Copyright © David H. Smith, D.M.D. PLLC. All rights reserved. 

Sealants

Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth.  Pits and fissures, however, are places that are extremely difficult to clean.  Toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque.  The normal flow of saliva, which helps clean food particles from other areas of the mouth, cannot “wash out” pits and fissures.  So they are places that are especially prone to decay.  In fact, most cavities form in pit and fissure areas, and permanent molars are extremely susceptible to this form of decay.  Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “Sealing out” plaque and food.  

Periodontal Disease/Gum Disease

Periodontal diseases (also known as gum diseases) are infections of the gum and bone that hold teeth in place.  If periodontal problems are not treated, they can become severe and my eventually lead to tooth loss.  Periodontal diseases are often painless and you may not be aware that you have a problem until your gums and the supporting bone are seriously damaged.  The good news is that periodontal diseases often can be treated in the early stages with a treatment to clean your teeth called scaling and root planing.

Warning signs of Periodontal Disease:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Pus between the teeth and gums when the gums are pressed
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Permanent teeth that are loose, separating or changing position
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Any changes in the fit of partial dentures
  • Exposed tooth roots
  • You may have no visible warning signs at all (see Professional Cleaning)


If you schedule regular dental checkups, your dentist can detect developing periodontal disease before the gums and the bone supporting your teeth are irreversibly damaged.  Periodontal diseases are most often progressive—left untreated, the condition often becomes worse. 

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Night Guards/Brux Guards

Does your jaw feel stiff or do you have difficulty opening your mouth wide?  Are your teeth sensitive to cold drinks?  Do your jaw muscles feel tired in the morning?  Your teeth may be suffering from bruxism or clenching.  People with nighttime bruxing habits may wear away their tooth enamel “ten times faster” than those without “abusive chewing habits”.  Eventually, your teeth may be worn down and destroyed.

Treating bruxism and clenching is very cost effective compared to not treating the problem.  The alternative is to replace or repair the bruxer’s damaged or destroyed teeth with fixed crowns, fixed bridges or removable dentures.  Dr. Smith can evaluate you to determine if a nightguard can help to provide relief from grinding, bruxing, or clenching. 

Snore Guard

The snore guard prevents/lessens snoring by opening the airway and making breathing easier.

 Snoring research has shown that custom fabricated dental devices worn at night that move the lower jaw into a forward position, increase the three dimensional space in the airway tube which reduces air velocity and soft tissue vibration.  By increasing the volumetric capacity of the airway and preventing soft tissue vibrations, snoring is eliminated or greatly decreased. 

The dental device positions the lower jaw into a forward position by means of special connectors that are attached to transparent flexible upper & lower forms.  The forms are custom laminated with heat and pressure to the dentist’s model of the mouth.  The fit is excellent and comfortable.

Root Canal Therapy

If your tooth’s nerve chamber becomes infected by decay, root canal treatment is often the only way to save your tooth.  Root Canal Therapy often involves one or more visits and will require a filling or crown to strengthen the tooth and improve its appearance after treatment.

Inside your tooth’s hard outer shell is a nourishing pulp of blood vessels, lymph vessels and nerves.  The root canals, which contain the pulp, extend to the bone.  Deep tooth decay, or an injury, can cause serious damage and infection to the pulp’s nerves and vessels.  Root canal, or endodontic, treatment cleans out the infected pulp chamber and repairs the damage.

Some indications of the need for root canal treatment may be:

  • Spontaneous pain or throbbing while biting.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
  • Severe decay or an injury that creates an abscess (infection) in the bone.

Extractions

Dr. Smith always recommends saving a tooth if at all possible, an extraction is a last resort. If there are no other options for the tooth or if the other options are not financially feasible for the patient then an extraction may be required. 

Tooth extraction is a surgical procedure.  It is natural that changes will occur in your mouth afterward.  Dr. Smith will give you instructions to follow after the extraction, and it’s important to talk to him if you have any questions or problems.  He also will discuss tooth replacement options if necessary. 

Professional Cleaning

While brushing and cleaning between teeth will help remove a great deal of plaque, it’s nearly impossible to eliminate all of it.  And once plaque hardens into tartar, the only way it can be removed is with professional teeth cleaning at the dental office.  Besides having your teeth cleaned, regular dental visits are crucial to preventing tooth decay, gum diseases and other disorders that affect the mouth and your overall health.

During your visit our hygienist will remove the hardened deposits with special instruments.  They may use an ultrasonic machine that produces sound waves to vibrate free the hard deposits.

After teeth are cleaned they may be polished with a mild compound that is applied with a spray or a small rotating cup.  Polishing the teeth helps remove stains on the outer surface of your teeth.  The hygienist will also perform a gum exam to detect Periodontal Disease in its earliest stages (see Periodontal Disease/Gum Disease).  Dr. Smith will also perform an exam and oral cancer screening (One American dies every hour of every day from oral cancer).

Reasons to have your teeth professionally cleaned:

  • To remove food, beverage or tobacco stains on the surface of your teeth that cannot be removed with regular brushing and flossing
  • To remove tartar, a hardened substance that makes keeping your teeth clean difficult
  • To prevent gum disease, a condition that may lead to loss of your teeth and other serious health problems
  • To learn about the best way to keep your teeth clean on a daily basis
  • To keep your teeth healthy, which will help to keep your body healthy overall.