We provide basic and advanced general dentistry care designed to maintain and restore oral health.
If you are missing a tooth, a bridge is a possible solution to provide you with a natural looking replacement. A bridge, typically fabricated out of porcelain, anchors onto adjacent teeth to support a false tooth in a gap. The lifespan of a bridge is 10-15 years depending on your oral routine. Alternative solutions to tooth replacement include: dental implant or a removable partial denture.
It is essential to replace a missing tooth as soon as practical to prevent your teeth from shifting. Shifting teeth can result in a change to your bite which can cause speech impediment, tooth decay, and an increase in periodontal disease. To construct a bridge 2-3 visits are required: teeth preparation, impression, and delivery of the bridge. So, ask us today about bridges and other tooth-replacement options that might be right for you.
Digital Radiography (Digital X-Ray)
Digital radiography is a new form of X-Ray imaging that uses digital sensors in place of film. With this new technology, patients are exposed to a lower and much safer amount of radiation. This process also cuts down the development time of an image from minutes to seconds while producing an image with a much higher resolution.
In short, this new technology is the preferred method because:
- Produces 90% less radiation than film x-rays
- Produces images with much more detail
- Images can be magnified 300 times its standard size to aid in diagnosis
- Images appear instantaneously on the computer, thus reducing appointment times
With these qualities, digital x-rays can be used to diagnose dental problems. They can reveal hidden decay, abscess, impacted or extra teeth and provide current conditions of fillings, crowns, bridges and root canals. However, digital x-rays do not replace the visual examinations by the dentist. By combining both a visual examination and digital x-rays, the best possible treatment can be determined. Dependent on your dental history, x-rays are typically taken every 6 – 18months.
Today, there are several types of filling materials available. Teeth can be restored with: amalgam, composite, gold, or ceramic fillings. The location and extent of decay will determine the type of filling material required.
Amalgam (Silver or Metal)
- Approved and determined safe by the American Dental Association
- Lasts for 10 to 12 years
- Contains less mercury than previously used in years past (contains approximately 50% mercury)
- Can be safely removed and replaced with tooth-colored restorations
- Tooth preparation for filling can result in a weaker tooth structure
- Can corrode, lead, and stain teeth and gums
- Composed of plastic and glass materials that resemble tooth-color
- Less wear resistant
- Lasts 7 to 10 years
- Adds strength to weakened teeth
- More conservative tooth preparation
- More expensive than amalgam filings
- Insurance companies will not always cover the additional cost
- Can tolerate higher chewing forces
- Lasts 10 to 15 years
- 10 times the price of amalgam fillings
- Can cause an electric shock when placed next to a silver filling
- Color and translucency mimic natural tooth enamel
- Very strong and resistant to wear
- Lasts for 15+ years
An oral examination is the process where the systemic health of a patient is investigated to identify pathologies or concerns. Once the process has been completed, a customized treatment plan is developed. The plan will be designed to maximize your oral health, while meeting the goals and expectations you and Dr. Vu develop.
A typical outline of an oral exam:
- 1. Medical History
- We will identify necessary precautions before treatment
- List of current medications being taken, including vitamins and natural remedies
- Smoking and alcohol consumption
- Known drug allergies
- Previous experience with anesthesia
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia
- Known family member reactions to anesthesia
- Any medical conditions currently being treated for
- Previous surgeries or hospitalizations
- 2. Exploration
- Every surface of every tooth is explored to:
- Uncover new cavities
- Examine existing fillings. (Depending on your existing filling material and oral care, fillings can breakdown and require replacement. In some cases, fillings are replaced to improve aesthetics)
- X-Rays are used to detect abnormalities that are not visible to the naked eye. Periodontal probing is performed to measure the relationship of the supporting bone structure and the gums to discover periodontal disease.
- The calibrated probe placed between the teeth and gums, measures (in millimeters) the total amount of “gum adherence” to the teeth.
- A measurement of 1 to 3 millimeters indicates nonexistence of a periodontal disease
- A measurement of 4 millimeters or greater indicates a periodontal disease and potential bone loss
- If a patient has been diagnosed with a periodontal disease, a treatment plan will consist of scaling and root planning. Depending on the severity of the case, a patient may be referred to a periodontist for additional treatment
- All examination findings will be discussed and explained in the form of a treatment plan
- 3. Education
- Professional cleaning is recommended every six months or as often as every three months for patients who have a higher risk for periodontal diseases, such as smokers and diabetics.
- Brushing should occur after every meal. (Brushing too hard can cause enamel erosion and gum recession.)
- Flossing should happen at least once a day to remove debris and prevent bacteria from forming
- Nutritional habits play a large role in dental hygiene
- Special attention is given to patients who suffer from bad breath, dry mouth, and sensitive teeth
- 4. Cleaning
- Cleaning usually occurs during or after the initial exam and development of the treatment plan
- Scalers and other instruments are used to clean the entire surface of each tooth and its root surface
- Each tooth is gently polished with mild pumice
- Flouride treatment is applied at the end
- Patients with periodontal disease require scheduling “treatment” cleanings in two to four visits
- 5. Take-Home Goods
- Patients will be given the following items:
- Next appointment card
- Proper dental hygiene will preserve your teeth and help us achieve our goal of providing the best dental care and education for all patients. A healthier mouth will increase your overall health and avoid any future problems. We strive to do our best to help all of our patients keep their smiles bright and avoid damage to their dental investments.
Routine Cleanings and Preventive Care
Routine cleaning and preventive care is a very important part of maintaining good oral hygiene. Routine cleanings will help remove plaque and prevent cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal disease that regular brushing cannot reach or adequately prevent. Routine cleanings will also provide the opportunity of having dental x-rays taken to detect decay and any arising problems not visible to the naked eye. Call us today to schedule a routine cleaning or if you have any questions or concerns. Most insurance companies cover routine cleanings every six months.
- 1. Brushing:
- Reduces the sugar and acids on or around the teeth
- Brush your teeth for approximately the length of a song (3 – 4 minutes) Most people think they are brushing 3-4 minutes but in actuality, it is usually under a minute of brushing
- Brush at least twice a day or after every meal
- If a toothbrush is not available, rinse your mouth with water for a few times
- 2. Flossing:
- Cleans out plaque and other materials from areas the toothbrush cannot reach (Approximately 80% of cavities form between the grooves of the teeth and the chewing surfaces)
- If you do not floss and allow plaque to build up between the teeth, it will harden and become what is known as tartar, which, once formed, can only be removed by professional dental cleaning. If left untreated, dangerous bacteria builds up within tartar and produces a toxin, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis. Gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease where bacteria and toxins will invade the gums, bone and the support structure of the teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to bone loss, loose teeth and teeth falling out.
- An alternative to flossing is an interproximal dental cleaner
- 3. Sealants:
- Adds protection to the teeth by reducing decay, providing fluoride treatment, and improving the strength of the tooth enamel
- Recommended for children
- Does not require any drilling and only takes a few minutes
- Sealant lifespan is typically 3 to 5 years
If you have any more questions about preventive care, do not hesitate to contact us.