FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions



Why do I need x-rays?

A dental cleaning is an excellent way to prevent dental problems. During the dental cleaning visit your hygienist is able to see inside your mouth and examine your teeth, gums, oral tissues, and tongue with her loupes (magnifying lenses). She may also take intraoral photographs that allow you to see inside and look at outside of specific teeth. If she sees an area that causes concern, it may be necessary to look in between the teeth or inside the tooth to be able to determine if the tooth is healthy or if it needs dental treatment. Fortunately, even though our dentists and hygienists don't have x-ray vision, our digital x-rays can often allow us to detect issues while they are small and less expensive to treat. X-rays can detect small areas of decay between teeth and under existing fillings or crowns. People who have more existing dental work and those who tend to be more prone to having cavities may need dental x-rays more frequently than others who have never had a cavity and have immaculate dental home care.

Our ProMax Imaging System lets us take 3D images of your teeth, as well as take comfortable cavity-detecting x-rays and gives us valuable information prior to providing dental treatment. It also allows us to take panoramic images of your entire jaw to see:

  • abscesses or cysts
  • bone infections
  • periodontal (gum) disease
  • developmental abnormalities
  • sinus issues
  • unerupted teeth
  • some types of tumors
WTH - I'm going to Wait 'Til it Hurts

Many people do not see a dentist for regular visits, even when they have dental insurance that pays for preventive care. Instead they call only when they are in pain or have an "emergency". One of the problems with "crisis treatment" rather than "preventive treatment" is that you relinquish control when you rely on the WTH (Wait 'Til it Hurts) method of dental care. Whether you are trying to control your costs, your time, or your comfort, you benefit from being proactive and seeking preventive care on a regular basis. When cavities and other dental issues are detected early, you can save money and time by having the tooth treated before the problem gets more involved and more expensive. (A preventive resin restoration is significantly less expensive and less time intensive than a root canal and crown!)

Toothaches seem to happen at the least convenient times and can ruin a vacation, weekend, or holiday.

Dental Procedures

Bonding

Tooth-colored composite resin is applied to repair teeth that are chipped, decayed, fractured, or discolored

Bridges
Traditional Dental Bridge
The most popular type of bridge consist of one or more pontics (fake teeth) and are held in place by dental retainer crowns) on each side of the missing tooth. Traditional bridges are used when you have natural teeth on each side of the gap formed by the missing tooth / teeth. The retainer crowns needed for this type of bridge do require the irreversible removal of dental enamel which requires those teeth to always need the protection of a crown.
Cantilever Bridge
Cantilever bridges are similar to traditional bridges except that they are held inplace by a dental retainer crown on one side of the bridge. They may be an option if only one natural tooth is next to the gap. The tooth beside the pontic will need to be prepared by removing the enamel. Because the crown is supported on only one side, it may be subject to complications like fractured or loosened crowns.
Maryland Bridge
Maryland Bridges are conservative alternatives to traditional bridges. They are held in place by a metal or porcelain framework that is bonded to the backs of the teeth adjacent to the gap created by the missing tooth. Because the enamel of the adjacent teeth is not removed, the strength of the bridge is dependent on the strength of the resin that holds the bridge in place making it more likely to need to be recemented. A Maryland bridge may not be strong enough to withstand the pressure of biting that is exerted by molar teeth. The framework of the bridge may also restrict your bite and be irritating.
Implant-Supported Bridge
Implant-supported bridges may be used when you have several missing teeth. The bridge is supported by dental implants instead of being supported by a framework or crowns on natural teeth. Instead of an implant replacing each missing tooth, pontics are placed between the dental implants crowns creating a complete bridge without any natural teeth. Since dental implants are secure and comfortable like natural teeth, they provide the same stability as a tradional bridge.
Cosmetic Bonding and Contouring

Cosmetic bonding and contouring can used to improve the appearance of your smile in a single visit. We can change the appearance of your smile through cosmetic contouring. Simply by removing a few millimeters of tooth enamel or by adding tooth colored material to your natural tooth, we can change the shape of your tooth or close gaps between teeth. This may eliminate the need for minor orthodontic treatment. The benefits of cosmetic bonding are:

