General Dentistry


Dental Exams and Cleanings

Your oral health is important for the well being of your whole body. While routine oral hygiene at home – including regular brushing and flossing – are crucial to keep your smile looking its best, you also need regular evaluations with your dentist. Routine dental exams and cleanings will help to prevent decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues and will leave you with a healthy, white smile.


Comprehensive Dental Exams

Our comprehensive dental exams are used to look for signs of a problem, and regular screenings can detect issues while they are in the early – and most treatable – stages. A regular exam with your dentist and hygienist will include:

  • Examinations of X-rays. Usually completed once per year, x-rays will help to identify signs of decay, cysts, bone loss, and tumors. They also show root and tooth positions.
  • Gum disease evaluation. We will inspect the gums around the teeth to look for any gum disease indicators.
  • Tooth decay examination. We thoroughly inspect all tooth surfaces with specialized instruments to look for signs of decay.
  • Restoration examinations. If you have any fillings or crowns, they should be checked regularly to ensure they are still intact.
  • Oral cancer screenings. We will examine oral and facial structures for any signs of oral cancer.


Professional Cleanings

Often completed at the same time as your comprehensive exam, a dental cleaning is usually performed by a dental hygienist. The main procedures performed will include:

  • Plaque removal. Your hygienist will work to remove the sticky, translucent film that forms on your teeth and results in gum inflammation – the first step to periodontal disease development.
  • Tartar removal. When plaque hardens it forms tartar, which can only be removed with specialized dental instruments. It can also form below the gum line, and your hygienist will remove it.
  • Polishing. Finally, your hygienist will polish your teeth to remove the plaque and stains that aren’t otherwise removed during scaling and brushing.


At Complete Dental, we want your smile to last a lifetime. Contact us today to schedule your next dental exam and cleaning.

Gum Disease

Periodontal disease – or gum disease – is an infection of the soft tissues that surround the teeth. It is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults, and many people who are living with the disease don’t even know it. Regular evaluations are crucial, as they will give your dentist a chance to look for signs of gum disease and to recommend potential treatments.


Causes of Gum Disease

Gum disease results from plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky substance that contains bacteria, and if it isn’t removed, it will create toxins that can damage your gums. As gum disease progresses it will create pockets beneath the gum line that cause the gums to separate from the teeth.


Gum Disease Stages

There are two main stages of gum disease, and they differ in terms of symptoms and treatment options.


This is the early stage of periodontal disease. While healthy gums are a pale pink color and firm, gums affected by gingivitis will be dark red. They may bleed easily, especially when brushing and flossing, and some other telltale signs include:

  • Swollen or puffy gums
  • Receding gums
  • Tenderness of the gums
  • Bad breath

The good news is that gum disease is reversible at this point, as long as you are committed to improving your oral health and you receive proper dental treatment.


If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. At this phase, the gums and the bones supporting your teeth can become seriously damaged. In addition to tender, swollen gums, other signs may include:

  • Bright red gums that appear almost purple in color
  • Gum recession that causes your teeth to look longer
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in your bite and how your teeth fit together

Gums affected by periodontitis can cause the teeth to loosen or fall out. Unfortunately, the damage is usually irreversible, so proper dental care is needed to prevent this issue.


Gum Disease Treatment

There are several gum disease treatment options available, both surgical and non-surgical. Contact us today if you are concerned about gum disease.


The goal of our dental practice is to preserve your natural teeth as long as possible, keeping them healthy, white, and beautiful. While extractions are a last resort, there are times when it may be in your best interest to have a tooth removed.


When to Consider Extraction

Extractions are typically only considered when all other treatment options have failed. There are a variety of reasons that extraction may be warranted:


Sometimes a dentist will pull a tooth to prepare the mouth for orthodontic treatment. Likewise, if a mouth is so crowded that a permanent tooth can’t erupt, a baby tooth may need to be extracted.


If tooth decay extends into the tooth pulp – the center that contains blood vessels and nerves – infection may result. A root canal and/or antibiotics may be able to help, but if they don’t, an extraction may be needed.


