The secret to a bright, healthy smile is actually no secret at all: brush, floss and get a professional dental exam at least once every six months. Professional dental exams are all about prevention – preventing existing problems from getting worse and preventing dental problems from developing in the future. Regular dental exams make it possible to identify and treat a problem in its earliest stage – which is not only good for your oral health but also good for your budget!
There's nothing to fear with a dental exam. Your teeth will be visually examined for signs of plaque, tartar and tooth decay. Your gums will also be examined for puffiness or discoloration, which are signs of gum disease. A full set of dental X-rays may also be taken during your dental exam, to enable your dentist to see below the surfaces of your teeth. Dental exams typically end with a dental cleaning, to remove surface stains and buildup.
VELSCOPE ORAL CANCER SCREENING
Oral cancer affects nearly 35,000 Americans every year. The keys to surviving oral cancer are early detection and early treatment. This starts with a regular oral cancer screening – at least once every six months. An oral cancer screening takes just minutes, is pain-free and can be performed during regular dental exams. If you are male, a regular oral cancer screening is especially critical: Oral cancer is more than twice as common in men as it is in women. Other people at high risk of oral cancer include people over the age of 60, tobacco smokers and heavy drinkers.
TOOTH COLORED FILLINGS
If your silver fillings make you feel self conscious when you smile, or it's simply time to replace them, consider white fillings. White fillings are just as durable as they are attractive! Made of composite resin, white fillings match the natural color of your teeth and are an excellent option for small to mid-sized cavities. White fillings are strong, stain-resistant and require less removal of your tooth structure than amalgam fillings.
INLAYS & ONLAYS
You have a big filling that needs replacement. Do you have to get a full crown? Not necessarily. A more conservative option, inlays and onlays fit into a tooth similar to a filling, yet they are milled restorations, much like a crown. The bumps on top of a tooth are called cusps. Inlays fit between cusps, while onlays fit over one or more cusps. Inlays and onlays allow a patient to retain more natural tooth structure, which is always best. Not every situation is right for an inlay or onlay, but Dr.Oh will assess your problem and determine the best solution for you. Because they are created in-office with our CEREC machine, only one appointment is needed to complete the restoration. During your visit, we will prepare your tooth by removing your tooth decay or old filling and cleaning the area. We will then take a digital impression. This image is converted into a 3D computerized model of your tooth, which is used as a guide to design your new restoration. Once Dr. Oh is happy with the newly designed tooth, this data is sent to an onsite milling machine, which fabricates your new teeth from a high-quality ceramic block. The CEREC machine creates a custom inlay or onlay for you.
Dental bridges have been used for centuries to replace missing teeth. Today, dental bridges are still considered one of the most durable, conservative and cost-effective options for bridging the gap between a missing tooth and surrounding teeth. Comprised of two anchoring teeth and a replacement tooth, dental bridges help prevent surrounding teeth from drifting out of position, improve chewing and speaking, and help keep your natural face shape in tact.
There are three types of dental bridges: 1) traditional dental bridges, 2) cantilever dental bridges, and 3) Maryland bridges. Traditional bridges have either dental crowns or dental implants on either side of the missing tooth, plus a replacement tooth, which is held in place by a post-like structure called a dental abutment. Cantilever dental bridges are used in cases where there are surrounding teeth only on one side of the missing tooth. Maryland bridges are made of a specialized resin that is cemented to a metal framework and cemented to the enamel of surrounding teeth.
Dental bridges typically take 2-3 weeks to complete and are less invasive than other options, such as dental implants. With good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, dental bridges can last up to 30 years.
Using dentures to replace missing teeth is not only great for your oral health; it's a great way to look and feel younger! Today, there are a variety of natural-looking and comfortable dentures for patients who need to replace missing teeth. Made of a gum-colored plastic resin or acrylic base and either resin or porcelain replacement teeth, dentures are custom designed to fit your mouth. If you have several teeth or all teeth missing on the upper or lower jaw, full dentures may be your best option. Partial dentures, which can be either fixed or removable, are great for patients who have several missing teeth scattered along the upper or lower jaw.
The process of getting dentures may take a few months and several dental visits. In some cases, however, same-day dentures are also possible. With same-day dentures, the dentures are created right in the dentist's office instead of at an offsite laboratory. Same-day dentures aren't for everyone, though. If your dentures require a lot of customization, same-day dentures may not be right for you.
