At Arizona Healthy Smiles in Tempe near Mesa and Chandler, we offer personalized gentle dental care for the entire family. Basic dental health services available include: fillings, bonding, sealants, non-surgical gum treatments and X-rays.
Fillings are done to remove decay (cavities) and replace the affected tooth structure. It is called a filling because new material fills the hole left by the decay. Today most teeth are treated with bonded tooth colored composite resin fillings. When caught early cavities can be easily and painlessly treated. Left untreated decay can lead to tooth pain and or infection which may require additional treatment such as root canal treatment or extraction of the tooth.
Bonding involves adhering tooth colored composite resin material to the tooth. This is done to repair damage done to the tooth by decay, to alter the alignment of the teeth, close gaps between the teeth, or for other cosmetic purposes. First, any decay is removed from the surface of the tooth. Next, the tooth is micro etched and a prime/bond agent is applied which allows the material to adhere to the tooth. Then, the material itself is placed on the tooth and hardened with an intense light. Finally, the composite resin material is shaped and polished to get a lustrous smooth finish.
Sealants are used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. These grooves are susceptible to cavities even in people with good oral hygiene. These grooves will develop cavities over time. To place a sealant a coating is added to the tooth that seals the grooves and pits sealing theses areas from cavities.
Non-Surgical Gum Treatments
The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for ones teeth. These structures are referred to as the periodontium. When the peridontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium (gum disease) may be as follows: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulling away from the teeth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these signs may mean something is wrong. With proper care, however, it may be possible to return them to a healthy state. Non-surgical treatment for periodontal disease involves scaling and root plaining. This is often referred to as a “deep cleaning”. If gum disease gets too severe it may need to be treated through surgery or extraction. Left untreated periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.
In our office we use digital radiography which allows us to take x-rays using much less radiation than conventional x-rays. Coupled with computer monitoring, digital x-ray technology allows us to enhance the images for better diagnosis of any dental concerns. A radiograph is a focuses beam of x-ray particles which produces an image on special film, showing the structure through which it passed. This gives the familiar black and white images that doctors and dentist use to diagnose problems. X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnostic process, and not to use them could lead to undiagnosed disease. Without an x-ray of the whole tooth, and supporting bone and gum tissues, there is no real way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention.