A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A filling is held in by the tooth so when the tooth is more than half missing it’s most likely not strong enough to keep the filling in place. That’s when it’s recommended to have a crown put on.
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. They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile.
Teeth whitening or bleaching is used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.
Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is using a home tooth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically. Since tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate whether replacement of any old fillings, or crowns will be required. Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth.
Tooth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up maybe needed every several years, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or red wine.
Take home whitening kits usually require two visits. At the first appointment, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth to fabricate custom, clear plastic, trays.
At your second appointment, you will try on the trays for proper fit, and adjustments will be made if necessary. The trays are worn with special whitening solution for up to a week depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening. It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching.
The clear alternative to metal braces.
By using a series of clear, removable aligners, Invisalign™ straightens your teeth with results you’ll notice sooner than you think. The course of treatment involves changing aligners approximately every two weeks, moving your teeth into the proper position step by step, until you have a more beautiful smile. And unlike braces, these clear aligners can be removed while you eat and brush your teeth as usual.
An average Invisalign™ course of treatment takes about a year. At regular intervals, you’ll receive a new set of custom-molded clear aligners to continue the straightening process.
Since Invisalign™ is practically invisible, there’s no unwarranted attention to your mouth. In fact, very few people will notice at all – unless you tell them. They’re comfortable to wear and remove easily when you eat, brush, and floss.
VELscope™ is a revolutionary hand-held device that now offers Smiles On an easy-to-use adjunctive screening instrument for early detection of oral cancer. Its technology platform is based on the direct visualization of tissue fluorescence and the changes in fluorescence that result when abnormal tissue is present.
The VELscope™ Handpiece emits a safe blue light into the oral cavity, which excites the tissue beneath and at the surface and causes it to fluoresce. By utilizing special optical filters in the Hand-piece, we are able to immediately view the different fluorescence responses of healthy vs. abnormal oral tissue. The healthy oral mucosal tissue will appear bright green while suspicious regions are identified by a loss of fluorescence, and will thus appear dark.
Most cases of dental surgery can be treated at Smiles On. This includes simple extractions, surgical extractions, orthodontic extractions (extractions for braces), and third molar or wisdom tooth extractions.
In most cases, it is recommended that impacted wisdom teeth be extracted even if they are not causing pain at the moment. Depending on the position of the tooth, wisdom tooth removal can be performed at Smiles On.
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth. It is made of acrylic resin, sometimes in combination with various metals. Complete dentures replace all the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from changing position.
Root canal therapy is needed when the decay in a tooth affects the nerve of a tooth or when a tooth is affected by trauma. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the root is filled with special dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.
Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.
Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:
- An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold.
- Severe toothache pain.
- Sometimes no symptoms are present.
- Swelling and/or tenderness.
After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed. When you have a root canal, the nutrient supply to the tooth is taken away so the tooth gets more brittle and breaks more easily. It’s usually recommended to have a cap put on a tooth to hold everything together.
A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by cavities, 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. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of your existing teeth.
As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.
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.
A filling is held in by the tooth so when the tooth is more than half missing it’s most likely not strong enough to keep the filling in place. That’s when its recommended to have a crown put on.
Professional dental cleanings are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus 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 inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease.
- Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:
- Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
- Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer and VELscope intra-oral cancer screening
- Gum disease evaluation: Check 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 current fillings, crowns, etc.
Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments.
is the latest technology used to take dental x-rays. This technique uses an electronic sensor (instead of x-ray film) that captures and stores the digital image on a computer. This image can be instantly viewed and enlarged helping the dentist and dental hygienist detect problems easier. Digital x-rays reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays.
Dental x-rays are essential, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular visual dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely help in accurately detecting hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based upon the review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and risk of disease.
A full mouth series of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.
A preventive program is a cooperative effort by the patient, dentist, and dental staff to preserve the natural dentition and supporting structures by preventing the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions. Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. It is continued in the dental office by the efforts of your dentist and dental hygienist to promote, restore, and maintain your oral health.
Prevention also includes regular dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Fluoride is also a great preventive treatment that helps protect the teeth.