Steps to a Healthy Smile
Infection and Pain Management
The first step to a healthy smile is treating infection and/or pain. Infection typically causes pain and can create additional concerns with overall health and well-being. Our initial goal will be to treat the area(s) causing discomfort and/or harboring infection. During this phase of treatment we will be focused on localized areas.
Once pain and infection are under control we will focus on periodontal health. Periodontal refers to the foundation that supports your teeth: bone and gum tissues. Poor periodontal health begins with gum tissue that is red, puffy, and easily bleeds. If left untreated, bone loss will occur which can result in the gum tissue pulling away from the teeth, sensitivity/discomfort, and eventually teeth will become loose. Periodontal treatments can be done to help remove plaque and tartar which can help resolve areas of inflammation and deep pockets. Successful periodontal treatment should result in the patient being able to maintain a healthy foundation with proper home care. We will not start repairing a tooth until we know the foundation is healthy and the long-term prognosis for the tooth is good.
Once the periodontal health is under control we will then focus on getting teeth stabilized. Decay will be removed, and the teeth will be restored. When this step is complete, the mouth should be free of infection and decay.
TMJ and Occlusion (Bite)
With no active infection or cavities, we will then focus on proper jaw position and bite. If the bite and jaw joint position are not in harmony, the result can be teeth wearing down, chipping, fracturing, breaking, along with clenching/grinding of teeth, and/or TMJ discomfort. Treatments that can be used to help align the bite and jaw joint include: smoothing of teeth that are out of alignment, restoring teeth, moving teeth, and/or the use of bite splints. When the jaw joint and the bite are in proper alignment there is very little muscle activity, and teeth do not take the extra stress of clenching or grinding.
Teeth that are chipped, badly worn, fractured, and/or have very large fillings can eventually result in pain which could require root canal treatment or possibly extraction of the tooth. To help prevent further damage, these teeth can be restored using veneers, crowns, or other restorations. Restoring teeth with a healthy foundation, that are free of decay, and are in proper alignment with the jaw and bite can last for a very long time.
Every restoration we do in our office will be done to make teeth look as natural as possible. Sometimes the natural teeth are not ideal in size, shape, color, and/or orientation. We have many treatment options to help with these kinds of issues. Teeth that are the right size, shape, color, and are in the correct location will look, feel, and function amazing.
Routine oral examination and cleanings
To maintain optimal oral health, we recommend regular dental cleanings and exams at intervals determined by one of our dentists. Prevention is the key. Inflammation, cavities, and fractures are much easier to treat when they are just beginning.