Forest Hill Office: (804) 330.0508

Services and Technologies

Dr. Richard L. Byrd & Associates has provided personalized orthodontic care for thousands of patients. Our patients love coming to our office to experience the warm, individualized care we provide. We pride ourselves in offering a variety of orthodontic treatment options endorsed by the American Association of Orthodontists to achieve your healthiest and best smile in the shortest amount of time possible.

We offer state-of-the art orthodontic treatment and provide our patients with the best care possible. When you visit our office you can be confident you are receiving the finest and most-advanced orthodontic care available.

Why not talk to us about your concerns? Our consultations are always free.

Click the Services below for more information on each subject.

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BRACES

At Byrd Orthodontics, we use the latest, time-tested bracket technology to assist in tooth movement. While braces are generally designed to accomplish the same function regardless of what is used to hold the wire in place, it is also true that certain cases can benefit from one type of bracket over another. Ask Dr. Byrd which type of braces would be right for you.

Self-Ligating Brackets

Brackets which do not require elastomeric ties (little colored bands) to hold the wire in place. These brackets are available in both silver and clear under names such as Damon.

Clear Braces

The most popular choice of bracket for the adult orthodontic population. They are made of ceramic, composite or polyurethane.

Silver Braces

The most common braces in the world, having been used since the early 1900s. These brackets use elastomeric ties (colored bands) to hold the wire in place. Twin brackets are available at our practice in silver and clear.

In order for Dr. Byrd and his team to determine the best solution for you, we will take a panoramic digital X-ray. This will provide the most accurate image in the safest manner to you.

Digital X-ray Technology

Digital radiography uses an estimated 40-90 percent less radiation than conventional film x-rays. Digital x-rays use a digital image capture device in place of traditional film, sending an image immediately to a computer. The result is a highly-detailed image of the mouth, and its contrast and resolution can be enhanced to more easily diagnose dental problems and determine the very best treatment for each case.

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PHASE 1 TREATMENT

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a screening exam by an orthodontist by age 7. Our doctors agree with and adhere to this recommendation. Orthodontic success begins at age 7.

At an early age the orthodontist is able to detect developing orthodontic problems. We utilize a panoramic x-ray that enables us to see all of the teeth in a patient’s mouth and also those still developing under the gums. It allows the orthodontist to see missing permanent teeth, impacted teeth, teeth that are erupting into the wrong position, development of crowding and spacing problems and bad bites. It may be appropriate to treat these developing problems at a young age to prevent them from deteriorating and causing serious problems.

Some orthodontic problems are a combination of teeth positioning problems and skeletal problems. In children, the facial bones are growing and can be manipulated and moved by the orthodontist to correct the skeletal part of the problem. This is not possible in older patients that are no longer growing. If the skeletal problem is severe, it can only be corrected with jaw surgery after the patient stops growing. For this reason, some orthodontic problems are best treated with a two-step approach.

The first step is done while the patient is still growing and still has some primary, or baby, teeth present. The skeletal part of the problem is corrected at this time. The second step is done after all of the permanent teeth have erupted and growth has slowed or stopped. At Dr. Byrd & Associates we take and evaluate a panoramic digital X-ray as part of our free orthodontic treatment consultation.

How Orthodontic Treatment Works

Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to a corrected position. This is a great time to wear braces! Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can choose brackets that are clear or metallic color. You can choose the color of the ties that hold the wire in brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be and the latest materials move teeth faster with less discomfort to patients.

Duration Of Treatment

Treatment time typically ranges from one to three years, depending on the growth of the patient's mouth and face and the severity of the problem. Patients grow at different rates and will respond differently to orthodontic treatment. The patient's diligent use of any prescribed rubber bands is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment. Interceptive, or early treatment procedures, may take as few as six months.

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ADULT TREATMENT

Braces aren’t just for children anymore. Tooth alignment can be changed at any age if your gums and bone structure are healthy. We offer a variety of treatments that are designed for different age groups – including adults. A new smile can begin today.

Orthodontic treatment at later stages in life can dramatically improve your personal appearance and self-esteem. Improving the health of your teeth and gums is equally important. Crooked teeth and a bad bite can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, abnormal wear of the tooth enamel and surfaces, headaches and jaw joint (TMJ/TMD) pain.

Good News!

