Topics on this page
Regular Exams and Cleanings
Routine periodic exams are an important part of maintaining your oral health. During your exam, we will:
- Check for any problems that you may not see or feel
- Look for cavities or any other signs of tooth decay
- Inspect your teeth and gums for gingivitis and signs of periodontal disease
- Perform a visual oral cancer screening
Your regular exam will take anywhere from 10 - 45 minutes. For new patients, an exam is perfromed before scheduling your dental cleaning, in order to evaluate how best to treat your specific needs.
Visiting our office every six months gives you the chance to talk to the doctor about any questions you may have about your oral health. Regular exams are offered by appointment only, so please contact our practice today to schedule your next dental exam and teeth cleaning.
Esthetic Composite Bonding
Bonding is a conservative way to repair slightly chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. During dental bonding, a white filling is placed onto your tooth to improve its appearance. The filling “bonds” with your tooth, and because it comes in a variety of tooth-colored shades, it closely matches the appearance of your natural teeth.
Tooth bonding can also be used for tooth fillings instead of silver amalgam. Many patients prefer bonded fillings because the white color is much less noticeable than silver. Bonded fillings can be used on front or back teeth, depending on the location and extent of tooth decay.
Bonding is less expensive than other cosmetic treatments and can usually be completed in one visit to our office. However, bonding can stain and is easier to break than other cosmetic treatments, such as porcelain veneers. If it does break or chip, tell your doctor. The bonding can generally be easily patched or repaired in one visit.
A bridge is a great way to replace missing teeth. It *literally* bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. Your bridge can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, zirconia, or a combination of these materials; and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.
Crowns are a restorative procedure used to improve your tooth’s shape or to replace missing tooth structure. Crowns are commonly recommended on teeth that are broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay.
A crown is a “cap” cemented onto an existing tooth that usually covers the portion of your tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes your tooth’s new outer surface. Dr. Hadfield has been known to tell patients "it's like your tooth gets to wear a new hard-hat!" Crowns can be made of porcelain, zirconia, or gold alloys.
Crowns are needed when there is insufficient tooth strength remaining to hold a filling. Unlike fillings, which apply the restorative material directly into your mouth, a crown is fabricated away from your mouth. Your crown is created in a lab from your unique tooth impression, which allows a dental laboratory technician to examine all aspects of your bite and jaw movements. Your crown is then customized just for you so that your bite and jaw movements function normally once the crown is placed.
Dentures are natural-looking replacement teeth that are removable. There are two types of dentures: full and partial. Full dentures are given to patients when all of the natural teeth have been removed. Partial dentures are used to fill in where permanent teeth have been removed. Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be properly cared for. Use a gentle cleanser to brush your dentures, always keep them moist when they’re not in use, and be sure to keep your tongue and gums clean as well.
There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. A tooth may have so much decay that it becomes non-restorable and your doctor may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.
Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift, causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, your dentist may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth.
Older fillings are commonly made of silver-colored amalgam. The strength and durability of amalgam makes it useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand heavy biting forces that result from chewing, often in the back of the mouth.
Newer dental fillings include resin-based composite compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds are usually used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important, but they can also be used on the back teeth depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay.
Fluoride is effective in strengthening enamel and preventing tooth decay. A fluoride treatment in your dentist’s office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, patients may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride.
If you are missing teeth, it is recommended to replace them. Without all your teeth, chewing and eating can destabilize your bite and cause you discomfort. When teeth are missing, your mouth can shift and even contribute to temporo-mandibular joint disorder (TMD). Implants are a great way to replace your missing teeth, and if properly maintained, can last a lifetime!
In addition to tooth replacement, implants may be used to anchor dentures, especially lower dentures that tend to shift when you talk or chew. For patients with removable partial dentures, implants can replace missing teeth so you have a more natural-looking smile.
Protecting your smile while playing sports is essential. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. If you participate in any kind of full-contact sport, the American Dental Association recommends that you wear a mouthguard. There are several types of mouthguards available, and specifically which one is best for you can vary depending on the sport. We'd be happy to talk to you and find the best solution for your needs.
If you often wake up with jaw pain, earaches, or headaches, or if you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, you may have a common condition called “bruxism.” Many people do not even know that they grind their teeth, as it often occurs when one is sleeping. If not corrected, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, or even tooth loss.
There is an easy, non-invasive treatment for bruxism: nightguards. Nightguards are an easy way to prevent the wear and damage that teeth-grinding causes over time. Custom-made by your dentist from soft material to fit your teeth, a nightguard is inserted over your top or bottom arch and prevents contact with the opposing teeth.
In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you'd probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called “root canal treatment,” your tooth can be saved. When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but it is also detrimental to your overall health.
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, your dentist removes the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with an intermediate restoration. After root canal treatment, a tooth can become brittle and prone to facture, therefore restoring the tooth with a crown is highly recommended.
When a new permanent molar first erupts, it can typically have very steep grooves and "valleys" that don't allow toothbrush bristles to reach the center of the tooth. This is a large reason why the biting surface on the first molar is the most common site for dental decay. To prevent this, we may recommend placing a sealant on a newly-erupted tooth. This could be recommended as early as six years old or anytime throughout the teenage years.
Dental sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden in the deep grooves on your tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are easier to clean effectively.
If you are concerned about gaps, chips, stains, or misshapen teeth, veneers might be a solution for you. Veneers are natural in appearance, and they are a perfect option for patients wanting to make minor adjustments to the look and feel of their smile.
Veneers are thin, custom-made restorations made from tooth-colored materials (such as porcelain), and they are designed to cover the front side of your teeth. To prepare for veneers, your doctor will create a unique model of your teeth. This model is sent to the dental technician to create your veneers. Before placing your new veneer, your doctor may need to conservatively prepare your tooth to achieve the desired aesthetic result.
When your veneers are placed, you’ll be pleased to see that they look like your natural teeth. While veneers are stain-resistant, your doctor may recommend that you avoid coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco to maintain the beauty of your new smile.
Wisdom teeth are types of molars found in the very back of your mouth. They usually appear in the late teens or early twenties.
Your comfort is a priority for us. If you have questions about your wisdom teeth, call us for a consultation to determine the best plan for you. Not all wisdom teeth are created equal! Some of them qualify as simple extractions that can easily be removed under local anesthetic in our office. Sometimes, however, the procedure could be more invasive, in which case we are happy to work with qualified, competent oral surgeons who have several options for sedation.