Stop tooth decay and gum disease in their tracks.
Latimer Dental Arts can help you halt the progression of tooth decay and gum disease with one or more of our general dentistry services described below. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Susan Latimer to learn more.
Dental Crowns and Onlays
A dental crown or onlay, whether made from porcelain or metal, covers a structurally damaged tooth to restore integrity. Deep cavities, chips or cracks may require a crown. In most cases, your dentist will place an all-porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal crown on your teeth so that your smile remains white and natural-looking. However, back teeth often endure extreme pressure, so occasionally only a metal crown can withstand the biting force.
How we can help: You should expect two visits with your dentist for a full crown procedure. At the first appointment, the dentist will prepare the damaged tooth, take an impression, and place a temporary crown. Our dental lab will then fabricate a custom crown according to the impression and your doctor’s instructions. At your follow-up visit, the temporary crown will be removed and the permanent crown secured. In some cases, we may have the availability to fabricate crowns, inlays and onlays in one visit.
A small cavity, left untreated, can grow to destroy an entire tooth. Unlike our skin, teeth don’t heal naturally. Only professional dental care can correct your cavities and return you to optimal oral health. A dental filling, made from white composite resin or porcelain inlay, can fill a prepared cavity and reinforce a tooth’s structure.
How we can help: To place a filling, your dentist will first prepare your tooth by removing decay and bacteria. Surface cavities often don’t require anesthesia, but your dentist will make sure you’re comfortable during treatment. After the tooth is prepared, your dentist will insert a small bit of tinted, liquid composite resin into the cleaned cavity and, once the material hardens, will sculpt and polish the filling. Porcelain inlays or fillings may be fabricated in a lab or in the office and are more durable than a composite filling.
In some cases, extracting a tooth is the best treatment option to reduce crowding, prepare for dentures, or eliminate a dead or dying tooth.
How we can help: Extraction is a common procedure. Your dentist will administer analgesic or sedation to keep you comfortable throughout your procedure and will then carefully remove all parts of the tooth or teeth scheduled for extraction. Many times, a bone filling material will need to be placed in the extraction site to promote proper healing. Afterwards, be sure to follow postoperative instructions closely so that your gums will heal promptly. If you have questions or concerns following an extraction, don’t hesitate to contact our office immediately.
In some situations, you can avoid tooth extraction by undergoing a root canal. An internally infected or inflamed tooth may be treatable. Inside every tooth, canals house the pulp (nerve) that sustains the tooth’s life. A deep cavity or crack can compromise the pulp and cause infection or inflammation. As infection and inflammation builds, the tooth begins to ache from internal pressure. At this point, your dentist will recommend extraction or a root canal.
How we can help: During root canal therapy, infection or inflammation is removed from the canals of a tooth. Your dentist will insert man-made material into the emptied canal and then crown or restore the tooth. A root canal is a common procedure that can often be completed in one visit. Rest assured, your comfort will be maintained throughout treatment.
‘Periodontal’ refers to gums, the soft pink skin that supports teeth and covers bones in the mouth. About 80 percent of American adults have gum disease, a bacterial infection that breaks down the bond between gums and teeth. Gum disease has serious overall health implications in that it is associated with increased potential for:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Diabetes complications
- Heart attack/heart disease
- Low-weight births
- Respiratory problems
- Tooth loss
How we can help: Depending on your level of gum disease, your hygienist and dentist will recommend the appropriate therapy. If you have mild gingivitis, changing your oral home care routine could solve the problem. However, a deep cleaning is often recommended for mild to moderate gum disease. This procedure involves scaling to remove hardened plaque (tartar or calculus) from below the gum line and root planing to reduce rough areas on your teeth’s roots where bacteria tend to gather and flourish. We may use laser therapies for early, moderate and advanced cases. Advanced gum disease cases may be referred to a periodontist. In some cases, surgery may be required.
Latimer Dental Arts wants to help you maintain a healthy smile. For more information about our general dentistry services, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Susan Latimer, and we will be in touch with you shortly to finalize a day and time for your visit.