Cleanings, examinations, and x-rays
Nerve damage and treatment
Decay and cavities
Replacing missing teeth
Accidents, pain, and treatment
Fighting against grinding and stains
For our regular check up appointments, we recommend that patients come at least twice per year or every 6 months. Our cleanings are combined with either a comprehensive exam (for new patients) or periodic exams (for returning patients) and x-rays.
Professional dental cleanings include the following and takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Removal of tartar: Tartar is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Tartar 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 that can inflame the gums which can be the start of periodontal disease!
Tooth polishing: This removes stain and soft plaque, smooths out the tooth surface.
Fluoride rinse: No matter your dental insurance policy, we offer a complimentary fluoride rinse at the end of your appointment.
COMPREHENSIVE & PERIODIC EXAMS
A comprehensive dental exam is done for our new patients' first visit and periodic exams are for following appointments to maintain good dental health. Exams take about 10 minutes to complete.
Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
Gum disease evaluation: Check the pocket depth of 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 existing fillings, sealants, crowns, etc.
As you settle down on our dental chairs, we will inform you whether you are due for x-rays. If you are a new patient and you have not had x-rays for the past 3 years, we recommend a full mouth x-ray. For returning patients, we recommend 4 bitewing x-rays to be taken annually. X-rays take about 15 minutes to complete.
Full mouth x-rays: These consists of 18 separate images which are essential for detecting decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. We use the latest Schick Digital X-rays which uses a fraction of radiation of conventional x-rays and can be viewed on the monitor seconds after capturing.
Bitewing x-rays: These consist of 4 separate images covering the molars at the back of each corner.
DENTAL FILLINGS & SEALANTS
Patients now have several choices of materials to repair missing, worn, damaged, or decayed teeth. Fillings can take between 30 min - 1 hr to fill.
Resin-based composite: This is a combination of ceramics and polymer compounds that blend in with the natural teeth color.
Amalgam/gold: These are more traditional materials used for fillings and are more unpopular due to the fact that they are more visible than resin-based composites.
Numbing: Depending on the severity of decay, an anesthetic may be used and can last for a few hours after your appointment (we recommend eating a little before so you are not hungry if your anesthetic lasts long). A gel is placed on the gum to numb it and a shot is given in the area.
Restoration: If old fillings exist, they will be removed completely. Fillings are placed immediately into a prepared cavity.
Dental sealants act as a barrier, protecting the tooth against decay-causing bacteria. Sealants are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the premolars and molars where decay occurs most often. Sealants take about 5 minutes to be applied.
EMERGENCY DENTISTRY & EXTRACTIONS
Whether it's an accident or sudden tooth pain, we will do our best to see you as soon possible and diagnose the problem. Emergency exams take about 20-30 minutes.
Chipped teeth: These generally require a filling depending on the severity and location.
Temperature sensitivity: This may be an indication of something bothering the nerve. Our doctors can assess the sensitive area and address the problem or may refer you to an endodontist (teeth nerve specialist).
Antibiotics: Depending on the tooth situation, antibiotics may be prescribed to you to stop infection. We can also call prescriptions into your pharmacy if you provide us the pharmacy location and phone number.
Removing a tooth is the last resort if the diseased or damaged tooth cannot be saved or should not be kept. Most extractions take 30 minutes to complete.
Numbing: Anesthetic can last for a few hours after your appointment (we recommend eating a little before so you are not hungry if your anesthetic lasts long). A gel is placed on the gum to numb it and a shot is given in the area to reduce any discomfort during the extraction.
Post-operation: Post extraction instructions and materials will be given to you.
Wisdom teeth: Depending on the wisdom tooth root location, depth, etc., we may be able to extract wisdom teeth in our office. For wisdom teeth that are more complex, we will give you a referral for an oral surgeon for your comfort and health.
ROOT CANALS & CROWNS
The pulp is the soft tissue of your tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. It lies within the tooth and extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the root in the jaw bones. When the tooth gets infected and damages the pulp, rather than extract the tooth, a root canal is needed to remove the pulp,clean, and seal off the root canal. Afterwards, a crown is needed to cover the tooth to make it stronger. Root canals take about 1 hour to complete.
Pulp removal: An opening is made through the crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber. The pulp is then removed. The root canal is cleaned and shaped to a form that can be filled.
