Cleanings & Prevention
The goal of a regular dental cleaning, otherwise known as a dental prophylaxis, is to prevent gum disease. This type of cleaning is typically performed every 6 months, on patients with healthy gums and bone. However, this treatment can also be used to address the beginning stages of reversible gum disease.
A full mouth debridement is typically performed for removal of heavy bacterial plaque and calculus. This type of cleaning is used to treat gingivitis, or gum disease, to prevent the advancement to periodontitis and bone loss. A full mouth debridement is typically followed by a dental prophylaxis.
Oral Cancer Screening
During our comprehensive and periodic oral exams, we complete an oral cancer screening. This screening involves both inspection and palpation of the neck, jaw, and soft tissues in the oral cavity. Common areas where cancer may present are the tongue and salivary glands, which are challenging areas to check without the help of a dentist or dental hygienist.
Dental radiographs, or x-rays, are essential to help the dentist evaluate and diagnose many oral diseases and conditions. Our office uses digital technology, therefore significantly reducing the patient’s exposure to radiation, compared to conventional x-rays films. The amount of radiation exposure for a set of digital dental bite wing x-rays is similar to spending one hour flying, but allows exceptional diagnostic information at a minute exposure.
Our office offers topical fluoride treatments for both children and adults. Fluoride, a natural mineral, aids in cavity prevention by making the enamel, or outer surface of the tooth, more resistant to decay formation. Fluoride benefits both children and adults. In children, fluoride ingested from sources such as food, beverages, and supplements strengthen the formation of teeth from the inside-out, providing a systemic benefit. In adults, or after permanent teeth have erupted, fluoride applied to the tooth surface helps rebuild, or remineralize, weakened tooth structure and can reverse early signs of decay. Fluoride found in toothpaste and other dental products is applied to the surface of teeth, providing a topical benefit.
Custom made trays with professional strength whitening gel are often recommended for patients who want a whiter smile. These trays and whitening solution provide a convenient way for patients to brighten their smile, while in the comfort of their own home.
Sealants are recommended to fill in deep grooves of permanent teeth on the biting surface, creating a barrier to keep bacteria from invading the inner tooth and preventing the formation of cavities. Typically, sealants are placed on children’s back molars, when they erupt around ages 6 and 12 years of age.
Anesthesia & Sedation
For those who may suffer from dental anxiety, sedation dentistry offers a way for patients to have a comfortable experience. Our office offers oral conscious sedation, which induces a moderate state of sedation. Patients are still awake and able to function during treatment, but do not remember what occurred during the procedure. Patients are recommended to arrive with a driver and are given a dose of medication prior to their appointment for their comfort.
Occlusal Night Guards
Many patients suffer from dull headaches, jaw soreness, teeth that are painful, and/or even fractured teeth. All these symptoms can be attributed to bruxism, or teeth clenching and grinding. To relieve these symptoms, we offer occlusal night guards, which are typically worn while a patient is sleeping to help protect the teeth from excessive wear and fracture as well as supporting the jaw joint.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria causes an infection in the gums surrounding teeth, resulting in deeper gum pockets and bone destruction. Periodontitis is diagnosed based on the measurements of deeper pocket depths surrounding individual teeth, the presence of bleeding, and x-rays confirming bone loss.
Scaling and root planning is a deep cleaning that removes tartar build-up and diseased tissue around teeth caused by the bacterial infection periodontitis. This type of cleaning can be completed in multiple appointments, and has an additional follow up appointment 4-6 weeks after the initial visit, to check if the treatment was successful. In successful cases, patients will be seen for maintenance periodontal treatment in either 3, 4, or 6 month intervals. In unsuccessful cases, a patient may be referred to a periodontist, who specializes in gum and bone disease and treatment.
After completing successful scaling and root planning treatment, patients are placed on a periodontal maintenance recall schedule, which is typically performed in 3, 4 or 6 months intervals. This type of maintenance cleaning is more involved than a regular dental prophylaxis because more time and detail is spent on previously infected areas, therefore preventing the active state of periodontal disease from returning.
