Comprehensive Dental Examinations
The comprehensive examination is a process in which Dr. Minahan takes necessary records to provide a thorough diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan. This examination will include:
Periodontal (gum) disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. We will examine your gum tissues to ensure that gum disease is detected in its early stages. Because bone loss is a significant consideration in determining the outcome of any treatment, we take the health of your gum and bone tissues very seriously.
Oral Cancer Screening
If you are a tobacco or smokeless tobacco user, you are in primary danger of developing oral cancer. More than 8,000 deaths were attributed to oral cancer in the past year. We are committed to preventing oral cancer through the early identification of pre-cancerous conditions, and we provide oral cancer screenings at each preventive care appointment.
The forces of your bite can sometimes affect the positioning of your jaw and teeth. Through minor polishing of the enamel surfaces or smoothing fillings of the teeth, we can help redistribute and redirect the biting forces. Adjustments to chewing surfaces can often eliminate sensitivities, toothaches, and headaches that can occur as a result of irregular biting patterns.
Caries (cavity) Exam
During this visual examination, we locate areas of decay between teeth, on chewing surfaces, and around and under restorations. Dr. Minahan uses a clinical exam, digital photography and radiographic findings to determine the ideal treatment plan for your oral needs.
Temporo-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) Examination
TMD is a condition that afflicts thousands of people. Frequent indicators of TMD include popping and clicking of the jaw, limited jaw function, pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back, and pain and pressure in the face and ears. We provide conservative therapies that can eliminate this painful and frustrating problem.
Preventive and Diagnostic General Dental Care
Sealants protect the chewing surfaces of the back teeth and should be applied as soon as your child's permanent posterior teeth arrive. Though typically placed on children's teeth, adult molars can also be sealed, provided a tooth does not show evidence of decay. The sealants that we place have been highly successful in preventing decay.
Fluoride applications help to strengthen the enamel on your child's teeth, making it more difficult for cavities to begin. Children and adults should receive fluoride treatments at least every six months.
Fluoride is also helpful to adults to reduce the pain and discomfort caused by exposed root surfaces (receding gums). Regular fluoride application can help eliminate root sensitivity. Our patients have found it helpful to have fluoride treatments to reduce their sensitivity, followed by at-home therapies.
Regular Hygiene Visits (Prophylaxis)
These important appointments allow Dr. Minahan and his hygienists to monitor your oral health and clean under your gum line where the toothbrush cannot reach. They also help promote healthy gums and teeth by removing the plaque and calculus that cause decay and gum infection, and also by educating you about prevention.
Once your mouth is restored to health, it is important that you make a commitment to maintain your dental health. To achieve this, it is important that you return on a regular basis for a routine examination and hygiene care. Your soft tissue management program is a non-surgical approach to control periodontal disease. There is NO CURE for this disease; it can only be managed or controlled. The bacteria that causes periodontal disease re-establishes itself 12-weeks after treatment. A 12-week re-care visit is critically timed to disrupt these bacteria in order to disable the destructive process at its critical stage. This stage is when the bacteria and toxins do the most damage to the gums and the ligaments that hold the teeth in the mouth.
For patients with adult periodontitis (gum disease), supportive periodontal maintenance is not an option, but a requirement for success. Dr. Minahan and his hygienists will inform you of the re-care interval that best fits your needs.
Nightguards are used as a treatment option to prevent damage to the chewing surfaces of the teeth associated with grinding and clenching. It is a conservative treatment that is very successful and highly recommended for patients with TMJ dysfunction. By creating an acrylic pattern of your teeth, Dr. Minahan can help you protect your teeth from unnecessary wear.
Many times people are unaware that they are grinding their teeth. The grinding often takes place at night while patients are sleeping and can create extreme damage. It is our goal to treat the wear at an early stage so it is not allowed to advance to a severe state.
In addition to helping relieve head, neck, jaw joint and shoulder pains, treating bruxism (grinding) and clenching is cost effective compared to ignoring the condition and exposing teeth to continued grinding. If you wait too long for treatment or choose not to have nightguard therapy treatment; crowns, bridges, implants and dentures are often needed to repair or replace worn and damaged teeth.
Restorative and Cosmetic Dental Care
Dr. Allan Minahan understands the reservations many have with dental work and strive to make the process as comfortable as possible for you. If you have any concerns, please feel free to discuss them with Dr. Minahan.
Made of tooth-colored material, composite fillings restore the teeth's natural beauty. Composite fillings can be matched very closely to your natural tooth color and are virtually indistinguishable from non-restored teeth. Composite fillings are excellent options for both front and back teeth. The composites we use have proved to be extremely durable and stain resistant.
