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Dental Care in Athol, Massachusetts

Our Goal is to provide the highest quality dental care in a caring environment while educating our patients and attending to their individual needs.

Dental Treatment

Dental Exam
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:
• Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
• Oral cancer screening: Cheek the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
• Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
• Examination of tooth decay: All teeth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
• Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Professional dental cleanings, (dental prophylaxis), are usually performed by a Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
• Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth's surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
• Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky and almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produces toxins (poisons) that inflames the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
• Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
Fluoride Treatment
Fluoride, is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride, have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health professional organizations.
Fluoride Works In Two Ways:
Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted, by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. We gain topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as: toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. Dentists and dental hygienists, generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.
Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies. It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form, and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through teen years. It is very important to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments, for the following reasons:
• Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
• Exposed and sensitive root surfaces.
• Fair to poor oral hygiene habits.
• Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake.
• Inadequate exposure to fluorides.
• Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications.
• Recent history of dental decay.
Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay! It is important to, brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.

Sealants

A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. More than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves. Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves while creating a smooth and easy to clean surface.
Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits.
Reasons For Sealants:
• Children and teenagers - As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6-16.
• Adults - Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep grooves or depressions.
• Baby teeth - Occasionally done if teeth have deep grooves or depressions, and child are also cavity prone.
What Do Sealants Involve?
Sealants are easily applied by your dentist or dental hygienist, and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth .
The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly, cleaned, and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry. A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface, to cover the deep grooves or depressions. Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a special curing light.
Proper home care: a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.

Home Care

A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients. Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. Your personal home care starts by: eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat, and correctly using the various dental aids that help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Tooth brushing - Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
1. Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
2. Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
3. Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
4. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
Flossing - Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing, not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
1. Take 12-16 inches (30cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
2. Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
3. Curve the floss into a "C" shape around each tooth and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
Rinsing - It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it's a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.
Use other dental aids as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist: Interdental brushes, rubber tip stimulators, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, medicated rinses, etc., can all play a role in good dental home care.

Porcelain Onlays

A onlay restoration, is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. Porcelain onlays, are popular because they resemble your natural teeth. An onlay is sometimes also referred to as a partial crown. Porcelain onlays are made by in a professional dental laboratory, and is permanently cemented onto the tooth by your dentist.
Onlays, can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Onlays are an ideal alternative to crowns, (caps), because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of onlays. Onlays are essentially identical to inlays, with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration.
With most dental restorations, onlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.
Reasons For Onlay Restorations:
• Broken or fractured teeth.
• Cosmetic enhancement.
• Decayed teeth.
• Fractured fillings.
• Large fillings.
What does getting an onlay involve?
An onlay procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom onlay and a temporary restoration.
While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an onlay restoration. A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your onlay is made by a dental laboratory.
At your second appointment, your new onlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable.
You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new onlay.

Porcelain Crowns (Caps)

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:
• Broken or fractured teeth.
• Cosmetic enhancement.
• Decayed teeth.
• Fractured fillings.
• Large fillings.
• Tooth has a root canal.
What Does Getting A Crown Involve?
A crown procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate molds (or impressions) that will be used to create your custom crown. A mold will also be used to create a temporary crown which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.
While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. Once these details are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure you are biting properly.
At your second appointment your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.
You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your new crown.

Porcelain Veneers

Veneers are very thin pieces of durable, tooth shaped porcelain that are custom made (for shape and color) by a professional dental laboratory. They are bonded onto the front of teeth to create a beautiful and attractive smile.
Veneers can completely reshape your teeth and smile. They can often be alternatives to crowns and the ideal solution in treating many dental conditions.
As with most dental restorations, veneers are not permanent and may someday need replacement. They are very durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.
Reasons For Porcelain Veneers:
• Cosmetically, to create a uniform, white, beautiful smile.
• Crooked teeth.
• Misshapen teeth.
• Severely discolored or stained teeth.
• Teeth that are too small or large.
• Unwanted or uneven spaces.
• Worn or chipped teeth.
What Does Getting Porcelain Veneers Involve?
Getting veneers usually requires two visits to complete the process, with little or no anesthesia required during the procedure. The teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the surface to allow for the thickness of the veneer. A mold or impression of the teeth is taken and a shade (color) will then be chosen by you and the dentist.
On the second visit the teeth will be cleansed with special liquids to achieve a durable bond. Bonding cement is then placed between the tooth and veneer and a special light beam is used to harden and set the bond.
You will receive care instructions for veneers. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new veneers.

Composite Fillings

A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.
As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.
Reasons For Composite Fillings:
• Chipped teeth.
• Closing space between two teeth.
• Cracked or broken teeth.
• Decayed teeth.
• Worn teeth.
How Are Composite Fillings Placed?
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished; restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.

Tooth Whitening

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:
• Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development).
• Normal wear of outer tooth layer.
• Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.).
• Yellow, brown stained teeth.
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.

Fixed Bridges

A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.
There are several types of bridges. You and your dentist will discuss the best options for your particular case. The "traditional bridge" is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. This type of bridge consists to two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to pontics (artificial teeth), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years, however they may need replacement or need to be recemented due to normal wear.
Reasons For A Fixed Bridge:
• Fill space of missing teeth.
• Maintain facial shape.
• Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.
• Restore chewing and speaking ability.
• Restore your smile.
• Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance.
What Does Getting A Fixed Bridge Involve?
Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits. While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.
At the second visit, you permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit. Occasionally your dentist may only temporarily cement the bridge, allowing your teeth and tissue time to get used to the new bridge. The new bridge will be permanently cemented at a later time.
You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of the procedure. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new permanent bridge.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances.
Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth (usually titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by a dentist or Periodontist - a specialist of the gums and supporting bone. The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient's smile!
Dental implants are very strong, stable, and durable and will last many years, but on occasion, they will have to be retightened or replaced due to normal wear.
Reasons For Dental Implants:
• Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
• Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.
• Restore a patient's confident smile.
• Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
• Restore or enhance facial tissues.
• Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable.
What Does Getting Dental Implants Involve?
The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.
X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself onto the bone for up to six months. Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the "post" that will hold the artificial tooth in place. With other implants the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.
After several weeks of healing the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete. After a healing period, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.
You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant.

Periodontal Disease, Heart Disease and Stroke

Periodontal disease, heart disease and stroke may seem to be unlikely bedfellows, but researchers have found that gum disease sufferers are nearly twice as likely to also suffer from coronary heart disease. In addition, research studies have discovered that oral infection is indeed a risk factor for stroke. People diagnosed with acute cerebrovascular ischemia were more likely to also be experiencing some degree of periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition in which the gingival tissue surrounding the teeth is infected by the colonization of bacteria. Bacteria found in plaque colonize first above, then below the gumline causing the tissue to pull away from the teeth. If periodontal disease is left untreated, deep pockets form between the gums and the teeth and the tissue of the underlying jawbone is also destroyed. The destruction of bone tissue causes the teeth to shift, wobble or completely detach from the bone.
Coronary heart disease occurs when the walls of the coronary arteries become progressively thicker due to the buildup of fatty proteins. The heart then suffers from a lack of oxygen and must labor significantly harder to pump blood to the rest of the body. Coronary heart disease sufferers sometimes experience blood clots which obstruct normal blood flow and reduce the amount of vital nutrients and oxygen the heart needs to function properly. This phenomenon often leads to heart attacks.
Reasons For The Connection
There is little doubt that the presence of periodontal disease can exacerbate existing heart conditions. The periodontist and cardiologist generally work as a team in order to treat individuals experiencing both conditions.
There are several theories which may explain the link between heart disease, stroke and periodontal disease, which includes the following:
Oral bacteria affect the heart - There are many different strains of periodontal bacteria. Researchers assert that some of these strains of bacteria enter the bloodstream and attach to the fatty plaques in the heart blood vessels (coronary arteries). This attachment then contributes to clot formation causing grave danger to the individual.
Inflammation - Periodontal disease causes severe inflammation in the gum tissue which elevates the white blood cell count and also the high sensitivity C-reactive protein levels. Research studies have shown that elevated levels of C-reactive proteins have been linked to heart disease.
Infectious susceptibility - Individuals who experience particularly high levels of oral bacteria may have weaker immune systems and an inadequate host inflammatory response. These factors may induce specific vascular effects which have previously been shown to contribute in the onset of certain forms of heart disease.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Since periodontal disease appears to be a risk factor for both heart attack and stroke, it is extremely important to seek immediate treatment. Initially, the periodontist will conduct thorough examinations to assess the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone. X-rays can be helpful in determining whether bone loss is prevalent in the upper and lower jaw.

The dentist is able to conduct deep cleaning treatments such as scaling and root planing to remove hardened calculus (tartar) deposits from the gum pockets. An antibiotic may be prescribed to ensure that the bacterium is completely destroyed and the periodontal infection does not spread. In most cases, periodontal disease can be prevented with regular cleanings and proper home care.

If you have questions or concerns about periodontal disease and its relation to heart disease and stroke, please ask your dentist.

What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

The term "periodontal"means "around the tooth." Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a common inflammatory condition which affects the supporting and surrounding soft tissues of the tooth; also the jawbone itself when in its most advanced stages.
Periodontal disease is most often preceded by gingivitis which is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. A bacterial infection affects the gums when the toxins contained in plaque begin to irritate and inflame the gum tissues. Once this bacterial infection colonizes in the gum pockets between the teeth, it becomes much more difficult to remove and treat. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that eventually leads to the destruction of the connective tissue and jawbone. If left untreated, it can lead to shifting teeth, loose teeth and eventually tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world and should always be promptly treated.
Types Of Periodontal Disease
When left untreated, gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) can spread to below the gum line. When the gums become irritated by the toxins contained in plaque, a chronic inflammatory response causes the body to break down and destroy its own bone and soft tissue. There may be little or no symptoms as periodontal disease causes the teeth to separate from the infected gum tissue. Deepening pockets between the gums and teeth are generally indicative that soft tissue and bone is being destroyed by periodontal disease.
Here are some of the most common types of periodontal disease:
Chronic periodontitis - Inflammation within supporting tissues cause deep pockets and gum recession. It may appear the teeth are lengthening, but in actuality, the gums (gingiva) are receding. This is the most common form of periodontal disease and is characterized by progressive loss of attachment, interspersed with periods of rapid progression.
Aggressive periodontitis - This form of gum disease occurs in an otherwise clinically healthy individual. It is characterized by rapid loss of gum attachment, chronic bone destruction and familial aggregation.
Necrotizing periodontitis - This form of periodontal disease most often occurs in individuals suffering from systemic conditions such as HN, immunosuppression and malnutrition. Necrosis (tissue death) occurs in the periodontal ligament, alveolar bone and gingival tissues.
Periodontitis caused by systemic disease - This form of gum disease often begins at an early age. Medical condition such as respiratory disease, diabetes and heart disease are common cofactors.
Treatment For Periodontal Disease
There are many surgical and nonsurgical treatments the periodontist may choose to perform, depending upon the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone. A complete periodontal exam of the mouth will be done before any treatment is performed or recommended.
Here are some of the more common treatments for periodontal disease:
Scaling and root planing - In order to preserve the health of the gum tissue, the bacteria and calculus (tartar) which initially caused the infection, must be removed. The gum pockets will be cleaned and treated with antibiotics as necessary to help alleviate the infection. A prescription mouthwash may be incorporated into daily cleaning routines.
Tissue regeneration - When the bone and gum tissues have been destroyed, regrowth can be actively encouraged using grafting procedures. A membrane may be inserted into the affected areas to assist in the regeneration process.
Pocket elimination surgery - Pocket elimination surgery (also known as flap surgery) is a surgical treatment which can be performed to reduce the pocket size between the teeth and gums. Surgery on the jawbone is another option which serves to eliminate indentations in the bone which foster the colonization of bacteria.
Dental implants - When teeth have been lost due to periodontal disease, the aesthetics and functionality of the mouth can be restored by implanting prosthetic teeth into the jawbone. Tissue regeneration procedures may be required prior to the placement of a dental implant in order to strengthen the bone.
Ask your dentist if you have questions or concerns about periodontal disease, periodontal treatment, or dental implants.

Diagnosis and Treatment

It is of paramount importance for people suffering from any type of diabetes to see the dentist at least twice yearly for checkups and professional cleanings. Studies have shown that simple non-surgical periodontal treatments can lower the HbA1c (hemoglobin molecule blood test) count by as much as 20% in a six month period.
The dentist will use medical history, family history and dental X-rays to assess the risk factors for periodontal disease and determine the exact condition of the gums, teeth and underlying jawbone. If necessary the dentist will work in conjunction with other doctors to ensure that both the diabetes and the gum disease are being managed and controlled as effectively as possible.
Non-surgical procedures performed by the dentist and dental hygienist include deep scaling, where calculus (tartar) will be removed from the teeth above and below the gum line, and root planing, where the root of the tooth is smoothed down to eliminate any remaining bacteria. Antibiotics may be applied to the gum pockets to promote healing.
Before and after periodontal treatment, the dentist and hygienist will recommend proper home care and oral maintenance as well as prescribing prescription mouthwashes which serve to deter further bacteria colonization.
If you have questions or concerns about diabetes or periodontal disease, please ask your dentist.

Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.
Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.
Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.
Signs And Symptoms For Possible Root Canal Therapy:
• An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
• Sensitivity to hot and cold.
• Severe toothache pain.
• Sometimes no symptoms are present.
• Swelling and/or tenderness.
Reasons For Root Canal Therapy:
• Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
• Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
• Injury or trauma to the tooth.
What Does Root Canal Therapy Involve?
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).
While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.
Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.
At the next appointment, usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials. A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.
After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.

Digital X-Rays

Dental radiographs (x-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Digital X-Rays May Reveal:
• Abscesses or cysts.
• Bone loss.
• Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
• Decay between the teeth.
• Developmental abnormalities.
• Poor tooth and root positions.
• Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Technology is constantly improving in dentistry! We strive to be up to date with the latest and greatest in dental technology!

Dentures/Partial Dentures

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:
Complete Denture - Loss of all teeth in an arch.
Partial Denture - Loss of several teeth in an arch.
• Enhancing smile and facial tissues.
• Improving chewing, speech, and digestion.
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 [mal 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.

Orthodontics

Orthodontic Treatment improves:
Health - When teeth are crooked they are harder to clean. Crooked teeth can lead to increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay. When teeth are straight, they are healthier and easier to clean.
Function - When teeth do not fit together properly, it can result in excessive wear and damage to the enamel.
Stability - When teeth and jaws fit together properly, the bite is stabilized and feels more comfortable and prevents unwanted tooth movement.
Aesthetics - Having crooked teeth decreases a person's self-confidence and can affect how you are viewed by others. A beautiful straight smile increases confidence and self-esteem.
Braces can improve a smile at any age
The American Association of Orthodontics, recommends that every child should have an orthodontic screening by the age of 7. Many orthodontic problems, can be treated earlier and much easier by utilizing the natural growth process. This allows for the correction of problems that would be more difficult to address after facial growth is complete.

Adults are excellent orthodontic candidates as well. The biologic process of moving teeth does not change from a child to an adult. If you have always wanted a straighter beautiful smile, or if you have problems with your bite that is affecting your dental health, orthodontics is a great choice.
Schedule an appointment today for quality dental care based in Athol, Massachusetts.