Schmitt Family Dentistry

Services & Treatments

Click on the name of a specific dental treatment to learn more about it:

 Prophylaxis:

A prophylaxis or “prophy” is a professional cleaning that removes the plaque and calculus (tartar) that builds up on teeth above the gumline and slightly below the gumline. Calculus left untreated can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. A prophy should be done about every 6 months for people with healthy gums and teeth.

 Scaling & Root Planing:

Scaling and root planing, also known as a deep cleaning, is a type of cleaning that removes calculus located deep below the gumline. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is when the bone holding your teeth in place begins to dissolve away. Buildup of calculus is the chief cause of periodontal disease. Smoking and poorly controlled diabetes are contributing factors. If you have moderate or severe periodontal disease, the dentist may refer you to a periodontist (gum specialist dentist).

 Radiographs (x-rays):

Radiographs along with a thorough exam are used to determine the health of your teeth, gums, bone, and entire oral cavity. There are several types of radiographs that may be recommended:

  • Bitewing radiographs: 2 or 4 radiographs on back teeth used primarily to detect cavities that are between teeth. They also show the bone levels surrounding your teeth. These are often needed at the first appointment in order to properly diagnose all decay. In order to detect decay while it is still small, it is recommended to have updated bitewings every 2-3 years for adults and 1-2 years for children.
  • Periapical radiograph: A single radiograph that shows the entire tooth—from the biting surface down to the end of the root. These are primarily used to check for possible tooth infections.
  • Complete Mouth Series: 2 or 4 Bitewings and 14-16 periapicals. If you have had significant amounts of dental work in the past or it’s apparent you may need a significant amount of treatment, a complete mouth series may be required at your initial visit in order to accurately diagnose all problems and to create an appropriate treatment plan.
  • Pantomograph: A large radiograph that shows your entire face in one image. These are usually made to show locations of impacted wisdom teeth or to show every tooth on one image for oral surgery cases.

 Sealants:

Sealants are thin coats of plastic that are placed over the deep pits and grooves on the chewing surface of molars in order to prevent food from being trapped and causing cavities. Sealants are often done on children, especially if they have had cavities in the past. They are a very cost effective means of preventing cavities.

 Fillings:

A filling is a material used to restore a tooth back to its normal function when it has been damaged. A filling may be needed if a tooth is decayed or fractured. If the tooth is decayed, the tooth is numbed and decay removed. A filling is then used to “fill in” the hole. Strong, durable amalgam is usually the material of choice for back teeth. White composites are usually used for front teeth.

If the fracture or decay causes a tooth to lose more than 50% of its structure, a crown may be needed.

 Dentures:

dentureDentures are removable prostheses that are needed when large numbers of teeth have been lost. These should not be thought of as a replacement for teeth, but as an alternative to having no or very few teeth. A partial denture is used when some of the teeth in an arch are missing.







 Crown (cap):

crownA crown is a prosthetic that surrounds the tooth in order to keep it from fracturing. Teeth at risk from fracture include teeth that have large cavities, large fillings, and teeth that have had root canal treatment. Crowns can be made of precious metals, precious metals with a veneer of white porcelain, or entirely of porcelain depending on the clinical situation. If you need a crown, your tooth will be numbed, shaped into the proper shape, an impression of the tooth is made, and then a temporary crown is placed. These crowns are custom made in a dental laboratory and take about 2 weeks until completed. Once the crown has been crafted, the temporary crown will be removed and the permanent crown will be cemented in place.



 Bridge:

bridgeA bridge is several crowns fused together and is used to replace missing teeth.







 Implant:

An implant is another treatment option for a missing tooth. An implant is a titanium screw that is put into your jaw. A titanium post is later inserted into the implant and a crown is built on top of that post. This prevents the need to shave down the teeth next to the missing tooth as a bridge requires. Implants require a team approach between the general dentist, the oral surgeon, and often a prosthodontist (implant specialist).

 Root Canal:

Root canal treatment is needed when decay has been left too long without treatment and reaches the pulp (nerve and blood supply) of the tooth. Sometimes it is needed when a tooth has been traumatized, such as in a sports accident, or if a past filling was very deep. During root canal treatment, the pulp of the tooth is removed. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. An inert rubber material called gutta percha is then used to fill the space previously occupied by the pulp. Eventually a crown or filling is needed to prevent the tooth from getting reinfected or fracturing. If you require a root canal, you will be referred to an endodontist (root canal specialist).

 Extraction:

Unfortunately, sometimes teeth cannot be saved and must be extracted. Reasons that a tooth may need to be extracted include large cavities, advanced gum disease, infection, fractured tooth, and as part of orthodontic treatment. If a tooth needs to be extracted, the tooth will be thoroughly numbed. Then the tooth is gently wiggled out. Rarely, you may need a few sutures to help the healing. Depending on the expected degree of difficulty, you may be referred to an oral surgeon.

 Partials:

partialPartials are removable prostheses that are needed when large numbers of teeth have been lost. These should not be thought of as a replacement for teeth, but as an alternative to having no or very few teeth. A partial denture is used when some of the teeth in an arch are missing.


 
 
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