Comprehensive Exams and Family Dentistry
In order to maintain great oral health, regular, comprehensive dental exams are a necessity. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist at least twice a year. Regular exams are vital to assess possible problems such as gum disease, oral cancer, cavity development, and replacing worn out dental work such as metal fillings and discolored crowns. Catching problems early on will prevent bigger problems from developing down the line, which will end up saving you time and money.
We are asked nearly every day if we treat children at Grady Dental Care and the answer is YES! The Doctors alone have 12 children between the four of them and we love treating kids as young as 3 years of age. It is essential a child’s first few visits to the dentist be a positive experience so as to not illicit a fearful response that a lot of us still retain from our childhood. With 6 hygienists on staff, it is also very convenient because you can bring your children to the office on the same day as your appointment and have everyone’s cleaning at the same time!
What Does a Comprehensive Exam Involve?
- We provide an oral cancer screening.
- A series of diagnostic x-rays will be taken so we can analyze the condition of your teeth and bone structure.
- We conduct a complete periodontal screening to check for symptoms and evidence of gum disease.
- We check for any possible bite problems or jaw issues.
- A tooth-specific exam is also provided to all of your teeth to check for cavities, examine the condition of other dental work, and identify cracked or missing teeth.
Dental implants are becoming an increasingly popular method for replacing missing teeth. For this, a simple procedure is performed where a titanium implant is placed where the missing tooth or teeth are located, then after time of healing the porcelain crown or bridge is cemented. Dental implants are not only used for individual and multiple tooth replacement, but can also be used as an anchor to support a partial or complete denture!
Advantages of dental implants
- Implants are extremely natural looking
- The procedure to place this is not uncomfortable and much easier than you think
- They last a lifetime
- A lot of insurance plans are now covering a portion of implant placement
Disadvantages of dental implants
- Implants are typically slightly more expensive than a traditional bridge
- The process of getting implants is more time consuming because the area has to heal before the permanent restoration is in place
Compared to fillings which just cover a small portion of a tooth, a crown (or cap) encases the entire visible portion of a tooth. In effect, the crown acts as the tooth’s new outer surface. A dental crown is necessary when a tooth is broken or decayed to such an extent that fillings aren’t able to repair the problem. The crown is able to provide a protective shell around the damaged or decayed tooth to strengthen it, as well as to improve the appearance of the tooth. They can also help restore a tooth to its original shape, and can even be used in the front of the mouth in lieu of orthodontics. While crowns have historically come in different materials, advances in dental materials allow us to place all ceramic crown in any part of the mouth without the fear of fracture that we used to experience with older porcelains. That means no more metal!
Porcelain veneers are thin custom made shells that cover the front surface of your tooth to improve their appearance. We choose to veneer teeth if people are unhappy with the color, shape, size and even the orthodontic position of their teeth. The procedure is very conservative by nature – only the enamel of the tooth is removed from the front surface of the tooth. That’s less than 1mm and the entire back side of the tooth remains untouched by the preparation.
Types of veneers
There are many laboratories that custom fabricate veneers and Grady Dental Care has had a long relationship with Burbank Dental Lab, a facility located in California who’s ceramists are specially trained to make the veneers for each case we send them. They use photographs, impressions, models of your mouth, a written prescription and a phone consultation with the doctor to make sure the restorations will be as well-fitting and esthetically pleasing as possible. Patients occasionally ask for Lumineers and that is just a brand of material that is used to fabricate the veneer.;
Once again, when should you consider dental veneers?
- Your teeth are stained or discolored
- Your teeth are crooked or misshapen
- Your teeth have spaces between them
- Your teeth are broken or chipped
Zoom and Opalescence Whitening
If you are a candidate and would like to explore your options with teeth whitening, Grady Daental Care offers several options. The Zoom! In-Office Whitening System uses proprietary technology to whiten your teeth an average of eight shades in a little over an hour while you relax in our office. It’s ideal for anyone who wants immediate results.
The Zoom! Or Opalescence Take-Home Whitening System uses a revolutionary patent-pending gel to whiten your teeth an average of six shades in three nights, and you may go even lighter with additional applications. Start on Friday and by Monday you’ll have a whole new smile.
Please keep in mind there is no way for us to predict how white your teeth will become with whitening. As a matter of fact, if your expectations are unrealistic or if you want very white teeth its best we perform a restorative procedure with porcelain to achieve the results you desire.
Here are answers to typical questions we receive in the office regarding whitening:
What is tooth whitening?
Zoom! Or Opalescence is a bleaching process that lightens discoloration of enamel and dentin of your natural tooth. It WILL NOT change the color of fillings or porcelain.
What can cause tooth discoloration?
There are many causes. The most common include aging and consumption of staining substances such as coffee, tea or tobacco. During tooth formation consumption of tetracycline, certain antibiotics or excessive fluoride may also cause tooth discoloration.
