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General Dentistry

Dental Examination | Routine Teeth Cleanings | Fillings | Crowns & Bridges | Tooth Extractions | Tooth Decay Prevention

Our practice can provide a wide range of dental services. We can typically provide every type of dental service without having to refer you to other specialties. This flexibility saves you time and keeps your total dental care within one practice. Our emphasis is on total preventive care for our patients.

Dental Examination

We will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums, specifically looking for any potential problems. Depending on the patient, X-rays may be taken. If there are any signs of decay or other problems, we will recommend treatment options and make notes of any conditions that may need future observation. Oral hygiene instructions will also be provided along with suggestions to help you care for your teeth.

Routine Teeth Cleanings

Twice a year, you should schedule a routine dental cleaning. During this visit, one of our dental hygienists will remove plaque from your teeth, especially from places where your brush can't reach, such as underneath the gum line and between teeth. We will then clean your teeth and apply fluoride to help protect your teeth once you leave the office.

Fillings

"Fillings" replace damaged or decayed tooth structure with a restorative material. There are several different types of filling materials, including:

  • Silver amalgam: Silver was once the most commonly used material when it came to dental restorations, such as fillings. However, silver fillings do not have much aesthetic appeal to patients.
  • Gold fillings: Gold fillings are very durable, able to last approximately 10 to 15 years. The main drawback to gold fillings is the cost of the restoration, since gold is a precious metal.
  • White fillings: After much research, some new tooth-colored materials have been developed that are stronger, longer-lasting and more aesthetically pleasing to our patients. These new tooth-colored fillings bond directly to the tooth, strengthening it by restoring most of its original shape. The fillings can even be custom-colored to match your teeth to help give you the most natural-looking smile possible.

Crowns and Bridges

At the office of Dr. Robert Burks, we're proud to provide personalized dental treatments to the community of Winter Springs, FL and the surrounding areas. As a leading practice, we offer a wide array of effective treatment options, such as crowns and bridges, to help our patients improve their oral health immediately, and achieve a smile that they are proud of. Dr. Burks is known for his gentle touch, and will ensure you're comfortable throughout the duration of your time in the office. While we focus on preventive care, we offer a number of restorative dental treatments at our office, including dental crowns and bridges.

What are Dental Crowns?

A dental crown is like a "cap" that fits over a damaged tooth: it's a covering, usually made from metal or porcelain that completely covers a damaged, decayed, or otherwise problematic tooth and provides both the strength and appearance of a normal tooth. Crowns are an excellent solution for repairing large cavities, fixing a tooth that's cracked or improving the appearance of your smile by covering discolored or otherwise unattractive teeth.

Crowns & Bridgework

Dental Crowns and Bridgework.Crowns and Bridges strengthen damaged teeth, allowing them to function normally again. When crafted from today's high-tech porcelains (dental ceramics), crowns are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. They can even be designed to improve upon a tooth's original appearance.

There are other materials besides porcelain that we can use to make dental crowns, depending on what qualities are most important. For durability, cast gold can't be beat. However, this is not always the most aesthetic choice — especially towards the front of the mouth. We would be happy to discuss all of your options with you.

Crowning or Capping a Tooth

Dental Crowns - Step by Step.

Crowning or capping a tooth will usually take two to three visits. At the first visit, we will prepare your tooth for the new crown and place a temporary crown for protection until your new crown is ready. If there is very little tooth structure left to begin with, we may have to build up the tooth with filling material to support the crown.

After the tooth is prepared, we will take digital impressions of your teeth, and send them to the dental laboratory. There, the impressions will be used to make models of your teeth for the creation of your crown. The models will serve as guides to the highly skilled lab technicians, who will ensure that your new crown is designed to enhance your smile and function well with your bite. About two weeks later, we will seat your new crown.

Creating a Bridge

Dental Bridge - Step by Step.

Crowns can also be used to create a lifelike replacement for a missing tooth. This is done with bridgework, which spans the space of the missing tooth and requires at least three crowns. Two of those crowns will be placed over healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth; these healthy teeth are referred to as abutment teeth. The two crowned abutment teeth become supports for a third crown placed in between them; that third crown is referred to as a pontic. If more than one tooth is missing, more crowns will be needed to bridge the gap in between the abutment teeth.

