Preventive Dentistry

Dental Sealants

Keeping teeth clear of the debris that causes tooth decay can be challenging, especially given the surfaces of molars which often have tiny crevices where sugar or food can become trapped. A toothbrush can have trouble reaching these areas, making it a challenge for adults, much less for children who have yet to master a proper brushing technique.

There’s a simple preventative measure our practice offers which can help: dental sealants.

Cavity prevention with Dental Sealants

With the objective of making teeth easier to keep clean, dental sealants are a thin coating that Dr. Rosado can apply to the surface of molars. This sealant fills in the small crevices where debris could otherwise become trapped and develop into tooth decay.

It’s a simple process where the material is brushed on at one appointment and typically lasts for many years before another application is necessary. It’s safe, makes home care a bit easier, and provides extra defense against cavities.

At what age should children get sealants?

Your child’s teeth are at risk for cavities as soon as they emerge. In the case of molars, this is usually at age six when the first set comes in, and around age 12 for the second set. Having sealants applied as soon as these teeth erupt is recommended to keep them protected.

Digital X-Rays

Why dental X-rays are important:

X-rays are an essential part of modern dentistry, as they provide us with the ability to identify problems that may not be apparent through a visual examination alone. X-rays allow Dr. Rosado to effectively:

  • View the status of developing teeth
  • Get a good look at the roots of your teeth
  • Locate cavities
  • Monitor the condition of the bone around the tooth
  • Check for early signs of periodontal disease

We use digital x-rays:

Our practice uses digital dental radiographs, or digital x-rays, which are a modern improvement over traditional x-ray. This type of x-ray uses digital sensors instead of x-ray films used in the past, allowing for enhanced computer images of oral structures such as your teeth, gums, and jawbone. These types of x-rays provide a better image of your oral structure, making it easier to detect problems and provide a proper diagnosis for any conditions you may have.

Some of the advantages offered by digital x-rays include:

    • Digital x-rays use 80% less radiation than traditional x-rays.
    • They reveal small hidden areas of decay that might exist below fillings, under other restorations, or between teeth.
    • They can help identify bone loss, abscesses, tumors, cysts, and dental decay, which might have otherwise gone unnoticed in a visual examination.
    • Digital x-rays can easily be viewed on a computer monitor, enhanced with software tools, and quickly sent electronically to a specialist if needed. This also makes it faster to send to insurance companies for faster insurance claims.
    • Digital x-rays are a secure and faster way to get your insurance claims processed.
    • The digital format allows for easy storage; there’s no physical x-ray that needs to be filed and stored.
    • Digital x-rays are environmentally-friendly.

    As with everything we do at Parkmeadow Dental, we’ve chosen to use this technology because it allows us to provide you with the highest-quality dental treatment possible.

Endodontic Therapy

Sometimes a tooth may suffer significant damage or have a cavity that has reached the center of the tooth, resulting in a serious infection. In order to save the tooth, Dr. Rosado may recommend root canal therapy.

The pulp, which is the deepest interior part of the tooth, has blood vessels and nerves which nourish the tooth. Cavities, cracks, or other injuries that reach this deep into the tooth can result in an infection. These infections in the interior of the tooth may result in the formation of an abscess. The abscess can cause pain and infection can spread to the surrounding bone and tissue, possibly causing tooth loss if left untreated.

Root canal therapy is a treatment that clears out the infected tissue in the center of the tooth, preserving the rest of the root and as much of the natural tooth as is possible.

It’s a popular misconception that root canals are a painful experience. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. Thanks to modern dental techniques and effective anesthetics, the procedure is pretty much pain-free. Even the subsequent recovery phase takes a shorter time now than it has in the past.

It will usually require one to two visits to complete root canal therapy. First, x-rays will be taken in order for your dentist to have a clear idea of what is happening with the tooth and surrounding bone. The area will be numbed by use of a local anesthesia, so there will be no pain during the procedure itself.

To access the infected tissue, Dr. Rosado will create an opening in the top of the tooth. From there, she will clean out all infected material from the inside of the tooth and then replace it with a rubber-like material such as gutta-percha, which will protect the interior of the tooth from another infection. The tooth will then receive a temporary filling.

With the root canal therapy complete, the next step is to restore your tooth. As the tooth is often left weaker than before the infection, this will usually involve the placement of a crown, which you can learn more about here.

