General Dentistry In-Depth
There is no other doctor out there who works quite as hard for you as we do. As your general dentist, we strive to provide you with the highest quality of care in just two appointments per year. Not only are we focused on early detection of any dental concerns or diseases that we may find during your appointment, but we are also dedicated to giving you prompt and thorough treatment, as well.
Coming to see us twice a year may seem like a high frequency of appointments, but the fact is, we do so much to help ensure your best oral health. The sooner we catch any problems in your mouth, the better the outcome will be for you. If left untreated, gum disease, tooth decay - or any of the many other health problems that could arise in your mouth – can lead to serious complications.
That is why we here at Encino Cosmetic Dentistry strongly stress the importance of routine dental appointments with us to help you have your happiest, healthiest smile.
What is General Dentistry?
When you think of a dentist, what first comes to mind? If you think of X-rays, fillings, and cleanings, then you would not be too far from the truth. However, we are so much more than just that! As general dentists, we are your go-to doctor for all things related to your oral health. We are your first line of defense in ensuring that your mouth remains healthy and free from decay or infection.
As your general dentist, we are committed to not only treating the myriad of health problems that could occur in your mouth, we also want to prevent them from happening in the first place, too. Our focus remains on prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of any illness or diseases that could occur in your mouth. Not only do we want to keep your mouth and teeth healthy, but we also want to keep it looking it's very best, as well. Any cosmetic concerns that you may have will be addressed when you come to see us for an appointment.
During your appointment with us, you can be confident that we are giving you a complete exam. We will provide you with any necessary services that may be required to help diagnose or catch any illnesses or diseases that you may have in your mouth. If we do find anything of concern, we will address it immediately to help you get the best possible outcome.
Please remember that when we treat you, we are not just treating your tooth; we are treating you, our patient! That is why you can count on us to carefully assess your mouth during your exam to make sure you remain healthy. Many people do not realize that your mouth can sometimes tell a story about your general wellness. Your oral health can have a direct impact on your general wellness, too. Systemic diseases can often show up with symptoms in your mouth. Conversely, gum disease can have a dangerous impact on your overall health if left untreated, leading to serious and possibly deadly complications such as diabetes, cancer, heart attack, and stroke.
What Does a General Dentist Do?
As your general dentist, we do more than stare into your mouth and chide you for not flossing often enough. We also perform many diagnostic and treatment services that can help keep you healthy. When you come to see us for your bi-annual dental exam, you can be confident that you are getting all the necessary assessments and tests to help ensure your best oral health.
We strongly recommend that all of our patients get dental X-rays every two years. If you have a specific dental complaint, we may advise that you get additional X-rays, however. X-rays have been around for nearly 125 years and allow us to get a more thorough view of your mouth. We can check your gums, your teeth, your jawbone, and your soft palate. Any concerns that we find during X-rays will get a customized treatment plan from us to address them.
We like to clean our patients’ teeth every six months. While a good oral hygiene regimen at home can go a long way in preventing gum disease or tooth decay, you still need our help and our specialized tools to keep your teeth clean. During a dental cleaning, we will thoroughly scale your teeth, which means that we will use a special type of tool to remove all hardened calculus (build up) from your teeth. We will also floss your teeth for you and clean them with a gritty toothpaste, as well.
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is a particularly deadly type of cancer, and it will claim 10,000 lives this year alone. This is not because of the type of cancer that it is, but the fact that it often remains undetected for so long. By the time many people realize that they have oral cancer, it has already spread and progressed. That is why regular checkups with oral cancer screenings are so vital. The signs and symptoms of oral cancer can be subtle and hard to find on your own. When we perform an oral cancer screening on you, we will check for any indications that you may have it. If we find oral cancer during your appointment, we will work with you to make sure you get comprehensive treatment for it.
When a tooth has been affected by tooth decay, one of the treatment options we can offer you is a dental filling. These can be made of a variety of different materials, including amalgam (a type of metal filling, typically a mix of tin, silver, and trace amounts of mercury) or tooth-colored filling (which may be either composite resin or porcelain). The location of the affected tooth, and the severity of the decay will determine how we address it and what type of filling material we may use.
Root Canal Therapy
Your tooth is a living organ, kept alive by a bundle of blood vessels and nerves in the pulp of your tooth. When these blood vessels and nerves are attacked by infection, your tooth is at risk of “dying” and may require immediate intervention to help save it. Root canal therapy can help save a tooth that has sustained a serious infection by removing the infection and covering the tooth (typically with a crown).
