic and important part of your cleaning habits. Tartar forms often in crevices and hard to reach places in the mouth and along the gum line. This means that regular cleaning with the dentist is also necessary, aside from keeping good oral hygiene, so that further teeth deterioration is prevented.


Factors To Plaque and Tartar Build-up

Build-up of plaque and tartar varies with each individual’s body chemistry and dental habits. For many of us, these deposits build up faster as we age. But aside from that, eating foods that are rich in sugar or sticky foods increases the chances of the formation.

A disregard for proper oral hygiene is also a factor. Without proper cleaning, plaque and tartar develop into cavities that lead to serious dental problems, like the inflammation of gums and bone loss.


Preventing Plaque and Tartar

Below are basic plaque and tartar control methods:

  • brushing at least twice a day reduces the amount of build-up if done properly. You have to really make sure that also the gum lines and the spaces in between the teeth are cleaned, so using a good toothbrush and flossing makes cleaning better.
  • The use of a good toothpaste also helps with prevention. Pick toothpaste with fluoride because it helps protect the teeth from cavities.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly, so that the mouth gets continuous washing down of bacteria and toxin.

The importance of oral care must be emphasized and given priority. But even if you are thoroughly doing this, it is still necessary to visit the dentist every six months for check-up. Dental expertise helps with detecting problems in the mouth earlier.


The Cycle of Prevention, Treatment, and Maintenance

Like many other parts of the human body, teeth must be maintained throughout the course of a lifetime. They are essential for food consumption, speaking, and cosmetic appearance. Therefore, patients should invest in high quality dental care for themselves and their family.

Essential Care – Brushing and Flossing Instructions

Essential care

For essential care of your teeth, brushing and flossing instructions have to be followed meticulously. Brush teeth at least twice a day. This should be followed by flossing, though flossing is necessary only once a day. Brushing your teeth and flossing minimizes tooth decay and gum disease, which are major causes of tooth loss. Decay occurs when bacteria inside the mouth build acids. These acids eat away at tooth enamel, causing pain, infection and tooth loss. Among the many problems it creates is gingivitis or periodontitis (infection of the tissue and bone surrounding the teeth).


Choose a toothpaste.

Toothpaste doesn’t merely keep teeth white. They fight bacteria that result in bad breath and dental plaque, which untreated, eventually leads to tooth decay. Toothpaste with fluoride helps to protect the teeth from cavities. A dentist can advise what type of toothpaste is best for you.


Choose a Toothbrush

They come in different sizes and shapes. They have more bristle varieties than you’ll ever need. In terms of size, the best is the one that reaches all your teeth. Depending on your technique, decide on the bristle density. Hard bristle toothbrushes can damage the protective tooth enamel. Again, your dentist will advise what type of toothbrush is best for you. You will have to change your toothbrush usually after three months of use.



Start with the outer and inner teeth surfaces. In a rotating motion, brush at a 45° angle against the gumline. For inner surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the bristle vertically. For chewing surfaces, use the flat edge, brushing back and forth. Brush the tongue: stroke back to front in a sweeping motion. This removes food particles and fights gingivitis.



Like choosing a toothbrush, there are many options for floss. Unless informed otherwise by your dentist, type of floss doesn’t matter, as long as it removes the plaque and food particles that your toothbrush left behind. Interdental brushes are also a good option. If you are using string, the strand should be at least 18” long, strapped around the middle finger with a 1” segment held tightly between thumb and forefinger of each hand. Ease floss between the teeth. Stroke up and down several times and curve around the gumline. As you move further into the mouth, unwind floss. Be sure to floss behind the last teeth in your mouth, as well as any abutment teeth of a bridge. There are also floss holders you can ask your dentist about. Use a floss threader to get under artificial teeth.

There may be bleeding of the gums or soreness. If it lasts more than a few days, see your dentist. Your dentist can supply you with detailed brushing and flossing instructions.

The Importance of Regular Visits

Many people wonder about the the importance of regular visits to their dentist and why their doctor may schedule them for several visits in a year.

Your oral health is incredibly important. Without regular visits, you may find that your teeth begin to slowly decay because of cavities or that filling and crowns crack. What’s more, infections can go unnoticed and lead to major medical problems. Going for a regular visit can even help to detect and begin treatment for oral cancer.

Ideally, you should be visiting your dentist every six months, but the office may schedule you for more frequent visits if required for your oral health.

You may think that the importance of regular visits is only to check for tooth decay, also known as cavities. Your appointment with the dentist is much more than that. Your dentist or dental hygienist will also check for signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease, as well as possible indications that you might have diabetes or a deficiency in a vitamin. When you go for a dental check-up, all of these things are going to be addressed so that you can be in the best health possible. Your smile, confidence and health are worth the half-yearly exams that you will schedule!

When visiting the dentist, you should expect the following:

  • examination of your gums and any signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease.
  • Examination of loose teeth, missing teeth and crowns, as well as cracked fillings or broken teeth.
  • Examination of tooth decay, which may require fillings or root canals depending on the severity of the decay.
  • Examination of the entire mouth to detect signs and symptoms of mouth cancer or problems with the joint of the jaw (TMJ disorders).


