A general dentist will treat patients of all ages and can help with preventive care, diagnose oral health issues, manage diseases or conditions that affect the mouth, and provide cosmetic procedures to improve the appearance of the patient’s smile. Patients should visit our general dentist at Foothill Dental Care, twice yearly for regular checkups and cleanings. Parents should take their children to the dentist early to check for proper development and address any concerns they may have with their dental health.
What Treatments Are Offered by General Dentists?
When it comes to general dentistry, several treatments are offered. Most patients visit a dentist for preventive care, such as teeth cleanings, x-rays, and exams. Preventive dentistry is focused on preventing oral disease and conditions from developing in the first place. This means cleanings and exams to check for early signs of damage. It also means stopping lifestyle habits that can contribute to problems down the road, such as tobacco use and excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.
However, restorative procedures can also correct common dental issues like cavities and broken teeth. Patients may benefit from fillings, crowns, bridges, inlays, onlays, veneers, or sealants. These will all help to repair damage and restore a healthy smile. Some patients also choose to undergo orthodontic treatment. This involves wearing braces to straighten the teeth and correct alignment and bite issues. There are also cosmetic options available to whiten the smile. This can be accomplished with in-office whitening or take-home kits. Dental bonding is another treatment that can improve the smile's appearance by concealing minor flaws and adding structure to the teeth. A patient can also undergo root canal therapy to address an infected tooth. Extractions are also available if a patient has a severely decayed or broken tooth that cannot be repaired.
TMJ Disorder and Treatment Options
Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, is a common condition that can develop due to injury to the jaw or excess strain from bruxism, which is the grinding and clenching of teeth, typically during sleep. It can cause pain in the jaw area and make essential oral functions difficult and painful, like chewing and eating. It can also result in headaches and earaches. If you are suffering from symptoms of TMD, our dentist at Foothill Dental Care can evaluate your condition and help you determine the best course of treatment.
Many treatments for TMJ focus on relieving pain and muscle tightness, such as heat or ice packs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy. The dentist may also recommend wearing a bite guard or splint at night if stress affects your jaw muscles. Splints are designed to keep your lower jaw comfortable so you can rest comfortably through the night. They can also help avoid teeth grinding or clenching, which many people with TMJ do without realizing. A bite guard is often recommended for those who grind their teeth during the day or clench their jaw during sleep. Depending on your specific needs and health history, the appliance can be worn daily or overnight.
For more severe cases of TMJ, surgery may be necessary to correct structural problems with the bones of your jaw joint or reposition the discs that cushion the joint. Surgery may also be required after a traumatic injury involving your jaw. If you’ve experienced any pain in your jaw for more than two weeks, it’s time to visit the dentist and discuss treatment options.
Sleep Apnea and Treatment Options
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects about 22 million Americans. People with sleep apnea experience interrupted breathing during sleep. As a result, they wake up frequently throughout the night. People with untreated sleep apnea are at high risk for health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and heart failure.
Most patients with mild or moderate sleep apnea can be effectively treated with oral appliance therapy, which repositions the jaw and tongue to keep the airway open throughout the night. Patients with more severe sleep apnea may also benefit from continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices or treatment with surgery to remove the tonsils and/or adenoids. These invasive treatments are considered after more conservative treatment options have failed.
The Benefits of General Dentistry
General dentistry aims to prevent and treat common oral diseases and conditions, such as cavities and gum disease. A routine professional cleaning and checkup every six months helps our dentist catch early signs of decay or disease and provide the most conservative care possible. We can help you improve your at-home oral hygiene routine with tips and techniques to help keep your teeth and gums healthy between visits to our office. These appointments are an essential part of your oral healthcare routine because they can help prevent issues that require more extensive dental treatment in the future.
We Use Dexis Digital X-rays
Dexis digital X-rays produce high-quality images of your teeth. These digital X-rays are beneficial in several ways when compared to traditional X-rays, as they provide a more accurate diagnosis and reduced radiation exposure. The images captured are displayed almost instantly on a computer monitor. Once available, our dentist can enlarge images for better visibility or zoom in on specific areas.
Patients can maintain excellent oral health through general dentistry and prevent serious issues from developing. Patients who have regular appointments with their general dentist can enjoy a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. For the best dental care tailored to your unique needs, visit Foothill Dental Care: Jean Lee, DDS, at 6581 Foothill Blvd, Tujunga, CA, 91042, or call (818) 353-1125.