The secret to a bright, healthy smile is actually no secret at all: brush, floss and get a professional dental exam at least once every six months. Professional dental exams are all about prevention – preventing existing problems from getting worse and preventing dental problems from developing in the future. Regular dental exams make it possible to identify and treat a problem in its earliest stage – which is not only good for your oral health but also good for your budget!
There's nothing to fear with a dental exam. Dr. Kenfield will visually examine your mouth to determine if any dental concerns such as gingivitis, periodontitis or cavities are present or are developing. A full set of dental X-rays may also be taken during your dental exam to enable Dr. Kenfield to see below the surfaces of your teeth. Dental exams typically end with a dental cleaning, to remove surface stains and buildup.
Dental X-rays have come a long way. Today’s dental X-rays are safer, faster, more comfortable and more informative than the X-rays of years past. Digital X-rays, one of the latest and most advanced dental technologies, produce high-quality images of your teeth that Dr. Kenfield can view instantly on a LCD monitor. Digital X-rays reduce radiation by up to 90% and provide exceptional diagnostic information to ensure that potential problems are caught in their earliest stages. Intraoral photography is a useful tool that can be used along with traditional dental X-rays. With intraoral photography, problems such as cavities, fractures and discolorations in the teeth are captured through clear and sharp photographic images that are taken with a 35mm or digital camera.
Even with regular brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar deposits can still build up on your teeth. A professional teeth cleaning is the single most effective way to remove these deposits and prevent them from causing more serious problems in the future. While a traditional teeth cleaning involves manually scraping away these deposits with special dental tools, advances in dental technologies now give you more options for teeth cleanings.
An ultrasonic cleaning is a popular alternative to traditional teeth cleanings. With this type of cleaning, an ultrasonic scaler, rather than a manual scaler, is used to remove deposits, dislodge harmful microbes and eliminate bacteria around the teeth and gums through high-frequency oscilations of the scaler. Many patients find this more comfortable than traditional teeth cleanings.
A deep cleaning may be recommended if excessive plaque and tartar deposits have developed below the gum line. Deep cleanings, also known as scaling and root planing, involve a two-part process: first, the stubborn deposits are removed, and then the root surfaces are smoothened. A deep cleaning helps to prevent periodontal disease and to restore gum tissues to a healthy state.
Gum Disease Treatment
Red, swollen gums are a red flag for one thing: gum disease. If you have the symptoms, you're not alone. More than 80% of adults have some form of gum disease. Fortunately, there are many effective and pain-free gum disease treatments. Periodontal disease is most often caused by plaque which is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. If this material is allowed to remain on the teeth for a period of time, the gums become inflamed, irritated and bleed easily. This is gingivitis, and it can be corrected simply by proper brushing and flossing. However, if this process is allowed to continue, the bone which holds the teeth in place can be irreversibly damaged. This is periodontal disease, and is a major cause of tooth loss. Prevention through professional cleanings and patient education on proper home care are important aspects of routine care at Dr. Kenfield's office. Dr. Kenfield carefully monitors each patient's periodontal condition and will recommend treatment if necessary.
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer affects nearly 35,000 Americans every year. The keys to surviving oral cancer are early detection and early treatment. This starts with a regular oral cancer screening – at least once every six months. An oral cancer screening takes just minutes for Dr. Kenfield to perform, is pain-free and can be done during regular dental exams. If you are male, a regular oral cancer screening is especially critical: Oral cancer is more than twice as common in men as it is in women. Other people at high risk of oral cancer include people over the age of 60, tobacco smokers and heavy drinkers.
If you've been told you need a dental filling, you're not alone: 92% of Americans have had at least one cavity. Dental fillings are the tried-and-true treatment for treating cavities – and they come in a variety of options to suit every need. Dental fillings can be made of silver amalgam, composite, porcelain and even gold. Amalgam fillings have been used by dentists for more than a century and are still the most common and cost-effective type of dental filling. But composite fillings, which are made of a tooth-colored plastic and glass composite, are quickly becoming the preferred dental filling due to their natural appearance and durability. The type of dental filling used is determined by a number of factors, including size and location of the cavity, as well as your budget.
If your silver fillings make you feel self-conscious when you smile, or it's simply time to replace them, consider white fillings. White fillings are just as durable as they are attractive! Made of composite resin, white fillings match the natural color of your teeth and are an excellent option for small to mid-sized cavities. White fillings are strong, stain-resistant and require less removal of your tooth structure than amalgam fillings.
A Resin Modified Glass Ionomer (RMGI) filling is a tooth colored filling material composed of a mixture of acrylic acids, glass filler and acrylic resin. These are weak in nature, and Dr. Kenfield uses these primarily in areas that will not need to handle chewing forces. This filling material is good for cavities that develop at the gumline on the cheek or tongue side of the tooth. For individuals who are prone to develop decay, they have the added benefit of releasing fluoride.
