Regular Dental Exams and Cleanings
A regular exam is an essential part of maintaining your healthy oral hygiene. During this exam we will:
- Check for any problems that you may not see or feel
- Take any necessary x-rays needed at the time of the vist
- Look for cavities or any other signs of tooth decay
- Inspect your teeth and gums for gingivitis and signs of periodontal disease
- Perform a thorough teeth cleaning
- Optional Annual Oral Cancer Screening
Our qualified hygienist will remove mineralized plaque that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, particularly in areas that are difficult to reach. These dental cleanings are painless and do not cause any discomfort. Regular checkups are recommended for most patients. If there is an occasion where more cleanings are necessary, our hygienist will notify you as such.
As with the initial exam and cleaning, the hygienist will first scale the teeth. This is where she will remove the plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces. This can be performed by hand or with electric scalers depending on the hygienist’s preference. Typically, the hygienist will also dig into the pockets of the gums to remove any plaque buildup there. She will then polish your teeth to remove any final plaque and then buff them. Because our polishers generally have several different sized heads, she is able to clean hard to reach places.
Crowns are a restorative procedure used to improve your tooth’s shape or to strengthen a tooth. Crowns are synthetic caps, typically made of a material like porcelain, placed on the top of a tooth and are usually used to restore a tooth’s function and appearance following a restorative procedure such as a root canal. They are also used for broken teeth, worn teeth or teeth that have been destroyed by decay. Other uses of a crown are for attaching bridges, covering implants and enabling restoration to teeth to create a more natural appearance.
A crown, also known as a cap, is cemented onto an existing tooth which covers the portion of your tooth above the gum line. As a result, the crown becomes your tooth’s new exterior surface. They are made of two different types of material, porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are most often favored because they simulate natural teeth and are very resilient.
With proper care, a crown could last up to eight years or longer. It is imperative to floss in the area of the crown to avoid excess plaque or collection of debris around the restoration. Certain behaviors such as jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding) significantly shorten the life of a crown. Moreover, eating brittle foods, ice or hard candy can compromise the adhesion of the crown, or even damage the crown. If you feel you tend to grind your teeth, ask us about Night Guards!
Bridges are natural-looking dental appliances that can replace a section of missing teeth as well as maintain the shape of your face and alleviate stress on your bite. Because they are custom-made, bridges are barely noticeable and can restore the natural contour of teeth as well as the proper bite relationship between upper and lower teeth. Your bridge can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.
Bridges are sometimes referred to as fixed partial dentures, because they are semi-permanent and are bonded to existing teeth or implants. Some bridges are removable and can be cleaned by the person wearing them. Some bridges need to be removed by a dentist and cleaned professionally. In order for any bridge to be successful, the foundation, which consists of other teeth, gums, or bone to which it is attached, needs to be healthy. Therefore, it is very important to keep your existing teeth and gums in optimal condition.
Dental bonding is a conservative way to repair slightly chipped, discolored or misaligned teeth. A composite resin, which is color matched to your natural tooth, is placed onto your tooth to improve its look. After hardening with a curing light, the bonding material is reshaped, blended in and polished to look as natural as your other teeth.
Bonding can also be used for tooth fillings to replace silver amalgams and to fill cavities. Not only do most patients prefer the bonded fillings over the amalgams, but they are a stronger more durable material that will remain longer as a stable substance within the tooth. Along with this stability, their appearance is a more natural look especially when used on front teeth.
Bonding can be done in one visit and is the most conservative way to correct an array of tooth imperfections, usually without an injection. It is a less expensive alternative to other cosmetic dentistry; however, it does stain and can break easier than other cosmetic options.
Fluoride is a compound of the element fluorine, which can be found throughout nature in water, soil, air and food. For years, fluoride has been held in high regard by the dental community as an important mineral that is absorbed into and strengthens tooth enamel, thereby helping to prevent decay of tooth structures.
It is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay and in preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface. It takes only a few minutes for a fluoride treatment in your dentist’s office. Once the fluoride is applied, patients may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the substance. Some dentists may require patients to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months and perhaps daily.
It is NOT safe to swallow toothpastes, rinses, or other products containing topical fluoride. In rare cases, some people may be overexposed to high concentrations of fluoride, resulting in a condition called fluorosis, which leaves dark enamel stains on teeth.
