The secret to a bright, healthy smile is actually no secret at all: brush, floss and get a professional dental exam at least once every six months. Professional dental exams are all about prevention – preventing existing problems from getting worse and preventing dental problems from developing in the future. Regular dental exams make it possible to identify and treat a problem in its earliest stage – which is not only good for your oral health but also good for your budget!
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.
Digital Dental X-Ray & Intraoral Camera
Dental X-rays have come a long way. Todays dental X-rays are safer, faster, more comfortable and more informative than the X-rays of years past. Digital X-rays, one of the latest and most advanced dental technologies, produce high-quality images of your teeth that can be viewed instantly by you and your dentist on a LCD monitor. Digital X-rays reduce radiation by up to 90% and provide exceptional diagnostic information to ensure that potential problems are caught in their earliest stages. Intraoral photography is another alternative to traditional dental X-rays.
Intraoral photography is another alternative to traditional dental X-rays. With intraoral photography, problems such as cavities, fractures and discolorations in the teeth, as well as gum disease, are captured through clear and sharp images. The camera also allows you to see what the dentist sees on a monitor right in front of you, making it easier for you to understand and appreciate any potential problems or risks to your oral health.
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 laser teeth cleaning, also known as an ultrasonic cleaning, is a popular alternative to traditional teeth cleanings. With a laser teeth cleaning, an ultrasonic scaler (rather than a manual probe) is used to remove deposits, kill harmful microbes and eliminate bacteria around the teeth and gums through high-frequency sound waves. Many patients find laser teeth cleanings more comfortable than traditional teeth cleanings because they are quicker, quieter and pain-free.
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.
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.
We know how painful, inconvenient and overwhelming dental emergencies can be. We are able to accommodate emergencies on the same day you call in most situations. In the event that an emergency occurs outside of normal business hours, please call our office and leave a message. Dr. Grayson will quickly respond to your emergency.
We are sure you will find our office caring and comfortable, so that your problem can be dealt with easily and quickly. The emergencies we most often see:
Pain is the body’s way of letting us know that there is a problem. If there is tooth pain, it will usually mean that there is some difficulty in the tooth that needs to addressed. This can range from a simple filling to much more involved treatment. The only way to be sure is to have the tooth evaluated. This almost always entails an X-ray and an examination of the painful area. Once that is done, a proper course of treatment can be determined and the pain relieved.
Swelling is an indication that there is an infection or abscess present. This situation, left untreated, can result in serous and potentially life-threatening consequences. Sometimes the cause of this swelling comes from an infected or abscessed tooth. The only way to accurately determine this cause is by an evaluation with an examination and X-ray of the involved area. The pulp (commonly referred to as the nerve) of the tooth has responded to some harmful stimulus and has become infected. This can range from a deep cavity, to a broken filling, or to other causes. This swelling is usually treated by giving oral anti-biotics and treating the tooth with a root canal treatment. This procedure will remove all remnants of the pulp, as well as any infected materiel, and fill in the empty space where the pulp was with a rubbery sealant material. If the tooth is very broken down, or the infection is very serious , removal of the tooth may be required.
If a tooth is broken, it can often be repaired right away(see photos above). If the fracture is not too large, the tooth can be bonded in one visit in the office, and the repair is virtually identical to the natural tooth. Any sharp edges are smoothed over and then a tooth colored material is bonded to the tooth using very strong adhesives. This usually requires little or no drilling of the tooth.
If the break is larger, a crown will usually be required. The tooth will be prepared to receive a crown, and then temporized during the period of time that the laboratory requires to make the crown. Once the crown is placed, it cannot be distinguished from a natural tooth. For more information of dental crowns, click here.
If a permanent tooth is knocked out of the mouth it is imperative to get it treated immediately. Retrieve the tooth, but do not try to clean off any debris. Take it and put it in a small container and cover it with milk or water. Come into the office without delay. In many cases, especially in children, the tooth can be reimplanted, stabilized, and, assuming adequate bone support, it often will reattach and heal.
Ceramic Dental Crowns and Bridges
Sometimes a tooth is badly broken down, and there is just not enough tooth structure remaining for a filling to stay in place. In that circumstance it is necessary to put a crown on the tooth.
A dental crown ( also called a cap) is a tooth made in the dental laboratory which protects the tooth from further breakdown or decay. All the decay is removed from the tooth, and, if necessary, a material is placed in the remaining tooth to provide adequate tooth structure to act as the foundation of the crown. The tooth is then reduced, both in height and in circumference, so that there is sufficient room for the new crown to be placed.
There are several different types of crowns, using a variety of materials. The only materials that are used in our practice are: porcelain to high noble metal ( metal is greater than 56% gold), Captek(R) which is a brand name of porcelain fused to 24 caret gold, and all ceramic. All three have their place, but we have found that the all ceramic crowns have the beauty and natural appearance of porcelain combined with the strength of metal. While it is not appropriate in all situations, it is rapidly becoming the restoration of choice in our practice.
If one or more teeth are missing, one very good way to replace the missing teeth is with a fixed bridge. The teeth on either side of the space is prepared for a crown, as described above. Then the laboratory will construct a bridge, with the artificial tooth filling the space where the missing tooth was. Again, the choice of materials are as above, but there are some restrictions on the use of both the Captek (R) and the all ceramic. These are determined on a case by case basis.
Before & After photos of an all ceramic restoration. All teeth
were restored with all ceramic materials. No metal was used.
Gum Disease Treatment
Red, swollen gums are a red flag for one thing: gum disease. If you have the symptoms, you're not alone. More than 80% of adults have some form of gum disease. Fortunately, there are many effective and pain-free gum disease treatments. For gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, treatment typically involves a thorough dental cleaning, followed by daily brushing and flossing. Advanced gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, requires scaling and root planing to remove stubborn deposits below the gum line. Laser gum surgery, a new alternative to scaling and root planing, uses beams of high-speed light to remove plaque and tartar buildup. If non-surgical methods of gum disease treatment are ineffective, a gingivectomy, or periodontal surgery, may be necessary.
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.