One of the first things we will complete when you come to My Rivertown Dentist as a new patient is a comprehensive oral exam. This exam is incredibly important and allows us to assess and diagnose your smile’s health properly. It usually includes intraoral visual exam, x-rays, and periodontal charting – which simply means that we will carefully look at your mouth as a whole, evaluating:
- Teeth – both the surface and below the surface to check the health of your pulp, nerves, and roots
- Gums – measuring your gum pockets and evaluating the firmness and resilience of the tissue itself
- Oral tissue including cheeks, lips, and tongue – checking for sores, pimples, swelling, spots, or other abnormalities
- Bone structure supporting your teeth to ensure that there is no bone loss happening or infection spreading
- Jaw function to make sure you aren’t at risk for TMJ disorder
Once Dr. Lee and our team collect the necessary information, we will talk to you about what your needs and desires might be, explain your options for moving forward, and work with you to plan a course of action to address any areas of concern.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral, or mouth, cancer is diagnosed in astonishing numbers. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing cancers today – and yet many people never think about it. That is dangerous, indeed, considering that the Oral Cancer Foundation has found that oral cancer causes the death of at least one person a day, 24 hours a day. Oral cancer is nothing to ignore! The team here at My Rivertown Dentist take oral cancer so seriously, we look at your oral tissue every time you come see us, keeping an eye out for any changes, discoloration, pimples, bleeding, patchiness, or sores that can’t be explained. We also recommend regularly -scheduled oral cancer screenings, especially for those who have a family history of this cancer or are in a higher risk group for other reasons. Risk factors include:
- Prolonged sun exposure
- Smoking or using smokeless tobacco
- Alcohol use
- The Human Papillomavirus
- Dietary issues
The biggest problem with oral cancer is that it can begin and spread with no noticeable symptoms or pain until it has reached an advanced stage. This is why professional screenings are crucial – we know what to look for and are usually much more familiar with the inside of your mouth than you are!
X-rays are a another crucial part of the dental diagnostic process. Depending on your particular situation we recommend x-rays from every six months (for people with a history of major dental issues) to every few years. Dental x-rays allow us to see below the surface of your teeth and the surrounding tissue to get a clear view of what is happening in your mouth. We use x-rays to:
- Reveal areas of decay in teeth, especially between teeth, that can’t be seen with the naked eye
- Check for decay below old fillings
- Identify bone loss as a result of gum disease or other factors
- Show abscesses or other infections at the tooth’s root
- Reveal cysts, tumors, or other abnormalities
- Check for problems with wisdom teeth
- Determine if baby teeth are developing properly and allowing adult teeth to come in as needed
- Determine placement of implant posts
Because we care about our Madison patient family’s well-being, we use only digital technology for our x-rays—even our panoramic x-rays and cone beam devices are digital! That means much lower radiation for you and your family and much less impact on the environment.
- Digital x-rays to see what is happening under the surface
- Panoramic x-rays to get a complete, 360-degree view of your head and neck
- Kavo Op 3D ORTHOPANTOMOGRAPH for cephalometric and cone-beam 3D imaging
My Rivertown Dentist patients are worth it!
Healthy teeth are clean teeth. That’s why we suggest that all of our patients–from toddlers with their first teeth to great-grandparents who want to keep their teeth as long as possible–schedule dental cleanings at least twice a year. These twice-yearly hygiene appointments not only stop the advance of plaque and bacteria that can lead to major issues like gum disease and tooth decay, they also leave your teeth feeling clean and smooth and looking bright and sparkling. Who doesn’t like that?
We use the advanced technology of ultrasonic scalers to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth–even in hard-to-reach places between your teeth–and from the pockets along your gum line. These ultrasonic devices use sound waves along with a gentle jet of water for an incredibly efficient and comfortable cleaning experience. Even children and those with extra-sensitive mouths say ultrasonic cleanings have changed their smiles!
We have said it before, but it bears repeating: unhealthy gums can affect the rest of your body. It’s part of what we call the oral-systemic connection, and periodontal disease is a critical factor in this connection. More and more studies are showing the dramatic effects gum disease can have on the body including:
- Immune system issues
- Respiratory diseases
- Systemic inflammation
- Difficult-to-control diabetes
- Low birthweight babies or early labor
- Increased risk for dementia
- Increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular issues
- Difficulty in joint replacements
And more is being discovered all the time! That’s why the team at My Rivertown Dentist takes regular hygiene and exams so seriously.
