From a routine exam and cleaning to full-mouth rehabilitation, Sonrisa Family Dental is equipped to handle all of your dental needs. To help you understand more about our office, we have included brief descriptions of some of our most common services on this page.
Initial Oral Examination
Your first visit to our office is very important with regard to establishing your oral health baseline. We will begin by carefully reviewing your medical and dental history and taking special note of all of your dental concerns, as well as any symptoms that you may be experiencing. This will be followed by a thorough clinical examination of your teeth, their supporting structures and the complete orofacial area; this involves the taking of x-rays as well as direct evaluation of the oral cavity by the dentist. Further examination would include an oral cancer screening, periodontal (gum) evaluation, an analysis of your occlusion (bite).
The Preventive Program
Recent studies suggest maintaining oral hygiene is essential not only for your dental health, but underlines the importance of the impact to your overall health and well-being. Our comprehensive dental hygiene program is designed to preserve your teeth and the supporting structures by preventing the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental disease.
To maintain your optimal oral health we recommend periodic professional dental cleanings. This could result in 3 month, 4 month or 6 month recall visits. Removing plaque and debris from teeth, especially from places where a toothbrush can't reach, like underneath the gum line and in-between teeth is extremely important.
It is also important to keep in mind that in conjunction with periodic dental professional cleanings, a good dental home care regimen is necessary. As part of the preventive program at this office your current home care practices will be reviewed. Following that, we will make recommendations as to what areas require improvements, and instruct you in the proper methods of brushing and flossing.
Additional preventive services may be indicated for individual patients. An integral part of our preventive program for pediatric patients includes periodic fluoride treatments and the application of dental sealants.
Dental Fillings are the most common type of dental restoration used to replace areas of teeth that are missing, damaged or decayed. While traditional dental materials like gold, amalgam (silver filling), porcelain, and composite (white filling) are used to successfully restore teeth; recent advances in dental technology have made a wider and improved selection of restorative materials that offer the most aesthetically pleasing and natural looking results.
Crowns & Caps
The terms dental crowns and caps are synonymous. If dental decay, cracked fillings, root canals, clenching or grinding the teeth have caused extensive damage to the underlying tooth structure a dental filling may not be a sufficient restoration. The only way to completely restore the cosmetic appearance and function of this tooth is often full coverage with a dental crown. The good news is that a completed dental crown looks and feels like a natural tooth.
In addition to restoring a single natural tooth, crowns can be used in other situations including being the supporting ends of dental bridge, covering dental implants or as coverage for a cracked tooth to prevent further breakdown. A crown may also be indicated when a discolored or stained tooth needs to be restored to its natural appearance. Crowns can be made of either of porcelain baked onto a metal substrate or porcelain fused to metal, or all-porcelain. All porcelain crowns provide the most life like and aesthetic results.
When teeth are missing a series of events can occur, mostly shifting of teeth that could compromise chewing function and efficiency. The adjacent teeth may start to drift or tilt into the space and teeth in the opposing jaw may start to shift toward the area of the missing tooth. It is therefore important to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth that have been lost. One of the best options to prevent the consequences of shifting teeth and to provide replacement to missing teeth is a dental bridge.
Once fabricated, a dental bridge will be permanently “fixed” or cemented into place. Like crowns, bridges can be made of either porcelain baked on to a metal substrate or all porcelain material.
Whether from disease, malnutrition, genetic disorders or an accident it is sometimes necessary for an individual to have some or all of their teeth extracted. While this can be devastating, partial or full dentures can be fabricated to restore an attractive smile. They can provide needed support for normal facial contours and reestablish a highly functional occlusion.
Pediatric Dental Care
At our office we take pride in creating and maintaining beautiful and healthy smiles for our younger patients in an environment that is lighthearted and fun. With an emphasis on establishing oral health habits that last a lifetime, our primary tools are education and a comprehensive preventive care program.
As part of an effort to guard against childhood dental decay we recommend periodic fluoride treatments and dental sealants placed on the biting surfaces of the back teeth.
Teeth Whitening is performed for patients who desire a brighter smile. Tooth whitening can be performed to reduce discoloration and staining or simply to provide the patient with whiter and brighter teeth.
