Our ultimate goal is to secure the safety, health, and beauty of your teeth for a lifetime so you can always smile with confidence. The very best way to achieve this is through an individually tailored prevention program designed through the cooperative effort of the patient, the doctor, and our dental staff.
With the practice of good oral hygiene at home combined with a balanced diet and regular dental visits, we can effectively preserve the natural dentition of your teeth and their supporting structures for years to come. This is the very best way to minimize or eliminate the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions that can result in serious and costly dental problems. Let us help you maintain a healthy, confident, and beautiful smile.
Third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, are usually the last four of 32 teeth to erupt (surface) in the mouth, generally making their appearance between the ages of 17 to 25. They are located at the back of the mouth (top and bottom), near the entrance to the throat. The term “wisdom” stems from the idea that the molars surface at a time typically associated with increased maturity or “wisdom”.
In most cases, inadequate space in the mouth does not allow the wisdom teeth to erupt properly and become fully functional. When this happens, the tooth can become impacted (stuck) in an undesirable or potentially harmful position. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to infection, damage to other teeth, and possibly cysts or tumors.
Reasons to remove wisdom teeth
While not all wisdom teeth require removal, wisdom teeth extractions are most often performed because of an active problem such as pain, swelling, decay or infection, or as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems in the future. If impaction of one or more wisdom teeth is present, and left untreated, a number of potentially harmful outcomes can occur, including:
- Damage to nearby teeth: Second molars (the teeth directly in front of the wisdom teeth) can be adversely affected by impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in tooth decay (cavities), periodontal disease (gum disease) and possible bone loss.
- Disease: Although uncommon, cysts and tumors can occur in the areas surrounding impacted wisdom teeth.
Infection: Bacteria and food can become trapped under the gum tissue, resulting in an infection. The infection can cause considerable pain and danger.
- Tooth Crowding: It has been theorized that impacted wisdom teeth can put pressure on other teeth and cause them to become misaligned (crowded or twisted).
Dental implants are a solution for lost or severely broken-down teeth. They restore not only the form and function of normal, healthy teeth, but they also engender a self confidence and outlook that many people with missing teeth may have lost. Patients with dental implants will boast: “I can eat whatever I want,” and “I have my beautiful smile back again.”
What are dental implants?
Dental implants themselves have two parts. The first part is the small titanium post that is inserted into the jawbone where the tooth or teeth are missing. This is typically referred to as the implant. These titanium posts or screws act as tooth root substitutes. They are threaded and have a porous surface which ultimately gives them their strength and ability to support a crown.
The second part of the dental implant is the actual crown or cap that is secured to the post or screw. A good analogy of this is a house and its foundation: the post is like the foundation of a house, and the crown of the tooth is the house itself. It’s just that simple. Usually, an oral surgeon will place the post in the bone, and your dentist will fabricate the crown to go on top of the post.
The surgical portion of this procedure may be done with local anesthesia and intravenous sedation, or with local anesthesia alone. This procedure is very well tolerated and most patients can’t believe how “quick and easy” it truly is. The bone — over a period of time — fuses to the surface of the implant. This is called osseointegration, and is what gives the implant its strong foundation.
Dental implants represent a wonderful treatment option for replacing missing or non-restorable teeth for nearly all patients, and many different treatment options exist. We pride ourselves on staying on the cutting-edge of technology, while providing the highest level of care, in a warm and comforting environment.
If you have questions about dental implants or would like a consultation, we would be happy to meet you and schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.
A tooth that is severely damaged may need to be removed. A surgeon who specializes in surgeries of the mouth (oral and maxillofacial surgeon) or your dentist can remove a tooth.
Before removing your tooth, Dr. Hammond will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. A stronger, general anesthetic may be used, especially if several or all of your teeth need to be removed. General anesthetic prevents pain in the whole body and will make you sleep through the procedure.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. You can gently bite down on a cotton gauze pad placed over the wound to help stop the bleeding. The removed tooth can be replaced with an implant, a denture, or a bridge. A bridge is a replacement for one or more (but not all) of the teeth and may be permanent or removable.
What To Expect After Surgery
In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. The following will help speed recovery:
- Take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon.
- After 24 hours, rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain. Make your own salt water by mixing 1 tsp (5 g) of salt in a medium-sized glass [8 fl oz (237 mL)] of warm water.
- Change gauze pads before they become soaked with blood.
- Relax after surgery. Physical activity may increase bleeding.
- Avoid smoking.
