Your mouth (oral cavity) consists of hard tooth tissue (enamel), resilient gums (periodontium), strong muscles and ligaments (tongue), bacteria, and saliva, which together help us to enjoy and digest our food, communicate with the one-another, and live a healthy life. Daily at-home teeth brushing with over-the-counter fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and rinsing with an American Dental Association approved anti-bacterial mouthrinse (Listerine) in combination with biannual professional teeth cleaning is recommended to maintain optimal health and functioning. Within 8 hours, if food debris is not removed from tooth surfaces, it interacts with natural oral bacteria forming dental plaque. Dental plaque causes malodor (bad breath), gingivitis (gum inflammation), and dental caries (cavities) if left unchecked. A professional teeth cleaning (prophylaxis) removes dental plaque and harder to remove dental tartar (teeth scaling) easily and comfortably leaving your teeth smoothly polished and your gums free of inflammation. Teeth stains generally accumulate due to a diet high in pigmented foods (blueberries, chocolate) and beverages (coffee, tea, soda); most teeth stains are quickly removed during your routine dental cleaning with polishing paste or an ultrasonic cleaning device to brighten your smile instantly.
The most critical aspect of your oral health is daily care and consistent check-ups. Tooth decay and gum disease can tarnish your smile. Both are caused by bacteria and can only be detected with x-rays and a clinical exam. As part of our preventive dentistry services, we perform a thorough evaluation of your teeth and gums and suggest ways to avoid periodontal disease and tooth decay.
We also thoroughly review your medial history to ensure we treat you safely and properly, evaluate your TMJ, and perform an oral cancer screening for your peace of mind. Any questions regarding your smile and overall oral health will also be addressed at this time.
Intraoral Digital Camera
To show you what we see when we look at your teeth, a small intra-oral digital camera snaps magnified still images of your teeth that can be enlarged and immediately displayed on our LCD screens. Patients find it easy to understand and we are better able to diagnose problems earlier, faster, and more reliably.
Our View On X-Rays
Dental radiography (digital x-rays) is essential to quality diagnosis. We are very mindful of your concerns and comfort, so a careful evaluation of your dental history and your personal input will determine which, if any, radiographs are appropriate. You’ll be pleased to know that we use Digital Radiography (Digital X-Rays) which reduces your x-ray exposure by 90% compared to traditional film methods. This method allows a highly detailed analysis of every tooth.
Digital panoramic radiography is also used, which in one comfortable movement, captures a superior image of your head, neck, jaw and teeth utilizing only minimal radiation. You can rest assured we have your best interest in mind.
Fluoride treatments for adults are a part of our preventive dentistry services for those that are at high risk of tooth decay or for those that experience teeth sensitivity. For patients with a high tooth decay rate, a combination of in-office (fluoride varnish) and at-home (Prevident) prescription strength fluoride is used; this helps to slow the progression of cavities (caries) by adding mineral content back into your enamel and buffering the bacterial acids that cause tooth decay. Prescription strength fluoride toothpaste is 1.1% sodium fluoride (5000ppm), which is 4 times stronger than over-the-counter fluoride toothpaste; and in-office, 5% sodium fluoride varnish is 20 times stronger. Patients who are at high risk for tooth decay are those with dry mouth, excessive sugar intake (soda, candy), or those undergoing chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer. General teeth sensitivity to cold stimulus is also addressed by the application of prescription strength fluoride varnishes in combination with regular teeth brushing with a Potassium Nitrate (Sensodyne) toothpaste. For children and adolescents under the age of 15, a biannual application of prescription strength fluoride varnish (5% sodium fluoride) in the office, along with daily teeth brushing with an over-the-counter, American Dental Association approved fluoride toothpaste is recommended to keep their teeth healthy and free of decay. For naturally dark or stained teeth we recommend teeth whitening procedures either at home or in the office with prescription strength hydrogen peroxide gels. Prior to whitening your teeth in our office, we prescribe a 2 week, daily Fluoridex (1.1% sodium fluoride and potassium nitrate) toothpaste application to minimize post-whitening sensitivity. Our in-office ZOOM whitening procedure brightens your teeth in one, 90 minute session and provides you with custom take-home whitening trays for future touch-ups. Most commonly, fluoride is applied after your routine dental cleaning to remineralize enamel, keeping your teeth healthy and strong. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist if fluoride treatments are appropriate for you.
Tooth Sealants are used to seal the natural pits and grooves on your teeth to prevent bacteria from hiding out and causing tooth decay. Dental sealants are recommended for young, healthy adult 6 yr and 12 yr molar teeth. They are placed in one easy appointment and ensure the long-term health of your pearly whites!
Teeth Grinding and Night Guards
Bruxism or teeth grinding affects many people with stress being a major cause. Grinding your teeth can result in a loss of enamel and sensitive teeth. Pitting or "potholes" on the top of the teeth is a common finding. As you lose tooth structure your bite changes, and problems with chewing and speaking are common. Some patients also clench their jaw muscles in combination with grinding, which results jaw joint clicking, popping and pain. It is not fully understood why we grind and clench our teeth but stress is strongly correlated. In the majority of teeth grinders and clenchers, the action takes place while we are sleeping, and during a specific cycle of sleep called REM. To prevent your teeth from contacting and your jaw muscles from flexing, we often prescribe a Nightguard, which is a custom made, clear resin orthotic that fits your teeth precisely. Nightly wear of this guard allows most TMJ sufferers relief from teeth soreness, jaw joint achiness, and headaches. Different patterns and symptoms of teeth grinding exist but most result in early destruction of enamel (known as “tooth wear”), and some result in TMJ, jaw pain, jaw clicking, or jaw popping.
Athletic Mouth Guards
Many athletic activities have the potential for concussion. We make high quality custom fitted athletic mouth guards in a variety of thicknesses and configurations depending on your level of sport, from kids hockey to mixed martial arts. A mouthguard protects your teeth from breakage and provides a buffer from jarring concussion impacts. They can be highly personalized with decals and graphics of your favorite team or colors.
Snore Guards and Sleep Apnea Devices
Snoring is caused by the vibration of the soft tissues at the back of the throat because your jaw relaxes back during sleep. Repositioning your lower jaw forward with the use of a snore guard can open your airway, promoting the clear passage of air, thus reducing snoring and providing a better nights' sleep.