Click on the headers below to learn more about the various services that we offer at Dr. Gregory Westman's office.
What are Sealants?
The premolar and molar teeth are the largest teeth in the mouth. They have a larger surface area and have several grooves and pits on the chewing surface. These grooves can be deep and are a prime place for plaque and acid to build up and cause cavities. It is for this reason that many dentists will suggest applying sealants, especially on young children. A sealant is a coating that is applied to the chewing surface of the teeth creating a smooth surface to act as a barricade protecting it from decay.
Applying a sealant is a quick and easy procedure. It does not involve any anesthetic. After the teeth are cleaned, a chemical liquid is applied to the tooth. This will etch the tooth surface making it feel a little rough. After a few seconds the etching solution is rinsed away. The etching allows the sealant to bond with the tooth. The sealant is then applied in a liquid form and a light is applied to the surface of the tooth to speed up the hardening process. Sealants can be reapplied every 5 to 10 years. Sealants are very effective in preventing decay and in some cases can prevent additional damage where decay has already begun.
In sporting activities there is a great need to protect your smile. Anyone who participates in a sport that carries a significant risk of injury to teeth, lips, cheek and tongue, should wear a mouth protector. This includes a wide range of sports like football, hockey, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, and volleyball.
A properly fitted mouth protector will stay in place while you are wearing it, making it easy for you to talk and breathe.
There are three types of mouth protectors:
Stock mouth protectors are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.
2. Boil and bite
Boil and bite mouth protectors can be purchased at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They should be softened in water, then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. It is extremely important to follow the manufacturer's directions in order not to end up with a poor-fitting mouth protector.
Custom-fitted mouth protectors are made by your dentist for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customized they can offer a better fit than anything you can buy off the shelf. They are also designed to suit the needs of the individual athlete, with various thickness indicated for different sports.
Also called sleep dentistry, general anesthesia can relieve pain and anxiety by making a patient unconscious during dental procedures. For patients with intense dental fear or those who need major dental procedures, sleep dentistry presents an option that is both comfortable and practical. If you and the dentist determine that your case is right for sleep dentistry, the dentist may use oral medication or IV sedation. Sleep dentistry has helped many patients overcome the barriers created by profound anxieties about dental procedures that stand in the way of optimal oral health.
Oral Conscious Sedation
To relieve the very real and often debilitating anxiety associated with dental phobia, we also offer oral conscious sedation, known as sedation dentistry. Patients who feel stressed about dental work, as well as those who need multiple procedures performed in one visit, benefit from conscious sedation.
The procedure involves taking an oral sedative prior to your visit, then receiving nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to supplement the sedative's effects. Your vital signs and comfort level are keenly monitored throughout your visit.
Nitrous Oxide and how does it work?
Commonly referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is used in surgery and dentistry for its pain blocking and reducing effects. It is known as "laughing gas" due to the euphoric effects of inhaling it. The administration of nitrous oxide is used to enhance patient comfort and relieve anxiety for patients of all ages. The gas (a nitrous oxide and oxygen mixture) is inhaled through a face mask. The amount of gas that you receive is monitored and controlled by the dentist to ensure your safety. You will begin to relax and will not recognize pain, so the dentist can perform your dental work while you stay completely comfortable. The effects of nitrous oxide decrease once the mask is removed, such that if the gas is the only anesthesia that you receive, you will very likely be capable of driving yourself home following the visit and can continue your daily activities as normal.
In the past, tooth problems like cavities or other trauma only had one viable treatment option: metal or amalgam fillings. Thankfully, advances in the science of dentistry have led to the development of resin compounds that, when bonded to your tooth, provide a durable filling with a much more natural appearance. Composite restorations can typically be applied within a single appointment, and offer a viable alternative to metal fillings in many cases.