Our Dental Services
At Bagley Family Dentistry, we provide a wide range of services to meet the many needs of our patients. And over the course of a lifetime, the needs of your teeth will change with age, illness, accident, and various other reasons. We understand that there is sometimes apprehension about visiting the dentist, but you have our promise that we will always greet you with a smile and give you and your loved ones the absolute best dental care available. Trust Bagley Family Dentistry to keep your family smiling.
Basic Dental Health
Every six months, patients should be examined to ensure that teeth and gums are healthy and free of disease and decay. Plaque and tartar are removed, careful flossing removes hidden dangers, and all of the teeth are polished to a squeaky clean, smooth finish.
Fillings are done to remove decay and replace the affected tooth structure. It is called a filling because new material fills the hole that decay left. Now days, most teeth are treated with bonded tooth-colored composite resin fillings. Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly, but if not treated, decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth may then need root canal treatment or extraction.
Sometimes, there is no alternative but to remove teeth. Wisdom teeth can become impacted or create other space-related issues, and are a common reason for extraction. Disease, accidents, and neglect may also lead to necessitating taking out a tooth. This is done under local anesthesia and is generally routine in nature.
Bonding involves adhering composite resin material (matched to the color of the tooth) to the front of the tooth. This is done to repair damage done by decay, to alter the alignment of the tooth, to close gaps between the teeth, or for cosmetic purposes. First, the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the bonding material. A gel is then applied to micro-etch the tooth surface, and a primer/bond agent is applied so the bonding material adheres to the surface. Then the material itself is placed on the tooth and is hardened with a special light. Finally, the composite resin material is shaped and polished to get a lustrous finish.
Sealants are used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque. This is not because the person doesn't brush, but because the gap is too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. These can develop cavities over time, so the dentist applies a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.
The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for ones teeth. Collectively, this is also referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth, just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium (or gum disease) may be as follows: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these may be signs that something is going wrong. With the proper care, however, it may be possible to return them to a healthy state. If you're having any of these problems, come in and see us so we can take care of it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or even a root planing, done under a local anesthetic along with local antibiotic agents. If the gum disease gets too severe due to lack of attention, it may need to be treated surgically, so don't delay at the first sign of a problem.
A focused beam of X-Ray particles through bone produces an image on special film, which shows the solid structure through which it passed. This gives the familiar black and white images that doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems. X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnostic process, and not to use them could lead to undiagnosed disease. 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.
In our office, we use digital radiography. This allows us to take X-rays using 50-70% less radiation versus conventional X-rays. Coupled with computer monitoring, digital x-ray technology allows us to enhance the images for even better diagnosis of any dental concerns.
Cosmetic suggests anything done to correct imperfections in the appearance of the mouth, even if it is not a threat to your health. Basically, anyone who is unhappy with their smile can have it fixed. Typically the upper teeth show only when smiling, while the lower teeth remain hidden. This is reversed when talking, with the upper teeth remaining hidden while the lower teeth show. The color, alignment, and spacing, as well as regularity of the teeth are the characteristics that contribute to the mouth's overall appearance. Any of these can be repaired or altered to give a more pleasing look to your mouth. As such, we offer a wide variety of cosmetic options.
Age, diet, and genetics contribute to the gradual staining and yellowing of teeth. We have procedure for making teeth whiter and more attractive, and it's guaranteed to boost your self-confidence.
The tray method involves having impressions taken in our office, and from which laboratory-fabricated custom vinyl trays are made. A small amount of carbamide peroxide gel is placed in these trays, which are then worn for about 30 minutes a night, and the entire process takes about two weeks of daily use. For maintenance of whitened teeth, the trays can be used again every several months.
A procedure in which a covering is placed over the outside (or visible area) of the tooth, veneers are typically applied only to the part of the tooth that is visible when talking or smiling. The direct technique, commonly called bonding, usually involves placing composite resin on the outside of the tooth using a bonding material.
A different, indirect technique usually involves two appointments, because the veneers will be fabricated at a dental laboratory. At the first appointment, the teeth are prepared, impressions are taken, and the teeth are given a temporary covering. In two to three weeks, the veneers are back from the laboratory, the temporaries are removed, and the veneers are bonded to the teeth. The laboratory fabricated veneers are usually made using porcelain or pressed ceramic, and are very aesthetically pleasing.
The advantage of veneers over crowns is that much less tooth material is removed, and the procedure is generally less uncomfortable. Veneers are often recommended for teeth that have large fillings or little tooth structure.
Crowns are full coverage restorations that are used to cover a tooth that is likely to break, or is too broken down to be restored with a filling. They are commonly done after root canal treatment or when a large filling wears out. The larger the hole made by a cavity, the more likely a crown will be needed. Even after a filling is put in a large cavity, a tooth is more likely to break.
You might be surprised to learn that the jaw muscles are the strongest in the human body, and because of that, teeth are subject to tremendous pressures. Crowns fit over the weakened tooth, providing strength and protection against breakage. A broken or cracked tooth is a very serious matter and is very difficult to treat. Crowns prevent this from happening, and generally make for a nicer smile.
It takes two appointments to restore a tooth with a crown. First, any decay is removed from the tooth and it is shaped to accept the crown. Then an impression is made of the tooth for use in fabricating the crown. Between the two visits the crown is made, usually of zirconia (all white), emax (all white), or even gold. During this time, a temporary crown is worn. On the second visit this temporary is removed, and the permanent crown is adjusted as needed and cemented into place.
There are different types of dentures, but they share a common function: they replace teeth that have become loose or been lost due to bone loss, disease, or accident. When bone loss around the roots of teeth is great enough to loosen them or let them fall out, it's time for dentures. Relax; while no one enjoys losing their natural teeth, you can still eat and talk and have a great looking smile.
The entire mouth is examined and a determination is made as to which teeth will have to be removed and which will remain. After the loose teeth are extracted, dentures are fitted to go over or around whatever teeth remain in the mouth. There is an adjustment period after dentures are placed in the mouth, and it takes a little getting used to. But once you're accustomed to your new dentures, all the normal functionality and appearance of natural teeth return and you can get back to a normal life.
A dental implant is one option to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, a small titanium post is surgically implanted into the bone and allowed to set. The bone grows around it, forming a tight connection, which additionally slows or stops the bone loss that occurs when the root of a natural tooth is missing. Once the implant is firmly set in the mouth, the dentist then works to attach the replacement tooth onto the top of the post. This permanent solution has the advantage over bridge work that it does not stress the surrounding teeth for support, and, should the tooth wear out, another can simply be replaced on the existing post.
Implants may also be used as support for part of an implant bridge. This is an alternative to partial dentures, and has several advantages. First, there is no adjustment period to acclimatize the patient who, once the work is done, only feels teeth, not metal supports intruding into the mouth. Second, this slows the bone loss sometimes caused by missing teeth. Third, there is no discomfort or difficulty in eating. And, best of all, they don't have to be taken out all the time.
This is sometimes an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth, and is formed to look like the missing tooth it is replacing. The sides of a bridge use the two surrounding teeth for support, hence the name. Since a bridge replaces the missing tooth both functionally and cosmetically, bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material, depending on requirements for strength, wear, and aesthetics.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. Left untreated, the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward, creating a whole chain reaction of bad things. Since teeth use their neighbors for support, with one missing they start to fall over like little dominos in your mouth. As this worsens, the bite changes in response to the pressure, which can eventually result in problems with the entire jaw, e.g. TMJ. As the surrounding teeth deteriorate, it's just a matter of time before they, too, are lost. Gum disease then becomes a serious problem, with the difficulty of treatment increasing as the neglect continues. Don't wait.