Dental cleanings are the gentle removal of plaque, calculus and stains from the tooth structures. They are intended to remove irritants from the teeth. Regular cleanings help keep gums healthy and teeth cavity-free. A dental cleaning includes removal of tartar and plaque and having the teeth polished to remove stains and further buildups of plaque that are not removed when regular tooth brushing is performed.
Fluoride is a mineral that is found naturally in water and many foods. Fluoride builds up teeth’s strength against the acids that cause cavities and tooth decay. The ADA (American Dental Association) encourages fluoride treatment, stating that professional fluoride treatments are beneficial and are best utilized as part of a comprehensive preventive program in the dental home.
An oral hygiene evaluation is the patient assessment that may include gathering of information through interview, observation, examination, and use of specific tests and X-rays that allows the dentist to diagnose existing conditions.
Dental sealants are a safe resin material applied to the surfaces of teeth (commonly permanent molars) to prevent cavities. Sealants fill in the crevices of a tooth and “seal” off the tooth from cavity causing agents like food and plaque. The teeth are prepped for the sealant application and the sealant is painted directly on the chewing surface of the teeth and then hardens. Sealants are applied in one visit.
Oral cancer affects thousands of Americans yearly. We use the latest technology to detect changes in oral tissue consistencies and/or lesions. With early detection, cancer may be caught before it has time to spread, potentially saving lives. Any areas that do not appear normal will be evaluated and discussed with you.
An oral evaluation is recommended every six (6) months to prevent cavities and other dental problems. During an oral evaluation a thorough examination is done to check the hard and soft tissues of the mouth.
An Xray is an image or picture produced on a radiation sensitive film, phosphorous plate, emulsion or digital sensor by exposure to ionizing radiation. Dental X-rays are a valuable diagnostic tool used to identify decay, extra teeth, bone defects, tumors, cysts and check the progress of previous procedures. Latest technology now allow for digital X-rays, which reduce radiation exposure more than 50 percent, and produce instant, high-quality images that can be viewed immediately by the dentist and the patient.
After cavities are cleaned, a composite filling is used to restore the cavity that bacteria leave behind when they infect the tooth. Composite fillings are safe and shaded to match the color of the tooth.
A dental crown is an artificial replacement that restores missing tooth structure by surrounding the remaining coronal tooth structure after the decay is removed from the tooth. Crowns are necessary when the tooth is broken down to the point where a filling won’t be effective. In order to effectively place a crown, tooth structure may be taken away to help create an esthetically pleasing fit.
A bridge replaces missing teeth without the use of a denture or dental implant. A false tooth is held in place by being attached to a neighboring tooth. In order to fabricate a bridge, crowns are made for the teeth on either side of the space and a false tooth is placed in between the crowns, as a support.
Dental implants are used to replace tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed or removable replacement teeth. Dental implants are small anchors made of biocompatible metal, called titanium, placed in the jawbone. The anchors begin to fuse with the bone over a few months. After the fusing process, known as osseointegration, abutment posts are inserted into the anchors to allow for the attachment of the replacement teeth. To fabricate the replacement teeth, an impression is taken and a model of the bite is created. The replacement teeth are based on this model. Replacement teeth can either be crowns, bridges or dentures.
An extraction is the process of removing a tooth or tooth parts. To perform an extraction, the area is anesthetized to minimize discomfort and the tooth is then rocked back and forth until it is removed from its socket.
Our primary goal is to save your natural teeth whenever possible. When root canal therapy is performed, the pulp chamber of the tooth is removed and then filled with a suitable filling material. Root canals are most often necessary when decay has reached the nerve of the tooth or the tooth has become infected. People have anywhere from 1 to 4 canals in a tooth. Extra canals may branch out and are called “accessory canals.” The number of canals and anatomy of a tooth can vary.
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth. There are two types of dentures, complete (full) and partial dentures.
