Cone-beam computed tomography systems are radiographic systems used by dental professionals to analyze and reconstruct 3D images of a patient’s teeth, jaws, and surrounding anatomy. The information obtained by means of CBCT imaging is useful in both diagnosis and precise treatment planning when two-dimensional diagnostic films are insufficient. Dental CBCT is useful for multiple types of analyses as well as the assessment of maxillofacial disorders or pathology. It is also most useful in surgical planning, including the accurate placement of dental implants.
Thanks to advances in modern dentistry, teeth that have been affected by a range of imperfections or that have sustained damage from trauma or dental decay, can be restored to produce a naturally beautiful looking and functional smile. The cosmetic dental solutions available today can effectively improve and enhance the appearance of teeth that are stained, discolored, misshapen, chipped, fractured, gapped, crowded or broken down as the result of dental decay.
Cosmetic dental procedures can range from treatments that are relatively quick and non-invasive to more comprehensive plans of care to restore incomplete smiles that have been affected by severely damaged, lost, or missing teeth.
Crowns & Caps
The terms dental crowns and caps are synonymous. If dental decay, cracked fillings, root canals, clenching or grinding the teeth have caused extensive damage to the underlying tooth structure a dental filling may not be a sufficient restoration. The only way to completely restore the cosmetic appearance and function of this tooth is often full coverage with a dental crown. The good news is that a completed dental crown looks and feels like a natural tooth.
In addition to restoring a single natural tooth, crowns can be used in other situations including being the supporting ends of dental bridge, covering dental implants, or as coverage for a cracked tooth to prevent further breakdown. A crown may also be indicated when a discolored or stained tooth needs to be restored to its natural appearance. Crowns can be made of either porcelain baked onto a metal substrate, all-porcelain, or many of the new ceramic materials that have been developed.
Dental Fillings are the most common type of dental restoration used to replace sections of teeth that are missing, damaged or decayed. While traditional dental materials like gold, amalgam, porcelain, and composite successfully restore teeth; recent advances in dental technology have made a wider and improved selection of restorative choices available. Some of the newest state-of-the-art filling materials, including ceramic and the latest composite materials, are not only strong and durable, they offer the most aesthetically pleasing and natural looking results.
Whether from disease, malnutrition, genetic disorders or an accident, it is occasionally necessary for patients to have some or all their upper and lower teeth extracted. While this can be upsetting news, partial or full dentures can be fabricated to restore an attractive smile, provide needed support for normal facial contours, and reestablish a highly functional occlusion.
A denture consists of natural looking artificial teeth set in a supportive base. It may be fabricated to replace either a small group of teeth, an entire upper arch, an entire lower arch, or used to restore both dental arches.
A complete denture refers to the replacement of all the teeth in a dental arch. It can be inserted either of two ways. It can be inserted some weeks after the extraction sites and other surgical procedures have had a chance to heal, or as an “immediate” denture placed the same day the last remaining teeth are extracted. Although an immediate denture offers the advantage of not having to go without teeth for any length of time, it can require multiple adjustments as the tissues remodel and heal following dental extractions or other surgical procedures.
In situations where some sturdy teeth remain, partial dentures can be fabricated. Partial dentures can achieve adequate retention and stability by having clasps on the teeth surrounding the edentulous areas.
In some cases, added stability for the dentures can be provided by strategically placed implants.
By using intra-oral optical scanning devices, the need for patients to have a messy conventional dental impression taken of their teeth is eliminated. Digital optical impressions enable the dentist to more efficiently and effectively obtain an accurate computer generated representation of their patient’s teeth along with the surrounding tissues. In addition to being much more comfortable for the patient, a digital impression eliminates the need for the dentist to either create a stone model from the impression, or to mail the impression directly to the laboratory for any type of work to be done. Digital impression information is transmitted electronically, significantly reducing the turnaround time of any needed outside laboratory work. Digital impressions are also integral to systems that produce same day, in-office ceramic restorations.
Digital radiography utilizes computer technology and digital sensors for the acquisition, viewing, storage, and sharing of radiographic images. It offers several advantages over the older traditional film based methods of taking x-rays. The most significant of these advantages is that digital radiography reduces a patient’s exposure to radiation. Other benefits are that images can be viewed instantly after being taken, can be seen simultaneously as needed by multiple practitioners, and can be easily shared with other offices. Digital x-rays are also safer for the environment as they do not require any chemicals or paper to develop.
