Our La Mesa dentistry provides a wide range of dental services. The following list will help you gain valuable knowledge of additional services we provide.
Dentures are false teeth. They are typically made from impressions (molds) that are taken of the inside of the mouth and they are made of a type of plastic or porcelain that duplicates the shape, size and function of the teeth. Dentures generally refers to the replacement of an entire arch of teeth with a removable appliance with either plastic or porcelain teeth on it. If there are a few teeth left, then it is referred to as a partial denture. This will either have acrylic base holding it in place, or it will have metal clasps to secure it to the adjacent teeth. Generally when a denture is placed for the first time, it takes a while to get used to it, since it is a foreign body in your mouth. Dentures should be brushed just like you would your natural teeth because they can build up tarter on them as well.
Dental extractions are usually done when a tooth is so badly decayed, fractured or causing a chronic infection, such that it can not be restored. These days, we attempt to save as many teeth as possible using all of the latest technology available, however, there are times when nothing can be done and the tooth needs to come out.
Oral surgery consist of dental extractions, cyst removal, implants, jaw augmentation, TMJ treatments and emergency care from serious trauma, all come under the category of oral surgery.
Intra-oral cameras have been around for about ten years. In the past five years, however, the dental profession has recognized this as an invaluable tool in the dental exam. By magnifying a tooth 20 to 30 times, we are able to see things that we couldn’t see with just an overhead light and a mouth mirror. In addition, and more importantly, it allows our patients the opportunity to see their own teeth on the TV monitor so they can see what it is we are talking about when we describe things we see going on in their mouth. And secondly, it gives us an additional tool to use should there be insurance involved to help explain treatment better to them.
If you play contact sports such as basketball, hockey, football, judo, karate, martial arts, skateboarding, racquetball, soccer, squash, wrestling, volleyball and other similar sports, you may wish to talk with us about a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth.
When it has been a while since your last cleaning, or if you have deep pockets around your teeth, then you are a candidate for a more involved treatment to restore your teeth and gum tissues back to optimum health. Without proper gum support, you can still lose a tooth, even if it doesn’t have a cavity. Periodontal surgery is done when the extent of the bone loss is such that the bone is irregular and jagged and the bacteria can get into the area around the tooth, however, you can’t get in there to clean it. As a result, the bacteria produce an acid that eats away at the bone and causes disease. The accumulation of the bacterial by-product and the debris from the tooth together can cause plaque. If left on long enough, that can lead to tartar (which is harder to clean off). If this is left on the tooth for many months, this can begin to calcify and dematerialize the outer structure of your tooth and bone. As this occurs a build-up gets larger and creates a “shelf” that doesn’t allow a person to get a toothbrush under the gum line. If you can’t clean under the gum line, then bone loss can occur and this can lead to tooth loss. Our hygiene department has attended several additional courses on periodontal therapy and soft-tissue management. This includes the use of chemicals to stimulate bone growth, and tissue reattachment.
Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are placed on the etched surface in the grooves of teeth-typically on the back molars and sometimes on pre-molars. The procedure is fairly straight-forward and generally can be done without anesthetic at all. We place sealants to help prevent cavities from developing in those areas that the toothbrush cannot clean – such as the pits and fissures of the teeth.
The temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) is a very unique and fragile joint. Because of the numbers of tendons, ligaments and muscles that are used to hold it in position, it is subject to trauma and stress. As a result, headaches, jaw soreness and and neck aches can all be related to problems related to the TMJ. Sometimes the small disc that separates the lower jawbone from the socket where it rests gets displaced and a bite splint may be used among other therapies to “reposition” the jaw into the proper alignment. Because this is such a fragile joint, we often refer to specialists when we see a need to begin extensive treatment to help a patient.