Our most basic dental services are important to your overall dental health because they help prevent future problems and provide early detection for upcoming problems. Try to avoid the type of thinking that says, "Oh, it's just a cleaning," or "It's just a check-up, I can reschedule it for later."
Perhaps the most important step in preventing advanced oral problems is regularly scheduled cleanings. Many people think regular brushing prevents the need for professional dental cleanings. Although regular brushing does help, your teeth are constantly exposed to saliva, which contains calcium and other substances that while good for strengthening your teeth, also builds up on your teeth and along the gum line in the form of tartar and soft, sticky bacteria called plaque.
Periodic cleanings prevent this build-up from accumulating on your teeth. Regular cleanings leave the surface of your teeth clean and smooth so bacteria can’t stick.
Most children and adults should schedule cleanings every 6 months. Adults with additional issues such as tobacco use, diabetes, pregnancy, or gum disease should have their teeth cleaned more frequently.
There are many different types of dental x-rays, which show the dentist different views of different parts of your mouth. These “pictures” of your teeth, bones, and soft tissues help the dentist discover problems. X-rays show decay (cavities), bone loss, or teeth hidden underneath the gums like wisdom teeth.
As soon as the dentist discovers a cavity - that is, the area where a tooth shows signs of decay, they will want to replace the decay as soon as possible with a “filling. Using silver or tooth-colored plastics and resins, fillings may also repair cracked, broken or teeth worn down from use.
Crowns restore the entire tooth. Used when there is very little tooth structure left to repair, the dentist will prepare the original tooth by filing it down and cementing into place, a new tooth over it.
Dentists use crowns to:
- Restore the original shape of the tooth
- Strengthen a weakened tooth
- Improve the aesthetic looks of a tooth
There are three types of dental crowns:
- All ceramic
- Porcelain fused with metal
A bridge is supported by a crown on each of the teeth on either side of the gap. This bridge of false teeth, which are usually made of metals, dental porcelain, or a combination of both, replace the missing teeth in between.
Davis & Reese will usually schedule two visits when building a bridge.
Dental sealants are a plastic resin placed in the grooves of your teeth in the chewing area, that helps prevent tooth decay. It results in a smooth surface less likely to trap food and plaque and makes it easier for your toothbrush to clean your teeth.
Inside the hard exterior of your teeth lies what dentists call “pulp tissue”, which is made up of nerves arteries, veins, lymph vessels, and connective tissue. Most of the pain related to a “toothache” comes from sensations surrounding the nerves running through canals in the pulp tissue of your teeth. When a dentist treats this portion of your tooth, they call it a root canal.
By removing these nerves, which are throbbing or aching in response to some other stimuli, the pain usually stops, bringing the patient relief. In the long term, however, removing these nerves also removes the blood supply and nutrients that keep the tooth healthy, and eventually a tooth that has experienced a root canal, will become brittle and easy to break. Most root canals should include a protective cap or crown to protect it from further damage.
Periodontal Deep Cleaning
Used with patients suffering from bone loss as a result of periodontal disease, there are three levels of periodontitis: mild, moderate, and severe. If left untreated, periodontitis can destroy gum and bone tissue, which supports your teeth.
Periodontal Disease occurs when calculus or tartar builds up beneath the gingivitis on the root surface of the teeth. Left untreated, patients with periodontal disease can loose teeth.
Most patients require periodontal cleanings every three months.