Our teeth are a crucial part of our nutrition. In addition to helping us chew, teeth shape our faces, improve our appearance and confidence at the same time. They, therefore, need the best care possible to keep them working efficiently.
Sometimes our teeth are not as perfect as we would like, whether that’s because of disease or their physical appearance and alignment. A visit to a general dentist is usually the first recommended stop to correct such problems.
La Puente Advanced Dentistry serves family members of all ages by offering compassionate and thorough dental services. We offer a range of services, from diagnosing the potential problem to referring you to the right specialists who can deal with your teeth or oral tissues’ specific problem.
Keep reading to learn more about what we do at our practice
Preventive Dental Services
Your teeth undergo a lot in a single day, exposing them to long-term wear and tear. Preventive dental services help you care for your teeth to manage this wear and tear.
A general dentist helps you take care of your teeth and prevent the development or progression of dental conditions. When you go for your regular dental check-ups, your dentist will evaluate your oral hygiene to determine whether your teeth are clean, strong, and healthy. You should make at least one preventative dental appointment every year, preferably every six months.
When you go in for your preventative dentistry appointment, you can expect certain procedures such as:
- An X-ray to help your dentist discover potential oral health problems that are invisible to the naked eye
- In addition to an X-ray, the dentist also conducts an oral exam to detect small cavities, damaged enamel, gum disease, and oral cancer.
- Periodontal probing, where your dentist measures your gum tissue's depth using a periodontal probe. A dental probe helps your dentist determine whether you have healthy gum tissue, for instance, if your gums have pulled away from the teeth.
- The dentist also cleans your teeth to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and beneath the gum line. Dental cleaning also helps remove tooth stains. Dental hygienists will examine your teeth during the cleaning to check for issues such as areas of decay. They will also floss and polish your teeth.
- Fluoride treatment is another preventive procedure, which involves the mineralization of your teeth to rebuild the tooth enamel and reverse early signs of tooth decay.
In a preventive dental appointment, your dentist could recommend dental scaling and root planing. These procedures are a form of deep cleaning which removes plaque and bacteria from the teeth and beneath the gum.
During regular brushing, you might miss some areas near the gum. Debris and plaque accumulate on the teeth and extend beneath the gum line into the underlying pockets. When left unchecked, the accumulating plaque can result in tooth loss, alveolar bone deterioration, and gum diseases.
During a dental scaling procedure, the dentist will administer anesthesia to help reduce pain and bleeding. The dentist will use a scaler to remove plaque and calculus beneath the gums and on the teeth. As an alternative to a scalar, the dentist might use an ultrasonic instrument.
In addition to scaling, the dentist smoothens the rough root surfaces to facilitate the reattachment of the gum. Your dentist will prescribe medication after the procedure to help with the pain and prevent infection. He or she might also place medication between the gum and teeth to promote healing and prevent infection.
In addition to checking your teeth, gums, and oral tissues, your dentist will also recommend dental hygiene steps you should take to keep your teeth strong and healthy.
Restorative Dental Services
Despite the preventative measures you take, sometimes, dental problems might develop. Restorative dental services seek to restore your tooth’s appearance and function and prevent existing problems from worsening. Some of the restorative services include:
Dental fillings are used to restore the structure and function of a tooth that has a cavity. Before placing the dental filling, the dentist starts by removing the decayed part of the tooth. Once this decayed material has been removed, the doctor will test whether all the decayed material has been removed. He or she then cleans the cavity to remove debris and bacteria.
The dentist might need to place an ionomer or composite resin before placing the filling to protect your nerve if the filling extends to the root. The dentist then places in the filling and finishes and polishes it.
Dental fillings come in various materials such cast gold, silver, tooth-colored composites, ceramics, and glass ionomer.
