Common Procedures

Fillings

Fillings, officially known as dental restoratives, are most often made of silver amalgam. The strength and durability of this material makes it useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, often in the back of the mouth.

Newer cosmetic dental fillings are made of composite resins incorporating ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the look of natural teeth. These are usually used on the front teeth  where a natural appearance is important, but they can also be used on the back teeth depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay.

There are two different kinds of fillings: direct and indirect. Direct fillings are fillings placed into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include silver amalgam, glass ionomers, resin ionomers, and composite (resin) fillings. Indirect fillings include inlays, onlays, and veneers (inlays, onlays,   and veneers will link to the description in cosmetic dentistry).  They are used when a tooth has too much damage to support a filling but not enough to require a crown.  Indirect fillings   generally require two or more visits.

If you need fillings, your dentist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that includes the best approach for your specific needs and budget.

Root Canals

When a tooth is cracked, infected, or diseased, the soft core (also called pulp) can become damaged leading to pain and the potential for losing the tooth. In these cases, root canal (also called endodontic retreatment) can save the tooth, preventing an extraction and the problems associated with tooth loss.  Tooth loss can lead to problems with eating, speaking, and other activities that can become worse over time, cause other teeth in the mouth to shift, and detract from your smile.  To prevent these problems, your Community Dental dentist will make every effort to help you preserve your teeth.

A root canal involves cleaning out the tooth’s pulp and disinfecting the cleaned space, as well as filling and sealing the empty space to seal it and prevent further infection and damage. 

Because your comfort is our priority at Community Dental, we use the latest dental technology and techniques to keep pain is kept to a minimum.  Root canals typically involve at least two office visits.  

Crowns

Crowns, also called caps, are used to improve your tooth’s shape or to strengthen a tooth that does not have enough strength to hold a filling. Crowns are typically used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay. 

The crown is a “cap” cemented onto an existing tooth that usually covers the portion of your tooth above the gum line. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are preferred because they are very strong and mimic the look of natural teeth.

Your dentist will take an impression of your tooth, then your crown is fabricated at a dental laboratory.  Your crown is made so that your bite and jaw movements function normally once the crown is placed.

Extractions

Although Community Dental is committed to helping patients retain their teeth, there are times when a tooth may need to be removed, or extracted.  In children, a baby tooth with misshapen  or long roots can prevent it from falling out and the tooth must be removed to make way for the adult tooth. When a tooth is so decayed that it puts the teeth around it at risk for decay your doctor may recommend removal. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdomtooth can also require removal of a tooth.

When a tooth needs to be removed, your dentist may do it during a regular checkup or you may need another visit for the procedure.  To perform an extraction, your dentist expands the socket in your jawbone that holds the root and separates the tooth from the ligament that holds it in the socket.   This procedure is usually very quick but it is important to share any concerns or preferences for sedation with your doctor.  At Community Dental, your comfort is our first priority.

After 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.

Mouthguards

Protecting your smile while playing sports is a must, especially for those who wear braces.  In fact, the American Dental Association recommends that a mouthguard be worn by anyone who participates in any type of full-contact sport. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury.   

There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard from your dentist. Choosing the right mouthguard is essential.  It should be is tear-resistant, comfortable and well-fitted for your mouth, easy to keep clean, and not prevent you from breathing properly.  Your dentist can help you identify the mouthguard option that fits your individual needs and budget.

 

Nightguards

If you often wake up with jaw pain, earaches, or headaches, or if you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, you may have a common condition called “bruxism.”  Many people do not even know that they grind their teeth, as it often occurs when one is sleeping. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, or even tooth loss.

Nightguards are an easy, non-intrusive treatment for bruxism.  Worn while sleeping, they prevent the wear and damage caused by teeth-grinding over time.  A nightguard is inserted over your top or bottom arch and prevents contact with the opposing teeth. Your dentist will help you decide if you a nightguard should be part of your plan for having healthy teeth for life.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are molars in the very back of your mouth which usually appear in the late teens or early twenties.  While not everyone needs their wisdom teeth removed, your dentist can provide guidance on whether your wisdom teeth might cause future problems, like causing your other teeth to shift.  Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties because the teeth's roots are less likely to be fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense so make extraction is easier and recovery time faster. 

In some cases, wisdom teeth are impacted, that is, they fail to erupt. When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain. In addition, 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. 

During a wisdom tooth extraction, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth. In cases of impacted wisdom teeth, which may still be embedded in the jaw under the gum, your dentist will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth.

If you need a wisdom tooth extraction, your dentist will tell you what to expect and give you instructions to ensure a comfortable, efficient healing process.