Think you may need a root canal? Give us a call so we can take a look and provide treatment options.

Tooth Extractions

Dr. Rosado’s goal is to make sure your mouth is healthy, but, sometimes, teeth just need to be removed. Simple extractions might be required to restore your oral health.

We do not use general anesthesia. We ensure complete numbness with local anesthesia. Extractions vary in difficulty and may take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. If you are in pain, give us a call, we will see you ASAP and sometimes can even extract a problem tooth on the same day.

Sometimes the removal of a tooth will be recommended for orthodontic reasons. Overcrowding of teeth can prevent proper occlusion (teeth meeting together correctly), and removal of the tooth makes it possible to align the remaining teeth properly.

Severe damage is another reason why a tooth may require extraction. A tooth can become severely damaged when a cavity finds its way down to the center of the tooth, known as the pulp, or when the tooth has suffered some form of trauma. If possible, an attempt can be made to save the tooth by way of root canal therapy however, in some cases, the tooth cannot be saved. In these instances, removal of the tooth can become necessary to prevent infection from damaging the surrounding areas.

Periodontal disease can cause gums, tissue, and bone surrounding a tooth to recede, making it hard to maintain the tooth. In severe cases, removing the tooth may be the only option.

When a tooth is extracted, it leaves an empty space (socket), which will cause the bone in the area to shrink as much as 40-60% within a year! This can reduce the support for neighboring teeth and make it harder to get dental implants. Socket preservation involves placing material into the extraction site in order to stimulate your own bone to grow in and prevent shrinkage. It just takes a few minutes and can be done at your extraction appointment.

What is the difference between a simple and surgical extraction?

Simple extractions can be performed at our office using a local anesthetic. They are performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth; not concealed beneath the gums or bone.

Surgical extractions are usually more complicated, as they are necessary when the teeth have not fully erupted or are severely damaged. This can include folding back gum tissue or the removal of bone in order to access the tooth that requires extraction.

Nightguards

Sleep bruxism is a term used to describe people who clench or grind their teeth at night, with one study finding that about 8.6% of people suffer from it. It can cause tooth damage and disrupted sleep, and often occurs due to daytime stress, anxiety, caffeine consumption, sleep apnea, or some combination thereof.
If you suspect that you grind your teeth at night, speak to Dr. Rosado as a custom nightguard may offer you relief from the related symptoms. Additionally, some night guards are designed specifically to promote the relaxation of your jaw muscles, something that’s useful for those who have problems with severe grinding or clenching of their teeth.

Nightguards are worn when you sleep and can help lessen the wear and tear on your teeth and help prevent fractures from occurring. A proper diagnosis is recommended so that we can provide you with a nightguard that is custom-made to your specific needs.

Caring for your nightguard

  • Be sure to brush and floss before wearing your nightguard.
  • Don’t bend your nightguard, as it’s important that it maintains its shape.
  • Keep your nightguard clean. Wash it after each use with soap and cool water.
  • Before storing your nightguard, brush it using a soft toothbrush.
  • Keep your nightguard in its proper ventilated storage box.
  • Call us if you need the fit adjusted or are experiencing any other problems with your nightguard

Oral Cancer Screening

There is more to a dental exam than just checking your teeth for cavities. Since many types of major illnesses first begin to show themselves in the mouth, Dr. Rosado will check for the warning signs of potential illness. Oral cancer can be deadly, making it hard to detect because it can be painless at first, however, can typically be treated successfully when discovered early on.

Typical symptoms of oral cancer may include:

  • Unusual sores or bumps in the mouth
  • A strange bump in the neck
  • Bleeding tongue or cheeks or gums.
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth pain
  • Strong pain in one ear
  • Difficulty eating, swallowing, or moving the jaw
  • Jaw numbness

While none of these symptoms necessarily mean you have oral cancer, it’s best to make us aware of any problems you notice. We recommend scheduling an exam with Dr. Rosado should you have any concerns. Regular exams are key in spotting oral cancer early. We recommend two appointments a year unless otherwise specified.

Non-Surgical Gum Disease Treatment

Periodontal disease is also known as gum disease or periodontitis. This is a serious condition that involves an infection of the gum tissues resulting from the bacteria found in dental plaque. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bone and tooth loss, and the disease has been found to have connections to other conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and strokes.

