Our main goal at Advanced Dentistry of Clifton Park is to optimize your dental health. Dr. Tonkin offers the whole spectrum of basic dental treatments. Click on each treatment to learn more:
Dental cleanings or “prophylaxis”
Periodontal or “gum” treatments
Fillings & Restorations
Crowns & Bridges
Inlays & Onlays
Endodontics (Root Canal Treatments)
Bruxism (“clenching”) treatments
A dental cleaning is an important part of your overall health. During your cleaning or “prophy” a dental hygienist will remove dental plaque and calculus (also known as tarter) from your teeth. The removal of such debris is an important part of preventing cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Your cleaning visit will leave your mouth feeling fresh and polished.
Periodontal “Gum” Treatments
Did you know that periodontal disease is the #1 undiagnosed disease in the United States leading to tooth loss? According to the respected CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease.” and “Periodontal Disease increases with age, 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.”
This is why, at Advanced Dentistry of Clifton Park, we do a complete periodontal evaluation. Your dental hygienist will measure every single tooth with a special probe in 6 different places to diagnose progressive and permanent bone loss.
Our office is equipped to provide treatment for many stages of periodontal disease. The first non-surgical step in the treatment of periodontal disease involves a special cleaning known as scaling and root planning ( SRP) or deep cleaning. With a specialized instrument, the plaque and tartar build up found below the gum line is removed. Local anesthetic is usually used to alleviate any potential discomfort.
Depending of the extend of the disease, a localized antibiotic may be used to help control the infection and promote healing. Studies have shown that the combination of both the deep cleaning with the use of the subgingival antibiotic formula was almost 3 times as likely to reduce pocket depth and less frequent bone loss.
Dr. Tonkin will evaluate your periodontal health as part of her thorough dental evaluation, and will let you know the best way she can treat any potential issues.
Sealants are a great prevention against tooth decay. The grooves of teeth are a prime spot for bacteria to attack. The sealant is a type of tooth-colored restoration that fills those gloves and prevents bacteria and food from being trapped. When bacteria cannot settle down and expose the enamel to their noxious acids, decay is avoided.
Sealants are easy to apply, and do not damage the tooth. The tooth surface is treated to allow the sealant to “stick”, then a special light is used to harden it in place. Sealants can last several years, and then be easily replaced as needed.
Sealants are beneficial for children AND adults, and are an excellent way to help keep your teeth decay-free and possibly avoid more complicated (and costly) restoration needs down the road.
Fillings & Restorations
Fillings, or “restorations”, are the basic treatments that dentists have provided for many years. The techniques and materials have changed and evolved over time, but the idea is the same: remove the bad/ decayed – part of a tooth, and make it whole again by using a solid material that will support the tremendous pressures of eating, clenching, and grinding.
At Advanced Dentistry of Clifton Park, Dr. Tonkin uses only composite, or white fillings, to restore your teeth. Composite restorations present clear advantages over (sliver) amalgam restorations: while an amalgam is basically a piece of metal wedged in a tooth (in some cases making it more prone to fracture), composite is a compound that chemically binds to the dental tissues, making the tooth stronger.
Crowns & Bridges
A crown is a way to restore your tooth when it is extensively damaged. A crown or “cap” can restore the natural look and function of your tooth by providing strength and full coverage. A crown can also be used for esthetic purposes for fractured, mal-formed, or un-esthetic teeth in both the front and back of your mouth.
A bridge is a way to restore your smile and replace a missing tooth. A bridge needs a solid base on each side of your missing tooth. The bases are called “abutments”, and the suspended part a pontic. Crowns cover the abutments, while the pontic has a smooth underbelly that contacts the gingiva under it, and necessitates a special floss for maintenance.
A Veneer is a way to give your teeth a more natural or esthetic look with minimal dental work required. A Veneer can restore esthetics and improve function. With minimal reduction to your tooth structure a veneer can be fabricated and bonded to your natural tooth structure in two simple steps.
Root Canals (Endodontics)
Root canal treatments are necessary for a variety of reasons. Whether you have severe decay, fracture, or history of trauma, a root canal can often be the last attempt to save your tooth. Dr. Tonkin will remove the nerve of the tooth and fill the nerve canal with a biocompatible material after a series of cleansing methods. It is this process that will give your tooth its last chance to survive. Often an Endodontist or root canal specialist may be consulted to help save your tooth.
A denture is a prosthesis, “an artificial device to replace or augment a missing or impaired part of the body”. In this case, it is the teeth and their supporting structures that are missing or impaired.
Dentures can be used to replace one or several teeth in the upper and/or lower jaw, and are then called “partial dentures”. When they replace ALL the teeth of the upper and/or lower jaw, they become a “complete denture“.
When teeth are extracted, a denture can be used as an “immediate” denture (so there is no significant time spent without a prosthetic tooth replacement, for esthetic or function) as long as one understands that this denture is an approximation that should be modified or replaced in general with a better adjusted denture. Sometimes a decision will be made to allow the extractions areas to heal (usually 6 to 8 weeks) prior to taking impressions to fabricate a more “permanent” denture. “Permanent” is a misnomer, however, since dentures should be replaced approximately every five years. The loss of teeth and the pressure from the denture create changes under the denture base which will create increasing damage as time goes by, while a well-adjusted denture will slow down the process hopefully.
Dentures are removable prosthesis when anchoring dental implants are not used. When implants are added to the rehabilitation treatment, an implant-retained denture can still be removable (with a bar or “locators”) or can be fixated solidly if enough implants are present (as in the All-on-4 technique).
Dentures can also be on occasion rebased, relined or repaired if broken.
Bruxism is a condition were you clench and grind your teeth. Often this condition is termed “nocturnal bruxism”. This is when you clench and/or grind your teeth while sleeping at night. Many patients do not know they have this condition. The effects of the condition present themselves in many ways. Some signs and symptoms of bruxism include but are not limited to: worn enamel, flattened teeth that chip often, headaches, muscle or jaw joint pain, increased tooth sensitivity, and indentations in you cheeks or tongue.
What causes bruxism is not totally clear, but it certainly seems to be associated mostly as a physical output to psychological causes: stress, anxiety and tension in general, anger, frustration or other emotional issues.
OCCLUSAL APPLIANCES or “Night Guards” is one of the treatment options provided by Dr. Tonkin to help with the bruxism condition. While thinner than the average sports guard, a night guard is custom made and worn on either the upper or lower teeth while sleeping to prevent grinding while protecting your teeth from wear. The cost of such a guard is minimal compared to the cost of repairing several teeth.
A regular dental examination is still the best way to identify the signs of bruxism in your teeth and jaw structures! Please let Dr. Tonkin know if you suspect a clenching/bruxism problem.
Your teeth should always be protected in any type of contact sports. Sports guards can save a lot of pain, money and time spent in the dentist’s chair. Also remember that as much as Advanced Dentistry of Clifton Park can reconstruct any smile, there is still nothing like keeping your natural teeth healthy and intact!
A face helmet is the best defense for your facial structures when appropriate. Then comes a dental sport guard that allows the teeth to work as a unit, instead of being submitted to forces as individuals…Strength in numbers!
Sports guards can be found as “one size fits all” (no precise fit and usually uncomfortable and allowing minimal protection), as a “do-it-yourself” dental guard that can be bought in a pharmacy. At Advanced Dentistry of Clifton Park a precise custom-made sport device measured, designed and adjusted by Dr. Tonkin and a specialized dental laboratory will be made. With your teeth, one ounce of prevention is worth ten pounds of repair….And a properly designed and comfortable sport guard will certainly be worn more readily and have a better chance to protect you when you need it!