Fillings are used to repair teeth that are damaged from decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The affected area of the tooth is removed and a filling material is placed to restore the tooth to its original shape and function. The two types of commonly used filling materials, amalgam (silver) and composite resin (white), can both be used to repair teeth depending on the size of the filling and location in the mouth.
Composite Resin (white):
-Natural and esthetic
-Minimal required tooth structure removed
-Bonding increases seal of tooth
-Need a dry field for placement
-May need more frequent replacement
-Strong and longer lasting
-More resistant to recurring decay
-Increased potential for tooth fracture
Crowns and Bridges
A crown (cap) may be recommended when a tooth is broken down from decay, has a large cracked filling, is fractured, or has had root canal treatment. To replace missing teeth, a bridge (a crown with multiple fixed units) may be a viable option if the space is only replacing 1-2 teeth and the neighboring teeth are strong enough to support the extra forces. There are different ideal materials crowns and bridges are typically made out of, depending on the location the restoration is going to be placed in the mouth.
-Most esthetic and natural in appearance
-Highly resistant to wear
-Can be bonded to the tooth
-Low thermal conductivity; reduces post-op discomfort from hot and cold
-Brittle material; prone to fracture under high tension or impact
-Bulk of material needed for strength; requires more reduction of tooth structure
Porcelain fused to metal:
-Highly resistant to wear
-Placed with conventional cement
-May give appearance of dark line at gum line due to metal substrate
-Porcelain prone to fracture off metal if crown fails
-High thermal conductivity, may result in short term post-op temperature sensitivity
-Strong; material wears most similar to natural tooth structure
-Least tooth structure removal needed for strength of material
-Highly resistant to fracture
-High thermal conductivity
Dental implants are an excellent treatment option to replace missing teeth, as they most closely replicate a natural tooth. The implant itself is a titanium screw that acts as an artificial tooth root, which is surgically placed by an oral surgeon or periodontist into the upper or lower jaw bone. After a period of healing to allow the implant to integrate into the bone, the patient returns to our office for impressions to fabricate a custom abutment and crown. The customized abutment is screwed into the implant and the crown is cemented onto the abutment, restoring the tooth to its natural appearance and function.
Dental implant advantages:
-Bone and tissue support
-Replacing one or more teeth without affecting the neighboring teeth
-Filling space conserves tooth alignment and prevents shifting of adjacent or opposing teeth
-Esthetic and functional
-Very high long term success rate
-Gives extra support and retention for removable prostheses
Root canal therapy is indicated when a tooth is irreversibly irritated due to fracture, decay, infection, or when the nerve dies and the tooth becomes necrotic. To save the tooth and relieve possible symptoms, the pulpal tissue, which includes nerves and blood supply to the tooth, is removed. The resulting space is then cleaned thoroughly and filled with a medicated material. Typically after root canal treatment, the tooth needs a build-up filling to replace the missing tooth structure removed in the therapy process, and crown to provide adequate strength and restore the tooth to proper form and function. Root canal therapy is very successful and can last a lifetime, however, on occasion a tooth may need to be re-treated due to a new infection. We perform root canal therapy in our office, but may refer complex cases to an endodontist, who specializes in root canal treatment.
Teeth may need to be removed (extracted) due to extensive decay, infection, fracture, or crowding. Many extractions can be completed in our office. However, referral to an oral surgeon may be necessary for patients with an extensive medical history, teeth that are un-erupted, or in instances where complications may arise during the procedure.
Patient suffering from tooth loss may benefit from a removable denture appliance to restore esthetics and function. The two types of dentures are complete and partial, both of which are made to resemble your natural teeth in both appearance and function. Complete dentures replace all teeth, while partial dentures replace selected missing teeth. The retention of both complete and partial dentures can be enhanced through the use of implants, which are placed in the jaw bone for the removable appliance to snap into, thus enhancing stability and long term use.
Dental emergencies typically require prompt treatment to relieve pain and ensure the best long term prognosis. Emergences may include but are not limited to knocked out or avulsed teeth, lost fillings or crowns, tooth fracture, and dislodged or loose teeth. It is important to call our office when an emergency has occurred, because depending on the severity, the success rate in saving the tooth may be dependent on seeing Dr. Sproul in a timely manner.