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Regular Exams and Cleanings
Regular exams are an important part of maintaining your oral health. During your regular exam, we will:
- Check for any problems that you may not see or feel
- Look for cavities or any other signs of tooth decay
- Inspect your teeth and gums for gingivitis and signs of periodontal disease
- Perform a thorough teeth cleaning
Your regular exam will take about 45 minutes. Each regular exam includes a detailed teeth cleaning, in which we will clean, polish, and rinse your teeth to remove any tartar and plaque that have built up on the tooth's surface.
Visiting our office every six months gives you the chance to talk to the doctor about any questions you may have about your oral health. Regular exams are offered by appointment only, so please contact our practice today to schedule your next dental exam and teeth cleaning.
Bonding is a conservative way to repair slightly chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. During dental bonding, a white filling is placed onto your tooth to improve its appearance. The filling “bonds” with your tooth, and because it comes in a variety of tooth-colored shades, it closely matches the appearance of your natural teeth.
Tooth bonding can also be used for tooth fillings instead of silver amalgam. Many patients prefer bonded fillings because the white color is much less noticeable than silver. Bonding fillings can be used on front or back teeth, depending on the location and extent of tooth decay.
Bonding is less expensive than other cosmetic treatments and can usually be completed in one visit to our office. However, bonding can stain and is easier to break than other cosmetic treatments, such as porcelain veneers. If it does break or chip, tell your doctor. The bonding can generally be easily patched or repaired in one visit.
A fixed partial denture or “bridge” is a dental prosthesis that is used to replace one or more teeth that are missing in order to restore normal function and aesthetics. A bridge consists of two crowns between which a pontic, or false tooth, is placed. The crowns are attached to the teeth on either side of the gap, and the pontic fills in where the missing tooth used to be.
Bridges at Family Dentistry of Monroe can be made from a variety of materials depending on your individual needs. If you grind your teeth, we may elect to place a porcelain fused to metal, full zirconia, or gold bridge to prevent fracturing and to maintain strength during chewing cycles. If you need a front tooth replaced with a bridge, we can make a full E-Max bridge or a porcelain bridge with a zirconia substructure for better aesthetics.
If you and Dr. Szabo decide that a bridge is your best option, we will prepare the abutting teeth for crown restorations. We will then take an impression of the site with special high-accuracy material to send to our lab. While your bridge is being made, you will wear a temporary bridge made out of tooth-colored acrylic. After the dental laboratory makes your bridge, Dr. Szabo will seat it and make sure your bite is perfect!
Bridge or implant: Which is right for you?
The biggest difference between a bridge and an implant is that a bridge does not require bone surgery. A bridge can also be placed relatively quickly—usually within two weeks—while an implant takes four to six months to osseointegrate (heal) before it can be loaded with an abutment and crown. A bridge may also be a better solution if you do not have enough healthy bone structure to support an implant.
You may find it more difficult to brush and floss around your abutment teeth, so be sure to pay special attention to these areas during your home hygiene routine. You will also need to floss under the pontic every day using dental floss threaders. Of course, six-month professional cleanings at our Monroe dental office will help keep your bridge and the rest of your teeth healthy and bright.
A crown is a dental restoration that fits over a tooth to improve its aesthetics, function, or both. A tooth may require a crown to replace part of the tooth structure that is missing, to prevent a crack from getting larger, to replace the part of the tooth that is decayed, to cover and protect a tooth that has a root canal, or to make cosmetic modifications and improvements.
Drs. Szabo and Du deliver many types of crowns at our Monroe dental office, including E-MAX, zirconia, full gold, and porcelain fused to metal. The type chosen depends on the clinical indication. For example, if you grind your teeth and frequently wear teeth down, a stronger crown that may be less aesthetic such as a full gold crown would be necessary. If you need a crown on one of your front teeth, a zirconia or E-MAX crown would be appropriate because of their high aesthetic value.
To begin your crown treatment, we will prepare the tooth for a crown by removing decay and replacing the missing structure with a core buildup filling. Next, we would take a highly accurate impression to send to the lab for the creation of your crown. We will fit a temporary crown over the tooth to allow you to function normally while your crown is being made. A few weeks later, you’ll return to Family Dentistry of Monroe, where Dr. Szabo or Dr. Du will adhere your new crown and make any adjustments as necessary for a perfect fit.
A denture is a dental prosthesis that brings back function and aesthetics if you have lost some or all of your teeth. With a denture from Family Dentistry of Monroe, you can regain the ability to chew and restore your desire to smile.
Types of Dentures
Dr. Szabo and Dr. Du offer full and partial dentures at our Monroe, WA dental office. A partial denture is a removable appliance that replaces missing teeth if you are only missing a few of your teeth. It only works if your remaining teeth are stable and healthy enough to support the framework of the partial denture. A complete denture is a removable appliance that replaces all of the teeth in an arch and rests on mostly the gums.
If you elect to have implants placed, either type of denture can be modified to attach to the implant for improved support and retention.
Getting a Denture at Family Dentistry of Monroe
Your denture treatment begins with a member of our team obtaining an accurate impression of your remaining dentition or the edentulous dentition, and a registration of how the jaws come together when you close. Then, we pick out the shade and shape of the replacement teeth that will make up your denture. Our laboratory will then fabricate the appliance with a high degree of precision and attention to detail in order to make your denture as natural looking as possible. Once complete, your denture will be fit by Dr. Szabo, who will verify the accuracy of the bite.
After receiving your dentures, you may need to avoid very sticky foods as these could cause the dentures to dislodge. You will also need to remove the dentures at night and clean them with special denture cleaner to keep them clean and looking their best.
There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth at risk of decay, so your doctor may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.
When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, your dentist may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may request another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within your jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and your tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, your dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with your doctor any concerns or preferences for sedation.
Once 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.
Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, may include gold, porcelain, or composite. Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are typically used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important. There are two different kinds of fillings: direct and indirect. Direct fillings are fillings placed into a prepared cavity in a single visit. Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. These fillings include inlays, and veneers fabricated with ceramics or composites.
Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay and in preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface. A fluoride treatment in your dentist’s office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, patients may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or your doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months.
If you are missing teeth, it is crucial to replace them. Without all your teeth, chewing and eating can destabilize your bite and cause you discomfort. When teeth are missing, your mouth can shift and even cause your face to look older. Implants are a great way to replace your missing teeth, and if properly maintained, can last a lifetime!
An implant is a new tooth made of metal and porcelain that looks just like your natural tooth. It’s composed of two main parts: one part is the titanium implant body that takes the place of the missing root, and the second part is the tooth-colored crown that is cemented on top of the implant. With implant treatment, you can smile confidently knowing no one will ever suspect you have a replacement tooth.
In addition to tooth replacement, implants may be used to anchor dentures, especially lower dentures that tend to shift when you talk or chew. For patients with removable partial dentures, implants can replace missing teeth so you have a more natural-looking smile.
Whether you wear braces or not, protecting your smile while playing sports is essential. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. If you participate in any kind of full-contact sport, the American Dental Association recommends that you wear a mouthguard. Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. 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. When you choose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well-fitted for your mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly. Your dentist can show you how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right mouthguard to protect your smile.
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 not corrected, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, or even tooth loss.
There is an easy, non-invasive treatment for bruxism: nightguards. Nightguards are an easy way to prevent the wear and damage that teeth-grinding causes over time. Custom-made by your dentist from soft material to fit your teeth, a nightguard is inserted over your top or bottom arch and prevents contact with the opposing teeth.
In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you'd probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called “root canal treatment,” your tooth can be saved. When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but it is also detrimental to your overall health.
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, your general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems with the nerves of the teeth) removes the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite. If your tooth has extensive decay, your doctor may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breaking. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.
Sometimes brushing is not enough, especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach spots in your mouth. It is difficult for your toothbrush to get in-between the small cracks and grooves on your teeth. If left alone, those tiny areas can develop tooth decay. Sealants give your teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.
Dental sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden in the deep grooves on your tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, brushing your teeth becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.
Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth as a preventive measure against tooth decay after the permanent teeth have erupted. However, adults can also receive sealants on healthy teeth. It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every patient has unique needs, and your dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.
Sealants last from three to five years, but it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact, so if your sealants come off, let your dentist know, and schedule an appointment for your teeth to be re-sealed.
You no longer need to hide your smile because of gaps, chips, stains, or misshapen teeth. With veneers, you can easily correct your teeth’s imperfections to help you have a more confident, beautiful smile. Veneers are natural in appearance, and they are a perfect option for patients wanting to make minor adjustments to the look and feel of their smile.
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells made from tooth-colored materials (such as porcelain), and they are designed to cover the front side of your teeth. To prepare for veneers, your doctor will create a unique model of your teeth. This model is sent to the dental technician to create your veneers. Before placing your new veneer, your doctor may need to conservatively prepare your tooth to achieve the desired aesthetic result.
When your veneers are placed, you’ll be pleased to see that they look like your natural teeth. While veneers are stain-resistant, your doctor may recommend that you avoid coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco to maintain the beauty of your new smile.