An electronic pad, known as a sensor is used instead of film to acquire a digital image. After the image is taken, it goes directly into the patient’s file on the computer. Once it is stored on the computer, it can be easily viewed on a screen, shared, or printed out.
Dental emergencies can come about in any number of ways. Your discomfort may be due to an injury to the oral facial area, the acute flare up of a longstanding problem, or the result of the sudden onset of seemingly inexplicable pain. Whatever the case may be, urgent dental care is needed to provide you with relief and to avoid any further consequences to your oral health or function, as well as your overall well being.
There are many reasons to seek emergency dental care, including severe toothaches, chipped or fractured teeth, a dental abscess, impacted teeth, loose or broken fillings, lost or dislodged crowns, broken dentures and more. While the pain of a toothache is one of the more common reasons that patients come to our dental office for emergency dental care, we also promptly treat emergencies that are not necessarily painful like crowns that have been dislodged and broken dentures that leave embarrassing gaps in one’s smile.
Whether your dental emergency is painful, if it affects the appearance of your smile, or if you suspect that an infection is present, contact our office immediately for care. We will make every effort to see you as promptly as possible.
Sometimes it is necessary to extract a tooth. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Extractions are commonly performed in cases where a deciduous “baby” tooth is reluctant to fall out, a severely broken down and non-restorable tooth is present, or “wisdom tooth” is poorly positioned and unable to fully erupt into place.
To reduce any anxiety and insure patient comfort whenever a tooth extraction is necessary, the procedure, the post surgical instructions, as well as any restorative follow-up care will be carefully and completely explained.
Losing a tooth due to injury, dental decay, or gum disease can happen. However, in order to avoid causing problems for the adjacent teeth and your overall dental health, it is important to replace the tooth that has been lost. This can be done any number of ways including fixed bridges, removable partial or full dentures as well as a more recent procedure known as dental implants.
One of the most significant dental innovations in recent times, an implant is a small surgical fixture made of biocompatible metal or ceramic materials that is placed into the jawbone and functions in the same manner as the root of tooth. In the same way that natural root supports the natural crown of your tooth, an implant once it fully integrates with the surrounding bone, provides a stable and durable foundation for a replacement tooth. Implants often support a crown for an individual tooth, but can also be used as abutment teeth for a dental bridge, or strategically placed to help stabilize a denture.
Out of all the restorative choices available today, an implant comes the closest to replicating the look, feel and function of a natural tooth. Furthermore, it is the only method of tooth replacement that does not require the involvement or preparation of the adjacent teeth. A dental implant also stimulates bone remodeling to prevent shrinkage in areas where teeth are missing and helps to restore facial contours in areas where significant bone loss has occurred.
Invisalign is a form of orthodontic treatment that works to correct many different types of malocclusions through the use of a series of clear plastic trays called aligners. In many cases it provides an excellent treatment alternative to traditional orthodontic braces and metal wires.
Invisalign utilizes 3-D computer imaging technology to correct problematic bites or malocclusions by planning a complete sequence of custom-made clear aligners. This series of clear aligners, each of which is worn for a couple of weeks, incrementally move the teeth into place until the final desired corrections are reached.
The advantage and appeal of Invisalign appliances is that they are more cosmetic and more comfortable than most other orthodontic appliances. With Invisalign appliances orthodontic treatment is practically “invisible.”
*Invisalign is a registered trademark of Align Technology, Inc.
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer accounts for 2.9% of all diagnosed cases of cancer in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society it is estimated that 51,000 people across the country will develop oral cancer this year and that 10,000 fatalities are expected from the disease.
Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the orofacial complex but is most often found on the tongue, the tonsils and oropharynx, the gums, floor of the mouth, lips, cheek lining or the hard palate. While the disease can affect anyone, men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women. Those particularly at risk for oral cancer are men over the age of 50 who are heavy smokers and frequently drink alcohol. Additional risk factors may include UV exposure from the sun or sunlamps, GERD (gastro-intestinal reflux disease), prior head and neck radiation treatment, exposure to certain chemicals and poor diet. While the death rate from oral cancer has been decreasing in the past several decades thanks to early detection and advanced methods of treatment improving the outcomes of care, there has been a recent rise in the incidence of oropharyngeal cancer due to increased transmission of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV).
As part of a comprehensive exam, the dentist will perform a screening for oral cancer. To start, the dentist will review the patient’s medical and dental histories and ask if there have been any changes to his or her oral health or overall health. The dentist will then carefully check in and around the oral cavity as well as the head and neck area for any of the following signs or symptoms that may indicate the presence of a problem
Your first visit to our office is very important with regard to establishing your oral health baseline. We will begin by carefully reviewing your medical and dental histories and taking special note of all of your dental concerns, as well as any symptoms that you may be experiencing. This will be followed by a thorough clinical examination, including an oral cancer screening, periodontal evaluation, an analysis of your occlusion (bite) plus a thorough examination of your teeth, their supporting structures, and the complete orofacial area. Any needed diagnostic dental films will be taken at this time.
A healthy, functional and attractive smile requires teeth that are straight and jaws that are well aligned. The goal of orthodontic treatment is to correct the cosmetic and functional problems associated with teeth that are either overcrowded, have spaces between them, or that have shifted over time due to extractions, habits, or abnormal bite patterns. Orthodontics can also address skeletal discrepancies between the upper and lower jaws.
Orthodontic treatment can range from the minor movement of a few teeth to the alignment of an entire bite. It may also be used in some cases to align teeth both before and after the surgical correction of severe jaw discrepancies.
Orthodontics utilizes the principles of physics to slowly move teeth into their proper positions. This is performed by using a selection of corrective appliances, including braces, clear aligners, and retainers. Designed to apply incremental and controlled forces to move the teeth in the desired direction, these appliances are adjusted on a regular basis throughout the course of care. Once a malocclusion is corrected and the teeth are completely aligned, retainers are often placed to help ensure that the result remains stable.
Orthodontic treatment time depends on the patient’s age, the severity of the malocclusion and the unique needs of each particular case. Some corrections can be accomplished in a few months while others can take a few years. However, for many malocclusions the average length of orthodontic treatment time is 24 months.
At our office, we take pride in creating and maintaining beautiful and healthy smiles for our younger patients in an environment that is lighthearted and fun. With an emphasis on establishing oral health habits that last a lifetime, we offer a comprehensive program of preventive care and closely monitor the dental health of our pediatric patients as they grow.
As an added level of protection to guard against childhood dental decay, we recommend periodic fluoride treatments and the application of dental sealants on the biting surfaces of the newly erupted permanent back teeth.
Periodontal disease damages the surrounding soft tissues and bone that support the teeth. It is predominantly caused by the accumulation of bacteria, mucus and other particles in the form of plaque or tartar that sit between the teeth and the gums. Periodontal disease can range in severity from a simple gum inflammation, known as gingivitis, to a more serious inflammation of the periodontal tissues. Left untreated periodontal disease can result in significant tissue damage and eventual tooth loss.
The problem with periodontal disease is that often the progression is painless. As a result the affected individual may not be aware of an ongoing disease process. This is why it is so important to recognize the signs of the earliest stage of periodontal disease, which is gingivitis. The symptoms of gingivitis typically include red, swollen and bleeding gums. Treatment instituted at this point is often sufficient to reverse the course of the disease and to avoid any permanent damage to the periodontal tissues. A series of deep dental cleanings, an improved home care regimen, and a commitment to regular maintenance may be all that is required to prevent this stage of periodontal disease from progressing.
Left untreated, gingivitis can escalate into periodontitis. However, there are other factors that can contribute to the escalation of periodontal disease, including smoking, genetic tendencies, and unchecked diabetes. In either case, when periodontal disease has progressed to a more advanced stage there is usually clinical and radiographic evidence of damage to the bone and soft tissues supporting the teeth. Periodontal treatment in this phase is designed to halt the progression of the disease and to restore tooth support as possible. This may involve medications to control the bacteria and reduce the size of the pockets between the teeth and gums, gum surgery, as well as bone and tissue grafts.
Endodontics, or root canal therapy, is employed when the nerve supply to a tooth has been irreversibly affected by damage or decay. It is a way to prevent or help resolve a dental infection and save a natural tooth from extraction. A root canal is performed when there is enough sound root and crown structure remaining to eventually restore form and function to the involved tooth.
Inside every tooth is either a single central chamber or multiple ones that contain connective tissue, a nerve supply, and blood vessels. These core tissues, known as the dental pulp, help your tooth to grow and mature before it emerges into the mouth. A root canal procedure is required when this dental pulp is irreversibly damaged or has died.
