DENTAL HYGIENE

Regular cleanings and check-ups are the most basic ways to maintain a healthy oral cavity and to catch any potentially harmful problems before they become serious issues. Seeing a dentist 3-4 times per year for professional cleanings and examinations ensures proper oral hygiene and prevents the development of advanced dental problems. Tooth decay, gum disease, oral infections, and oral lesions can be identified, treated, or even prevented by seeing a dentist regularly.

At the Kurpis Center for Advanced Dentistry, your dental hygiene visit will include a thorough professional cleaning and home hygiene instructions, an expert diagnostic examination including careful analysis of digital x-rays, an evaluation of your teeth and gums, and an oral cancer screening to ensure your oral cavity is free of any abnormal or precancerous lesions. Our dentists will also make any recommendations for additional treatments that may be necessary. We want to protect your dental health and help you avoid future dental work by catching problems early. Prevention is really the best medicine!

EXTRACTIONS

An extraction is a common procedure in which a tooth is removed from a socket or space in the jaw surrounded by bone and soft tissue. Teeth need to be extracted for a variety of reasons such as decay, periodontal (gum) disease, impactions, trauma, crowding, and root canal failure, among others. Extractions can be either simple or complex. During a simple extraction the dentist removes the tooth by loosening the gums around it, grasping the tooth with forceps, and moving the tooth from side to side until it loosens from the ligament that holds the tooth in its socket. At times a complex, or surgical, extraction is performed to remove a tooth from its socket. This is the case if a tooth has broken down below the gum line, or if the crown of a tooth breaks off leaving the roots remaining in the socket. The dentist does not have any strong tooth structure to grasp with forceps and cannot simply wiggle the tooth out of its socket. In these instances the tooth needs to be surgically removed. After a tooth is extracted the soft tissue and bone surrounding the tooth socket often collapse, leaving an empty or weakened area where the tooth used to be. The socket fills in with soft tissue but the important bone, which will be needed for a future implant or prosthesis, is lost. However, bone loss following an extraction can be prevented. At the time of the extraction the dentist can perform a procedure known as socket preservation. This procedure entails placing a regenerative bone grafting material into the empty socket to stimulate bone growth where the tooth used to be. A membrane may also be placed to prevent the down growth of gum tissue into the empty socket. Many patients prefer to have some level of sedation during their extraction(s). While this is not at all necessary, we offer 3 different levels of sedation to provide you with total comfort and relaxation during your appointment. Most patients prefer not to return to work on the day of their extraction(s), usually due to some minor post-extraction bleeding and discomfort. We will provide you with post-operative instructions and pain medication to help you feel comfortable while you are healing.

STRAIGHTEN YOUR TEETH EASILY

If you wish your teeth could be straighter but can’t bear the thought of having metal wires and brackets in your mouth, invisible braces may be the ideal solution for you! At the Kurpis Center for Advanced Dentistry, we use the Invisalign® method as an exceptional alternative to traditional wire braces. Invisalign® is an orthodontic treatment technique using removable clear trays called aligners. These aligners are custom made, fit right over the contours of your teeth, and are virtually “invisible.” Hardly anyone will notice you are straightening your teeth! Invisalign® aligners can be used to correct a broad range of cases, including mal-aligned teeth, spaces between teeth, crowded teeth, crossbites, underbites, and overbites.

ROOT CANAL

A “root canal” refers to a procedure whereby a dentist or endodontist removes the nerve tissue and blood vessels from the inside of a tooth. Despite its negative reputation, a root canal actually provides an amazing service. It allows a dentist to save a decayed or infected tooth that would otherwise have to be extracted. During root canal treatment, the nerve, blood supply, and connective tissues are removed from the spaces inside the tooth and the tooth is cleaned, sterilized, and sealed. A root canal is necessary to repair a tooth whose nerve is damaged from decay or trauma. It is also necessary to stop pain associated with an irritated or infected tooth. A “root canal” refers to a procedure whereby a dentist or endodontist removes the nerve tissue and blood vessels from the inside of a tooth. Despite its negative reputation, a root canal actually provides an amazing service. It allows a dentist to save a decayed or infected tooth that would otherwise have to be extracted. During root canal treatment, the nerve, blood supply, and connective tissues are removed from the spaces inside the tooth and the tooth is cleaned, sterilized, and sealed. A root canal is necessary to repair a tooth whose nerve is damaged from decay or trauma. It is also necessary to stop pain associated with an irritated or infected tooth.

FIXING BROKEN TEETH WITH CROWNS

A dental crown is a permanent restoration used to repair, protect, and restore function to a badly damaged tooth. Crowns are frequently placed on teeth that are broken, have been treated with root canals, or on dental implants. They are also used for cosmetic reasons to hide unsightly flaws in teeth such as cracks or discolorations. When a tooth needs a crown, the entire outer surface of the tooth must be drilled away so there is enough space to cover it with a crown. An impression is then taken and sent to a dental laboratory where a custom crown is fabricated. The crown is then sent back to one of our dentists who permanently cements in onto the tooth.

FIXING BROKEN / CHIPPED TEETH WITH INLAYS

Composite resin fillings are routinely used to repair chipped teeth, to correct small spaces between teeth, or to fill small cavities caused by decay. Sometimes, however, the hole left in the tooth by decay is very large and cannot be properly restored with a composite filling. Other times, large, dark, old silver fillings must be replaced and the resulting hole left in the tooth is too large for a composite restoration. The composite filling is simply not strong enough to repair such a large defect, yet there is enough natural tooth structure left so that a full crown is not necessary. When this situation arises we often recommended a different type of restoration known as an “inlay.” Inlays can be fabricated from gold, porcelain-fused-to-gold, all porcelain, or composite. Porcelain inlays, although attractive, have a high fracture rate. Composite inlays are more resilient and are more commonly used today. In order for a tooth to receive a composite inlay, the decay or old silver filling must be removed and the tooth must be properly prepared. An impression of the tooth is taken and sent to a dental laboratory where an inlay is fabricated out of a very esthetic tooth-colored material. The inlay is then sent to one of our dentists who permanently cements it onto the tooth. Inlays are strong, esthetic restorations that can last several decades.

GUM DISEASE

Periodontal (gum) disease, which includes gingivitis and periodontitis, is a progressive inflammatory condition affecting the tissues and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults; in fact, 75% of adults are affected at some point in their lifetime by gum disease. Not only does periodontal disease lead to the shifting, loosening, and loss of teeth, it is also harmful to your body. Bacteria and toxins that accumulate in the inflamed gums can enter your bloodstream, where they can have a serious negative effect on your overall health. Periodontal disease can also progress without any signs or symptoms. This is why it is very important to have regular dental check-ups and periodontal screenings. Gum inflammation and bone destruction are often painless, and the disease can progress significantly before your realize there is a problem. Proper dental care is vital to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. At the Kurpis Center for Advanced Dentistry, we have an experienced Periodontist (gum specialist) on staff ready to treat any issues you may have with your periodontal health. Please contact us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation.