Dental Cleanings & Exams
A dental cleaning, also known as an oral prophylaxis, is the removal of dental biofilm (plaque) and calculus (tartar) from the teeth. Specialized instruments are used to gently remove these deposits without harming the tooth. An ultrasonic device that emits vibrations and is cooled by water may be used, as well as hand instruments to remove all deposit on the tooth and root surfaces. Once all the tooth surfaces have been cleaned of biofilm and calculus, the teeth are polished.
Routine dental cleanings and exams are essential to maintaining good oral health. During your dental exam and cleaning in American Fork, Utah, our skilled dental hygienists will:
- Thoroughly clean your teeth, removing any plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) from your teeth that was missed during your normal brushing and flossing routine.
- Polish your teeth for a clean, bright smile.
- Carefully check for signs of tooth decay and gum disease
- Perform an oral cancer screening
We may use dental X-rays to ensure that we detect any existing dental problems. Dr. Bruce Richards, our friendly dentist, will then recommend any necessary treatments so your smile stays healthy.
Dental implants are one of several available options for replacing missing teeth. A dental implant is a small screw or post that is surgically placed in the jaw at the site of the missing tooth. During a period of healing, the jawbone begins to fuse with the dental implant, which is usually created from titanium. Your skilled dentist, Dr. Bruce Richards, will then place the dental implant restoration. The implant restoration replaced the crown of the missing tooth and can improve the function, health, and beauty of your smile. The type of dental implant restoration you need will depend on your unique smile; your implant restoration may be a crown, bridge, or full or partial denture.
In sedation dentistry, we utilize sedatives to make your dental experience more comfortable and pleasant. Dr. Richards, our caring dentist, understands that some patients feel nervous or anxious about visiting the dentist, and we strive to make your visit as enjoyable as possible. We offer two main types of sedation dentistry in American Fork, Utah:
- Nitrous oxide sedation – Nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas” is a gas that you inhale through a mask during your treatment to help you feel more at ease. Nitrous oxide sedation will not make you sleep, and the effects of the gas wear off within minutes of the end of the treatment.
- Oral sedation – For oral sedation, you will take a pill before your appointment at our office. By the time of your visit, you will feel calm and relaxed. Be sure to have a friend or family member available to drive you home after your appointment.
We have an anesthesiologist at our practice, so you can rest assured that we have the sedation option that will best meet your needs. For more information on the advantages of sedation dentistry, we welcome you to contact us today. We are committed to providing you with an exceptional dental experience!
Cosmetic dentistry is a specialized brand of dental care that is comprised of a number or dental services. Each cosmetic dental treatment is designed to improve the appearance of your smile. Our talented dentist, Dr. Bruce Richards, is pleased to provide quality cosmetic dentistry in American Fork, UT to help you achieve the inviting, attractive smile of your dreams. We understand that the appearance of your smile is an essential component of your overall appearance and self-esteem, and we are committed to helping you achieve a more beautiful smile that boosts your self-confidence.
When you hear that you need a root canal, you’re probably less than thrilled. After all, people often tout root canal work as one of the worst dental procedures a person can undergo. But this simply isn’t true.
Advances in dental practices and technology have made the root canal procedure much less daunting than it has been in years past. A root canal allows you to keep a severely decayed tooth instead of having the dentist pull the tooth.
If you have severe dental pain or inflammation, a root canal procedure may be the solution you need. In the Wichita, KS, area, rely on R2 Center for Dentistry for root canal work.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal procedure cleans out infected and inflamed tissue inside a tooth in order to prevent further pain and decay. When you have an infected tooth, the nerves in the root become inflamed, making eating, drinking, and speaking painful.
During a root canal, the dentist will drill into the infected tooth to remove the infected and inflamed tissue. Then, the dentist fills the tooth with gutta-percha, a natural thermoplastic often used in dental work, in order to stabilize the root and not leave room for future infections.
An infected tooth is often weak, so in most cases, the dentist will put on a dental crown to cover a tooth that has had a root canal procedure.
What Happens Next?
Because dental technology has advanced so far, root canal therapy is often painless. With anesthetics during the procedure and pain medication afterward, most patients don’t feel any pain during or after the procedure.
Your dentist can help devise a plan for the procedure that keeps you comfortable and pain-free and can prescribe pain medications if necessary, but many patients need only over-the-counter painkillers.
If you think you could benefit from a root canal procedure, call Dr Richards office at 801-756-8686.
A crown is a dental restoration that completely covers the outside of a tooth that is cracked, broken, worn down, or severely decayed. Dental crowns are usually completed in two visits. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared (shaved down) and an impression is taken. A temporary crown is placed while the permanent crown is fabricated. During the second visit, the permanent crown is carefully fitted and then cemented into place.
Dr Richards wants the very best for his patients. There are dentists advertising they can make a crown in one day in their office with a milling machine; though Dr Richards prefers to send the crown impression out to a local lab to build by hand a far superior restoration. The lab crowns are custom with color built in, depth and beauty made by artists. That’s what he wants in his mouth so he gives his patients the best.
If a tooth has more extensive decay, a dental crown may be the ideal aesthetic and functional restorative solution. Choosing to have a crown placed can preserve the natural tooth, which is always the goal as preserving the natural teeth helps maintain the supporting bone structure and stability of the surrounding and adjacent teeth.
The first step in the process is to take an impression that will be used to make a model of the teeth and bite. This allows the crown to be made to look and function like your natural tooth. The tooth will then be prepped, with the decayed areas being removed. An impression of the prepped tooth will be made so that the final crown will fit properly when it is placed.
Crowns often last a lifetime with proper care and oral hygiene.
Ceramic is a type of crown often used for teeth that are visible when smiling as they are made from a porcelain-based material that retains the look of your natural teeth.
Our office offers at-home bleaching treatments. At-home bleaching requires an impression of the teeth to be taken to make a customized mouth guard to hold the whitening gel, containing carbide peroxide, against the teeth. Once the mouth guard is made, it is worn for a period of time, as instructed by our office. Your whitening progress will be checked as necessary.
In-Office Bleaching usually requires only one office visit. A protective gel or a rubber shield is placed over the gums to protect the soft tissue. A bleaching agent containing carbamide peroxide is applied to the teeth, and a specialized light is then used to enhance the action of the whitening agent. This is the fastest way to achieve results.
At-Home bleaching requires an impression of the teeth to be taken to make a customized mouth guard to hold the whitening gel, containing carbide peroxide, against the teeth. Once the mouth guard is made, it is worn for a period of time, as instructed by our office. The amount of time may vary from a couple hours a day, or all night, to up to four weeks or longer, if desired.
Scaling & Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure used to treat gum disease. During the scaling process, specialized dental instruments are used to remove dental biofilm and calculus from beneath the gums. Planing is the procedure used to smooth the tooth roots after the scaling process. Root planing helps the gums heal and reattach themselves to a cleaner and smoother root surface.
From Colgate’s website:
More about scaling and root planing from the American Dental Association: Gum disease is caused by a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Plaque is always forming on your teeth, but if they aren’t cleaned well, the bacteria in plaque can cause your gums to become inflamed. When this happens, your gums will pull away from your teeth and form spaces called pockets. Plaque then gets trapped in these pockets and cannot be removed with regular brushing. If untreated, gum disease could lead to bone and tooth loss.
If gum disease is caught early and hasn’t damaged the structures below the gum line, a professional cleaning should do. If the pockets between your gums and teeth are too deep, however, scaling and root planing may be needed.
A July 2015 study in the Journal of the American Dental Association finds that scaling and root planing is beneficial to patients with chronic periodontitis (gum disease that has advanced past gingivitis). Chronic periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States.
Inlays & Onlays
Inlays and Onlays
An inlay or onlay is a partial crown restoration that can be placed when there is not sufficient tooth structure to support a filling but enough tooth structure left that a full crown is not needed. Inlays/onlays are made of porcelain or gold, and they aesthetically and functionally replace the missing tooth structure. Inlays/onlays are completed in 1-2 visits.
For larger cavities or a tooth with decay in more than one area, an inlay or onlay may be the best restorative solution. The difference between an inlay and an onlay is the area of the tooth anatomy being restored. Inlays apply to cavities in the grooves, or pits and fissures, of the tooth’s biting surface. Onlays are used when the decay includes the tooth cusps. Both are used to restore areas where tooth decay is present and the tooth structure has been compromised.
Inlays and onlays can be made with either cast gold alloy or with tooth-colored ceramic or porcelain materials. A model of the patient’s natural tooth is made prior to any procedure so that the restoration can be made to replicate the shape and function of the natural tooth.
The shape and fit of the restoration can be verified before being cemented or bonded into place, and the inlay or onlay can be extremely durable.
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth. There are two types of dentures, complete (full) and partial dentures.
A denture replaces multiple missing teeth. Dentures can be fixed or removable, partial or full, and implant supported or not. Fixed dentures require implants, while removable dentures may or may not rely on implants for attachment.
Traditional Dentures for the Edentulous Patient
(Missing All Teeth in Either the Upper or Lower Arch)
Traditional dentures are removable, and do not use implants. Traditional dentures include an acrylic base that is custom-made in the dental laboratory to mimic the appearance of natural gums, and this base sits over the gums, holding the denture in place. A complete (full) denture is made after all the teeth in the upper and/or lower jaw have been removed and the gum tissue has healed. Denture paste or adhesive is often to used to assist in holding the denture in place. Removable dentures can be removed and cleaned when not being worn.
Traditional Dentures for the Patient Missing Multiple Teeth in One Arch
A traditional partial denture is a removable solution for replacing many teeth in one arch when there are still some natural teeth present. In this case, the acrylic base will also contain some metal attachments that wrap around the existing teeth for added support. Partial dentures can also be attached to crowns on either side of the denture. Removable partial dentures can be removed and cleaned when not being worn.
Implant Supported Dentures
Implants can be used to anchor dentures in place, allowing for a smaller base and less shifting of the prosthesis during use. Implants can support both full and partial dentures as well as both fixed and removable dentures.
A bridge can replace missing teeth without the use of a denture or dental implant. A bridge is composed of two crowns and a replacement tooth or teeth. Crowns are typically placed on the teeth on either side of the space, with the fabricated tooth or teeth attached in between.
Missing one or more teeth is common for many people. The ADA reports that on average adult patients may have three missing or decayed teeth. Fortunately, there are a number of solutions to replace missing teeth, including dental bridges.
A bridge may be used to restore an area with one or more adjacent missing teeth. A bridge has two primary components. The abutments (or supports) for the bridge are created by placing a crown on either a natural tooth or an implant. The synthetic tooth that replaces the missing tooth is called a pontic.
In the case of one missing tooth, the two teeth on either side will be prepped for crowns and the missing tooth will be replaced with a synthetic tooth that is connected to the crowns on either side of the missing tooth. In the case of several adjacent missing teeth, one or more implants may provide the abutment.
There are four main types of dental bridges:
Traditional Dental Bridge
This is the most common type of dental bridge. The existing teeth are crowned with one or more pontics between and held in place by the crowned abutments. The crowns are cemented onto the teeth adjacent to the missing teeth to create a support structure or “bridge” for the missing teeth.
This type of bridge is similar to a traditional bridge, except that the structure is supported on only one side instead of both sides. This can cause the restoration to act as a “lever” and may create additional stress on the supporting tooth, causing it to be more likely to loosen or fracture.
Implant Supported Bridge
Instead of using existing teeth to support a bridge, a dental implant may be substituted to provide support for one or both sides of a dental bridge. This is a popular option that can provide a very secure restoration. This solution is particularly helpful when there are several adjacent missing teeth.
This type of bridge is supported by a metal structure which is cemented onto the back of existing teeth. While not as strong as a traditional bridge, it can preserve the tooth structure of the adjacent teeth by avoiding the use of crowns for the abutments. It may not stay in place when heavy forces are placed on the restoration (such as biting and chewing) and does add pressure to the supporting teeth.
Cosmetic bonding is the process of filling or restoring teeth with a tooth-colored material in order to improve a tooth’s appearance. In order to bond a tooth, composite material is added to the tooth structure to adjust the size, shape, or color of the existing tooth.
Cosmetic bonding is the process of applying a tooth-colored composite material to the tooth in order to improve the aesthetics of the smile while allowing the tooth to maintain a natural appearance. In order to bond a tooth, tooth colored material is added to the tooth to build it up.
Bonding is often used to:
- Correct the shape of a chipped tooth
- Correct the appearance of a cracked tooth
- Provide more even tooth color
Advantages of bonding over other treatments include:
- Bonding can be a less expensive treatment than other cosmetic options
- An appointment for bonding treatment usually takes less than one hour to complete
- Bonding usually allows the tooth’s structure to be preserved
Bonding may sometimes be preferred over veneers or crowns but may not be as long-lasting or durable. Bonding material can stain from coffee, tea, tobacco or some foods so proper home care is important.
Composite fillings use tooth-colored material to restore teeth with cavities and maintain a natural appearance. Once the decay is removed, the tooth is filled with a composite material which is then cured using a specialized light to harden the material. Composite fillings can be completed in one visit.
Identifying and addressing cavities early can prevent the need for more complex and costly dental procedures. If cavities are found before there has been significant decay, the tooth can be restored with a filling.
Once a tooth has a cavity, the decay will continue to spread unless the decayed area is removed and the tooth is properly restored. Leaving cavities untreated can lead to the need for more significant restorative procedures such as crowns, bridges, root canals, or dental implants.
While metal (amalgam) fillings used to be common, tooth-colored composite material is now the most recommended filling material. The composite material blends in with the natural tooth and is less noticeable than a metal filling. The tooth-colored filling is not as affected by heat and cold as the metal fillings, so the patient is less likely to experience temperature-related sensitivity.
Another important reason composite fillings have replaced amalgam fillings is that they do not use mercury, which was present in metal fillings. Many patients are choosing to have their older amalgam fillings replaced with tooth-colored fillings for this reason.
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