General Dentistry

General Dentists Cleona PA


Removing disease from the mouth and repairing damaged teeth are the two main goals of general dentistry. Even as all of the advances in the cosmetic aspect of our work continue to wow us, we never underestimate the importance of healthy teeth and gums. After all, while some problems (such as cavities) may be painful enough for you to seek treatment on your own, others (such as potentially devastating gum disease) can sneak up on you without causing a great deal of pain. Regular dental visits and general tooth maintenance will alert you to any such problems before they have time to wreak havoc on your smile.

During a thorough oral exam, we can take a close look at your teeth, gums, and surrounding tissue to gather information about your overall health. We’ll check for decay, take a look at existing fillings, and probe your gums for signs of disease. In addition to the actual exam, we’ll talk to you about your oral hygiene habits and any questionable symptoms you might be experiencing. If it’s your first visit, we’ll also want to get caught up on your medical history and past treatment.

Most dentists recommend that you come in at least twice a year for a full exam and a professional cleaning. If you have gum disease or some other special condition, you should consider scheduling them more frequently.

 

Professional Cleanings

Good oral hygiene habits are essential to optimal dental health, and proper cleaning at home – though very important – is only your first line of defense. To ensure that your teeth look their best now and for years to come, you also need to have your teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Professional cleaning removes plaque – the sticky, bacteria-filled film that adheres to the surface of your teeth. Plaque that gathers along the gum line and other hard-to-reach spots can irritate the gums and lead to gingivitis (signs include red, swollen, or bleeding gums). If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to the irreversible gum disease called periodontitis.

 

Periodontal Care

Tooth decay and periodontal disease (gum disease) are the primary causes of adult tooth loss, so it’s important to know the state of your periodontal health. Research has also found a relationship between gum disease and more serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you could be at risk for periodontal disease.

  • Red, swollen gums.
  • Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss.
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth.
  • Persistent bad breath.
  • Pus between the teeth and gums.
  • Teeth that seem to wobble in their sockets.

Tooth-colored Fillings

J Bowman 2 cropped before     J Bowman 3 cropped after

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If you currently have silver fillings, we would like you to consider replacing these potentially damaging relics from dentistry’s less sophisticated times with composite fillings that match the color of your own teeth.

If you have a new cavity, we also recommend the composite material over silver fillings. Why? For starters, the composite resin is more durable. It bonds adhesively to the tooth and forms a tight seal that prevents bacteria from wreaking havoc on the covered teeth. And, while silver fillings are known to eventually turn the tooth gray and expand over time (even to the point of cracking the tooth), tooth-colored fillings remain stable and real-looking even as the years go by.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are a type of restoration that we use in a variety of applications. When cemented into place over a damaged tooth, dental crowns (sometimes called caps) can restore a tooth to its original shape, strengthen a tooth, or simply improve the cosmetic appearance of the tooth.

Because they fully cup over a damaged tooth, a crown actually becomes the tooth’s new outer surface. Fortunately, most dental crowns placed today are made of a durable porcelain material that blends in nicely with your natural teeth (as opposed to the metal or gold that we used in the past).

Dental Bridges

PT before     PT after

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Dental bridgework is used to stabilize the bite if you are missing one or more teeth. This is no small task, considering teeth surrounding a missing tooth can drift out of alignment and change your bite – which can result in other problems, such as loss of additional teeth, tooth decay, gum disease, and even chronic headaches.

A bridge is essentially a band of connecting crowns bonded onto existing teeth. We offer several different configurations, including the traditional bridge, which consists of two crowns covering the teeth on either side of a gap with a false tooth in between. If a patient has teeth on only one side of a gap, we’ll use a cantilever bridge.

Inlays and Onlays

We use porcelain inlays and onlays in situations where a tooth has been damaged enough to require repair, but enough enamel remains for us to build off of. Both considered very conservative procedures, inlays and onlays work in two slightly different situations. An inlay is a small piece of artificial tooth surface (which can be made of porcelain or resin) that fills in where natural tooth material is missing. An onlay covers a larger portion of the tooth’s biting surface, extending over one or more sides perhaps. An onlay is a good choice when we want to repair only the damaged portion of a tooth without placing a crown on top of it.

Dental Implants

John Warner - before implant crown    John Warner - after implant crown

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Unfortunately, losing teeth is part of the aging process for many of us. Disease, injury, and even daily wear can take their toll on the mouth’s structure. The product of a fairly new technology in tooth replacement, the dental implant is quickly becoming the prosthetic of choice for dentists and patients alike. In essence, dental implants are artificial teeth that are permanently rooted in the jaw bone by way of metal posts.

At the beginning of the dental implant procedure, a periodontist anchors the steel post into the patient’s jaw bone. Once the post is sufficiently stabilized, our dentists attach to it a very lifelike replacement tooth that looks, feels, and functions much like a natural tooth.

Porcelain Veneers

David Hains - Before Veneers     David Hains - After Veneers

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An excellent alternative to crowns, porcelain veneers are thin shells of ceramic material that are bonded onto the enamel of crooked, damaged, or discolored teeth, forming a durable artificial surface that looks surprisingly authentic. This is due to the fact that the veneer’s glass-like surface reflects light in much the same way as natural teeth do. So the veneered teeth are virtually indistinguishable from the others.

In spite of their delicate-sounding name, porcelain veneers are extremely durable when bonded to the surface of natural teeth. You can treat them like regular teeth. Plus their smooth surface makes them almost impervious to further staining.

