General Services

Did you know that your teeth are an extremely important part of your body? Believe it or not, proper oral care and general services dentistry can do more than give you a clean mouth, it can help to keep your body healthy as well! A proper mouth care routine combined with proper diet and regular dental checkups can leave you with a smile that will last a lifetime. Allow our Charlotte dentistry services to help you or your family.

general services dentistry

Our General Services

Bridges

A bridge may be used to replace missing teeth, help maintain the shape of your face, and alleviate stress in your bite.

A bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. Your bridge can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.

The success of any bridge depends on its foundation — the other teeth, gums, or bone to which it is attached. Therefore, it’s very important to keep your existing teeth, gums, and jaw healthy and strong.

CEREC

Are you looking for a safe, effective, and metal free way to help restore your damaged teeth? CEREC can help. CEREC technology makes use of a high grade ceramic material to help strengthen your teeth while helping them to remain looking natural. Typically CEREC restorations can be completed in just one visit to our office.

Crowns

Crowns are a cosmetic restoration used to improve your tooth’s shape or to strengthen a tooth. Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay.

Crowns are “caps” cemented onto an existing tooth which fully cover the portion of your tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes your tooth’s new outer surface. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are most often preferred because they mimic the translucency of natural teeth and are very strong.

Unlike fillings, which are placed directly into your mouth, a crown is fabricated away from your mouth. Your crown is created in a lab from your unique tooth impression, which allows a dental laboratory technician to examine all aspects of your bite and jaw movements. Your crown is then sculpted just for you so that your bite and jaw movements function normally once the crown is placed.

If you or someone you know is in need of cosmetic restoration, call or visit our office to schedule an appointment today.

Extractions

There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth and jaw at risk of decay, so your doctor may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.

When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, your dentist  may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may request another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within your jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and your tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, your dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with your doctor any concerns or preferences for sedation.

Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, your dentist may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth.

Fillings

Traditional dental restoratives (fillings) include gold, porcelain, composite and amalgam. The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, such as in the back of the mouth.

Newer dental fillings include ceramic and composite compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are usually used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important. They can be used on the back teeth as well depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay.

What’s Right for Me?

Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and expense of dental restorations:

  • the components used in the filling material
  • the amount of tooth structure remaining
  • where and how the filling is placed
  • the chewing load that the tooth will have to bear
  • the length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth

The ultimate decision about what to use is best determined in consultation with your doctor. Before your treatment begins, discuss the options with your doctor. To help you prepare for this discussion it is helpful to understand the two basic types of dental fillings: direct and indirect.

  • Direct fillings are fillings placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include glass ionomers, resin ionomers, composite (resin) fillings and in rare cases, amalgam. The dentist prepares the tooth, places the filling, and adjusts it during one appointment.
  • Indirect fillings are made in the laboratory. They include inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns, and bridges fabricated with gold, base metal alloys, ceramics, or composites. CEREC inlays, onlays and crowns are completed in one visit. For veneers, bridges and traditional crowns two visits are needed. During the first visit, the dentist prepares the tooth and makes an impression of the area to be restored. The dentist then places a temporary covering over the prepared tooth. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory, which creates the dental restoration. At the next appointment, the dentist cements the restoration into the prepared cavity and adjusts it as needed.
Implants

If you have missing teeth, it is crucial to replace them. Without all your teeth, chewing and eating can destabilize your bite and cause you discomfort. When teeth are missing, your mouth can shift and even cause your face to look older. Implants are a great way to replace your missing teeth.

An implant is a new tooth made of steel and porcelain that looks just like your natural tooth. Your implant is composed of two parts that mimic a tooth’s root and crown. The implant’s “root” is a titanium steel rod placed into the jaw bone to act as a root. Once the rod is in place, a porcelain crown is attached to replace the top part of your tooth.

Implants may also be used to anchor dentures, especially lower dentures that tend to shift when you talk or chew. Plus, for patients with removable partial dentures, implants can replace missing teeth so that you have a more natural-looking smile.

Root Canals

In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you’d probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called root canal treatment, you may save that tooth.

Inside each tooth is both the pulp and the nerve. The nerve is the vestige of the tissue that originally formed the tooth. Once the tooth has been in the mouth for a time, the functioning of the nerve is no longer necessary. When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp. Germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. Left without treatment, pus builds up at the root tip in the jawbone, forming a “pus-pocket” called an abscess. An abscess can cause the pulp tissue to die. When the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result. Certain by-products of the infection can injure your jawbones and your overall health. Without treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.

During treatment, your dentist will remove the diseased pulp. Next the pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are cleaned and sealed. The standard of care for most teeth that have had endodontic treatment is to have a crown placed in order to strengthen the remaining structure. Then, as long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups so that the root(s) of the restored tooth are nourished by the surrounding tissues, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.

Most of the time a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort, involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile!

Sealants

Sometimes brushing is not enough. Everyone has hard-to-reach spots in their mouth and brushing doesn’t always fully clean those difficult places. When that happens, you are at risk of tooth decay. Using sealants on your teeth gives you an extra line of defense against tooth decay.

Dental sealant is a plastic resin that bonds to the deep grooves in your tooth’s chewing surface. When sealing a tooth, the grooves of your teeth are filled and the tooth surface becomes smoother — and less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, tooth brushing becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.

Sealants are usually applied to children’s teeth as a preventative measure during the years of most likely tooth decay. However, adult’s teeth can also be sealed. It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every person has unique needs. Your dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.

Sealants generally last from 3 to 5 years. However, it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact so if your sealant comes off you must let your dentist know.

Sedation Dentistry

Nitrous Oxide Sedation Dentistry: Sometimes our patients require a bit more than simple pain management while receiving treatment. We offer Nitrous Oxide Sedation as well as other forms involving the use of either nitrous gas or medication in order to manage both the pain and anxiety that some may experience during dental care. No matter what your reason, sedation dentistry can certainly help you find the comfort you need to continue the process.

TMJ/TMD Treatment

The number of Americans who suffer from chronic neck and facial pain, not to mention the reoccuring headaches, is simply mind blowing. Interestingly, there are a large number of these cases where the pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD – also referred to as TMJ.

Your jaw joints – the temporomandibular joints – connect your skull and lower jaw bone. Just think how much use these joints see each day as you eat, talk, yawn, swallow, and more. As with any joint, wear in these joints can lead to pain and can even end up restricting movement of your jaw if the issue is not properly addressed.

Symptoms of TMJ/TMD include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
  • Frequent neck or headaches
  • Clicking or popping sound during jaw movement
  • Swelling on the sides of the face
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw
  • A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
  • Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth

Should you notice any of these symptoms, let us know! We can help advise you as to whether they indicate the presence of TMD, and what sort of treatment is appropriate for you.

Wisdom Teeth

The removal of wisdom teeth has become so commonplace that is almost a right of passage for young adults. Wisdom teeth are a type of molar that is found in the very back of your mouth. There are four wisdom teeth: upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right. These teeth usually appear in late teens or early twenties but may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry. The most common type of impacted wisdom tooth is “mesial,” meaning that the tooth is angled forward toward the front of your mouth.

When a tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. If it is not removed, you may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.

Each patient’s situation is unique, and your dentist will take x-rays and discuss your particular needs with you. If your Charlotte dentistry recommends removal of your wisdom teeth, it is best to have them removed sooner than later. As a general rule, wisdom teeth are removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the teeth’s roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extraction easier.

In order to remove a wisdom tooth, your dentist first needs access to it. To make this process most comfortable, your dentist will numb the area with a local anesthetic. Your dentist can even use additional medication to safely sedate you during the extraction if you are feeling nervous about the procedure. Because the impacted tooth is frequently under the gums and still encased in your jaw bone, your dentist will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth. To minimize the amount of bone that must be removed, your dentist will often “section” your wisdom tooth so that each section can be removed through a small opening in the bone.

Once the teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Healing time varies depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction. Your dentist will share with you what to expect and provide instructions for an efficient healing.

We Want Your Teeth To Look Great!

Schedule your appointment online today!