Temporary filling: A temporary filling will be placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth. Medication may be put in the pulp chamber and root canal to kill germs and prevent infection.
When a tooth has a large restoration or lacking integrity, a crown will be recommended to protect the tooth from fracturing. A crown can make your tooth stronger and improve its appearance. The crown will cover and support the tooth as well as protect it from breaking. A crown takes 2 separate visits: the first takes about 90 minutes to complete and the second takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Crown prep (visit #1): About 1.5 to 2.0 mm of tooth structure will be removed to accommodate the thickest of crowns. We will take an impression of the crown and send it to the lab. A temporary crown will be placed that lasts approximately 3 weeks.
If a root canal was not performed on the tooth, you will be numbed. Anesthetic can last for a few hours after your appointment (we recommend eating a little before so you are not hungry if your anesthetic lasts long). A gel is placed on the gum to numb it and a shot is given in the area to reduce any discomfort during the procedure.
Crown cementation (visit #2): The temporary crown will be removed and we will check the occlusion contact and margin before we cement the crown.
DENTURES & BRIDGES
Partial or full dentures can replace your missing teeth and improve your smile. When you have lost most or all of your natural teeth, your facial muscles will sag and make you look older than your age. With dentures in place, you will be able to speak and eat. A denture procedure requires 4-5 visits.
Teeth removal: Teeth may need to be removed to prepare for the denture. If extractions are needed, the next steps will not start until the gums are healed which can take 3 weeks. (Please see Extractions for more details).
Molding: A bite impression of your mouth is needed to make the denture custom fitted to your mouth. The impression is then sent to the dental lab to create the denture.
Fitting: Once the denture is made and arrives in our office, you will need to try it on until you are comfortable with your new teeth.
If you are missing one or more teeth, a dental bridge can maintain the shape of your face and alleviate the stress in your bite by replacing the missing teeth. A bridge is artificial teeth that can be made from gold, alloys, and/or porcelain. A bridge can be removable or fixed. A bridge procedure requires 2 visits: the first visit is 90 minutes and the second visit is 30 minutes 2 weeks later.
Bridge prep (visit #1): You will be given a mild anesthetic to numb the area. To accommodate for the thickness of the crown, the teeth on either side of the space may be removed. If these teeth already have fillings, part of the filling may be left in place to help as a foundation for the crown.
Temporary bridge (visit #1): An impression is made to custom fit your teeth. The molding is sent to a dental lab to make the bridge. In the meantime, a temporary bridge is made for you until the permanent bridge is sent back from the lab.
Bridge cementation (visit #2): When the permanent bridge is ready, the temporary bridge will be removed. Your permanent bridge will be fitted, checked, and adjusted for any bite discrepancies. Your new bridge will then be cemented to your teeth.
NIGHT GUARDS & TEETH WHITENING
A mouth guard or a night guard is used to treat teeth grinding and stop further excessive wear to the teeth. Teeth grinding not only damages teeth, but can also cause headaches, tense muscles, and jaw pain. Night guards require 2 visits: the first visit takes 10 minutes and the second visit takes 5 minutes.
Molding (visit #1): A custom fit night guard requires a mold of your teeth. After the mold is made, we send it to the laboratory to be made.
Fitting (visit #2): Once the night guard is made and arrives in our office, you will need to try it on until you are comfortable with your new teeth.
If you are not satisfied with the sparkle that you get from daily brushings, you can try the following teeth whitening procedures:
Whitening toothpastes: Whitening toothpastes that you can purchase from off the shelves contain special chemical or polishing agents that provide stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaching, whitening toothpastes generally do not alter the intrinsic color of your teeth.
At-home bleaching: You can bleach your teeth using a take home tray that utilizes carbamide peroxide gel, a bleaching agent that you put in the tray and wear it overnight for 2 weeks. Your take home tray is a custom made mouth guard..
In-office bleaching: This is the most effective whitening procedure. Our office offers the Zoom! bleaching procedure.
The Zoom! Chairside Whitening System is a scientifically advanced tooth whitening procedure. It is safe, effective, and fast. In just over an hour, your teeth will become dramatically whiter. Zoom! Chairside Whitening is ideal for anyone looking for immediate results. The convenience of Zoom! in comparison to days of wearing trays or strips makes it the perfect choice for the busy individual.
