Services and Dental Definitions
Note: The purpose of this information to
help you better understand dental procedures and conditions. The
information is not intended to serve as delivery of dental or medical
care or treatment. If you have specific concerns or questions, please
ORAL HYGIENE CARE
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you
can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to
look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly.
Good oral health is important to your overall well-being. Daily
preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop
problems before they develop.
In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that
each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth
decay, gum disease and other dental problems. These include:
- Brush thoroughly twice a day and floss daily
- Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks between meals
- Use dental products which contain fluoride, including toothpaste
- Rinse with a fluoride mouth rinse if advised to do so
- Make sure children under 12 drink fluoridated water or take a
fluoride supplement if they live in a non-fluoridated area
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months
The following are indications of good oral hygiene:
- Your teeth are clean and free of debris
- Gums are pink and do not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss
- Bad breath is not a constant problem
Back to top
X-rays are a focused beam of x-ray particles passed through bone which
produce an image on special film, showing the structure through which it
passed. This provides the familiar black and white images doctors and
dentists use to diagnose problems and disease. Without an x-ray of the
whole tooth and supporting bone and gum tissues, there would be no way
to detect infection or pathology that requires attention. Back
A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning you receive from a
dentist or dental hygienist. Most dental cleanings take approximately 45
minutes. Cleanings should be performed every six months to prevent
excessive plaque buildup. Plaque left untreated can lead to unhealthy
gums and tooth decay. During your routine cleaning we will remove excess
plaque and polish your teeth.
At times, due to the excess accumulation of plaque and calculus, a
dental cleaning may take multiple appointments and will require a higher
fee. Back to top
Sealants are used to fill narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be
adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has
fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person
doesn't brush, but because they're too narrow to allow even one bristle
into them. To avoid cavities developing over time, the dentist will
brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible
to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy. Back to top
Bonding involves adhering composite resin material that is matched
to the color of the tooth, to the front of the tooth. This is performed
to repair damage caused by decay, to alter the alignment of the tooth,
close gaps between the teeth, or for other cosmetic purposes.
First the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the
bonding. A gel is applied so the resin will adhere to the surface of the
tooth. The composite is then placed on the tooth and the bonding agent
hardens with intense light. The last step is shaping and polishing to
give a lustrous finish.
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its
normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling,
the dentist will first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the
affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling
material. A filling helps prevent further decay by closing off any
cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter.
There are a variety of filling materials available including gold,
silver, plastic and porcelain. The dentist will work with you to
determine which material is best, depending on the extent of repair,
where in the filling is needed, and cost. Each filling material is
briefly explained below:
- Gold fillings are custom made in a laboratory and then cemented
into place. While gold fillings are often the most expensive choice,
many consider it the best filling material. Gold inlays are
well-tolerated by gum tissues and may last more than 20 years.
- Amalgam (silver) fillings are a more inexpensive choice and are
tolerant to wear. However, due to their dark color they are more
noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not
recommended for fillings in very visible areas such as front teeth.
- Composite (plastic) resins are custom made to the exact color of
your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance. While white
fillings may be less noticeable than other materials, they usually
only last between 3 and 10 years and may not be ideal for large
fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become
stained from coffee, tea or tobacco.
- Porcelain fillings are called inlays or on-lays and are custom
created in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched
to the color of the tooth, resist staining, and are about the same
cost as gold fillings. A porcelain restoration generally covers most
of the tooth, making the filling nearly undetectable.
If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a
crown (or "cap") may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve
may be treated through root canal therapy or through a procedure called
pulp capping. Back to top
Nitrous oxide sedation is a technique that can be used when a
patient suffers from dental anxiety or dental phobia. We are happy to
offer a number of solutions for our patients to make their dental visit
as comfortable as possible. Nitrous oxide sedation enables patients who
might otherwise avoid the dentist, to receive dental treatment necessary
for a healthy smile. Nitrous Oxide Sedation leaves your system before
you leave the dental chair. Depending on the extent of the anxiety or
phobia, varying degrees of dental sedation can be utilized as described
below. Back to top
This medication can be given to a patient the night before a
dentistry procedure or 30 minutes to an hour prior to the dental
appointment, depending on the severity of the anxiety. Oral sedatives do
not provide pain relief, so an injection of local anesthetic will also
be administered. Patients who are treated with oral sedatives must not
drive to our office. Please secure a ride from a relative or friend to
and from our office. Back to top
CROWNS AND BRIDGES
Crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth that are
damaged or to take the place of missing teeth. A crown (also referred to
as a cap) is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth. A crown not only
strengthens a tooth, but it can dramatically improve a tooth’s
appearance, shape and alignment.
Crowns may be used to:
- Replace a large filling when there is little tooth structure
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Attach a bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
A bridge is an ideal method to fill the space created by missing
teeth. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth cemented into place
using the teeth on either side for support. This is an option for
filling the space created by a missing tooth. Bridge work is as much an
art as it is an exact science since it replaces a missing tooth both
functionally and cosmetically. The materials used may be gold alloys,
porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material made to match
your natural tooth color. The choice of material depends on requirements
for strength, wear, and aesthetics.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible.
If not treated, the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward.
Since teeth use their neighbors for support, if one is missing they
begin to "fall” and shift into the open spaces. This may worsen the
bite because of the changes in pressure and can eventually result in
problems with the jaw such as TMJ.
Bridges and crowns are made by first taking an impression of your
mouth. The impression is sent to a dental lab where your crown or bridge
will be custom made to fit your mouth and match your natural tooth
color. A temporary crown or bridge will be placed into your mouth until
your permanent crown or bridge is ready and cemented into place.
Bridges and crowns are very durable and can last a lifetime with
extra care and good oral hygiene. Back to top
Good oral hygiene should always be practiced since the loss of a
single tooth can have major impact upon your oral health and appearance.
Although dentists will use every measure to prevent tooth loss, there
are still sometimes necessary occasions when a tooth may need to be
A tooth may need to be extracted for the following reasons:
- Severe decay
- Advanced periodontal disease
- Infection or abscess
- Orthodontic correction
- Mal-positioned teeth
- Impacted teeth
- Fractured teeth or roots
After careful examination and treatment, the dentist may advise to
have a tooth extracted. Before a tooth is removed, the dentist will take
an x-ray in order to understand the shape and position of the tooth and
surrounding bone. Based on the degree of difficulty, we may refer you to
a specialized oral surgeon.
For a simple extraction, we will first apply a local anesthetic to
prevent pain and discomfort. The tooth will be loosened with a tool
called an elevator and then removed with dental forceps. Once the
procedure is complete, the area may be closed with one or two stitches.
We will then provide you with care instructions to alleviate discomfort
and ensure proper healing. Back to top
WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTIONS
Wisdom teeth are the last molars or “third molars” that develop on
each side of the jaws. Wisdom teeth usually emerge in the back of the
mouth between the ages of 16-20.
Wisdom teeth are a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy
and properly positioned. Often, however, problems develop that require
their removal. When the jaw isn't large enough to accommodate wisdom
teeth, they can become impacted (unable to come in or misaligned).
Wisdom teeth may also grow in sideways, emerge only part way through the
gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.
A wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively routine procedure. The
dentist will numb the area in your mouth with a local anesthesia and
when needed, Nitrous Oxide Sedation will be administered.
After the tooth is removed, we will provide care instructions to ensure
proper healing. Some pain and swelling may occur but will normally
subside after a few days. You should call your dentist if you have
prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever. Back to top
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or
endodontic therapy) is made necessary when an untreated cavity reaches
all the way to this pulp. Treatment may also be needed when deep
restorations or trauma to a tooth cause nerve damage. Once the pulp
becomes infected, it can begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this
is known as an abscess). If the pulp is infected, not only is it
painful but it will require treatment as it cannot heal on its own.
Symptoms that indicate the pulp has become infected may include
sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or
pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. However, sometimes no symptoms
are apparent and you may be unaware of any problem until a checkup.
A root canal is performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp and
disinfect the canals of the tooth. Alternate treatment would be to
extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal is filled
in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and crown
is recommended for restoring a tooth that has undergone root canal
therapy. Back to top
A dental implant is an ideal tooth restoration for people who are
missing one or more teeth as a result of injury, periodontal disease, or
any other reason. A dental implant is a metal post that a periodontist
or an oral surgeon surgically positions into the jaw. Once in place and
bone surrounding the implant has had time to heal, a replacement tooth
is attached to the post. While implants are typically more expensive
than other methods of tooth replacement, they provide superior benefits.
Implants are stronger than natural teeth and generally last 10-20 years.
They are also a more favorable approach than bridgework since they do
not depend on neighboring teeth for support.
To receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone
to support the implant. You must also be committed to excellent oral
hygiene and regular dental visits as these are critical to the long-term
success of dental implants. Back to top
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and
surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures available,
including partial and complete dentures. Partial dentures are used when
some natural teeth remain, while complete dentures are used to
completely replace all teeth. Dentures are made to resemble your natural
teeth so there should be no noticeable change to your appearance. In
fact, dentures may even improve your smile!
This restoration method is used to restore your smile and mouth
function if all your teeth have been lost. The dentures are custom
created to resemble natural teeth and are positioned to take the place
of natural teeth. Complete dentures are removable and may require
adjustments in order to create a proper fit with the gums and mouth.
