General Dentistry Scottsdale, Arizona
The first line of defense against oral health problems
In general dentistry, the dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide variety of conditions, disorders and diseases affecting the teeth, gums and maxillofacial (jaw and face) parts of the body. Even though general dentists primarily provide preventative care and minor restorative therapy, they are often able to perform a wide array of other dental procedures, including some minor cosmetic treatments.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that patients visit their general dentist at least once every six months to ensure proper oral health and functionality. Regular oral health check-ups and maintenance help to prevent the development of serious dental problems that may require more extensive and costly treatments. General dentists are highly educated and trained in multiple facets of dentistry, providing a variety of different services for you and your family including:
General dentists who do not perform a certain treatment will provide you with a specialist referral.
My Teeth Feel Fine. Do I Still Need a Checkup?
Ideally, your teeth will feel fine throughout your lifetime. The chances of avoiding unpleasant, painful dental problems are much better when you maintain six-month recall visits regardless of how your teeth feel. The truth is, you can have the beginnings of a cavity or gum disease without any pain, and with very subtle indications. Staying up-to-date with dental exams and cleanings gives you the opportunity to catch these problems before they become symptomatic. In doing that, the degree of reparative care you may need could be much less than it would be if you let pain guide your motivation to see the dentist.
How Can I Know if I have Gum Disease?
The best way to learn more about gum disease is by receiving preventive care from Dr. Wiitala! Why wait until you've got significant, noticeable signs of severe gum infection when you can avoid symptoms altogether? Gum disease is a progressive condition that begins with inflammation in the gum tissue directly around a tooth or teeth. With proper intervention, you can halt the infection process and the consequences that come with it.
Schedule a visit with Dr. Wiitala if you notice any of the following signs that gum disease may be starting:
- Persistent bad breath even with brushing and flossing
- Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
- Red, swollen, irritated gums
- Tooth sensitivity
- Receding gums (one or more teeth look longer)
- A sense of a tooth feeling loose
What are the Benefits of Porcelain Fillings?
Dental fillings represent the most commonly performed restorative dental treatment. Historically, dentists have used dental amalgam to fortify teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay. You may know amalgam fillings as "silver fillings." As research has indicated the pitfalls of dental amalgam and the presence of mercury in them, more people have begun seeking alternatives. Dr. Wiitala proudly offers porcelain dental fillings not only because they look completely natural but because they offer more benefits than composite resin tooth-colored fillings. These include:
- Superior strength as compared to composite resin fillings.
- Similar "wear rate" to natural enamel.
- Lifelike appearance (no one will be able to tell you have fillings).
- Stain resistance.
- Conservative repair with minimal removal of natural tooth structure.
- Durability for larger repairs, such as cavities in molars, where bite force is stronger.
- Similar success rate to gold fillings at a fraction of the cost.
- Similar "movement" to natural enamel, so no risk of tooth fractures.
Why is Fluoride Important for Healthy Teeth?
Teeth are protected by the hard outer shell of enamel. This layer of your teeth is made up of various minerals that help to maintain its hardness. The foods that you eat and the presence of bacteria in the mouth can wear down the mineral content of tooth enamel. This is referred to as demineralization. Fluoride creates a chemical reaction within the enamel in which the hydroxyl molecule of the enamel's hydroxyapatite is restored. This maintains optimal enamel hardness, making it more difficult for cavities to occur. Dr. Wiitala performs fluoride treatments here in our comfortable office. With just a few minutes added to your regular appointment, your teeth can get a boost of strength!