We offer a comprehensive suite of services. Please go to our service section in the main navigation for a description of services and visit our Locations page to see which services a particular location offers. We can usually provide the services you desire in your local office. If not, we can often refer you to a dentist or specialist in one of our other offices nearby who can tend to your needs. We are proud of the fact that we can almost always address your needs without referring you to an outside specialist who may not be affiliated with our group.
Bleeding and sensitive gums can occur due to many factors, including medical problems, pregnancy, build-up of plaque, periodontal (gum) disease or improper brushing and flossing. Plaque increases bacteria in the mouth and more bacteria can contribute to swollen gums that can bleed easily. Talk with your dentist for more information.
Tell the patient coordinator about your dental fears when you make your appointment. When you come in for your appointment, our dental team and staff will do everything possible to make your experience positive.
We recommend twice-yearly checkups and dental cleanings. Individuals with special dental needs may need more frequent visits. Talk to your dentist for specific needs and follow-up procedures to determine what is best for you.
Fillings may need to be replaced due to age of the filling or simple wear over time. Your dentist can determine if any fillings should be replaced. Let your dentist know if you are experiencing any pain.
Similar discomfort or sensation may occur with either situation. The dentist will need to assess the tooth to determine the proper diagnosis. Please call a practice near you to schedule an appointment.
We strive to conform to the highest standards regarding infection control. All dental professionals are trained to follow an infection control protocol when treating patients.
Tooth decay causes cavities and destroys tooth structure. It can spread if left unchecked and affect both the tooth enamel and the inner layer of the tooth (dentin). Tooth decay occurs when foods containing sugars and starches are left on the teeth. Bacteria live in the mouth, and they cause these foods to turn into acids. The bacteria, acid, food debris, and saliva combine to form bacterial plaque. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that sticks to teeth. The acids in plaque stick to teeth, dissolve the enamel, and may create holes called cavities. Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing can help prevent tooth decay.
The main reason that children are more likely to have new cavities is because their teeth are still developing and are less mineralized (or are softer) than adult teeth. A child’s teeth will not be fully developed until their late teenage years. During this period it is important to be sure that the area where the teeth meet the gums is being brushed well enough to remove all plaque and food particles. This will prevent decay from forming at the gum line and maintain healthy gums. Having your child floss every day is an excellent way to develop a healthy flossing habit. Sealants can be applied to all the adult back teeth and will help prevent cavities on the chewing surface where food and bacteria can be present in the deeper grooves of the teeth. Your dentist can give you information on a regular fluoride program for your child to help in the fight against tooth decay.
If you’ve visited the toothpaste aisle in your local store lately, you’ll find there is a huge variety of toothpastes available. Many of them are targeting multiple dental issues such as whitening with tartar control or freshening breath with whitening. It is the process of mechanically removing food particles off the surface of the teeth (and flossing between the teeth) that is most important. Allowing food particles to remain on the surface of your teeth is what allows the process of tooth decay to begin. The most important thing is regular brushing /flossing and using toothpaste that contains fluoride. Toothpaste choice is really about taste and personal preference. If you have sensitive teeth, there are also a number of toothpastes available to help alleviate sensitivity. Talk with your dentist for more information.
Flossing regularly in combination with brushing may be the single most important thing you can do for your mouth. It has been said that your mouth is a door to your body. Many things that enter the body come in through your mouth, whether it is food, liquids or bacteria. Bad and harmful bacteria, which are located in dental plaque, cannot be removed only by brushing alone and will remain in your mouth. Plaque is a soft and white accumulation of micro-organisms. It contains about 400 different species of bacteria, and billions of individual germs in each milligram of plaque. Some of these germs can be very damaging for the teeth or the gums when they gather in thick layers.
Dentists and dental hygienists always insist on the importance of flossing, and recommend doing it twice a day. Here are some good reasons why you should floss regularly:
Floss to prevent tooth decay. Dental plaque can cause cavities if it’s left between teeth. When mixed with sugar or starches, the bacteria that live in plaque can start the process of tooth decay. This is why it’s bad for plaque to be left in your mouth. Brushing alone does not clean in between teeth, only dental floss can remove plaque in those areas.
Floss to prevent gum disease. Gingivitis (inflammation of gums) is the first stage of gum disease (periodontal disease). It is caused by an accumulation of plaque around gums and between teeth. Flossing is important to remove all plaque accumulated on the teeth.
Floss to prevent halitosis. Dental plaque is one of the causes of halitosis (bad breath), and if it’s left between your teeth, it will generate a bad smell in your mouth. This odor comes from the metabolism of the bacteria contained in plaque. Bad breath can also be caused by gum disease and tooth decay (which are also primarily caused by plaque).
Floss to prevent tartar build-up. Tartar is actually dental plaque that has become hard from the saliva’s calcifying action. Good oral hygiene practices, which include brushing and flossing, can slow down the accumulation of tartar, but does not actually remove it. Some people produce more tartar than others. Regular dental cleanings are recommended to remove tartar.