  • Minimally invasive - requires less removal of tooth enamel.
  • Repairs damaged or broken teeth
  • Can close gaps in teeth.
  • Can change the shape and color of teeth
  • Can be altered in the future
  • Perfect for developing smiles
  • Can be more cost-effective for budget-minded patients
  • Can improve dental health by allowing you to have the ability to clean better around teeth
Crowns

Crowns are used to:

  • strengthen teeth
  • restore teeth to their natural shape and size
  • restore a broken tooth or severely worn tooth
  • protect a weak tooth from breaking or hold together a cracked tooth
  • enhance appearance by covering misshaped or discolored teeth
  • cover and support a tooth with large filling and little natural tooth structure remaining
  • attach bridges
  • cover a dental implant
  • cover a tooth treated with root canal
Possible Problems with Crowns:
Discomfort or sensitivity
Heat or cold sensitivity due to the loss of enamel.
Sensivity when biting down may mean the crown is sitting too high and needs to be adjusted to relieve the pressure.
Chipped crown
Porcelain on crowns may chip. These chips can sometimes be repaired in the office while others may require replacement of the crown.
Loose crown
If the crown becomes loose, it may allow bacteria to leak around the crown that could cause decay to the remaining tooth structure.
Crown comes off
This can occur due to insufficient bond, lack of cement, improper fit, or defective crown.
Dentures

Dentures are removable appliances that replace missing teeth - restoring your smile and your ability to eat and speak. Types of dentures:

Conventional Dentures
The full removable denture is made and placed in your mouth after any remaining teeth are removed and the gum tissues have healed completely. This is the most comfortable and best fitting option for full dentures.
Immediate Dentures
An immediate denture is placed in your mouth on the same day that any remaining teeth are removed. During one of more preliminary visits, the dentist will make measurements and models of your teeth in order for the dentures to be made prior to your teeth being removed. While this allows you not to be without teeth, it usually requires that the denture be relined after your gums have healed to ensure a proper fit.
Overdentures
If you have a few teeth that are healthy, it may be preferable to keep those teeth in order to preserve bone structure if possible. An overdenture is a full denture that is designed to fit over either a few remaining teeth or dental implants.
Implant-supported Dentures
An implant-supported denture is the most stable and natural feeling denture that we provide. Dental implants are used to attach the denture firmly in place.
Partial Dentures
Often referred to as a "partial", a partial denture is a removal appliance that is designed to replace one or more missing teeth - but not all of the teeth in an arch. It is a removable option for people who do not want to have a bridge or an implant to replace missing teeth.
Extractions

If a tooth is unrestorable due to disease or injury, it may be necessary to remove or extract it. Dentists classify the type of extraction according to degree of impaction of the tooth or the need to perform surgery to order to safely remove the tooth.

    Reasons a tooth may need to be extracted:
  • The tooth is an extra (supernumerary) tooth that keeps another tooth from erupting properly.
  • A baby tooth that doesn't fall out in time to allow permanent teeth to come in correctly.
  • Orthodontic treatment requires that we remove teeth to allow room for teeth to move into place.
Fillings

Dental fillings are used to restore small defects in teeth where the majority of the tooth is still healthy, strong, and intact. We typically use composite resin material made of a combination of glass and resin to fill in the areas affected by tooth decay. This highly durable tooth-colored material allows anterior (front) fillings to be natural looking while providing an excellent chewing surface for posterior (back) teeth. Occasionally, we may use a silver-colored or amalgam filling in areas where it is difficult for the composite material to bond adequately to the natural tooth structure.

Root Canal Therapy | Endodontics

Root canal therapy (also known as endodontic treatment) is often recommended when a tooth becomes infected by a deep cavity, a cracked or fractured tooth, or an injury to the tooth. If the soft tissue (pulp) inside the tooth is untreated, the tissues around the root of the tooth can become infected leading to pain, swelling, and a potential abscess inside the tooth or in the bone around the tip of the tooth root. To avoid permanent damage and loss of the tooth, an root canal may be necessary.

Sealants

Sealants are thin protective coatings used on difficult to clean rough, uneven molar teeth to "seal" the tooth surface and reduce the risk of decay. They work like a protective shell for your teeth to keep bacteria and acid from remaining on your teeth and creating cavities (holes).