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The secret to a bright, healthy smile is actually no secret at all: brush, floss and get a professional dental exam at least once every six months. Thielen Dental's emphasis is on prevention – preventing existing problems from getting worse and preventing dental problems from developing in the future.
Regular dental exams make it possible for us to identify and treat a problem in its earliest stage – which is not only good for your oral health but also good for your budget!
Your teeth will be visually examined for signs of plaque, tartar and tooth decay. Your gums will also be examined for puffiness or discoloration, which are signs of periodontal (gum) disease. All necessary dental X-rays may also be taken during your dental exam, to enable Dr. Thielen and his staff to see between your teeth below the surface of the gums. Once the exam is complete, Dr. Thielen will be able to answer your questions and present a custom treatment plan suitable to your specific needs and desires.
Dental X-rays have come a long way. Today's dental X-rays are safer, faster, more comfortable and more informative than the X-rays of years past. At Thielen Dental, we have invested in digital X-rays, one of the latest and most advanced dental technologies. Digital X-rays produce high-quality images of your teeth that can be viewed by you and your dentist on a computer monitor. Digital X-rays can reduce radiation by up to 90% and provide exceptional diagnostic information to ensure that potential problems are caught in their earliest stages. Digital X-rays are also better for the environment as they eliminate waste and the need for dangerous chemicals that enter the water system.
Thielen Dental has the latest wireless digital intraoral camera system which allows us to take detailed closeup photographs of your teeth. Intraoral photography is an additional way we gather information about your teeth to supplement traditional dental X-rays. With intraoral photography, problems such as cavities, fractures and discolorations in the teeth are captured through clear and sharp photographic images. This makes it easy for us to then show you what is going on in your mouth on a computer monitor.
No matter how often you brush and floss, plaque and tartar deposits can still build up on your teeth. A professional teeth cleaning is the single most effective way to remove these deposits and prevent them from causing more serious problems in the future. While a traditional teeth cleaning involves manually scraping away these deposits with special dental tools, advances in dental technologies now give you more options for teeth cleanings.
If your deposits are heavy, we may use an ultrasonic or piezoelectric cleaner. Whether we use electronic or manual scalers will depend upon your needs and personal preferences. Whichever method we use, the goal is to remove deposits, kill harmful microbes and eliminate bacteria around the teeth and gums. Many patients find ultrasonic cleanings more comfortable than traditional teeth cleanings because they are quicker, quieter and pain-free.
Periodontal Cleanings (Root Planing)
Red, swollen or bleeding gums are a red flag for one thing: gum disease. If you have the symptoms, you're not alone. More than 80% of adults have some form of gum disease and it is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. If Dr. Thielen and his hygienist determine you have periodontal (gum) disease, a traditional cleaning will not be enough (and may do more harm than good). Often called a “deep cleaning”, Scaling and Root Planing is much more than a cleaning. It is the therapeutic removal of plaque, tartar, bacteria and toxins from below the gum line to treat a disease process which is occurring in your mouth. It involves a two-part process: first, the stubborn deposits are removed, and then the root surfaces are smoothed. Root planing usually takes several visits to complete and is the first step in treating and controlling periodontal disease restoring gum and bone tissues to a healthy state. In advanced disease situations or if your gums don't respond to root planing therapy alone, periodontal surgery may be necessary to help you keep your teeth.
Oral Cancer Screening (VELscope Vx)
Oral cancer affects nearly 35,000 Americans every year. Unfortunately, the survival rate has improved very little in the past 15 years. That is because detection is often not accomplished early in the disease process which is the key to surviving oral cancer. At Thielen Dental, Dr. Thielen or his hygienist will perform a three part oral cancer exam. First, we will visually look at the oral soft tissues to look for any abnormalities. Second, we will palpate (feel) those same tissues for any abnormal bumps or lumps.
Third, we will use the VELscope Vx to assist us in our exam. The VELscope Vx is the most powerful tool available for assisting in the discovery of oral abnormalities. The VELscope's distinctive bluespectrum light causes the soft tissues of the mouth to naturally fluoresce. Unfortunately, most dentaloffices do not have this technology.
Dr. Thielen has invested in this advanced technology because he and his hygienists are determined that our patients will have the best chance to have any suspicious areas detected and treated as early as possible. An oral cancer screening takes just minutes, is pain-free and can be performed during regular dental exams. If you are male, a regular oral cancer screening is especially critical: Oral cancer is more than twice as common in men as it is in women. Other people at high risk of oral cancer include people over the age of 60, tobacco smokers and heavy drinkers. Unfortunately, oral cancer is also seen more frequently today in all age and gender groups because of oral infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV). More information about the VELscope Vx can be found at www.velscope.com.
