Radiographic Images (x-rays)
Oral Hygiene and Home Care Instruction
Athletic Mouth Guard
PERIODONTAL (Gum Disease)
Composite (tooth-colored) Fillings
Amalgam (silver) Fillings
Root Canal Therapy
Professional Teeth Whitening
REFERRALS TO SPECIALISTS
Preventive dentistry promotes good oral health and function.
Preventive dental care includes regular exams, x-rays and cleanings.
Sealants and fluoride are preventive treatments that help protect the teeth.
Space maintainers, athletic mouth guards, and TMJ or bruxism appliances can help prevent dental problems.
Home care instruction relating to your dental health is an important part of prevention to encourage good oral hygiene habits and proper nutrition.
A comprehensive dental evaluation by the dentist is performed at the initial visit and at periodic �€�check-up�€� visits:
Examination of teeth, gums and tissues
� Examination of lips, tongue, face and lymph nodes
� Review of diagnostic x-rays
� Assessment of patient concerns
� Evaluation of teeth decay and broken teeth
� Evaluation of existing restorations
Evaluation of tooth positions
Periodontal (gum disease) evaluation & charting review
� Orthodontic evaluation
Oral cancer screening
Dental history review
Medical history review
Recording of all diagnostics
Recording of all recommendations
Charting of existing conditions
Case management monitoring/coordination
Dental specialist referrals
Radiographic Images (X-Rays)
Dental radiographic images (x-rays) are essential diagnostic tools that provide valuable information.
Dental x-rays reveal:
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are dental x-rays safe?
Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources. Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient�€™s exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays using modern, fast film that cuts down the exposure time of each x-ray.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental x-rays depends on individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will determine x-rays needed based on the review of your dental history, dental exam, medical history, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.
X-rays are taken as recommended at regular dental �€�check-up�€� visits.
Routinely recommended x-rays:
Bitewings once a year, to detect decay.
Full Mouth Series or Panoramic every five years, to view all the teeth, roots and bone levels.
Periapical when indicated, to get a closer view of a single tooth and root.
Dental cleanings are performed by Registered Dental Hygienists at regular �€�check-up�€� visits, and include removal of plaque, calculus (tartar) and stains, and teeth polishing.
Adult Prophylaxis: Having teeth professionally cleaned is important for health and appearance. Daily brushing and flossing helps control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention that requires professional teeth cleaning. Plaque is the soft, sticky substance that accumulates on teeth. Calculus is a hard deposit of mineralized substance that adheres to teeth. After a period of time calculus (tartar) builds up on teeth. It does not take long for plaque that is not removed from teeth to turn into calculus! This can be removed only through professional teeth cleanings by a dental hygienist using special instruments. The removal of calculus and stains (scaling) helps ensure that the gums and supporting bones stay healthy and strong. Frequency of cleanings is based on individual needs. As part of regular preventive dental care, a visit to a dental hygienist for a cleaning is usually recommended every six months for adults, and more often (three to four times a year) when condition warrants.
Child Prophylaxis: Children should also have their teeth cleaned professionally. Calculus (tartar) deposits and stains can form on children�€™s teeth, also. A dental hygienist will remove any plaque, tartar, and stains, followed by teeth polishing. A visit to a dental hygienist for a cleaning is recommended every six months for children as part of regular preventive dental care.
This procedure is necessary to remove heavy plaque and calculus which obstructs the ability to perform an evaluation.
The first dental visit is recommended around three years of age when all primary teeth should be in place. The first visit is for a complete evaluation of the child�€™s dental health and may include cleaning the teeth, a fluoride treatment and x-rays, if indicated. The dental hygienist will provide oral hygiene instruction and information on proper care of the teeth.
It is recommended that children be seen every six months. Prevention includes regular dental exams, x-rays and cleanings. Proper home care, good eating habits and routine dental visits will provide a lifetime of good dental health. Sealants and fluoride are also preventive treatments for children that help protect the teeth. It�€™s possible to go from childhood to adulthood without ever having a cavity!
Contact our office if there are any concerns about the dental health of children under the age of three.
