This is where we will explain how important dental exams & preventative cleanings are.
Fluoride is important for people of all ages! Adult teeth start to develop when we are just a few months old and continue throughout childhood. During this time fluoride can be incorporated into the tooth structure and create a stronger tooth that is less susceptible to cavities. It is important not to ingest too much fluoride at a young age because the teeth can develop white or yellow spots and have a mottled appearance. The water fluoridation city programs are geared toward children whose adult teeth are still developing.
Once your adult teeth are present, fluoride plays a different role. With everyday eating and drinking, the outer surface of our teeth are constantly demineralizing and remineralizing. When there is fluoride present in the saliva it is incorporated into the outer tooth surface and once again makes a much stronger, cavity resistant compound. You do not run the risk of getting white spots or mottled looking teeth once they are already erupted; it occurs solely during development. People who are prone to cavities or have existing dental work or have tooth sensitivity are great candidates for fluoride treatment. It is a cheap and easy way to prevent getting new cavities or decay around existing restorations.
Sealants are typically placed on adult molars not long after the tooth erupts. The first adult molars come in between 5-7 years of age and the second molars and normally around 12 years. The goal is to seal off the grooves and pits of the teeth to prevent bacteria from entering and causing a cavity. Sometimes the grooves on teeth go all the way into the second layer of the tooth making the possibility of getting a cavity very high. Sealants are very quick to place and require no anesthesia. Sometimes very minimal drilling is required to remove any “sticky” tooth structure before placing the sealant. Even in these cases, using anesthesia is rare.
Oral Cancer Screening
This will also be completed at your initial exam and once a year a routine appointments. A visual exam of the gums, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth and palate is the first step. If patients have any problems or concerns further action will be taken.
Periodontal Screening and Treatment
The periodontium is composed of the tissues supporting the teeth, primarily composed of gums and bone. Periodontal screening will take place at your first visit and typically once a year at maintenance appointments. Periodontal screening includes evaluation of bone levels in routine xrays as well as gum measurements taken by the dentist or dental hygienist. This information helps to determine if a patient has gingivitis or periodontal disease and requires more advanced treatment such as Gingival Therapy or Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing or referral to the Periodontist.
Patients with periodontal disease will require close monitoring and more frequent visits for maintenance as well as education about how to stop the disease from progressing. People who are susceptible to periodontal disease are those who do not regularly visit the dentist for routine care, are lacking in brushing and flossing, are genetically predisposed or have certain systemic diseases such as diabetes. Periodontal disease is also linked with heart disease and preterm/low birth weight babies as well as some cancers.
Tooth Colored Fillings
We can utilize Cerec technology to make ceramic inlays instead of conventional composite tooth colored fillings. When a filling is small it holds up pretty well with composite, however when fillings become large it puts more stress on the remaining natural tooth structure and can lead to long term fracturing. Ceramic inlays are a much stronger material than composite and are bonded in place thus increasing the strength of the tooth.
Cerec is the best! This is the technology that allows us to do the “crown in a day” thing you may have heard about. We’ve had it since 2012 and it gets better and better each year. We use this machine to digitally image, design, and mill your restoration and can typically do it in under two hours. Our patients are constantly impressed with it, and we oftentimes walk into the room to find them taking pictures or videos of the machine in action!
Bridges are typically used to replace a single missing tooth. Although they can be used to replace more than one tooth, it will be up to the dentist to decide if the surrounding teeth and bone are going to be a good support system for new teeth. Bridges are basically crowns on either side of a missing tooth and a fake tooth in the middle. All three teeth are attached together and are cemented in the mouth. New technology and materials are making bridges stronger and more esthetic than in the past.
Partial dentures are used to replace teeth when there are some missing teeth. They are often made with a metal substructure to provide strength and increase the comfort for patients while chewing. Some people are candidates for dentures without metal and options will be discussed with the dentist.
Complete dentures are made when a patient is missing all of his or her teeth on either the top, bottom or both. There are multiple appointments involved to achieve a great pair of dentures that will last the patient a long time. Great care is taken to select teeth that are the right shape and color and look as natural as possible.
In the past, missing teeth could only be replaced with bridges or dentures. Although both are still very prevalent today, there is also the option of dental implants. Implants have been around for decades and are great for restoring a single tooth or an entire mouth. Dental implants are done in a few steps. First, there is a consult with the restorative dentist as well as the surgeon who will be placing the implant to make sure you are an appropriate candidate for a successful implant. Then the implant is placed and a temporary appliance is placed if needed. After a period of healing and integration, usually lasting 4-6 months, the final restoration is inserted. Implants can be use to support single teeth, bridges and dentures. They are becoming much more commonplace and improving the standard of living for patients everywhere.