A crown is a strong restoration that covers a tooth in order to strengthen it as well as restore it to its normal shape and size. A crown may be used when there is not enough tooth structure left to hold a large filling, when there is little remaining tooth structure, to protect weak teeth from fracturing, to restore fractured or decayed teeth and to hide discolored misaligned teeth. A tooth that has been treated with root canal therapy will require a crown following treatment to provide strength and support to the tooth. We only use materials for crowns that will provide the longest lasting benefits to our patients.
At Minahan Dental we will always recommend the most conservative treatment possible for your situation. However, there will be times when a crown is necessary. Once Dr. Minahan determines a dental crown is indicated, an appointment will be scheduled for tooth preparation. During the dental crown preparatory visit, Dr. Minahan will:
- Remove any old filling from the tooth
- Remove any decay
- Place build-up material to fill in missing tooth structure or where old filling and decay was removed
- Finish preparation of tooth to allow for crown
- Make impressions of your tooth
- Choose a crown color that matches the color of the surrounding teeth
- Fit you with a temporary crown
About 2 weeks later, you will come in for your second visit, when the temporary is removed and the permanent crown is bonded securely. Most patients do not need anesthesia for the final crown appointment, and you will be able to eat normally after this visit. There is not much difference in recovery after the crown preparation visit than a normal cavity filling visit. In both cases the area around your tooth and gums may be a little sore or sensitive for a day or two.
A fixed bridge, usually made of porcelain fused to gold is one option used to replace missing teeth. A bridge helps to create a normal bite, prevent stress on the dental arch, prevent the drifting and tilting of adjacent teeth, inhibit decay in difficult areas, and slow the onset of periodontal diseases. Bridges are composed of abutments (the teeth on either side acting as supports) and the pontic (artificial teeth attached to the abutments).
Two visits are required to obtain your dental bridge. During the initial visit, the teeth on either side of your missing tooth are prepared to accommodate a crown on each. This involves re-contouring the teeth to allow room for the dental crown. Dr. Minahan will also take impressions of your teeth at this time. Next you will be fitted with a temporary dental bridge. Your final bridge is delivered during the second visit approximately two weeks later. Dr. Minahan will ensure proper fit, contour, and aesthetics of your new restoration. If no further detailing is needed we will cement your new bridge that day. Most patients do not need anesthesia for the insertion visit and can chew and eat normally right away.
Usually customized from porcelain, veneers are thin, semi-translucent facings bonded to the fronts of teeth. Veneers are durable, stain-resistant, and natural looking. They conceal broken, chipped, discolored, crooked, and misshapen teeth and provide you with the smile you have always wanted.
Inlays and Onlays
When you do not need a full crown, onlays or inlays may be the solution. The inlay/onlay procedure is a restoration in which composite, porcelain or gold is applied to a tooth surface to provide support as a conservative treatment option. These restorations strengthen the remaining tooth structure, which reduces the possibility of future fractures and other difficulties that can result from the natural chewing process.
Dental implants are another option for replacing missing teeth. They support individual crowns, bridges or even complete dentures. With implants, patients no longer experience the slipping, moving, and irritation of dentures. When replacing single teeth they are useful in avoiding the need to involve cutting down adjacent teeth.
Dental implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth because they are made of a metal that is highly compatible with the jaw bone. As a result, the implant is able to fuse easily with the underlying bone. Dr. Minahan (on certain cases) or a highly experienced oral surgeon or periodontist recommended by our office will perform the surgical procedure for your implant. Dr. Minahan will partner with your surgeon to follow your treatment through the restorative phase. They will complete the implant procedure by attaching a natural and functional tooth (just like a crown fits on a natural tooth) to the implant components, providing you once again with the comforts and confidence that accompanies a beautiful smile.
A partial denture, though removable, provides form and functional replacement for missing teeth. Partial dentures are indicated if some serviceable teeth are present for support in conjunction with the gums and jawbone. If a partial is loose and having trouble staying in your mouth we can use implants to help give support and retention to a removable partial. This will allow you to chew and eat much better.
Full dentures are used if there are not any teeth left for support. The full denture covers more of the jaw than a partial denture and is partly held in place by a natural vacuum in the mouth. With new advances in implant dentistry, dentures can be made to lock into your mouth. This provides you the ability to chew and eat things your old dentures may not have allowed you to. With as few as two implants, a lower denture can go from a wobbly mess to a stable set of teeth.