Dental Health

Basic Health


Fillings are necessary to replace diseased or broken tooth structure. Modern dental restorations are tooth colored composite resins or porcelain and are bonded to the remaining healty tooth enamel or dentin. Most cavities can be treated easily and painlessly when caught early. With routine dental cleanings and thorough examinations, we are usually able to stop the disease process at this early stage. Left undiagnosed, tooth decay (dental cavities) can lead to tooth pain and/or infection which can result in the need for root canal therapy or extraction.

Bonding involves adhering tooth colored composite resin material or porcelain to an existing healthy tooth structure. This is done to repair any damage to the tooth by decay, to alter the alignment of the tooth, close gaps between the teeth, or for cosmetic purposes. First the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the bonding material and hold it. A gel is applied to micro etch the tooth surface, and a primer/bond agent is applied so the material adheres to the surface. Then the material itself is placed on the tooth and hardened with intense light. The composite resin material is shaped and polished to obtain a lustrous finish as a last step.

Doctors Shirley and Ditty strive to provide the highest quality of dental care to all our patients. As a result, we are placing composite (tooth colored) restorations on all teeth due to the many benefits this material provides over amalgam (silver colored) restorations in most treatments. 

The materials used in restoring teeth with the tooth colored fillings allow the most conservative treatment for the tooth. Only existing restorations (if any) and the diseased tooth structure are removed. Tooth colored fillings are made to fit the requirements of the tooth instead of the tooth being altered to allow for silver fillings. All healty tooth structure remains intact allowing improved options if future treatment becomese necessary.

Tooth colored restorations on back and baby teeth may require an additional out-of-pocket expense, depending on the benefit package your employer has secured with your insurance company. If you prefer or if your insurance benefits dictate silver restorations on back and baby teeth, please express your concerns with your dental provider before treatment begins.

Sealants are placed to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, especially children's teeth during their foramative years, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because of inadequate brushing, but because they're too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. These tiny grooves and pits can develop cavities over time. As a preventive measure, the dentist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.

Periodontal disease affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. You may have it and not even know it. There are no early warning signs, except for occasional bleeding and redness around the gums when brushing, and possibly mouth odor. However, as the disease progresses, the symptoms become more obvious. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to loosening of teeth, receding gums, and gum discomfort.

Periodontal diseases may be prevented if you brush and floss every day to remove bacterial plaque and get regular dental checkups. If you do have periodontal disease, your hygienist will remove the calculus above and below the gum. This procedure is called scaling. In moderate or severe periodotitis, it may be necessary to smooth the root surfaces of the teeth. This procedure, called root planing, removes residual calculus and bacterial by-products. 


X-rays are a necessary part of the dental diagnostic process, allowing a complete and comprehensive evaluation of the existing conditions. Without an X-ray of the whole tooth, and supporting bone and gum tissues, there is no real way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention. Digital radiography allows us to take x-rays using 60-80% less radiation versus conventional X-ray methods. Coupled with computer monitoring, digital X-ray technology allows us to enhanced the images for better diagnosis of dental concerns.

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