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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 that you may not see or feel
- Look for signs of tooth decay or fractures in all teeth
- Evaluate all existing restorations for signs of breakdown or failure
- Evaluate all supporting tissue for gingivitis or signs of periodontal disease
- Perform a thorough teeth cleaning
- Complete an oral cancer screening
Your regular exam and cleaning will usually take about 60 minutes. Each regular exam includes a detailed teeth cleaning, in which we will clean and polish your teeth to remove any tartar and plaque that have built up on the tooth's surface. Our hygienists will also review hygiene techniques and discuss the overall condition of your oral health. We want all of our patients to have a lifetime of optimal oral health.
Visiting our office every three to six months gives you the chance to talk to the doctor about 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.
A bridge is used to replace missing teeth, restore function, and maintain the integrity of the arch.
A bridge restores proper esthetics and function, and will "bridge the gap" where one or more teeth may have been.
The success of any bridge depends on its foundation — the other teeth, gums, or bone to which it is attached. Therefore, it’s very important to keep your existing teeth and gums healthy and strong.
Crowns are a restorative procedure used to improve your tooth’s shape or to strengthen or restore a broken or weakened tooth. 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 color and beauty of natural teeth.
Crowns or onlays (partial crowns) are needed when there is insufficient tooth strength remaining 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 aspects of your bite and jaw movements. Your crown is then sculpted just for you so that your bite and jaw movements function normally once the crown is placed.
Dentures 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 of the natural teeth have been removed. Partial dentures are used to fill in where permanent teeth have been lost. 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.
There 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 become unrestorable, and an extraction must be performed to prevent further infections or complications. Teeth may also require preventive extraction for orthodontic correction.
Some extractions may be performed in our office, however, some extractions will require a referral to an oral surgeon for treatment.
Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift, causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, your dentist may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth.
Traditional 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. There are two different kinds of fillings: direct and indirect. Direct fillings are fillings placed into a prepared cavity in a single visit. Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. These fillings include inlays, and veneers fabricated with ceramics or composites.
Fluoride is effective in preventing tooth decay and reducing sensitivity. A fluoride treatment in your dentist’s office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, patients 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 your doctor’s recommendation, Fluoride treatments may be prescribed every three, six, or 12 months.
Dental implants are the newest technique available to replace missing teeth. In years past, the only option for replacing missing teeth were bridges or dentures. Today, implants allow Dr. Cox to replace missing teeth in a more permanent way.
Implants, unlike removable dentures or fixed bridges, are permanent replacements for the real teeth that are missing. There are several advantages to implants, including outstanding aesthetics, greater function, improved speech and comfort, and improved oral and overall health.
Implant treatment is often a team effort, and Dr. Cox works with both periodontists and oral surgeons when planning and implementing an implant case. There are two stages of implant treatment. Stage one is the surgical phase, in which a surgeon places the implant into the desired location.
Once the implant has integrated to the bone, Dr. Cox will complete the restorative phase — stage two. Simple impressions will be taken of the implant area. These impressions will allow our laboratory to fabricate a custom abutment (or post) which will attach to the implant. Once the abutment is in place, Dr. Cox will adjust and cement the crown to the abutment. The restorative phase is a pain-free procedure that can be performed without local anesthetic.
Ultimately, implant case success is highly dependent upon the skill and expertise of the dentist and surgeons who have been entrusted with your treatment. Equally important to the long-term success of an implant case is the quality of the laboratory and implant components that make up your beautiful restorations. At Dr. Brian Cox Dentistry, we never cut corners by using after-market components or cut-rate laboratories. The old saying, “you get what you pay for” is true.
Caring for Your Implant
Caring for implant restorations is as easy as caring for your natural teeth. Daily oral hygiene routines and regular professional cleanings and examinations at our Fort Collins dental office will help your implant and restoration last as long as possible.
Whether 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 that you wear a mouthguard. Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. Ask your dentist about the best mouthguard for you.
If 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, as it often occurs when one is sleeping. 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. Nightguards are an easy way to prevent the wear and damage that teeth-grinding causes over time. Custom-made by your dentist from soft material to fit your teeth, a nightguard is inserted over your top or bottom arch and prevents contact with the opposing teeth.
In 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 the tooth. 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, your 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, your doctor may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth 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.
You no longer need to hide your smile because of gaps, chips, stains, or misshapen teeth. With veneers, you can easily correct your teeth’s imperfections to help you have a more confident, beautiful smile. Veneers are natural in appearance, and they are a perfect option for patients wanting to make minor adjustments to the look and feel of their smile.
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells made from tooth-colored materials (such as porcelain), and they are designed to cover the front side of your teeth. To prepare for veneers, your doctor will create a unique model of your teeth. This model is sent to the dental technician to create your veneers. Before placing your new veneer, your doctor may need to conservatively prepare your tooth to achieve the desired aesthetic result.
When your veneers are placed, you’ll be pleased to see that they look like your natural teeth. While veneers are stain-resistant, your doctor may recommend that you avoid coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco to maintain the beauty of your new smile.
Wisdom teeth are types of 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 teeth's 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.