In today’s day and age, dentistry has become more than just going to the dentist to get checked for cavities. In the early days of dentistry, some people weren’t lucky enough to have “novocaine” or even a high speed dental drill, but in today’s day and age there are many “luxuries” of dentistry that many people simply expect when they go to the dentist.
Now that dentistry has evolved into the 21st century, there are numerous scientific articles & publications seen in the news, TV, or online that help support many things that dentists have encouraged their patients to do in the past. Now that there is more of a fundamental understanding that these protocols are backed by scientific research, they have become the new standard of care in dentistry! The pathway to good overall health is good oral health. – C. Everett Coop, Surgeon General 1982-1989
Yes, though this is an adage from more than 2 decades ago, this reality is here and now!! We are in an era of being able to detect cavities and treat gums with a laser, check bacteria in your mouth with an Oral DNA test, digitally take your x-rays, cosmetically enhance the way you smile on the computer, use porcelain or composite fillings and crowns that look so lifelike that you could literally fool mother nature, and even show you your teeth on TV in an instant with the push of a button.
We have the technology dentists would only have dreamed of years ago, but our “gadgets” are only as good as the hands that use them. Our office will utilize these instruments as adjuncts to sound dental knowledge, and help formulate a dental care regimen that is curtailed to your individual needs. Let us help put these instruments to work for you, and you will be amazed as to the positive outcomes it can have on your dental experience!
Preventative Dental Care
Dental radiographs (X-rays) can provide essential information about oral health. They are an important part of a patient’s dental record. Some dental offices now use computers to help capture, store and transmit dental radiographs. Dental radiographs produced with a special computer create digital images (computerized dental radiographs) that can be displayed and enhanced on the computer monitor.
CREATING DIGITAL RADIOGRAPHS
Digital imaging involves the use of a radiography machine like that used to create dental radiographs made with film. But instead of using film in a plastic holder, the clinician makes digital images using a small electronic sensor or an image receptor that is placed in the mouth to capture the image. When the digital radiograph is exposed, the image is transmitted to a computer processor (with or without a cable) or, in the case of an imaging plate, the clinician removes the plate from the mouth and scans it with a special reader, similar to a compact disc player. Unlike conventional film that may take between three and five minutes to process, a digital radiographic image generally can be viewed quickly on the computer screen. The image is displayed in a large format on the screen, in comparison with the small films that are viewed on a light box. With digital radiographic images, technical errors often can be corrected to provide an optimal radiograph without having to make another exposure. The clinician can use magnification to enhance specific problem areas of a tooth, as well as alter brightness and contrast in the image. Viewing an enhanced dental radiograph on a computer screen can help a dentist better see a problem area. The dental office also can print or copy digital radiographs. Because the images are stored on the computer, they can be compared easily with future dental radiographs to see if and how conditions have changed. Digital radiographs eliminate the need for film and film processing chemicals that generate waste. Special light boxes to view the traditional radiographic films also are no longer needed.
ARE DENTAL RADIOGRAPHS SAFE?
Dental radiographic examinations require exposure to very low levels of radiation, which makes the risk of potentially harmful effects extremely small. Dental radiographic equipment and techniques are designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation.
A couple of steps can limit the area exposed during any dental radiographic examination:
limiting the size of the radiographic beam to approximately the size of the film or sensor being used
using a leaded apron and thyroid shield (most X-rays are stopped by lead).
Many diseases of the oral cavity (which includes the teeth, surrounding tissues and bone) cannot be seen when the dentist examines a patient’s mouth. A radiographic examination may help the dentist see the following:
small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings);
bone destruction from a tooth infection (for example, an abscess) or a cyst;
bone loss due to periodontal (gum) disease;
some types of tumors;
the effects of trauma;
the position of unerupted teeth in children and adults.
Dental caries (tooth decay) is caused by acid-producing bacteria that collect around the teeth and gingivae (gums) in a sticky, clear film called “plaque.” Without good daily oral hygiene and regular dental visits, teeth become more vulnerable to caries. Brushing twice a day and cleaning between teeth with floss or another type of interdental cleaner help remove plaque. Regular dental examinations and cleanings also are important for keeping teeth healthy. Another key to good oral health is fluoride, a mineral that helps prevent caries and can repair teeth in the very early, microscopic stages of the disease. Fluoride can be obtained in two forms: topical and systemic.
TOPICAL AND SYSTEMIC FLUORIDES
Topical fluorides are applied directly to the tooth enamel. Some examples include fluoride toothpastes
and mouthrinses, as well as fluoride treatments in the dental office. Systemic fluorides are those that are swallowed. Examples include fluoridated water and dietary fluoride supplements. The maximum reduction in dental caries is achieved when fluoride is available both topically and systemically. Dentists have used in-office fluoride treatments for decades to help protect the oral health of children and adults, especially patients who may be at a higher risk of developing caries. Some factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing caries include the following:
poor oral hygiene
drug or alcohol abuse
lack of regular professional dental care
active orthodontic treatment combined with poor oral hygiene
high levels of caries-causing bacteria in the mouth
exposed root surfaces of teeth
decreased salivary flow, resulting in dry mouth
existing restorations (fillings)
tooth enamel defects
undergoing head and neck radiation therapy
PROFESSIONAL FLUORIDE TREATMENT CENTER VALLEY, PA
If you, or a family member, are at a moderate-to high risk of developing caries, a professional fluoride treatment can help. The fluoride preparation used in the dental office is a much stronger concentration than that in toothpastes or fluoride mouthrinses that may be available in a store or at a pharmacy. Professional fluoride treatments generally take just a few minutes. The fluoride may be in the form of a solution, gel, foam or varnish. Typically, it is applied with a cotton swab or brush, or it is used as a rinse or placed in a tray that is held in the mouth for several minutes. After the treatment, you may be asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride and help repair microscopic carious areas. Depending on your oral health status, fluoride treatments may be recommended every three, six or 12 months. Your dentist also may recommend additional preventive measures if you are at a moderate or high risk of developing caries. These measures may include over-the-counter or prescription therapeutic products such as fluoride mouthrinses, gels or antibacterial mouthrinses. Look for products with the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance. Products displaying the ADA Seal have been examined carefully by the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs and have met its criteria for safety and effectiveness.
Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are usually placed on the chewing (occlusal) surface of the permanent back teeth — the molars and premolars — to help protect them from decay. Why are dental sealants placed on teeth? The chewing surfaces of the molar and premolar teeth have grooves — “fissures” — that make them vulnerable to decay. These fissures can be deep, are difficult to clean, and can be narrower than even a single bristle of a toothbrush. Plaqueaccumulates in these areas, and the acid from bacteria in the plaque attacks the enamel and cavities can develop.
Fluoride helps prevent decay and helps protect all the surfaces of the teeth, dental sealants provide extra protection for the grooved and pitted areas by providing a smooth surface covering over the fissured area. When are dental sealants placed? The first dental sealant to be placed is usually on the fissure of the first permanent molar tooth, once the chewing surface of the tooth has erupted completely beyond the gum. This tooth grows in behind the baby teeth. If the chewing (occlusal) surfaces of these teeth are sealed, the dental sealant will help protect the tooth. Except for thewisdom teeth, which come through much later, the molars and premolars continue to erupt until eleven-thirteen years of age and the chewing surfaces of these teeth can be sealed after they have erupted beyond the gum. Are dental sealants only placed on the chewing surface of molar and premolar permanent teeth?
