Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By James P. Watts, DMD
August 05, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental cleaning  

One of the key parts to an effective oral disease prevention plan is practicing daily oral hygiene to remove dental plaque. Both brushing and flossing are necessary for cleaning your teeth of this thin biofilm of bacteria and food particles most responsible for tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

But as important as they are, these two essential hygiene tasks aren’t the end-all-be-all for lowering your disease risk. For the best protection, you should also visit your dentist at least twice a year for thorough dental cleanings. That’s because plaque you might have missed can turn into something much more difficult to remove: calculus.

Also known as tartar, calculus is hardened deposits of plaque. The term comes from the Latin word meaning “small stone,” an apt description of its texture on tooth surfaces. Although not the same as the branch of mathematics that bears the same name, both derive from the same Latin word: Merchants and traders centuries ago used small stones to “calculate” their various transactions.

Over time soft and pliable dental plaque hardens into calculus, in part due to a reaction with saliva. Because of the difficulty of accessing all tooth surfaces, calculus can form even if you have an effective daily hygiene practice.

Once formed, calculus can adhere to teeth so tenaciously, it’s impossible to remove it with brushing and flossing. But dentists and hygienists can remove calculus safely with special tools called scalers.

And it should be removed or it will continue to foster bacterial growth. This in turn increases the chances for infections that attack the teeth, gums or underlying bone. Keeping it under control will therefore diminish your risk for developing dental disease.

Although there are other factors like heredity that can affect your disease risk, keeping your mouth clean is the number one thing you can do to protect your teeth and gums. A daily hygiene practice and regular dental visits will help ensure plaque and its calcified form calculus won’t be a problem.

If you would like more information on preventive dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By James P. Watts, DMD
July 30, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  

Do you wish that your teeth were whiter? Teeth whitening, offered by your Mystic, CT, dentist, Dr. James Watts, provides a simple, quickTeeth-Whitening way to brighten your smile. Read on to learn if this treatment is right for you


What happens during teeth whitening?

Since tooth decay and other dental problems can cause sensitivity during whitening, you'll need to treat any dental problems before your teeth are whitened. Accordingly, you will receive a dental examination and a thorough cleaning.

Protecting your sensitive tissues and roots is a priority. Before your whitening session begins, your Mystic dentist will apply a protective gel to your gums and place retractors in your mouth to prevent your mouth from touching your teeth.

Applying the whitening gel to your teeth only takes a few moments. The gel remains on your teeth for just about an hour. While you wait for it to work, you can read a magazine or play a few games on your phone.


How does the gel whiten my teeth?

The whitening gel your dentist uses contain hydrogen peroxide, a natural chemical that is very effective at bleaching stains. Once the gel is applied to your teeth, it seeps into microscopic pores that harbor stain-causing pigments. These pigments become lodged in your teeth when you drink or eat darkly colored foods and beverages, such as berries, coffee, cola or wine. The gel breaks apart the pigments, eliminating the stains.


How much whiter will my teeth be after whitening?

Whitening results vary from person to person. Most people can expect to see a three-to-eight-shade difference in their teeth. In some cases, another whitening session may be recommended if your teeth aren't quite white enough.


How long will my teeth stay white?

Your results will last two-to-three years if properly taken care of. This includes brushing and flossing daily, avoiding smoking, and limiting darkly pigmented foods and beverages. If you don't want to give up your daily cup of coffee or tea, try drinking the beverages with a straw. The straw will deposit most of the liquid beyond your teeth, thereby decreasing stains.


Interested? Give us a call!

Revitalize your smile with teeth whitening! Call your Mystic, CT, dentist, Dr. James Watts at (860) 536-6446 to schedule an appointment.

By James P. Watts, DMD
July 06, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

The movie Bohemian Rhapsody celebrates the iconic rock band Queen and its legendary lead vocalist, Freddie Mercury. But when we see pictures of the flamboyant singer, many fans both old and new may wonder—what made Freddie’s toothy smile look the way it did? Here’s the answer: The singer was born with four extra teeth at the back of his mouth, which caused his front teeth to be pushed forward, giving him a noticeable overbite.

The presence of extra teeth—more than 20 primary (baby) teeth or 32 adult teeth—is a relatively rare condition called hyperdontia. Sometimes this condition causes no trouble, and an extra tooth (or two) isn’t even recognized until the person has an oral examination. In other situations, hyperdontia can create problems in the mouth such as crowding, malocclusion (bad bite) and periodontal disease. That’s when treatment may be recommended.

Exactly what kind of treatment is needed? There’s a different answer for each individual, but in many cases the problem can be successfully resolved with tooth extraction (removal) and orthodontic treatment (such as braces). Some people may be concerned about having teeth removed, whether it’s for this problem or another issue. But in skilled hands, this procedure is routine and relatively painless.

Teeth aren’t set rigidly in the jawbone like posts in cement—they are actually held in place dynamically by a fibrous membrane called the periodontal ligament. With careful manipulation of the tooth, these fibers can be dislodged and the tooth can be easily extracted. Of course, you won’t feel this happening because extraction is done under anesthesia (often via a numbing shot). In addition, you may be given a sedative or anti-anxiety medication to help you relax during the procedure.