Gum disease is often the result of improper or insufficient oral hygiene that fails to remove bacteria from below the gum line. This is why it’s important to brush and floss using proper technique.

There are other factors that can determine whether or not you are likely to get gum disease as well. These include things like your body’s metabolism, and the changes in hormones during puberty or pregnancy. As the saliva in your mouth can help protect you against gum disease, certain medical conditions or medications that cause dry mouth can also influence your likelihood of getting gum disease.

Gum disease isn’t just a threat to your teeth. Your oral health has significant ties to the overall wellbeing of your body, which is why periodontal disease shouldn’t be ignored.

There are early signs that may help you spot gum disease while it’s still in the early gingivitis phase, and Dr. Rosado will be able to diagnose the disease during an exam and recommend treatment.

Diagnosis of Periodontal Disease

Early on, gum disease starts as gingivitis. You can typically recognize this early stage from swollen or red gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. Gingivitis can be treated and reversed, so it is important to catch it while it is still in this early stage.

As gingivitis progresses into periodontal disease, you will begin to experience tooth sensitivity as the gums begin to recede away from the teeth. This results in gum pockets which can trap food and bacteria, worsening the problem.

Looking for the warning signs of gum disease is always a part of your regular exam with our office. We’ll also check your medical history to spot any of the factors that may cause you to be more likely to develop periodontal disease, such as smoking, or taking medications that cause dry mouth.

If gum pockets are present, the depth of these pockets will be measured and charted. Pockets over 3mm in depth are usually a sign of periodontal disease.

Your regular dental X-rays are also useful in looking for gum disease, as they may show any bone loss that may have occurred in the areas where you have periodontal pockets.

Treatment options are available, so if you have any of the warning signs and suspect you may have gum disease, schedule an appointment with our office for a checkup so we can get you on the path to a healthier mouth.

Treatment
Periodontal disease (also called periodontitis or gum disease) is a serious oral condition that needs to be attended to. Not only can it put you at risk for tooth and bone loss, but medical research has also found increasing evidence that many other medical conditions can be linked to, or further complicated by, periodontal disease.

For those with gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, reviewing their home care technique with one of our hygienists can help get their oral hygiene routine back on track, and reverse the disease before it progresses.

In cases where periodontal disease hasn’t advanced too far, a non-surgical procedure known as scaling and root planning (also referred to as a deep cleaning) is typically recommended. This involves clearing away plaque and tartar from tooth root surfaces and smoothing them to make it harder for buildup to occur again. The goal of treatment is to prevent bone loss and further damage by removing bacteria and tartar from below the gum line and helping your gums heal.

Once treated for gum disease, it’s recommended that you return to our office regularly for periodontal maintenance appointments (typically every 3 months) which will help control your periodontal disease and prevent the problem from reoccurring.

If you have noticed that your gums are red or swollen, or if there is bleeding when you brush or floss, you may have gum disease. Contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rosado to assess the condition of your gums and learn what treatment options can help.

Professional Dental Cleanings

Your oral health is tied directly to your overall well-being, with links being found between many types of illnesses and the health of your mouth. For this, and other reasons, regular exams and cleanings are recommended by the American Dental Association to keep you healthy. Unless suggested otherwise by Dr. Rosado, you should have a routine cleaning and exam every six months.

Prophylaxis – A professional teeth cleaning
Prevention is the ideal way to keep your mouth healthy and free from disease and decay. This requires regular brushing and flossing. Regular cleanings can help address areas you may have missed, or eliminate tartar that can’t be removed at home. We suggest having regular cleanings at our office twice a year. Cleanings with our office involve the removal of plaque, which is a sticky bacterial film that forms on your teeth, and also the removal of calculus or tartar, a hardened form of plaque that can’t be removed by brushing. Once the cleaning is complete, your hygienist will polish the surfaces of your teeth. A smoother surface makes it more difficult for plaque to accumulate between visits. Once your teeth
are clean, your mouth will be examined for any potential issues.

Routine exams with Parkmeadow Dental involve:

  • Going over any of your oral health concerns
  • Examine your teeth for cavities or other damage
  • Oral cancer screening
  • Periodic X-rays to identify problems that cannot be spotted with a visual exam
  • Checking for early signs of TMJ degeneration