The number of abutment teeth necessary to replace missing teeth is influenced by the number of missing teeth, the size and length of the abutment tooth roots, the amount of bone support each abutment tooth has, as well as where in the mouth the missing tooth is located. For example, if you have three missing teeth, four abutment teeth may be necessary, thereby creating a seven-tooth bridge. Engineering and designing of the bridge requires an understanding of how to replace teeth, as well as the biology of the supporting gum and bone tissue.

Caring for Crowns & Bridgework

Crowns and bridgework require the same conscientious care as your natural teeth. Be sure to brush and floss between all of your teeth — restored and natural — every day to reduce the buildup of dental plaque. When you have crowns, it is even more important to maintain your regular schedule of cleanings here at the dental office. Avoid using your teeth as tools (to open packages, for example). If you have a grinding habit, wearing a nightguard is a good idea to protect your teeth and your investment.

 

Tooth Extractions

An extraction is the complete removal of a tooth. Extractions are sometimes necessary if:

  • A primary tooth is preventing the normal eruption of a permanent tooth
  • The tooth has suffered extensive tooth decay or trauma that cannot be repaired
  • The patient has gum disease
  • The tooth is impacted – this is usually the case with the third molars, or "wisdom teeth," as they erupt years after the other teeth and often have insufficient room in the jaw

Depending on the complexity of the case, an extraction can be performed surgically or non-surgically. A mild anesthesia is used to ensure the patient is as comfortable as possible throughout the procedure.

Tooth Decay Prevention

Tooth decay is often called the second most prevalent human disease, after the common cold. Without effective treatment (as was the case through most of history) it can lead to pain, tooth loss, and sometimes worse illnesses. Even today, it's estimated to affect nearly 100% of adults worldwide. But it doesn't necessarily have to! Working together with our office, you can take steps to prevent tooth decay from harming your teeth — or those of your loved ones.

Tooth Decay.

There's one important fact you should understand up front: No single “magic bullet” can stop tooth decay in every case. Instead, fighting decay should be viewed as a process of preventive maintenance, like taking care of your car — except that (unlike a car) your natural teeth, with proper care, can last a whole lifetime. The basic aspects of this process are practicing good oral hygiene at home, and coming in to our office for regular cleanings and checkups.

If you've been coming in for routine visits, you're probably already familiar with the special tools we use to remove buildups of plaque (a bacterial biofilm) and tartar (a hardened deposit, also called calculus) from your teeth. We may use hand-held instruments, ultrasonic scalers, or both to give your teeth a thorough cleaning. Afterwards, we check thoroughly for decay, and treat cavities when necessary.

Yet there's still more we can do to prevent tooth decay. Could your diet be a contributing factor? Is your brushing technique adequate? Could you benefit from additional preventive treatments? Today, with our increased understanding of what causes tooth decay and how to treat it, we can truly focus on decay prevention in your particular case. In fact, it's now possible to assess each individual's risk factors for decay, and concentrate on doing what's most effective for you.

How Does Decay Start?

Tooth Caries Balance.

We think of the mouth as a dynamically balanced ecosystem, in which living organisms, including helpful and harmful bacteria, are constantly interacting. When conditions are right — namely, in the presence of certain sugars — some pathogenic (harmful) bacteria produce acids that cause teeth to lose minerals and begin breaking down. Even a diet having excessive acidic foods can influence demineralization of your teeth. But in more favorable conditions, the damage these pathogens do is undone by the body's own healing mechanisms — which includes your healthy saliva.

Our goal in decay prevention is to tip the balance in favor of the beneficial processes. Keeping up a regular habit of brushing and flossing, getting adequate fluoride, and a diet with limited acidic foods is certainly helpful. Yet even with these measures, some individuals will be more prone to tooth decay than others, and may need extra help and guidance.

Preventing Tooth Decay

Dental Sealants.

If you're one of these individuals, we can demonstrate effective brushing techniques and recommend other steps you can take at home, like using special tooth pastes or rinses. When necessary, in-office treatments such as topical fluoride applications are available. If you aren't getting enough fluoride through drinking water or other sources, this treatment can help prevent tooth decay. Anti-bacterial treatments may also be beneficial in some cases, as is nutritional counseling.

Finally, if your child's teeth are susceptible to tooth decay, we can apply a dental sealant. This is a practically invisible layer of plastic resin that is placed on the top (chewing) surfaces of the back teeth. It's a painless procedure that fills in the natural pits and folds of the tooth, making them much more resistant to bacterial damage.

So, don't think that tooth decay is inevitable — instead, come in and ask us what we can do together to help prevent this disease from affecting you or your loved ones.