|We are pleased to offer the following services to our patients:
ROUTINE DENTAL CLEANINGS Maintaining good oral hygiene is important for your overall health as well as being able to eat and speak properly. There is overwhelming evidence linking gum disease with certain medical conditions such as diabetes. The hygiene department at the office of Dr. Sylvia Martinez is very experienced and well trained to help you improve and maintain good oral health. For patient comfort we use a needle-free local anesthetic called ORAQIX to numb those areas that require deep cleaning below the gum line.
In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems. These include:
NON-SURGICAL GUM TREATMENT If Dr. Martinez determines that you need more advanced gum treatment than a routine cleaning she may recommend a nonsurgical deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) and possibly localized antibiotic placement. If the gum disease is very advanced it may require surgical intervention. The gums, ligaments and bone around the teeth form the foundation for our teeth. When the supporting structures are not healthy it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy supporting tooth structure include: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these may signal a problem. With proper gum treatments, however, it may be possible to return gum tissue to a healthy state.
HALITOSIS Halitosis is sophisticated word for “bad breath”. Depending on the cause, bad breath may strike on occasion or may be a more persistent condition. The most common cause of bad breath is bacteria. Because the mouth is moist and warm, it creates perfect conditions for the millions of bacteria that live in the mouth. In fact, approximately 80% of bad breath is caused by something in the mouth. Bad breath caused by bacteria in the mouth can easily be treated. Brushing your teeth, tongue and gums after meals as well as flossing and rinsing with mouthwash will usually take care of the problem. Regular visits to the dentist should be made for dental examinations and for professional teeth and gum cleaning. Some types of bad breath, such as “morning mouth,” are considered fairly normal and are not usually health concerns. However, persistent bad breath may be a sign of more serious problems with the gums and teeth.
Bad breath may be caused by the following
Call our office promptly if you have bad breath with painful, swollen gums that bleed easily or loose teeth. We will perform a physical examination of your mouth to determine the cause. If we discover that systematic problems are the cause, we may refer you to your family physician. In severe cases of gum disease, we may recommend a doctor specialized to treat gum disease called a periodontist.
SEALANTS Sealants fill in narrow grooves and pits on a tooth’s chewing surface that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. These fine grooves or pits can accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn’t brush, but because they’re too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. Cavities could develop in these areas over time, so the dentist will apply a noninvasive, painless coating to seal and protect those areas from decay.
BONDING Bonding is a noninvasive, painless procedure that involves applying and contouring tooth colored composite resin material to your existing tooth structure. This is done to repair damage to the tooth by wear or erosion, to improve esthetics by closing gaps between the teeth, or change the shape or color of your teeth.
FILLINGS A filling is a cost effective way to repair a tooth that has been damaged by decay or erosion. In our office we use tooth colored composite resin material to restore your tooth back to its natural appearance. If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth a crown may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated through root canal therapy or through a procedure called pulp capping.
CROWNS AND BRIDGES Crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth that are damaged, or to take the place of missing teeth. A crown, also referred to as a cap, is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth. A crown not only strengthens a tooth, but it can dramatically improve a tooth’s appearance, shape and alignment. Crowns may be used to:
- Replace a large filling when there is little tooth structure remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Attach a bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
A bridge is an ideal method to fill the space created by missing teeth. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth that are cemented into place using the teeth on either side for support, hence the name. This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward. Since teeth use their neighbors for support, if one is missing they begin to “fall” and shift into the open spaces. This may worsen the bite due to changes in pressure and can eventually result in problems with the jaw such as TMJ.
DENTURES A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures available, including partial and complete dentures. Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain, while complete dentures are used to completely replace all teeth. Dentures are made to resemble your natural teeth so there should be no noticeable change to your appearance. In fact, dentures may even improve your smile!
NIGHTGAURDS AND ATHLETIC MOUTHGAURDS Custom designed mouthguards and nightguards are made of flexible plastic and molded to fit the shape of your teeth. Mouthguards are recommended to protect the jaw and teeth during physical activity and sports such as boxing, football, basketball, or other activities where your mouth may get hit. In addition, these guards protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. Nightguards are recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth at night as a way to protect their teeth and bite.
If you have decided a guard is right for you, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth which will then be sent to a lab to make a custom fit guard for you.
TMJ TREATMENTS TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint. Temporal, as in temple area of skull; mandibular as in mandible, or lower jaw; joint as in it’s where the head and jaw meet. Problems in this joint may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension. If something goes wrong a good deal of trouble can result.
Problems in this area can cause:
- Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face
Dental treatments for the condition can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, etc. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.
TOOTH WHITENING Tooth whitening is a popular procedure to make teeth whiter and brighter. Bleaching can be used to whiten stained and discolored teeth, or simply to enhance a dull smile. Tooth whitening is a safe and painless procedure ideal for most patients. Our office offers two methods of whitening: 1 hour in-office whitening and at home treatment.
In-office whitening is an ideal procedure for anyone wanting immediate results. Because the entire procedure takes place in about an hour, it is the perfect choice for busy individuals. We also take impressions of your teeth to create custom trays for at home touch-up, and give you instructions for keeping your smile bright. The result is dramatically whiter teeth.
At home whitening is a less expensive alternative to gradually whiten teeth in the comfort of your home. You will see noticeable whitening results using your custom made bleaching trays. Occasional treatment can be used at your convenience to maintain your new smile.
VENEERS Veneers are a lab fabricated porcelain covering that is cemented to the tooth to close spaces, restore worn or severely discolored teeth. The advantage of veneers versus crowns is that in general less tooth structure is removed during preparation.