Understanding your dental health is our priority. Please review this page for information regarding general oral health, as well as information on some of the advanced services we offer here at Easlon Dental Town.
- Oral Cancer
- Oral Health and Your General Health
- Advanced Services
- Digital Radiographs
- Intraoral Cameras
- Root Canal Treatment
- TMJ Treatment
- Laser Dentistry
Oral cancer, belonging to the group of head and neck cancers, is a serious concern with approximately 2% of all cancers diagnosed in the U.S. being oral cancer. It was estimated that in 2016, nearly 50,000 individuals would be diagnosed with oral cancer and nearly 25% of those would die from the cancer. The reason for the high mortality rate of oral cancer is late diagnosis, which can allow the cancer to metastasize to other locations. Finding oral cancer is an important factor in reducing the mortality risk and we would like to be sure to check for this at your visits. The most common causes of oral cancer are tobacco use, frequent alcohol consumption and the HPV virus; however, 25% of those with oral cancer had no risk factors at all. At regular check-ups we will examine your mouth for any signs of oral cancer which may include painless red or white spots, ulcers that bleed easily or will not heal, swellings or lumps in the mouth the do not go away, as well as other things that just don’t look “normal”. Cancer can be scary, but the most important thing is to be checked regularly to catch it early. Remember to schedule you and your family for regular dental exams. For more information on oral cancers, visit www.oralcancerfoundation.org.
Oral Health and Your General Health
Though it may seem silly, the health of your mouth can contribute to the health of your whole body! Your mouth is the entry point to your digestive tract, as well as a primary location for bacteria to thrive. While some of the bacteria there is good for you, other types of bacteria are not good. The bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease may actually cause problems for the rest of your body. Research shows there are links between your oral health and diabetes, vascular conditions, pregnancy, digestive conditions and many others. It’s important to keep healthy teeth and gums, not only to prevent cavities, gum disease and oral pain, but also to avoid further complications with other diseases you may have. Regular cleanings and check-ups are essential to maintaining a healthy mouth.
For information about oral health and heart disease, visit http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/h/heart-disease-and-oral-health
For information about oral health and diabetes, visit http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/oral-health-and-hygiene/
Technology and Advanced Services
Digital radiographs offer many advantages to dentistry. This process allows for faster, more comfortable imaging of the teeth and bones with nearly 90% less radiation to the patient than film radiographs. Dental radiographs are an intergral component to recognizing dental health vs. disease. Use of the lowest amount of radiation to patients as possible is our goal. For this reason, the amount of radiographs taken on an individual will be directly reflective of the need for exposure to accurately diagnose dental disease.
Intraoral cameras are beneficial to both the dentists and the patient. The ability to use an intraoral camera will allow the dentist to take accurate and real-life images of the teeth. It is difficult to see what your dentist or hygienist sees, even if you try looking closely. The images taken with these cameras can take care of that problem. This can also be useful in periodically monitoring a tooth or lesion in an initial stage of disease to note any change or progression.
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 most commonly done after root canal treatment, or when a large filling wears out. The larger the hole made by a cavity that has to be treated, 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. Keep in mind that the jaw muscles are the strongest in the human body. Teeth are subjected to tremendous pressures. Crowns ride over the weakened tooth, providing strength and protecting the tooth against breakage. A broken or cracked tooth is a far more serious matter and much more difficult to treat. Crowns prevent this, as well as making for a nice smile.
Now with our Cerec machine, it only takes one appointment to restore a tooth with a crown. 3D images are taken of how the tooth looks before any treatment is done. Then any decay is removed from the tooth and it is shaped to accept the crown. More 3D images are taken of the tooth after the decay is removed and the crown is made to model your tooth as close as possible, with minor changes where needed. The milling chamber fabricates the crown out of a block of porcelain, and then the crown is adjusted as needed before it is cemented in place.
Check out this video about Cerec!
This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. It is formed to look like the missing tooth, and it takes its place in the mouth. The sides of a bridge use the two surrounding teeth for support, hence the name. 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. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or esthetics.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward, creating a whole chain reaction of bad things. Teeth use their neighbors for support, and, with one missing, they start to “fall.” As this worsens the bite changes in response to the pressure. This can eventually result in problems with the entire jaw, e.g. TMJ. The surrounding teeth deteriorate and it is just a matter of time before they, too, are lost. Gum disease becomes a serious problem, with the difficulty of treatment increasing as the neglect continues.
Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when a cavity is allowed, through neglect, to reach all the way to this pulp. Regular cleanings and checkups prevent and detect problems early. Sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point it needs root canal therapy, also. Once this occurs the pulp becomes infected, and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is an abscess). By the time the pulp is infected it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous, not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, however, no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until a checkup.
A root canal is then performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp, and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The only other treatment would be to extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy.
A dental implant is an option to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, a small titanium shaft 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 shaft. This permanent solution has the advantages 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 shaft.
Implants can also be used as support as 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 occasioned by missing teeth. Third, there is no discomfort or difficulty in eating. And, best of all, of course, they don’t have to be taken out all the time.
TMJ stands for temporoandibular joint. Temporal, as in temple area of skull; mandibular as in mandible, or lower jaw; joint as in it’s where the head and jaw meet. Problems in this joint may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension. Aside from the two bones that meet there, cartilage buffers them and five muscles are involved in the area. If something goes wrong a good deal of trouble can result.
Problems in this area can cause:
- Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face
Dental treatments for the condition can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, filling gaps between teeth, etc. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.
Whitening, Including ZOOM!
This is the procedure of making teeth whiter, and therefore more attractive. Our office uses several methods: Zoom!, passive tray whitening, and professional strength white strips.
Zoom! is a revolutionary tooth whitening procedure. It’s safe effective and fast, very fast. In just over an hour, your teeth will be dramatically whiter. The convenience of Zoom! in comparison to days of using strips or wearing trays makes it the perfect choice for the busy individual. The Zoom! Whitening procedure is simple. It begins with a short preparation to isolate your lips and gums. The clinician then applies the proprietary Zoom! whitening gel that is activated by a specially designed light. Teeth typically become at least six to ten shades whiter, sometimes more. A fluoride treatment completes the procedure. You’ll be amazed with the results. In most cases, teeth get even whiter the first few days after the procedure. Trays with gel are recommended afterward for maximum whitening and maintenance.
The tray method involves having impressions taken from which laboratory fabricated custom vinyl trays are made. A carbamide peroxide gel is placed in these trays and the trays with gel are worn for about 3 hours, or overnight. The entire process takes 3-4 weeks of daily use. Three different strengths of gel may be used, however the higher the strength the greater the likelihood of reactions or tooth sensitivity. The tray method is recommended for badly stained teeth, such as tetracycline staining, and it may take several months of use to see significant color improvement. For maintenance of whitened teeth the trays should be used every several months.
The end results whether using trays at home or doing Zoom! is the same. The cost of the tray method is about half compared to Zoom!, and there is usually less post-treatment sensitivity.
Sirona SIROlaser is a state-of-the-art technology that allows Dr. Easlon and Dr. Cobb to precisely and more comfortably perform gum therapies on qualifying patients. This technology involves diode lasers with a multitude of dental applications, including periodontal therapies and cosmetic dental treatments. Dental lasers can be used for sulcular debridement and sterilization in periodontal disease. They can also perform surgical and cosmetic procedures including gingivectomy (gingival contouring), operculectomy. frenectomy, implant uncovering, and lesion removal and may also be used in the treatment of aphthous ulcers and oral herpetic lesions. Lasers offer a more comfortable option for some oral surgical procedures with optimal hemostasis and improved post-operative healing.