Dental sealants are usually placed on the chewing surfaces of these teeth because these are the areas and teeth that typically have deep fissures. Dental sealants are sometimes also used on other permanent teeth if they have grooves or pits, to help protect these surfaces. In some children, the molars in the primary dentition (baby teeth) also have grooves that could benefit from dental sealants and in this situation your dentist or hygienist may recommend dental sealants on the chewing surfaces of these primary teeth. Can dental sealants be place on the teeth of adults? Yes — while less common, dental sealants are sometimes placed in adults at risk for caries, on deep grooves and fissures that do not already have fillings or dental sealants. What do dental sealants look like? Dental sealants can be clear, white or have a slight tint depending upon the dental sealant used. How are dental sealants placed? Firstly the tooth surface is thoroughly cleaned with a paste and rotating brush by your dentist or hygienist. Next the tooth is washed with water and dried. Then a solution that is acidic is placed on the fissured area of the tooth’s chewing surface for a number of seconds before being rinsed off. This creates small microscopic areas and a fine rougher surface than the surrounding tooth enamel, that can be seen with a microscope. The rough surface and microscopic areas enable the dental sealant to attach to the tooth. After the tooth is dried again, the liquid dental sealant is placed on the tooth and hardened. Dental sealants are hardened by using a light that hardens the dental sealant, or sometimes by using a two-component dental sealant that sets without using a light.
Once the dental sealant has hardened it becomes a hard plastic varnish coating, and you can chew on the tooth again. How long does a dental sealant last? Dental sealants have been used and have been proven to be effective since the 1970s. Many studies have shown that they are effective in helping to prevent decay on chewing (occlusal) surfaces. Dental sealants can last many years. If necessary, it is also possible to place a new dental sealant on the tooth. Do I still need to use fluoride if I have dental sealants? Yes. Dental sealants only protect the surface area that they are placed on. Fluoride helps protect all the surfaces of the tooth from decay and cavities.
Periodontal Disease (Gum Therapy)
After the age of about 25, the most common reason for the loss of teeth is gum disease, technically known as periodontal disease, or periodontitis. Periodontal disease is characterized by swollen & red gums, bleeding gums, receding gums, gum abscesses, teeth that begin to look longer and longer (prompting the old saying “long of tooth”), and eventually, loose teeth. Affected teeth loosen to the point that they become painful and useless and either fall out themselves, or must be removed.
Periodontal disease is a bacterially induced, localized, chronic inflammatory disease which destroys connective tissue and bone that support the teeth. Periodontitis is common, and it affects nearly 75% of Americans Nationwide.
Though the the disease is INDUCED (begins) by bacterial infection, the real damage to the oral tissues is caused by the body’s immune response to the infection. Once the infection takes hold, the body becomes primed to fight it, and the immune response begins the destruction of the tissues that support the teeth. Environmental and genetic factors as well as acquired risk factors such as smoking, mental anxiety, depression, obesity, diabetes mellitus and exposure to tobacco accelerate the body’s inflammatory processes. Although bacteria initiate periodontitis, host-modifying risk factors appear to influence the severity and extent of disease.
Periodontal disease begins with poor oral hygiene, but it is easily prevented by brushing, and by cleaning between the teeth with floss or thin toothpicks. It is, however, VERY difficult to stop once it starts. It is usually painless, and by the time the first acute abscess starts, some teeth may already be beyond saving. The first sign of periodontal disease is bleeding gums. The last sign of periodontal disease is no teeth. There are numerous treatment options for the services that help detect and treat gum disease. Our “Standard Exam” will help determine if gum disease is present, but our “Complete Dental Physical” exam has an Oral DNA test component that will help determine what bacteria in your mouth are causing the problem.
Also, treatment ranges can range from full or partial quadrant areas, and whether or not a laser will be used to assist in your treatment. We have a full menu of options that you can choose from based on the data from your personalized exam ranging from $1500 to $950 or more for the first year (the most expensive portion of periodontal treatment is the start-up costs, essentially making up for lost time) of periodontal care. Please ask about our special Periodontal Report for further information about gum disease and how to treat it!
Restorative Dental Care (Fillings)
When most people think of a “filling”, they imagine an item made out of some sort of material, either metal or plastic that is placed directly in a hole in a tooth, carved to resemble the original shape of the tooth, and then allowed to harden inside the hole to restore the form and function of the tooth. Of course, it also must relieve the pain associated with the cavity. In fact, these “direct” restorations, though far and away the most common types due to their lower cost are only one half of the equation.
Another type of restoration, less common due to their much higher cost, are called “indirect” restorations. These “fillings” justify their expense by being more durable (in other words, properly cared for, they should last longer than regular direct restorations), and also more esthetic (better looking because they are actually built by a laboratory technician on a lab bench on custom study models). Indirect fillings, made in a dental laboratory are as follows:
Most dentists today prefer the superior strength and esthetics of “full coverage” of the tooth in the form of crowns or veneers, rather than simply filling cavities.
The most commonly used direct filling material used in our office:
- composite (light cured glass/porcelain particles in a plastic matrix)
- temporary filling materials (zinc oxide & eugenol compounds)
The most common types of indirect filling material used in our office:
- gold (and other semi precious metals)
- fused porcelain (numerous types)
- composite (heat processed glass / porcelain)
Depending on your situation, the costs and fees associated with these filling materials can vary greatly based on the filling type and the number of teeth required to repair. Simple individual tooth repair fees can range from as little as a $250 – $150 for a single filling on up to $950 or more for a crown. Numerous complex crowns to repair a group of teeth in a quadrant , or services for cosmetic veneers for the front teeth are even more expensive, and may require additional “set-up” fees.
Tooth whitening lightens teeth and helps to remove stains and discoloration. Whitening is among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because it can greatly improve how your teeth look. Most dentists perform tooth whitening. Whitening is not a one-time procedure. It will need to be repeated from time to time if you want to maintain the brighter color.
What It’s Used For?
The outer layer of a tooth is called the enamel. The color of natural teeth is created by the reflection and scattering of light off the enamel, combined with the color of the dentinunder it. Your genes affect the thickness and smoothness of the enamel. Thinner enamel allows more of the color of the dentin to show through. Having smoother or rougher enamel also affects the reflection of light and therefore the color.
Every day, a thin coating (pellicle) forms on the enamel and picks up stains. Tooth enamel also contains pores that can hold stains. The most common reasons for teeth to get yellow or stained are:
Drinking dark-colored liquids such as coffee, cola, tea and red wine
Not taking good care of your teeth
Aging also makes teeth less bright as the enamel gets thinner and the dentin becomes darker.
It is also possible to have stains inside the tooth. These are called intrinsic stains. For example, intrinsic stains can be caused by exposure to too much fluoride as a child while teeth are developing. Other causes include tetracycline antibiotics. They can stain a child’s teeth if taken by a mother during the second half of pregnancy or by a child who is 8 years old or younger. Teeth are still developing during these years. Trauma may also darken a tooth. Tooth whitening is most effective on surface (extrinsic) stains.
Other dental problems can affect the success of tooth whitening. For example, cavities need to be treated before teeth are whitened. That’s because the whitening solution can pass through decayed areas and reach the inner parts of the tooth. If your gums have receded, the exposed roots of your teeth may appear yellow or discolored. Whitening products will not make them whiter.
Also, If you have tooth decay or receding gums, whitening may make your teeth sensitive. Whitening also does not work on ceramic or porcelain crowns or veneers.
Whitening can be done in the dental office or at home. For in-office whitening, your dentist probably will photograph your teeth first. This step will help him or her to monitor the progress of the treatment. Your dentist also will examine your teeth and ask you questions to find out what caused the staining..
For whitening at home, your dentist can make trays to hold the whitening gel that fit your teeth precisely. Home whitening gel usually needs to be applied daily for two to three weeks. Over-the-counter kits also are widely available for home use. They provide trays to hold the gel, or whitening strips that stick to your teeth. Be sure to follow directions to avoid overuse and possible damage to your teeth and mouth.
