Full-Service Downtown Dental Care

Consultation | Prevention | Fillings | Extractions | Root Canals | Crowns & Bridges | Implants | Sealants | Cleanings | Gum Treatments | TMJ

Consultation

During your dental consultation we’ll help you get acquainted with our office and discuss possible treatment options to help you improve your smile. We’ll also discuss treatment costs and payment options. We encourage you to ask questions, and as such, we provide ample time to answer your questions.

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Prevention

Tooth decay is a progressive disease resulting in the interaction of bacteria that naturally occur on the teeth and sugars in the everyday diet. Sugar causes a reaction in the bacteria, causing it to produce acids that break down the mineral in teeth, forming a cavity. A dentist removes the decay and fills the tooth using a variety of fillings, restoring the tooth to a healthy state. Nerve damage can result from severe decay and may require a crown (a crown is like a large filling that can cap a tooth, making it stronger or covering it). Avoiding unnecessary decay simply requires strict adherence to a dental hygiene regimen: brushing and flossing twice a day, regular dental check-ups, diet control and fluoride treatment. Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment.

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Fillings

The concept of a “filling” is replacing and restoring your tooth structure that is damaged due to decay or fracture with a material. Though amalgam/silver fillings are still often a good choice of material, white fillings (composites) are becoming more popular for a more natural look and feel.

With today’s advancements, no longer will you have to suffer the embarrassment of unsightly and unhealthy silver/mercury fillings or metal margins of the past. Eliminate the dark, black appearance in your teeth with new-age, state-of-the-art, tooth-colored resin or porcelain materials.

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Extractions

General Extractions

An extraction is the complete removal of a tooth. Extractions are sometimes necessary if a primary tooth is preventing the normal eruption of a permanent tooth, if the tooth has suffered extensive tooth decay or trauma that cannot be repaired, if the patient has gum disease, or if the tooth is impacted (usually the wisdom teeth). Depending on the complexity of the case, an extraction can be performed surgically or non-surgically. A mild anesthesia is used to ensure you are as comfortable as possible throughout the procedure.

Wisdom Teeth

 

Your third molars are more commonly called "wisdom teeth." Usually appearing in the late teens or early twenties, third molars often lack the proper space in the jaw to erupt fully or even at all. This common condition is called impaction. When any tooth lacks the space to come through or simply develops in the wrong place of your jaw and becomes impacted, problems can arise. Primarily, damage to adjacent teeth and crowding occur.

In certain cases, the wisdom tooth that cannot come through becomes inflamed under the gums and in the jawbone, causing a sac to develop around the root of the tooth that then fills with liquid. This can cause a cyst or an abscess if it becomes infected. If either of these situations goes untreated, serious damage to the underlying bone and surrounding teeth and tissues can result.

To potentially stave off this result, an extraction of one, several or all of the wisdom teeth may be advised. If that is the case, we have the equipment and training needed to perform such extractions, with an absolute minimum of discomfort. Ask our staff for more information regarding tooth extractions if you feel you may need one.

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Root Canals

 

A root canal is a procedure that extracts decayed pulp from the central part of the tooth, reshapes the canal and replaces it with strengthening filler.

A cavity is the result of superficial decay of the enamel of the tooth. Left long enough, this decay can burrow into the deeper reaches of the tooth, causing extensive damage to tooth structure. When the damage goes beyond what can be treated with a filling, a dentist can perform a root canal (or endodontics), preserving the tooth and retaining its original integrity; thereby, saving a tooth that in the past would have to have been pulled.

This procedure involves:

  • The patient undergoes anesthesia.
  • A dental dam is used to isolate the tooth.
  • The tooth is opened to allow for removal of infected or dead dental pulp.
  • The tooth is comprehensively cleaned, including any cracks and canals.
  • With special tools, the doctor reshapes the canals.
  • The tooth is filled again with cutting edge biocompatible filling material.
  • A temporary covering is used to cover the access opening.
  • Patients must see their dentist quickly for a permanent restoration of the tooth.

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Crowns and Bridges

Crowns

A crown is a permanent covering that fits over an original tooth that is either decayed, damaged or cracked. Crowns are made of a variety of different materials such as porcelain, gold, acrylic resin or a mix of these materials. Porcelain generally has the most natural appearance, although it is often less durable.