- Eat soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, or a thin soup. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as healing progresses.
- Do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding. Prop up your head with pillows.
- Avoid rubbing the area with your tongue.
- Continue to carefully brush your teeth and tongue.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time, and some have to be removed after a few days. Your dentist will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed.
Why It Is Done
Removing a tooth is necessary when decay or an abscessed tooth is so severe that no other treatment will cure the infection.
Taking dental x-rays or radiographs is essential for diagnosing dental disease and concerns. These radiographs show teeth, bones and soft tissue to help dentists determine if there are caries or hidden dental problems such as bone loss that cannot be seen when looking into a mouth. Taking dental x-rays can also help catch dental disease early to prevent pain and expensive dental treatment.
Dental x-rays use very small amounts of radiation and exposure to this small amount of radiation is safe. When a patient receives a full mouth series of x-rays, this is equivalent to radiation exposure in everyday life.
There are a number of possible causes of facial trauma, such as motor vehicle accidents, accidental falls, sports injuries, interpersonal violence, and work-related injuries. Types of facial injuries can range from injuries to teeth to extremely severe injuries to the skin and bones of the face. Typically, facial injuries are classified as either soft tissue injuries (skin and gums), bone injuries (fractures), or injuries to special regions (such as the eyes, facial nerves, or the salivary glands). Our doctor is an oral and maxillofacial specialist and is thoroughly qualified to repair facial injuries.
The mouth, or oral cavity, is lined by mucosa that is smooth and pink in color. Any change in the lining or mucosa such as a growth, ulceration or development of a white or red patch may be a sign to an underlying disease process. Many times these lesions are treated with medications in the same way we would treat an affected region of our skin. A growth or abnormality of the oral cavity that does not respond to medication or resolve in ten to fourteen days should be further evaluated.
A biopsy is a surgical procedure in which a section or the entire growth is removed depending on the size, location and nature of the growth. Growths in the oral cavity are typically benign in nature. A malignant lesion, or oral cancer is rare in the general population; however, due to the innocuous appearance of some oral cancer all suspicious lesions should be biopsied.
Most biopsies are performed in the office using only a local anesthetic. For those patients who prefer, a light sedation or general anesthesia can be administered. In many cases a laser can be used to simplify the surgical procedure and eliminate the need for sutures. Following removal of the lesion the specimen or biopsy is sent to an oral pathologist for a final diagnosis. The diagnosis would dictate the need for possible further treatment.
TMD (temporomandibular joint disorders) are a family of problems related to your jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. These symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMD can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important. No one treatment can resolve TMD completely and treatment takes time to become effective.
There are various treatment options that Dr. Hammond can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMD, Dr.Hammond will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care combined with professional care.
The initial goals are to relieve the muscle spasms and joint pain. This is usually accomplished with a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant. Steroids can be injected directly into the joints to reduce pain and inflammation. Self-care treatments can often be effective as well and include:
- Resting your jaw
- Keeping your teeth apart when you are not swallowing or eating
- Eating soft foods
- Applying ice and heat
- Exercising your jaw
- Practicing good posture
Stress management techniques such as biofeedback or physical therapy may also be recommended, as well as a temporary, clear plastic appliance known as a splint. A splint (or nightguard) fits over your top or bottom teeth and helps keep your teeth apart, thereby relaxing the muscles and reducing pain. There are different types of appliances used for different purposes. With the help of your general dentist, Dr. Hammond will decide what appliance will work the best for you.
Cone Beam 3D Imaging (also known as CBCT) is a medical imaging technique that provides 3D images rather than the two dimensional images produced by conventional dental radiographs. The added clarity and dimension of the 3D imagery significantly enhances our ability to see in undistorted detail the positioning and spatial relations of the teeth, jaw bone and vital structures such as sinuses and large nerve bundles. CBCT also provides cross section views of teeth not possible using conventional two dimensional x-rays. 3D imagery is an integration of medical CT scan technology with dental panoramic imaging. In CBCT, the machine is sending the X-rays in a divergent cone-shape. A sensor on the opposite side collects the imaging data. Complex computer algorithms then construct a three dimensional image from the data collected. A 3D image, and its corresponding cross sectional slices, can be viewed on a computer monitor.
Dental CBCT, provides a fast, non-invasive way of answering a number of clinical questions. Dental CBCT images provide three-dimensional (3-D) information, rather than the two-dimensional (2-D) information provided by a conventional X-ray image. This may help with the diagnosis, treatment planning and evaluation of certain conditions.