Floss to reduce the risk of heart disease. Again, the mouth is an entry point to your body for harmful bacteria that may eventually reach your organs, including cardiac tissue. Dental plaque, which contains dangerous bacteria, must be eliminated to prevent those micro-organisms from reaching the heart through the blood stream and causing heart disease complications.
Floss to avoid the complications with diabetes. Scientific evidence shows that people who suffer from diabetes can have their condition complicated by gum disease. Diabetics usually have a weaker immune system and take more time to fight inflammations and infections, including the ones that start in the mouth. That’s why good oral hygiene, which includes daily brushing and flossing, is very important to prevent diseases, or disease complications, such as with diabetes.
Yes. Clinical studies show a strong relationship between dental infections and other infections in the body. We are learning that we must have good oral health in order to have good overall health. Your mouth is a doorway (or entry point) to your body. This is the ideal area for bacteria and infection to spread into other areas of your body. Studies also show a link between gum disease and heart disease as well as gum disease causing complications with diabetes.
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal or gum disease. Gum disease is a serious infection of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth. As the disease progresses, the bone that holds teeth in place is eroded away. Eventually this can lead to tooth loss, if the gum disease is not treated.
Symptoms include: Bleeding gums (blood on toothbrush even with gentle brushing of the teeth), bright red or reddish-purple appearance to gums, gums that are tender when touched, mouth sores, swollen gums, and shiny appearance to gums.
Clinical studies show a strong relationship between dental infections and other infections in the body. We are learning that we must have good oral health in order to have good overall health.
Gum disease is treated in a variety of ways depending on the stage, how you have responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health. Treatments range from nonsurgical therapies that control bacterial growth to surgery to restore supportive tissues. Ask your dentist for more information on gingivitis or visit our Gum Diseases/Periodontal page.
Oral cancer is a type of cancer that occurs on the lips, inside the mouth, on the back of the throat, the tonsils or salivary glands. It occurs more frequently in men than women, and it is most likely to affect people over 40 years of age. Smoking in combination with heavy alcohol use is a key risk factor. If not detected early, oral cancer can require surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. As with other cancers, oral cancer can also be fatal. Detecting oral cancer early improves the chances of successful treatment.
You may not be able to spot the earliest signs of oral cancer, which is why regular check-ups with both your dentist and physician are so important. Your dentist is trained to detect early warning signs of oral cancer. However, in addition to check-ups, you should see your dentist if you do notice any of the following: A sore on the lips, gums, or inside of your mouth that bleeds easily and doesn’t heal; a lump or thickening in the cheek that you can feel with your tongue; loss of feeling or numbness in any part of your mouth; white or red patches on the gums, tongue or inside of mouth; difficulty chewing or swallowing food; soreness or unexplained pain in your mouth; feeling that something is caught in your throat with no known cause; swelling of the jaw causing dentures to fit poorly; or a change in voice.
If you don’t chew or smoke tobacco — don’t start. Tobacco use accounts for the majority of oral cancers. Smoking also affects your general health, making it harder to fight infections and recover from injuries or surgery. Your oral health is also at risk every time you light up. Smoking cigarettes, a pipe or a cigar greatly increases your chances of developing cancer of the larynx, mouth, throat and esophagus. Because so many people are not aware of or ignore early symptoms, oral cancer often spreads before it is detected. It’s best to avoid smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes, chewing tobacco or dipping snuff. People who stop using tobacco, even after many years of use, greatly reduce their risk for oral cancer. Chronic and/or heavy use of alcohol also increases your risk of oral cancer, and alcohol combined with tobacco creates an especially high risk.
After a diagnosis has been made, a team of specialists (including an oral surgeon and dentist) develops a treatment plan to fit each patient’s needs. Surgery is usually required, followed by radiation and chemotherapy. It’s important to see a dentist who’s familiar with the changes these therapies may cause in the mouth.
When radiation therapy is used for the head and neck area, many people experience irritation in the mouth, dry mouth, difficulty in swallowing and changes in taste. Radiation also increases the chances of getting cavities, that’s why it is especially important to take good care of your teeth, gums, mouth and throat during radiation treatment. Be sure to talk regularly with your cancer specialist and dentist about any mouth problems you might have during and after radiation treatment. Also, discuss with your dentist, prior to starting head and neck cancer therapy, what you can do before, during and after your therapy to help prevent the possible oral side effects.
Be sure to brush with a soft toothbrush after meals and floss daily. Avoid spices and coarse foods like raw vegetables, dry crackers and nuts. Also avoid tobacco and alcohol. Eat or chew sugar-free gum or candy to keep your mouth moist. Before starting radiation therapy, notify your dentist and make an appointment for a complete checkup. Ask your dentist to consult with your radiation oncologist before your radiation treatment begins.
Any injury to the teeth or gums can be potentially serious and should not be ignored even if you are not currently experiencing pain. Ignoring a dental problem can increase the risk of permanent damage as well as the need for more extensive (and expensive) treatment later on. If you feel you are in need of urgent assistance please contact your dentist immediately and/or visit your closest emergency care facility.
Our Dental Emergencies page has a basic summary of the first steps to take when dealing with some common dental problems.