The new techniques and appliances we use greatly reduce discomfort levels, decrease the frequency of visits, shorten treatment time and may allow you to choose from several options. Your options may include metal braces, translucent braces or transparent aligners that can be worn to improve cases of misaligned teeth.

During the initial examination, we will be able to determine the best possible treatment for your individual needs. During this initial appointment, we can outline the treatment plan, time of treatment expected and the approximate cost.

Our practice has numerous adult patients, and they agree that it’s never too late to improve their greatest asset - their smile.

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RETENTION

Congratulations! Your life with braces is now complete! Once your braces are removed, an impression will be taken of your teeth so that a retainer can be made for you. It is important to follow the basic rules with your retainer so that you can keep that beautiful, straight smile you worked so hard to achieve. Our lab technicians can even create custom-designed retainers in various colors and graphics. Options are limitless!

Retainer Instructions

  • Wear your retainers full time or until Dr. Byrd instructs otherwise.
  • Take your retainers out when eating... and always put retainers in their case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunch rooms or restaurants.)
  • Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Efferdent or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used but should not take the place of brushing.
  • When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them!
  • Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to them quickly.
  • Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken call us immediately.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself.
  • Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
  • Retainer replacement is expensive... with proper care they will last for years!
  • Remove retainers when swimming.
  • Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine/dryer and napkins.

Fixed Expander Instructions

  • Turn your expansion screws as instructed. Insert the key into the hole and turn toward the arrow.
  • If you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment, stop turning the expander.
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SLEEP APNEA

Sleep Apnea doesn't just affect adults. Does your school-age child have problems focusing on school work? Research has shown that sleep apnea is a contributing factor to symptoms of ADD/ADHD. When children are identified as having symptoms of ADD/ ADHD, often no one thinks to explore whether poor sleep could be responsible for the symptoms. According to Parents magazine, research in sleep laboratories has shown that children are sometimes mislabeled with ADD/ADHD when the real problem is chronic sleep deprivation.

Children and adults can have trouble sleeping at night. Anyone experiencing recurring snoring or gasping for air while sleeping should be checked for Sleep Apnea, a sleep disorder in which breathing periodically starts and stops during the night. If left untreated, Sleep Apnea can have a serious impact on your physical health, ability to focus, mood, impulse control and cognitive functioning.

At Byrd Orthodontics we treat Sleep Apnea using a mouthpiece that adjusts the position of the lower jaw and tongue to help keep the airway open while sleeping. This oral appliance is worn at night and is custom fit to each patient.

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DENTURES

A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures available: partial dentures and complete dentures. Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain and complete dentures are used to replace all teeth. Dentures are made to resemble your natural teeth, so there should be no noticeable change to appearance. In fact, dentures may even improve a smile!

Complete Dentures – This restoration method is used to restore smile and mouth function if all teeth have been lost. The dentures are custom created and natural looking. They are fit in the patient's mouth to take the place of the original teeth. Complete dentures are generally removable and may require adjustments in order to create a proper fit with the gums and mouth.

Partial Dentures – A removable partial denture is used when one or more natural teeth still remain in the upper or lower jaw. Made of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, partials help restore better functionality to the mouth. As with complete dentures, it is possible to have more permanent option cemented into place.

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EXTRACTIONS

Good oral hygiene is a must. The loss of a single tooth can have major impact on overall oral health and appearance. Although dentists will use every measure to prevent tooth loss, there are still some occasions when a tooth needs to be extracted. A tooth may need to be extracted if the following occurs:

  • Severe decay
  • Advanced gum disease
  • Infection or abscess
  • Orthodontic correction
  • Malpositioned teeth
  • Fractured teeth or roots
  • Impacted teeth

The dentist may suggest an extraction after careful examination and treatment—usually taking x-rays to understand the shape and position of the tooth and surrounding bone before extracting the tooth. Based on the degree of difficulty, a dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon.

A certain amount of pain and discomfort is to be expected following an extraction, but it can be minimized with pain killers and ice packs applied to the face for 15 minutes at a time. Discomfort should lessen within three days to two weeks.

If you experience prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever, call our office immediately.

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FILLINGS

A filling is a way to restore a tooth decayed tooth back to its normal shape and function. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, the dentist will first remove the decayed tooth material, then clean the affected area and fill the cleaned-out cavity with a filling material. This filling will help prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria might enter.