SHORT TERM BRACES (6 MONTH SMILES)
Month Smiles® short term orthodontic treatment is a modern twist on tried-and-true orthodontics. There is little debate within the orthodontic community that braces are the most widely used and most effective method to give patients straight, healthy teeth and a beautiful smile. Six Month Smiles has taken the best aspects of braces and modified the treatment and the materials to give adults a common-sense, cosmetic solution that fits your lifestyle. Here is what makes Six Month Smiles so innovative …
Average treatment times of only six months
Six Month Smiles Lucid-Lok® clear brackets and tooth-colored wires are barely visible
Use of braces has shown to provide the most conservative and predictable final result
Six Month Smiles Patient Tray Kits™ ensure that your appointments are fast and comfortable
Low forces and short overall orthodontic treatment times increase comfort, safety, and hygiene
Six Month Smiles is typically less expensive than traditional braces, aligner therapy, or veneers
Oral Surgery & Extractions (Tooth Removal)
What is a tooth extraction?
A tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from your mouth. In order for a tooth to be removed, your dentist will open up the gum tissue over the tooth and remove any bone covering the tooth. The tissue connecting the tooth to the bone is then separated, which will allow for the tooth to be removed. Sometimes the tooth needs to be cut into smaller pieces, a process called sectioning, in order to facilitate easier removal. Depending on how broken down the tooth is, will determine if it is a simple or complex extraction.
Why do I need my tooth extracted?
A tooth is extracted to correct an actual problem, such as an abscess or deep decay, or even done to prevent problems that may come up in the future. More serious problems can develop from badly damaged teeth, such as infection, damage to other teeth and bone, or the development of a cyst. Also, sometimes teeth are removed to help facilitate more ideal dental implant care, and allow for better re-engineering of the teeth.
Fees can range from $250 – $175 per tooth to be extracted, depending on the difficulty of the extraction to be done.
Why do I need Bone Grafting?
Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is reabsorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. In these situations, most patients are not candidates for “just” the placement of dental implants. We now have the ability to grow bone where needed in such cases. This gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, and it also gives us a chance to more effectively restore esthetic appearance and functionality.
What is a bone graft procedure?
A bone graft is a surgical procedure that replaces missing bone with material from the patient’s own body or an artificial, synthetic, or natural substitute. The graft not only replaces missing bone, but also helps your body to regenerate its own bone. This new bone growth strengthens the grafted area by forming a bridge between your existing bone and the graft material. This bone loss can be reversed. Over time your own newly formed bone will replace much of the grafted material.
Bone grafting procedures can range from $$600 to $400 or more depending on the type of material used. Please ask about our special report on Dental Implants for more information!
Endododntics (Root Canals)
What is root canal treatment? Root canal therapy refers to the process by which a dentist treats the inner aspects of a tooth, specifically that area inside a tooth that is occupied by its “pulp tissue.” Most people would probably refer to a tooth’s pulp tissue as its “nerve.” While a tooth’s pulp tissue does contain nerve fibers it is also composed of arteries, veins, lymph vessels, and connective tissue. In a nutshell, the process of root canal treatment first removes (as thoroughly as possible) bacteria, nerve tissue, the organic debris left over from the breakdown of nerve tissue, and bacterial toxins from within the inner aspects of a tooth (the area originally occupied by the tooth’s nerve tissue).
Each of these items can produce tissue irritants that can cause your body to activate an inflammation reaction. Subsequently, once this space has been cleansed the second half of root canal treatment involves filling in and sealing up the interior of the tooth. This aspect of the treatment is an attempt to minimize the possibility that bacteria will be able to re-colonize the inner aspects of the tooth or that tissue fluids can seep inside the tooth, become stagnant, and subsequently break down. (Either of these situations could produce a state of persistent inflammation in the tissues surrounding the tooth’s root.) The seal also contains and encapsulates any debris that could not be fully removed during the cleaning aspect of the root canal treatment process so that it can’t leak out and trigger an inflammation reaction. Root canal treatment fees range from $900 to $700 or more depending on the degree of difficulty and the particular tooth type. This does not include the additional $1200 required to build-up, and crown to restructure the tooth.
