Professional cleanings performed by a hygienist are just as important to your dental health as daily brushing and flossing. Using specialized tools and training, your hygienist will: • Remove plaque build-up from the surfaces of teeth. (Bacteria in the mouth form plaque, which collects on teeth and causes decay, gum disease, and gingivitis.) • Remove tartar from teeth surfaces. (Tartar, or calculus, is plaque that has become so hardened on the teeth that its removal requires special procedures. Tartar below the gum line is also an indicator of gum disease.) • Remove surface stains from teeth through polishing.
Regular examinations help detect and prevent health issues before they become serious. Consistent dental check-ups help catch problems when they are small and easier to treat. Left unattended, small treatable problems become worse and may require more extensive, expensive procedures to repair. Dental examinations generally include the following:
• Gum Disease screening • Oral Cancer screening • Visual tooth decay evaluation • Visual gum disease examination • Gum pocket measurement and tracking • X-rays to detect: tooth decay, cysts, tumors, problems below the gums and other hidden issues
Regular examinations are very important for your health. Remember, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." –Benjamin Franklin
X-rays (radiographs) are a primary tool for early identification of dental problems. Detecting issues with X-rays before they become problems can save you money in the long run by preventing the need for more extensive, expensive procedures or surgeries. X-rays are primarily used to detect:
• Internal tooth decay • Cysts (fluid filled sacks at the base of your teeth) • Tumors, both cancerous and non-cancerous • Impacted teeth • Teeth that are still coming in
Dr. Ausink exclusively uses Digital X-rays because of these advantages over traditional X-rays:
• They emit up to 90% less radiation • They are ready for examination nearly instantly • They can be viewed on a computer screen • Their image can be refined and enlarged • They are greener; no chemicals are needed for processing
Sealants are generally used to help prevent tooth decay on the biting surfaces of back teeth (molars). The natural grooves of these teeth can trap food that can resist casual brushing and rinsing. If left in place, the trapped food allows bacteria to multiply, eventually causing tooth decay and requiring costly attention.
Sealants are painted directly onto the tooth where they seal the natural grooves to help prevent tooth decay. While sealants are durable, they are not permanent. They can last up to 5 years of normal wear before needing replacement.
Sealants offer a cost-effective, preventative step to reduce the chances of tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of molars. However, they do not replace the need for regular brushing and flossing.
Gum disease (periodontal disease) accounts for approximately 70% of all tooth loss in adults. Early signs of gum disease include bleeding gums when flossing or brushing and gums that are red, inflamed, or swollen.
Gum disease and tooth decay are caused by the same bacteria. These bacteria form plaque beneath the gum-line, which eats away at the bond between tooth and gum. If deterioration is allowed to continue, "pockets" form in between the teeth and the gums. Pockets deeper than 3ml may require special treatment to remove the bacteria and plaque. Without treatment and continuous maintenance, gum disease will eventually weaken the bonds that hold the teeth in place.
There is no permanent treatment for gum disease. However, it can be kept under control with proper personal hygiene and regular visits to a trained dentist or hygienist.
Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry:
Fillings are used to restore tooth damage caused by tooth decay. After removing the decay and cleaning the area the dentist adds filling material. Fillings are made from traditional amalgam (silver colored) gold, silver, or a composite (tooth colored). Composite fillings, in addition to being more esthetically pleasing, bond directly to the tooth surface unlike traditional fillings. Dr. Ausink works with each patient to determine which material will work best for that patient's long term dental health and esthetic desires.
Porcelain Veneers are composed of extremely strong and esthetic porcelain that permanently bonds to the tooth. Porcelain Veneers are used for: • Repairing tooth decay damage • Improving tooth alignment • Fillling gaps between teeth • Cosmetic reasons (Discolored Teeth)
Crowns are used to restore severely damaged teeth due to fracture or decay. After the tooth surface is cleaned and prepared the crown is placed to cover the remainder of the tooth. The crown strengthens the tooth structure and helps prevent future decay. Crowns also improve the tooth's look, shape, and alignment. Crowns are used to: • Restore a fractured tooth • Restore a tooth severely damaged by decay • Protect a tooth from fracture • Cover a discolored or unattractive tooth • Cover a dental implant • Anchor a bridge
Bridges are used to replace a missing tooth in both a cosmetic and functional fashion. A bridge structure is one or more artificial teeth anchored in place by natural teeth, crowns, or implants, on each side of the bridge. Using a bridge to fill the gap from missing teeth helps restore proper bite and prevent teeth from shifting to fill the gap (which may lead to additional bite and jaw joint issues). Bridges can be constructed from gold, porcelain and metal, or all ceramic. Ceramic bridge color is made to match your natural tooth color. Material choice will depend on structural requirements, wear, and esthetics. Bridges are used to: • Replace missing teeth • Prevent teeth from shifting • Correct bite issues due to missing teeth • Help prevent jaw joint problems from altered bite • Improve appearance (cosmetic reasons)
Implants may be the best option for replacing a single or multiple missing teeth. An implant is a metal post that is attached directly to the jawbone. After the bone and surrounding tissue has healed an artificial tooth is attached to the implant. Implants provide superior benefits compared to bridge work as they do not depend on neighboring teeth for structural support. Implants are the closest dental structure in durability to natural teeth and have greater cosmetic appeal. Implants are used to: • Replace missing teeth • Prevent teeth from shifting • Correct bite issues due to missing teeth • Help prevent jaw joint problems from altered bite • Improve appearance (cosmetic reasons)
A root canal becomes needed when tooth decay is so badly neglected it reaches the tooth pulp. Once the pulp is infected it cannot heal on its own. Sometimes tooth trauma such as a fracture can lead to the need for a root canal as well. In addition to being painful, untreated infections can reach the root tip and compromise the entire immune system. Symptoms of pulp infections may be: • Sensitivity to hot/cold • Sensitivity to sweets • Pain, especially when biting • Swelling • Bad taste in the mouth
A root canal procedure includes cleaning out the infected pulp, disinfecting the canals and filling the void with a rubber like substance to prevent further infection. Sometimes a crown is recommended to restore the tooth shape, look, and to strengthen the tooth structure.
Donald C. Ausink DDS 2345 SW 320th St. Federal Way, WA 98023