Common Procedures

 

Topics on this page

Regular Exams and Cleanings | Bonding | Bridges | Crowns | Dentures | Extractions | Fillings | Fluoride | Implant Restoration | Mouthguards | Nightguards | Root Canals | Sealants | Veneers | Wisdom Teeth


exams and cleanings

Regular Exams and Cleanings

Regular exams are an important part of maintaining your oral health. During your regular exam, we will:

  • Check for any problems you may not see or feel
  • Look for cavities or any other signs of tooth decay
  • Inspect your teeth and gums for gingivitis and signs of periodontal disease
  • Perform a thorough teeth cleaning

Your regular exam will take about 45 minutes. Each regular exam includes a detailed teeth cleaning, during which we will clean, polish, and rinse your teeth to remove any tartar and plaque that have built up on the tooth’s surface.

Visiting our office every six months gives you the chance to ask Dr. Garramore any questions you may have about your oral health. Regular exams are offered by appointment only, so please contact our practice today to schedule your next dental exam and teeth cleaning.

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Bonding

bonding

Bonding is an alternative to veneers, and can be used as a restorative procedure for teeth that are chipped, cracked, discolored, or misarranged.

How does it work?

The tooth is prepared for the procedure by lightly etching the surface and applying a bonding liquid. Once the liquid sets, a plastic resin is applied and sculpted into the desired shape by the dentist. Once set, the resin is trimmed, smoothed, and polished to a natural appearance.

Considerations

The bonding procedure can often be completed during a single office visit, and can improve the appearance of a tooth significantly. However, since the plastic resin is not as strong as your natural tooth enamel, it is more likely to stain, chip, or break than natural teeth. Bonding typically lasts three to five years before repair may be needed.

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Bridges

bridgesA bridge may be used to replace missing teeth, help maintain the shape of your face, or alleviate stress on your bite.

A bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. Your bridge can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.

The success of any bridge depends on its foundation — the other teeth, gums, or bone to which it is attached. Therefore, it’s vital to keep your existing teeth, gums, and jaw healthy and strong.

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Crowns

fillingsCrowns are a restorative procedure used to improve your tooth’s shape or strengthen it. Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay.

A crown is a “cap” cemented onto an existing tooth that usually covers the portion of your tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes your tooth’s new outer surface.

Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are most often preferred because they mimic the translucency of natural teeth and are very strong.

Crowns or onlays (partial crowns) are needed when there is insufficient tooth strength to hold a filling. Unlike fillings, which apply the restorative material directly into your mouth, a crown is fabricated away from your mouth.

Your crown is created in a lab from your unique tooth impression, which allows a dental laboratory technician to examine all facets of your bite and jaw movements. Your crown is then sculpted just for you so your bite and jaw movements function normally once the crown is placed.

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Dentures

denturesDentures are natural-looking replacement teeth that are removable. There are two types of dentures: full and partial. Full dentures are given to patients when all the natural teeth have been removed. Partial dentures are attached to a metal frame connected to your natural teeth and are used to fill in where permanent teeth have been removed.

Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be properly cared for. Use a gentle cleanser to brush your dentures, always keep them moist when they’re not in use, and be sure to keep your tongue and gums clean as well.

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Extractions

extractionsThere are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt.

At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth at risk, so we may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.

When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, Dr. Garramore may extract it during a regular checkup or request another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within your jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and your tooth is held in that socket by a ligament.

In order to extract a tooth, a dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with us any of your concerns or preferences for sedation.

Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift, and cause problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, we may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth.

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Fillings

crownsTraditional dental restoratives, or fillings, may include gold, porcelain, or composite. Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are typically used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important.

There are two different kinds of fillings: direct and indirect. Direct fillings are placed into a prepared cavity during a single visit. Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. These fillings include inlays, and veneers fabricated with ceramics or composites.

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Fluoride

flourideFluoride is effective for preventing cavities and tooth decay. It also prevents plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface. A fluoride treatment in our office takes just a few minutes.

After the treatment, you may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or the doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months.

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Implant Restoration

implantsIf you are missing teeth, it is crucial to replace them. Without all your teeth, chewing and eating can destabilize your bite and cause you discomfort. When teeth are missing, your mouth can shift and even cause your face to look older. Implants are a great way to replace your missing teeth, and if properly maintained, can last a lifetime!