Dentures

Mel Burkholder - before     Mel Burkholder - after

                                      BEFORE                                                                              AFTER

Providing the traditional removable option for those with missing teeth, dentures have come a long way in recent years. Partial dentures can be made to attach onto existing natural teeth or onto sculpted crowns. Full dentures are carefully designed to replace all of the upper or lower teeth on one or both arches. Both versions, when properly fabricated and fitted, can remedy the sunken, older appearance that is a byproduct of missing teeth.

Endodontic Therapy

Endodontic treatment, also known as a root canal, is performed as a means of saving a damaged or decayed tooth. During this procedure, we treat the inner “pulp” portion of the tooth while keeping the outside structural part of the tooth intact.

We begin by making an opening in the crown of the tooth to gain access to the root canal system. The pulp is removed from the pulp chamber and root canals, and tiny instruments are used to clean and reshape the canals so that they will be easy to fill. When the root canals are thoroughly cleaned out, we refill them with a compound and a cement that seals the canals to prevent bacteria from reentering. After the infection has been thoroughly cleaned out and the canal refilled, the tooth is ready to be sealed off with a crown or tooth-colored restoration.

TMD Treatment

Do you suffer from ailments such as persistent headaches, ringing in the ears, popping of the jaw, or chronic pain in the jaw, neck or shoulders? If you answered yes, the culprit could be temporomandibular joint disorder. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), is the joint immediately in front of the ear where the lower jaw, or mandible, joins the temporal bone of the skull. You may have never heard of it, but you use your temporomandibular joint thousands of times every day – each time you talk, chew, or swallow. In addition to being one of the most frequently used joints in the body, it’s also one of the most complex. By carefully repositioning the jaw through advanced dentistry procedures, we can restore your bite to a more functional balance.

Dental Emergencies

Most dental problems can be prevented with regular dental care and plain old common sense. However, accidents do happen. Getting immediate treatment for a broken tooth or severe toothache, as well as conditions such as severe and constant pain in the mouth, significant bleeding that will not stop, and severely swollen gums or jaw, can mean the difference between saving a tooth and losing it. Because time is often of the essence when a tooth is knocked out or chipped in an accident, our dentists are available to treat dental emergencies as they occur.

Tooth Extraction

Saving teeth is, of course, our first priority. But in some situations, the best possible treatment is to completely remove a tooth. Sometimes, a tooth will be extracted if it becomes decayed beyond repair, or if it becomes damaged by gum disease. We might also remove a tooth if it cracks in a way that renders it impossible to repair.

Children’s Dentistry

People are not born with an innate fear of going to the dentist. They learn it through traumatic experience in the dentist’s chair, which is why it is particularly important for us to make a good first impression on our pediatric patients. As a family-oriented business, we pay special attention to our younger patients and encourage parents to bring their children in for regular checkups as early as possible, rather than waiting until a painful problem develops. Our staff is dedicated to providing quality care in a gentle, positive, and fun environment.

Sealants

Sealants are a powerful weapon in fighting cavities. In fact, when correctly applied, these thin but durable plastic-like coatings are nearly 100 percent effective in preventing tooth decay. Sealants are generally applied to the back teeth (the molars), where even the most diligent brushing and flossing sometimes won’t adequately remove food particles and bacterial plaque. During the procedure, the affected teeth are first professionally cleaned, thoroughly dried, and slightly roughened (to help the sealant adhere directly to the tooth). Then, we paint a thin layer of liquid plastic on the pitted surface and cure the plastic with a special light. After curing, the plastic becomes a hard, thin layer covering the treated portions of the tooth.

Fluoride Treatments

Proven to be one of the safest and most effective ways to prevent tooth decay, fluoride treatment is always highly recommended for pediatric patients. Fluoride also plays an important role in adult dental care. Our staff stays up to date on research concerning the many benefits of fluoride – from its ability to kill bacteria to the fact that it can seep between existing dental work to prevent further decay. Clearly, fluoride is an important aspect of keeping your teeth at their best.

For best results, consider getting a fluoride treatment at each checkup, as well as a prescription for fluoride gel to use at home. Ask a member of our staff for the option that is best for you.

Digital X-ray

Getting dental x-rays done the traditional way can be, at best, an uncomfortable experience as you bite down on sharp swatches of film wedged against your jaw and cheek. At its worst, the process can be genuinely painful.

By obtaining dental X-rays through digital radiography, we are able to eliminate the pain and discomfort associated with this dental rite of passage. During the procedure, a technician simply glides a small sensor around the inside of your mouth, and the images appear instantly on a computer screen. Though they look very much like the dental X-ray films you’re used to seeing, these images can be enlarged and manipulated, making them especially helpful as we determine what is going on inside your mouth.

Panoramic X-ray

Panoramic X-rays provide a wide view of the teeth, jaws, and the mouth’s surrounding tissues. Seeing all of these elements in one image gives us a general idea of how all of your teeth function together. For example, we can use panoramic X-rays to evaluate third molars for their removal, to look for facial bone fractures, cysts, or tumors, and to check for disease in the jaw joints.

Intraoral Camera

Getting a good view inside patients’ mouths has always been a daunting task for dentists – until, that is, the pen-sized intraoral camera became available. In addition to being small enough to move around the mouth and get into hard-to-reach spaces, this sophisticated new technology can send video images to a computer to be stored, enlarged, and analyzed in depth.

Obviously, the intraoral camera makes our job easier. It also helps our patients, because we can enlarge the camera’s images and present them on a television screen. When we show our patients the actual pictures of their teeth (perhaps revealing the early signs of a potentially serious problem), they’re better able to understand the condition of their teeth and the reasons why we’ve recommended a specific treatment.

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