Patient Education

Have questions about procedures and services? Get answers to your most FAQ’s

General Dentistry

 

What is general dentistry? General dentistry concentrates on the health and maintenance of your teeth and gums, this is achieved though methods of cleanings, repairs, disease prevention, and more. General dentistry maintains your teeth and gums so that your smile will last you a lifetime.

General Dentistry Procedures

 

Cleaning/Scaling

What is a teeth cleaning/scaling? This procedure removes plaque and tartar build up from the teeth’s surface, this can be performed using manual tools or an ultrasonic device. Cleanings play a very important part in keeping up with your oral health. Not only does it leave teeth feeling smooth, it also helps prevent future build up. Typically this is done every 6 months, but this can vary depending on the patient’s needs.

Exams & X-Rays

What is a dental exam? This is where the dentist and/or hygienist will evaluate your overall oral hygiene and health. This usually includes an evaluation of your risk for tooth decay, root decay, and gum or bone disease. This procedure will also tell you if you need any tooth restoration or replacement, along with identify any bite or jaw problems. Exams are very important in maintaining a healthy mouth.

What is a dental X-ray? This is when a dental team member takes a picture of your teeth, bones, and soft tissue to assist in identifying problems with the teeth, mouth, and jaw. These images can show cavities, hidden dental issues, and bone levels that cannot be seen during a normal examination.

Gum Care

What is gum care? These are steps taken to take care of the gum area that surround your teeth. This may include professional cleanings, but also at-home care such as brushing, flossing, rinsing, eating right, and visiting your dentist regularly.

Root Canals

What is a root canal? When a tooth has become damaged by either an injury or a large cavity, a root canal is performed to remove the infected pulp within the root. Additionally, root canals may be

performed when too little tooth structure remains to allow a crown to be anchored into the root.

 

What goes into a root canal procedure?

  • First, an X-ray is taken to determine the shape of the root canal, the number of roots present, and if there is any present infection in the surrounding bone. Your dentist or endodontist moves forward with a local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth.

  • Next, to keep the area dry from saliva, your doctor will place a rubber dam around the tooth. An access hole is then drilled into the tooth. From there; the pulp, bacteria, decayed nerve tissue, and any related debris is removed. This is accomplished using root canal files. These are used to scrape and scrub the sides of the root canals. A variety of liquids are used periodically to wash away debris. Other medicaments may be used to further eliminate bacteria. If a preexisting infection existed, antibiotics may be prescribed.

  • The next step is to complete the root canal. If the tooth is infected, your doctor may wait a week to make sure the tooth has stabilized, or he/she may choose to seal the tooth the same day it is cleaned out. If the procedure is not completed the same day, a temporary filling is placed within the exterior hole until the patient’s next visit. When the root canal is completed, materials made up of a sealer paste and rubber compound called gutta-percha is placed in the root canal(s). A permanent filling is what seals off the exterior hole to finish the job. Depending on the damage of the root canal, further tooth restoration may be needed, such as a crown.

Fillings

What is a filling? It is a dental restorative material used to restore the integrity, function, and morphology of the tooth’s missing structure.

Cosmetic Dentistry

 

What is cosmetic dentistry? Dentistry that creates a positive change for your teeth and smile. Some procedures include, but are not limited to whitening, braces, Invisalign, bonding, veneers, implants, and crowns. It is important to note that some of these procedures mentioned may not be solely for cosmetic reasons, instead they may be indicated to restore function.

Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

 

Teeth Whitening

What is teeth whitening? Procedure that helps to remove stains and discoloration from the teeth.

What goes into a teeth whitening procedure? An in office teeth whitening procedure is also known as chairside bleaching. This begins with the dentist applying either a protective gel or rubber shield to protect your gums. A bleaching agent, which can contain one of two bleaches hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, is applied to the teeth. It is then accompanied by a light or laser to enhance the action of the whitening agent. An in office procedure usually only requires one visit.

Invisalign

What is Invisalign? Invisalign is a modern approach to straightening your teeth.

How does it work? This method uses custom aligners made of smooth, comfortable, and virtually invisible plastic that are worn over the teeth. Wearing these aligners gently and gradually shifts your teeth into place according to your specified movement plan put together by your dentist or orthodontist. You will receive a new aligner about every two weeks until your treatment is complete. The time length of the treatment depends on the patients existing condition. After the treatment is complete the patient will wear a retainer while sleeping indefinitely.

Braces

What are braces? They are devices used to align and straighten teeth. Also can be used to correct underbites, overbites, open bites, crooked teeth, and various other flaws of the teeth and the jaw.

How do they work? Traditional metal braces are made of high quality stainless steel or titanium. There are three main parts to your braces. Brackets, these are attached to the teeth using a special glue that bonds them to the surface. The second is Archwire, this is the thin metal wire that connects each bracket; the wire helps to put pressure on the teeth to guide them into place. Third piece, is the elastic or “rubber bands”, these are the colored bands that bring the archwire and bracket together. The elastics are something your doctor should change at every appointment. They come in an array of colors. Besides traditional metal braces, ceramic, plastic and even lingual brackets are possible options.

Dental Bonding

What is dental bonding? A cosmetic procedure performed to improve the appearance of a discolored or chipped tooth.

What goes into a dental bonding procedure? This process consists of applying a tooth-colored resin using adhesives and a high intensity curing light.

Veneers

What are veneers? A veneer is a thin piece of porcelain used to re-create the natural look of teeth/tooth.

How are veneers applied?

  • The dentist will remove a small amount of enamel to make room for the veneer. An impression of the teeth/tooth is then made and a temporary veneer(s) is placed on the teeth/tooth with spot etching in the center away from the margins. At this visit the dentist and patient will determine the appropriate shade of the veneer(s).

  • When the permanent veneer is ready, the temporary veneer is removed and the teeth/tooth is cleaned with pumice and water. The veneer is etched, rinsed with water and left to air dry. The adhesive is then placed on the preparation, the cement and veneer is then placed for fit and contour. It is then light cured for 60 seconds on all surfaces to attach it to the tooth structure.

How to care for veneers: It is suggested that you brush and floss as normal, try using a non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste. Also, you may want to consider limiting coffee and other stain-inducing foods, biting into hard items.

Restorative Dentistry

 

What is restorative dentistry? It’s the study, diagnosis, and management of diseases that infect the teeth and their supporting structures. It also serves to restore your teeth/mouth to a functional and aesthetically pleasing state. Procedures can include fillings, dental implants, crowns and bridges.

Restorative Dentistry Procedures

 

Dentures & Partials

What is a denture? Dentures are removable plates or frames that hold one or more artificial teeth.

What is a partial denture? A partial is a denture used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw.

 

Dental Implants

What is a dental implant? It’s an artificial tooth root that is placed into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. This is an option if you have lost a tooth or teeth due to disease, injury, or for other reasons.

How is a dental implant procedure performed? Please watch the following video for a generalized visual on how this procedure is performed.

Dental Implantology – Dental Implant Surgery Animation: SICmax implant insertion

Dental Bridges

What is a dental bridge? Its purpose is to bridge gaps created by one or more missing teeth. It is made up of two or more crowns, one crown on either side of the gap(s). The two anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth, they support a false tooth/teeth in between.

How is a dental bridge applied? Please watch the following video for a generalized visual on how this procedure is performed.

What is a dental bridge?

Dental Crowns

What is a dental crown? It’s a tooth shaped cap that is placed over a tooth. This serves to restore a tooth’s shape, size, strength, and appearance. This procedure may be needed if you have a weak tooth, broken tooth, tooth with a large filling, misshaped or severely discolored tooth, or just need a cosmetic modification.

How is a dental crown applied? Please watch the following video for a generalized visual on how this procedure is performed.

What is a perfect dental crown?