We now have an in-house board certified orthodontist

Teeth for Life

Practicing good oral hygiene means maintaining your smile by visiting the dentist regularly and taking care of your teeth and gums between checkups. Our practice wants to make sure that you get the most out of your office visits, and that your teeth stay healthy for life! We'll work with you to provide complete dental care, and show you how to maintain your smile at home with the right dental products for you and your family.

Dental Cleanings and Regular Checkups.

Regular dental checkups are an important part of maintaining your oral health. During your regular checkup, your hygienist will:

  • Check for any problems that you may not see or feel
  • Look for cavities or any other signs of tooth decay
  • Inspect your teeth and gums for gingivitis and signs of periodontal disease
  • Provide a thorough teeth cleaning, rinse, and polish

Visiting the dentist every six months gives you the chance to talk with your doctor and receive answers for any questions you may have about your oral health. Checkups are also a great way for you to find out about new treatments that may benefit your smile.

Choosing the right toothpaste and toothbrush

From toothpaste and mouthwash to toothbrushes and dental floss, it's important to choose the right products for your smile. Keep in mind that when you're looking for a new toothpaste or toothbrush, be sure to choose one that has been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Your dentist can also help by recommending certain dental products for use at home.

Learn More

Did you know that at birth, people already have 20 primary (baby) teeth that begin erupting after six months, and that by age 21, there are no more primary teeth, and all 32 permanent teeth have erupted?

Getting to know your teeth can be fun and educational!

Anatomy of a tooth

Tooth Eruption Chart

Preventive Care

Preventive dental care is important throughout your life, no matter your age. By practicing good oral hygiene at home and scheduling regular checkups with your dentist, you can help keep your smile bright and healthy for many years to come. Here are a few simple ways that you can prevent the build-up of plaque and cavities:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use fluoride toothpaste to remove food particles and plaque from the tooth surfaces. Also be sure to brush the top surface of your tongue; this will remove any extra plaque-causing food particles, and help keep your breath fresh!
  • Clean between your teeth by flossing at least once a day. You can also use a mouthwash to help kill bacteria and freshen your breath. Decay-causing bacteria can linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can't reach. Floss and mouthwash will help remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.

    Printable instructions >

    Brushing Instructions
    • brushing diagram

      Brushing: Step 1

      Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum.

    • brushing diagram

      Brushing: Step 2

      Brush gently in a circular motion.

    • brushing diagram

      Brushing: Step 3

      Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.

    • brushing diagram

      Brushing: Step 4

      Use the tip of your brush for the inner surface of your front teeth.

    Flossing Instructions
    • flossing diagram

      Flossing: Step 1

      Wind about 18 inches of floss around your fingers as shown. Most of it should be wrapped around one finger, and the other finger takes it up as the floss is used.

    • flossing diagram

      Flossing: Step 2

      Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide about one inch of floss between your teeth.

    • flossing diagram

      Flossing: Step 3

      Holding the floss tightly, gently saw it between your teeth. Then curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and gently slide it beneath your gums.

    • flossing diagram

      Flossing: Step 4

      Slide the floss up and down, repeating for each tooth.

     

  • Eat a balanced diet, and try to avoid extra-sugary treats. Nutritious foods such as raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese, or fruit can help keep your smile healthy.
  • Remember to schedule regular checkups with your dentist every six months for a professional teeth cleaning.
  • Ask your dentist about dental sealants, protective plastic coatings that can be applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay often starts.
  • If you play sports, be sure to ask your dentist about special mouthguards designed to protect your smile.

If it's been six months since your last dental checkup, then it's time to contact our practice and schedule your next appointment!

Dental Exams and Cleanings

Preventing Problems Before They Start

The health of your teeth and mouth is very important to the well-being of your entire body, and while routine brushing and flossing at home is necessary to keep your smile looking its best, visiting your dentist for a comprehensive exam and cleaning is essential. The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist every six months to ensure your teeth stay healthy and your smile stays beautiful.

By routinely seeing your dentist for exams and cleanings, you can:

  • Prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath
  • Save money by avoiding costly and extensive dental procedures
  • Keep your teeth white by reducing staining from food and drinks
  • Shorten the time spent in your dentist's office
  • Have a smile that will last a lifetime

The Exam

During your exam, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other health problems. Your dentist may also want to take X-rays to see what is happening beneath the surface of your teeth and gums. Whether these X-rays are traditional or digital, the images provided will help your dentist discover dental issues not visible to the naked eye.

Professional Cleanings

Your dental hygienist will begin your cleaning by exploring the surface of your teeth to determine if you have any cavities and to examine the quality of existing fillings. The dental hygienist will then perform a periodontal exam to make sure your gums adhere tightly to your teeth, and no periodontal disease or bone loss may be occurring.

