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Treatments & Services

Composite resins, are tooth-colored fillings.  They provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small- to mid-size fillings that need to withstand moderate pressure from the constant stress of chewing. Composite fillings can be used on either front or back teeth. They are a good choice for people who prefer that their fillings look more natural.

Composites cost more than amalgam and occasionally are not covered by some insurance plans. Also, no dental filling lasts forever. Some studies show that composite fillings can be less durable and need to be replaced more often than amalgam fillings.

It generally takes longer to place a composite filling than it does for a metal filling. That’s because composite fillings require the tooth be kept clean and dry while the cavity is being filled. Tooth-colored fillings are now used more often than amalgam or gold fillings, probably due to cosmetics. In a society focused on a white, bright smile, people tend to want fillings that blend with the natural color of their teeth.

Ultimately, the best dental filling is no dental filling. Prevention is the best medicine. You can dramatically decrease your risk of cavities and other dental diseases simply by:

  • brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • flossing daily
  • eating a balanced diet
  • visiting the dentist regularly

A crown can make your tooth stronger and improve its appearance. It can help strengthen a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining to hold the filling. Crowns can also be used to attach bridges, protect a weak tooth from breaking or restore one that’s already broken. A crown is a good way to cover teeth that are discolored or badly shaped. It’s also used to cover a dental implant.

If your dentist recommends a crown, it is probably to correct one of these conditions. Your dentist’s primary concern, like yours, is helping you keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright.

Endodontics is the branch of dentistry concerning dental pulp and tissues surrounding the roots of a tooth. “Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment, or root canal treatment, treats the soft pulp tissue inside the tooth. An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in saving teeth.

Endodontists become specialists by completing two or more years of advanced training in endodontics following dental school. They perform routine as well as difficult and very complex endodontic procedures, including root canal treatment, endodontic surgery and special procedures to save teeth after traumatic dental injuries. Advanced technologies and specialized techniques used by endodontists give them a very accurate view of the inside of the tooth and allow them to treat the tooth quickly and comfortably.

By saving your tooth, an endodontist can help you keep your natural smile, so you can continue to eat your favorite foods and maintain your overall health. Nothing looks, feels or functions like your natural tooth!

For more information about root canals and other endodontic treatment, visit the patient section of the American Association of Endodontists website, which also includes information addressing common myths about these tooth-saving procedures.

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it.

Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:

  • gums that bleed easily
  • red, swollen, tender gums
  • gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • 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

Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease. They are:

  • poor oral hygiene
  • smoking or chewing tobacco
  • genetics
  • crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
  • pregnancy
  • diabetes
  • medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives

See your dentist and dental hygienist if you suspect you have gum disease because the sooner you treat it the better. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. If you have gingivitis, your gums may become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at your dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.

Periodontal Disease and General Health

The signs and symptoms of many potentially life-threatening diseases appear in the mouth first. Dental hygienists routinely screen for these signs and symptoms during regular oral health examinations and explain their observations to patients, urging them to follow up with a medical visit for a definitive diagnosis. When necessary, dental hygienists also provide therapy for the oral manifestations of systemic diseases.

There is strong epidemiologic evidence that periodontitis provides an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and adverse pregnancy complications.

It is possible to have gum disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good dental care at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring.

Remember: You don’t have to lose teeth to gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

The loss of a tooth can damage a person’s self-esteem and confidence, inhibit their desire for social interaction and even trigger depression.  In addition to the negative health effects of these ongoing emotional stresses, individuals face the risk of bone loss in the toothless site — setting off a domino effect resulting in the loss of additional teeth.

Dental implants are designed to replace the root of a missing tooth, and blend in with your other teeth. They are an excellent long-term option for restoring your smile. In fact, the development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years. Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body. They are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth.

Most patients find that a dental implant is secure, stable and a good replacement for their own tooth. There are generally three phases to getting an implant:

  • First, the dentist surgically places the implant into the jawbone. Your dentist may recommend a diet of soft foods, cold foods and warm soup during the healing process.
  • Next, the bone around the implant heals in a process called osseointegration. What makes an implant so strong is that the bone actually grows around it and holds it in place. Osseointegration means “combines with the bone” and takes time. Some patients might need to wait until the implant is completely integrated, up to several months, before replacement teeth can be attached to the implant. Other patients can have the implants and replacement teeth placed all in one visit.
  • Finally, it’s time for the placement of the artificial tooth/teeth. For a single tooth implant, your dentist will customize a new tooth for you, called a dental crown. The crown will be based on size, shape, color and fit, and will be designed to blend in with your other teeth. If you are replacing more than a single tooth, custom-made bridges or dentures will be made to fit your mouth and your implants. (Note: The replacement teeth usually take some time to make. In the meantime, your dentist may give you a temporary crown, bridge or denture to help you eat and speak normally until the permanent replacement is ready.)

If you are interested in dental implants, it’s a good idea to discuss it with your dentist first. If you are in good general health this treatment may be an option for you. In fact, your health is more of a factor than your age. You may be medically evaluated by a physician before any implant surgery is scheduled.

Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or leukemia, may interfere with healing after surgery. Patients with these issues may not be good candidates for implants. Using tobacco can also slow healing.

Veneers are thin, custom-made shells crafted of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front side of teeth. They are an option for correcting stained, chipped, decayed or crooked teeth. Veneers are made by a dental technician, in a dental lab, working from a model provided by your dentist. Placing veneers is usually an irreversible process, because it’s necessary to remove a small amount of enamel from your tooth to accommodate the shell. Your dentist may recommend that you avoid some foods and beverages that may stain or discolor your veneers such as coffee, tea or red wine. Sometimes a veneer might chip or fracture. But for many people the results are more than worth it.

If you have any questions about veneers ask your dentist.

Everybody loves a bright white smile, and there are a variety of products and procedures available to help you improve the look of yours. Many people are satisfied with the sparkle they get from daily oral hygiene and regular cleanings at your dentist’s office, but if you decide you would like to go beyond this to make your smile look brighter, you should investigate all of your whitening options.

Start by speaking with your dentist or dental hygienist. He or she can tell you whether whitening procedures would be effective for you. Whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellow-ish hued teeth will probably bleach well, brownish-colored teeth may bleach less well, and grayish-hued teeth may not bleach well at all. If you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings placed in your front teeth the whitener will not affect the color of these materials, and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile. You may want to investigate other options, like porcelain veneers or dental bonding.

If you are a candidate for whitening there are several ways to whiten your smile:

  • In-office bleaching. This procedure is called chairside bleaching and usually requires only one office visit. The dental hygienist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the oral soft tissues. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth, and a special light may be used. Lasers have been used during tooth whitening procedures to enhance the action of the whitening agent.
  • At-home bleaching. Peroxide-containing whiteners actually bleach the tooth enamel. They typically come in a gel and are placed in a mouthguard. Usage regimens vary. There are potential side effects, such as increased sensitivity or gum irritation. Speak with your dentist or hygienist if you have any concerns.
  • Whitening toothpastes. All toothpastes help remove surface stain through the action of mild abrasives. “Whitening” toothpastes in the ADA Seal of Acceptance program have special chemical or polishing agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaches, these ADA Accepted products do not change the color of teeth because they can only remove stains on the surface.

Remember when selecting a whitener or any dental product, be sure to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance—your assurance that they have met ADA standards of safety and effectiveness.