Just as with your natural teeth, dentures require daily maintenance. With regular wear and tear, your dentures can last 5-7 years. During that time, you may need periodic denture relines to accommodate changes in the contours of your mouth. Regular denture relines involve resurfacing the base to ensure that your dentures fit and function perfectly. If you break your dentures, it's critical to bring them to your dentist for professional denture repair. Home denture repair kits can cause more damage and be even more costly to fix.
GUM DISEASE TREATMENT
Red, swollen gums are a red flag for one thing: gum disease. If you have the symptoms, you're not alone. More than 80% of adults have some form of gum disease. Fortunately, there are many effective and pain-free gum disease treatments. For gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, treatment typically involves a thorough dental cleaning, followed by daily brushing and flossing. Advanced gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, requires scaling and root planing to remove stubborn deposits below the gum line. Laser gum surgery, a new alternative to scaling and root planing, uses beams of high-speed light to remove plaque and tartar buildup. If non-surgical methods of gum disease treatment are ineffective, a gingivectomy, or periodontal surgery, may be necessary.
Root canals get a bad wrap. But don't believe the rumors; the dreaded root canal isn't dreadful at all! Root canals are needed when either decay or an injury infects the inner tooth (the pulp). In the earliest stages of infection, you may not feel any pain at all. But when it progresses, you could have a toothache and swelling, or a dental abscess might form. Root canals remove the infection and prevent it from spreading. Thanks to laser root canals, this process is faster, more comfortable and, in many cases, more thorough than conventional root canals. Pulp capping is an alternative to root canals that are used when the infection has yet to penetrate the pulp. Pulp capping can also prevent a large dental filling from getting too close to the nerve.
SIMPLE TOOTH EXTRACTIONS
In many cases your family dentist will be able to save a tooth despite damage or decay, solving whatever problem you may be suffering from with a filling, crown, or other dental procedure. However, in some cases the only recourse is to remove the tooth.
There are two different types of tooth extractions: simple and surgical.
Simple Tooth Extraction
If a tooth hasn’t been broken off too much to be visible in the mouth, a simple extraction will suffice. This procedure requires only local anesthetic, as well as anti-anxiety drugs depending on the patient. The procedure is fairly quick, as the dentist will merely grip and loosen your tooth with forceps before pulling it out. Sometimes it is necessary to insert a dental elevator between the tooth and gum to assist in loosening the tooth. After your tooth extraction, you will need to follow some steps for a quick recovery. Take the pain medication prescribed by your dentist exactly as directed and avoid eating solid foods for several hours afterward. Avoid chewing on that side of your mouth for a full day, because getting food in the extraction site can cause complications like dry socket. Rinsing your mouth with salt water and using warm compresses on your jaw will help keep your mouth healthy and control pain.
Surgical Tooth Extraction
In cases where the tooth cannot be seen in the mouth due to breakage or simply not coming in yet (as is the case with many people’s wisdom teeth), your dentist will have to perform a surgical tooth extraction. The procedure may involve local or general anesthesia depending on the particulars of your case. In order to access the remaining tooth, the dentist will cut and pull back the gums. In some cases the tooth will have to be cut into pieces to be removed. After a surgical tooth extraction, it’s very important to follow aftercare instructions in order to reduce your risk of complications. Proper care after a surgical tooth extraction includes changing your gauze pads often, avoiding smoking or eating hard foods, keeping your mouth clean by washing with salt water, and relaxing. It’s important to take it easy and remember to keep your head elevated to reduce bleeding.
If you've been living with persistent jaw pain, ear pain and headaches, you could have TMJ – temporomandibular jaw disorder. TMJ can often be traced back to an improper bite, misaligned jaw joints, or an injury to the jaw or face. TMJ treatment from a dentist can relieve the discomfort. Although TMJ treatment varies from patient to patient, it typically involves one or several procedures, including the use of an orthotic splint, enamel reshaping, dental crowns, dental braces or night guards. The goal of TMJ treatment is to stabilize your bite so that your teeth, jaw muscles and jaw joints work properly together without strain – and without pain!
Ever wish you could sail through dental visits without anxiety or fear? Would you rather endure an agonizing toothache than go to the dentist? Answering “yes” to these questions could mean that you're a perfect candidate for sedation dentistry.
There are different levels of sedation to accommodate every patient. Minimal sedation involves inhaling nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”). Conscious Nitrous oxide helps you relax and wears off quickly.
IN-OFFICE CT SCAN (3D CONE BEAM)
3D cone beam scans produce high-quality 3D images of teeth, teeth roots, jaws and even the skull. These 3D images allow dental professionals to identify potential problems that oftentimes go unnoticed with traditional dental images. 3D cone beam scans have benefits for patients, too: they emit far less radiation than traditional dental X-rays!