There's nothing to fear with a dental exam. Your teeth will be visually examined for signs of plaque, tartar and tooth decay. Your gums will also be examined for puffiness or discoloration, which are signs of gum disease. A full set of dental X-rays may also be taken during your dental exam, to enable your dentist to see below the surfaces of your teeth. Dental exams typically end with a dental cleaning, to remove surface stains and buildup.
No matter how often you brush and floss, plaque and tartar deposits can still build up on your teeth. A professional teeth cleaning is the single most effective way to remove these deposits and prevent them from causing more serious problems in the future. While a traditional teeth cleaning involves manually scraping away these deposits with special dental tools, advances in dental technologies now give you more options for teeth cleanings.
A deep cleaning may be recommended if excessive plaque and tartar deposits have developed below the gum line. Deep cleanings, also known as scaling and root planing, involve a two-part process: first, the stubborn deposits are removed, and then the root surfaces are smoothened. A deep cleaning helps prevent periodontal disease and restores gum tissues to a healthy state.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), children should visit the dentist by their first birthday. It is important that your child's newly-erupted teeth (erupting at 6-12 months of age) receive proper dental care and benefit from proper oral hygiene habits right from the beginning.
Your child should visit the dentist every 6 months for regular dental cleanings and checkups. We recommend fluoride treatments twice a year along with cleanings to keep teeth their strongest. Tooth sealants are also recommended because they "seal" the deep grooves in your child's teeth, preventing decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years, but will be monitored at your regular checkups.
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer affects nearly 35,000 Americans every year. The keys to surviving oral cancer are early detection and early treatment. This starts with a regular oral cancer screening – at least once every six months. An oral cancer screening takes just minutes, is pain-free and can be performed during regular dental exams. If you are male, a regular oral cancer screening is especially critical: Oral cancer is more than twice as common in men as it is in women. Other people at high risk of oral cancer include people over the age of 60, tobacco smokers and heavy drinkers.
If you've been told you need a dental filling, you're not alone: 92% of Americans have had at least one cavity. Dental fillings are the tried-and-true treatment for treating cavities – and they come in a variety of options to suit every need. Dental fillings can be made of silver amalgam, composite, porcelain and even gold. Amalgam fillings have been used by dentists for more than a century and are still the most common and cost-effective type of dental filling. But composite fillings, which are made of a tooth-colored plastic and glass composite, are quickly becoming the preferred dental filling due to their natural appearance and durability. The type of dental filling used is determined by a number of factors, including size and location of the cavity, as well as your budget.
Tooth Colored Fillings
If your silver fillings make you feel self conscious when you smile, or it's simply time to replace them, consider white fillings. White fillings are just as durable as they are attractive! Made of composite resin, white fillings match the natural color of your teeth and are an excellent option for small to mid-sized cavities. White fillings are strong, stain-resistant and require less removal of your tooth structure than amalgam fillings.
Porcelain Dental Crowns
Although dental crowns can be made of a variety of materials, including stainless steel, gold and silver, nothing looks better than a porcelain dental crown. Porcelain dental crowns match the natural color of your teeth and are virtually undetectable by the naked eye. And because they're metal-free, porcelain dental crowns are an excellent option for patients with metal allergies. Best of all, porcelain crowns don't just look beautiful – they're long-lasting, too!
Dental bridges have been used for centuries to replace missing teeth. Today, dental bridges are still considered one of the most durable, conservative and cost-effective options for bridging the gap between a missing tooth and surrounding teeth. Comprised of two anchoring teeth and a replacement tooth, dental bridges help prevent surrounding teeth from drifting out of position, improve chewing and speaking, and help keep your natural face shape in tact.
Dental bridges typically take 2-3 weeks to complete and are less invasive than other options, such as dental implants. With good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, dental bridges can last up to 30 years.
Broken Tooth -- Save any pieces of the broken tooth and rinse your mouth out with warm water. Apply a cold compress to the area to decrease swelling and pain until you can be seen by the dentist.
Broken Jaw -- Apply a cold compress to limit swelling and see your dentist right away.
Knocked-Out Tooth -- Gently rinse off the knocked out tooth without removing any attached tissue. If possible, hold the tooth in place in the socket. Otherwise, put the tooth in a glass of milk and get to your dentist right away.
Something Stuck in Your Teeth -- Carefully try to remove the object with dental floss. (Don't try using a sharp instrument!) If you're unable to dislodge the object with dental floss, contact your dentist.
Toothache -- Rinse your mouth out with warm water. Then use dental floss to make sure there isn't any food or other debris causing the pain. If the pain persists, call the dentist.
Lost Dental Filling or Dental Crown -- For dental fillings, seal the area with a piece of sugarless gum or over-the-counter dental cement. If a dental crown has come loose, try to put it back in place with dental cement. If that doesn't work, bring it with you to the dentist.
Dental Abscess -- If you notice a painful, pimple-like swelling on your gums, rinse with salt water and immediately contact your dentist. Dental abscesses can lead to more serious infections if not promptly treated.
Gum Disease Treatment
Root canals get a bad wrap. But don't believe the rumors; the dreaded root canal isn't dreadful at all! Root canals are needed when either decay or an injury infects the inner tooth (the pulp). In the earliest stages of infection, you may not feel any pain at all. But when it progresses, you could have a toothache and swelling, or a dental abscess might form. Root canals remove the infection and prevent it from spreading. Thanks to laser root canals, this process is faster, more comfortable and, in many cases, more thorough than conventional root canals. Pulp capping is an alternative to root canals that are used when the infection has yet to penetrate the pulp. Pulp capping can also prevent a large dental filling from getting too close to the nerve.
Conscious Sedation Dentistry
Oral Sedation provides a way to minimize anxiety and reduce restlessness during extensive dental procedures.
It is safe, effective and its effect diminishes soon after the procedure has been completed.
Conscious sedation is an oral drug induced state of reduced awareness and decreased ability to respond. Conscious sedation is not sleep and the patient will be able to respond. The ability to respond normally returns when the effects of the sedative wear off.
This medication has mild sedative and muscle relaxing properties. In a relaxed state, you will still be able to communicate with the dentist while treatment is being performed. Because this medication is mildly sedating, it effects judgment and response time, and will make you sleepy. Therefore use of this medication in conjunction with dental treatment requires you to be escorted to and from your appointment.
You should arrange a responsible escort and confirm with them well in advance of your appointment. Your escort must remain in the vicinity of the dental clinic for the duration of the appointment. Because the effect of this medication continues for an indeterminate period after treatment, driving or operating of any heavy equipment is prohibited for a period of 12 hours after administration of this medication.
Prior to services, you will need to complete our consent form for Conscious Sedation. For more information about Conscious Sedation and to determine if you qualify, call us at 903-567-2666 or click here to contact us if after normal business hours.