A NEW BABY! CONGRATULATIONS!
Information, ideas, and tips concerning your baby's teeth.
Even though your baby is without teeth now, they will start to appear at about 6 months of age.
When teeth are ready to break through, the gum tissue usually becomes swollen and tender. Excess drooling probably will occur and the baby may become irritable and restless with a slight fever. Rubbing the gums with a teething ring or cold spoon may help. Babies seem to find relief from sore gums by "gumming" anything available. Make sure any object you give your baby cannot break or cause choking. Teething is a natural process which soon ends as the teeth erupt. The first teeth to appear are usually the lower front teeth.
Plaque is the major cause of tooth decay. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that continually forms in the mouth and has the ability to form acids which cause tooth decay. As the new teeth erupt, rubbing with moistened gauze or a wash cloth is helpful in removing plaque and keeping the teeth clean. As more teeth erupt, a toothbrush and floss will replace the gauze pad. Establishing a night time routine with Mom or Dad brushing for them is important as young children do not have the dexterity to do this effectively. The most important step is getting the infant used to a "clean" mouth.
"Nursing Bottle Syndrome" occurs when a child is put to bed with a bottle filled with milk, juice or any liquid containing sugar. When the baby falls asleep with a bottle in the mouth, acids produced remain in contact with tooth enamel. Therefore, avoid pacifying your baby with a bottle of sugar water or fruit juice. Even milk or formula can cause decay if it remains in the baby's mouth too long. If a baby needs a bottle for comfort at bedtime, plain water is best.
Children who drink fluoridated water have less tooth decay. Fluoride is incorporated into structures of the enamel as it is being formed. If you live in a rural area or have your own well, fluoride drops or chewable tablets can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. For maximum effectiveness fluoride supplements should be taken daily and continued until approximately 14 years of age (by then, most of the permanent teeth have fully erupted).
A child's first dental visit is recommended at about 3 years of age. At that time the primary teeth should all be in place. The first visit will be for a complete examination and may include cleaning the teeth, radiographs (to detect decay) and a fluoride treatment.
It is very important that parents realize primary teeth are vital to a child's appearance, function and maintenance of proper spacing for permanent teeth.
Fluoride is the best defense against tooth decay in children. Fluoride works in two ways:
Topical fluoride strengthens teeth once they have erupted. It is applied to the outer surface of the teeth enamel making teeth more resistant to decay, and can re-mineralize small areas of decay that have started. Topical fluoride is applied every six months at children�€™s cleaning visits usually until all primary teeth are lost.
Fluoride is also present in toothpastes and mouth rinses. Most schools offer weekly fluoride rinses in the classrooms, which is a great opportunity for a child to get additional fluoride.
Systemic fluoride strengthens erupted teeth as well as those that are developing. Children receive fluoride in many of the foods they eat and the water they drink. Municipal water supplies contain fluoride. Children who are not receiving fluoride in their drinking water can get prescriptions for fluoride supplements.
Fluoride is routinely recommended for children, but can also be beneficial to adults, especially those with any of the following:
A medical condition that puts them at a high risk for decay
Inadequate saliva flow
A history of extensive dental decay
Sensitive teeth and gums
Deep pits on the chewing surfaces of their teeth
Exposed root surfaces
Poor oral hygiene habits
A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates
Though fluoride helps with decay prevention, it is still important to brush and floss as recommended, and schedule regular dental visits.
Sealants are recommended to prevent decay in the back teeth. A sealant is a plastic material that is applied to the grooves of the chewing (occlusal) surfaces of the molars, as a barrier to protect the enamel of the tooth. The grooves of the teeth cannot always be adequately cleaned, and is where decay starts. It only takes a few minutes to apply sealants, and they last several years. As long as the sealant remains intact, decay is unlikely to occur.
Sealants can be placed on primary (baby) teeth or permanent (adult teeth).
Sealants will be checked during regular dental visits and they can be re-applied as needed. Though sealants help with decay prevention, it is still important to brush and floss as recommended.
