Dentistry isn’t one size fits all. The ideal dental solution for one patient may not be right for another. Following your exam and consultation, the dentist will devise an action plan that takes into account your unique needs and concerns. We understand that budget, schedules, and your lifestyle play important roles in the decision-making process, so you’ll receive all of the information you need to make good decisions.
Our team stays current with trends in dentistry, and we want to give you the same opportunity. We’ve compiled answers to questions we frequently receive, as well as educational articles and links to informative websites that we hope you find beneficial.
We follow guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and OSHA. Our office includes the latest in instrument sterilization equipment, and we use disposable products whenever possible. All instruments and treatment rooms are sanitized between patients, without fail. Your safety is one of our foremost concerns. If you have questions about our practices and procedures, just ask.
Your wellbeing is our top priority, and we will make every effort to fulfill your dental needs at our office. From time to time, certain conditions warrant treatments only provided by specialists. Examples include complicated extractions and gum surgery to treat severe periodontal disease. If you require care outside the scope of our services, we’ll refer you to a qualified specialist in the area.
Definitely! Dentist-administered teeth whitening is one of the safest dental procedures available. The products we use are proven effective and won’t irritate sensitive oral tissues the way some over-the-counter products can. Plus, natural tooth structure remains unchanged. Some patients experience mild dental sensitivity that quickly subsides following treatment. If you want a brighter smile, call today to schedule your teeth whitening appointment with Dr. Scholes or Dr. Nielsen.
You’ll receive a thorough exam that includes a tooth-by-tooth check for decay with our non-invasive DIAGNOdent laser, an oral cancer screening, and an assessment of periodontal (gum) health. We’ll take necessary X-rays, and the hygienist will clean tartar and food particles from your teeth. The dentist will discuss his findings and review treatment options. Call today to schedule exams and cleanings for each member of your family.
Yes. X-rays provide a detailed view of teeth and support structures. They let us see decay between teeth, as well as changes in bone levels, infections in teeth roots, and bone lesions.
We offer durable, long-lasting crown and bridgework, dentures, partials, and dental implant restorations. The dentist will assess your individual needs and work with you to determine the best solution to complete your smile. Call today to schedule a consultation.
You may not realize that even when your mouth is clean, bacteria lurk in the warm, damp cave, growing and eating incessantly. These naturally occurring micro-organisms make a delicacy of even the most minute food particles, after which they deposit a sticky residue on the teeth called plaque. After you brush and floss, plaque accumulates throughout the day and night, especially in places where toothbrushes can’t reach. Left to harden into tartar, plaque buildup irritates gums and can trigger inflammation and gum disease. Sound like a nasty situation? It doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can virtually eliminate plaque by carefully brushing and properly flossing every day.
It’s really that simple: your toothbrush cleans the tops and sides of your teeth, while the floss cleans between them. Flossing also polishes teeth and controls bad breath. An extra two or three minutes spent flossing each day can give you a huge advantage in the war against those bad bacteria. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice and flossing once daily.
Correct flossing is a fairly easy thing to learn: either via the spool method, if you’re quite dexterous, or via the loop method if you’re less nimble with your fingers. To use the spool method, simply pull off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it lightly around your middle finger. Don’t pull tightly and cut off your circulation! Then wind the remaining floss around your other hand’s middle finger to take up the used floss as you go. Now, push the floss in between your teeth using your index fingers and thumbs. Gently bring the floss up and down several times around both sides of each tooth, making sure to reach below the gum line, forming a C around each tooth with the floss. Pull or push it against your gums carefully so that you don’t hurt them; avoid rubbing it from side to side.
To use the loop method, pull off an 18-inch strand of floss, then make it into a circle. Tie the circle with three secure knots, and place all of your fingers (not your thumb) within the loop. Next, use your index fingers to direct the floss through your lower teeth, and your thumbs to direct it through your upper teeth. Again, be sure to clean below the gum line, and make the floss form a C around the sides of each tooth.
If you’re not especially skilled with your hands, or if you have to floss someone else’s teeth for them, you may want to consider a pre-threaded flossing tool. These small plastic devices come in bulk packages at drugstores. They are rather inexpensive but very effective.
Oral cancer kills more people nationwide than either cervical or skin (melanoma) cancer, and only half of patients diagnosed will survive more than five years. One American dies every hour from oral cancer. The most common risk factors are tobacco use, frequent high quantity alcohol consumption, constant sunlight exposure, habitual cheek or lip biting, or poorly fitting dentures. Although most oral cancers are found in people who use tobacco and/or drink alcohol excessively, 25 percent of oral cancers occur in people who have no risk factors at all.
Your dentist could very well be your number one soldier in the fight against oral cancer. Statistics show in about 10 percent of patients, dentists notice a problem area even before the patient notices. During a regular dental checkup, your dentist will examine your entire mouth, searching for a flat, painless, white or red spot or small sore. Other signs of oral cancer can include:
Two tests can determine if a trouble spot is cancerous. A brush biopsy is a painless test performed on areas that look harmless or do not have a clear cause. This test can detect potentially dangerous cells in the early stages of the disease. A scalpel biopsy, which requires local anesthesia, is usually performed on suspicious areas.
Remember to schedule regular checkups for everyone in your family. Two visits per year are recommended for general care. If, between visits, you notice any unusual changes in your mouth, call your dentist immediately. Together you and your dentist can fight and win the battle against oral cancer. For more information about oral cancer, support groups, or treatments, visit www.oralcancerfoundation.org.
Damaged Enamel Causes Indirect Exposure
Incredibly hard enamel protects your teeth above the gum line so that you can bite and chew without pain or discomfort. Beneath the enamel, a more porous layer, dentin, extends to below the gum line. A soft interior portion called pulp contains vital nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. The pulp fills the root canals, and it is the source of life to the tooth.
Damage, such as receding gums or chips and cracks in enamel, or heavy-handed brushing, exposes the dentin and can create a condition known as dentin hypersensitivity. Through tiny pores in the dentin, called tubules, temperature fluctuations, air, and pressure can directly affect nerves. This type of sensitivity can cause sudden, acute, and unexpected oral pain. About 45 million Americans suffer from tooth sensitivity, and if you’re one of them, we can help.
In some cases, laser therapy may seal the tiny exposed tubules and solve the problem. Another therapy includes dental sealants or bonding agents, which create a barrier similar to natural enamel. Sometimes treating the symptoms is the best solution. We may suggest a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect your gums from further irritation, an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensitive automatic shut off, or special toothpaste formulated with potassium nitrate or strontium chloride to block or insulate nerves. A fluoride rinse or gel, or an oxalate compound applied to an exposed tooth root may reduce your tooth sensitivity. For a few weeks, as you wait for these measures to take effect, you’ll need to monitor what you eat and drink to avoid extreme temperatures.