There are a variety of filling materials available including gold, silver, plastic and porcelain. We will work with you to determine which material is best for you, depending on the extent of repair, the location of the filling and the cost. Each of the filling materials is briefly explained below:

Gold fillings are custom-made in a laboratory and then cemented into place. While gold fillings are often the most expensive choice, many consider gold as the best filling material. Gold inlays are well-tolerated by gum tissues and may last more than 20 years.

Amalgam (silver) fillings are a more inexpensive choice and are also well-tolerated. However, due to their dark color, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not recommended for fillings in very visible areas such as front teeth.

Composite (plastic) resin fillings are custom-made to the exact color of the patient's teeth, creating a more natural appearance. While these white fillings may be less noticeable than other materials, they usually only last between 3 and 10 years. They may not be ideal for larger fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco.

Porcelain fillings, called inlays or onlays, are created in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth, they resist staining, and they cost about the same as gold fillings. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth, making the filling nearly undetectable.

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GUM TREATMENT

It's estimated that more than half of U.S. adults have gingivitis. Gingivitis, in some cases, can lead to periodontitis (gum disease) and host of other health problems.

Gum disease can cause bleeding, swelling, bad breath, pain, receding gums and tooth loss. But it doesn't always stop there. You oral health is the beginning point for your whole body's health and wellness. It is imperative that we stop problems before they even start!

Gum disease causes a buildup of bacteria in deep pockets between the teeth and gums. That bacteria can transfer to your bloodstream when gums bleed, putting you at a much higher risk to develop the following health problems:

  • Stroke
  • Respiratory Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Ulcers
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Pre-Term Births

Periodontal treatment typically involves containing the infection through deep cleaning like scaling and root planing, clearing buildup at the root of the teeth. The dentist may also suggest specific toothpastes and mouth rinses. We may also prescribe antibiotics to fight infections. Surgery is required for the most severe cases.

We examine you for gum health at every 6-month check-up. If you have been experiencing any symptoms like bad breath, bleeding or tender gums, please let us know. We will decide what is the best form of treatment to restore your gums to optimum health.

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IMPLANT PLACEMENT

A dental implant is an ideal tooth restoration for people who are missing one or more teeth for reasons like injury or periodontal disease. To begin the implant process, a metal post is surgically positioned into the jaw. This post will act as a permanent "root" for the implanted tooth. Once it is in place, the surrounding bone and tissue needs time to heal.

Implant placement requires special training, as it is a surgical procedure. Our team is highly- trained in implant placement to meet your dental needs. Implants require healthy gums and adequate bone. A patient must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits, as these are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.

Please set up a consultation for this comprehensive procedure.

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IMPLANT RESTORATION

A dental implant is an ideal tooth restoration for people who are missing one or more teeth for reasons like injury or periodontal disease. After a metal post is placed, the restoration is completed with a replacement crown. While implants are typically more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, they provide superior benefits. Implants are stronger than natural teeth and generally last 10-20 years. They are also a more favorable approach than bridgework, because they do not depend on neighboring teeth for support.

Implants require healthy gums and adequate bone. A patient must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits, as these are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.

Please let us know if you have any questions about the procedures involved in dental implants.

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INVISALIGN

Invisalign is an attractive alternative to traditional metal braces. It is a series of clear, custom-fit removable mouth trays that apply a controlled amount of force to your teeth to slowly straighten them. The system provides the same beautiful results as traditional braces, but they are virtually invisible. Invisalign trays are removable and can be taken out while eating, drinking, brushing and flossing.

The Invisalign system begins in the orthodontist's office with taking impressions to design your trays. Patients switch trays every two weeks to gradually shift the teeth. The system requires a visit to the office every six weeks so that treatment can be monitored. Once treatment is complete, a patient will be given a retainer to maintain the smile.

The cost of Invisalign varies according to the complexity of the case. Insurance policies generally cover Invisalign to the same extent that they cover traditional braces.

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IV SEDATION

A variety of forms of dental sedation are used to help patients who suffer from dental anxiety or phobia. There are multiple levels of sedation to ease every level of anxiety, and IV sedation is the perfect option for patients who might otherwise avoid the dentist. IV sedation is commonly referred to as "sleep dentistry--" it will be as if you fell asleep, and you won't remember the procedure. A specific set of drugs are administered via IV for the duration of the procedure or procedures, and you will be carefully monitored to ensure your safety. Often reserved for oral surgery, IV sedation is also available to those with intense dental anxiety and phobia. It makes dentistry easy.

If you feel that IV sedation is the best option for you, set up a consultation today! We are happy to answer any of your questions.

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MOUTH GUARDS

Custom-designed mouth guards and night guards are made of flexible plastic and molded to fit the shape of your teeth. Mouth guards are recommended to protect the jaw, tongue, cheek lining and teeth during physical activity and sports such as boxing, football, basketball, or other activities where your mouth might get hit. Night guards are recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth at night to protect their teeth. Guards generally last 3-10 years.

Custom-made oral appliances can also be used as part of treatment for conditions like sleep apnea and TMJ disorders. In general, plastic appliances can be used to correct a variety of problems.

If you are active in athletics or experiencing any concerning experiences with your mouth, teeth, or jaw, please let us know. If any kind of guard or appliance is a good option for you, we will take an impression of your teeth to create a custom-fit product for your specific needs.

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NITROUS OXIDE SEDATION

Nitrous oxide sedation, also known as "laughing gas," is commonly used to make treatment more comfortable. The nitrous oxide is inhaled through a mask and produces a state of relaxation. Local anesthetic will be administered in conjunction with nitrous oxide to eliminate pain. Nitrous oxide is designed to make procedures easier for nervous patients and has been effective for many years.

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ORAL SEDATION

Oral sedation is an excellent option for patients who suffer from dental anxiety. It is simply taken in pill or liquid form and ingested at a set time before treatment. The drug produces a calming effect to make the visit to our office a much less stressful experience. Oral sedation is simple, safe and has very few side effects.

Ask us about our sedation options.

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ORTHODONTICS

Orthodontics is the art of using special appliances to straighten and align the teeth and bite. Braces are the most common orthodontic treatment. In this method, arch wires are threaded through brackets that are bonded to the surface of the teeth. The arch wires act as a track, and guide each tooth to its proper position. There are several types of orthodontic braces available, including the more traditional metal braces, ceramic "tooth colored" braces, as well as clear plastic braces.

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ROOT CANALS

Root canal treatment, also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy, is used to save an infected or damaged tooth and avoid having to remove it. A root canal becomes necessary when a neglected cavity reaches all the way to the pulp at the center of the tooth, causing the pulp to become infected. Regular cleanings and checkups detect and prevent problems early on.

Trauma can also cause deep damage to the nerve of a tooth. Once this occurs, the pulp becomes infected, and it begins to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is called an abscess). By the time the pulp is infected it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system, making it very dangerous and painful.

Symptoms of infected pulp may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain with biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms, and you are unaware of any problem until a checkup.

A root canal is performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The only other treatment would be to extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) is filled to prevent any further infection. Crowns are usually recommended to cover and restore a tooth after root canal therapy.

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SEALANTS

Sealants are a common preventive treatment in dentistry. Some teeth have fine grooves or pits that accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn't brush, but because the grooves are too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. When plaque accumulates, it can lead to cavities and other types of tooth decay. To apply sealants, a plastic material is brushed onto the tooth, filling these narrow grooves and preventing the cavity-causing buildup. Sealants make healthy teeth possible.

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SLEEP APNEA TREATMENT

Problems with sleep can quickly and negatively impact overall well-being. High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, brain damage, depression, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, weight gain and more—all of these can be caused by sleep apnea and snoring. Solve your sleeping struggles at the dentist's office? It's definitely possible.

Oral sleep appliance therapy can be a very effective treatment option for patients suffering from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. These custom-fit appliances shift the lower jaw forward and open the bite and airway.

Following are some common symptoms of sleep breathing disorders:

  • Daytime drowsiness or fatigue
  • Loud, recurring snoring
  • Choking or gasping for air in your sleep
  • A man with neck size greater than 17 inches
  • A woman with neck size greater than 16 inches
  • Stop breathing while asleep
  • Unexplained weight gain/trouble losing weight
  • High blood pressure
  • Acid reflux
  • History of stroke or heart attack
  • Fall asleep during the day when activity is low
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Impotence

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, come into our office for a consultation. We will review the severity of your condition and discuss dental sleep treatment. It is always best to have had a sleep study conducted to determine the severity of your problem. However, this may not be necessary in treatment for simple snoring.

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TMJ TREATMENT

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint and is used to describe dysfunction or disorders related to the joint. "Temporo," refers to the temple area of the skull; "mandibular," refers to the lower jaw; and "joint" is essentially where the head and jaw meet. Problems in this joint may be caused by a trauma, misalignment of the teeth, or excess muscle tension. The two bones that meet at the jaw are buffered by cartilage and five different muscles, so TMJ can cause a variety of troubles.

