Cosmetic dentistry is generally used to refer to any dental work that improves the appearance of a person’s teeth, gums and/or bite. Today, cosmetic dentistry is more popular than ever, from whitening and shaping teeth to closing spaces and replacing missing teeth. We have a wide array of tools and techniques at our disposal for improving the look of your smile.
Tooth Whitening – Over time, teeth can become stained or discolored, especially after smoking, taking certain medications, or consuming foods and beverages such as coffee and tea. Using a chemical process, we can whiten your teeth in a safe way to improve their appearance.
Bonding – White fillings bonded to teeth may improve how your teeth look if they have excess space between them, or if they are chipped, broken, stained, or cracked. We also use bonding materials to fill small cavities or to protect the exposed root of a tooth.
Veneers – These custom shells, typically made of porcelain (sometimes plastic), cover the front sides of the teeth to change their color and/or shape. Veneers last longer than bonding and provide a superior appearance. Veneers can improve teeth that: have spaces between them, have become chipped or worn, are permanently stained, are poorly shaped, are slightly crooked.
Crowns – Sometimes called caps, crowns completely cover a tooth, restoring a normal shape and appearance, and reduce the likelihood of a heavily restored tooth from breaking.
Bridges & Dental Implants – These two options are similar in that they are both fixed in place (not removable like a denture) and used to replace missing teeth. Bridges are anchored to teeth on either side of a missing tooth, and dental implants replace the missing tooth directly.
Anxiety at a dental office is often a significant barrier to treatment. Dental fear is deeply seeded and some patients cannot get past their anxiety to receive the dental treatment they require without help. At Tidwell Family Dental we try to make our patients’ experience at the office as comfortable as possible, and offer nitrous oxide gas for patients comfort.
Cleaning & Prevention
Our office takes great pride in the preventative services that we offer through our regular recall appointments. In general, most patients benefit from dental scaling (cleaning your teeth) twice a year. This is the most predictable way to reduce the chance that you will have progression of receding gums and gum disease. Some patients with moderate recession, aggressive oral bacteria and/or difficult areas to clean on their own return to the office three or four times each year for scaling. If you have any specific questions about your own oral health and recession status, please ask one of our hygienists or dentists at your next check up.
A dental filling is the general term to describe a material placed in a tooth to maintain its health and function. We place fillings primarily after removing cavities or to repair broken teeth. Most fillings now are placed with with the white composite material, but we also have metal and porcelain options.
Crowns completely cover a tooth, restoring a normal shape and appearance. You may need a crown to: cover a misshapen or discolored tooth, protect a weak tooth, restore a broken or worn tooth, cover a tooth with a large filling, hold a dental bridge in place, cover a dental implant, or cover a tooth that’s had a root canal procedure.
Bridges, sometimes called a fixed partial denture, are used to replace missing teeth with artificial teeth. Bridges can be made of gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination. We anchor them onto surrounding teeth after preparing them for crowns. Then a false tooth joins to the crowns and the bridge is cemented onto the prepared teeth.
Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is the process of removing infected, injured or dead nerve from your tooth. The space inside the hard layers of each tooth is called the root canal system. This system is filled with soft dental pulp made up of nerves and blood vessels that help your tooth grow and develop. When the nerve of your tooth becomes infected, a successful root canal treatment lets you keep the tooth rather than having to pull it out. Keeping your tooth helps to prevent your other teeth from drifting out of line and causing jaw problems. Saving a natural tooth avoids having to replace it with an artificial tooth. Root canal therapy does have a bad reputation, but is a successful procedure, especially when the treated tooth has a crown placed afterward to protect the tooth from breaking.
Denture & Partials
Dentures-and-partialsPartial dentures are a cost effective way to replace a missing tooth, or multiple missing teeth. This is a removable option (different than a dental implant or bridge that is fixed in place). In many cases, a partial denture can be a satisfactory option that esthetically replaces teeth and allows patients to eat more effectively. The main complaint with partial dentures are the fact that they are removable and can move when eating or talking, and can get food stuck under the appliance. Removable partial dentures can be metal or plastic.
Complete dentures replace all of the teeth in a patients jaw. Upper dentures are often a satisfactory option on their own because suction is formed with the coverage of the palate to hold them in place. Complete lower dentures tend to be more difficult to get used to as they can move during eating and speaking. They are a different shape than the upper denture (horseshoe) and have the tongue and lips fighting against them which makes the lower denture less stable. An effective treatment option for loose lower dentures are to place two implants in the lower jaw to stabilize them in place.
Oral surgery is any procedure that involves cutting into or removing tissue from your mouth. It includes procedures like removing a wisdom teeth, gum surgery, and receiving dental implants. Oral surgery also includes getting rid of diseased tissue from the mouth, correcting jaw problems, or repairing a cleft lip or palate. These latter procedures are usually done by an oral & maxillo-facial surgeon (OMFS) after a referral from your general dentist.
Our office performs many surgical procedures, including simple and surgical tooth extractions, wisdom tooth removal, dental implant placement and other minor surgical treatments. We also work closely with our local OMFS to provide the most appropriate care for our patients. Dental surgery is easily performed with local anesthetic (freezing), but many patients choose one of our sedation options for these appointments.
Periodontics refers to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the supporting structures for your teeth (gums, ligament and bone). The basis for good periodontal health is each patient’s proper oral hygiene practices at home. We emphasize this preventative care at regular dental recall exams and scalings to monitor periodontal health and reduce the likelihood of gum and periodontal disease from progressing.