Services at Comstock Family Dentistry
Your local, full-service, high-quality dentistry for the entire family.
We offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and topical anesthesia (prior to local anesthesia) for your comfort before all procedures upon request.
A teeth cleaning (also called a prophylaxis), is typically performed every six months. This removes plaque, calculus (solidified plaque that firmly adheres to the tooth) and staining that cannot be removed by your toothbrush or floss. During the cleaning we will use ultrasonic and hand scaling instruments to break up and remove these deposits gently and effectively. Lastly, the teeth are polished with a special paste that smooths the surfaces of the teeth, making them more resistant to plaque and calculus accumulation.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a procedure that is used to treat gum disease. When you don’t clean your teeth well enough, excessive amounts of plaque can build up. The bacteria in this excess plaque can cause your gums to become inflamed, which is what leads to gum disease. The inflammation will cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, resulting in the formation of little pockets. Plaque becomes lodged in these pockets, which is problematic as you cannot remove it by simply brushing and flossing on your own. If untreated, this can lead to bone loss, and ultimately tooth loss. But don’t worry, as long as you stay up to date on your dental appointments, your dental hygienist should be able to prevent bone and/or tooth loss by using the scaling and root planing procedure. Scaling removes the plaque that forms in the pockets below the gum line. Root planing smooths the roots, making it easier for the gums to reattach to the teeth.
While brushing and flossing are the most important measures you need to take to prevent cavities, it can be difficult to adequately clean every surface of your teeth. This is especially true for your molars, which are the back teeth that you use to chew your food. What’s more, molars have uneven surfaces, making them perfect places for leftover food and plaque to deposit. If untreated, this can lead to the formation of cavities in your molars. Fortunately, sealants can help prevent this from happening. Sealants are thin, protective coatings that are made from dental materials. They adhere to the surfaces of your molars, making it difficult for leftover food and plaque to deposit. Sealants are especially helpful in children, as kids tend to have a difficult time remembering to brush and floss well on a regular basis. Ask your dentist if sealants are an option for you!
Root Canals (Endodontic Therapy)
Teeth that have sustained nerve damage through extensive decay, fracture, or trauma are treated by a procedure known as a “Root Canal”. Injury or decay causes the canal inside of the root of the tooth to become irritated, inflamed, and eventually die (which we call pulp necrosis). This is usually very painful and can lead to swelling and/or serious infection. However, in some cases of pulp necrosis, you may not have any visible signs or symptoms until it is discovered by your dentist during a routine exam.
A root canal will remove the damaged nerve, and then clean out and seal the canals where the nerve was originally housed. This alleviates the pain and eliminates infection while preserving the tooth. After a root canal is done, teeth require some form of permanent filling covered by a crown to protect them from fracturing. Occasionally, a metal post must be placed in the canal to help anchor the crown to the root.
Dentures are false teeth made to replace teeth you have lost. They can be complete or partial; complete dentures cover your entire upper or lower jaw, whereas partial dentures replace one or a few teeth. Dentures may feel strange at first. Speaking and eating may feel slightly different. Be careful when wearing dentures, as they may make it difficult to feel warm/hot foods and liquids. In addition, you may not notice when you are biting down on something hard, such as a chicken or fish bone.
At first, your dentist may want to see you often to ensure that the dentures fit properly. Over time, your mouth will change and you may need to have your dentures adjusted or replaced. Be sure to let your dentist handle these adjustments; don’t try to do it on your own!
If your dentures move too much in your mouth, denture adhesive may help. In some cases, your dentist may suggest that you switch to dental implants. Implants are permanent, and they replace both roots and teeth. Keep your dentures clean and free from food that can cause stains, bad breath, or swollen gums. Brush them every day with a denture brush, but do NOT use toothpaste to clean your dentures, as this may wear them down. At night, take your dentures out of your mouth and place them in water with fluoride mouthwash or a denture cleaning product.
Dental implants are used as a long-term solution to replace missing teeth. They are permanently integrated into your jawbone, similar to your natural teeth. Dental implants will also help to maintain existing bone levels in the jaw. If properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime. Once implants are successfully integrated into the bone, a restoration can be placed on top of them in the form of a single tooth or several teeth. Additionally, they can be used to lock in dentures.
A bridge is made up of two or more crowns attached to each other that is used to replace missing teeth. It consists of anchor teeth on either side of a gap with a false tooth/teeth in between. The crowns can be made from gold, porcelain, or zirconia. Dental bridges can be supported by natural teeth or implants.
Extractions and Oral Pain Assessments
Oral pain can be very disruptive to nearly all aspects of your daily life. Difficulty chewing, bleeding, bad breath, and ulcers can be caused by a variety of issues. It’s important to address these issues as soon as you notice them.
You may need to have a tooth extracted for a number of reasons, such as decay, injury, or as part of an orthodontic treatment. Whatever the reason, you can have your extraction completed in our office. During the procedure, we will use an appropriate anesthetic to minimize any discomfort or pain.
Composite Fillings and Crowns
A filling is used to treat a small hole, or cavity, in a tooth. To repair a cavity, a dentist removes the decayed tooth tissue and then fills the space with a special restorative material.
There are several types of filling material that are currently available to repair cavities, including tooth- colored (composite) fillings and silver-colored (amalgam) fillings. Composite resin materials are increasingly being used due to peoples’ preferences for tooth-colored fillings
Occasionally, a tooth is too damaged to be repaired with just a simple filling. In these cases, a crown may be put on top of these teeth to protect them from breaking. Crowns can be made of gold, porcelain, zirconia, or stainless steel (which are almost always used on baby teeth).
Courtesy of MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and NIDCR