If your tooth has been damaged and other conventional treatments don’t allow it to look and function as it should, an extraction may be necessary.


Most notable with the wisdom teeth, if an impacted tooth is in an undesirable position, it could be best to remove it before the roots have fully formed.


What to Expect During an Extraction

If you and your dentist decide that extraction is the best solution for your dental problem, you’ll be given an injection of local anesthetic to numb the area. Forceps are used to grasp the tooth, gently rock it back and forth, and remove it from the jaw bones and ligaments. More difficult teeth – especially the molars with multiple roots – may need to be removed in pieces.


Once a tooth has been extracted, the neighboring teeth could shift, and you may experience changes to your jaw joint function or chewing. To avoid complications, your dentist can recommend various options to replace the extracted tooth.


A dental filling is a tooth restoration most commonly used to treat decay and cavities. After your tooth has been damaged, a dental filling will restore both the appearance and function.


Why Do You Need a Filling?

If your dentist notices a cavity during your comprehensive exam, you may need a filling. While these are the most popular reasons for the restoration, there are other situations that might warrant a filling:

  • Broken teeth
  • Cracked teeth
  • Teeth that have been worn from grinding, nail biting, and other damage


Types of Fillings

There are a few different types of materials that can be used to produce dental fillings:

  • Amalgam. Often referred to as “silver” fillings, these fillings are actually made from an alloy of silver, mercury, copper, and tin. Amalgam has been used for decades for dental fillings, mostly because of its superior durability. They are best-suited for the molars and cavities toward the back of the mouth.
  • Composite. Composite fillings are made from white or tooth-colored material to provide a more natural appearance. They are chemically bonded to the structure of the teeth but are not as durable as silver amalgam fillings.


The Procedure

Before your filing, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area. The tooth is then prepared by removing the decayed portion and cleaning it thoroughly. This is done using a variety of tools, including a high-speed hand piece – sometimes known as a dental drill – and suction instruments. Remember, your mouth will be thoroughly numbed by this point, so you should be able to relax comfortably throughout the process.


Next, your dentist will use a composite restorative material in order to fill in the missing part of the tooth’s structure. It will be shaped to match the natural structure of the tooth. Before you leave, your dentist will have you bite down in order to ensure that the teeth fit together comfortably.


Fillings are extremely common and can be completed in one simple appointment at our office. Contact us today to learn more.

Root Canals

Root canal therapy treats the inside of a tooth in order to correct problems resulting from infection or pulp inflammation. Failure to treat these issues can lead to abscesses, severe pain, and possible tooth loss. We perform root canal therapy in order to save your tooth by repairing the structure, function, and appearance.


Reasons You Might Need a Root Canal

Root canal therapy is most commonly used to repair teeth that have become infected or experienced significant decay. When the inner pulp in a tooth is damaged, a root canal will remove the damaged portion – including the nerve – before cleaning out and sealing the inner portion of your tooth.


Signs That You Might Need a Root Canal:

In some cases, you may not experience any symptoms to indicate that you need a root canal. If you do notice any changes, there are some signs that are more common than others:

  • Throbbing pain in a specific tooth that could get worse, depending on your jaw position
  • Pain triggered by exposure to hot and cold temperatures
  • Pain that gets worse when you chew or bite


If you suspect a problem with a tooth, your dentist can examine it to identify the source of your discomfort. X-ray imaging, percussion testing, and electric pulp testing can all help us determine if a root canal is warranted.


What Will Happen

  1. Root canals can be completed in one or more visits to the dentist. A local anesthetic is used to prevent pain, and a dental dam is placed over your tooth to keep it free of saliva. An opening is then placed in the crown in order to access the pulp chamber.
  2. Once inside the pulp chamber, the inner workings of the tooth will be cleaned out. The space is shaped and filled with gutta-percha (a substance resembling rubber), and then you’ll have a filling put into place.
  3. The last stage of the root canal procedure is the placement of a crown or other final restoration. This may be completed in a follow-up visit, and will be the last step needed to return your tooth to its original appearance and function.