Root canal therapy involves cleaning and shaping each canal, and then filling them with a special inert material. Following this they are sealed to prevent any subsequent infection. Once root canal therapy has been completed, the tooth should be fully restored as recommended.
Sedation dentistry offers individuals with general anxiety about going to the dentist or fears about a specific dental procedure the opportunity to have a stress free and more comfortable experience. Utilizing safe and controlled sedation techniques prior to the dental procedure the patient is eased into a state of complete relaxation. This eliminates any discomfort, pain, and preoperative anxiety that may be associated with a particular dental visit. With sedation dentistry patients typically feel more at ease post-operatively as they have little or no memory of the actual moment-to-moment dental procedure.
Commonly referred to as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is used as a mild sedative to reduce anxiety and allow a level of relaxation during a procedure. Nitrous oxide is inhaled through a small mask over the nose. It is administered for the duration of the procedure and is turned off as the procedure is coming to an end. The effects of this method of sedation wear off very quickly.
Oral Sedation means that you will be given a prescription for an oral medication prior to you appointment. Taken at the recommended time before your appointment, this medication allows you to fully relax by the time your procedure begins. When receiving oral sedation, a patient must have an escort on the day of the procedure to drive them to and from the oral surgeon’s office.
IV Sedation involves a sedative that is administered intravenously, or directly into a vein. It is indicated when deeper sedation is required. This type of sedation can be quickly modified to your state of consciousness and can be continued as long as necessary for the procedure.
IV Sedation requires an empty stomach. Patients receiving this type of sedation will be instructed as to how many hours prior to their surgical procedure they should stop eating or drinking. In addition to this, patients receiving IV sedation will need to have an escort present for the appointment and to be able to drive them home when the appointment is completed.
Six Month Smiles®
If you are self-conscious or unhappy about the look of your smile, there is no reason to despair. Thanks to advances in modern dentistry, adults who are not interested in the prospect of wearing braces for years or the financial investment often required with lengthy treatment, now have a method of care available to them which can quickly and comfortably transform their crooked teeth into a beautiful, well-aligned smile.
With Six Month Smiles®, adult patients can enjoy the benefits of a straight and aesthetically pleasing smile in much less time than provided by other approaches to care. By using specially designed clear cosmetic braces and the application of gentle forces with tooth-colored orthodontic wires, the Six Month Smiles method safely and comfortably moves the teeth that show when you smile into alignment.
Six Month Smiles takes the best aspects of orthodontic care to offer a way to effectively address your goals for improving the look of your smile while providing treatment that suits your busy lifestyle!
Teeth that have been stained or darkened by food, tobacco use, age, medications or injury can be lightened and brightened by means of a non-invasive process known as teeth whitening.
Teeth whitening or bleaching simply refers to any process that will make the teeth appear whiter. While there are many over the counter options for teeth whitening, the most effective and safest teeth whitening systems are the professional strength ones available at the dentist’s office. A dental professional whitening system offers a higher concentration of whitening components and delivers them to the teeth in the most efficient manner to achieve optimal results.
At our office, we offer two exceptional options for tooth whitening. You can choose either an in-office tooth whitening procedure or a professional take home system. Both of these are top-of the-line systems. However, the biggest advantage of the in-office procedure is that in as little as one hour you can achieve a smile that is several shades whiter and brighter than the original color of your teeth.
Our professional strength take home system also produces excellent results. However, this is achieved by way of a more gradual process. Our take home kit may be prescribed alone, or after an in-office treatment to perfect or maintain the in- office result.
If your teeth suffer from gaps, chips, stains, or discolorations you may be a candidate for porcelain veneers, a highly effective and minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that can achieve beautiful results.
Porcelain veneers are thin facings custom-made of the highest quality ceramic materials that are designed to fit perfectly over the front of your teeth. One of the most conservative cosmetic treatments available, veneers can mask a host of dental imperfections to give you the smile that you have always wanted. Porcelain veneers not only enhance and improve the shape of your teeth, they are able to create an overall whiter and brighter smile.
One of the most appealing aspects of the process of fabricating porcelain veneers is that they involve minimal tooth preparation and take just a few visits. Porcelain veneers, once they are fabricated and fitted, are permanently bonded to the underlying teeth. The result is a naturally pleasing smile that is both strong and durable.