SERVICES


ORAL HYGIENE CARE
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums.  Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly.  Good oral health is important to your overall well-being. Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop.

In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems. These include:

  • Brush thoroughly twice a day and floss daily
  • Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks between meals
  • Use dental products which contain fluoride, including toothpaste
  • Rinse with a flouride mouth rinse if advised to do so
  • Make sure children under 12 drink fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement if they live in a non-fluoridated area
  • Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months

The following are indications of good oral hygiene:

  • Your teeth are clean and free of debris
  • Gums are pink and do not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss
  • Bad breath is not a constant problem
Back to top
DENTAL CLEANING
A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning you receive from a dentist or dental hygienist. Most dental cleanings take approximately 45 minutes.  Cleanings should be performed every six months to prevent excessive plaque buildup.  Plaque left untreated can lead to unhealthy gums and tooth decay.  During your routine cleaning we will remove excess plaque and polish your teeth. 

Back to top

SEALANTS
Sealants are used to fill 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 bristle into them.  To avoid cavities developing over time, the dentist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.  Back to top

BONDING
Bonding involves adhering composite resin material that is matched to the color of the tooth, to the front of the tooth. This is performed to repair damage caused by decay, to alter the alignment 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 so the resin will adhere to the surface of the tooth.  The composite is then placed on the tooth and the bonding agent hardens with intense light. The last step is shaping and polishing to give a lustrous finish.  Back to top

FILLINGS
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape.  If you have a tooth that requires a filling, the dentist will first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material.  A filling helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter.

There are a variety of filling materials available including gold, silver, plastic and porcelain. The dentist will work with you to determine which material is best, depending on the extent of repair, where in the tooth the filling is needed, and cost. Each filling material is briefly explained below:

· Gold fillings are custom made in a laboratory and then cemented into place.  While gold fillings are often the most expensive choice, many consider it the best filling material.  Gold inlays are well-tolerated by gum tissues and may last more than 20 years.

· Amalgam (silver) fillings are a more inexpensive choice and are tolerant to wear.  However, due to their dark color they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not recommended for fillings in very visible areas such as front teeth.

· Composite (plastic) resins are custom made to the exact color of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance. While white fillings may be less noticeable than other materials, they usually only last between 3 and 10 years and may not be ideal for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time.  They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco.

· Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays and are custom created in a lab and then bonded to the tooth.  They can be matched to the color of the tooth, resist staining, and are about the same cost as gold fillings.  A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth, making the filling nearly undetectable.

If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown (or "cap") may be recommended.  Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated through root canal therapy or through a procedure called pulp capping.  Back to top

NON-SURGICAL GUM TREATMENT
The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for  teeth. All structures are also 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 include: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth.  With proper gum treatments,  it may be possible to return gum tissue to a healthy state.  If you're having a problem, come in and see us so we may treat it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic, along with local antibiotic agents.  It is important to have gum problems checked promptly, as gum disease left alone may eventually need treatment through surgery or extraction.  Back to top

CROWNS AND BRIDGES
Crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth that are damaged or to take the place of missing teeth. A crown (also referred to as a cap) is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth.  A crown not only strengthens a tooth, but it can dramatically improve a tooth’s appearance, shape and alignment.

Crowns may be used to:

                • Replace a large filling when there is little tooth structure remaining
                • Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
                • Restore a fractured tooth
                • Attach a bridge
                • Cover a dental implant
                • Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
                • Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment

A bridge is an ideal method to fill the space created by missing teeth. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth cemented into place using the teeth on either side for support. This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth.  Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science since it replaces a missing tooth both functionally and cosmetically. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material made to match your natural tooth color.  The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and aesthetics.

It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible.  If not treated, the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward. Since teeth use their neighbors for support, if one is missing they begin to "fall” and shift into the open spaces. This may worsen the bite because of the changes in pressure and can eventually result in problems with the jaw such as TMJ.

Bridges and crowns are made by first taking an impression of your mouth.  The impression is sent to a dental lab where your crown or bridge will be custom made to fit your mouth and match your natural tooth color.  A temporary crown or bridge will be placed into your mouth until your permanent crown or bridge is ready and cemented into place. 

Bridges and crowns are very durable and can last a lifetime with extra care and good oral hygiene. Back to top

TOOTH EXTRACTIONS
Good oral hygiene should always be practiced since the loss of a single tooth can have major impact upon your oral health and appearance.  Although dentists will use every measure to prevent tooth loss, there are still sometimes necessary occasions when a tooth may need to be extracted.  A tooth may need to be extracted for the following reasons:

                • Severe decay
                • Advanced periodontal disease
                • Infection or abcess
                • Orthodontic correction
                • Malpositioned teeth
                • Fractured teeth or roots
                • Impacted teeth

After careful examination and treatment, the dentist may advise to have a tooth extracted.  Before a tooth is removed, the dentist will take an x-ray in order to understand the shape and position of the tooth and surrounding bone.  Based on the degree of difficulty, we may refer you to a specialized oral surgeon.

For a simple extraction, we will first apply a local anesthetic to prevent pain and discomfort. The tooth will be loosened with a tool called an elevator and then removed with dental forceps. Once the procedure is complete, the area may be closed with one or two stitches.  We will then provide you with care instructions to alleviate discomfort and ensure proper healing.  Back to top

WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTIONS
Wisdom teeth are the last molars or “third molars” that develop on each side of the jaws.  Wisdom teeth usually emerge in the back of the mouth between the ages of 16-20.

Wisdom teeth are a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy and properly positioned.  Often, however, problems develop that require their removal. When the jaw isn't large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth, they can become impacted (unable to come in or misaligned). Wisdom teeth may also grow in sideways, emerge only part way through the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. 

A wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively routine procedure.  The dentist will numb the area in your mouth with a local anesthesia or use IV sedation so you are asleep during the procedure.

After the tooth is removed, we will provide care instructions to ensure proper healing.  Some pain and swelling may occur but will normally subside after a few days.  You should call your dentist if you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever.  Back to top

ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when an untreated cavity reaches all the way to the pulp.  Treatment may also be needed when deep restorations or trauma to a tooth cause nerve damage.  Once the pulp becomes infected, it can begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is known as an abscess).  If the pulp is infected, not only is it painful but it will require treatment as it cannot heal on its own.   Symptoms that indicate the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth.  However, sometimes no symptoms are apparent and you may be unaware of any problem until a checkup.

A root canal is performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp and disinfect the canals of the tooth.  Alternate treatment would be to extract the tooth.  Once the infection is resolved, the canal is filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy.  Back to top

DENTAL IMPLANTS
A dental implant is an ideal tooth restoration for people who are missing one or more teeth as a result of injury, periodontal disease, or any other reason.  A dental implant is a metal post that an oral surgeon surgically positions into the jaw.  Once in place and bone surrounding the implant has had time to heal, a replacement tooth is attached to the post.  While implants are typically more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, they provide superior benefits.  Implants are stronger than natural teeth and generally last 10-20 years.  They are also a more favorable approach than bridgework since they do not depend on neighboring teeth for support.

To receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant.  You must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits as these are critical to the long-term success of dental implants. 

Mini Implants -- The problem: loose dentures or partials

Mini-implants are a recently developed implant system designed to provide denture stability for people who have no (or very few) teeth remaining. They were developed by IMTEC Corporation and were awarded FDA approval in 1999. Mini implants differ from traditional implants in two ways. As you may guess from their name, they are much smaller than traditional implants. Mini implants are also single piece implants; they do not have a screw hole into which other components can be attached. The portion of the implant which sticks out of the gums is shaped like a little ball, which snaps into a retaining socket on the inside of a denture. When several of these mini implants are used underneath a denture, the result is a very stable denture which does not move around, pop out, or require any type of adhesive to keep it in place. The denture still rests on the gum tissue, but the mini implants keep it from moving from side to side and up and down.

Due to their smaller size, mini implants can be used in areas where there is not enough bone for traditional implants. Because mini implants are less expensive to place than  traditional implants, and we can usually modify an existing denture to work with the mini implants, using them is a more affordable option to stabilize dentures in cases where cost is a factor. A disadvantage to the mini implants is that the denture cannot be trimmed down like it can when we use traditional implants. Being that mini implants require the denture to be supported by the gums, the upper denture still must cover the roof of the mouth and the lower denture still has to extend to the floor of the mouth. Many denture wearers dislike the way an upper denture covers the entire palate so for them, a denture supported by traditional implants may be a better choice.

Mini implants can only be used under a denture or a partial, they are simply too small to support crowns or bridges. If a patient is considering replacing their mini implant supported denture or partial with crowns and bridges sometime in the future, then traditional implants should be used instead since they can be used with both removable dentures and non-removable implant bridges and crowns.

How many mini implants do you need to support a denture?

Generally speaking, more mini implants mean a more stable denture. Four mini implants are the minimum for the lower denture, and six mini implants are the minimum for the upper denture. We prefer to place as many as possible depending on how much bone we have to work with, but in most cases ten mini implants is the most we can place in the top or bottom arch. If you are wearing dentures and would like them be more stable, then mini implants are probably a good option for you. On the other hand, if you really dislike the way dentures feel and want to eliminate the plastic covering the roof of your mouth, then traditional implants are a better choice.

What about mini implants for people wearing partial dentures?

Mini implants are also great for stabilizing partial dentures. They are placed in the areas where the teeth are missing and snap into the bottom of the partial. A better option is to replace the missing teeth with traditional implants and get rid of the partial denture altogether, but the mini implant stabilization method is a quick and cost effective way of stabilizing partial dentures.

Doesn’t it hurt?

Absolutely not. The process of having mini implants placed is much easier and less traumatic to a person than having a tooth removed. Mini implants can be placed in 45 minutes or less, and the procedure done here in our office under local anesthetic. There is no need whatsoever to be sedated for this procedure, although we do have nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and/or oral sedatives for people who are really anxious. The bone into which the mini implants are placed does not have any sensory nerve endings in it, so the surgery has very little post-operative discomfort. We place mini implant patients on antibiotics for a few days before and after the surgery to ensure that the mini implants do not get infected before the bone has a chance to heal around them. We offer a free panoramic x-ray and exam for anyone interested in mini implants.


To the right is a picture of a patient with four mini implants in the lower jaw.
Note how healthy the gums appear around the implants and how the gums treat the implants as if they were actual teeth. This procedure was done in about 30 minutes, and the patient experienced nothing more than mild discomfort. People who have had to deal with a loose denture for years are so happy and amazed with the stability of the mini implant supported denture that their only complaint is that they wished that they had done it sooner; it is truly a life changing procedure.

Back to top




DENTURES
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues.  There are two types of dentures available, including partial and complete dentures.  Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain, while complete dentures are used to completely replace all teeth.  Dentures are made to resemble your natural teeth so there should be no noticeable change to your appearance. In fact, dentures may even improve your smile!

This restoration method is used to restore your smile and mouth function if all your teeth have been lost.  The dentures are custom created to resemble natural teeth and are positioned to take the place of natural teeth.  Complete dentures are removable and may require adjustments in order to create a proper fit with the gums and mouth.

A removable partial denture is a device used when one or more natural teeth still remain in the upper or lower jaw.  They usually consist of replacement teeth attached go a gum-colored plastic base which is held in place in the mouth.  A fixed partial denture acts the same as a removable denture, but it is cemented into place using adjacent teeth for support.

New dentures may feel awkward or loose for the first few weeks until the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place and you are comfortable eating and speaking. Although this may require some practice you will adjust and enjoy the benefits a full mouth of teeth can provide. 


Back to top

NIGHTGUARDS AND MOUTHGUARDS
Custom designed mouthguards and nightguards are made of flexible plastic and molded to fit the shape of your teeth. Mouthguards are recommended to protect the jaw and teeth during physical activity and sports such as boxing, football, basketball, or other activities where your mouth may be hit.  Guards also protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining.  Nightguards are recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth at night as a way to protect their teeth and bite.

If you have decided a guard is right for you, we will take an impression of your teeth which will then be sent to a lab to make a custom fit guard.  In most cases you can choose from a variety of colors and styles. On average, guards last between 3 and 10 years. 


