Emergency Services

Do you have a toothache?  Did you break your tooth or filling?  Is there any swelling?  Did your tooth get knocked out of place?  How'd you break your denture?  If you're having a dental emergency, please call us as soon as possible.  We can assess the urgency over the phone and will try to get you in as soon as possible.  We'll evaluate the problem, treat your symptoms to fix your conditions as soon as we can or refer you to a specialist as needed.

You can call our office after hours and get our message for the emergency phone number to contact.

Pediatric Dentistry

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children see a dentist before the age of one or approximately six months after the first baby tooth grows in.  This may seem early, but dental examinations may allow dentists to find discrepancies in the teeth and jaws and educate the families on preventive care.

As a family dental practice, we see patients of all ages including children.  As with adults, we do exams, x-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings and extractions.  We assess the health and development of the jaws and refer to orthodontists if we notice problems with teeth and bite alignment.  We also try to educate the children and parents on preventive care, hygiene, diet, fluoride use, thumbsucking habits and teeth development.

For young children who are too anxious to cooperate in our office, we can refer to pediatric dentists who are trained to manage them effectively in a gentle manner to make them feel less threatened.  They are specialists trained to work with children and can often provide some orthodontic treatment if necessary.

Temporomandibular Disorders

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is where your lower jawbone (the mandible) connects to the skull, one on each side and located in front of the ears.  The joint is anatomically complex with different membranes, ligaments and muscles attached in a capsule.  It acts like a sliding hinge and has a fibrous "articular disk" situated between the bones.  When we bite, chew or clench, many muscles are involved to allow for a broad range of movement and forces.  Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) can cause pain in the jaw joint or in muscles that control jaw movement.

Signs and symptoms of TMD may include:

  • Pain or tenderness of your jaw.
  • Pain in one or both sides of the TMJ.
  • Aching pain in and around your ear.
  • Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing.
  • Aching facial pain.
  • Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth.

Because of the complex apparatus of the jaw joint, causes of TMD can be difficult to determine and may be due to a combination of factors.  In many cases, pain and discomfort from TMD is temporary and can be relieved with self-managed care.  Advanced cases where nonsurgical treatments aren't successful may be referred to specialists but rarely require surgical treatment.

Many of our patients may experience the above symptoms and the common instructions for treatment can be downloaded below.  These recommendations are what we suggest first and can often alleviate the problems.  If symptoms persist, we can consider fabricating an occlusal guard, which is a removable appliance that's placed between your upper and lower teeth.  We can also prescribe medications that can reduce inflammation or help relax muscles that are sore or tender.

Occlusal guards are usually make from hard acrylic and protects your teeth from the wear of grinding them.  They also are designed to posture your jaw in a "rest position" where the muscles are at a relaxed position.  The reason why these devices are beneficial is not well understood, but many patients do find relief by wearing these appliances.

Care Instructions for TMD.doc Symptomatic Care Instructions for Temporomandibular Joint Discomfort

Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which someone repeatedly stops breathing during the night.  Breathing obviously will resume, but it often results in severe unconscious gasping.  It may have different causes, but it often results in the tissue of the upper airway collapsing and blocking airflow.  We often recognize it as someone with loud snoring, but it can contribute to serious health problems such as depression, diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure, and concentration and memory problems.

Treatment for sleep apnea is mostly done by your medical doctor who will try to identify and treat the causes.  Often a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device is prescribed to keep the airway open.  The role of the dentist is to make an oral appliance to position your lower jaw forward to keep the upper airway open.  We need a written order from your physician to fabricate this device so that we're not overlooking other possible systemic causes for the obstruction.

To make these appliances, we simply take impressions and a bite record, send it to a lab and then fit it on you a week later.  There are different types of "dental snoring appliances" and all seem to work by posturing your jaw forward.  We can discuss the types available and determine what may work best for you.

Teeth Whitening

Our teeth can become stained and discolored for many reasons, including foods (coffee, tea, wine, tomato sauces, etc.), tobacco use, medications and aging.  Teeth whitening is a simple noninvasive procedure that is done to remove tough stains to brighten your teeth and smile.

There are numerous over-the-counter teeth whitening products that are affordable and often work with satisfactory results.  They are not as strong as our professional whitening services so they often require longer use and may not provide the results the patient may be expecting.

The most common professional teeth whitening technique we use is the Zoom!  in office system.  This is done in a single office visit and takes about an hour where patients often see results immediately.  The teeth are safely isolated, a peroxide gel is applied and a powerful light is shined on the teeth to activate the gel.  Microscopic bubbling action will lift tough stains off the enamel to help get your teeth optimally whiter.  Zoom! whitening is a safe procedure, but can cause temporary sensitivity.  This always subsides and can be alleviated by using desensitizing toothpastes.

Zoom! whitening is effective, but not necessarily permanent.  It can last for many years, but to ensure longer lasting results, you need to limit foods and beverages that stain teeth, brush and floss regularly and do periodic professional touch ups.

Take home whitening kits are also available where you wear custom fitting trays to hold the peroxide bleaching agents against your teeth surfaces for a few hours.  This takes about two weeks of daily use to attain optimal results.  We take impressions to make these trays which can also be used for touch ups after Zoom!  whitening.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Our office offers nitrous oxide sedation (laughing gas) for our more anxious patients.  Inhalation analgesia is the lightest form of dental sedation that can provide adequate anesthesia and relaxation for a majority of our dental procedures.  It is a method of conscious sedation because the patient remains awake and responsive and is able to breathe without external help.  Patients wear a cover over their nose to inhale a mix of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas in a safe effective level to achieve adequate sedation.