A dental crown is a cap placed over the tooth to restore that tooth’s shape, size, strength and enhance its appearance. You may need a dental crown for several reasons, such as:
- To protect weak teeth
- To hold together parts of a broken tooth
- To restore a severely worn down or broken tooth
- To support a large filling when little of the tooth is left
- To support a dental bridge
- To cover severely discolored or misshapen teeth
- For cosmetic modification
- To cover a dental implant
Children might need crowns to:
- Support severely damaged teeth that cannot support a filling
- To protect teeth in children at a high risk of tooth decay
- To decrease the frequency of general anesthesia
Crowns can be permanent or temporary. Permanent crowns are made from different materials, including stainless steel, metal alloys, porcelain-fused-to-metals, resin, ceramic, and porcelain. Temporary crowns can be prepared at the dentist’s office and are made of acrylic or stainless steel. They hold the place of a permanent crown until the permanent crown is constructed.
Before your dentist places the crown, he or she will prepare your tooth by conducting a dental X-ray to evaluate the roots of the teeth receiving the crown. The dentist also examines the extent of decay, if any, to determine the risk or presence of infection or injury to the pulp.
The dentist also takes your dental impressions, which will be used to prepare the permanent crown. Depending on how long the preparation of the crown takes, you will return to the dentist's office for a second visit, where he or she will cement the permanent crown into place if it fits your tooth and everything about the crown is okay.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are a type of indirect restoration used as an alternative to dental crowns or fillings. Dentists use them to restore the function and aesthetic of damaged teeth.
Inlays and onlays require two visits to your dentist. During the first visit, the doctor will prepare the damaged tooth and take the tooth's impression. The impression will help the dental laboratory fabricate the restoration. Your dentist might also create a temporary restoration to stand in for the permanent restoration during your first visit.
The dentist will also discuss the best materials to use for the inlay or onlays. The most commonly used materials: include gold, resin, or porcelain. The best material will depend on your preferences, aesthetics, and location of the tooth.
During the second visit, the dentist will remove the provisional inlay or onlay and place the permanent one.
Inlays and onlays have several benefits when used as a dental restoration option:
- They preserve as much of the healthy tooth as possible, thus safeguarding the tooth's structure and function.
- They are not likely to discolor with time
- They are easy to clean
- They are made from strong and durable materials and transfer these properties when used for restoring damaged teeth.
- Onlays can protect against weak teeth.
A root canal procedure involves removing the dental pulp due to infection or injury of the pulp. Root canal procedure preserves the structure of your tooth when the pulp is damaged due to tooth decay, cracks in the teeth, injury to the tooth, or cracks in the tooth. Infection or damage of the dental pulp can result in pain in the tooth and swelling of the gum.
A root canal procedure starts with anesthesia on the gum near the affected tooth. Once the anesthesia takes effect, the dentist will create a small opening through the top of your tooth to access the pulp. He or she then removes the damaged pulp using special tools and cleans out the tooth canals thoroughly.
After removing the pulp, the dentist will coat the tooth with a topical antibiotic to clear any infection, then fill and seal the tooth.
The dentist then places a temporary filling on the top of the tooth to protect it from damage by saliva and bacteria in the mouth.
Your dentist will schedule several follow-up appointments to examine the teeth for infection before placing the permanent filling.
When you come into the office with dental irregularities such as crooked teeth or an incorrect bite, we will diagnose, prevent, and correct the condition. Our orthodontists will evaluate the condition and its severity and recommend the best orthodontic solutions for you.
An orthodontist will apply the most appropriate method to fix bad bites, straighten crooked teeth or align the jaws. Orthodontic treatment sometimes includes additional procedures such as extraction of certain teeth, usually the premolars.
The benefits of orthodontic treatment include:
- Aligning teeth
- Closing gaps between teeth
- Straightening crooked teeth
- Improving the long-term health of gums and teeth
- Preventing long-term trauma or excessive wear of teeth
- Correcting an improper bite
The dentist will use either permanent or removable appliances for orthodontic treatment. These appliances include:
Braces consist of bands, wires, and brackets. Bands anchor the braces while brackets are connected to the front teeth. The wires pass through the brackets. These wires are fixed to the bands, then tightened to apply tension to the teeth. Over time, this tension pushes the teeth into their proper position. You will visit your dentist regularly to have the braces tightened or adjusted as required. Depending on the treatment required, you might have to wear braces for several months to years.
Space maintainers are used on children who lose a baby. These maintainers hold the position of the lost tooth until a permanent tooth comes through. Space maintainers can be fixed or removable.
