Helping our patients maintain healthy, beautiful smiles for life

Terms and Treatments

Composites (tooth-colored fillings / bonding)
 A tooth-colored restorative material used to repair chipped teeth and restore missing tooth structure caused by cavities.

Crowns and Bridges
Crowns are used to restore broken, cracked, or severely decayed teeth to normal function. Crowns are sometimes referred to as caps and can be made out of various materials including precious metals, porcelain, or a combination of both.

are similar to crowns in that they use the same materials. A bridge is used to replace a missing tooth by utilizing the teeth immediately adjacent to the space. Those teeth support the bridge by receiving crowns. An artificial tooth, occupying the space created by the missing tooth, is permanently connected to the supporting crowns. A bridge is a permanent replacement; it is not removable for temporary periods.

Endodontics (root canals)
Root canals are performed on dead (abscessed teeth) and dying teeth. Teeth needing root canals are often painful, but not always. Every tooth has a canal inside the root that leads to the crown of the tooth. Inside this canal, small nerve and blood vessels travel to the pulp chamber located at the center of the crown. This is what provides feeling to the tooth. When performing a root canal, the nerve and blood tissue, along with the bacteria that infect it, are removed from the canal. The canal is then sealed so that bacteria cannot infect it again.

Contrary to many beliefs, fluoride is not just for kids. Anyone who has an increased risk for cavities can benefit from fluoride. Risk factors include diets high in sugar, gum recession, and a history of tooth decay. Cavities are simply the demineralization of tooth structure caused by acid producing bacteria. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by remineralizing tooth structure as well as inhibiting, and even killing, the bacteria that cause cavities. Individuals who have high cariogenic risk factors should have professionally applied fluoride at their cleanings as well as daily use of a fluoride toothpaste and a fluoride mouth rinse.

Homecare Instructions
We want our patients to effectively clean their teeth and gums daily. The ideal is to brush twice a day and floss once a day. The ability of patients to effectively clean their teeth varies due to differing motor skills, size of mouth, size of hands, tight teeth, etc. Because of the various barriers to effective cleaning, we find patients often benefit from an electric toothbrush. The one we recommend most often is the FlexCare™ by Philips® Sonicare®. No matter how effective you are with brushing, you still have to floss. A toothbrush, no matter how expensive it may be, does not clean between teeth. If you are unable to floss, Waterpik® Water Flossers, proxy brushes, and Reach® Access® Flossers are tools that can help.

Implants are used to replace missing teeth. They are permanently placed into the mouth and cannot be taken out. The implant is made of titanium and mimics a tooth root. In time, the titanium implant integrates into the bone allowing for placement of a crown on top of the implant.

Orthodontics (braces / invisalign®)
A common misconception of orthodontics is they are purely cosmetic. However, one of the greatest advantages to straight teeth is the ease it provides patients in their oral hygiene. Crowded and overlapped teeth create barriers to effective hygiene by preventing access to surfaces on the teeth. This can lead to an increase in both cavities and gum disease.

Partial Dentures
Before treatment with partial denturesBefore treatment with partial denturesPartial dentures are an economical way to replace multiple missing teeth. Partial dentures are removable, meaning they can be taken out of the mouth.

Periodontal Disease (gum disease)
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that is usually painless until it becomes severe. Symptoms include bad breath and bleeding, swollen, and red gums. Bleeding with brushing or flossing is not normal; it is an indication of disease. The inflammation from periodontal disease results in the loss of bone supporting the teeth, causing them to become loose and ultimately resulting in loss. The systemic link between the mouth and the body has been researched in recent decades. The results have shown links between periodontal disease and heart disease, diabetes, premature births, and low birth-weight babies. The good news is that periodontal disease is treatable with professional therapies offered by general dentists and periodontal specialists.

Placed on children's permanent molars, sealants protect the teeth against cavities. Permanent molars have deep grooves and pits on their chewing surfaces. These grooves and pits can be extremely difficult for children to keep clean. Sealants fill the grooves and pits much like a river fills a valley, making the teeth easier to keep clean, and thus reducing the possibility of cavities.