We want to make sure the harmful effects of gum disease never put you and your family at risk. If we do find signs of gum disease, which is often present in its early stages with no symptoms at all, or you experience gingival bleeding, puffiness, or tenderness, we will set up a periodontal-therapy plan for you right away. This plan may include:
- More frequent deep cleanings with our ultrasonic scaler
- Laser-assisted periodontal treatments
- The use of Arrestin, a topical antibiotic that is placed in the infected gum pockets and remains in place while it heals
We are here to keep your smile – and your body–as healthy as possible for life.
Life is hard on teeth. From the very first tooth to the last, almost everything we eat, drink, and do affects the integrity of our enamel. The list of eroding factors could be endless, but here are a few examples:
- Acidic drinks like soda, sports or energy drinks, fruit drinks
- Sugary and carb-laden foods
- Acid reflux
- Clenching and grinding from stress or TMJ or other factors
- Low flow of saliva or dry mouth
- Using teeth as tools or biting your fingernails
Even chewing causes breakdown of the enamel! Demineralization is not only one of the primary causes of tooth decay, it also makes teeth harder to clean, and affects their appearance as well. That’s why My Rivertown Dentist suggests that our Madison smile family starts fluoride treatments as early as with the appearance of the first tooth and continues these treatments at every visit throughout life. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps strengthen and smooth enamel through remineralization. It is an easy way to keep your teeth strong and healthy for life!
Another great way My Rivertown Dentist helps protect smiles and prevent damage is by offering a range of custom-made mouthguards for both kids and adults. We offer easy-to-wear mouthguards for kids who are active in sports or other physical activities. Our mouthguards are better fitting, more comfortable, and far more protective than the boil-and-bite guards you might find in a drugstore or sporting goods retailer. In fact, studies show that custom, dentist-made mouthguards are not only more comfortable and therefore more likely to be kept in your kids’ mouths where they actually do some good, they also offer superior protection against concussions! We think Madison kids are worth it!
Nightguards are available to protect adult teeth and those costly restorations from nighttime grinding and stress clenching. These guards are also custom-fitted and created to offer superior comfort and protection so you can get some sleep and your teeth can stay in top shape.
Headaches make life hard. They keep you from feeling vital and can even affect your work performance. If you suffer from daily headaches, you aren’t alone. Some estimates suggest that over ten million people deal with chronic headaches. Many of these patients don’t know what is causing their pain. Some have been to doctor after doctor and have been told that they are suffering from stress or depression. When these patients finally make it to My Rivertown Dentist, we often discover that the root of their problem is TMJ disorder. We can help!
Dr. Lee is specially trained in the Centric Relation approach to TMJ care at the prestigious Dawson Academy. To treat your disorder, we start by analyzing any jaw sounds you may have and checking your range of motion. Once we have established that your problem really does stem from your jaw, we have a variety of non-invasive solutions and treatments including bite- splint therapy – appliances that can be comfortably worn to place your jaw in its most comfortable, natural stable position. These splints can also help protect your teeth against bruxism or clenching and grinding which is a common symptom– and often the root cause– of TMJ disorder. We also recommend adjunct physical therapy for complete relief.
My Rivertown Dentist is always available to help you through dental emergencies – big or small. Whether you have cracked a tooth on a popcorn kernel, lost a crown, think you have an abscess, or your child has fallen off the slide and knocked out a tooth, call our office, and we will advise you what to do next. Sometimes we suggest that you go to the emergency room first, especially if there is facial trauma.
Other times, we will fit you in the day you call or the next day, depending on the time you call and the severity of your emergency. If a tooth is knocked out, do your best to find and save it. Do not wash it and try to handle it as little as possible. Store it in a little milk or under your tongue to protect and preserve it until you get to us.
Our investments in dental technology are investments in you, our Madison patient family. We really do believe in offering the best in comprehensive dentistry, and our technology supports that. Some of the tools we use on a daily basis to examine, prevent, heal, and protect teeth young and old alike are:
- Intraoral Cameras–These tiny and amazing, pen-sized cameras allow Dr. Lee and her team to show you an enlarged image of your smile on a computer screen. This helps during diagnosis, clearly showingdetails that may be missed in mirror examinations. The intraoral camera also works as an educational tool, allowing both children and adults to see the insides of their mouth, taking a direct look at problems that may have been hiding in your smile and even reviewing procedures as they progress. Your intraoral camera images can be saved right on the computers in our operatories to provide a permanent record of care.
- Soft Tissue Laser
One of the most dramatic improvements in dental technology is laser dentistry. Here at My Riverton Dentist, we use soft tissue lasers for prevention, cosmetics, and other treatments, including:
- Gum contouring
- Periodontal therapy
- Cold sore and lesion treatment
Because the laser heals and seals as it does its job, there is usually no need for anesthetics and or stitches.