General Dental Services
General Dentistry Services
At Utah Smile Clinic we love families! We have families of our own and pride ourselves in our ability to service entire families of all ages. Our doctors have children of their own and are great at working with children. We’ve found that a lot of parents will bring their small children to our office before they are ready for exams. We encourage you to bring your small children back to sit in the chair and become comfortable with the dentist and the dental office even if they don’t have an appointment scheduled.
At what age should I bring in my children?
We recommend you bring your children to our office around 6 months of their first teeth erupting. We can generally look at a child’s teeth under the age of 2 during the same appointment as a parent for no additional charge as cleanings or x-rays are generally not necessary.
Utah Smile Clinic is dedicated to bringing you and your family the best possible dental care in a friendly and professional atmosphere. Our experienced staff is the finest available and our facility is state-of-the-art. It is our goal to help your family form good habits to achieve strong, functional, gorgeous smiles that will last a lifetime. Together we will discover your needs and design a treatment plan to achieve and maintain your optimal level of oral health and beauty.
Cleaning and Periodontal Maintenance
What are dental cleanings and why have them?
Dental cleanings involve removing plaque (soft, sticky, bacteria infested film) and tartar (calculus) deposits that have built up on the teeth over time. Your teeth are continually bathed in saliva which contains calcium and other substances which help strengthen and protect the teeth. While this is a good thing, it also means that we tend to get a build-up of calcium deposits on the teeth. This chalky substance will eventually build up over time, like limescale in a pipe or kettle. Usually it is tooth colored and can easily be mistaken as part of the teeth, but it also can vary from brown to black in color.
If the calculus is allowed to accumulate on the teeth it will unfortunately provide the right conditions for bacteria to thrive next to the gums. The purpose of the cleaning and polishing is basically to leave the surfaces of the teeth clean and smooth so that bacteria are unable to stick to them and you have a better chance of keeping the teeth clean during your regular home care.
How are dental cleanings done?
Commonly used first is an ultrasonic instrument which uses vibrations to knock larger pieces of tartar loose. It also sprays a cooling mist of water while it works to wash away debris and keep the area at a proper temperature.
The ultrasonic instrument tips are curved and rounded and are always kept in motion around the teeth. They are by no means sharp since their purpose is to knock tartar loose and not to cut into the teeth. It is best to inform the operator if the sensations are too strong or ticklish so that they can adjust the setting appropriately on the device or modify the pressure applied. With larger deposits that have hardened on, it can take some time to remove these, just like trying to remove baked-on grime on a stove that has been left over a long time. So your cleaning may take longer than future cleanings.
Once the larger pieces of tartar are gone, the dental worker will switch to finer hand tools to remove smaller deposits and smooth the tooth surfaces. These tools are curved and shaped to match the curves of the teeth. They allow smaller tartar deposits to be removed by carefully scraping them off with a gentle to moderate amount of pressure. Just like taking a scrubbing brush to a soiled pot, the dental worker has to get the areas clean and smooth.
Once all the surfaces are smooth, the dental worker may polish your teeth. Polishing is done using a slow speed hand-piece with a soft rubber cup that spins on the end. Prophylaxis (short for prophy) paste – a special gritty toothpaste-like material – is scooped up like ice cream into the cup and spun around on the teeth to make them shiny smooth.
Your dentist may also apply fluoride. This is the final, and my favorite part of the dental cleaning! Fluoride foam or gel is then placed into small, flexible foam trays and placed over the teeth for 30 seconds. Afterwards the patient is directed to spit as much out as possible into a saliva ejector. The fluoride helps to strengthen the teeth since the acids from bacteria in dental tartar and plaque will have weakened the surfaces. It is best not to eat, drink or rinse for 30 minutes after the fluoride has been applied.
Is it going to be painful?
Most people find that cleanings are painless, and find the sensations described above – tickling vibrations, the cooling mist of water, and the feeling of pressure during “scraping” – do not cause discomfort. A lot of people even report that they enjoy cleanings and the lovely smooth feel of their teeth afterwards! There may be odd zingy sensations, but many people don’t mind as they only last a nanosecond.
Be sure to let your dentist/hygienist know if you find things are getting too uncomfortable for your liking. They can recommend various options to make the cleaning more enjoyable.
A composite filling (white filling) is a tooth-colored plastic and glass mixture used to restore decayed teeth. Composites are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.