An implant is a new tooth made of metal and porcelain that looks just like your natural tooth. It’s composed of two main parts: one is the titanium implant body that takes the place of the missing root, and the other is the tooth-colored crown cemented on top of the implant. With implant treatment, you can smile confidently, knowing no one will ever suspect you have a replacement tooth.

In addition to tooth replacement, implants may be used to anchor dentures, especially lower dentures that tend to shift when you talk or chew. For patients with removable partial dentures, implants can replace missing teeth so you have a more natural-looking smile.

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Mouthguards

mouthguardWhether you wear braces or not, protecting your smile while playing sports is essential. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. If you participate in any kind of full-contact sport, the American Dental Association recommends you wear a mouthguard. Choosing the right mouthguard is essential.

There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard from a dentist. When you choose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well-fitted for your mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly.

We can show you how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right mouthguard to protect your smile.

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Nightguards

nightguardIf you often wake up with jaw pain, earaches, or headaches, or if you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, you may have a common condition called “bruxism.” Many people do not even know that they grind their teeth, because it often occurs during sleep. If not corrected, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, or even tooth loss.

There is an easy, non-invasive treatment for bruxism. Nightguards are an easy way to prevent the wear and damage that teeth grinding causes over time. Custom-made by our office from soft material to fit your teeth, a nightguard is inserted over your top or bottom arch and prevents contact with the opposing teeth.

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Root Canals

root canalsIn the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you’d probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called “root canal treatment,” your tooth can be saved.

When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but it is also detrimental to your overall health.

Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, a general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems with the nerves of the teeth) removes the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite.

If your tooth has extensive decay, we may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect it from breaking. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.

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Sealants

sealantsSometimes brushing is not enough, especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach spots in your mouth. It is difficult for your toothbrush to get between the small cracks and grooves on your teeth. If left alone, those tiny areas can develop tooth decay. Sealants give your teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.

Dental sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden in the deep grooves on your tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, brushing your teeth becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.

Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth as a preventive measure against tooth decay after the permanent teeth have emerged. However, adults can also receive sealants on healthy teeth. It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every patient has unique needs, and Dr. Garramore recommends sealants on a case-by-case basis.

Sealants last from three to five years, but it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact, so if your sealants come off, let us know, and schedule an appointment for your teeth to be re-sealed.

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Veneers

veneers

Porcelain veneers are thin shells of ceramic that bond directly to the front surfaces of the teeth. They are an ideal choice for improving your smile and have become increasingly popular due to their simplicity and versatility.

Placing custom veneers requires a high degree of technical skill as well as attention to cosmetic detail. We place veneers routinely, and design each case individually to match and enhance the characteristics of each patient’s smile.

Will they look like normal teeth?

When bonded to the teeth, the ultra-thin porcelain veneers are virtually undetectable and highly resistant to coffee, tea, or even cigarette stains. For strength and appearance, their resemblance to healthy, white tooth enamel is unsurpassed by other restorative options.

How durable are porcelain veneers?

With proper care, porcelain veneers will brighten your smile for well over a decade.

Dr. Garramore will ensure that your veneers are crafted from the highest quality of porcelains and bonded with the most advanced and proven materials available.

Refraining from using your veneers as tools to open and cut things will prolong their life, and if accidental breakage or damage occurs, it is usually possible to replace only the veneer involved.

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Wisdom Teeth

wisdom teethWisdom teeth are molars found in the very back of your mouth. They usually appear in the late teens or early twenties, but may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry.

When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. If it is not removed, you may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.

Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extraction easier as well as shorten the recovery time.

In order to remove a wisdom tooth, the dentist first needs to numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Since the impacted tooth may still be under the gums and embedded in your jaw bone, Dr. Garramore will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth. In order to minimize the amount of bone that is removed with the tooth, the dentist will often “section” your wisdom tooth so each piece can be removed through a small opening in the bone.

Once your wisdom teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction, healing time varies. We will share with you what to expect and provide instructions for a comfortable, efficient healing process.

American Dental Association Maine Dental Association Academy of Genreal Dentistry