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General Treatment

smiling mom and daughterOur practice can provide a wide range of dental services. We can typically provide every type of dental service without having to refer you to other specialties. This flexibility saves you time and keeps your total dental care within one practice. Our emphasis is on total preventive care for our patients. Total care begins with regular hygiene visits, regular checkups and continued home oral health routines.

Our practice also provides the highest-quality services for restoring mouths that have been damaged by dental disease and injury and common problems that require cosmetic dentistry. Our primary goal for our patients is to achieve and maintain optimum oral health through advances in techniques, technologies and by maintaining their scheduled dental exams.

Teeth Cleaning | Periodontics | Endodontics | Tooth Extractions | Crowns | Fillings


Teeth Cleaning

Your teeth are intended to last a lifetime – and they can, with proper care. This means thorough daily brushing, cleaning between the teeth, and professional cleanings to avoid periodontal (gum) disease.

This procedure is done on patients in the absence of any advanced gum disease. It is usually done twice per year. In our office, the "prophy" is performed by professionally trained hygienists. This procedure involves the removal of superficial (above the gum line) plaque and calculus (calcified plaque) as well as removal of superficial stain on the teeth. Our hygienists will also monitor your oral hygiene to make sure it is adequate. The doctor will examine you at this appointment and discuss with you any concerns that you might have.


Periodontics

Don't wait 'til it hurts...

Advanced periodontal diseases are a major cause of tooth loss in adults, but they can be prevented. Regular dental visits for professional cleanings are essential to prevent periodontal disease. Your dentist and dental hygienist will also show you proper techniques for brushing and cleaning between your teeth, answer your questions, and recommend an appropriate schedule for check-ups.

If you notice any of the following signs, see your dentist immediately:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from teeth
  • Puss between teeth and gums when gums are pressed
  • Persistent bad breath or taste
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together

The effects of gum disease can be damaging to your dental health. However, through proper preventive care and oral hygiene, you can avoid problems associated with gum disease.


Endodontics

Root canal therapy is necessary when the dental pulp (the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue inside the tooth) becomes inflamed or infected. Teeth with abscessed, or infected, nerves were once extracted. But now, in most cases, the natural tooth can be saved through modern endodontic procedures.

Why is root canal therapy necessary?

Without treatment, the infection of the dental pulp will spread to the bone around the tooth. This can be detrimental to one's health and cause unnecessary pain.

A common misconception is that a root canal is a painful procedure. Actually, root canals are similar to having a cavity filled, producing minimal discomfort.

Common causes for the need of endodontic treatment:

  • Inflamed/infected tooth pulp
  • Severe sensitivity to hot/cold elements
  • Deep tooth decay
  • Broken or cracked tooth
  • Trauma to the tooth
  • Swelling or tenderness near the infected tooth
  • Repeated dental procedures on a tooth

What does the root canal treatment procedure involve?

Treatment begins with the initial access through the crown of the tooth to the diseased pupal tissue. Once the affected tissue is exposed, the affected tissue is removed. The area surrounding and containing the pupal tissue is carefully cleaned, enlarged and shaped to provide a clean surface for filling with a biocompatible filler. After the tooth is filled and sealed, the next step recommended is a build-up procedure and crown to restore and protect the tooth.


Tooth Extractions

There are four main reasons why a tooth may require an extraction:

  • Periodontal disease: although there may be no discomfort, teeth with advanced bone loss are loose, may be infected, and usually start to drift.
  • Decay: teeth with advanced decay that has extended into the root structure may not be restorable.
  • Impacted wisdom teeth: teeth that are trapped in the jaw bone may cause damage to the adjacent teeth and may become infected. Also, many times, there is just not enough space in the mouth to hold the wisdom teeth.
  • Abscess: teeth with large abscesses that have caused a great deal of bone loss usually cannot be restored.

After you've had a tooth extracted it is imperative that the space be filled, in some way, to avoid a number of potential problems. Teeth are very important in maintaining your health and supporting your facial structure. Without teeth, your bone shrinks and the skin collapses, causing premature aging. Even removing just one tooth can create a high risk if it is not taken care of properly. Over time, major problems can begin to occur to the surrounding teeth and tissue. When a tooth is missing, the tooth behind the space tips forward, and the opposing tooth grows down or up into the space that is there. Crooked teeth cause bite problems and can affect the ability to chew, as well as become more susceptible to gum disease. Forces are transferred to the other teeth, resulting in compromised support, increased wear, and deterioration. The bone begins to shrink where the tooth used to be and over time can result in facial collapse. Replacing missing teeth can help prevent many of these consequences, and provide you many long term benefits with improved health.


Crowns

Dental crowns (or caps) are generally utilized to restore teeth that are more severely broken down from decay or fracture. The crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth, covering the tooth to restore its shape, size, and strength and/or to improve its appearance. When cemented into place, the crown encases the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at or above the gum line. The cosmetic results can be excellent.

Crowns are made of a variety of different materials, such as porcelain, gold, acrylic resin, or a mix of these materials. Porcelain generally has the most natural appearance, although it is often less durable.

The treatment plan for a patient receiving a crown involves:

  1. Numbing the tooth to remove any decay present.
  2. Re-sculpturing the tooth to provide an ideal fit for the crown.
  3. Making an impression of your teeth in order to create a custom-made crown.
  4. Making a temporary crown out of acrylic resin and fitting it onto the tooth during the interim period when the permanent custom-made crown is being created.
  5. Applying the permanent crown (when received from the lab) by removing the temporary crown and fitting the permanent one onto the tooth.
  6. After ensuring that the crown has the proper look and fit, the dentist cements it into place.

This process generally consists of a minimum of 2-3 visits over a three to four week period.


Fillings

Dental fillings are performed on teeth that have mild/moderate caries (decay) or that have minimal fracture. The procedure involves removing the decay and any structurally unsound part of the tooth and "filling" it with a restorative material. Most of us are familiar with traditional amalgam (metal alloy) fillings. They have served dentistry well for many years and still have application in some circumstances. There is an alternative material for filling cavities called composite resin that offers several advantages. To learn more, please see Composite Resin Bonding.

Family Dental Center

  • Laurel Office - 1532 W. 15th St., Laurel, MS 39440 Phone: 601-428-0082 Fax: 601-428-1983
  • Waynesboro Office - 500 Court St., Waynesboro, MS 39367 Phone: 601-735-5462 Fax: 601-735-0901

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