Prosthodontics (Fixed or Removable Teeth) Removable Teeth
Dentures are replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out and put back into your mouth. While dentures take some getting used to, they will never feel exactly the same as one’s natural teeth.
There are TWO main types of dentures: full and partial. Your dentist will help you choose the type of denture that’s best for you based on whether some or all of your teeth are going to be replaced and the cost involved.
Conventional Full Denture A conventional full denture is placed in your mouth after any remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed. Healing may take several months, during which time you are without teeth.
Ask about implant retained dentures, the new standard of care!
Immediate Full Denture An immediate full denture is inserted immediately after the remaining teeth are removed. (Your dentist takes measurements and makes models of your jaw during a prior visit.) While immediate dentures offer the benefit of never having to be without your teeth, they must be relined several months after being inserted.
A Partial Denture rests on a metal framework that attaches to your natural teeth. Sometimes crowns are placed on some of your natural teeth and serve as anchors for the denture. Partial dentures offer a removable alternative to bridges
More Premium Swiss-Made Cosmetic Dentures start at $2600/arch. In General the baseline cost for either a partial or denture will start at about $1300/an arch on up based on the type to be fabricated.
Fixed “Permanent” Teeth
This type of teeth is the best option to completely eliminate dentures, resulting in non-removable supportted teeth that stay in the monthy just like your natural ones did. They are attacehd to either your natural teeth or dental implants with high-strengh dental cement.
The costs associated with whole arch fixed teeth can range from $15,000 to $20,000 per
arch depending on the number of teeth that need to be fixed or repaired.
This involves grinding down the teeth next to the
empty space to support the bridge. It provides
good esthetics and function and is fairly
straightforward to get done. However, this
alternative has some very significant
disadvantages that create more problems and
costs later. One is the sacrificing of healthy tooth
structure from the teeth next to the space to make
room for the bridge. The damage and heat that
occurs due to “grinding” of the two teeth along with
the excessive pressures applied to the remaining
teeth during chewing over several years almost
always results in more long term tooth loss.
A basic 3-unit bridge will cost at minimum about $2950 or more, depending on the
type of material to be used and the number of additional teeth to be replaced.
Dental Implant Teeth
Dental implants are becoming more popular in today’s dental society for a number of reasons. Implants are utilized to offer patients a foundation for new restorative teeth where natural teeth are missing or have been extracted. The implant offers the patient the opportunity to regain normal function of the tooth without being forced to resort to a bridge or a denture.
ALTERNATIVES OR UPGRADES TO NATURAL TOOTH BRIDGEWORK AND DENTURES ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS. PLEASE ASK US ABOUT THIS SERVICE AS WE ARE HIGHLY TRAINED TO PROVIDE THIS FOR YOU!
ASK FOR OUR SPECIAL REPORT ABOUT DENTAL IMPLANTS IF YOU FEEL THIS MAY PERTAIN TO YOUR SITUATION.
Dental Implants will prevent progressive bone atrophy!
The implant will osseointegrate (bond) with the existing bone
The new implant will support teeth or dentures firmly and safely
Teeth on your new implants will be aesthetically pleasing
You will no longer have pain during talking or eating with dentures
Implants have a proven scientific basis for the past 30+ years
PLEASE ASK FOR OUR DENTAL IMPLANT COORDINATOR REGARDING PRICING AND FEE STRUCTURE FRAMES AS IT RELATES TO DENTAL
IMPLANTS AND YOU!
Please ask about our special report on Dental Implants for more information! All dental implant treatment and related services are processed through our corporate affiliate, IMPLANT & RECONSTRUCTIVE DENTISTRY