Dental Hygiene

During your visit, your dental hygienist will also perform a professional cleaning of the teeth. The cleaning will remove any hardened plaque, also known as calculus, from the surface of each tooth.

As you can see, the importance of regular visits is apparent and can definitely save you from headaches in the future. After all, prevention is better than having to take care of something major. Your dental team will be able to teach you how to properly brush your teeth and what you need to do when it comes to flossing between teeth. You will want to speak with your dentist to find out how often you should be scheduling appointments to preserve your good oral hygiene.

Your smile is such an important part of your personality, so it’s important that you take good care of it by visiting the dentist regularly!

Children’s Teeth

The first tooth usually appears at about six to eight months of age.

The bottom incisors usually erupt first, followed shortly by the upper incisors. Most children will have all 20 of their primary teeth by the time they are three.

If babies become fussy during this process of teething, chilled teething rings or cold rags rubbed against the gums or simply rubbing with a clean finger can offer great relief.

Even though permanent teeth will begin to replace baby teeth by the age of six, it is very important to introduce good oral care habits from birth. Before teeth ever appear, parents should take care to wipe the infant’s gums with a damp cloth after each feeding. As soon as children’s teeth begin to erupt, good brushing habits should be established.

Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can cause a mild sensation of tingling and discomfort, or sharp, shooting pain.

The pain is usually not constant. It occurs when you eat or drink something that is cold or hot, sweet or sour. Pain that is severe or persistent often signals a more serious problem that requires immediate intervention by your dentist.

Sensitive teeth can cause a great deal of discomfort and may require special treatment with desensitizing toothpaste or mouthwash. The discomfort of sensitive teeth is caused by microscopic holes in the exposed dentin of worn teeth or tooth roots. These holes (or openings) develop into small but troublesome tunnels called tubules and transmit temperature extremes or irritants to the nerve of the tooth.

Healthy normal teeth are protected by the gums and the tooth’s hard enamel. Age, injury or gum disease can expose the dentin and result in sensitivity.

The specific conditions and events that can cause sensitive teeth include:
– Chipped or fractured teeth
– Gums that have receded due to disease or improper brushing
– Grinding of the teeth during sleep or clenching due to tension
– Progressive changes due to age

Treatment for sensitive teeth may include:
– Brushing gently with a soft-bristled brush
– Use of special desensitizing tooth paste
– Dentist-recommended fluoride rinse or desensitizing gel

Sensitive teeth may require several weeks to respond to the above measures. Until treatment reduces sensitivity, avoid hot or cold beverages and irritants such as very sweet or very sour foods. Follow the recommendations of your dentist for best results. Even after the pain disappears, it is important to continue treatment so that sensitivity of the teeth does not return.

Following the dentist’s recommendations for oral hygiene and dental care will help to reduce the likelihood of developing sensitive teeth. Once the problem arises, the dentist can help the patient restore near-normal function and maintain healthy teeth.

Prevention is, of course, the best cure. Avoid actions that may cause chipped or broken teeth, such as chewing ice or hard candy. Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss daily. If engaging in sports, use a dentist-prescribed tooth guard. These and other techniques recommended by your dentist will help to prevent and diminish sensitive teeth.

Wisdom Teeth

Most people get their wisdom teeth, or third molars, between the ages of 16 and 25.

Sometimes they can cause significant pain and discomfort, especially when they become impacted. An impacted wisdom tooth occurs when the tooth fails to properly erupt. This generally happens because the tooth grows in sideways or horizontally and cannot break through the surface of the jawbone and gum. The impaction can happen in the jawbone itself or in the soft tissue of the gums.

This can lead to crowding of other teeth. A wisdom tooth that is only partially erupted can also cause complications including infection, gum disease or tooth decay. Dentists generally recommend the removal of wisdom teeth when symptoms of impaction begin to present.


How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

An affected tooth can usually be removed right in the dentist’s office; however, if multiple extractions are required or if complications are expected, the dentist may refer a patient to an oral surgeon. In extreme cases, the surgery may need to be performed in a hospital.

The procedure will begin with the application of a local anesthetic. This will numb the area and prevent the patient from feeling any pain during the procedure. For difficult extractions, a general anesthesia may be used. Under general anesthesia, the patient will be completely unconscious.

Once the chosen anesthetic has taken effect, the dentist or surgeon will make an incision in the gum line, then proceed to remove any bone covering the area of extraction.

After the tooth is fully removed, the gums will be stitched closed. The patient will be given a prescription for painkillers and may be put on antibiotics to help prevent infection.

Recovering From Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Pain and discomfort is common after the removal of wisdom teeth. Pain medication should be administered according to instructions. Swelling can be minimized by the application of ice packs to the cheek for 30 minutes at a time.

Bleeding is expected for the first 24 hours after surgery. This can be minimized by biting down on clean gauze pads to promote clotting.

Patients should follow their doctor’s recommendations regarding food and drink. Using a straw will be forbidden for the first few days, as the suction can cause blood clots to dislodge.

Refrain from smoking or chewing tobacco for at least 24 hours. Brush carefully and avoid touching the affected area.

Complications related to the removal of wisdom teeth are extremely rare; however, patients should call their doctor or dentist immediately if bleeding does not stop after 24 hours or is profuse, if pain becomes unbearable, or in the cases of extreme swelling or sudden fever.