Adult Dental Services
Austin Family Dental provides a complete spectrum of services for your dental health. In addition to regular preventive care (check-ups), the chart below outlines some of the more common treatments, and may help answer some of your questions.
We want you to understand your dental procedures, so be sure to ask us about anything you are not sure about.
Treatment of Gum Disease
Gum disease is the most prevalent disease to affect the oral cavity. It has been determined that gum disease affects 90% of all adult patients in the United States.
There are two basic disease components of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gingival tissues (“gums”).
Periodontitis is the inflammation of the periodontal tissues (supporting bone and tissues around tooth roots).
The best treatment for gum disease is prevention through good oral hygiene combined with professional dental cleanings. If disease has progressed, treatments can include:
- more frequent professional cleanings,
- scaling and root planing (“deep cleaning”),
- antimicrobial treatments,
- gum surgery
What is a filling?
Fillings are used to restore a tooth back to its original structure.Â A filling is placed when decay, chipped or imperfect enamel or fractured teeth are present.
If my tooth doesn’t hurt and my filling is still in place, why would the filling need to be replaced?
Constant pressure from chewing, grinding or clenching can cause dental fillings to wear away, chip or crack. Although you may not be able to tell that your filling is wearing down, your dentist can identify weaknesses in your restorations during a regular check-up.
If the seal between the tooth enamel and the filling breaks down, food particles and decay-causing bacteria can work their way under the restoration. You then run the risk of developing additional decay in that tooth. Decay that is left untreated can progress to infect the dental pulp and may cause an abscess.
What happens if I donâ€™t get my cavity filled?
Untreated decay may lead to a tooth ache, infection, bone loss and more extensive dental treatments including loss of the tooth.
If the filling is large or the recurrent decay is extensive, there may not be enough tooth structure remaining to support a replacement filling. In these cases, your dentist may need to replace the filling with a crown.
What materials do you use for fillings?
We use 2 main types of materials for our fillings, Amalgam and Composite. Read about each below.
Used by dentists for more than a century, amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested filling material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it remains a valued treatment option for dentists and their patients.
Amalgam is a stable alloy made by combining elemental mercury, silver, tin, copper and possibly other metallic elements. Although dental amalgam continues to be a safe, commonly used restorative material, some concern has been raised because of its mercury content.
Amalgam fillings can withstand very high chewing loads, they are particularly useful for restoring molars in the back of the mouth where chewing load is greatest. They are also useful in areas where a cavity preparation is difficult to keep dry during the filling replacement, such as in deep fillings below the gum line. Amalgam fillings, like other filling materials, are considered biocompatibleâ€”they are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response.
Disadvantages of amalgam include the silver-colored filling is not as natural looking as one that is tooth-colored, especially when the restoration is near the front of the mouth, and shows when the patient laughs or speaks. And to prepare the tooth, the dentist may need to remove more tooth structure to accommodate an amalgam filling than for other types of fillings.
Are dental amalgams safe?
Yes. Dental amalgam has been used in tooth restorations worldwide for more than 100 years. Studies have failed to find any link between amalgam restorations and any medical disorder.
While questions have arisen about the safety of dental amalgam relating to its mercury content, the major U.S. and international scientific and health bodies, including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, among others have been satisfied that dental amalgam is a safe, reliable and effective restorative material.
Composite resins are tooth-colored, plastic materials (made of glass and resin) that are used both as fillings and to repair defects in the teeth. Because they are tooth-colored, it is difficult to distinguish them from natural teeth. Composites are often used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important. They can be used on the back teeth as well depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay. Composite resins are usually more costly than amalgam fillings, because they require more time and technique to apply.
Besides the cosmetic advantages, white fillings are bonded to your teeth which allows for more conservative removal of cavities.
Examples of composite resins before (l) and after (r):
Root Canals and Extractions
Root Canal Therapy
Teeth that have been injured due to trauma, deep decay, or cracks can be saved by root canal therapy. If left untreated, these teeth can lead to bacterial infection of the pulp which contains the nerves, blood vessels, and other tissues inside the tooth. The byproducts of the infection can lead to an abscess causing swelling and pain.
Treatment involves removal of the infected pulp and the placement of a filling material to seal the pulp space.
Extraction is the process or act of removing a tooth or tooth parts. Some extractions can be removed easily whereas others require more time and complex surgical techniques.
Crowns, Bridges, Veneers
Crowns (also called caps) are used to cover, protect and strengthen broken teeth that have been weakened by decay or to improve the appearance and shape of the original teeth.Â Crowns are permanently cemented on and fully encase the visible portion of the tooth above the gum line and restore the tooth back to its original function and appearance.
Bridges are used to replace gaps left by missing teeth in order to improve appearance and to restore or maintain a stable bite. A bridge is composed of multiple crowns permanently cemented on, this spans the space where teeth are missing to bridge the gap and hide the missing tooth.
Crowns and bridges can be made of porcelain, ceramic, metal and gold or a combination of these materials. They are permanently cemented or bonded to the teeth.
Veneers are used to restore cosmetically stained, unattractive and misaligned teeth to look natural, white, and straight. Veneers are wafer thin tooth shaped structures that are permanently cemented to the front side of the tooth with the shape and color the patient desires.
Other Procedures and Services
Austin Family Dental also offers these common services to our patients:
Athletic Mouth Guard/Night Guard
Individuals who play sports or who grind their teeth at night may benefit from a custom fitted athletic or night guard.Â The guards help prevent broken/chipped teeth, sensitive/worn teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue face and jaw. Since the guard is custom fitted, it allows it to be comfortable and to stay in place better then one you can purchase at a store.
Dentures, Partials Dentures and Flippers
If youâ€™ve lost all or some of your natural teeth, whether from periodontal disease, tooth decay or injury, complete dentures, patial denture and flippers can replace your missing teeth and restore your smile.
Teeth Whitening (Bleaching)
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that whitens discolored teeth.Â Almost anyone can benefit from tooth whitening but it may not be as effective for some as it is for others.Â Individuals with yellow staining from aging, tobacco, dark cola, tea, coffee and red wine will achieve the greatest success with teeth whitening. Teeth whitening is safe, simple and great way to improve your smile.Â Bleaching your teeth is not a permanent and does require you to touch up about every 6 months
At Austin Family Dental two types of whitening systems are offered; Zoom! (in office) and a take home whitening kit.
Zoom! Is a fast light assisted tooth whitening procedure that takes about 2 hours to complete in office. Custom made trays are included with the Zoom! whitening to help maintain the white color.
Take Home Whitening
Our take home whitening kit is not as fast as our Zoom! in office whitening but it is more affordable.Â Our take home kit consists of custom made bleaching trays that are worn daily till the desired tooth color is achieved.