What we call a “prophy” is a professional cleaning by a dentist or hygienist to clean everything you see above the gums. The removal of plaque, calculus, a thorough flossing and a nice polish to make everything feel clean, smooth and help bring your mouth back to a healthy state of health.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer screenings are conducted free of charge for all patients at every wellness exam. If your friend or family member has a concern about oral cancer please give us a call.
Periodontal treatment is needed if there is calculus and debris hiding below the gums. Patients often notice this with painful bleeding gums or we will discover this disease process when we measure your gums (pocket depths) at your exam and cleaning appointments. Sometimes this is a sign of gingivitis but in more severe cases Periodontal Disease has begun and can lead to permanent tissue and bone loss around the teeth if left untreated. Often we suggest patients have local anesthesia for periodontal therapy as we want you to be as comfortable as possible. Multiple visits may be required if the entire mouth is affected but it is important to prevent Periodontal Disease from worsening. If left untreated, what begins as recession and deep pocketing can lead to teeth becoming loose, gums being painful and swollen and the eventual loss of teeth.
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. Often sealants are only placed on kids and teens. However patients of every age can benefit if they have a high risk of cavities and deep grooves on their teeth.
Basic fillings are typically where the decayed tooth structure from a cavity is removed and the tooth is restored to being whole with tooth colored filling material called composite or on rare occasion the metal looking filling material called amalgam. Teeth can also require fillings if they break, have wear or are sometimes used to improve the look of the teeth with “cosmetic” bondings.
Crowns (also known as “caps”) are used to cover the entire tooth. These are indicated when half or more of your tooth is made up of a filling and is at risk for breaking. Crowns are both protective and cosmetic. 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.
In our office this is a two step process where we make the shape for the crown, send the impression to a certified lab technician who will design and build your crown out of gold/porcelain/zirconia/high noble metal, or a combination of those 4. While the crown is being fabricated at the lab you will have a matching tooth colored temporary crown in it’s place for cosmetic and functional purposes. The lab will then deliver your crown to us and we will cement it permanently into place at a second appointment.
Bridges are a tooth replacement option. Multiple crowns are involved and the space where a tooth was removed is disguised with a fake tooth. These are both cosmetic and functional and a good option for a non removable tooth replacement.
Partials are a removable tooth replacement option for those missing some but not all of their teeth. These can be made with metal bases, gum colored acrylic, or both. We do our best to make a long lasting partial that is both comfortable to wear and looks like natural teeth and gums. Dentures are similar to partials but only used if the patient is missing all of their teeth. We also offer partial/ denture repairs and in office same day relines.
Tray bleaching is our whitening treatment of choice that allows you to whiten in the comfort of your own home, on your own schedule, and creates minimal tooth sensitivity. 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. We also offer professional grade bleaching strips to use at home.
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 the pulp (nerve). 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 to protect the integrity of the tooth.
Good oral hygiene should always be practiced since the loss of a single tooth can have major impact upon your oral health and appearance. We will use every measure to prevent tooth loss; however 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, Dr. Owens may advise to have a tooth extracted. Before a tooth is removed, we 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.
Occlusal 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. If you have experienced pain in jaw joints, frequent headaches, ringing in ears, and/or popping/locking of jaw an occlusal guard appliance may be needed. Please give us a call to setup an evaluation appointment if you have experienced any of these symptoms.
Nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas,” is a safe and effective sedative that we offer to help people with dental anxiety to feel more comfortable during dental treatment. It is not intended to put you to sleep. You will be able to hear and respond to any requests or directions. You will breathe the nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen through a small mask that fits over your nose, and within a few short minutes you should start to feel the effects of nitrous oxide. Ultimately you should feel that your anxiety is lessened or completely gone. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off soon after the mask is removed and normal activities, including driving may resume immediately.
If you have a dental emergency we will do our very best to see you on the same day, based on schedule flexibility/availability. Please contact us as soon as the emergency happens.