Oral Health Dentistry
Bacteria! Most are our friends, but some create havoc for the entire mouth. Some cause gum disease, others cavities. It is a complex system that is the subject of much research, such as vaccine and bacterial replacement therapies. Until the riddle has been solved, we a relegated to physically removing the bacteria, which is also the primary function of brushing and flossing!
Cavities require removal of infected tooth structure with the use of a high-speed drill. Lasers and air abrasion have been used to a certain extent in recent years, but they have limited uses; the drill is the gold standard. Proper numbing technique eliminates any discomfort, and good music can help drown out the sound!
Gum disease can be more difficult to treat as it causes bone loss to occur around the teeth, thus creating difficult-to-clean areas in which the bacteria reside. It is also one of the primary causes of bad breath! Our hygienists, Heidi Raczkowski and Jackie Johnson, do an excellent job of removing the tartar and biofilm of bacteria through ultrasonic and hand instrumentation. They are also very good at instructing proper homecare, which is just as important, if not more, than routine cleanings.
Once all of the bacterial hiding places are removed, it is time to focus on function and cosmetics. This might require full coverage restorations such as crowns or veneers, placing implants or even removable appliances such as dentures. The best dentistry, in our opinion, is the proper combination of function, cosmetics and conservation of natural tooth structure. Sometimes that means orthodontics, root canals and extractions are required, sometimes it means no treatment is better than any treatment.
The key to success is having a good treatment plan, which is our job to create, and our responsibility to explain so that you are comfortable with the plan. Sometimes this requires specialists such as endodontists, orthodontists, periodontists and oral surgeons, while albeit inconvenient to be referred around town, having a clinically acceptable result will save time and money in the end.
Continuity of Care (Maintenance)
Routine cleanings and exams are vital to long-term success. Knowing what is working and what is failing will allow us to determine the root causes of problems. For example, some individuals consistently have cavities at recall appointments, regardless of proper home-care and diet; therefore, it might be that the patient has dry mouth due to certain medicines, or possibly even a reflux disorder. Knowing this will allow us to address the root cause such that their oral healthy returns to normal.