Common TMJ symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Pain in the jaw muscles
  • Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face

Dental treatments for the condition can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, filling gaps between teeth, and more. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If TMJ is left untreated and reaches extremes, surgery may be required to repair the badly damaged joint.

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VENEERS

Veneers are a cosmetic dental procedure in which a thin layer of porcelain or composite material is placed over the outside of the tooth. They are used to improve esthetics or help with tooth damage. Veneers are usually only performed on the front part of the teeth that are visible when talking or smiling. The procedure can be direct or indirect.

The direct technique usually involves placing composite resin on the outside of the tooth using bonding. Because of that, the direct technique is usually referred to as bonding.

The indirect technique usually involves two appointments because the veneers are fabricated at a dental laboratory. At the first appointment the teeth are prepared, impressions are taken, and the teeth are given a temporary covering. The veneers are back from the laboratory after two or three weeks. The temporaries are removed, and the veneers are bonded to the teeth. The laboratory-fabricated veneers are usually made using porcelain or pressed ceramic, and are esthetically pleasing.

The advantage of veneers versus crowns is that much less of the tooth material has to be removed, and the procedure is generally less uncomfortable. Veneers are not recommended for patients who have large fillings or little tooth structure. They are also typically recommended for the restoration of front teeth.

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TEETH WHITENING

Teeth whitening is a popular procedure to make your teeth whiter and brighter, and therefore more attractive. Bleaching can be used to whiten stained and discolored teeth, or simply to enhance a dull smile. Either way, teeth whitening is a safe and relatively painless procedure for most patients. Whitening comes in strips, trays, or in-office procedures. We offer a wide variety of options for you at our practice.

In-office bleaching procedures are ideal if you want immediate results. The whole process takes about an hour, taking little time out of busy lives. A protective gel is applied to your gums to protect the soft tissue. Then a special light-activated gel is applied to your teeth and light or laser is used to enhance the action of the agent. Finally, the patient receives a take-home gel and instructions to keep the smile bright. The result is dramatically whiter teeth that will last for years.

Tray whitening is a less-expensive and convenient at-home whitening treatment. The results are more gradual. An impression is taken at the dentist's office in order to create a customized clear tray. Trays are generally ready within a few days, depending, and the patient must follow instructions for how to apply the gel in the trays and how often to use it. Maximum whitening results and a dazzling smile are achieved at the end of the set treatment period. An occasional treatment can be used to maintain the new smile.

Whitening strips can be available at the local store or at dental practices. The dentist will have the best recommendations for your needs.

Ask about our whitening options! Please consult us about use of over-the-counter whitening treatments.

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WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTIONS

Wisdom teeth are the last molars, or "third molars" that develop on each side of the jaw. They usually emerge in the back of the mouth between the ages of 16-20.

Wisdom teeth are a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy and properly positioned. Often, however, they cause problems and require removal. When the jaw isn't large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth, they can become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth may grow sideways, emerge only part way through the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.

A wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively routine procedure. The dentist will numb the area in the mouth with a local anesthesia or use IV sedation so that the patient is asleep during the procedure.

After the tooth (or teeth) is removed, the patient is given gauze and bites down softly for a recommended amount of time to limit any bleeding. Some pain and swelling may occur, but it will usually go away after a few days. Please call our office if, after following post-op instructions, you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever.

 

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DIGITAL X-RAYS

Digital radiography uses an estimated 40-90 percent less radiation than conventional film x-rays. Digital x-rays use a digital image capture device in place of traditional film, sending an image immediately to a computer. The result is a highly-detailed image of the mouth, and its contrast and resolution can be enhanced to more easily diagnose dental problems and determine the very best treatment for each case.

This means more safety and better accuracy for you.

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PATIENT EDUCATION SOFTWARE

You deserve to be in the loop when it comes to your dental care. There are a variety of computer programs available to help patients better understand conditions, procedures and treatment options. Our office invests in patient education software because we want you to feel confident in every dental decision you make. This investment helps us clearly communicate--and it helps you learn more.

Popular programs include GURU and DentalMaster, among many others. If you have any questions about the program we use, we're happy to point you to the website. If you have any further questions about your oral health and procedures, don't hesitate to ask us.