Trustworthy General Dentistry in Tempe, AZ

General Dentistry

It is crucial for you and your loved ones to visit your general dentist on a regular basis. When you visit your dentist for routine examinations and cleanings, our dentail team can catch early signs of decay or even prevent decay from ever occurring. When small oral health issues like tooth decay go too long without being treated, they can become more serious problems like gum disease. You can protect your health and the health of your family by visiting your family dentist regularly.

Bonding is an affordable cosmetic solution that can be successfully used to treat relatively minor cosmetic imperfections, including cracks, chips, gaps, and misaligned or misshaped teeth. The material used is called composite resin, which is also used to build tooth-colored fillings. Our doctors will select the closest match to your natural smile’s color and then apply the composite resin, carefully sculpting it into place to create the most pleasing and seamless appearance. Once securely in place, the addition will look and function just like natural enamel! Better yet, it can last for quite some time with the right levels of personal and professional maintenance.

Dental Exams and Cleaning

Regular exams are an important part of maintaining your oral health. During your regular exam, we will:

  • Check for any problems that you may not see or feel
  • Look for cavities or any other signs of tooth decay
  • Inspect your teeth and gums for gingivitis and signs of periodontal disease
  • Perform a thorough teeth cleaning

Your regular exam will take about 45 minutes. Each regular exam includes a detailed teeth cleaning, in which we will clean, polish, and rinse your teeth to remove any tartar and plaque that have built up on the tooth’s surface.

Visiting our office every six months gives you the chance to talk to the doctor about any questions you may have about your oral health. Regular exams are offered by appointment only, so please contact our practice today to schedule your next dental exam and teeth cleaning.

Endodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that deals with the complex structures found inside the teeth. The Greek word “Endodontics” literally means “inside the tooth” and relates to the tooth pulp, tissues, nerves, and arterioles.  Endodontists receive additional dental training after completing dental school to enable them to perform both complex and simple procedures, including root canal therapy.

Historically, a tooth with a diseased nerve would be removed immediately, but endodontists are now able to save the natural tooth in most cases. Generally, extracting the inner tooth structures, then sealing the resulting gap with a crown restores health and functionality to damaged teeth.

Signs and symptoms of endodontic problems:

  • Inflammation and tenderness in the gums.
  • Teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold foods.
  • Tenderness when chewing and biting.
  • Tooth discoloration.
  • Unexplained pain in the nearby lymph nodes.

Reasons for Endodontic Treatment

Endodontic treatment (or root canal therapy) is performed to save the natural tooth. In spite of the many advanced restorations available, most dentists agree that there is no substitute for healthy, natural teeth.

Here are some of the main causes of inner tooth damage:

Bacterial infections – Oral bacteria is the most common cause of endodontic problems. Bacteria invade the tooth pulp through tiny fissures in the teeth caused by tooth decay or injury. The resulting inflammation and bacterial infection jeopardize the affected tooth and may cause an abscess to form.

Fractures and chips – When a large part of the surface or crown of the tooth has become completely detached, root canal therapy may be required. The removal of the crown portion leaves the pulp exposed, which can be debilitating painful and problematic.

Injuries – Injuries to the teeth can be caused by a direct or indirect blow to the mouth area.  Some injuries cause a tooth to become luxated or dislodged from its socket. Root canal therapy is often needed after the endodontist has successfully stabilized the injured tooth.

Removals – If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the socket, it is important to rinse it and place it back into the socket as quickly as possible. If this is impossible, place the tooth in special dental solution (available at pharmacies) or in milk. These steps will keep the inner mechanisms of the tooth moist and alive while emergency dental treatment is sought. The tooth will be affixed in its socket using a special splint, and the endodontist will then perform root canal therapy to save the tooth.

What does an Endodontic Procedure Involve?

Root canal therapy usually takes between one and three visits to complete. Complete X-rays of the teeth will be taken and examined before the treatment begins.

Initially, a local anesthetic will be administered, and a dental dam (protective sheet) will be placed to ensure that the surgical area remains free of saliva during the treatment. An opening will be created in the surface of the tooth, and the pulp will be completely removed using small handheld instruments.

The space will then be shaped, cleaned, and filled with gutta-percha.  Gutta-percha is a biocompatible material that is somewhat similar to rubber. Cement will be applied on top to ensure that the root canals are completely sealed off. Usually, a temporary filling will be placed to restore functionality to the tooth prior to the permanent restoration procedure. During the final visit, a permanent restoration or crown will be placed.

If you have questions or concerns about endodontic procedures, please contact our office.

Many times, we hear from new patients that when they left other dental offices, they had more questions than answers. As a valued patient, every question and concern you have is important and each will be answered to your satisfaction.

Partial crowns, often referred to as onlay’s, are a type of dental restoration or porcelain filling that covers one or more cusps of your tooth. Onlay’s are also made of porcelain by a lab and take two appointments to complete. An inlay is like a dental filling, but the restoration is made of porcelain by a lab and is placed within the cusps on a tooth’s chewing surface. These restorations are much more conservative than crowns and can be imperceptible from your natural tooth. However, the use of onlays and inlays are limited to very specific situations and are not as common as a dental crown.

What is a Dental Inlay?

An inlay is a lab fabricated porcelain filling that fits into the grooves of a tooth and do not extend over the cusps of tooth. The patient is numbed using a local anesthetic and the dentist drills the tooth to remove and clean out the decay in the tooth. This is one of the restorative methods used to repair a tooth after it sustains harm from injury or decay that does not affect the cusps of the tooth. The dentist takes an impression and sends it to a laboratory where the inlay is made.

Inlays are manufactured from porcelain or composite resin material matching the color of the tooth and provide almost invisible dental restoration while repairing the chewing surface. Dental inlays are generally more durable than regular fillings made from composite or amalgam.

What is a Dental Only?

Onlays also fit inside the tooth but extend onto the chewing surface of a back tooth to replace one or more cusps. In the past, onlays were made only of gold, but like inlays, more and more patients request a tooth-colored onlay. Making the onlay of ceramic/porcelain allows the restoration to be bonded to the tooth.

This bonding process may actually improve the strength of the tooth and help seal the onlay to the tooth. Sometimes It is difficult to determine when inlays or onlays can be used instead of crowns or caps. But, you are in great hands at Filbrun Family Dentistry as our dentists will review all your options with you to determine the best dental plan.

The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Your mouth is filled with bacteria. When bacteria are not disrupted on a regular basis, a plaque, or a sticky film of bacteria, debris and saliva form on the teeth and under the gum line. If plaque is not thoroughly removed each day, it becomes mineralized and turns into calculus (tartar). This build up on the tooth and root surface become rough and harbor the harmful bacteria of the mouth which begins to destroy the gums and bone. Once calculus has formed your toothbrush will not removed the hardened substance and a professional dental cleaning is required to remove the harmful build up.

Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums; although not all symptoms need to be present for a diagnosis of periodontal disease.

Four out of five people have some level periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of the condition because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. If your gums are bleeding, this is not normal and is a sign of disease in your mouth.

Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease. As well as, genetics and your overall health can play a role in periodontal disease progression.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

  • Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss. Although bleeding gums are common, they are not healthy.
  • Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers, which are ligaments that support the tooth to the bone.
  • New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.
  • Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth. More than just morning breath.
  • Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
  • Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth that can expose the roots of the teeth resulting in sensitivity.
  • Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen. Medications, medical conditions and mouth breathing can also cause red and puffy gums. Only a dental professional can properly advise you of the condition of your gums supporting structures around your teeth.
  • Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth. They are irritants much like having a sliver in your finger. If you do not remove the sliver the tissue becomes sore and inflamed.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Plaque and its toxic by-products irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and likely to bleed. This stage of disease is reversible with proper professional treatment and your compliance at home. This stage affects the gum tissue only, but left untreated it will progress into the surrounding bone.

Periodontitis

Plaque hardens into calculus (tartar). As calculus and plaque continue to build up, the gums and bone begin to recede from the teeth as a result of your own body attempting to fight off the bacterial byproducts associated with gum disease. Deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth and become filled with bacteria, fluid and sometimes pus. The gums become very irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily. Slight to moderate bone loss is present. This stage is often painless, therefore, it is easy to ignore.

Advanced Periodontitis

The teeth lose more support as the gums, bone, and periodontal ligament continue to be destroyed. Unless treated, the affected teeth will become very loose and will likely be lost. Generalized moderate to severe bone loss may be present. Often this stage of gum disease can still have little pain to alert you of the progression and need for professional treatment.

Treatment

Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. Your dentist and dental hygienist will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment. Be sure you dental exam includes a full periodontal charting that is documented for your review annually.

If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two visits with your dental hygienist for professional cleaning above and below the gum line with medications to reduce bacteria counts are commonly recommended. You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and require regular dental cleanings.

If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) will be recommended. This is a non-surgical procedure that can be done in the dentist office. One to three appointments will be needed to complete your treatment. Success of your treatment is largely dependent upon your compliance to homecare instructions.

Maintenance

It only takes 24 hours for plaque that is not removed from your teeth to begin emitting the harmful waste product that damages your tissues, teeth and bone. As well as it can turn into calculus (tartar)! Daily home cleaning helps control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention. Brushing alone does not properly cleanse all tooth surfaces. Additionally, you must follow the professional maintenance-cleaning schedule your dentist and hygienist recommend for you.

Your personal periodontal evaluation and teeth cleaning appointment will usually include:

  • Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for early detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
  • Examination of existing restorations and appliances: Check current fillings, crowns, dental implants, dentures, partial dentures, orthodontic retainers, night guards to prevent tooth grinding damage and bridges.
  • Examination of tooth decay: Check all tooth surfaces for decay.
  • Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, cheek tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer or abnormalities.
  • Oral hygiene recommendations: Review and recommend oral hygiene aids as needed. (Electric toothbrushes, special periodontal brushes, fluorides, rinses, etc.)
  • Teeth cleaning: Removal stain and plaque, calculus, above the gum line. Polishing of the tooth surfaces with a fine polishing paste to smooth surfaces.
  • Good oral hygiene practices and periodontal cleanings are essential in maintaining dental health and keeping periodontal disease under control.

Sedation dentistry provides a relaxing and anxiety-free environment for dental procedures. At Shalimar Family Dentistry in Tempe, we provide safe and affordable sedation treatment so that you no longer experience the fear associated with going to the dentist. You can receive the dental care you need without any unnecessary stress or anxiety.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation is used to relax patients before a dental procedure. Sedative drugs are administered to patients to create easy and efficient dental care. Local anesthetics are also used at the location in the mouth to block pain receptors from reaching the affected teeth and gums. At Shalimar Family Dentistry, we offer oral conscious and IV sedation at an affordable rate to ensure the comfort of our patients.

  • Oral conscious sedation involves taking medication in pill form to achieve the appropriate level of sedation. By using oral sedation, patients are able to remain conscious and are able to respond to commands without experiencing any pain. Oral sedation may remain in your system after your dental procedure is complete. It is important that you have a friend or loved one assist you after receiving oral sedation to take you to and from the dentist office.

What are the benefits of Sedation?

With our sedation techniques, you will feel as if your dental procedure lasted only minutes. Sedation dentistry is a safe procedure, and at Shalimar Family Dentistry, we create the comfort needed when undergoing long and complex processes so that you no longer feel afraid of visiting the dentist. Sedation dentistry allows for the completion of multiple procedures in one sitting. Because of our effective sedation techniques, our patients are less likely to experience anxiety and thus more likely to maintain proper oral health.

Who benefits from Sedation Dentistry?

Whether you simply cannot tolerate pain or fear sitting in a dentist chair, sedation dentistry can help make your dental care easier. In order to provide the necessary care, we collect your medical history during an exam to determine which sedation method is right for you. Call us to schedule an appointment and see if sedation is a the right option for you. At Shalimar Family Dentistry, we provide sedation options based on your specific needs. We provide safe and regulated sedation that will leave you relaxed and comfortable.

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurring headaches. In some cases, this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD.

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.

Symptoms Of TMD Include:

  • Pain in the jaw area
  • Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
  • Frequent headaches or neck aches
  • Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
  • Swelling on the sides of the face
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw area
  • A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
  • Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth

Should you notice any of these symptoms, let your doctor know. Your dentist can help indicate the presence of TMD and create an effective treatment just for you.

There are a few simple steps you can take at home or work to prevent TMD from becoming more severe, or to prevent it from occurring:

  • Relax your face — remember the rule: “Lips together, teeth apart”
  • Avoid grinding your teeth
  • Avoid constant gum chewing
  • Don’t cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder — either use a headset or hold the receiver in your hand
  • Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
  • Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
  • Practice good posture — keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared