Dental Exams & Cleanings
As children, most of us are taught that we need to visit the dentist twice a year to ensure that our teeth, gums, and mouths remain healthy and to prevent decay and other oral health problems. Unfortunately, many adults forget this lesson and neglect making regular visits to the dental office. In too many cases, this leads to tooth loss and other serious (and often costly) dental repairs.
What Happens During a Dental Exam?
During a dental examination, your dentist will check not only your teeth, but also the health of your entire mouth. The following procedures can be combined as part of a thorough dental examination:
Your dentist or hygienist will use a small mirror and a pick to inspect every tooth. The mirror helps your examiner be sure that the teeth are inspected from every angle, while the pick may be used to test the strength of your enamel, detect cavities, or to seek out fillings that may need to be replaced.
It is a little-known fact that most American adults suffer from some degree of periodontal (gum) disease. When caught in their earliest stages, most forms of gum disease are easily treatable, but when gum disease is allowed to progress, it may lead to tooth loss or even bone loss. Your dentist will gently examine for gum discoloration, swelling, and "pockets," areas where the gums pull away from the teeth because of bacteria.
Oral cancer screening
The American Dental Association reports that only about one-half of patients diagnosed with oral cancer survive for more than five years. Oral cancer may appear as a white or red spot in the mouth, and may be very difficult to detect with the naked eye. Some dentists employ the ViziLite® or VELscope® Cancer Screening system to detect cancer in its earliest stages, and if you feel you may be especially susceptible to this ailment, it would be a good idea to schedule an appointment with a dentist who features such cutting-edge technology.
Head and neck examination
Your dentist may palpate the glands in your neck, including the salivary glands found beneath your chin and jaw, to detect any abnormalities. Inspection of the skull where the jaw bones meet is also a part of this examination, as it may help your dentist diagnose TMJ disorder or other occlusal (bite) problems you may not be aware of.
We do offer our patients the service of tooth whitening. If you have a big event coming up like a class reunion, wedding, or you just want to treat yourself to a brighter smile, we can help! The process is simple. You will make an appointment to have impressions taken of your teeth. This is quick and easy.
Once we have the impressions, the lab will make your custom trays. You will have a follow up appointment so the assistant can make sure your trays fit and to show you how the whitening systems works. That's it! You will be on your way to a brighter smile in just days. Not everyone is a candidate for whitening. If you are interested, call the office to schedule an appointment for your evaluation.
Porcelain veneers, or dental veneers, are thin shells that are laid onto the teeth and bonded to the surface. Although they can be made of different materials, porcelain is frequently used because of its durability and realistic appearance.
Porcelain veneers are a more conservative alternative to dental crowns since they require less removal of the tooth's original surface. With porcelain veneers in place, patients can expect straighter, whiter, and more even teeth. If you are interested in veneers, please call the office to schedule your evaluation.
Invisalign uses a series of clear aligners that are custom-molded to fit you. The virtually invisible aligners gradually reposition your teeth into a smile you'll be proud of.
• Remove your aligners to eat, brush and floss
• Change aligners every two weeks
• Your teeth move little by little
• Regular progress checks with your dentist or orthodontist every 4-8 weeks
• Results often in 6 months to 1 year
A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.
There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Composite fillings are the most common filling used in our office. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth. They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.
Composite fillings are placed in one appointment. It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.
Crowns / Caps
A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.
Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain (tooth colored crown) are the most popular. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile. In our office, we have two ways to prepare crowns. Dr. Lewis will discuss which choice is best for you!
A dental implant is an ideal tooth restoration for people who are missing one or more teeth as a result of injury, periodontal disease, or any other reason. While implants are typically more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, they provide superior benefits. Implants are stronger than natural teeth and generally last 10-20 years. They are also a more favorable approach than bridgework since they do not depending on neighboring teeth for support. To receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. You must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits as these are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.
A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth. There are several types of bridges. Dr, Lewis will discuss the best options for your particular case. The "traditional bridge" is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. This type of bridge consists to two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to pontics (artificial teeth), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years, however they may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear.
Dentures & Partial Dentures
This restoration method is used to restore your smile and mouth function if all your teeth have been lost. The dentures are custom created to resemble natural teeth and are positioned to take the place of natural teeth. Complete dentures are removable and may require adjustments in order to create a proper fit with the gums and mouth.
A removable partial denture is a device used when one or more natural teeth still remain in the upper or lower jaw. They usually consist of replacement teeth attached go a gum-colored plastic base which is held in place in the mouth. A fixed partial denture acts the same as a removable denture, but it is held into place using adjacent teeth for support.
New dentures may feel awkward or loose for the first few weeks until the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place and you are comfortable eating and speaking. Although this may require some practice you will adjust and enjoy the benefits a full mouth of teeth can provide.