BASIC DENTAL HEALTH
Fillings are done to remove decay and replace the missing diseased tooth structure. It is called a filling because a new material "fills" a hole that the decay and excavation of that decay created. Most teeth with small decay lesions are treated with small, bonded, tooth colored, composite resin fillings. Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and the defective tooth structure that requires removal is minimized. If not treated early, decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth could need extensive restoration, root canal treatment or even extraction.
Composite fillings are also considered bonding, or bonded fillings. However, cosmetic bonding involves adhering composite resin material, that is matched to the color of the tooth, to the front of the tooth in your smile area. This is done to repair damage done to the tooth by decay, to cosmetically alter the visual misalignment of the tooth, close gaps between the teeth, or for other cosmetic purposes. First the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the bonding. A gel is applied to "micro" etch the tooth surface mechanically, and a primer/bonding agent is applied so the material adheres to the surface. Then the bonding or filling material itself is placed on the tooth and hardened with intense laser or plasma arc light energy. The composite resin material is then shaped and polished to get a lustrous finish.
Sealants are used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn't brush, but because they're too narrow to allow even one tiny toothbristle into them. These can develop cavities over time, and you don't want that. So if appropriate, Dr. Hinson will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthier. It is important not to seal decay under a sealant. Dr. Hinson has laser technology to help confirm whether a tooth can be sealed or whether it needs a small restoration or filling.
GUM TREATMENTS - PERIODONTAL THERAPY
The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form an important and essential foundation for ones teeth. All of these structures are collectively referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium (gum disease/periodontal disease) may include: gums that are red, swollen, and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose/moblie teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these signs may mean something is wrong periodontally. With proper care, however, it may be possible to reverse or slow this disease and hopefully return the teeth to a healthy, maintainable state. This is where appropriate gum treatments come into play. If you're having a problem, come in and see us for an examination so we can begin to take care of the problems right away. In some cases, non-surgical treatment can be utilized. It usually involves a deep cleaning, known as root planing and scaling, done under a local anesthetic. If the gum disease gets too severe it may need to be treated with peridontal surgery. Laser assisted periodontal surgery is referred to on this web site. You can find additional information there. In some cases, it may be necessary to refer you to a periodontal specialist. Dr. Hinson will suggest this referral if he feels it in your best interest.
This is a focused beam of x-ray particles which passes through bone and tissue, producing an image on special film or a digital image sensor. The result is an image showing the structures through which the x-ray passed. This gives the familiar black and white images that dental professionals use to help diagnose dental problems. X-rays are not the only part of the diagnostic process, however not to utilize them could lead to undiagnosed disease. Without an x-ray image of the whole tooth and supporting bone and gum tissues adacent to the tooth, the ability to accurately diagnose a dental condition can be limited. Dr. Hinson will advise you if, and when, you will benefit from radiographs made by x-rays and make recommendations specific to your oral health needs.
In our office we use extremely low radiation x-ray equipment and use digital radiology which allows us to take x-rays using even less radiation. Our investment in the "state-of-the-art" Shick digital radiology system allows for the highest quality images of your oral tissues. You may visit the Shick technology website to read about our digital x-ray system: