Dental cleanings involve removing plaque (soft, sticky, bacteria-infested film) and tartar (calculus) deposits that have built up on the teeth over time. Usually, it is tooth-colored and can easily be mistaken as part of the tooth, but it also can vary from brown to black in color.
The professional cleaning of teeth is sometimes referred to as prophylaxis (orprophy for short). It’s a Greek word which means “to prevent beforehand” – in this case, it helps prevent gum disease.
A sealant is a material that is applied to the teeth where decay occurs most often – the chewing surface of the back teeth. These teeth have pits and grooves that are hard to clean, because toothbrush bristles cannot reach into them. The sealant acts as a barrier to keep bacteria and food out of the pits and grooves of the tooth. Sealants are easy to apply. Each tooth requires only a few minutes for application.
The oral cavity includes your lips, cheek lining, gums, front part of your tongue, floor of the mouth beneath the tongue, and the hard palate that makes up the roof of your mouth. The throat (pharynx) starts at the soft part of the roof of your mouth and continues back into your throat. It includes the back section of your tongue as well as the base where the tongue attaches to the floor of your mouth.
During your dental visit, we can talk to you about your health history and examine these areas for signs of mouth and/or throat cancer. The screening will consist of a visual inspection of the mouth and palpation of the jaw and neck. Regular visits can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily. In between visits, it's important to be aware of the following signs and symptoms and to see us if they do not disappear after two weeks.
- A sore or irritation that doesn't go away
- Red or white patches
- Pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
- A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
A Nightguard is a thin plastic appliance which covers all upper or lower teeth, or only upper six front teeth. Nightguards are comfortable to wear and you generally wear it only at night when you are sleeping.
Nightguards, through its simple but unique construction, totally prevents your back (posterior) teeth from coming into contact so those unconscious efforts to correct the irregular chewing surfaces on your teeth are completely thwarted and therefore there is NO MORE GRINDING.
A mouthguard is a safety device that can help protect teeth during sports or recreational activities. It cushions impacts that may otherwise cause broken teeth, jaw injuries, or cuts to the lips, tongue or face.
Mouthguards are not just for athletes. Any adult or child involved in recreational activities that may cause injury to the mouth, such as rollerblading or skateboarding, should protect his or her smile with a mouthguard.
Inside your tooth, there is a soft, living tissue that contains blood vessels and nerves. This tissue is called "pulp." When the pulp is injured or diseased and cannot repair itself, it dies. Common causes of pulp injury or disease include a cracked tooth, deep cavity, problems with a large filling or injury to the tooth. The tooth can be saved with a root canal.
A root canal treatment takes one or more dental visits. First, we will numb your tooth, then make an opening through the top of the tooth into the pulp chamber, the injured pulp is then removed, and the root canals are cleaned, shaped, and filled with a rubber-like material. Finally, the tooth is restored with a filling or a crown so it is stronger and looks nicer.
Before we extract the tooth, we will give you an anesthetic, so you will be comfortable. Your mouth will be numb for a few hours after the extraction, so be careful not to bite your cheek, lip or tongue.
After the extraction, you may have some bleeding. We will pack the extraction site with gauze to help stop the bleeding, and so a blood clot can form, which is an important part of healing process. Your bone will heal through the formation of blood clots. If your blood clot does not form, you should call immediately so that we can place a dressing in the socket and reduce any pain. Avoid disturbing the clot at the extraction site. Do not suck it or touch it. Minor bleeding is normal, but heavy bleeding is not. If you have heavy bleeding, call us as soon as possible.
With advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped or misshaped teeth. Many people choose to improve their smiles with veneers. A veneer is a thin covering placed over the visible part of the tooth. Veneers are specially made to make your teeth look natural. Placing veneers requires just a few appointments.
Ceramic veneers are extremely thin shells made of a strong porcelain or ceramic. When needed, the dentist removes a small amount of enamel from the front and sides of the tooth. This makes room for the veneer and prevents the restored tooth from feeling or looking bulky or unnatural. Impressions are taken and sent to a dental lab that makes the veneers to fit your individual teeth. After completion, the veneers are bonded to the teeth.
Bonding is the application of a tooth-colored composite resin (plastic) to repair a decayed, chipped, fractured or discolored tooth. Unlike veneers, which are manufactured in a laboratory and require a customized mold to achieve a proper fit, bonding can be done in a single visit. The procedure is called bonding because the material bonds to the tooth.
Bonding is among the easiest and least expensive of cosmetic dental procedures. The composite resin used in bonding can be shaped and polished to match the surrounding teeth. Most often, bonding is used for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of a discolored or chipped tooth. It also can be used to close spaces between teeth, to make teeth look longer or to change the shape or color of teeth.
Sometimes, bonding is also used as a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings, or to protect a portion of the tooth's root that has been exposed when gums recede.
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When we give you a filling, we will first removes the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material.
By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Materials used for fillings include gold, porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-colored fillings), and an amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc).
A crown is a cover or “cap” for your tooth. It gives your tooth back its shape, size, and function. Crowns are used to cover a discolored or badly shaped tooth; replace a missing tooth; when there is a cavity that is too large for a filling; restore a dental implant; protect a tooth after a root canal treatment; and strengthen a tooth that is cracked or worn down.
Crowns can be made of many different materials, such as metal alloys, ceramics, porcelain, composite resin or a combination of these materials. A crown is made in several steps and will probably require two to three dental visits.
At Dr. Bailey & Ge Family Dentistry, we try to keep our patients as up-to-date as possible on new options in dentistry. In recent years, dental implants have become more common and look more natural than ever. Whether you have a full or partial denture or have lost a single tooth, an implant may be the solution for you.
Dental implants are cylinders that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jawbone. The implants act as an anchor for replacement of teeth or dentures. During the healing process, the bone grows around the implant and holds it in place. Implants are stable and secure.
Implants can be used to support many different types of tooth replacements, including single tooth, bridges, and dentures. A single tooth implant replaces the missing tooth’s root and stands alone. An implant-supported bridge is used when several teeth are missing. If you are missing all of your teeth, implant- supported dentures maybe an option for you. These dentures replace all the teeth, allow you to bite, and chew more naturally.
Teeth can be discolored for many reasons: aging, tobacco, coffee, tea, soft drinks, wine, and other beverages and foods. As your dental provider, we can offer you home-use whiteners for whitening. Home-use whiteners can be dispensed through our office for use at home. Your teeth will become whiter and whiter over several days or weeks.
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Two types of dentures are available -- complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.
Full mouth reconstruction, full mouth rehabilitation, and full mouth restoration are terms often used interchangeably to describe the process of rebuilding or simultaneously restoring all of the teeth in both the upper and lower jaws.
Full mouth reconstruction typically involves general or restorative dentists (performing procedures like crowns, bridges, and veneers), and can incorporate dental specialists like periodontists (specializing in the gums), oral surgeons, orthodontists (specializing in tooth movements and positions) and endodontics (specializing in the tooth pulp).
The need for full mouth reconstruction may result from:
- Teeth that have been lost due to decay or trauma
- Teeth that have been injured or fractured
- Teeth that have become severely worn as a result of long-term acid erosion (foods, beverages, acid reflux) or tooth grinding
- Ongoing complaints of jaw, muscle, and headache pain requiring adjustments to the bite (occlusion)