Who may benefit from tooth whitening?
Just about anyone can benefit from tooth whitening. However, treatment may not be as effective for some as it is for others. With an oral exam, our Doctors can determine if you are a candidate for this procedure, including a shade assessment.
Is tooth whitening becoming more popular?
Absolutely! A bright, beautiful smile can make a big difference and the whitening systems we use at Grady Dental Care make it easier and faster than ever before.
Is tooth whitening safe?
Yes, research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth under the supervision of a dentist is safe. In fact, many dentists consider whitening the safest cosmetic dental procedure available. However, no whitening product is recommended for children under 13 years of age and pregnant or lactating women.
Do the results last a long time?
By following some simple post whitening care instructions, your teeth will always be lighter than they were before. We recommend flossing, brushing twice daily and touch-ups with take-home gel. These are professional formula products designed specifically to keep your teeth their brightest. They are available through our office.
Is there any difference between over-the-counter tooth whiteners and Zoom!
Yes! A consultation with us is always the first step to whitening your teeth safely. Over-the-counter tooth whitening strips, brush-on gels and toothpastes take weeks or months to whiten your teeth just a few shades. Professional whitening is clinically proven to whiten your teeth more efficiently and to a greater extent.
Is the Zoom! In-office procedure painful?
No. During the procedure, patients can actually watch television or listen to music. Many fall asleep.
Are there any side effects?
Some people experience temporary increased tooth sensitivity to cold during treatment. These symptoms disappear within 1-3 days after interruption or completion of the treatment.
How long is the procedure?
The entire procedure takes just over one hour. The procedure begins with a preparation period followed by one hour of bleaching.
How long does Take-Home Whitening take?
Take-home gel is designed to be worn between four and eight hours per application. Dr. Grady or Dr. Hayward will advise you on how long you should wear each application. A recent study showed that you can achieve an average improvement of six shades after just three nights of use.
What is the main difference between in-office whitening and take-home whitening?
The main difference between the two systems is that you use the Take-Home System in the convenience of your own home over a few nights. The Zoom! In-Office System is performed entirely in the office.
Invisalign and Six Month Braces
Invisalign is a system of straightening teeth without the use of conventional braces with a series of clear plastic aligners to create tooth movement. This procedure is ideal for patients who do not want to wear traditional braces and who’s orthodontic problems are minimal. Once we determine you are an ideal candidate for this service, we send impressions of your teeth and photographs to Invisalign and through CT imaging determine how many aligners will be necessary to complete the process, Invisalign is recommended for orthodontic situations with mild to moderate spacing or crowding. They are virtually undetectable, easy to use and comfortable to wear. Dr. Grady has been a provider of Invisalign since 1999.
Six Month Braces
6 Month Braces is a revolutionary orthodontic service for adults who have not considered orthodontic treatment because they thought it would take years to complete. Until now, if your teeth were out of position your only options were veneers or traditional braces for a couple years.
Dr. Grady realized years ago in his practice many adults would complain after they had braces as a teenager their front teeth were shifting as they are getting older. Recognizing this issue he was specially trained to provide a service that focuses only on orthodontically straightening the front teeth that have shifted, typically the bottom ones, that only takes 6 months to complete! Of course, traditional braces still have their place in cases with moderate to severe crowding or if there is an issue with the way the molars line up in the back.
Are 6 Month Braces the Same As Regular Braces?
6 Month Braces are very similar to conventional adult orthodontics as it pertains to brackets and wires being used. The mechanism of moving the teeth is the same, but the focus is only on the teeth that show in your smile. The goal of 6 Month Braces is to give you a smile you can be proud of in a reasonable amount of time. It addresses the cosmetic issues of orthodontics.
Most people have no trouble chewing. Their teeth function well, and their bite works fine. Six Month Braces takes less time because the focus is not on changing your bite as we would with traditional orthodontics. The goal is to NOT change your bite and to only focus the movement of the front teeth that are out of position
Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is treatment used to repair and save a tooth that has been infected due to a deep cavity or cracked tooth. The treatment involves removing the nerve of the tooth and cleaning the infected area. If the treatment is not performed, bacteria builds up at the root tip and the infection can spread to the surrounding bone. The results in pain and swelling, and your tooth would likely have to be removed.
What are the signs that a root canal is needed?
- Severe tooth pain while chewing
- Your tooth pain wakes you up at night
- Teeth that are highly sensitive to hot or cold, with the sensitivity lingering for some time.
- Discoloration or darkening of the tooth
- Swollen gums in the area of the infected tooth
What does the treatment involve?
Root canals have a very bad reputation because the techniques to perform them were less than ideal years ago. Nowadays, you are typically treated with an antibiotic prior to the procedure and every single patient is surprised how easy and painless the procedure is.
Once the infected nerve is removed from the tooth it will typically require a crown. Because we have an endodontist at Grady Dental Care, we can typically complete the crown preparation immediately after the root canal is completed saving you a trip!
When treating a cavity, the dentist will remove the decayed portion of your tooth and fill it with another substance or “filling” material. There are multiple options for the material to be used in the filling, the most common of which are composite fillings and amalgam fillings.Amalgam or “silver” fillings have fallen out of favor over time because of their color and the fact they contain mercury.
A tooth colored filling is also referred to as a composite filling, and the material can be closely matched to the color of your teeth. Composite fillings provide good durability for small to medium cavities, and the procedure typically involves removing less tooth structure than you would during an amalgam filling. They are also particularly well suited for treating front or highly visible teeth because of their natural look.
How it’s done:
Once the decay is removed and the filling material placed, it is cured so once you leave the office it can be used right away. Another benefit of the material is it’s bonded directly to the tooth, thus reducing the likelihood of tooth fractures in the future. Composite restorations years ago were made out of a fairly weak material because their purpose was for use on front teeth only, but because it is the filling material of choice nowadays the material is much stronger and its wear resistance is similar to enamel.
A dental extraction is the procedure to remove a tooth from your mouth. A dental extraction is most commonly required if one of your teeth is damaged beyond practical repair. The most common reasons for tooth extractions include:
- Severe tooth decay or infection may make it impossible or too costly to repair a tooth
- Advanced gum disease may required a tooth to be pulled so it doesn’t affect the supporting tissues and bone structures of your mouth
- A tooth may be extracted if it is blocking other teeth from coming in
- During orthodontic work, teeth may need to be extracted to create room for the teeth that are being moved into place
- Wisdom teeth are often extracted either before or after they come in
What to expect:
We will always first administer anesthetic to numb the area to prevent any discomfort. During the extraction, you will feel the pressure but will not feel any pain and typically, your tooth will be removed in a matter of minutes.
Immediately after the tooth extraction, a small amount of bleeding is normal and patch of gauze will be placed in the affected area. The area may bleed minimally for the next 24 hours or so and taper off after that. Follow the instructions we on how often to change the gauze, and what other post-procedure steps to follow.
Not every teenager requires the removal of their wisdom teeth, but when necessary we do so at Grady Dental Care. As wisdom teeth are developing they often come in at an unfavorable angle causing pain or potential orthodontic issues. We monitor your child’s wisdom teeth at every cleaning and if we determine there is not enough room in the mouth to accommodate them we can make arrangements to remove them.
Periodontics is a highly specialized area of dentistry that treats the area “around” a tooth, including gum tissue, bone and supporting ligaments. Most common periodontal services consist of scaling and root planing (“deep cleaning”), crown lengthening, gum grafts and dental implants.
Periodontal disease is becoming more common and it is estimated that 60-80% of all adults in the United States have some form of gum disease. It has been well established within the last decade there is a direct correlation between the bacteria that cause issues associated with gum disease and cardiovascular disease, making it more important than ever to seek treatment.
Crown Lengthening for Tooth Restoration
When a tooth breaks or if there is severe decay, the remaining healthy tooth area is reduced and this can affect the potential for successful tooth restoration. With crown lengthening, more of the tooth’s surface will be exposed and this will help act as an anchor for future restorative work such as crowns, veneers, or more.
Your gums need at least 2mm of tooth surface area to bond with in order to prevent trapped foods and other potential problems. If part of a tooth is missing or if the decay is too deep, there might not be enough of a crown to work with. In situations like this, crown lengthening is used to recreate the required amount of exposed tooth so that restorative dental procedures will not weaken or fall off.
Gum Grafts to Correct Exposed Tooth Roots
Exposed tooth roots are the result of gum recession that occur either as a function of age or trauma from the toothbrush. Perhaps you wish to enhance your smile by covering one or more of these roots that make your teeth appear too long. Or, maybe you’re not bothered by the appearance of these areas, but you cringe because the exposed roots are sensitive to hot or cold foods and liquids.
Your gums may have receded for a variety of reasons, including aggressive tooth brushing or periodontal disease. You may not be in control of what caused the recession, but prior to treatment we can help you identify the factors contributing to the problem. Once these contributing factors are controlled, a soft tissue graft procedure will repair the defect and help to prevent additional recession and bone loss.
Pocket Reduction Surgery
Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. When you have periodontal disease, this supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, forming “pockets” around the teeth.
Over time, these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space for bacteria to live. As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss.
Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.
Generally pocket reduction surgery is recommended to reduce pockets that are pockets that are too deep to clean with daily at-home oral hygiene and a professional care routine. During a pocket reduction surgery procedure, the gum tissue is gently moved away from your teeth and the disease-causing bacteria are removed and cleaned before securing the tissue into place with small micro-sutures. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. This allows the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy bone.