A dental crown may not make you feel like royalty, but it is one of the premiere treatments for teeth with extensive decay or damage. Dental crowns can also used to hold a dental bridge in place, cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth, or cover a tooth after a root canal procedure. Dr. Kenfield uses either porcelain-fused-to-metal, ceramic or gold to make the crown. Dental crowns are placed during a multi-step process which sometimes requires more than one dental visit. Dr. Kenfield will first prepare the tooth for a crown by carefully reducing it in size and creating a distinct margin where the crown will join with the tooth. An accurate impression will be taken of the prepared tooth so that a model of the tooth can be made. A temporary crown is then placed to protect the tooth while the impression is sent to an offsite laboratory to create the final restoration. In some cases, same-day crowns are possible, so be sure to inquire. With good oral hygiene and routine maintenance, your beautiful new dental crowns can provide you with many years of service.
Porcelain Dental Crowns
Although dental crowns can be made of a variety of materials, including stainless steel, gold and silver, nothing looks better than a porcelain dental crown. Porcelain crowns match the natural color of your teeth and are virtually undetectable by the naked eye. Since they're metal-free, porcelain crowns are an excellent option for patients with metal allergies. Best of all, porcelain crowns don't just look beautiful – they're long-lasting, too!
CEREC crowns are one of most innovative dental technologies to ever emerge. With CEREC crowns, you don't have to worry about messy impressions, temporary dental crowns, or multiple dental visits. CEREC crowns are made right in the dentist's office with CAD-CAM technology and are placed in just one visit. CEREC crowns look great, too. Made of pure porcelain and no metal, CEREC crowns look and feel like your real teeth. The convenience, comfort and beauty of CEREC crowns are unbeatable!
Dr. Kenfield will recommend a Cerec onlay for a patient when a large filling needs to be replaced in a back tooth, or when a section of a back tooth breaks off. The porcelain onlay provides much more strength than a resin or silver filling while maintaining more tooth structure than a crown since less tooth reduction is required. This procedure is done in one appointment with the use of Cerec computer aided design technology. The result is a beautiful restoration that is quite strong.
You can visit cereconline.com for more information.
Bridges are used in situations where a patient is missing one or more teeth. Replacing missing teeth can help maintain the natural appearance of a person's face, improve a patient's ability to chew, and also reduce the stress of chewing on the remaining teeth. A bridge is placed by first preparing the teeth next to the open space for crowns. An impression or picture is taken so that the lab can make a model of the patient's teeth. The bridge is fabricated on this model. A bridge replacing a single tooth consists of two crowns- one on each of the teeth beside the open space- with a third crown between them replacing the missing tooth. It is all in one piece, and is cemented in place so that it is not removable.
If you're missing a tooth and want the very best dentistry has to offer, you could be the perfect candidate for an implant. An implant acts as a tooth root for the replacement tooth. It is securely anchored into the jaw bone and restored with a crown for the very best in look, feel and function. Single-tooth implants offer several advantages over other tooth replacement options, such as dental bridges and partial dentures. The surrounding teeth are not affected and the jawbone itself is better preserved. Single-tooth implants are also easier to clean than a bridge. When an implant is properly taken care of, it will provide many years of service for the patient. An implant can be expected to function years longer than a bridge.
Using dentures to replace missing teeth is not only great for your oral health, it's a great way to look and feel younger! Today, there are a variety of natural-looking and comfortable dentures for patients who need to replace missing teeth. Made of a gum-colored plastic resin or acrylic base and either resin or porcelain replacement teeth, dentures are custom designed to fit your mouth. Dr. Kenfield will talk with you about your current oral condition and discuss treatment options. Partial dentures, which can be either fixed or removable, are great for patients who have several missing teeth scattered along the upper or lower jaw.
Just as with your natural teeth, dentures require daily maintenance. With regular wear and tear, your dentures can last 5-7 years. During that time, you may need periodic denture relines to accommodate changes in the contours of your mouth. Regular denture relines involve resurfacing the base to ensure that your dentures fit and function perfectly. If you break your dentures, it's critical to bring them to your dentist for professional denture repair. Home denture repair kits can cause more damage and be even more costly to fix.
Ever wish you could sail through dental visits without anxiety or fear? Would you rather endure an agonizing toothache than go to the dentist? Answering “yes” to these questions could mean that you're a perfect candidate for sedation dentistry. With sedation dentistry, you can forget about fear and focus on pure relaxation.Conscious sedation is a moderate level of sedation that causes drowsiness and is taken in pill form.