GET READY TO ZOOM!
The Zoom! Chairside Whitening System will make your teeth dramatically whiter in a little over an hour. The procedure is simple; it begins with a short preparation to cover your lips and gums, leaving only your teeth exposed. The Zoom! clinician then applies the proprietary Zoom Whitening Gel, which was designed to be used with a specially designed light. The Zoom! light and gel work together to gently penetrate your teeth, breaking up stains and discoloration. With proper care, your smile will sparkle for years.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Zoom! tooth whitening?
Zoom! is a bleaching process that lightens discoloration of enamel and dentin.
What causes tooth discoloration?
There are many causes. The most common include aging and consumption of staining substances such as coffee, tea, tobacco, red wine, etc. During tooth formation, consumption of tetracycline, certain antibiotics or excessive fluoride may also cause tooth discoloration
Who may benefit from tooth whitening?
Almost anyone. However, treatment may not be as effective for some as it is for others. Your dental professional can determine if you are a viable candidate for this procedure through a thorough oral exam, including a shade assessment.
Do many people whiten their teeth?
More people than you might imagine. A bright, sparkling smile can make a big difference for everyone. The Zoom! Chairside Whitening System makes it easier and faster than ever before.
Is whitening safe?
Yes. Extensive research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth under the supervision of a dentist is safe. In fact, many dentists consider whitening the safest cosmetic dental procedure available. As with any tooth whitening product, Zoom! is not recommended for children under 13 years of age and pregnant or lactating women.
**Light sensitive individuals, including those undergoing PUVA therapy (Psoralen+UV Radiation) or other photochemotherapy, or patients with melanoma, should not undergo the Zoom! in-office procedure. Also, patients taking any light sensitive drugs or substances, whether over the counter, prescription or homeopathic, should consult their primary care physician prior to the procedure. Anyone who is not eligible for Zoom! Chairside Whitening for these reasons may be an excellent candidate for Zoom! Take-Home.
How long do the results last?
By following some simple post whitening care instructions, your teeth will always be lighter than they were before. To keep your teeth looking their best, we recommend flossing, brushing twice daily, and occasional touch-ups with Zoom! Take-Home gel. These are professional formula products designed specially to keep your teeth their brightest. They are available only through your dental professional.
How does the Zoom! In-office system work?
The Zoom! light activated whitening gel's active ingredient is Hydrogen Peroxide. As the Hydrogen Peroxide is broken down, oxygen enters the enamel and dentin, bleaching colored substances while the structure of the tooth is unchanged. The Zoom! light aids in activating the hydrogen peroxide and helps it penetrate the surface of the tooth. A study has shown that use of the Zoom! gel by 33% or more, giving an average improvement of eight shades.
What does a patient experience during the Zoom! In- Office Procedure?
During the procedure, patients may comfortably watch television or listen to music. Many actually fall asleep. Individuals with a strong gag reflex or anxiety may have difficulty undergoing the entire procedure.
How is exposure to the Zoom! light controlled?
The Zoom! procedure requires that all soft tissue in and around the mouth be protected. The clinician is required to monitor the procedure to insure any exposed skin or tissue is isolated and protected. Protective eyewear is required during the procedure.
How long does Zoom! Chairside Whitening take?
The complete procedure takes just over an hour. The procedure begins with a preparation period followed by one hour of bleaching. A five minute fluoride treatment completes the procedure. (A cleaning is recommended prior to the actual Zoom! whitening sessions.)
Are there any side effects?
Sensitivity during the treatment may occur with some patients. The Zoom! light generates minimal heat which is the usual source of discomfort. On rare occasions, minor tingling sensations are experienced immediately after the procedure, but always dissipate.
A NOTE OF ASSURANCE
Tooth whitening is a well established procedure in cosmetic dentistry. Hydrogen Peroxide, the active agent in Zoom!, has been safely used for many years in the treatment of gums and other oral soft tissue.
The whitening process is effective on most discolored teeth. Darker stains, such as those caused by antibiotics, are more difficult to whiten. The degree of whiteness will vary from patient to patient, depending on the structure of the teeth.
The information above is provided by the maker of Zoom! The Professional Whitening System.