If you've been told you need a dental filling, you're not alone: 92% of Americans have had at least one cavity. Dental fillings are primary treatment for cavities – and they come in a variety of options to suit every need. Dental fillings can be made of silver amalgam, composite, porcelain and even gold. Amalgam fillings have been used by dentists for more than a century and are still the most common and cost-effective type of dental filling. But composite fillings, which are made of a tooth-colored plastic and glass composite, are quickly becoming the preferred dental filling due to their natural appearance and durability. The type of dental filling we will use will be determined by a number of factors, including the size and location of the cavity, your personal preference, as well as your budget.
If your silver fillings make you feel self conscious when you smile, or it's simply time to replace them, consider white fillings. White fillings are just as durable as they are attractive! Made of composite resin or porcelain, white fillings match the natural color of your teeth and are an excellent option for small to mid-sized cavities. White fillings are strong, stain-resistant and often require less removal of your tooth structure than amalgam fillings, making them a more conservative option in many cases.
A dental crown may not make you feel like royalty, but it is one of the premiere treatments for teeth with extensive decay or damage. Dental crowns can also used to hold a dental bridge in place, cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth, or cover a tooth after a root canal procedure. Made of either porcelain-fused-to-metal, ceramic or gold, dental crowns are placed during a multi-step process and sometimes require more than one dental visit. The first step is to shape the tooth to receive the crown and them make a dental impression. A temporary crown is then placed to protect the tooth while the impression is sent to a laboratory to create the final restoration. While the average life of a crown is about 15 years, with regular dental visits and good oral hygiene, your beautiful new dental crowns can last a lifetime.
Dental (Fixed) Bridges
Dental bridges have been used for centuries to replace missing teeth. Today, dental bridges are still considered one of the most durable, conservative and cost-effective options for bridging the gap between a missing tooth and surrounding teeth. Comprised of two anchoring teeth and a replacement tooth or teeth, a dental bridge helps prevent surrounding teeth from drifting out of position, improves chewing, speaking and your appearance, and helps keep your bite from collapsing.
There are at least three types of dental bridges: 1) traditional dental bridges, 2) cantilever dental bridges, and 3) Maryland bridges. Traditional bridges have either dental crowns or dental implants on either side of the missing tooth, plus a replacement tooth, which is held in place by a post-like structure called a dental abutment. Cantilever dental bridges are used in cases where there are teeth on only one side of the area with the missing tooth. Maryland bridges are made of a specialized resin that is cemented to a metal framework and cemented to the enamel of surrounding teeth.
The process of making a bridge is very similar to a crown, and like crowns, while the average life of a bridge is about 15 years, with regular dental visits and good oral hygiene, your beautiful new dental bridge can last a lifetime.
Using dentures to replace missing teeth is not only great for your oral health; it's a great way to look and feel younger! Today, there are a variety of natural-looking and comfortable dentures for patients who need to replace missing teeth. Made of a gum-colored acrylic base and either resin or porcelain replacement teeth, dentures are custom designed to fit your mouth. If all of your teeth are missing on the upper or lower jaw, full dentures are your only best option. Partial dentures are great for patients who have several missing teeth scattered along the upper or lower jaw where a fixed bridge may not be an option.
The process of getting dentures will take several dental visits. It starts with impressions of your upper and lower jaws and a try-in visit where you are able to preview your dentures before they are finished. Just as with your natural teeth, dentures require daily maintenance. With regular wear and tear, your dentures can last 5-7 years. During that time, you may need periodic denture relines to accommodate changes in the contours of your mouth. Regular denture relines involve resurfacing the base to ensure that your dentures fit and function perfectly. If you break your dentures, it's critical to bring them to your dentist for professional denture repair. Home denture repair kits can cause more damage and potentially make repairs more costly or impossible.
If you have dentures which are loose or difficult with which to chew, dental implants may be able to be placed so that your dentures have something onto which they can hold.
Oral Surgery - Extractions
If you have teeth which are severely damaged beyond repair or have very advanced gum disease, it may be necessary to remove one or more teeth. A wisdom tooth extraction may be recommended if there isn't enough room in your mouth to accommodate wisdom teeth and they become impacted, partially erupted or infected. Extractions may be performed in our office or after consultation with you, we may refer you to an oral surgeon for treatment.
Thielen Dental is a Family Dental practice, which means we welcome patients of all ages for their general dental needs. Catering to the dental needs of kids requires a special touch. From our homey office environment which looks more like your home than a dental office to our caring, gentle staff, we strive to make your child's dental experience a fun and informative time. Dr. Thielen and his staff have been treating children of all ages for more than 32 years, and many of those children who have grown up with our care are now bringing their children and grand-children in for care. We will make your child feel comfortable and relaxed – with plenty of toys, activities and a warm, inviting and loving staff