Digital Dental X-Rays
Dental X-rays are a valuable diagnostic tool used to identify decay, tumors, cysts and extra teeth, as well as track the progress of previous procedures. Although generally considered safe, traditional X-rays briefly expose patients to radiation. New technologies now allow for digital X-rays, which reduce radiation exposure by up to 80 percent, and produce instant, high-quality images. This allows results to be discussed between dentist and patient immediately after examination, and also allows your dentist to easily share your X-rays with other doctors, if needed.
As humans age, their body parts tend to decay and weaken at an increasing pace. A common victim of this natural process is the teeth; the act of chewing imposes significant crushing and shearing forces on the teeth, which exacerbate the situation. In many cases, dentists may have to resort to reconstructive (or restorative) dentistry. This field encompasses:
- Dental crowns
- Dental bridges
- Dental implants
- Correcting older fillings
Dentures are removable implants that fit to the upper (maxillary) and lower (mandibular) arches of the mouth in patients who have lost a significant amount of teeth. Although one does not need to lose all their teeth to warrant dentures, the top denture benefits from a toothless landscape to help it seal with the mouth better, while existing teeth on the bottom are vital in keeping the arch stable. There are also many different partial dentures that can be created to fit the individual.
Dental crowns are basically little caps that are fitted on top of individually damaged teeth. When a tooth has become decayed to the point that the structure and integrity of the tooth are in jeopardy, the dentist will design a crown to fit over the tooth permanently.
Bridges are used to fill in the gaps of missing teeth, usually between two remaining teeth. The abutment teeth (directly adjacent to the missing tooth) are generally "crowned" with a contiguous material that attaches both crowns to the bridge in the middle, which inserts as the missing tooth.
Dental implants are generally more expensive and more aesthetic than the aforementioned methods. They are made from titanium and fuse with the bone inside the gums after insertion. They are extremely reliable and once effectively fused, last for 30 years or more.
Older fillings made with metallic substances such as dental amalgam, gold, resin or porcelain may crack after many years of use or lack of maintenance. The dentist will first determine how severe the decay is and then whether it should be removed entirely or repaired.
Lasers allow many dental procedures to be performed with no noise and very little pain. They are versatile tools that can be used in oral surgery, curing of restorative materials, and removal of hard and soft tissue. Other benefits of laser dentistry over traditional methods can include:
- Reduced heat and vibration
- High precision
- Little or no need for anesthetic
- Little or no bleeding
- Faster treatment time
- Increased rate of curing/bleaching
- Less post-operative pain and swelling
- Fewer pain medications/antibiotics
Many patients find that laser dentistry is far more comfortable than traditional methods using drills. The only noise comes from air as it cools the area being treated. Laser technology also allows several procedures to be performed during a single appointment by your own dentist, so you can be in and out of the office faster.