Removable Orthodontic Appliances
Removable orthodontic appliances are used when you have minor problems, such as slightly crooked teeth or thumb sucking. These appliances are removable to allow cleaning, flossing, or eating.
Retainers are used post-treatment to stop teeth from moving back into their original positions. Retainers can be permanent or removable.
You may need orthodontic treatment if:
- You have protruding front teeth
- Your teeth are crowded
- You have impacted teeth
- Asymmetrical teeth
- An incorrect bite, for example as a reverse bite, overbite, underbite, or crossbite.
- You have gaps or spaces between your teeth
- You clench or grind your teeth
Cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance and aesthetics of your oral structures. The procedures carried out during cosmetic dentistry are not necessarily functional, meaning they can be done even if your teeth are functioning correctly. For example, you can visit the dentist to have your teeth whitened to improve the aesthetics of your smile.
Some of the procedures in cosmetic dentistry include:
- Adding materials such as veneers to the teeth or gums
- Removing teeth structure or gums
- Teeth whitening
- Straightening of the teeth
Discolored teeth can affect your smile and confidence. Instead of suffering in social situations or feeling bad about yourself due to discolored teeth, you can book a teeth whitening appointment with your dentist.
Tooth whitening can be done at home or in the office, depending on the condition and the desired results. The doctor can prescribe a whitening toothpaste for people with surface-level stains or at-home whitening solutions.
Alternatively, the doctor will whiten your teeth through an in-office procedure. In an in-office dental cleaning, the dentist will use a whitening solution with a high peroxide concentration. He or she might also use a light to help the bleaching process.
Since peroxide could hurt your gums, your dentist will provide a protective layer on the gum to keep them safe during the procedure. In-office tooth whitening lasts about an hour, but the results are more noticeable.
Although teeth whitening helps improve the appearance of your teeth, it is not recommended for everyone. People with sensitive teeth could develop more tooth sensitivity after bleaching. Other factors that could affect your eligibility for dental cleaning include having dark stains or lots of fillings and dental restorations.
Some people are not eligible for tooth whitening because they have stains that cannot be removed through bleaching. In this case, the dentist might recommend veneers. Veneers are thin covering placed on the visible part of the tooth. In addition to providing a whiter smile, veneers also play a functional role in correcting chipped, worn, or crooked teeth. They are also used if you have large spaces between the upper front teeth.
Veneers can be made from porcelain or composite resin materials. The material you choose will affect the durability, cost, and placement method.
Composite veneers are cheaper and less durable than porcelain veneers. However, their installation process is relatively simple and does not require the extensive removal of the tooth enamel. During the placement of composite veneers, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing enamel and reshaping the tooth. He or she will then bond and sculpt the composite material onto the tooth. He or she then applies light to cure and harden the resin material. The final step involves smoothening and polishing the composite material, so it looks like your natural teeth.
Porcelain veneers are stronger and durable compared to composite veneers. They are less likely to stain.
The placement of porcelain veneers begins with the preparation of the tooth by removing some enamel from the front and sides of the tooth then taking an impression of the prepared tooth. The impression will help create the final veneer that will be placed on the teeth. Porcelain veneers, like composite resin veneers, can be made in the color of your teeth.
The dentist will place a temporary veneer as you wait for the lab to prepare the permanent one. The dentist will place the veneers in another appointment.
Find a General Dentist Near Me
Your teeth are the strongest part of your body and the most vulnerable as they cannot repair themselves like other tissues of the body. Therefore, it becomes necessary to take the best care possible for your teeth so they can serve you for the longest time. One care practice you should implement is getting annual, preferably biannual visits to your dentist for regular check-ups.
During these check-ups, your dentist will clean your teeth and evaluate them and other oral tissues for signs of disease or damage. Based on what the dentist finds, he or she will recommend additional care tips or treatment to correct the problem. You should also visit your dentist outside these annual or biannual visits if you realize something is wrong with your teeth or oral tissues. La Puente Advanced Dentistry helps family members of all ages take care of their teeth and deal with any problems that affect their oral tissues. Book your consultation with us today at 626-626-7075.