The treatment plan for a patient receiving a crown involves:

  1. Numbing the tooth to remove the decay in or around it.
  2. Re-sculpturing the tooth to provide an ideal fit for the crown.
  3. Making an impression of your teeth in order to create a custom-made crown (usually takes one to two weeks).
  4. Making a temporary crown out of acrylic resin and fitting it onto the tooth during the interim period when the permanent custom-made crown is being created.
  5. Applying the permanent crown (when received from the lab) by removing the temporary crown and fitting the permanent one onto the tooth.
  6. After ensuring that the crown has the proper look and fit, the dentist cements it into place.

This process generally consists of a minimum of two to three visits over a three to four week period. Once the procedure is completed, proper dental hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, is required to maintain healthy, bacteria-free teeth, gums and crowns. This helps in the prevention of gum disease. Given proper care, your crowns can last a lifetime.

 

Bridges

A bridge is a dental device that fills a space that a tooth previously occupied. A bridge may be necessary to prevent:

  • Shifting of the teeth that can lead to bite problems (occlusion) and/or jaw problems and resultant periodontal disease.
  • Bridges safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.

There are three main types of bridges, namely:

  • A fixed bridge is the most popular and consists of a filler tooth that is attached to two crowns, which fit over the existing teeth and hold the bridge in place.
  • The “Maryland” bridge is commonly used to replace missing front teeth and consists of a filler that is attached to metal bands that are bonded to the abutment teeth. The metal bands consist of a white-colored composite resin that matches existing tooth color.
  • The cantilever bridge is often used when there are teeth on only one side of the span. A typical three-unit cantilever bridge consists of two crowned teeth positioned next to each other on the same side of the missing tooth space. The filler tooth is then connected to the two crowned teeth, which extend into the missing tooth space or end.

Though gold is an excellent restorative material, Dr. Churchill enjoys doing crowns and bridges that are all-ceramic, without metal of any kind.

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Implants

A method of replacing one or more missing teeth that is gaining popularity is implants. A titanium fixture is placed in the jawbone. After a time of healing, a crown is made over the implant. This technique has several advantages over a bridge such as no need to touch adjacent teeth, easier cleaning and retrievability, and generally greater durability. Dr. Churchill places the crowns over the implant(s) which have already been placed by one of his specialists.

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Sealants

The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to clean of bacteria and food. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that 88 percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way.

Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars and areas prone to cavities. It lasts for several years but needs to be checked during regular appointments.

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Cleanings

At least twice annually , you should schedule a routine dental cleaning. During this visit, one of our dental hygienists will remove plaque from your teeth, especially from places where your brush can’t reach, such as underneath the gum line and in-between teeth. We will then clean your teeth and apply fluoride to help protect your teeth once you leave the office.

Fluoride is a relatively recent but important advancement in dental and oral health. Studies consistently show that a moderate but consistent exposure of teeth to fluoride helps strengthen and rebuild tooth structure, and helps prevent future decay.

If you are due for your regular dental cleaning, please call our office to schedule an appointment.

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Gum Treatments

Gum, or periodontal, disease can cause inflammation, tooth loss and bone damage. Gum disease begins with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Gums in the early stage of disease, or gingivitis, can bleed easily and become red and swollen. As the disease progresses to periodontitis, teeth may fall out or need to be removed by a dentist.

Unfortunately, periodontal-related problems are often discovered after they have persisted for an extended period of time. Proper oral hygiene, daily dental care and regular dental check-ups will minimize the risk of gum disease. Treatments are available for every case of gum disease.

Please contact our office for a periodontal evaluation.

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TMJ

 

The “Temporomandibular Joint,” more commonly referred to as the “jaw joint,” assists in the basic opening and closing movements of the jaw. Unfortunately, this joint is a common area for recurring pain. Although conventional wisdom suggests that “popping” sounds in the jaw indicates a TMJ dysfunction, this is not always true. Many times, your jaw is functioning properly even if a “popping” sound is present when chewing or talking.

We offer a TMJ exam that evaluates the joint tissue in the “hinge” of the jaw. Possible problems include swelling, deterioration of the joint tissue or damaged joint tissue, which cushions the jaw bones during the opening and closing movement of the mouth. Common pain relievers and cold compresses can provide temporary relief for most cases of TMJ.

For more serious cases of TMJ, we will recommend alternate treatments. Often, we will suggest using a mouthguard to relieve teeth grinding. In some cases, we will instruct you to use orthodontic appliances or retainers to alleviate discomfort or redirect positioning of the TMJ joint. For the most severe cases of TMJ, we may recommend certain invasive procedures.

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