Back to top

WHITENING
Tooth whitening is a popular procedure to make teeth whiter and brighter, and therefore more attractive. Bleaching can be used to whiten  and discolored teeth, or simply to enhance a dull smile.  Either way, tooth whitening is a safe and relatively painless procedure ideal for most patients.  Our office offers two methods of whitening: in-office whitening and tray whitening.

Tray whitening is a less expensive whitening treatment you can use while in the comfort of your own home.  We will first take an impression of your mouth to create customized clear whitening trays for you to wear.  Within a few days your trays will be ready to be picked up and we will show you how to apply the special bleaching material to the trays.  The whitening gel trays can be worn everyday or while you sleep. At the end of this period, you will see maximum whitening results that are nothing short of dazzling.  Occasional treatment can be used at your convenience to maintain your new smile. 

Back to top

ORTHODONTICS
Orthodontics is the art of using appliances to straighten and align teeth.  Most commonly it involves the use of braces to move teeth into proper positioning. In this method, brackets are bonded to the teeth and arch wires are threaded through the brackets. The arch wires act as a track, guiding each tooth to its proper position. There are several types of orthodontic braces available to patients.  We offer traditional metal braces and ceramic “tooth colored” braces.

We are proud to offer adult orthodontics using the Powerprox Six Month Braces System.  The most common question patients ask is “how can you straighten my teeth in just six months?”  Powerprox Six Month Braces uses time tested techniques combined with the latest in orthodontic materials and technologies to move your teeth quickly and safely.  Many of the component pieces that make up SixMonthBraces have actually been used in orthodontics for over 60 years.


One of the key technologies is the use of hi tech archwires.  These wires have what is called shape memory.  That means however the wire is bent, twisted, or deformed by the current improper position of your teeth the wire will return to the ideal original shape.  This allows your teeth to automatically move to desired location.  We also offer the ceramic “tooth colored” brackets if you are concerned about the appearance of wearing the traditional metal braces.


For information about six month braces click here, or call our office.

ORTHODONTIC RETAINERS
Orthodontic Retainers are appliances made from plastic and stainless steel to custom fit your mouth.  They act as a guide to hold your teeth into place after braces are removed.  The retainer holds your teeth in place so your surrounding gums and bone can adjust around them – allowing you to maintain your realigned smile.  Although the time you must wear a retainer will vary, many orthodontists recommend retainers are worn into the early 20s until the bone in your jaw and mouth has stopped growing. 

Back to top

VENEERS
Veneers are a dental procedure in which a covering is placed over the outside (visible area) of the tooth. Veneers are usually only applied to the part of the tooth that is visible when talking or smiling. The procedure can be direct or indirect.

The direct technique usually involves placing composite resin on the outside of the tooth using bonding. This method is usually referred to as bonding.

The indirect technique usually involves two appointments because the veneers will be fabricated at a dental laboratory.  At the first appointment the teeth are prepared, impressions taken, and the teeth are given a temporary covering. In two to three weeks the veneers are back from the laboratory, the temporaries are removed and the veneers are bonded to the teeth. The laboratory fabricated veneers are usually made using porcelain or pressed ceramic and are very aesthetic.
Back to top

 
In order to provide nothing but the best to our patients, our office uses state-of-the-art technologies in all of our procedures.  These new technologies allow us to treat dental cases with extreme precision, detect dental concerns at early stages, and provide stunning and customized restorations. When you visit our office you can be confident that you are receiving only the finest and most advanced in dental care.  We proudly offer and use the following advanced equipment:

X-RAYS AND DIGITAL X-RAYS

X-rays are a focused beam of x-ray particles passed through bone which produce an image on special film, showing the structure through which it passed.  This provides the familiar black and white images doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems and disease.  Without an x-ray of the whole tooth and supporting bone and gum tissues, there would be no way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention. 

In our office we use digital radiography which allows us to take x-rays using up to 90% less radiation than conventional film x-rays.  Using this technology, we are able to take an x-ray of your mouth by using a small sensor which records the image of your teeth and sends it to a computer.  The result is a highly detailed image of your mouth that can easily be enhanced to better diagnose dental concerns and determine the very best treatment for each case. Back to top

CEREC

CEREC is an acronym for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics.  This high-tech equipment allows us to restore damaged teeth with beautiful custom ceramic crowns in a single visit, completely eliminating the need for multiple appointments over a several week period.  The process can create a ceramic dental crown, inlays, onlays or veneers using a variety of technologies including 3D photography and computer-aided design and manufacturing known as CAD/CAM (see below). Using an intra-oral camera, a photograph is taken of the tooth and the picture is loaded onto the computer.  Using Computer Aided Design technology, the dentist is able to design the restoration and transform the image into a three-dimensional model.  This valuable program then allows the dentist to easily calculate the appropriate restoration shape and size to create near perfect restoration. When the model is ready, a milling machine then creates the restoration using a high-speed diamond bur and calculated precision.  The restoration is then bonded to the tooth using a resin material. The result is a beautiful and custom designed and produced restoration, made entirely to fit your mouth.  CEREC crowns are metal-free and have been used for over 20 years. Back to top

CAD/CAM CHAIRSIDE RESTORATION SYSTEM
Our office utilizes CAD/CAM technology.  CAD/CAM stands for “computer-aided design” and “computer-aided manufacturing”.  This technology allows the dentist to use an intra-oral scanner inside your mouth to take a digital scan of a tooth that has been prepared to receive a crown.  Using special software, the data from the scan is used to generate a design (CAD) for a custom crown.  This program will also generate a custom blue print and guide lines to manufacture the new crown (CAM).  This software, paired with a state-of-the-art milling machine, enables our office to create precise and custom crowns, inlays and onlays in one single dental visit. 

DIAGNOdent
Providing the absolute best service to our patients is of the highest importance to our office. To aid in achieving this goal, we use a new high-tech device called the DIAGNOdent.  This small tool is a portable laser that allows us to detect cavities on the chewing surface of the back teeth that would have otherwise gone undetected by previous methods.  Diagnosing cavities in the back of the mouth using traditional methods is difficult; studies even show that 50% of cavities are left undetected in these areas.However, the new DIAGNOdent enables us to locate and treat these cavities, putting a stop to further decay.  The laser is easy to use, harmless, and will alert us with an audible signal if it detects a cavity.It will even calculate the approximate size of the cavity so we can better plan treatment.  By using this device, you can rest assured that cavities will be accurately detected and treated in their infancy. To learn more about this device, click here

SOFT TISSUE LASER
Soft tissue lasers are used to safely remove soft tissue, such as excess gum tissue.The soft tissue laser can also be employed to destroy bacteria in gum pockets, preventing infection and allowing the tissue to return to a healthy state. The soft tissue laser enables the dentist to treat our patients with extreme accuracy and eliminates the need for most stitches. 

INTRAORAL IMAGING
We use small cameras about the size of a pen, called intraoral cameras, to help clearly see the condition of your teeth and gums.  With this advanced technology we can zoom in on small diseased areas, cracks, chips and worn metal fillings with extreme precision. The full-color images taken with the intraoral camera are sent to a computer screen so we can clearly see and diagnose dental problems much earlier than with traditional dental technology. Because images are displayed on our screens, patients will also be able to see areas being worked on and are able to gain a better understanding of dental procedures being performed.  

TELESCOPIC LOUPES
The dentist performs most of his dental procedures while wearing a pair of funny looking glasses called surgical telescopes. These powerful glasses have magnifiers on them, allowing the dentist to see fine details that would go unnoticed to the naked eye.  Back to top

ELECTRONIC CLAIM PROCESSING
Our office utilizes electronic claims processing. This means that rather than sending your dental claim through the mail, it is sent electronically to your insurance company with the click of the button. By filing your claim electronically, information is submitted more efficiently and with fewer errors.This benefits our patients because the turn around time on claims is faster and fewer claims are returned or denied. We are happy to submit your dental claims to your insurance company on your behalf.  Back to top



1803 Station Dr Ste A  •  Prattville, AL  36066
t. (334) 361-9880