Preventive Dentistry

Preventive Dentistry

Combining today's advanced dental treatments and materials, along with the skill, experience, and commitment of our practice, (using both science and artistry) we can literally redesign your smile. Even a subtle change in your smile helps you to project an image of self-confidence and high personal esteem.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/ TMD), is a common disorder of the jaw joint and corresponding muscles, affecting more than 60 million patients each year. The condition is often mistaken for an ear ache or dismissed as a “normal” symptom of daily stress. The symptoms can range from occasional discomfort to chronic dysfunction, and may include:

  • Popping and clicking as you open and close the mouth
  • Shifting of the jaw as you open the mouth
  • Headache, ear ache, neck pain
  • Dizziness
  • Pain in the jaw joint
  • Limited ability to open the mouth

By identifying the cause of your symptoms, we can provide treatment solutions that are designed to prevent them. Most patients experience an increase in their TMJ/TMD symptoms is response to physical or emotional stress. Habits such as clenching or grinding of the teeth can overwork the muscles that control the jaw. Since this occurs most frequently at night, most patients find it difficult or impossible to control.

The appropriate treatment for TMJ/TMD can vary depending on your lifestyle habits, the severity of the condition, and the health of your bite and jaw joints. Typically, prevention is the best solution for most patients. This may include avoiding chewing gums and foods that are difficult to chew. It may also be helpful to adjust your bite and improve the way that your teeth fit together.

For conditions related to the health of your jaw joint, your occlusion, or the protection of your teeth, we may suggest one of the following appliances:

  • Night guard– This custom-made mouthpiece is designed to fit over the upper teeth or lower teeth to prevent the teeth from grinding together. It also prevents the muscles of the jaw joint from becoming engaged, a leading cause of headaches and TMJ pain.
  • Deprogrammer –This removable appliance resembles an orthodontic retainer and is used to aid in the diagnosis of a TMJ or bite-related problem. This appliance is also used to stabilize and evaluate your bite prior to beginning complex restorative procedures.
  • Sports guard– A professionally-designed athletic mouth guard prevents the teeth from clenching and allows the jaw muscles o relax during strenuous exercise in both contact and non-contact sports.

There are a number of over-the-counter night guards and other oral appliances available at drugstores and specialty outlets. Since these products are not customized, they may or may not be effective for you. By seeking a professional evaluation, your symptoms can be properly diagnosed and the appropriate appliance can be designed exclusively for you.

Sometimes, it’s difficult for us to diagnose cavities, especially in the pits and grooves on the biting surfaces of your back teeth. The traditional way to check for cavities was by looking for visual signs of decay on the tooth, checking x-rays, or feeling for a soft area with a dental explorer. However, we now have a diagnostic tool called DiagnoDent® that helps us more accurately locate early cavities.

DiagnoDent® is a laser technology that scans your teeth with harmless pulses of light. When a cavity is present, fluorescent light of a different wavelength bounces back to the sensor, which is translated to a digital read-out. In general, the higher the number, the greater the amount of decay in the tooth. When a cavity is present DiagnoDent also produces an audible signal.

You’ll benefit from our use of the DiagnoDent® because it helps us find decay that may have previously gone undetected. By diagnosing decay early in its development, we can prevent more extensive damage. Your restorations will be smaller and less costly, and you’ll be able to retain more of your own natural, healthy tooth.

Advantages of digital radiography

  • It’s faster
  • It’s safer, with no chemical development and less radiation
  • We can view images instantly
  • We can enhance images to improve viewing
  • Images can be stored electronically & emailed to specialists & insurance companies

Taking x-rays is faster because the sensor is merely moved from tooth to tooth, and your x-ray can be seen on a computer monitor just moments after exposure. There’s no waiting for chemical development, as with film packets.

The lack of chemicals also make digital x-rays safer for the environment. Digital radiography is safe for you, too. Because the unit is so sensitive, the amount of x-ray radiation is up to 80% less than with conventional x-rays.

Digital x-ray technology enables more efficient diagnosis and treatment because it provides a large, easy to see image, and it allows us to make adjustments and see details in the x-ray images. The digital x-rays can then become part of your dental record and be easily e-mailed to specialists and insurance companies.

With digital radiography, we can offer you faster and safer diagnosis and dental treatment.

An intraoral camera is a highly advanced innovation in dentistry that allows us to get a close-up view inside your mouth.

The intraoral camera handpiece is approximately the size and shape of a dental mirror. It has a built-in light source, so it gives us clear images of the teeth and gums.

We can zoom in on one tooth or zoom out for a view of the entire mouth. The images are displayed on a television or computer monitor, so you will be able to see problems such as worn or broken fillings, cracked teeth, plaque deposits, cavities next to fillings, gum disease, or excessive wear. After we have treated your dental condition, the intraoral camera lets you see, up close, your beautiful, healthy teeth and gums.