Dental Examination

A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by Dr. McGrath at your initial dental visit. The following will be included in the initial visit: Examination of diagnostic radiographs (x-rays): X-Rays are essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions. Oral cancer screening: the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums will be checked for any signs of oral cancer. Periodontal disease evaluation: Probing measurements will be taken of the gums around the teeth for detection of infection, or bone loss which are signs of periodontal disease. Examination of the teeth and existing restorations for decay. Screening the teeth for excessive wear, poor occlusion (bite) and checking the health of the tempromandibular joint TMJ.

Preventive Procedures

Dental Cleaning or Prophylaxis

Dental Sealants

The American Dental Association recognizes sealants as a key means of cavity prevention. Most molar teeth have deep pits and grooves on the biting surfaces where bacteria and food can trap and cause decay. Dental sealants are thin, plastic coverings over the biting surfaces of the molar teeth that help prevent tooth decay.

Fluoride Supplements

Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens the tooth enamel. Teeth that are deficient in fluoride are at a greater risk for getting cavities. We recommend supplemental fluoride treatments for children until the age of eighteen and for adults with high incidence of decay. Our hygienist may recommend additional home fluoride treatments if you or your child are cavity prone.

Fluoride has been added to most of the public water supplies in the United States. However, most bottled water does not contain fluoride. If bottled water is being used in babies' formula or in children's lunches it is important to insure that it contains fluoride.

Children's Dentistry-Pediatric Treatments

We feel it is very important that your child develop positive feelings about the dental experience prior to any necessary treatment. Our office regularly cares for the dental needs of children as young as three years old. However, if you notice that your child has a problem with the teeth or gums prior to this age, please schedule an appointment. We recommend that you bring your child with you to your dental checkup when he or she is two and a half so that your child can become familiar with the positive nature of our dental office.

Your child's checkup at age three will include a dental examination with the dentist to check for proper development, as well as tooth decay. The hygienist will introduce your child to the dental cleaning and will also teach oral homecare techniques so that you can assist your child to effectively brush and floss. Your child should be scheduled every six months after his first visit for regular checkups and dental cleanings to ensure optimal oral health. The dentist may recommend dental sealants or fluoride applications. Sealants and fluoride applications are quick and easy preventive measures that can decrease the chances of having cavities. In some cases, we refer children to pedodontists, who are specialists in children's dentistry. At the appropriate age we will refer your child to an orthodontist.

Cosmetic Procedures

Dental Bonding

We may suggest one-appointment cosmetic bonding if you have a chipped, slightly misaligned, or otherwise imperfect tooth that needs cosmetic restoration. The dentist can apply composite resin, shaded to blend with your tooth's color, to rebuild a pleasing shape to your tooth. After hardening the resin with a curing light, she will artistically sculpt and polish the restoration. In just one visit, you can enjoy a beautiful new smile! Cosmetic bonding is a less invasive, less expensive alternative to porcelain veneers. It lasts approximately five years with proper care.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain dental veneers are thin shells of laboratory fabricated ceramic that are bonded directly to the front surfaces of the teeth. Veneers are a great way to close gaps, lighten the color, and restore badly shaped, broken or crowded teeth. Porcelain veneers are virtually undetectable and highly resistant to coffee, tea, or even cigarette stains. Porcelain veneers are unsurpassable in strength or beauty by other restorative options. They are an ideal choice for improving your smile.

Teeth Whitening

Medications, the food we eat and drink, trauma, and age can cause our teeth to stain and discolor. We offer professional take-home teeth whitening systems to brighten your teeth and create fantastic smiles. We fabricate custom bleaching trays and provide you with professional strength gel to whiten in the comfort of your home. Professional take-home teeth whitening systems are safe and effective. The bleaching gel penetrates enamel and dentin to release stains but leaves the structure of your teeth unchanged. You will achieve a more beautiful youthful looking smile in about ten days. Periodic touch-ups will maintain the sparkle in your smile.

Restorative Procedures

Tooth colored fillings

Inlays and onlays

Porcelain crowns and bridges

A crown can return structure, strength, and function to a tooth with extensive decay or damage. Designed to fit snugly and function as a healthy tooth, a crown will protect your tooth from further damage and preserve the jaw's correct natural alignment.We use precious metal, porcelain pressed (or fused) to metal, and all-ceramic crowns. We will assist our patient in choosing the best alternative for their mouth. To maintain a fully white smile, we recommend all-ceramic crowns. Recent technology has made all-ceramic crowns extremely durable and long lasting, making them popular with dentists as well as patients. We can design, fit, and place your crowns in just two short appointments. Once a crown is placed, you can care for it as you do your natural teeth. Conscientious brushing twice a day and daily flossing will protect the base of your crown from bacterial growth. Be sure to see us at least two times each year for professional cleanings and a preventive exam.

