General Dentistry

Ask Dr. Griffin

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FILLINGS

Fillings replace any decayed tooth structure (a “cavity”). It is called a filling because new material fills the hole that decay left. Most teeth are repaired with bonded tooth colored composite resin fillings. Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly. If not treated, decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection and the tooth will need root canal treatment or extraction.

BONDING

Bonding involves adhering composite resin material that is matched to the color of the tooth, to the front of the tooth. This is done to repair damage done to the tooth by decay, to alter the alignment of the tooth, close gaps between the teeth, or for other cosmetic purposes.

SEALANTS

Sealants are used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn’t brush, but because they’re too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. These will certainly develop cavities over time. The dental hygienist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.

NON-SURGICAL GUM TREATMENTS

The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for our teeth. All structures are also referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium may be as follows: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these signs may mean something is wrong. With the proper care, however, it may be possible to return them to a healthy state. This is where appropriate gum treatments come in. If you’re having a problem, come in and see us so we can take care of it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic, along with local antibiotic agents. If the gum disease gets too severe, it may need to be treated through surgery or extraction. This is why it is important to get it treated at the first sign of a problem.

DIGITAL X-RAYS

X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnostic process and not to use them could lead to undiagnosed disease. Without an X-ray of the whole tooth and supporting bone and gum tissues, there is no real way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention.

In our office we use digital radiography which allows us to take X-rays using 90% less radiation versus conventional X-rays. Coupled with computer monitoring, digital x-ray technology allows us to enhance the images for better diagnosis of any dental concerns.