Smiles of Chandler General Dental Services
Our Chandler, AZ general dental practice covers all of your family’s oral health needs in one convenient location. Our practice emphasizes patient education and the importance of preventative care, so we encourage all our patients, new and returning, to see us for essential cleanings and check-ups every 6 months. The sooner we catch any developing problems, the more we can minimize the impact to your smile – and your wallet!
However, sometimes the unfortunate reality is that you may need a filling, or if your tooth is badly decayed, an extraction. If your smile needs any restorative treatment, rest assured that you are in good hands at Smiles of Chandler. Our dentists and hygienists will work gently and efficiently to get your smile back on track, so that you can get back to smiling confidently and without pain.
White Composite Fillings To Restore Your Smile
Statistics tell us that eventually, even the most diligent among us, when it comes to brushing and flossing, will likely get a cavity. Cavities affect us all, without discrimination.
Cavities form through the acidic build-up of oral bacteria – also known as plaque. A cavity forms as the plaque destroys the enamel and dentin layers of the tooth, causing it to decay. If not removed from the tooth quickly, the tooth decay can spread to the soft pulp tissue at the center and actually kill the tooth.
Fortunately, modern dental interventions can help your tooth avoid such an outcome by removing the decay and simply filling the cavity – a routine procedure. Composite resin fillings offer many advantages over metal amalgam fillings, the biggest of which is aesthetic – everyone wants a bright white smile, not a mouth full of dark metal fillings. Made from a resin that can be tinted to match the natural color of your teeth, composite fillings become virtually invisible in the mouth. This makes the fillings perfect for use on front teeth as well as the back ones, and they leave no dark spots in your smile.
The resin forms a chemical bond with the tooth allowing the filling to support the tooth’s structure and prevent breakage. Composite fillings also insulate the tooth from extreme temperature changes. Their durability allows composite fillings to stand up to even the pressure of regular chewing, and when cared for properly, they should last up to ten years.
Occasionally, Dr. James Heaton may need to remove one or more teeth from a patient’s mouth – either due to advanced decay, overcrowding during adult tooth eruption, or wisdom tooth impaction. If you need a tooth extracted, Dr. Heaton can put his years of experience to work for you, removing, and even restoring, problem teeth.
The most common situations that lead to extracting teeth include:
- Tooth Decay – Decay, when not treated in a timely fashion, can spread to the pulp of a tooth and cause damage beyond repair. When this happens, the doctor may have the option of performing a root canal treatment, but if the decay has compromised the structure of the tooth, the doctor will typically recommend extraction, before the infection can spread to other teeth.
- Gum Disease – When not properly treated, gum disease can become so severe that it causes the bone in the patient’s jaw to deteriorate. This may cause the patient’s teeth to loosen so much that the doctor has no other option than extraction.
- Overcrowding – Occasionally, younger patients experience overcrowding, when their adult teeth begin to erupt before they have lost all of their baby teeth. The doctor can extract the remaining baby teeth, providing room for the adult teeth to grow in and preventing them from emerging in misalignment.
- Orthodontics – When preparing a patient for orthodontic treatment, the doctor may need to extract one or more teeth to make room for other teeth to move into place.
- Trauma – An injury to the face may damage a tooth so badly that the doctor cannot repair it and must perform an extraction.
After Dr. Heaton has performed an extraction, he will discuss restoration possibilities. Restorations take the place of the tooth or teeth the doctor extracted, preventing the remaining teeth from shifting into the open space. Typical restorations include dental crowns, for the replacement of a single tooth, dental bridges, to replace several teeth in a row, and dentures to replace several or all of the teeth on an arch.
The doctor may recommend dental implants to support your restoration. Implants provide a sturdy anchor for your restorations, and prevent the jawbone from shrinking, which can result in facial collapse.
Wisdom Tooth Extractions
While many other situations may require the extraction of a patient’s tooth, the most common extraction procedure performed is the removal of wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, often cause problems as they attempt to protrude through the gums.
In some cases, wisdom teeth erupt at an angle, instead of straight through the gum line. When this happens, the tooth may erupt unevenly or only partially emerge, causing the patient a great deal of pain. Impacted wisdom teeth can prove difficult to remove, often requiring a surgical extraction.
When a wisdom tooth only partially emerges, a flap of skin called an operculum may form over the tooth. This can make the tooth hard to clean, and pieces of food may get caught under the skin, causing an infection called pericoronitis to develop. The infection typically goes away on its own, but it can cause swelling and pain, and the doctor may recommend extracting the tooth.
To learn more about extractions, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Heaton, call our Chandler, AZ dental office today.
Dental Sealants for You or Your Child
Fluoride and dental sealants work together to keep all of your little one’s teeth safe from cavities. Dental sealants are thin plastic covers that tooth decay causing bacteria cannot penetrate, providing protection to the pits and grooves of the teeth. Fluoride protects all of the smooth surfaces, making them more resistant to bacterial attacks. Some dental sealants actually contain fluoride that they release over time to provide extra protection for the teeth. Together, dental sealants and fluoride help make sure that the smile on your little one’s face continues to melt hearts.
Dr. Heaton typically applies dental sealants to the permanent molars as they erupt. The first set of molars typically emerge between the ages of five and seven, while the second set erupt between the ages of 11 and 14. These molars have many pits and grooves on their chewing surface, which can lead to difficulty in keeping them clean. Often, the bristles of your little one’s toothbrush will not fit into these grooves to remove bacteria and food particles, which allows them to remain there. Dental sealants fit into the grooves of the chewing surface of teeth protecting them from decay by keeping food particles and bacteria out.
The doctor will sometimes apply sealants to a child’s baby teeth, if he finds them prone to decay. These teeth have just as much importance as adult teeth, as they maintain space for incoming adult teeth and help maintain the child’s overall health. In some cases, dentists will even use sealants on the teeth of their adult patients who experience excessive amounts of decay in their molars.
Dr. Heaton understands that many people may not know about dental sealants, and that many consider fluoride use a sensitive subject. He welcomes your questions and concerns. To learn more about dental sealants and fluoride, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Heaton, call our Chandler, AZ, dental office today.