A root canal is a procedure that extracts decayed pulp from the central part of the tooth, reshapes the canal and replaces it with strengthening filler.
A cavity is the result of superficial decay of the enamel of the tooth. Left long enough, this decay can burrow into the deeper reaches of the tooth, causing extensive damage to tooth structure. When the damage goes beyond what can be treated with a filling, dentists can perform a root canal (or endodontics), preserving the tooth and retaining its original integrity; thereby, saving a tooth that in the past would have to have been pulled.
This procedure involves:
- The patient undergoes anesthesia.
- A dental dam is used to isolate the tooth.
- The tooth is opened to allow for removal of infected or dead dental pulp.
- The tooth is comprehensively cleaned, including any cracks and canals.
- With special tools, the doctor reshapes the canals.
- The tooth is filled again with cutting edge biocompatible filling material.
- A temporary covering is used to cover the access opening.
- Patients must see their regular dentist quickly for a permanent restoration of the tooth.
An extraction is the complete removal of a tooth. Extractions are sometimes necessary if a primary tooth is preventing the normal eruption of a permanent tooth, if the tooth has suffered extensive tooth decay or trauma that cannot be repaired, if the patient has gum disease, or if the tooth is impacted (usually the wisdom teeth). Depending on the complexity of the case, an extraction can be performed surgically or non-surgically. A mild anesthesia is used to ensure your child is as comfortable as possible throughout the procedure
Your third molars are more commonly called "wisdom teeth." Usually appearing in the late teens or early twenties, third molars often lack the proper space in the jaw to erupt fully or even at all. This common condition is called impaction. When any tooth lacks the space to come through or simply develops in the wrong place of your jaw and becomes impacted, problems can arise. Primarily, damage to adjacent teeth and crowding occur.
In certain cases, the wisdom tooth that cannot come through becomes inflamed under the gums and in the jawbone, causing a sac to develop around the root of the tooth that then fills with liquid. This can cause a cyst or an abscess if it becomes infected. If either of these situations goes untreated, serious damage to the underlying bone and surrounding teeth and tissues can result.
To potentially stave off this result, an extraction of one, several or all of the wisdom teeth may be advised. If that is the case, we have the equipment and training needed to perform such extractions, with an absolute minimum of discomfort. Ask our staff for more information regarding tooth extractions if you feel you may need one.
Your teeth will darken over time. Changes in the color of your teeth can be caused by such factors as the food and beverages consumed (like coffee, tea and soda). Other known factors for discoloration may include childhood medications or illnesses, tobacco use or improper oral hygiene. Restoring your natural white smile is a priority for our dental whitening team. We can provide a variety of options for whitening your smile.
Tooth whitening services are growing in popularity, and it’s one of the most requested services offered by our practice. Everyone sees the growing consumer market focused on whiter teeth. The reality is that over-the-counter, “too good to be true” solutions typically don’t work.
We are trained professionals using industry-approved methods. Our goal is to meet the needs of every patient, and every patient’s needs are different. One of the methods used by our practice is a gentle hydrogen-peroxide gel-activated solution. Our process will whiten your entire smile in one visit. Call us today for a whitening evaluation.
Nothing improves your appearance more than a bright, white smile!
Crowns and Bridges
A crown is a permanent covering that fits over an original tooth that is either decayed, damaged or cracked. Crowns are made of a variety of different materials such as porcelain, gold, acrylic resin or a mix of these materials. Porcelain generally has the most natural appearance, although it is often less durable.
The treatment plan for a patient receiving a crown involves:
- Numbing the tooth to remove the decay in or around it.
- Re-sculpturing the tooth to provide an ideal fit for the crown.
- Making an impression of your teeth in order to create a custom-made crown (usually takes one to two weeks).
- Making a temporary crown out of acrylic resin and fitting it onto the tooth during the interim period when the permanent custom-made crown is being created.
- Applying the permanent crown (when received from the lab) by removing the temporary crown and fitting the permanent one onto the tooth.
- After ensuring that the crown has the proper look and fit, the dentist cements it into place.
This process generally consists of a minimum of two to three visits over a three to four week period. Once the procedure is completed, proper dental hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, is required to maintain healthy, bacteria-free teeth, gums and crowns. This helps in the prevention of gum disease. Given proper care, your crowns can last a lifetime.
A bridge is a dental device that fills a space that a tooth previously occupied. A bridge may be necessary to prevent:
Shifting of the teeth that can lead to bite problems (occlusion) and/or jaw problems and resultant periodontal disease.
Bridges safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.
There are three main types of bridges, namely:
- A fixed bridge is the most popular and consists of a filler tooth that is attached to two crowns, which fit over the existing teeth and hold the bridge in place.
- The “Maryland” bridge is commonly used to replace missing front teeth and consists of a filler that is attached to metal bands that are bonded to the abutment teeth. The metal bands consist of a white-colored composite resin that matches existing tooth color.
- The cantilever bridge is often used when there are teeth on only one side of the span. A typical three-unit cantilever bridge consists of two crowned teeth positioned next to each other on the same side of the missing tooth space. The filler tooth is then connected to the two crowned teeth, which extend into the missing tooth space or end.
Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements that were first developed half a century ago by a Swedish scientist named Per-Ingvar Branemark. Implants arose from the patient’s need to secure loose-fitting dentures. Since the advent of the implant, engineering and enhancements to the implant have enabled dentists to expand the implant’s usefulness, including the replacement of missing or lost teeth. Today, implant techniques provide a wide range of tooth replacement solutions including:
- Single Tooth Replacement
- Anterior Replacement
- Posterior Replacement
- Full Upper Replacement
If the missing tooth space has no surrounding teeth, the dentist may decide an implant is the most appropriate treatment choice or option.
Post Implant Care
Although proper oral hygiene is always recommended for maintaining good dental health, it is especially important when a patient has received a dental implant. Bacteria can attack sensitive areas in the mouth when teeth and gums are not properly cleaned, thus causing gums to swell and jaw bones to gradually recede. Recession of the jawbone will weaken implants and eventually make it necessary for the implant to be removed. Patients are advised to visit their dentists at least twice a year to ensure the health of their teeth and implants. Dental implants can last for decades when given proper care.
Bonding is a common solution for:
- Fixing or repairing chipped or cracked teeth
- Reducing unsightly gaps or spaces between teeth
- Hiding discoloration or faded areas on the tooth’s surface
Often, composite boding is used to improve the appearance of your teeth and enhance your smile. As the name indicates, composite material, either a plastic or resin, is bonded to an existing tooth. Unlike veneers or crowns, composite bonding removes little, if any, of the original tooth.
Composite bonding has many advantages:
- It is a quick process, which typically lasts less than one hour.
- It does not reduce the tooth’s original structure and is relatively inexpensive.
- Composite resins come in many different shades and provide better matching of shades to the natural color of your teeth.
- Composite bonds, however, are not as durable and long-lasting as veneers and crowns and may need to be re-touched or replaced in the future.
Composite bonds stain more easily and therefore require proper care and regular cleaning. In order to ensure the longest possible duration of the bonding, composites should be brushed and flossed daily. Common staining elements include coffee, tea, tobacco, foods and candy.
Along with composite bonding, we offer ICON Treatments, a remarkable new product that eliminates unwanted discolored spots on teeth. Dr. Cowley especially enjoys restoring white spots left from orthodontic treatment that otherwise would have to be restored through crowns or veneers. ICON Treatment takes one short visit and requires no drilling or numbing! An article about ICON found here and it was even featured on ABC's "The Doctors" here.