A fixed bridge is a nonremovable dental prosthesis that replaces missing teeth. A bridge is a prosthetic tooth (or teeth) that attaches on one or both sides to teeth prepared with dental crowns. There are three basic units to a bridge: the false tooth or teeth (a pontic) and two abutment crowns on either side of the pontic tooth. A bridge not only fills the gap, but it also prevents movement of the remaining teeth. It can also correct a misaligned bite, improve chewing function, speech articulation, and provide internal structure for the face to give you a more youthful appearance. The style of bridge we suggest will depend upon the strength and health of the abutment teeth, as well as the location of the gap in relation to the rest of your dentition.

A surgically implanted metal post, known as a dental implant, may be an alternative to a fixed bridge. For a bridge that replaces many teeth, we may recommend a removable partial denture or implant-supported prosthesis. A fixed bridge may last at least 8 to 10 years with proper care.

Implant Supported Crowns and Bridges

Dental implants are changing the way people live! With them, people are rediscovering the comfort and confidence to eat, speak, laugh and enjoy life. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to chew properly and can smile with confidence.

Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Implants are small titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth have been extracted or are missing. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth.

For most patients, the placement and restoration of dental implants involves two phases, the surgical phase and the restorative phase. First, the surgeon surgically places the implants in the jawbone. A healing period of three to six months following surgery, allows the implants to bond to the jawbone. After the oral surgeon confirms that the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the restorative phase begins. The restorative dentist takes an impression of the implants and in two to three weeks the implant crowns are ready to be fitted over the implants. The entire procedure starting with the extractions usually takes six months. Most patients do not experience any disruption in their daily life.

Please schedule an implant consultation if you feel that implant dentistry is the choice for you. During this consultation visit, you will undergo a dental/radiographic examination and review of your health history. Dr. McGrath will address your specific needs and considerations. Our team will work with you very closely to help make your procedure a success.

Nonsurgical Periodontal Therapy (Gum Disease Therapy)

Gum disease is the single most prevalent disease in America. About 80% of the population has some form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease is an infection of the gums and bone caused by bacterial plaque. Gingivitis is the initial phase of periodontal disease. The symptoms of gingivitis are red, swollen, bleeding gums. If the infection is not treated it may progress to more advance stages of periodontitis, resulting in permanent destruction of the bone and eventual tooth loss. Gum disease can be prevented through regular oral hygiene that includes daily brushing and flossing and regular professional cleanings.

Recent research reveals that gum disease is linked to increased risk for major overall health problems, including stroke, heart disease, respiratory problems, osteoporosis, diabetes complications and low birth weight. Regular dental checkups and hygiene visits are vital to oral health and also to overall health.

The milder stages of periodontitis can be treated with non-surgical therapy. This treatment performed by a registered dental hygienist includes deep scaling and root planning to remove the hardened plaque located below the gum line and to smooth the roots of the teeth. In advanced cases we may need to refer you to a periodontal specialist. Ultimately, a patient treated for gum disease will need to be seen on a more frequent schedule for routine cleanings.

Night Guards for Tooth Grinding or Bruxism, and TMJ Dysfunction

The constant pressure and motion of teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can cause wearing of the biting surfaces of the teeth, as well as muscle and joint soreness. A night guard can be worn to treat the effects of grinding. Many people are unaware that they are grinding at night. However, tell tale signs of bruxism include flattening of the tooth structure, a sore jaw, headaches, or earaches. These symptoms are collectively known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). If on dental examination the patient shows signs of bruxism or TMJ dysfunction, a nightguard will be recommended. The appliance may not totally prevent grinding and clenching, but will prevent further wearing of the tooth structure and will help to decrease the muscle spasm and headaches caused by the grinding. If the patient is experiencing TMJ dysfunction additional recommendations will include stress management, joint and muscle massage, application of moist heat, proper rest, eating soft foods, and elimination of chewing gum and caffeine. Over the counter anti-inflammatories or analgesics can be very helpful as well.