Through routine cleanings, early detection of cavities, and other preventative procedures, we are able to help you keep your smile in the best possible condition in an economical way.
patient receiving a dental examEven when you brush and floss faithfully after every meal, tartar and plaque can build up on your teeth, particularly along gums, between teeth, and in other hard-to-reach places. This is why it is so important to schedule regular dental visits. During your appointment, our dental hygienist will carefully clean and polish your teeth, which will eliminate harmful bacteria that will cause periodontal disease. We will then examine every tooth, look for cavities, weak spots, and failing previous restorations, that require care. If we can catch these problem spots early, we can provide minor, instead of complex, restorations which will help prevent further damage.
As part of your essential examinations your dentist will also provide an oral cancer screening. This evaluation is repeated at each hygiene interval. We hope to supplement your yearly medical examination by taking a careful look at the soft tissue both inside and outside your mouth to ensure there are no “silent” problems of which you may be unaware. So many oral cancers, if detected early, can be treated successfully.
Preventing and diagnosing diseases of the gum and bone are also extremely important. Limiting damage and correcting problems can help you avoid tooth loss and replacement. To decrease your risk for dental disease, we strongly encourage our patients to schedule routine dental exams and cleanings at least once every six months. Of course each individual patient’s interval is always based on their need established by diagnosis of their periodontal and restorative status.
Sometimes problem areas form in places we can’t easily see, such as between teeth or beneath gums. We use x-rays to identify these hidden concerns. By enabling us to inspect every inch of every tooth, x-rays help us catch and immediately address problems that we might not have seen with the naked eye. Our practice has a digital x-ray system which has several benefits for our patients. The radiation exposure is a fraction of what it was with traditional dental x-rays, we see the image on our computer screens within seconds, we can magnify and change the image for more clarity, and we can even email the images to specialists to coordinate treatment. We recommend having x-rays taken at least once in 18 months. However, it may be necessary to change x-ray intervals based on specific patient needs.
Also, if you find it difficult to have x-rays taken because you have a “gag” reflex, we have a special x-ray technique that takes extra-oral (outside the mouth) x-rays. So no more anxiety about this important part of dental care! Just let us know about this reflex issue and we will take great care of you.
Important as regular visits with your dental hygienist are, they are no replacement for the daily maintenance needed by your smile. To help prevent plaque from building up, you should brush and floss thoroughly after every meal. Preventing plaque in turn prevents cavities and gum disease.
We know you want to keep your smile looking its best even between visits. We provide all our patients with the most up to date oral devices and techniques so they can do just that. Talk with a member of our staff to learn the best strategies you can use at home to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Periodontal Dentistry focuses on the supporting gum and bone around your teeth. Even the healthiest tooth will be lost unless it has a strong foundation. When these tissues are not healthy, patients suffer from periodic infections which increase the rate of bone loss. In fact, gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Healthy gums are a crucial aspect of maintaining good oral health.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, give us a call as soon as possible. During your scheduled appointment, we can diagnose the source of the symptoms help restore your gums to pink and healthy. We can also arm you with important techniques to improve your oral hygiene, prevent gum disease, and help you keep your smile beautiful.
Of course, if you have symptoms of advanced bone loss, very mobile teeth, and receded gums, we will consult with our periodontists to evaluate you and treat you for this disease.
Three out of four adults are affected by periodontal disease at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth.
Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.
By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
If a patient has been through periodontal care with a specialist or has had our hygienist clean under the gum tissue and along the roots of teeth, having a cleaning twice per year is usually not sufficient enough to keep that patient out of trouble.
The Dentists at Houston Westchase will suggest which re-care interval is best for you: every 6 months, 4 months, or 3 months.
Highly effective in preventing decay on the biting surfaces of your chewing teeth, dental sealants are a simple procedure in which a tooth-colored acrylic “coating” is painted onto the surface of the tooth. This effectively “seals” the deep grooves, acting as a barrier and protecting enamel from plaque and acids.
Sealants protect the depressions and grooves of your teeth from food particles and plaque that brushing and flossing can’t reach.
Easy to apply, sealants take only a few minutes to seal each tooth. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and can last several years before a reapplication is needed.
Bonding is an alternative to veneers and can be used as a restorative procedure for teeth that are chipped, cracked, discolored or misarranged.
The tooth is prepared for the procedure by lightly etching the surface and applying a bonding liquid. Once the liquid sets, a plastic resin is applied and sculpted into the desired shape by the dentist. Once set, the resin is trimmed, smoothed and polished to a natural appearance.
The bonding procedure can often be completed in a single office visit, and can improve the appearance of a tooth significantly. However, since the plastic resin used is not as strong as your natural tooth enamel, it is more likely to stain, chip or break than natural teeth. Bonding typically lasts three to five years before need of repair.
We are a mercury-free practice. However, many people still have silver/mercury fillings in their mouths from years past. These fillings are not particularly pleasing to the eye, and we know that by unavoidable design, silver/mercury fillings ultimately result in a weaker tooth structure. Porcelain inlays and Tooth Colored Restorations (onlays) create fillings that are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable) but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are esthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.
Silver fillings have many drawbacks. The edges of the silver filling can wear down, become weak or break. This results in the tooth not being protected and lets cavities get started once again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can split.
Silver fillings contain 50 percent mercury. They can corrode, leak and cause stains on your teeth and gums.
There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Resin onlays are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger.
Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contain fluoride this can help prevent decay. The resin wears like natural teeth and does not require placement at the gum line, which is healthier for your gums!
Occlusal splints (also called bite splints, bite planes, or night guards ) are removable dental appliances carefully molded to fit the upper or lower arches of teeth.
They are used to protect your teeth and restoration surfaces, manage mandibular (jaw) dysfunction, and stabilize the occlusion or create space prior to restoration procedures. People prone to nocturnal (nighttime) clenching & grinding and TMJ disorders may benefit from an occlusal splint. Occlusal splints (night guards) are typically made of a heat-cured acrylic resin.