Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that causes dental disease, like gingivitis, periodontal disease and dental caries.
Plaque is a film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva that sticks to the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque convert certain food particles into acids that cause tooth decay. Also, if plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). If plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, causing periodontal (gum) disease.
Plaque formation and growth is continuous and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids.
Tooth brushing – Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.
You should have your teeth checked and professionally cleaned at least twice a year, though we recommend more frequent visits for patients with excessive plaque buildup and periodontal disease.
Importance of a Professional Cleaning and Examination – Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. At these visits, your teeth are cleaned and checked for cavities. Additionally, there are many other things that are checked and monitored to help detect, prevent, and maintain your dental health. These include:
Medical history review – Knowing the status of any current medical conditions, new medications and illnesses, gives us insight to your over-all health and also your dental health.
Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs) – Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
Oral cancer screening – Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
Gum disease evaluation – Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
Examination of tooth decay – All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
Examination of existing restorations – Check current fillings for micro leakage, crown margins, etc.
Removal of calculus (tartar) – Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line, and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
Removal of plaque – Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
Teeth polishing – Removes stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
Oral hygiene recommendations – Review and recommend oral hygiene aids as needed (electric dental toothbrushes, special cleaning aids, fluorides, rinses,etc.).
As you can see, a good dental exam and cleaning involves quite a lot more than just checking for cavities and polishing your teeth. We are committed to providing you with the best possible care, and to do so will require regular check-ups and cleanings.
Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Unlike tooth decay, which often causes discomfort, it is possible to have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms. Having regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important and will help detect if early periodontal problems exist.
Periodontal disease begins when plaque, a sticky, colorless, film of bacteria, food debris, and saliva, is left on the teeth and gums. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that inflame the gums and slowly destroy the bone. Brushing and flossing regularly and properly will ensure that plaque is not left behind to do its damage.
Other than poor oral hygiene, there are several other factors that may increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
Smoking or chewing tobacco – Tobacco users are more likely than nonusers to form plaque and tartar on their teeth.
Certain tooth or appliance conditions – Bridges that no longer fit properly, crowded teeth, or defective fillings that may trap plaque and bacteria.
Many medications – Steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure meds, oral contraceptives. Some medications have side effects that reduce saliva, making the mouth dry and plaque easier to adhere to the teeth and gums.
Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty – Can cause changes in hormone levels, causing gum tissue to become more sensitive to bacteria toxins.
Systemic diseases – Diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV / AIDS, etc. Genetics may play role – Some patients may be predisposed to a more aggressive type of periodontitis. Patients with a family history of tooth loss should pay particular attention to their gums.
Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.
Brushing our teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, except in between the teeth. Unfortunately, our toothbrush can’t reach these areas that are highly susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that cause cavities and irritate and inflame the gums. Also, when plaque is not removed above and below the gumline, it hardens and turns into calculus (tartar). This will further irritate and inflame the gums and also slowly destroy the bone. This is the beginning of periodontal disease.
Daily flossing will help you keep a beautiful smile for life!
Porcelain veneers are very thin shells of tooth-shaped porcelain that are individually crafted to cover the fronts of teeth. They are very durable and will not stain, making them a very popular solution for those seeking to restore or enhance the beauty of their smile.
Veneers may be used to restore or correct the following dental conditions:
Getting veneers usually requires two visits. Veneers are created from an impression (mold) of your teeth that is then sent to a professional dental laboratory where each veneer is custom-made (for shape and color) for your individual smile.
With little or no anesthesia, teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the front surface of the teeth to allow for the small thickness of veneers. The veneers are carefully fitted and bonded onto the tooth surface with special bonding cements and occasionally a specialized light may be used to harden and set the bond.
Veneers are an excellent dental treatment that can dramatically improve your teeth and give you a natural, beautiful smile.
You can review our services pages for this information. If you have questions about these or other dental procedures, don’t hesitate to call us. We would be happy to explain any aspect of your dental care or our service offerings.
Since teeth whitening has now become the number one aesthetic concern of many patients, there are many products and methods available to achieve a brighter smile.
Professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel, and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Over-the-counter products are also available, but they are much less effective than professional treatments and may not be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears away, eventually revealing a darker or yellow shade. The color of our teeth also comes from the inside of the tooth, which may become darker over time. Smoking, drinking coffee, tea, and wine may also contribute to tooth discoloration, making our teeth yellow and dull. Sometimes, teeth can become discolored from taking certain medications as a child, such as tetracycline. Excessive fluoridation (fluorosis) during tooth development can also cause teeth to become discolored.
It’s important to have your teeth evaluated by your dentist to determine if you’re a good candidate for bleaching. Occasionally, tetracycline and fluorosis stains are difficult to bleach and your dentist may offer other options, such as veneers or crowns to cover up such stains. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is also important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. before bleaching begins. Once the bleaching is done, your dentist can match the new restorations to the shade of the newly whitened teeth.
Since teeth whitening is not permanent, a touch-up may be needed every several years to keep your smile looking bright.
The most widely used professional teeth whitening systems:
Home teeth whitening systems: At-home products usually come in a gel form that is placed in a custom-fitted mouth guard (tray), created from a mold of your teeth. The trays are worn either twice a day for approximately 30 minutes, or overnight while you sleep. It usually takes several weeks to achieve the desired results depending on the degree of staining and the desired level of whitening.
In office teeth whitening: This treatment is done in the dental office and you will see results immediately. It may require more than one visit, with each visit lasting 30 to 60 minutes. While your gums are protected, a bleaching solution is applied to the teeth. A special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent while the teeth are whitened.
Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity after having their teeth whitened. This sensation is temporary and subsides shortly after you complete the bleaching process, usually within a few days to one week. Sensitivity issues will be discussed to evaluate if you are a candidate for this type of whitening.
Patients who are missing teeth can choose from bridges, partials, full dentures, or dental implants to complete their smiles. Dental implants have become a choice treatment as they will improve your smile and your lifestyle. They look, feel, and function like natural teeth because of a titanium anchor attached to the jawbone. Implants can also anchor bridges, partials, or full dentures to eliminate slipping.
Dental implants are artificial roots (titanium screws) that are surgically placed into the jaw to replace one or more missing teeth. Porcelain crowns, bridges, and dentures can be made specifically to fit and attach to implants, giving a patient a strong, stable, and durable solution to removable dental appliances. The procedure for implants may take anywhere from 6-9months depending on location of implant and need for any additional procedures. Please ask us for more details if you have any questions.
When the nerve (pulp) in the tooth is diseased or damaged, root canal therapy is done to save the tooth. The purpose of root canal treatment is to remove the dead or dying nerve and bacteria in order for the tooth to be infection free and allow it to heal to health. The procedure sometimes takes a single appointment and sometimes two. First step is usually to remove the dying nerve and cleaning out the canals after making a small opening in the top of the tooth. If the tooth is very infected, we may need to place medication in it and put a temporary filling on the tooth for a few days. Once the tooth is comfortable and infection free, we seal the canals with a “rubber “type of a material called” gutta percha”, which will seal of the canals to any more bacteria and create an environment of healing for the tooth.
Most of the time, yes. Once a root canal treatment is done on a tooth, due to loss of nerve and blood supply from the tooth, it becomes brittle and more prone to fracture. To prevent that from happening most of the root canal treated teeth are crowned. Exception to the rule are teeth with mostly intact tooth structure and a very small access opening, or location limitations due to rotation or crowding.
Bruxism is another name for the habit of grinding and clenching the teeth. It may occur due to stressful situations, sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, crooked or missing teeth or other factors.
If grinding and clenching is due to a temporary “stress time”, we usually recommend relaxation techniques like warm bath, light music, or any other relaxing activity. You can also apply warm wash cloths on the face to help the facial muscles relax.
If the wear on your teeth is excessive, we will recommend a “nightguard or occlusal guard”. It is custom made appliance that fits snugly but comfortably over your upper teeth. It is made of hard and soft materials that act as shock absorbers to protect your teeth from wear and prevent damage to your TMJ joint.
Treatment of grinding and clenching is very vital as it prevents teeth from getting deeper fracture lines and from wearing your enamel and dentin down. As the fracture lines get deeper, you may start getting sensitivity in your teeth and maybe start fracturing off cusps of teeth that can only be restored with crowns later. Also, it prevents your delicate TMJ from being damaged. If you constantly grind your teeth, you will tend to wear out the delicate ligament in your joint and cause TMJ disorders.
Very well, actually! In addition to following guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and OSHA, we use disposable products as often as possible. Between each patient visit, we thoroughly clean treatment rooms and sterilize reusable instruments in an autoclave. If you have questions about our safety and sterilization methods, call us. We’ll answer your questions with enthusiasm because we love to take care of our patients and want you to be comfortable about your safety in our office.
Dental radiographs, or X-rays, provide us with valuable information that cannot be visible clinically. We can see what’s going on beneath, between, and under your teeth and gums. We can also detect problems in existing dental work, as well as receding bone and abscesses. For instance, cavities and gum disease and infections show up as dark places on white teeth and bone images.
Yes, We are a provider for a few insurance plans and as a courtesy to our patients; we file your out-of-network insurance claims electronically for you. Please expect to pay your co-pay or deductible at your visit. If your insurance provider does not pay their estimated portion, we will adjust your account to reflect the balance due. However, if you have any insurance or account related questions, please do not hesitate to call our office manager.
Like plastic surgery, insurance does not usually cover treatment done for purely cosmetic reasons. However, treatment that is needed to repair broken or decayed teeth or to replace existing restorations that are defective may qualify for some insurance reimbursement.
We accept cash, checks, and credit cards. Additional interest free or low interest financial options are also available with us. Just ask us the next time you come in for your dental visit.
Bad breath (halitosis) can be an unpleasant and an embarrassing condition. Many of us may not realize that we have bad breath, but everyone has it from time to time, especially in the morning.
There are many reasons for bad breath:
Morning time – Saliva flow almost stops during sleep and its reduced cleansing action allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
Certain foods – Garlic, onions, etc. Foods containing odor-causing compounds enter the blood stream; they are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled.
Poor oral hygiene habits – Food particles remaining in the mouth promote bacterial growth.
Periodontal (gum) disease – Colonies of bacteria and food debris residing under inflamed gums.
Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances – May also contribute to bad breath.
Dry mouth (Xerostomia) – May be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing.
Tobacco products – Dry the mouth, causing bad breath.
Dieting – Certain chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat.
Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals – Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow and washes bacteria away.
Certain medical conditions and illnesses – Diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia are several conditions that may contribute to bad breath.
Keeping a record of what you eat may help identify the cause of bad breath. Also, review your current medications, recent surgeries, or illnesses with your dentist.
You can prevent bad breath by the following ways:
Practice good oral hygiene – Brush at least twice a day with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gumline. Brush or use a tongue scraper to clean the tongue and reach the back areas. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. If you wear dentures or removable bridges, clean them thoroughly and place them back in your mouth in the morning.
See your dentist regularly – Get a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. If you have or have had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend more frequent visits.
Stop smoking/chewing tobacco – Ask your dentist what they recommend to help break the habit.
Drink water frequently – Water will help keep your mouth moist and wash away bacteria.
Use mouthwash/rinses – Some over-the-counter products only provide a temporary solution to mask unpleasant mouth odor. Ask your dentist about antiseptic rinses that not only alleviate bad breath, but also kill the germs that cause the problem.
In most cases, your dentist can treat the cause of bad breath. If it is determined that your mouth is healthy, but bad breath is persistent, your dentist may refer you to your physician to determine the cause of the odor and an appropriate treatment plan.
If you’re feeling somewhat self-conscious about your teeth, or just want to improve your smile, cosmetic dental treatments may be the answer to a more beautiful, confident smile.
Cosmetic dentistry has become very popular in the last several years, not only due the many advances in cosmetic dental procedures and materials available today, but also because patients are becoming more and more focused on improving their overall health. This includes dental prevention and having a healthier, whiter, more radiant smile.
There are many cosmetic dental procedures available to improve your teeth and enhance your smile. Depending on your particular needs, cosmetic dental treatments can change your smile dramatically, from restoring a single tooth to having a full mouth make-over. Ask your dentist how you can improve the health and beauty of your smile with cosmetic dentistry.
Teeth Whitening – Bleaching lightens teeth that have been stained or discolored by age, food, drink, and smoking. Teeth darkened as a result of injury or taking certain medications can also be bleached, but the effectiveness depends on the degree of staining present.
Composite (tooth-colored) Fillings – Also known as “bonding”, composite fillings are now widely used instead of amalgam (silver) fillings to repair teeth with cavities, and also to replace old defective fillings. Tooth-colored fillings are also used to repair chipped, broken, or discolored teeth. This type of filling is also very useful to fill in gaps and to protect sensitive, exposed root surfaces caused by gum recession.
Porcelain Veneers – Veneers are thin custom-made, tooth-colored porcelain shells that are bonded onto the fronts of teeth to create a beautiful individual smile. They can help restore or camouflage damaged, discolored, poorly shaped, or misaligned teeth. Unlike crowns, veneers require minimal tooth structure to be removed from the surface of the tooth.
Porcelain Crowns (caps) – A crown is a tooth-colored, custom-made covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. Crowns protect and strengthen teeth that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations. They are ideal for teeth that have large, fractured or broken fillings and also for those that are badly decayed.
Dental Implants : Dental implants are artificial roots that are surgically placed into the jaw to replace one or more missing teeth. Porcelain crowns, bridges, and dentures can be made specifically to fit and attach to implants, giving a patient a strong, stable, and durable solution to removable dental appliances.
Orthodontics : Less visible and more effective brackets and wires are making straightening teeth with orthodontics much more appealing to adult patients. Also, in some cases, teeth may be straightened with custom-made, clear, removable aligners that require no braces like Invisalign.
Thanks to the advances in modern dentistry, cosmetic treatments can make a difference in making your smile shine!
Decay is caused by plaque – a thin, sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that constantly forms on everyone’s teeth. When sugar is eaten, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. After repeated acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity or hole is formed in the tooth. Untreated decay keeps getting bigger and more painful as it is getting closer to the nerve. In some cases, it will involve the nerve leading to the need for a root canal treatment. Therefore, it is very important to address cavities when they are small and need less extensive restoration.
Comparisons have been made between power-assisted (electric) toothbrushes and manual toothbrushes to look at the ability of each to remove plaque and prevent or reduce calculus (tartar) buildup, thus reducing gingivitis (gum disease). These research studies have shown both powered and manual toothbrushes to be equally effective when used correctly. So probably, in practical terms, which brush you use is not the critical factor, but how you use it. We can give you instructions for proper tooth brushing technique with a manual brush, and product packaging shows the best way to use powered brushes.
Generally, whitening is successful in at least 90 percent of patients though it may not be an option for everyone. Consider tooth whitening if your teeth are darkened from age, coffee, tea, or smoking. Teeth darkened with the color of yellow, brown, or orange respond better to whitening. Other types of gray stains caused by fluorosis, smoking or tetracycline are lightened, but results are not as dramatic. If you have very sensitive teeth, periodontal disease, or teeth with worn enamel, we may discourage you from having whitening as that will lead to hypersensitivity later on.
Chipped or misshapen teeth can ruin an otherwise pleasing smile. The long-term restoration of choice is porcelain veneers. A less expensive (but less durable) option may be a bonding, which can usually be performed in one visit. Done properly, both porcelain veneers and bonding can be applied, color-matched and shaped to make your teeth appear natural again.
Many times other options can be suggested after a cosmetic consultation, including porcelain veneers, crowns, bonding, orthodontics or simply cosmetic contouring of the teeth.
Regular visits help a child get comfortable with the dentists and our staff. These visits also allow us to consistently evaluate your child’s jaw and teeth growth and take early corrective measures if needed. Also, regular exams and cleanings help prevent decay and avoid costly problems. Regular dental visits are part of leading a healthy and normal life for your child.
Any fluoridated toothpaste that is recognized by the American Dental Association is recommended. (However, children under 3 should not generally use a fluoridated toothpaste – they should use a non-fluoridated infant toothpaste or simply water.)
The most important thing to do is to remain calm. If you have the tooth, you should attempt to insert it back into its socket and then contact us immediately. If you have difficulty re-inserting the tooth, place it in a glass of milk and contact us immediately.
Each child’s intake can vary greatly. We recommend discussing this during your child’s exam. If your child’s fluoride intake is insufficient, we will often prescribe fluoride supplementation.
We recommend that a child have his or her first oral health care appointment around age one. We suggest an oral health visit as soon as a baby’s first tooth erupts.