Some people still elect to use amalgam fillings (silver looking) because it is less expensive at some offices. Utah Smile Clinic offers the same low price for composite fillings so we don’t even offer amalgam fillings! We want all of our patients to look and feel great about themselves and about their experience at our office. We use only the best materials while offering the best prices for all of our patients.
Following preparation, the composite is placed in layers, typically using a light specialized to harden each layer. When the process is finished, your doctor will shape the composite to fit the tooth and polish composite to prevent staining and early wear.
Esthetics are the main advantage of composites since your doctor can blend shades to create a color nearly identical to that of the actual tooth. Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes.
Once upon a time, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you’d probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called a root canal therapy you may save that tooth. Inside each tooth is the pulp which provides nutrients and nerves to the tooth, it runs like a thread down through the root. When the pulp is diseased or injured, the pulp tissue dies. If you don’t remove it, your tooth gets infected and you could lose it. After the dentist removes the pulp, the root canal is cleaned and sealed off to protect it. Then your dentist places a crown over the tooth to help make it stronger.
Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile!
What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment is used to find the cause and then treat problems of the tooth’s soft core (the dental pulp). Years ago, teeth with diseased or injured pulps were removed. Today, root canal treatment has given dentists a safe way of saving teeth.
What is the dental pulp?
The pulp is the soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. It lies within the tooth and extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the root in the bone of the jaws.
What happens if the pulp gets injured?
An abscessed (infected) tooth is caused by tooth decay. When the pulp is diseased or injured and can’t repair itself, it dies. The most common cause of pulp death is a cracked tooth or a deep cavity. Both of these problems can let germs (bacteria) enter the pulp. Germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. Left without treatment, pus builds up at the root tip, in the jawbone, forming a “pus-pocket” called an abscess. An abscess can cause damage to the bone around the teeth.
Why does the pulp need to be removed?
When the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result. Certain byproducts of the infection can injure your jaw bones. Without treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.
What does treatment involve?
Treatment often involves from one to three visits. During treatment, your general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems of the pulp) removes the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed.
Here’s how your tooth is saved through treatment:
First, an opening is made through the crown of the tooth.
An opening is made through the crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber.
The pulp is then removed. The root canal(s) is cleaned and shaped to a form that can be filled.
The pulp is removed, and the root canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped.
Medications may be put in the pulp chamber and root canal(s) to help get rid of germs and prevent infection.
A temporary filling will be placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth between dental visits. Your dentist may leave the tooth open for a few days to drain. You might also be given medicine to help control infection that may have spread beyond the tooth.
The pulp chamber and root canals are filled and sealed.
The temporary filling is removed and the pulp chamber and root canal(s) are cleaned and filled.
In the final step, a gold or porcelain crown is usually placed over the tooth. If an endodontist performs the treatment, he or she will recommend that you return to your family dentist for this final step.
The crown of the tooth is then restored.
How long will the restored tooth last?
Your restored tooth could last a lifetime, if you continue to care for your teeth and gums. However, regular checkups are necessary. As long as the root(s) of a treated tooth are nourished by the tissues around it, your tooth will remain healthy.
Wisdom teeth are a type of molar. Molars are the chewing teeth found furthest in the back of the mouth. These teeth come in usually during a person’s late teens or early twenties. Typically a person will have four wisdom teeth. "Impacted" refers to a tooth that has failed to emerge fully into its expected position. The failure to erupt properly might occur because there is not enough room in a person’s jaw to accommodate the tooth, or because the angulation of the tooth is improper.
Why extract wisdom teeth?
A wisdom tooth may be extracted to correct a problem or to prevent problems that may arise later. Some of the potential problems of wisdom teeth coming in are:
Your jaw may not be large enough, and they may become impacted and unable to break through your gums.
Your wisdom teeth may partially break through the gums, which could cause a flap of gum tissue to grow over them. Food and germs may get trapped under the flap and cause your gums to become red, swollen, and painful from infection.
Other serious problems can develop from having impacted teeth, such as infection, damage to other teeth or bone, or a cyst.
One or more of your wisdom teeth may come in at an incorrect angle, with the top of the tooth facing forward, backward, or to one side.
Wisdom tooth removal is usually effective in preventing:
Crowding of the back teeth.
A wisdom tooth becoming impacted in the jaw and not breaking through the gums.
Red, swollen, and painful gums caused by the flap of skin around a partially emerged wisdom tooth.
Tooth decay and gum disease in the wisdom tooth, which can be more difficult to clean than other teeth, or in the teeth and jaw in the wisdom tooth area.