Complete (Full) Dentures are made after all the teeth in the upper and/or lower jaw have been removed and the gum tissue has healed. The denture includes an acrylic base that is custom made in the dental laboratory and are made to look like natural gums, which sits over the gums or can be anchored to dental implants.
Removable Partial Dentures are made only when a few teeth need to be replaced. The removable partial denture either attaches to crowns on either side of the denture or to a metal framework that is attached to the teeth on both sides of the partial denture. Partial dentures can be removable or they can be anchored in place by attaching them to dental implants. Removable partial dentures can be supported in place by attaching them to dental implants when wearing them during the day.
Clear aligner trays can be used for mild to moderate tooth movement in order to achieve the desired alignment, function and smile. The dentist will work with you to develop a treatment plan and a series of clear aligners will be used to achieve the desired result. Each aligner set is worn for approximately 2 weeks before the patient moves on the then next in the series. Each set of aligners gently guides the teeth into the desired position and alignment.
Whitening, also known as bleaching, is the procedure used to brighten teeth.
At-Home whitening requires an impression of the teeth to be taken to make a customized mouth guard to hold the whitening gel, containing carbide peroxide, against the teeth. Once the mouth guard is made, it is worn for a period of time, as instructed by our office. The amount of time may vary from a couple hours a day, or all night, for up to four weeks or longer, if desired.
Cosmetic bonding is the process of filling or restoring teeth with a tooth-colored material in order to maintain its natural appearance. In order to bond a tooth, tooth colored material is added to the tooth to build it up.
Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain used to recreate the natural look of teeth. To place a veneer, a very small amount of the original tooth enamel must be removed. Afterwards, an adhesive layer is placed between the slightly prepped tooth and the veneer. The veneer is then hardened with a curing light.
An inlay or onlay is a partial crown restoration that can be placed when there is not sufficient tooth structure to support a filling, but not quite large enough to require a crown. They are made of a composite or porcelain that aesthetically replaces the missing tooth structure.
Signs and symptoms such as jaw joint pain, muscle tension, headaches, tooth wear, breakage or sensitivity and tooth clenching and/or grinding can be related to bite “mis-engineering”. After the comprehensive exam and diagnosis, Dr. Griffith may prescribe a bite splint to assist in developing a long term treatment plan.
This hard acrylic therapeutic device is fabricated to fit snugly over either your upper or lower teeth. It is then meticulously adjusted to fit as perfectly as possible against the opposing teeth. It will be re-evaluated periodically and adjusted until your bite stabilizes against it. It is very likely that many of the signs and symptoms you both discovered will diminish or even disappear. This is all valuable information for Dr. Griffith and gives insight into what your final treatment might look like. When the bite stabilizes on the appliance and the joints and muscles are comfortable, you will have experienced how your teeth might feel when your mouth is restored. How long this takes depends on your situation and the signs and symptoms with which you start, but you will be on your way to optimal oral health.
Night guards are removable acrylic appliances intended to relieve temporomandibular joint pain and other effects of grinding the teeth (bruxism). They are usually worn at night to prevent grinding during sleep.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is similar to a sliding hinge that connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ disorders can cause pain in the jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.
TMJ conditions fall into three main categories:
Myofascial pain which involves discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function.
Internal derangement of the joint that can mean a displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to the condyle.
Arthritis which is degenerative inflammatory disorder.
To treat TMJ disorders, first the cause has to be identified. Using Bite Splint Therapy, Dr. Griffith will assess your bite and the adjustments needed to alleviate the TMJ symptoms. Then, he will work with you to create a plan to treat the TMJ symptoms and to improve your overall health. In less severe cases, TMJ disorders can be treated with self-managed care (eating soft foods, using ice packs, avoiding extreme jaw movement) or nonsurgical treatments (anti-inflammatory medications, Botox injections, stabilization splints). We may prescribe medication and/or refer you to a specialist if contributing factors seem to warrant this type of treatment.