Stop tooth decay, fractures and gum disease in their tracks.
Latimer Dental Arts can help you halt the progression of tooth decay, fractures and gum disease with one or more of our general dentistry services described below. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Susan Latimer to learn more.
Lab-Fabricated Restorations (Inlays, Onlays or Crowns)
A dental inlay, onlay or crown, made from various kinds of ceramic or metal, is bonded to a structurally-damaged tooth to restore the tooth’s strength and functional integrity. Lab-fabricated restorations (inlays, onlays or crowns) require at least two appointments, are much stronger than resin fillings and preserve their appearance over time. These restorations fit better than resin fillings because they are fabricated outside the mouth.
How we can help: After Dr. Latimer prepares the tooth and places a temporary restoration, our certified lab technician fabricates your restoration with precise contours and shade according to our specifications and design. At your follow-up visit, the temporary restoration will be removed and the final restoration bonded in place.
Composite Resin Fillings
A small cavity, left untreated, can grow to destroy your natural enamel or infect a tooth’s nerve canal. Unlike our skin, teeth don’t heal naturally. Only professional dental restorations can stop your cavities from growing and return you to optimal oral health. A composite resin filling is usually recommended for smaller areas of decay or broken enamel. The resin material is tooth colored and matched to the shade of your natural enamel. Composite resin fillings can be completed in one appointment and serve the same purpose as lab-fabricated restorations, but the resin material will wear over time and become discolored or stained. Resin will deteriorate from grinding or other pressures, whereas ceramic or metal will not.
How we can help: To place a filling, Dr. Latimer will first prepare your tooth by removing any decay or broken areas. Some fillings don’t require anesthesia, but Dr. Latimer will make sure you’re comfortable during treatment. After the tooth is prepared, Dr. Latimer will insert a small amount of tooth-colored, composite resin into the cleaned cavity and, once the material hardens, will sculpt and polish the filling.
Periodontal’ refers to gum tissue, the soft pink skin that supports teeth and covers bones in the mouth. About 80 percent of American adults show early to late stages of gum disease, a bacterial infection that breaks down the bond between gums and teeth and eventually causes bone loss. Gum disease has serious overall health implications and is associated with increased potential for:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Diabetes complications
- Heart attack/heart disease
- Low-weight births
- Respiratory problems
- Tooth loss
How we can help: Depending on your level of gum disease, Dr. Latimer and our hygiene therapist will recommend an appropriate treatment. If you have mild gingivitis, changing your oral home care routine could solve the problem. However, a deep cleaning or scaling is often recommended for more advanced gum disease. This procedure involves scaling under the gum tissue to remove hardened plaque (tartar or calculus) and root planing to reduce rough areas on your teeth’s roots where bacteria can gather and flourish.
In some situations, you can avoid tooth extraction by having a root canal. An internally infected or inflamed tooth may be treatable. Inside every tooth, canals house the pulp (nerve) that sustains the tooth’s life. A deep cavity or crack can compromise the pulp and cause infection or inflammation. As infection and inflammation builds, the tooth begins to ache from internal pressure. At this point, Dr. Latimer will recommend extraction or treatment of the nerve canal.
How we can help: During root canal therapy, infection or inflammation is removed from the canals of a tooth. Medication is inserted into the emptied canal and then the tooth is restored to preserve its strength. A root canal is a common procedure that can often be completed in one visit. Our highest priority is maintaining your comfort throughout the procedure.
In some cases, extracting a tooth is the best treatment option to reduce crowding, prepare for dentures, or eliminate a dead or dying tooth.
How we can help: Extraction is a common procedure. You will receive analgesic or sedation to keep you comfortable throughout your procedure and then all parts of the tooth or teeth will be removed. Many times, a bone filling material (or bone graft) will be placed in the extraction site to promote proper healing. Afterwards, be sure to follow postoperative instructions closely so that your gums will heal promptly. If you have questions or concerns following an extraction, don’t hesitate to contact our office immediately.
Latimer Dental Arts wants to help you maintain a healthy smile. For more information about our general dentistry services, please email us or request an appointment with Dr. Susan Latimer, and we will be in touch with you shortly to finalize a day and time for your visit.