A removable partial denture is a device used when one or more natural
teeth still remain in the upper or lower jaw. They usually consist of
replacement teeth attached go a gum-colored plastic base which is held
in place in the mouth. A fixed partial denture acts the same as a
removable denture, but it is cemented into place using adjacent teeth
New dentures may feel awkward or loose for the first few weeks until
the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place and you
are comfortable eating and speaking. Although this may require some
practice you will adjust and enjoy the benefits a full mouth of teeth
can provide. Back to top
NIGHTGUARDS AND MOUTHGUARDS
Custom designed mouth-guards and night-guards are made of flexible
plastic and molded to fit the shape of your teeth. Mouth-guards are
recommended to protect the jaw and teeth during physical activity and
sports such as boxing, football, basketball, or other activities where
your mouth may be hit. Guards also protect the soft tissues of your
tongue, lips and cheek lining. Night-guards are recommended for patients
who clench or grind their teeth at night as a way to protect their teeth
If you have decided a guard is right for you, we will take an
impression of your teeth which will then be sent to a lab to make a
custom fit guard. In most cases you can choose from a variety of colors
and styles. On average, guards last between 3 and 10 years. Back to top
Tooth whitening is a popular procedure to make teeth whiter and
brighter, and therefore more attractive. Bleaching can be used to whiten
stained and discolored teeth, or simply to enhance a dull smile. Either
way, tooth whitening is a safe and relatively painless procedure ideal
for most patients. Our office offers two types of at-home whitening.
With custom tray whitening we will first take an impression of your
mouth to create customized clear whitening trays for you to wear. Within
a few days your trays will be ready to be picked up and we will show you
how to apply the special bleaching material to the trays. Depending on
which you choose, you will wear these trays for 15 minutes, twice a day
or overnight while you sleep.
The other take-home whitening option does not involve impressions.
The whitening gel trays should be worn 15-20 minutes per day.
Both whitening treatments can be used while in the comfort of your
own home. The days needed for optimal whitening varies according to your
individual smile. You will see maximum whitening results that are
nothing short of dazzling.
Occasional re-treatment can be used at your convenience to maintain
your new smile. Back to top
Orthodontics is the art of using appliances to straighten and align
teeth. Most commonly it involves the use of braces to move teeth into
proper positing. In this method, brackets are bonded to the teeth and
arch wires are threaded through the brackets. The arch wires act as a
track, guiding each tooth to its proper position. There are several
types of orthodontic braces available to patients, including traditional
metal braces, ceramic "tooth colored" braces, as well as clear plastic
braces. Metal Braces are the most economical and traditionally used
braces. Metal braces are also ideal for those with more extensive
As needed, we will refer you to a local orthodontist for a
consultation. During Orthodontic treatment it is important to maintain
your teeth and gums by scheduling regular visits to your general
dentist. Dr. Paulisin will continue to provide cleanings, exams and any
needed restorations and extractions while you are under the care of an orthodontist. For
your information, we have included some of the common methods.
Back to top
Orthodontic Retainers are appliances made from plastic and stainless
steel to custom fit your mouth. They act as a guide to hold your teeth
into place after braces are removed. The retainer holds your teeth in
place so your surrounding gums and bone can adjust around them –
allowing you to maintain your realigned smile. Although the time you
must wear a retainer will vary, many orthodontists recommend retainers
are worn into the early 20s until the bone in your jaw and mouth has
stopped growing. Back to top
VENEERS AND LUMINEERS
Veneers are a dental procedure in which a covering is placed over
the outside (visible area) of the tooth. Veneers are usually
only applied to the part of the tooth that is visible when talking or
smiling. The procedure can be direct or indirect.
The direct technique usually involves placing composite resin on the
outside of the tooth using bonding. This method is usually referred to
The indirect technique usually involves two appointments because the
veneers will be fabricated at a dental laboratory. At the first
appointment the teeth are prepared, impressions taken, and the teeth are
given a temporary covering. In two to three weeks the veneers are back
from the laboratory, the temporaries are removed and the veneers are
bonded to the teeth. The laboratory fabricated veneers are usually made
using porcelain or pressed ceramic and are very aesthetic.
Back to top
We attempt to confirm appointments the day before your scheduled
visit. If you are not home, a message will be left on your voicemail. Back to top
ELECTRONIC CLAIM PROCESSING
Our office utilizes electronic claims processing. This means that
rather than sending your dental claim through the mail, it is sent
electronically to your insurance company with the click of the button.
By filing your claim electronically, information is submitted more
efficiently and with fewer errors. This benefits our patients because
the turn around time on claims is faster and fewer claims are returned
or denied. We are happy to submit your dental claims to your insurance
company on your behalf. Back to top