Diagnostic & Preventive:
The examination applies to new, existing and emergency patients. The exam includes the examination of all hard (teeth) and soft tissues of the mouth. The dentist will record all of the findings, diagnose and present an accurate treatment plan for each patient.
X-rays are a focused beam of x-ray particles passed through bone which produce an image on special film, showing the structure through which it passed. This provides the familiar black and white images doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems and disease. Without an x-ray of the whole tooth and supporting bone and gum tissues, there would be no way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention.
ORAL CANCER SCREENING
As part of your routine dental exam, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening exam. More specifically, your dentist will feel for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face, and oral cavity. When examining your mouth, your dentist will look for any sores or discolored tissue as well as check for any signs and symptoms mentioned above.
ORAL HYGIENE CARE
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being. Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop. In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems.
A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning you receive from a dentist or dental hygienist. Most dental cleanings take only between 25 and 30 minutes. Cleanings should be performed every three to six months to prevent excessive plaque buildup depending on your history of, and susceptibility to disease. Plaque left untreated can lead to unhealthy gums and tooth decay. A routine dental cleaning should include scaling and polishing. Dental hygienists traditionally perform scaling by hand. However, new and advanced technology has led to more modern methods such as ultrasonic and piezo-electric scalers. These sophisticated instruments allows dental cleanings to be performed more efficiently and in less time. To achieve best results, both electric and manual scaling methods may be combined for dental cleanings.
Sealants are used to fill narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn’t brush, but because they’re too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. To avoid cavities developing over time, the dentist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.
TOOTH COLORED FILLINGS
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay or trauma back to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, the dentist will first remove any decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. A filling also helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter. Dr. Niles uses composite resins which are custom made to the exact color of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance.
CROWN AND BRIDGE
Crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth that are damaged, or to take the place of missing teeth. A crown, also referred to as a cap, is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth. A crown not only strengthens a tooth, but it can dramatically improve a tooth’s appearance, shape and alignment.
Crowns may be used to:
- Replace a large filling when there is little tooth structure remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Attach a bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Cover and protect a tooth that has had root canal treatment from breaking
A bridge is a method to fill the space created by missing teeth that may be used if the missing tooth (teeth) can not be replaced with dental implants. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth that are cemented into place using the teeth on either side for support, hence the name. This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material made to match your natural tooth color. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or esthetics.
INLAYS AND ONLAYS
In dentistry, an inlay is an indirect restoration (filling) consisting of a solid substance (as gold or porcelain) fitted to a cavity in a tooth and cemented into place. An onlay is the same as an inlay, except that it extends to replace a cusp. Crowns are onlays which completely cover all surfaces of a tooth.
NIGHT GUARDS & MOUTH GUARDS
Custom designed mouth guards are made of flexible plastic and molded to fit the shape of your teeth. Mouth guards are recommended to protect the jaw and teeth during physical activity and sports such as boxing, football, basketball, skiing or other activities where your mouth may get hit. In addition, these guards protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. Night guards, often made of a more firm plastic material are recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth at night as a way to protect their teeth and jaw joints from pain and damage.
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when an untreated cavity reaches all the way to this pulp. Treatment may also be needed when deep restorations or trauma to a tooth cause nerve damage. Once the pulp becomes infected, it can begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is known as an abscess). If the pulp is infected, not only is it painful but it will require treatment as it cannot heal on its own. Symptoms that indicate the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. However, sometimes no symptoms are apparent and you may be unaware of any problem until a checkup.
A root canal is performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp and disinfect the canals of the tooth. Alternate treatment would be to extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal is filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy.
Gum Disease Treatment:
Scaling and Root Planing is intended to provide a healthy tissue environment in which tissues re-adapt to normal tooth surfaces. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of calculus, plaque, and stain on the crowns and root surfaces of teeth. It can begin as localized gingival inflammation and progress to serious disease that result in major damage to the soft tissue and the bone that supports the teeth. Left untreated, this disease progresses to the ultimate loss of teeth. In periodontal disease, gingival tissue may detach (pull away) from teeth, and periodontal pockets form.
Periodontal maintenance is the procedures and protocols employed to clean and maintain the teeth and gums following a diagnosis and stabilization treatment of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease in not ‘cured’, only ‘arrested’. The procedures may appear to the patient to be very similar to a regular cleaning, but because the dentist or hygienist must now evaluate, instrument, and monitor the tissues differently and quite often more frequently, the procedures must be differentiated.
Good oral hygiene should always be practiced since the loss of a single tooth can have major impact upon your oral health and appearance. Although dentists will use every measure to prevent tooth loss, there are still some occasions when a tooth may need to be extracted. A tooth may need to be extracted if the following occurs:
- Severe decay
- Advanced periodontal (gum) disease, which involves loss of supporting bone.
- Infection or abscess
- Orthodontic correction
- Malpositioned teeth
- Fractured teeth or roots
- Impacted teeth
After careful examination and treatment, the dentist may advise to have a tooth extracted. Before a tooth is removed, the dentist will take an x-ray in order to understand the shape and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. Based on the degree of difficulty, we may refer you to a specialist called an oral surgeon.
Replacing Missing Teeth:
A dental implant is a tooth restoration for people who are missing one or more teeth as a result of injury, periodontal disease, or any other reason. A dental implant is a metal post that the dentist surgically positions into the jaw to replace the root of the lost tooth. Once in place and the bone surrounding the implant has had time to heal, a crown, which serves as a replacement tooth is attached to the implant post. While implants are typically more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, they provide superior benefits. Implants are stronger than natural teeth and generally last 10-20 years. They are also a more favorable approach than bridgework since they do not depend on neighboring teeth for support. This means they do not weaken the remaining teeth the way a bridge can. Implants effectively keep a one tooth problem a one tooth problem, rather than involving additional teeth the way a bridge does. To receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. You must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits as these are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.
PARTIAL & FULL DENTURES
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures available, including partial and complete dentures. Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain, while complete dentures are used to replace all of the teeth in one or both arches (upper and lower). Dentures can be made to resemble or improve upon your natural teeth. In fact, dentures may be the best way to improve your smile.
IMPLANT RETAINED DENTURES
An implant retained partial denture is a denture that is held in place by dental implants and can be removed from the mouth during sleep or when dentures need cleaning. However, unlike conventional dentures which simply slip into place, these partials are anchored to fixed titanium posts embedded in the jawbone that emulate natural tooth roots.
Implant retained partial dentures are much better for patients than standard dentures because the implants themselves keep the jawbone constantly stimulated with the vibrations of chewing and eating. This prevents bone recession that always results when natural teeth are missing.
Implant retained partial dentures are also intended to evenly distribute chewing forces over the entirety of the arch and surrounding. This makes them work like more like natural teeth, and to act in harmony with remaining natural teeth. A person with these special partials can better enjoy daily life and eating without stress, discomfort, or embarrassment.
Veneers are a dental procedure in which a covering is placed over the outside (visible area) of the tooth. Veneers are usually only applied to the part of the tooth that is visible when talking or smiling. Veneers will be fabricated at a dental laboratory. At the first appointment the teeth are prepared, impressions taken, and the teeth are given a temporary covering. In two to three weeks the veneers are back from the laboratory, the temporaries are removed and the veneers are bonded to the teeth. The laboratory fabricated veneers are usually made using porcelain or pressed ceramic and are very aesthetic. The advantage of veneers versus crowns is that much less tooth material is removed, and the procedure is generally less uncomfortable. Veneers are recommended for teeth that have large fillings or little tooth structure.
Tray whitening is a less expensive whitening treatment you can use while in the comfort of your own home. We will first take an impression of your mouth to create customized clear whitening trays for you to wear. Within a few days your trays will be ready to be picked up and we will show you how to apply the special bleaching material to the trays. The whitening gel trays should be worn 30-60 minutes up to twice a day. At the end of this period, you will see maximum whitening results that are nothing short of dazzling. Occasional treatment can be used at your convenience to maintain your new smile.