Next, your hygienist will carefully clean your teeth with a variety of tools to remove any hard mineral buildup (tartar) from your teeth. Then your hygienist will floss your teeth, use a polishing compound, and apply fluoride. Cleanings usually aren't painful, but if you have any anxiety about your dental exam, be sure to let your hygienist know. They may offer several sedation options to ensure your comfort. If your dentist or hygienist finds tooth decay or gum disease, they will talk to you about changing your brushing or flossing habits. In severe cases, they may recommend antibiotics or other dental treatments. If your teeth and gums appear to be healthy, your dentist will probably recommend that you continue your brushing and flossing routine as usual.

Brushing and Flossing

Brushing Your Teeth

It's very important to brush and floss after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you need help choosing the right toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss, please ask us and we can help you choose the right products for your teeth.

Printable instructions >

Brushing Instructions
  • brushing diagram

    Brushing: Step 1

    Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum.

  • brushing diagram

    Brushing: Step 2

    Brush gently in a circular motion.

  • brushing diagram

    Brushing: Step 3

    Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.

  • brushing diagram

    Brushing: Step 4

    Use the tip of your brush for the inner surface of your front teeth.

Flossing Instructions
  • flossing diagram

    Flossing: Step 1

    Wind about 18 inches of floss around your fingers as shown. Most of it should be wrapped around one finger, and the other finger takes it up as the floss is used.

  • flossing diagram

    Flossing: Step 2

    Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide about one inch of floss between your teeth.

  • flossing diagram

    Flossing: Step 3

    Holding the floss tightly, gently saw it between your teeth. Then curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and gently slide it beneath your gums.

  • flossing diagram

    Flossing: Step 4

    Slide the floss up and down, repeating for each tooth.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. Gum disease is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults, and because it is virtually pain-free, many patients do not know they have the disease. During each regular checkup, your dentist will check for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the space between your teeth and gums.

periodontitis

What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque (a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth). If the plaque is not removed (by flossing, brushing, and regular dental checkups), it will continue to build up and create toxins that can damage the gums. Periodontal disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. Periodontal disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.

  • Gingivitis — This is the early stage of gum disease, when the gums become red and swollen, and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
  • Periodontitis — If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, and the gums and bone that support the teeth will become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected with periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or be removed by a dentist.

Certain factors can increase a patient's risk of developing periodontal disease, including:

  • Smoking or using chewing tobacco
  • Diabetes
  • Certain types of medication such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
  • Bridges that no longer fit properly
  • Crooked teeth
  • Old fillings
  • Pregnancy

While it is possible to have periodontal disease and not know it, some symptoms can include:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures

Treating Gum Disease

Treatments for gum disease can vary depending on the severity of each individual case. Typical treatments include:

  • Non-surgical treatments such as at-home periodontal trays, and scaling and root planing (deep cleaning)
  • Periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery
  • Dental implants

Preventing Gum Disease

Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are important for maintaining your health and the health of your smile. You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal disease, and by practicing good oral hygiene at home, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting gum disease. Remember to brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits to help keep your smile healthy.

Digital X-rays

Using the most advanced dental technology possible is just as important as staying up-to-date on the latest treatment techniques. Because our practice is dedicated to providing you with the safest and most convenient treatment options available, we utilize advanced digital X-ray technology in our office.

Digital X-rays provide several advanced imaging options designed to save time, provide clearer dental photos, and expose patients to less radiation than traditional X-ray technology.

Our practice is focused on making your dental experience as comfortable as possible. At your next appointment, we'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

periodontitis

TMJ-TMD

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurring headaches. In some cases, this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD.

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.

Symptoms of TMD include:

  • Pain in the jaw area
  • Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
  • Frequent headaches or neck aches
  • Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
  • Swelling on the sides of the face
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw area
  • 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 your doctor know. Your dentist can help indicate the presence of TMD and create an effective treatment just for you.

There are a few simple steps you can take at home or work to prevent TMD from becoming more severe, or to prevent it from occurring:

  • Relax your face — remember the rule: "Lips together, teeth apart"
  • Avoid grinding your teeth
  • Avoid constant gum chewing
  • Don't cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder — either use a headset or hold the receiver in your hand
  • Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
  • Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
  • Practice good posture — keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared

VELScope Oral Cancer Screening

VELscope Oral Cancer Screening System

More than 480,000 new cases of oral and throat cancers are diagnosed each year, and over 35,000 of those cases are right here in the United States. Oral cancer kills one person every hour in the U.S., and without proper detection methods, a person may have oral cancer and not even know it. In almost all cases of oral cancer, early detection plays a major role in a patient's chances of survival. By diagnosing and treating oral cancer early, a patient's five year survival rate is 80-90% greater.

Risk factors for oral cancer include:

  • Frequent use of tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco)
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Genetics (a family history of oral cancer or any type of cancer)
  • Excessive exposure to the sun at a young age

While men above the age of 50 are typically at the most risk for oral cancer, there has been a recent increase in the number of women with oral cancer due to a connection between oral cancer and the human papilloma virus (HPV-16).

How VELscope Works

The VELscope screening system consists of a specialized white light source and viewing scope that make it easier for your doctor to look closely at the tissues inside your mouth. Normal tissues will almost glow a bright green color. Abnormal tissue shows up much darker under the special light.

An abnormal screening does not always mean that the patient has cancer. If an abnormal screening occurs, your doctor may schedule a second scan later to see if the dark spots disappear, or may choose to perform a gentle, non-invasive brush biopsy to make sure it's not cancer.

Dental FAQ

What is Dentistry?

Dentistry is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions, disorders, and diseases of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. Often considered necessary for complete oral health, dentistry can have an impact on the health of your entire body.

What is a Dentist?

A dentist is a specialist who works to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Your dentist has completed at least eight years of schooling, and received either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree, or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. If your doctor is a pediatric dentist, this means that he or she specializes in caring for children from infancy through their teen years. A pediatric dentist has received the proper education and training needed to work with young kids. Other specializations include:

  • Endodontics (root canals)
  • Oral and maxillofacial (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)
  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
  • Periodontics (gum disease)
  • Prosthodontics (implants)

Why is Visiting the Dentist So Important?

Visiting the dentist regularly will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. Dental care is important because it:

  • Helps prevent tooth decay
  • Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss
  • Prevents bad breath – brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly will help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath
  • Gives you a more attractive smile and increases your self-confidence
  • Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks, and tobacco
  • Strengthens your teeth so that you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!

My Teeth Feel Fine. Do I Still Need to See a Dentist?

Your teeth may feel fine, but it's still important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you knowing. Your smile's appearance is important, and your dentist can help keep your smile healthy and looking beautiful. With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. Today's dentists offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:

  • Professional teeth whitening
  • Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
  • Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers

What Should I Look for When Choosing the Right Dentist for Me?

Choosing a dentist who “clicks” with you and your family is important, and you may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine whether the dentist is right for you. During your appointment, consider the following:

  • Is the appointment schedule convenient?
  • Is the office easy to get to and close by?
  • Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?
  • Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
  • Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
  • Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
  • Is your dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?

How Can I Take Care of My Teeth Between Dental Checkups?

  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth at least two times a day, and floss at least once!
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.
  • Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities) and avoid tobacco (this can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer).
  • Don't be afraid to brush your tongue! By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh.
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkup. It is recommended that you visit the dentist every six months.

At What Age Should I Start Taking My Child to See the Dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months of age and no later than one year of age. During this time, your child's baby teeth will be coming in and your dentist can examine the health of your child's first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.

How Often Should I See the Dentist?

Children, teens, and adults should all see the dentist for a regular checkup at least once every six months. Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to see the dentist more than just twice a year. Your doctor will help determine how often you should visit the dentist for regular checkups.

What is a Cavity?

A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth because of tooth decay. Cavities are formed when plaque buildup on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in the food you eat. This produces an acid that can eat away the enamel on your tooth. If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems. Cavities can be prevented by remembering to brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss between teeth at least once.

What is a Filling?

A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after all of the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic. Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including composites, gold, or ceramic. If you need a filling, be sure to talk to your doctor about what type is best for you and your teeth.

How Often Should I Brush My Teeth?

According to your dentist and the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth at least two times a day. Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria-causing plaque. It is also recommended that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride when you brush your teeth. You should spend at least a minute on the top teeth and a minute on the bottom teeth, and remember to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!

When Should I Change My toothbrush?

Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes each time. Your dentist recommends that adults and children change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions because you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently. Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks to keep any bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean. If you've been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.

What is Gum Disease?

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, and, if detected, is treatable. Gingivitis left untreated may turn into gum disease. Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition. Brushing your teeth regularly and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease. Common signs of gum disease:

  • Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
  • Extreme tooth sensitivity
  • Receding gum line
  • Abscessed teeth

If I Have Braces, do I Still Need Dental Checkups Every Six Months?

Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.

How do I Schedule My Next Checkup?

Simply call our practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next dental checkup at your convenience. If you are a new patient, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information you need for your first dental visit.

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