A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:
Professional Dental Cleaning
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
Age and wear As the body ages, so does the bite. Natural teeth wear at different rates from years of dental restorations. For example, fillings and crowns can be made from amalgam, precious metals, ceramics, or other materials. The different materials within your mouth wear at different rates and can cause improper alignment of the teeth, forcing the muscles and tendons to work harder to compensate for any imbalances. As we age, joints and cartilage are reduced in thickness. This changes angles and forces within the overall dentomandibular region.
Head, neck, or body trauma Vehicle accidents, sporting activities, or even your baby bumping his or her head against yours could cause force-related symptoms in the head, neck, and jaw. The list of events that can cause head trauma is long. Current symptoms may have been created years ago by an event long since forgotten or dismissed as minor. Head, neck, or jaw trauma could cause stretching or tearing of the ligaments and muscles along with other unseen or undiagnosed dental force imbalances and impairment.
Cosmetic dentistry is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your appearance. A beautiful, bright, healthy smile can increase self-confidence and overall life satisfaction. Many regular dental treatments can be cosmetic. Modern tooth-colored fillings are virtually invisible when compared to traditional silver fillings. Tooth-colored crowns or caps can be placed instead of gold or silver. Read on to discover some of the best treatments we can use to greatly improve your smile and the way you feel about yourself.
Dr. Paz is a firm believer that in most cases, no permanent teeth need to be extracted in order for you to have orthodontic treatment. Invisalign® is a clear alternative to braces. Average treatment time is 11-14 months. If you have always wanted a beautiful, healthy smile but don't want all that metal in your mouth, then Invisalign® is for you. Stop waiting, start smiling! Invisalign® isn’t just for adults. Teens can be treated with Invisalign® as long as their 12 year molars are completely erupted. We have patients in treatment ranging in ages from 12 to 75. Invisalign® is an invisible way to straighten your teeth, without all that painful hardware. It’s removable, so you can still enjoy the foods you love, and you can keep you teeth much cleaner and your gums healthier. Upon doctor approval the aligners are manufactured and you are your way to the smile you've always wanted. If you have orthodontic coverage with your dental insurance company, they will pay their portion on Invisalign, as they would with traditional braces. Many insurance companies have age limits, so don’t wait until it’s too late. Call us today and schedule a consultation. Smile with confidence.
Most patients do not consider a Dentist to solve a chronic case of sleep apnea or snoring, but there are measures that can be taken. Numerous documented cases have linked sleep apnea to an increase chance for heart attack, stroke, high-blood pressure, and diabetes. If this sounds like you or your loved one, please consider a consulation with Dr. Paz. Dental impressions of the upper and lower teeth are taken to create a custom oral appliance, that may significantly improve or eliminate obstructive sleep apnea and snoring my opening the air passage.
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. The term sleep apnea is derived from the Greek etymology meaning “without breath”. Breathing pauses can last anywhere from several seconds to minutes, and happen as often as 30 times or more per hour. Ongoing disrupted breathing causes an imbalance between the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the bloodstream, as not enough carbon dioxide is exiting and not enough oxygen is entering the body.
Sensing this imbalance, the brain sends a message to the body, telling it to wake up to restart breathing the process. People with sleep apnea will partially awake as they struggle to breathe, and this is often accompanied by loud snoring or choking sensations. Because people with sleep apnea don’t always completely awake during the episodes, they are often unaware they have a sleeping disorder and it can remain undiagnosed.
There are two main types of this disorder; central sleep apnea which occurs when the brain fails to send important signals to the breathing muscles, and obstructive sleep apnea which occurs when air cannot flow through the nose or mouth even though the body is still trying to breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea is far more prevalent and easily treatable by the dentist.
Common signs of obstructive sleep apnea can include severe early morning headaches, sleepiness in the daytime, and insomnia. Fortunately, the dentist is equipped with the necessary technology and expertise to treat sleep apnea in several different ways.
Reason for treating sleep apnea
It is very important to seek medical attention if sleep apnea is suspected. A sufferer can completely stop numerous times per hour, and this can quickly turn into a deadly situation. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue lying at the back of the patient’s throat collapses into the airway. The tongue then falls towards the back of the throat which tightens the blockage and prevents oxygen from entering the lungs.
The problem worsens when the chest region, diaphragm, and abdomen fight for air. The efforts they make to obtain vital oxygen only cause a further tightening of the blockage. The patient must arouse from deep sleep to tense the tongue and remove the soft tissue from the airway.
Because sleep apnea causes carbon dioxide levels to skyrocket in the blood and oxygen levels to decrease, the heart has to pump harder and faster to compensate for the lack of oxygen. Sleep apnea patients can technically “die” many times each night. Sleep apnea has been linked to a series of serious heart-related conditions, and should be investigated by the dentist at the earliest opportunity.
What does sleep apnea treatment involve?
Initially, the dentist will want to conduct tests in order to investigate, diagnose, and pinpoint a suitable treatment. The dentist can offer many different treatment options which depend largely on the exact diagnosis and the health of the patient. The dentist may advise the patient to halt some habits that aggravate sleep apnea such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and tranquilizer use.
Sleeping masks were traditionally used to keep the patient’s airways open while they slept, but nowadays there are some less intrusive options. Dental devices that gently tease the lower jaw forward are very effective in preventing the tongue from blocking the main air passage. These dental devices are gentle, easy to wear, and often help patients avoid unwanted surgeries.
A more permanent solution is to have surgery that sections the lower jaw and helps pull the bone holding the tongue forward slightly. This surgery has an impressive success rate and is simple for the dentist or oral surgeon to perform. The dentist needs to formally make a diagnosis of each individual case before recommending the best course of action.
A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.
Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain (tooth colored crown) are the most popular, because they resemble your natural teeth. They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile.
Reasons for crowns:
A denture is a removable dental appliance replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They are made to closely resemble your natural teeth and may even enhance your smile.
There are two types of dentures - complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. A Partial denture not only fills in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from shifting.
A Complete denture may be either “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional type is made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed, usually taking 4 to 6 weeks. During this time the patient will go without teeth. Immediate dentures are made in advance and immediately placed after the teeth are removed, thus preventing the patient from having to be without teeth during the healing process. Once the tissues shrink and heal, adjustments will have to be made.
Dentures are very durable appliances and will last many years, but may have to be remade, repaired, or readjusted due to normal wear.
Reasons for dentures:
What does getting dentures involve?
The process of getting dentures requires several appointments, usually over several weeks. Highly accurate impressions (molds) and measurements are taken and used to create your custom denture. Several “try-in” appointments may be necessary to ensure proper shape, color, and fit. At the final appointment, your dentist will precisely adjust and place the completed denture, ensuring a natural and comfortable fit.
It is normal to experience increased saliva flow, some soreness, and possible speech and chewing difficulty, however this will subside as your muscles and tissues get used to the new dentures.
You will be given care instructions for your new dentures. Proper cleaning of your new dental appliance, good oral hygiene, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new dentures.
Tooth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.
Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is using a home tooth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically. Since tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth.
Tooth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up maybe needed every several years, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.
Reasons for tooth whitening:
What does tooth whitening involve?
This type of tooth whitening usually requires two visits. At the first appointment, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth to fabricate custom, clear plastic, trays.
At your second appointment, you will try on the trays for proper fit, and adjustments will be made if necessary. The trays are worn with special whitening solution either twice a day for 30 minutes or overnight for a couple of weeks depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening. It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching.
You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays, and be encouraged to visit your dentist regularly to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, white smile.
If you are missing one or more teeth or wear partial or full dentures, dental implants can be the perfect solution. An implant is a titanium screw that is placed in your jaw where it functions like a tooth root and stimulates the bone and tissue to keep them from disintegrating. An abutment is fastened to the implanted screw and an artificial tooth is attached to the abutment that protrudes from the gum. Once the artificial tooth is placed on the abutment, it looks, feels and functions like a natural tooth. Dental implants can also be used to secure partial or full dentures and instead of attaching an artificial tooth to the abutment, the dental plate or partial is fitted with an O-ring that snaps on to the abutment.
Periodontal Disease, or gum disease, is a serious infection in your gums that is mainly caused by bacterial plaque that is constantly forming on your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed by brushing, flossing and regular dental cleanings, it can turn to tartar—a hard substance that can only be removed by a dentist. When left in your mouth, plaque and tartar can cause inflammation of your gums which can develop into infections below the gum line causing the gum to separate from your teeth creating pockets that become infected and can even fill with pus. Since periodontal disease is created by plaque and tartar buildup on your gums, good dental hygiene is a must in preventing gum disease. And along with good daily oral hygiene habits, regular visits to your dentist for checkups and professional cleanings involving scaling and root planing that will remove plaque or tartar buildup, will help keep your gums healthy and free of periodontal disease and infections.
Use porcelain veneers to completely reshape your teeth for a beautiful, white smile.
The Solution: A porcelain laminate (often called a veneer) is a thin shell of porcelain that covers the front of each tooth. They bond directly to the front of the tooth, similar to the way artificial fingernails work. Each porcelain veneer is a work of art, carefully crafted in a laboratory to fit your individual smile.
Advantages: In the hands of a highly skilled dentist, porcelain veneers can provide you with an incredibly natural, beautiful smile. They are virtually undetectable and can dramatically improve your appearance. They are durable and long-lasting when compared to other cosmetic treatments.
Disadvantages: Although they are highly durable, porcelain veneers are not permanent. Well crafted laminates will last many years, but will eventually need to be replaced.
Alternatives: Porcelain veneers are an excellent investment. However, they are not appropriate for teeth with excessive decay. In those cases, porcelain crowns are the only alternative. In the event that you desire only to improve tooth alignment, orthodontic treatment may be another alternative.