We offer a few different ways to help you achieve a bright, white smile. Using an at home whitening toothpaste can help polish away daily surface staining. If you would like to look at further options for whitening, we offer both in office and take home options. You may want to start by speaking with Dr. O’Neil about the procedure to see if whitening procedures will work for you. Some types of discoloration cannot be corrected with whitening alone.
“In office bleaching”
If you are a candidate for bleaching, there is a procedure that can be done at the dental office. The appointment typically lasts from one hour to an hour and a half. The dentist applies a protective gel to your gums and a bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth. A special light is used to enhance the action of the bleaching agent.
“At home bleaching”
There are several types of bleaching products available for use at home. Dr. O’Neil can dispense a gel bleaching solution (carbamide peroxide) that can be worn in a mouthguard at home for a set amount of time each day for 1-2 weeks.
It is common for teeth to become sensitive during the bleaching period. In many cases this sensitivity is temporary and should lessen once treatment is finished. Dr. O’Neil can speak with you before the procedure to discuss options that may help decrease sensitivity.
Some people may experience soft tissue irritation on the gums.
Tooth decay is the irreversible destruction of tooth enamel. It is progressive without treatment. Once the cavity has broken through the enamel, the decay must be taken out and replaced with a filling. Early diagnosis and treatment helps avoid discomfort and is kinder on your budget.
White fillings may be used to restore small cavities if detected early, while large areas of decay and broken tooth structure typically require more durable restorations such as crowns.
Tooth colored white fillings are made from composite resin and are bonded to the tooth. They come in a plethora of different shades so that we can get an accurate color match to your existing teeth. Some of these tooth-colored fillings have the capability to release fluoride and may be indicated in certain circumstances.
At Fairhope Smiles, we strive to offer the most innovative treatment options for our patients. Dental implants have been used successfully in dentistry for over 50 years as an alternative to conventional bridges or dentures when replacing missing teeth. A tiny dental implant is placed into the area of the missing tooth and can act as a natural looking tooth replacement or can help stabilize a denture.
When replacing a single missing tooth, dental implants are often the treatment of choice as it can be restored with a porcelain crown to create a natural looking and natural feeling result. Dental implants can also be used to replace areas of multiple missing teeth, so that a fixed prosthetic can be used rather than a removable prosthetic for that area.
More information from the American Dental Association here
Oral Cancer Screening
Dr. O’Neil performs a thorough oral cancer screening at each visit, free of charge. The dentist will talk to you about your health history and visually inspect the mouth, jaw, neck, and throat. Regular visits to your dentist help ensure that any signs of oral cancer or any suspicious oral lesions will be caught early.
Oral cancer affects nearly 41,000 Americans each year. Early detection is key, so that treatment can be initiated as soon as possible.
More information from the American Dental Association here.
We welcome children of all ages!
The American Dental Association currently recommends that your child first see a dentist by age one. We strive to make your child’s dental visit a positive one!
Prevention is our approach with children; starting at an early age we will teach both you and your child healthy nutrition habits that affect the teeth as well as proper home care for those little ones.
We also offer dental sealants for your child’s permanent teeth once they come in. Sealants are a non-invasive painless procedure for permanent molars. Molars have deep grooves and pits on the chewing surfaces that are prone to dental decay because the grooves can sometimes trap food and bacteria. Dental sealants are a type of filling material that fills in those grooves on the tooth to make it less likely to get a cavity on that surface.
If your child loses a baby tooth early, we may recommend a space maintainer for that area. If a baby tooth is lost too early, the teeth can begin shifting around and cause orthodontic crowding which can cause problems for the permanent teeth. A space maintainer is used to prevent this early crowding from taking place when a baby tooth is lost too early.
For more information visit: http://www.mychildrensteeth.org/education/faq/
Root canals are sometimes offered for infected teeth as an alternative to an extraction. This allows you to save your natural tooth after the tooth decay has infected the nerve of the tooth. A root canal procedure is where the bacteria, tooth decay, and infected nerve are removed from the tooth and replaced with a filling material. Once the nerve and cavity are removed, the tooth is more prone to fracture and a crown is usually recommended. In some cases, Dr. O’Neil may recommend that a specialist, or Endodontist, perform the procedure.
Veneers are thin porcelain coverings that attach to the front surface of a tooth to change its appearance. They are usually used on otherwise healthy teeth to make minor cosmetic changes such as shade or shape change as well as close small spaces between teeth.
Regular visits to the dentist can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. We recommend you have a dental check-up once every 3-6 months.
Fluoride and dental sealants may be offered at your appointment to help prevent cavities.
Sealants are a non-invasive painless procedure for permanent molars. Molars have deep grooves and pits on the chewing surfaces that are prone to dental decay because the grooves can sometimes trap food and bacteria. Dental sealants are a type of filling material that fills in those grooves on the tooth to make it less likely to get a cavity on that surface.
An Oral cancer screening will be performed at each dental check-up.
Dental bonding is an easy and economic approach to making minor cosmetic changes to your smile. While not as long-lasting as porcelain crowns and veneers, dental bonding may be an option for you when there is a desire to change the color or shape of a tooth.
After the tooth is prepared for the restoration, we select the desired shade and bond composite resin in place over the tooth.
Periodontal disease (Periodontitis) is an infection of the tissues (gums and jaw bone) that support your teeth. Gingivitis, if left chronically untreated can progress to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an infection and inflammation of the gums and bone that support the tooth, which causes these tissues to break down. Over time, the support structure of the tooth can be severely weakened causing loose teeth and eventual loss of tooth.
Periodontitis is classified by the severity of bone loss.
We work with you to treat the periodontal disease and get your mouth and gums back to a healthy state. Sometimes this treatment involves a deep cleaning of the gum tissue in which you will be numbed for comfort during the procedure.
You can learn more about periodontitis here
Mouthguards are sometimes recommended for patients who grind or clench their teeth at night, or for a patient who is active in sports. Custom mouth guards are fabricated to help protect your smile and can be customized as a sleeping mouthguard or a sports mouthguard.
We are happy to evaluate you for a tooth extraction but may need to refer out impacted teeth to a specialist. When an extraction is done in our office, we take great care to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.
What should you expect when you are scheduled for a tooth extraction?
The tooth and surrounding area will be numbed as to alleviate any discomfort. After the extraction, you will be advised of what post operative regimen to follow.
Avoid anything that might prevent normal healing. It is usually best not to smoke or rinse your mouth vigorously, or drink through a straw for 24 hours. These activities could dislodge the clot and delay healing. For the first few days, if you must rinse, rinse your mouth gently, for pain or swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag. You can brush and floss the other teeth as usual, but don’t clean the teeth next to the tooth socket.
Crowns can be made from gold, metal alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Crowns help restore a cracked, weak, or broken down tooth to its normal shape and size. A crown can make your tooth stronger and by covering and supporting a tooth that has a large filling or when there isn’t enough sound tooth structure left. It can also be used to protect a weak tooth from breaking. Crowns are also used to cover dental implants.
A bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth “bridging” the gap. The restoration can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.
Unlike a removable partial, which you can in and out, a bridge is “fixed” and can only be removed by a dentist.