Oral Hygiene and Home Care Instruction
Oral hygiene instruction is provided as needed at regular dental exam and cleaning appointments. Dental hygienists can demonstrate techniques for proper brushing, flossing and other oral hygiene aids. Plaque is a major cause of tooth decay, and proper removal is necessary for good oral health. Plaque can be removed easily with good daily home care which includes regular brushing and flossing.
The dental hygienists will recommend the proper toothbrushes, floss, and other dental products for home care.
It does not take long for plaque that is not removed from your teeth to turn into tartar! Daily home cleaning helps control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention that requires professional teeth cleaning.
Choosing the right foods in your diet is an important aspect in having healthy teeth and good oral hygiene. Establishing good nutritional habits in children can be especially beneficial for good eating patterns and food choices throughout their lives.
How Nutrition affects Oral Health
The foods that you eat come in contact with the germs and bacteria that live in the mouth. If you don�€™t brush, bacterial plaque will accumulate on the teeth. Plaque thrives on the starches and sugars that are found in a great deal of foods. When plaque combines with the sugars and starches, an acid is produced that attacks enamel on the teeth, and eventually causes decay.
Choosing a Healthy Diet
Choosing a healthy diet may sound easy; however, even fruits, milk, cereals, bread and some vegetables contain sugars and/or starches. Carbonated sodas, sweet fruit drinks and sugary snack foods should be limited.
You don�€™t have to avoid these foods, just keep in mind that you should eat a balanced diet, and brush and floss regularly.
Drink plenty of water
Eat a variety of healthy foods from the five major food groups
Cut down on snacking in between meals
� Limit snacks and drinks that are high in sugar
Brush at least twice a day
Floss at least once a day
Visit your dentist for regular check-ups
While eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar are good ways to prevent decay, a good dental hygiene regimen is essential in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Plaque can be removed by brushing and flossing thoroughly and your dentist can detect any signs of early decay.
The dental hygienists can discuss nutrition relating to dental health. If you have any questions or concerns about nutrition, please ask.
If a child loses a primary (baby) tooth early through decay or injury, the other teeth could shift and cause crowding or shifting to fill the vacant space. The eruption of the permanent tooth could be inhibited by this, resulting in improper growth and development. To prevent this, a space maintainer is placed to hold teeth in position to keep the space left open by the missing tooth. Later, as the permanent tooth grows into the spot, the space maintainer is removed.
Athletic Mouth Guards
All children and adults who participate in contact sports should wear a mouth guard for protection of the teeth against blows to the face or mouth. A properly fitted mouth guard can help prevent broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw and should be used during any activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth.
A custom fabricated mouth guard will stay in place, making it easy to talk and breathe.
Occlusal Orthotic Device
An occlusal orthotic device is for treatment of temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
The NTI Tension Suppression System is a dental mouthpiece that fits securely on either the patient�€™s lower or upper front teeth and can be worn while sleeping. The NTI device reduces the contraction of the head, neck, and jaw muscles during sleep which are known to cause headaches and jaw pain. The NTI is FDA approved for the prevention of medically diagnosed migraine pain and associated tension type headaches.NTI Appliance Nociceptive (relating to the perception of things that could be harmful); Trigeminal (the nerve that controls the major muscle of mastication; Inhibition
An occlusal guard is a removable dental appliance that is designed to help prevent and minimize the destructive effects of bruxism (grinding) or clenching of the teeth.
Adult patients are evaluated for periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is diagnosed by a dentist or dental hygienist during a periodontal examination which is part of a regular dental check-up.
A small instrument is used to measure the space (pockets) between the tooth and gum tissue, and these measurements are recorded as a series of numbers. Readings of three millimeters or less are ideal and indicate healthy gums. Higher numbers indicate gingivitis or periodontal disease. Another measurement is taken to determine if there is gum recession, which causes exposed root surfaces.
Periodontal treatment is necessary when bacteria attack the gums, bone and ligaments that support the teeth. The disease is progressive and early detection and treatment can help prevent damage to gums and bone loss. Periodontal disease progresses as the pocket between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues. When these irritants remain in the pocket space, they can cause damage to the gums and eventually, the bone that supports the teeth.
Scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) is a therapeutic periodontal cleaning done to stabilize the periodontal disease. In this procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planing). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink, and reduces the causes of periodontal disease to a more manageable level.
More than one appointment is needed depending on the extent of scaling and root planning required. A local anesthetic can be used during the procedure. An ultrasonic instrument uses water and vibration to remove calculus (tartar) and bacteria from the teeth and under the gum tissue.
If the condition is advanced, a referral to a periodontal specialist may be required.
Periodontal disease has been associated with many other health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory ailments and premature births.
Once periodontal treatment is completed, your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend regular maintenance cleanings (periodontal cleanings), usually every three months, to monitor and evaluate the periodontal condition. At these cleaning appointments, the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy. Scaling and root planing will be done to remove plaque and calculus above and below the gum line. It does not take long for plaque that is not removed from teeth to turn into tartar! Daily home cleaning helps control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention that requires professional teeth cleaning.
In addition to periodontal cleaning and evaluation, the appointments include:
Periodontal maintenance is for patients who have had treatment for periodontal disease. It is more than a routine scaling and polish prophylaxis and includes procedures necessary to control the periodontal condition. Periodontal disease can easily recur. It is controllable, but not curable. The bacteria that cause the infection are present and continual care is necessary so the periodontal infection does not reactivate. An important part of periodontal treatment is ongoing maintenance therapy.
Good oral hygiene practices and periodontal cleanings are essential in maintaining dental health and keeping periodontal disease under control!
Reasons for restorative dentistry:
We provide restorative services using amalgam (silver) or composite (tooth-colored) fillings, and crowns.
A silver amalgam filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks or fractures. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth is removed and then filled with an amalgam filling material.
There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Amalgam fillings, along with composite (tooth colored) fillings, are the most widely used today. An amalgam filling is more commonly used in the back teeth since the color is not as aesthetic as a composite filling. Amalgam is an alloy composed of metallic elements including mercury, silver, tin and copper. They are very durable and will last many years.
What does getting an amalgam filling involve?
Amalgam fillings are placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, the dentist removes the decay as necessary. The space is then thoroughly cleansed and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay is near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The filling will then be precisely placed and shaped, restoring the tooth to its original shape and function.
Care instructions are given when the procedure is completed. Fillings are checked at regular dental exams. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of the new fillings.
A tooth-colored composite filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks or fractures. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth is removed and then filled with a composite resin filling material.
There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth. They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.
How are composite fillings placed?
Composite fillings are placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, the dentist removes any decay as necessary. The space is then thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay is near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring the tooth to its original shape and function. Composite is composed of synthetic resin based materials.
Care instructions are given when the procedure is completed. Fillings are checked at regular dental exams. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of the new fillings.
A crown is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that is weak, brittle or broken and cannot be restored with fillings. Crowns can also be used to improve appearance of teeth or the way they fit together.
Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain or porcelain fused to metal are the most popular, because they resemble your natural teeth. This type of crown is custom made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile.
Dental crowns are highly durable and will last many years.
Reasons for crowns:
What does getting a crown involve?
The crown procedure requires two appointments approximately three weeks apart. At the first appointment, the dentist prepares the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. Next, impressions are taken that will be used to create the custom crown. A temporary crown is made to stay on the tooth while your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.
At the second appointment the temporary crown is removed, the tooth is cleaned, and the crown is carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.
Care instructions are given when the procedure is completed and the crown will be checked at your regular dental visits. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new crown.
A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth. Missing teeth can be replaced to maintain chewing function, to prevent shifting of teeth, and for appearance.
There are several types of bridges. We will discuss the best options for your particular case. The �€�traditional bridge�€� is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. Porcelain fixed bridges are most popular because they resemble your natural teeth. This type of bridge consists of two crowns that go over two abutments (anchoring teeth) and are attached to pontics (artificial teeth), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years.
What does getting a fixed bridge involve?
The bridge procedure requires two appointments about three weeks apart:
At the first appointment, while the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown, an impression is made which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge is fabricated, and temporary crowns are placed to protect the teeth until the next appointment.
At the second visit, the permanent bridge is carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit.
Care instructions are given when the procedure is completed and the bridge will be checked at your regular dental visits. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new bridge.
Dentures & Partial Dentures
A denture is a removable appliance intended to replace multiple teeth and surrounding tissue. It is made to closely resemble natural teeth.
There are two types of dentures - complete and partial dentures.
Complete dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing
Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. A partial denture not only fills in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from shifting.
Dentures are very durable and will last many years, but may have to be remade, relined, repaired, or readjusted due to normal wear or changes in your mouth.
Reasons for dentures:
What does getting dentures involve?
The process of getting dentures requires several appointments, usually over several weeks. Impressions for models and measurements are taken and used by a dental laboratory to fabricate a custom denture. Several �€�try-in�€� appointments may be necessary to ensure proper shape, color, and fit. At the final appointment, your dentist will precisely adjust and place the completed denture, ensuring a natural and comfortable fit.
Instructions will be given for the care of the denture. Proper cleaning of the denture, good oral hygiene, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new dentures.
Dental implants are a way to replace missing teeth and are very natural looking.
Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone.
Dental implants are very strong, stable, and durable and will last many years.
Reasons for dental implants:
What does getting dental implants involve?
The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.
We work with an implant specialist to create implants for missing teeth.
X-rays and impressions are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. The implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself onto the bone for up to six months. Some types of implants have the post that will hold the artificial tooth placed at the same time, while others require a second surgery to place the post.
After the healing period, the artificial tooth is made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor and is securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort.
Care instructions are given as the treatment is completed. The implants will be checked at regular dental exams. Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of the implant.
Root canal therapy is indicated when the nerve of a tooth deteriorates. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials which restore the tooth to its full function.
Root canal therapy is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would have to be removed. Removing a tooth that has problems can ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.
Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.
Reasons for root canal therapy:
Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:
What does root canal therapy involve?
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).
While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) is placed around the tooth to keep it dry. A small access opening is made in the tooth and a series of root canal files are used to remove the pulp, nerve tissue, bacteria and decay. Medication is placed to prevent further infection. Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth are filled with special dental materials. It is then sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling is placed. In addition, teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.
After treatment, the tooth area may be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.
Care instructions will be given after each appointment. The tooth will be checked at regular dental exams. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.
EXTRACTIONS (Removal of a tooth/teeth)
A tooth can be removed when severe decay exists, it is broken beyond repair, has extensive bone loss, is impacted (under the gums), is in poor position, or for orthodontic (braces) purposes.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Whitening (or bleaching) is a procedure used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.
Since tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. Replacement of any restorations will be done after whitening so they will match the teeth.
Having whiter teeth has become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients. There are two ways to whiten teeth:
This process can be done in one visit and takes about two hours. A shield is used to protect the gums and a whitening gel is applied to the teeth. A high intensity light is used to activate the gel.
This is the most popular method used for whitening. This process is done at home. It involves wearing a thin, transparent custom-made tray in which the whitening gel is placed. The tray is worn for a specified period of time each day for 2- 4 weeks.
Significant lightening can be achieved in most cases, but results cannot be guaranteed.
Touch-ups can be done periodically to maintain the whiteness of the teeth.
While the benefits of brighter, whiter teeth are important to many people, it is an elective procedure. Dental insurance plans do not pay benefits for whitening procedures, nor do reimbursement plans or pre-tax medical expense plans.
Care instructions will be given during the whitening process. Regular dental visits are encouraged to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, white smile.
A temporary procedure may be done to relieve discomfort until we can schedule enough time for more extensive treatment.
When indicated, referrals will be made to specialists for dental services:
Oral Surgery (Extractions of teeth)
Periodontics (Treatment of gums)
Endodontics (Treatment of deteriorated nerves)
Orthodontics (Positioning of teeth)
Pedodontics (Dental treatment for infants to adolescents)
By specializing in one area of dentistry, they have the expertise and advanced techniques and equipment to efficiently and effectively provide necessary dental treatment.
Dental specialists in our area are in La Crosse, Rochester and Winona.