There are many reasons that a tooth may require extraction. While our goals here are often focused on preserving all of your natural teeth, sometimes an extraction is necessary for your best outcome. Reasons we may perform an extraction on one of your teeth include impaction (such as with a wisdom tooth), overcrowding, serious infection, or due to damage to a tooth. A tooth may require either a simple extraction or a surgical extraction. Simple extractions are best when the tooth is visible and whole, but a surgical extraction may be necessary if the tooth is broken or not erupted.
Also known as caps, dental crowns are a type of dental restoration that fits directly over a tooth to help improve its shape and function. They are usually recommended when a tooth has decay that is too severe to treat with a filling, but they can also cover a tooth that has been broken or damaged, teeth that are uneven in size or shape, or teeth that have serious stains or discoloration. They can also cover a root canal, support a fixed dental bridge, or cover a dental implant.
When a patient has lost a permanent tooth, they may be a good candidate for a fixed dental bridge. These are a great option for many patients and can look and feel natural, improve your bite force, and make it easier to talk and chew. There are many different types of dental bridges that are available to our patients, but the most common type is called a traditional bridge. This bridge consists of a pontic (the prosthetic tooth) and two crowns on either side of the pontic. By attaching to your natural teeth, the bridge is fully supported and can be strong and durable inside the patient’s mouth.
Mouth Guards For Sports
For our patients who play sports, we always like to discuss with them the benefits of a customized mouth guard. Many people know that helmets and shin guards are vital sporting equipment, but mouth guards often get overlooked. If you ever play a sport that may put you at risk of impact to the face, whether it is from another athlete or sporting equipment or even if you are at risk of falling during your sport, then you could benefit from a custom sports mouth guard. They can help prevent teeth from being broken or dislodged, and can also help prevent a concussion from occurring, as well.
Mouth Guards For at Night
If you have ever been told that you snore, then you may be suffering from a common condition called sleep apnea. Even if you do not snore, if you find that you are waking up with jaw pain, an ongoing headache, and teeth that are chipped or worn down in appearance, then you may be grinding or clenching your teeth in your sleep (called bruxism). A nighttime mouth guard can help treat these problems. Not only can they allow you to get a good night’s sleep and wake up without pain, but can also help save your teeth and your health.
Dentures are a popular restoration option for patients with missing teeth. Nearly 40 million American adults are missing all of their teeth, which means the demand for an attractive and reliable dental restoration is high. Dentures can improve your ability to eat and chew comfortably, can help make it easier to talk and speak clearly, and can help greatly improve your self-esteem. This is a non-surgical treatment option for lost teeth and can replace your teeth in a short amount of time, making it a good choice for many of our patients.
What to Expect During Your Appointment with Us
As your family dentist, we are happy to see your entire family in our office. We can see little ones as young as one year old, helping to guide them to have a healthy smile for their lifetime. We are experts on a wide variety of dental procedures, and regular appointments with us can help ensure your best oral health.
During your appointment with us, we may start by asking you some questions about your family or medical history and ask you if you have noticed any changes to your oral health that may concern you. These concerns will be addressed during your examination. Next, we may advise that you get X-rays, which can help us better understand your current state of oral health. These are quite safe, contrary to popular belief, and delivery very minimal amounts of radiation (less than you can acquire from a 2-hour domestic flight, in fact!).
Next, we will examine your mouth. We will check all the surfaces of your mouth to make sure you are healthy. We will also check your teeth and gums to determine if you have any active gum disease or tooth decay. Once we are satisfied, we will then start your cleaning. A cleaning starts with a scaling, which means we will remove any hardened calculus (buildup) from your teeth. We will then floss your teeth for you, then follow with a gritty toothpaste and a fluoride rinse.
Finally, we will talk to you about our findings during your exam. If we found any areas of concern, we will discuss your treatment options with you. We may advise that you schedule a follow-up appointment with us to treat these concerns. If there are no active issues, we will instead advise that you return in six months for another cleaning and checkup.
As your family and general dentist, we here at Encino Cosmetic Dentistry strive to provide you with the highest caliber of compassionate and thorough dental health care. If you would like to speak with us further about general dentistry, or you are ready to schedule an exam with us, please give us a call today at (818) 783-0408!