GENERAL DENISTRY

Common Procedures

Baker and Graham provides a wide variety of preventative and restorative dental treatments to keep your smile healthy for years to come. Here are some of our most common treatments and procedures.

Regular Exams
and Cleanings

Regular exams are an important part of maintaining your oral health and your total body health. During your regular exam, we will check for any problems that you may not be able to see or feel, look for cavities and other signs of tooth decay, inspect your teeth and gums for gingivitis and signs of periodontal disease, and provide a thorough teeth cleaning.

Your regular exam will take about 45 minutes and we recommend one every six months. These visits give you a chance to talk to your dentist about your oral health and create a detailed treatment and prevention plan for in between appointments. Regular exams are offered by appointment only. Schedule your appointment.

Bonding

Bonding is a conservative way to repair slightly chipped, discolored, or crooked tooth. During dental bonding, a white filling is placed onto your tooth to improve its appearance. The filling “bonds” with your tooth, and because it comes in a variety of tooth-colored shades, it closely matches the appearance of your natural teeth.

Bridges

A bridge replaces missing teeth to improve the look of your smile, help maintain the shape of your face, and alleviate stress on your bite. Bridges can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials and is bonded to surrounding teeth for support.

The success of your bridge depends on its foundation – the other teeth, gums, or bone to which it is attached. Therefore, it’s very important to keep your existing teeth, gums, and jaw as healthy and strong as possible.

Crowns

Crowns are a restorative procedure used to strengthen your tooth and improve its shape. Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay.

Put simply, a crown is a kind of “cap” that is cemented to an existing tooth and usually covers the entire portion of the tooth that sits above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes your tooth’s new outer surface. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are most often preferred because they mimic the color and translucency of natural teeth and are very strong. Unlike fillings, which apply the metal or porcelain directly into your mouth, crowns are fabricated in a lab from your unique tooth impression. This allows a dental lab technician to examine all aspects of your bite and jaw movements and sculpt a perfect-fitting crown that will keep your bite and jaw movements functioning normally after the crown is placed.

Dentures

Dentures are a removable, natural-looking replacement for natural teeth. There are two types of dentures: full and partial. Full dentures are given to patients when all of the natural teeth have been removed. Partial dentures, on the other hand, are attached to a metal frame that is connected to your natural teeth and are used to fill in gaps where permanent teeth have been removed. Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be properly cared for. Use a gentle cleanser to brush your dentures, always keep them moist when they’re not in use. Be sure to keep your teeth and gums clean, too!

Extractions

There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Decay, infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with erupting wisdom teeth are common causes. Whatever the reason, when it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, your dentist may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may request another visit for this procedure. This process is typically very quick, but it is important that you speak to your dentist beforehand to share any concerns or preferences for sedation.

Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift, causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, your dentist may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth with a partial denture, implant, or other tooth replacement.

Fillings

Fillings are an extremely common dental restorative that is used to repair damage from cavities. Traditional fillings may include gold, porcelain, or composite, while newer fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are typically used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important.

There are two different kinds of fillings: direct and indirect. Direct fillings are fillings placed directly into a prepared cavity in a single visit. Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. These fillings include inlays, and veneers fabricated with ceramics or composites.

Implant Restoration

An implant is a new tooth made of metal and porcelain that looks just like your natural tooth. It’s composed of two main parts: One part is the titanium implant body that takes the place of the missing root, and the second part is the tooth-colored crown that is cemented on top of the implant. With implant treatment, you can smile confidently knowing no one will ever suspect you have a replacement tooth.

If you have missing teeth, it is crucial to replace them. Without all your teeth, chewing and eating can destabilize your bite and cause you discomfort. When teeth are missing, your mouth can shift and even cause your face to look older. Implants are a great way to replace your missing teeth, and if properly maintained, can last a lifetime!

In addition to tooth replacement, implants may be used to anchor dentures, especially lower dentures that tend to shift when you talk or chew. For patients with removable partial dentures, implants can replace missing teeth so you have a more natural-looking smile.

Flouride

Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay and in preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface. A fluoride treatment in your dentist’s office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, patients may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or your doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months.

Mouthguards

Whether you wear braces or not, protecting your smile while playing sports is essential. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. If you participate in any kind of full-contact sport, the American Dental Association recommends that you wear a mouthguard. Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard from your dentist. When you chose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well-fitted for your mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly. Your dentist can show you how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right mouthguard to protect your smile.

Nightguards

If you often wake up with jaw pain, earaches, or headaches, or if you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, you may have a common condition called “bruxism”. Many people do not even know that they grind their teeth, as it often occurs when one is sleeping. If not corrected, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, or even tooth loss.

There is an easy, non-invasive treatment for bruxism: nightguards. Nightguards are an easy way to prevent the wear and damage that teeth-grinding causes over time. Custom-made by your dentist from soft material to fit your teeth, a nightguard is inserted over your top or bottom arch and prevents contact with the opposing teeth.

Root Canals

In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you’d probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called “root canal treatment”, your tooth can be saved. When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but it is also detrimental to your overall health.

Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, your general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems with the nerves of the teeth) removes the affected tissue. Next, the tissue will be removed, and the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite. If your tooth has extensive decay, your doctor may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breaking. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.

Sealants

Sometimes brushing is not enough, especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach spots in your mouth. It is difficult for your toothbrush to get in-between the small cracks and grooves on your teeth. If left alone, those tiny areas can develop tooth decay. Sealants give your teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.

Dental sealants are a plastic resin that bonds and hardens in the deep grooves on your tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, brushing your teeth becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.

Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth as a preventive measure against tooth decay after the permanent teeth have erupted. However, adults can also receive sealants on healthy teeth. It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every patient has unique needs, and your dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.

Sealants last from three to five years, but it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact, so if your sealants come off, let your dentist know, and schedule an appointment for your teeth to be re-sealed.

Veneers

You no longer need to hide your smile because of gaps, chips, stains, or misshapen teeth. With veneers, you can easily correct your teeth’s imperfections to help you have a more confident, beautiful smile. Veneers are natural in appearance, and they are a perfect option for patients wanting to make minor adjustments to the look and feel of their smile.

Veneers are thin, custom-made shells made from tooth-colored materials (such as porcelain), and they are designed to cover the front side of your teeth. To prepare for veneers, your doctor will create a unique model of your teeth. This model is sent to the dental technician to create your veneers. Before placing your new veneer, your doctor may need to conservatively prepare your tooth to achieve the desired aesthetic result.

When placed, you’ll be pleased to see that veneers look like your natural teeth. While veneers are stain-resistant, your doctor may recommend that you avoid coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco to maintain the beauty of your new smile.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are types of molars found in the very back of your mouth. These teeth usually appear in late teens or early twenties, but they may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry. When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. If it is not removed, you may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.

Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the teeth’s roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extraction easier as well as shorten the recovery time.

In order to remove a wisdom tooth, your dentist first needs to numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Since the impacted tooth may still be under the gums and imbedded in your jaw bone, your dentist will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth. In order to minimize the amount of bone that is removed with the tooth, your dentist will often “section” your wisdom tooth so that each piece can be removed through a small opening in the bone. Once your wisdom teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction, healing time varies. Your dentist will share with you what to expect and provide instructions for a comfortable, efficient healing process.

Phone 601-268-3333

Fax 601-268-6666

4216 Lincoln Road

Hattiesburg, MS 39402

Office Hours:
Mon - Thurs: 8AM - 5PM
Walk-ins Welcome!
© Baker and Graham 2020                        Website by BREAD
© Baker and Graham 2020
Website by BREAD