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Regular Exams and Cleanings
Regular exams are an important part of maintaining your oral health. During your regular 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 thorough teeth cleaning
Your regular exam will take about 45 minutes. Each regular exam includes a detailed teeth cleaning, in which we will clean, polish, and rinse your teeth to remove any tartar and plaque that have built up on the tooth's surface.
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.
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. Bonding fillings can be used on front or back teeth, depending on the location and extent of tooth decay.
A bridge may be used to replace missing teeth, help maintain the shape of your face, and alleviate stress on your bite.
A bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. Your bridge can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.
The success of any bridge depends on its foundation — the other teeth, gums, or bone to which it is attached. Therefore, it’s very important to keep your existing teeth, gums, and jaw healthy and strong.
Crowns are a restorative procedure used to improve your tooth’s shape or to strengthen a tooth. Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay.
Crowns are “caps” cemented onto an existing tooth which fully cover the portion of your tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes your tooth’s new outer surface. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are most often preferred because they mimic the translucency of natural teeth and are very strong.
Crowns are often preferable to silver amalgam fillings. Unlike fillings which apply metal directly into your mouth, a crown is fabricated away from your mouth. Your crown is created in our office (see CEREC) and sculpted 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 attached to a metal frame that is connected to your natural teeth and 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. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth at risk of decay, so Dr. Gruskowski 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.
When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, Dr. Gruskowski may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may request another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within your jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and your tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, Dr. Gruskowski must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with us any concerns or preferences for sedation.
Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift, causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, Dr. Gruskowski may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth.
Traditional dental restoratives (fillings) may include gold, porcelain, or composite. The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, such as in the back of the mouth.
Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are usually used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important. They can be used on the back teeth as well depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay. Composite resins are usually more costly than the older silver amalgam fillings.
What's Right for Me?
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity, and expense of dental restorations:
The components used in the filling material
The amount of tooth structure remaining
Where and how the filling is placed
The length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth
The ultimate decision about what to use is best determined in consultation with the Dr. Before your treatment begins, discuss the options with Dr. Gruskowski. To help you prepare for this discussion it is helpful to understand the two basic types of dental fillings: direct and indirect.
Direct fillings are fillings placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include dental amalgam, glass ionomers, resin ionomers, and composite (resin) fillings. Dr. Gruskowski prepares the tooth, places the filling, and adjusts it during one appointment.
Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. They include inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns, and bridges fabricated with gold, base metal alloys, ceramics, or composites. During the first visit, Dr. Gruskowski prepares the tooth and makes an impressions of the area to be restored. Dr. Gruskowski then places a temporary covering over the prepared tooth. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory which creates the dental restoration. At the next appointment, Dr. Gruskowski cements the restoration into the prepared cavity and adjusts it as needed.
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,” you may save that tooth.
Inside each tooth is both the pulp and the nerve. The nerve is the vestiage of the tissue that originally formed the tooth. Once the tooth has bene in the mouth for a time, the functioning of the nerve is no longer necessary.
When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp. Germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. Left without treatment, pus builds up at the root top in the jawbone, forming a "pus-pocket" called an abscess. An abscess can cause the pulp tissue to die. When the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result. Certain by-products of the infection can injure your jawbones and your overall health. Without treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.
Treatment often involves from one to two visits. During treatment, your general dentist or endodontist (a dental who specializes in problems of the pulp) removes the diseased pulp. Next the pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are cleaned and sealed. Often posterior teeth that have endodontic treatment should have a CEREC crown and post placed in order to strengthen the remaining structure. Then, as long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and check-ups so that the root(s) of the restored tooth are nourished by the surrounding tissues, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.
Most of the time a root canal is a relatiively simple procedure with little or no discomfort, involving one or two visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile.
Sometimes brushing is not enough, especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach spots in your mouth. It is difficult for your toothbrush to get in-between the small cracks and grooves on your teeth. If left alone, those tiny areas can develop tooth decay. Sealants give your teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.
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 less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, brushing your teeth becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.
Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth as a preventive measure against tooth decay after the permanent teeth have erupted. However, adults can also receive sealants on healthy teeth. It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every patient has unique needs, and the Dr. will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.
Sealants last from three to five years, but it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact, so if your sealants come off, let our office know, and schedule an appointment for your teeth to be re-sealed.
There's no reason to put up with the gaps in your teeth or with teeth that are stained, discolored, badly shaped, chipped, or crooked. Today, a veneer placed on top of your teeth can correct nature's mistake or the results of an injury and help you have a beautiful smile. Veneers are a highly popular solution among dental patients because of their lifelike tooth appearance.
Veneers are custom made shells crafted on our CEREC, designed to cover the front side of the tooth. To prepare for veneers, Dr. Gruskowski will design and fabricate your veneers using our CEREC. Once fabricated, they will be cemented in place. This only takes one office visit.
When placed, you'll be pleased to see that veneers look like your natural teeth and even resist staining. Though veneers are stain resistant, Dr. Gruskowski may recommend that you avoid coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco to maintain the beauty of your veneer.