After extraction, some bone grafting material may be placed in the tooth socket and gauze may be applied to control bleeding; sutures (stitches) are sometimes used as well. You’ll receive instructions on medication and post-extraction care before you go home. While you will probably feel discomfort in the area right after the procedure, in a week or so the healing process will be well underway.

Sometimes, dental problems like hyperdontia need immediate treatment because they can negatively affect your overall health; at other times, the issue may be mainly cosmetic. Freddie Mercury declined treatment because he was afraid dental work might interfere with his vocal range. But the decision to change the way your smile looks is up to you; after an examination, we can help you determine what treatment options are appropriate for your own situation.

If you have questions about tooth extraction or orthodontics, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Simple Tooth Extraction” and “The Magic of Orthodontics.”

By James P. Watts, DMD
June 06, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns  

Porcelain crowns have been used to restore problem teeth since at least the early 20th Century. Crown technology has gradually progressed from the early use of precious metals like gold or silver to more life-like porcelain crowns, often with a metal interior for added strength. Today, most crowns are all-porcelain, made with newer materials that not only look attractive but can endure under the pressures of daily chewing or biting.

While crowns are often part of restorations for missing teeth, they’re also commonly used to cap or fit over a viable tooth with structural or appearance problems. Here are 4 situations where a crown could improve a tooth’s form and function.

Traumatized teeth. A significant blow to the face or mouth could generate enough force to chip away or fracture a significant amount of structure from a tooth. If the root remains healthy and firmly attached within the jaw, however, a crown can replace the missing structure and restore the tooth’s function and appearance.

Root canal treatments. Root canal treatments remove infected or dead tissue within a tooth’s pulp chamber, its inner core, and the root canals. The procedure rescues the tooth but can in the process significantly alter the tooth’s structure and appearance. A crown not only restores the tooth but also provides added protection against further decay or tooth fracture.

Teeth with multiple fillings. We can effectively treat cavities caused by tooth decay by filling them. But with each filling we must remove more of the decayed structure and shape the cavity to accommodate the filling. After a number of times, a tooth may not have enough structure left to support another filling. If the tooth is still viable, a crown could solve this dilemma.

Abnormally developed teeth. Teeth sometimes don’t erupt in the jaw as they should and may be only partly visible. The tooth not only looks out of place but it can’t fully function like a normal tooth. Capping an abnormally developed tooth with a crown will help normalize it and allow it to blend in with surrounding teeth.

If you would like more information on crown restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Crowns & Bridgework.”

By James P. Watts, DMD
May 31, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  

Want to get a whiter smile quickly? Then it’s time to consider in-office whitening.

Have you gone through your Facebook photos lately and noticed that your smile isn’t quite as white as it once was? If so, you'll be glad to hear that our Mystic, CT, cosmetic dentist, Dr. James Watts, can help you turn that smile around with professional teeth whitening Teeth Whiteningtreatment!

How do stains develop on teeth?

Tooth enamel is porous, which means that every time you drink coffee or black tea, eat certain dark foods, or smoke, you are exposing your teeth to elements that could increase your chances of developing stains. Of course, even just the simple act of getting older can impact the vibrancy of your smile.

I’m dealing with dental stains. How can professional teeth whitening help?

Before undergoing teeth whitening treatment, you will first need to visit our Mystic, CT, dentist to make sure that your teeth are healthy enough for cosmetic dentistry. During this time, we will also ask about your treatment goals in order to make sure that teeth whitening is the best option for you. After your consultation, we can discuss which of the following approaches is right for your situation.

In-office treatment

In-office teeth whitening can easily get teeth several shades whiter in often just one whitening session. When you come into our office for treatment, the process will take about one hour. After applying a protective material over the gums and lips, we will then paint the bleaching gel over the teeth. The gel contains a high percentage of peroxide, which is effective at breaking down stubborn stain molecules lying within the enamel and even dentin layers of the tooth.

Sometimes a dental laser is directed over the teeth to stimulate the whitening gel and to speed up the process. Once the whitening gel is rinsed off, you’ll be able to see instantly brighter results. Depending on the severity of your stains, you may be able to achieve the optimal results in just one session!

At-home treatment

If you aren’t in a rush to get a brighter smile and you are a bit more budget-conscious, then at-home whitening might be the way to go. If you have tried using commercial whitening products in the past only to be left with lackluster results, rest assured that our professional at-home whitening system is a bit different.

With our at-home whitening system, we will provide you with custom-fitted teeth whitening trays that are much more effective than over-the-counter products. The whitening gel we provide also contains a higher percentage of peroxide, which also means that you won’t have to wear the whitening trays as long as you would with OTC treatments.

Give us a call!

Are you interested in getting professional teeth whitening or cosmetic dentistry in Mystic, CT? If so, let our dental team help you get the beautiful results you’ve been looking for! Call us today at (860) 536-6446 to schedule your consultation.