Wisdom Teeth

The wisdom teeth are the third molars – the last of the permanent teeth in your mouth, and the last to erupt. They usually make their presence known from ages 15 to 25 – and not always in a good way. Many people have their wisdom teeth removed, and even if yours don’t seem to bother you, they could be causing some significant problems that you can’t see.


When Should the Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

While wisdom teeth removal is common, it isn’t a necessity. There are several reasons why your dentist might recommend surgical extraction:

  • Alignment. If your wisdom teeth are impacted, they could cause alignment issues with the rest of your teeth.
  • Adjacent teeth damage. The third set of molars could cause the rest of your teeth to shift, which might lead to problems with pain and your bite.
  • Cavities. The swollen gums associated with your wisdom teeth could result in pockets between the teeth. This is a haven for bacteria to live in and breed, leading to cavities.
  • Jaw and sinus issues. Your wisdom teeth may form cysts, which can result in nerve damage and a hollow jaw. Likewise, you may experience chronic sinus pain, pressure, and congestion.


What Happens During the Procedure?

If you need to have your wisdom teeth extracted, you’ll be scheduled for surgery. In most cases you will be sedated so that the wisdom teeth can be removed safely and without pain. You’ll be asleep throughout the entire procedure.


After your surgery, a responsible party is required to drive you home. You may experience some mild swelling and discomfort for a few days, and it might take a several weeks before your mouth heals completely. During this time, it is especially important to listen to your dentist’s instructions, as this will lead to the fastest possible recovery.


Whether you grind your teeth at night or you are involved in potentially hazardous athletic activity, the right mouth guard will be an important piece of equipment in your life. Likewise, if your child plays sports, a mouth guard will work hard to keep his teeth and mouth safe. Mouth guards are a wise investment that can save you from pain, discomfort, and future dental expenses.


Types of Mouth Guards

If you are in need of a mouth guard, it is important to note that there are three main types:

  • Stock. Stock mouth guards are the common type that you’ll find a local sporting goods store. They offer a one-size-fits-all fit and provide minimal protection.
  • Boil and bite. These guards should be placed in boiling water to soften before you bite down onto them. They then harden in a shape unique to your specific teeth.
  • Custom-made. This is the option you’ll be presented at your dental office, and they are most effective when it comes to oral protection. An impression of your teeth will create a mouth guard that will be a perfect fit with your specific dental patterns.


Caring for Your Mouth Guard

To extend the life of your custom-made mouth guard, it is important to follow proper care instructions:

  • Never leave your mouth guard out in the sun or direct sunlight
  • Rinse your mouth guard thoroughly before and after you use it
  • Periodically clean out your mouth guard in cool and soapy water
  • Allow your mouth guard to air dry, and don’t store it in an airtight space
  • Invest in a sturdy, vented mouth guard container for proper protection when not in use


Your dental insurance may cover some of the cost of your custom-fitted mouth guard. Contact us today to learn more about our mouth guards and which option is right for you.

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry is a practice that uses different medications to help patients stay calm and relaxed while in the dental chair. If you or your child have dental anxiety or have had previous bad experiences with another provider, our sedation dentistry services can make you feel more comfortable.


Types of Sedation

In any dental practice, there are many different types of sedation that can be offered, depending on the specific procedure:

  • Inhaled. Commonly known as “laughing gas”, this is a fast-acting sedating medication that also wears off quickly. You’ll be able to drive yourself home after receiving laughing gas.
  • Oral. Oral sedation may be recommended for patients with extreme anxiety about dental procedures, especially children. An oral pill will be administered about an hour before the dental procedure so that the patient feels groggy or tired throughout the appointment.
  • IV sedation. With this type of sedation, the medication is administered via an IV into a vein. Sedation levels can be continuously adjusted throughout the procedure.
  • General anesthesia. Sometimes called “deep sedation,” this option will make you sleep throughout the entire procedure. It is most commonly used for wisdom tooth extraction and other major jaw surgeries.