Porcelain veneers, sometimes called tooth veneers, can be used to correct both color and shape of teeth which make for a great smile makeover.
Invisalign® is a form of orthodontic treatment that works to correct many different types of malocclusions through the use of a series of clear plastic trays called aligners. In many cases it provides an excellent treatment alternative to having traditional orthodontic braces and metal wires.
Invisalign utilizes 3-D computer imaging technology to correct problematic bites or malocclusions by planning a complete sequence of custom-made clear aligners. This series of clear aligners, each of which is worn for a couple of weeks, incrementally move the teeth into place until the final desired corrections are reached.
The advantage and appeal of invisalign appliances is that they are more cosmetic and more comfortable than most other orthodontic appliances. With Invisalign appliances orthodontic treatment is practically “invisible.”
Tooth extraction or removal is indicated for various reasons. Extractions are commonly performed in cases where a deciduous “baby” tooth is reluctant to fall out, a severely broken down and non-restorable tooth is present, or “wisdom tooth” is poorly positioned and unable to fully erupt into place. Extractions can also be apart of an orthodontist’s treatment plan where crowding of teeth is an issue and removing a tooth would create more space.
To reduce any anxiety and insure patient comfort whenever a tooth extraction is necessary, the procedure, the post treatment instructions, as well as any restorative follow-up care will be carefully and completely explained as informed consent prior to the procedure.
Dental Implants are a great advancement in modern dentistry as they permanently replace missing teeth in a way that no previous dental technique was able to consistently provide. Implants are basically “bone anchors” fabricated out of one of the most biocompatible medical materials, titanium. Implants are surgically implanted into the bone and then covered with an abutment (used to connect the crown to the implant) and crown (cap) or abutment and denture.
Acute and chronic jaw clenching is termed teeth “grinding” and can also be termed “bruxism” when a patient does this while sleeping. While it can happen any time of day, it often occurs at night causing an individual to wake up with any number of symptoms including jaw pain, headaches, and sore teeth that may feel loose. Although, stress and anxiety are the most common causes of bruxism there may be other contributing factors such as a sleep disorder, an abnormal bite, as well as teeth that are missing or poorly aligned.
To alleviate the symptoms of bruxism, wearing a night guard while sleeping is frequently recommended. This appliance is designed to fit over the teeth and to keep the jaws slightly apart. Wearing a night guard prevents a number of damaging events including muscle strain, excessive pressure on the jaw joint (the TMJ), and such dental damage as chipped or cracked teeth resulting from the teeth grinding against each other.
In addition to preventing damage to the soft and hard tissues surrounding the orofacial cavity, a custom night guard fabricated at the dental office can help curb a bruxism habit and give the wearer a better night’s sleep
A root canal is a space within the tooth’s root. Some teeth have 2-3 roots. Within this space is nerve and a blood supply termed the “pulp” which is the soft inner tissue that plays an important role during the tooth's development.
A healthy, functional and attractive smile requires teeth that are straight and jaws that are well aligned. The goal of orthodontic treatment is to correct the cosmetic and functional problems associated with teeth that are either overcrowded, have spaces between them, or that have shifted over time due to extractions, habits, or abnormal bite patterns. Orthodontics can also address skeletal discrepancies between the upper and lower jaws.
Orthodontic treatment can range from the minor movement of a few teeth to the alignment of an entire bite. It may also be used in some cases to align teeth both before and after the surgical correction of severe jaw discrepancies.
Orthodontics utilizes the principles of physics to slowly move teeth into their proper positions. This is performed by using a selection of corrective appliances, including braces, clear aligners, and retainers. Designed to apply incremental and controlled forces to move the teeth in the desired direction, these appliances are adjusted on a regular basis throughout the course of care. Once a malocclusion is corrected and the teeth are completely aligned, retainers are often placed to help ensure that the result remains stable.
Orthodontic treatment time depends on the patient’s age, the severity of the malocclusion and the unique needs of each particular case. Some corrections can be accomplished in a few months while others can take a few years. However, for many malocclusions the average length of orthodontic treatment time is 24 months.
Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially life threatening disorder involving repeated pauses in breathing while asleep. The most common form of this condition is obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when there is an obstruction of an individual’s airway that interferes with the flow of oxygen through the nose or mouth during sleep. In someone afflicted with obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles of the throat and mouth relax during sleep to the point where they fall back into the upper airway and create a blockage that restricts breathing.
The signs and symptoms of this disorder during sleeping hours may include, loud snoring, episodes of breathing cessation, abrupt awakenings, episodes of gasping for air, along with difficulties getting a good night’s sleep. An individual with sleep apnea will exhibit problems during the day as well. Sleep apnea can lead to a morning headache, excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.
A sleep study is typically conducted to determine the severity of the disorder. The results of this study along with other medical findings will play a role in determining the recommended therapy. The most common form of therapy is a CPAP machine that is worn when sleeping. This device provides a steady stream of pressurized air into the respiratory system through a mask.
In situations of mild to moderate sleep apnea, a dental appliance may be deemed the appropriate treatment. Worn in a similar fashion to a mouthguard or an orthodontic retainer, it is designed to help keep the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat from collapsing, thereby enabling the airway to stay open during sleep. An oral appliance is easy to wear, easy to care for, comfortable, and portable. Oral appliances are individually fabricated, and customized for both maximum effectiveness and comfort.
One of the significant advances in modern dentistry has been the development of dental laser technology. Today, dental lasers are being increasingly used to treat tooth decay, periodontal disease, perform biopsies or the removal of oral lesions, to cure restorative (filling) materials, as well as to activate in-office teeth whitening systems.
Dental lasers combine laser energy with water and air to safely cut and shape target soft or hard tissues in the mouth. Laser energy precisely cuts through tooth structure by exciting the water molecules in the tooth. It operates without direct contact to the tooth without heat, vibration, or pressure thereby minimizing the discomfort of the procedure and the need for dental anesthesia. In addition dental lasers can reduce anxiety for patients fearful of dental work, minimize post-operative bleeding and swelling, and preserve healthy tooth structure during the removal of decay.
While dental lasers may be an excellent treatment option in some situations, they cannot be used for every dental procedure.
Sedation dentistry offers individuals with general anxiety about going to the dentist or fears about a specific dental procedure the opportunity to have a stress free and more comfortable experience. Utilizing safe and controlled sedation techniques prior to the dental procedure the patient is eased into a state of complete relaxation. This eliminates any discomfort, pain, and preoperative anxiety that may be associated with a particular dental visit. With sedation dentistry patients typically feel more at ease post-operatively as they have little or no memory of the actual moment-to-moment dental procedure.
Periodontal disease damages the surrounding soft tissues and bone that support the teeth. It is predominantly caused by the accumulation of bacteria, mucus and other particles in the form of plaque or tartar that sit between the teeth and the gums. Periodontal disease can range in severity from a simple gum inflammation, known as gingivitis, to a more serious inflammation of the periodontal tissues. Left untreated periodontal disease can result in significant tissue damage and eventual tooth loss.
The problem with periodontal disease is that often the progression is painless. As a result the affected individual may not be aware of an ongoing disease process. This is why it is so important to recognize the signs of the earliest stage of periodontal disease, which is gingivitis. The symptoms of gingivitis typically include red, swollen and bleeding gums. Treatment instituted at this point is often sufficient to reverse the course of the disease and to avoid any permanent damage to the periodontal tissues. A series of deep dental cleanings, an improved home care regimen, and a commitment to regular maintenance may be all that is required to prevent this stage of periodontal disease from progressing.
Left untreated, gingivitis can escalate into periodontitis. However, there are other factors that can contribute to the escalation of periodontal disease, including smoking, genetic tendencies, and unchecked diabetes. In either case, when periodontal disease has progressed to a more advanced stage there is usually clinical and radiographic evidence of damage to the bone and soft tissues supporting the teeth. Periodontal treatment in this phase is designed to halt the progression of the disease and to restore tooth support as possible. This may involve medications to control the bacteria and reduce the size of the pockets between the teeth and gums, gum surgery, as well as bone and tissue grafts.