Today traditional dental restoratives, i.e. fillings, include gold, porcelain, or composite. Ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth are newer forms of treatment. These compounds, often called composite resins, are normally used on the front teeth for a more natural appearance. There are two alternate types of fillings for treating cavity-filled teeth. These two types are direct and indirect. Direct fillings are fillings placed into a prepared cavity in a single visit. Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. These fillings include inlays and veneers fabricated with ceramics or composites.
On a daily basis we also see people with broken teeth and toothaches caused by old silver fillings because they expand and contract with temperature and time. Replacing these silver fillings with composite resins, not only aesthetically appear more natural in the mouth, but also creates a stronger tooth surface and a longer lasting solution to the removal of decay and replacement of tooth.
Laser Corrective Therapy
Compared to traditional methods, lasers perform a wide array of soft tissue procedures with far less collateral tissue damage and immediate hemostasis, promoting faster healing with less gingival recession. Our patients benefit from a higher standard of care, with faster healing times and reduced postoperative discomfort. These procedures include canker sore and cold sore treatment, cosmetic soft tissue procedures, non-surgical periodontal treatment, periodontal bacterial reduction, tooth (root) desensitization.
This laser helps facilitate healing of soft tissue trauma such as:
- Irritation from orthodontic wires.
- Denture sores.
- Extraction sites.
- Abrasion or cutting of the gum tissue.
- Burns of the palate or gum tissue due to hot foods such as pizza, etc.
- And many other applications
No one likes a “cold sore” on their lips as they can be uncomfortable, inconvenient and unaesthetic. Canker sores or apthous ulcers are another source of facial discomfort. Laser surgery in our office is used for both of these inconvenient maladies.
In addition to laser technology, Dr. Deehan performs a variety of soft tissue procedures (gum) to obtain the best cosmetic outcomes possible.
Lastly, sensitive teeth can be caused by many things. Most often this is caused by gum recession. Most of the time people brush too hard or use a hard or medium toothbrush and cause the root surfaces to wear. These lengthened laser treatment capabilities have made it easier for patients to have faster, better and more comfortable care.
Sports Mouth Guard
Did you know that sports and recreation accidents are one of the most common reasons for dental trauma? Each and every year, in excess of 5 million teeth are knocked out through sporting activities. For this reason, mouth guards are strongly recommended for any active adult or child while participating in sports. Many dental traumas may lead to missing school or work, and may require time-consuming as well as pricey dental treatment. At times, this trauma may become debilitating or could even cause facial harming.
A mouth guard helps absorb and distribute the impact of a hit to the facial area that could normally lead to trauma to the mouth area or jaw. With a custom-fit mouth guard, oral tissue will be protected from laceration simply by shielding the tongue, lips, gums, and cheeks. This appliance acts as if it was a shock-absorber and absorbs the bounce and the force from an impact. It will also help to protect your brain from concussion by lessening the impact of a strike to the lower jaw.
Finally, a custom-fit mouth guard may help protect against a fracture of the jaw by behaving as a cushion between the upper and lower jaws, and will help safeguard your jaw joints from becoming dislocated by effectively supporting and cushioning the lower jaw against your skull.
Since mouth guards should really be used while participating in and practicing for any kind of recreational activity or sport where you have the potential for contact to the face, it is recommended to have it fit properly within your mouth for the most confident protection. Both children and adults can be easily fitted with custom laminated mouth guards. The cost of an injury to your teeth or jaw far exceeds the price of a custom-fit mouth guard.
Do you wake in the morning with a headache? Does your jaw hurt after a night’s rest? A mouth guard is the answer for you.
If you are one of the millions of people that clench or grind your teeth together, you may greatly benefit from a night guard or splint.
There are many reasons why patients clench and grind, but it is clear that whatever the cause may be, the constant pressure on your teeth will cause destruction of vital tooth structure. This constant traumatic situation can lead to failure of tooth supporting bone along with gum stability which will lead to either tooth fracture or tooth loss.
A custom night guard effectively repositions the jaw and keeps the teeth from grinding. The custom made guards are typically thinner and lighter in weight than those that are bought off-the-shelf. Because of this, it makes them easier to wear comfortably and enables the user to even talk freely with the guard on. If your mouth guard is custom fit, as opposed to something purchased from a store, it insures that the guard is appropriately placed as each person’s set of teeth is different.
The fabrication of a protective appliance is relatively simple. We first create impressions of both your upper and lower teeth. We then make an appointment for a subsequent visit where we will fit the mouth guard. At this appointment, we make any adjustments that are necessary and prescribe to you the frequency of use and the proper cleaning to maintain a healthy appliance. At subsequent post-operative appointments, the appliance will be adjusted as needed to ensure continued health. The night guard should be used regularly for the best results possible.
Gingivitis is the medical term for early gum disease, or periodontal disease. In general, gum disease can be caused by long-term exposure to plaque, the sticky but colorless film on teeth that forms after eating or sleeping.
- Gum disease originates in the gums, where infections form from harmful bacteria and other materials left behind from eating. Some early warning signs of gingivitis may include chronic bad breath, tender or painful swollen gums and minor bleeding after brushing or flossing. If gingivitis goes unnoticed, infections can occur and eventually cause the gums to separate from the teeth, creating even greater opportunities for infection which leads to decay.
- Gum or periodontal disease is one of the major causes of tooth loss in adults, and in many cases it is avoidable. If gingivitis goes untreated, more serious problems such as abscesses, bone loss or periodontitis can occur.
- Periodontitis is treated in a number of ways. One of these treatments includes a method called root planning which occurs under local anesthetic. This involves cleaning below the gum line to smooth the roots. If effective, this procedure helps the gums reattach themselves to the tooth structure. Local administration of medicaments such as Peridex, fluoride, and Arrestin, can be administered during treatment.
- The goal of the initial treatment is to reduce the depths of the pockets around affected teeth and control the bacteria and inflammation associated with periodontal disease. At this point many patients experience immediate improvement. However, if symptoms do not significantly improve, conventional periodontal surgery may be indicated for some cases.
Dental sealants keep teeth healthy.
In addition to cleanings, checkups and other routine services, Dr. Deehan offers dental sealants, a resin-based material applied to the grooves of your back teeth.
According to the American Dental Association, the average cost of applying a sealant to a tooth is far less than the cost of having the dentist fill a cavity. A sealant application takes only a few minutes per tooth and can be applied in one simple visit. First the teeth are thoroughly cleaned, and then the surface of the tooth is prepared so that the sealant will bond to the tooth. The sealant is then applied and light cured immediately.
Dental sealants typically protect your teeth from decay for at least three to five years. During each checkup, which should be every six months, Dr. Deehan will check the sealants and can reapply as needed.
While sealants are not a replacement for proper oral hygiene, they can significantly reduce tooth decay by acting as a barrier between bacteria and difficult-to-reach areas of the teeth that are susceptible to decay. Sealants can help reduce cavities and can be applied to both baby teeth and adult teeth.
Snoring has an effect on thirty percent of people in the United States. Second-hand snoring, which keeps partners up; along with having your own sleep disturbed, has an effect on approximately seventy percent of individuals in the United States. Therefore, sleep disturbances are obviously a major concern within the general population.
It is suggested that people who sleep regularly for 8 hours per night are able to reduce their sleep time gradually to 7 or 7.5 hours, without experiencing symptoms of sleep deprivation. It has been shown that even moderate sleep curtailment, when experienced for several days, impairs daytime alertness and performance. If sleepiness disappears after an adequate amount of sleep is achieved, the sleepiness was most probably caused by partial sleep deprivation rather than disturbance in the sleep itself.
While you are asleep, you do not actually notice the effects that snoring has upon your life until days, weeks or even months go by and you realize that the “rejuvenating” night sleep is not being achieved and your quality of life is being affected. Studies of snorers have shown that you are harming your brain and body when you spend hours every night snoring away. Your entire night is spent trying to get enough oxygen into your lungs, therefore leading to a night of interrupted sleep.
Our office offers a variety of therapies and appliances that can aid in the treatment of your poor night’s sleep. The answer to this unhealthy scenario may lie in a lightweight dental device worn by the snorer such as an oral appliance and is available through a dentist. If you are experiencing this situation as either a snorer or a partner of a snorer, we may have the answers for you!
Dentures are natural-looking replacement teeth that are removable. There are two types of dentures: full and partial. When a patient’s full set of natural teeth have been removed, a full set of dentures is recommended. Partial dentures are used when natural teeth remain in the patient’s mouth and are attached to a metal frame which is then connected to your natural teeth. They are used to fill in for the teeth that are missing.
Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be properly cared for. Use a gentle cleanser to brush your dentures, always keep them moist when they’re not in use, and be sure to keep your tongue and gums clean as well. Keeping your dentures in top shape will also help keep the soft tissues of your mouth healthy; an unclean or malformed denture can cause infections and irritation.
Regular visits to your dentist are important because your dentist also can make minor adjustments to ensure that your dentures continue fitting naturally and comfortably. A dentist can also use a powerful ultrasonic cleaner to remove hard accumulations of tartar and other substances.