Learn more about our procedures so that you’ll have an idea of what to expect when visiting our San Marcos dentist office. Feel free to give us a call if you have further questions.
- Cosmetic Dentistry
- Dental Laboratories
- Periodontal Disease
- Root Canals
- Teeth Whitening
A fixed partial denture (FPD), commonly known as a “bridge”, is a technique used to replace one or two missing teeth. As the name implies, this type of restoration is secure and cannot be removed by the patient. Loss of teeth can affect your ability to chew and make your teeth more difficult to clean, and can also change your appearance. A fixed partial denture is one or more replacement teeth attached to the adjacent natural teeth. The procedure typically takes two appointments. The initial visit involves preparation of the anchor teeth, making an impression, and placing a temporary restoration. The second is for the placement and cementation of the bridge.
To learn more about bridges and if that is the right option for you, read our “Implant vs Bridge” article or contact our office.
San Marcos Cosmetic Dentistry
“Cosmetic dentistry” is often touted today by dental offices as a form of advertising. Drs. Carothers and Sullivan do not agree with this form of marketing because they believe that in today’s world, all dentistry should be cosmetic and should enhance the patient’s appearance. They also recognize that what is a priority to one patient may not be an issue at all to another. They believe that each patient should be treated as an individual and they will provide you with all of the most current techniques and options for improving your dental health and enhancing your smile. If the appearance of your teeth is a concern to you, we would love to help!
A crown (or cap) is a manmade prosthesis that fits over the top of a tooth. They can be made from a variety of materials depending on the functions they need to perform. Crowns are commonly used to protect the integrity of the tooth, prolonging the life of the tooth, and are usually necessary to strengthen previously treated endodontic teeth (root canal), cracked teeth, and teeth with extensive restorations or decay. They may also be used for cosmetic enhancement or to repair problems with existing crowns. “Crowning a tooth” typically requires two visits. The first is for tooth preparation, and the second is to insert the crown. You will wear a temporary crown to protect your tooth between appointments. Once the crown is cemented in place, be sure to brush and floss well as this could increase the life of your crown.
Dental laboratories are not all created equal nor are dental crowns, bridges, dentures, and partial dentures the same. We choose to work with excellent dental laboratory technicians who provide exceptionally high quality products using high quality materials. We work one-on-one with people we personally know and respect, with the confidence that they will stand behind the service they provide. It gives us security to know this and we hope it does the same for you.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a condition affecting the gums and bone surrounding your teeth. It is caused by a bacterial infection that is frequently painless until it reaches advanced stages. We are very meticulous in our examinations in an effort to diagnose problems at an early, more easily treated stage. There can be multiple factors that play a role in periodontal disease and we will discuss these on an individual basis. Treatment can range from thorough professional cleanings, called “scale and root plane” to more extensive surgical procedures, and even tooth removal. In some cases we will recommend care from a periodontist, a dental specialist in periodontal disease.
Scale and root plane is a procedure used in treating some phases of periodontal disease. Some patients think of it as a “super cleaning” but it is really much more. The procedure frequently requires dental anesthesia and consists of very methodical, meticulous debridement of the tooth structure below the gum line into the infected tissue. Once the disease is brought under control, it is critical that periodontal maintenance procedures be performed on a regular basis. This consists of cleaning the previously treated pockets or spaces between your teeth. Daily home care is a must, but it is not enough to bring your disease under control. If you do not continue with your maintenance visits, your periodontal disease will progress and make maintaining your teeth more difficult.
Root canal procedures treat disorders of the nerve of the tooth. This treatment may become necessary because of a variety of factors, some of which are: physical irritation (large decay or restorations), trauma (cracked tooth or occlusion), or gum disease. Root canals are frequently performed in two one hour appointments. Pain relief is usually accomplished in the first visit by removing the diseased tissue. At the second appointment the preparation of the root canal is completed and the canal is sealed with a special filling material to keep bacteria from re-entering the tooth. Root canal, or endodontic treatment, may leave the tooth weaker than a healthy tooth. This could ultimately lead to tooth fracture and tooth loss. To help prevent this, a crown restoration is frequently recommended.
If obtaining white teeth is one of your concerns, we would love to help! We feel at-home bleaching through the use of custom made “bleaching trays” provides the best results. The whitening agent is dispensed into the custom made trays through the use of preloaded syringes and should be worn either during the day or throughout the night. For optimal results, teeth whitening should be performed daily for a period of two weeks or until your ideal color is reached. For best results, do not consume food or beverages (excluding water) for at least an hour after whitening.
Veneers are dental restorations placed over your natural teeth to enhance your smile and oftentimes improve your dental health. Depending on your specific situation, they can be placed directly with a composite resin material, or they can be made specifically for you by a dental laboratory from a wafer thin shell of glass-like porcelain that is bonded onto the front of your tooth. Veneers are a conservative way to make changes to teeth that are discolored, worn, chipped, or misaligned. Not every person is a candidate for dental veneers. The patient’s occlusion (bite), periodontal health, nocturnal habits (clenching or grinding), and cavity rate need to be taken into consideration. Frequently, an occlusal guard will be recommended to protect the porcelain from chipping or becoming unbonded. These are proven restorations that have benefitted many in a variety of ways.