In addition to sedation dentistry, we also provide a local anesthetic with most of our procedures. This involves a numbing medication that is administered into the gums with a needle. Whether you have a cavity that needs to be filled or experienced a dental injury that we need to treat, a local anesthetic is a good first step for pain relief.


Ask Us about Sedation Dentistry

There are many reasons that you might want to use sedation dentistry during your appointment. If you have a fear of the dentist or other anxieties, sedation is a safe and comfortable treatment method that allows us to get all necessary work done in one appointment. Other procedures – specifically extractions and surgery – are also more easily tolerated if you are sedated.


Talk to us today to learn more about our sedation dentistry offerings.


The temporomandibular joint – or TMJ – acts as a hinge connecting your jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. If you place your fingers just in front of your ear, you should feel a bony structure that moves as you open and close your mouth. A healthy TMJ will allow your jaw to move freely and without pain, but TMD – or temporomandibular joint disorder – can result in some problems.


Causes of TMJ Disorders

TMD isn’t completely understood. There are several issues that can cause trouble with the TMJ:

  • Injuries or trauma, such as whiplash or a blow to the face
  • Arthritis
  • Grinding or clenching
  • Disc movement in the joint
  • Stress, which can lead to tightening of the facial muscles or jaw


Signs of a TMJ Disorder

The signs of a TMJ disorder will vary on a case by case basis, but there are some that tend to be more common:

  • Facial or ear pain
  • Pain and tenderness in the jaw
  • Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
  • Locking of the jaw joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
  • A popping, clicking, or grating sound when you open and close your mouth


TMJ Disorder Treatment Options

To treat you TMJ issues, we’ll first need to find the cause of the problem. This will directly affect the treatment that we suggest, and there are several options:

  • Mouth guards. If your TMJ issues result from grinding your teeth, a mouth guard can help.
  • Medication. Pain relievers, sedatives, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants might be prescribed to deal with the issue.
  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist can recommend exercises to stretch and strengthen the joint, and therapies like ultrasound, ice, and heat may be used.


If you are experiencing pain and discomfort in your jaw joint, call us today to set up an evaluation.

i-CAT® 3D Imaging

At Complete Dental, we use i-CAT 3D dental imaging to provide the most accurate diagnostics for our patients. This innovative system offers quick, effective, and comfortable dental imaging solutions that can lead to the most precise diagnosis of your dental issue.


i-CAT 3D Imaging Uses

Our 3D imaging technology provides data for a variety of dental services. In our practice, we can use i-CAT for more information about a variety of dental problems, including wisdom teeth extractions, impacted teeth, and TMJ treatment. However, there are many ways that these cans can be used in the field of dentistry:

  • Assess jawbone quality before the placement of a dental implant
  • Determine the location of nerves in the jaw
  • Measure jawbone dentistry before an implant is placed
  • Determine the most effective location for implant placement
  • Plan surgical procedures in advance
  • Inspect the TMJ, jawbone, and surrounding structures
  • View impacted teeth, including wisdom teeth, before extraction
  • Diagnose disease and tumors during the early stages


Using i-CAT 3D Technology

Scans using this technology are completed quickly. You’ll be required to sit in a stationary position, and then a cone beam will take hundreds of pictures of your face. These images are then compiled in order to create an exact 3D image of your jaw, face, and other inner mechanisms. Your dentist will be able to zoom into specific areas and can view problem spots from alternate angles.

Benefits of i-CAT® 3D Imaging

There are many benefits to the use of 3D imaging in a dental practice. These scans allow your dentist to view the internal structures of your teeth, jaw, face, and skull. Unlike other imaging options, 3D imaging will allow your dentist to view bone structure, tissues, nerves, and bone dentistry, which can’t be viewed with a comprehensive exam. 3D imaging is also quick, which means that it uses far less radiation than traditional imaging options.
Contact us today to learn more about our i-CAT 3D imaging services.