Dental Services

Preventative and Maintenance Care for Adults

The basis of sound dental care is routine cleaning and maintenance. A good home care regimen must be supplemented by regular dental visits to maintain healthy teeth and gums. We customize cleanings based on your periodontal (gum and bone) health.  Depending on the status of your oral health, we may recommend more frequent visits than the usual six month recall appointment.

Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. If plaque is not removed, gums become inflamed and even bleed. The irritated gum tissue can separate from the teeth and form spaces called pockets. Bacteria move into the pockets where they continue to promote irritation. The early stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis. It often results in gums that are red and swollen and may bleed easily. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a chronic infection in the pockets around the teeth which can lead to bone and other tooth-supporting tissue loss.  As a result, teeth can become loose and eventually be lost due to lack of support.

Our goal is to prevent the start and progression of gum disease; however, if you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, we may suggest scaling and root planing. This procedure involves using a small scaler or ultrasonic instrument to carefully remove the plaque and tartar from the periodontal pocket. The removal of these bacterial irritants allows the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. In addition, we may recommend antibiotic therapy or prescription mouth rinses as an adjunct to scaling and root planing to treat problem areas if necessary.

Once this treatment is completed, we will reevaluate your periodontal pockets at subsequent visits and determine a periodontal maintenance schedule to meet your specific needs.  Periodontal disease will not go away on its own or by simple home care. Professional treatment and ongoing management of the disease is the best way to help ensure a healthy smile.

Preventative Care for Children

A child's first set of teeth, the primary or “baby” teeth, are more important than most people realize. Healthy primary teeth assist in a child's ability to chew and speak as well as maintain space in the mouth for the adult or permanent teeth to erupt. To assist in the prevention of tooth decay, it is recommended children eat a balanced diet and limit sugary snacks.  Parents should also ensure proper fluoride levels are met and assist with brushing and flossing until your child has the manual dexterity to use a toothbrush or floss properly. Your child should have a preventative visit with us at least every six months. We will thoroughly check for decay or other developmental problems, clean and polish their teeth, provide a professional fluoride treatment, and reinforce proper home care.

As part of a child's preventive care, dental sealants may be recommended for your child if he or she has any newly erupted molars and premolars. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings which are applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars (back teeth) where plaque tends to accumulate. Sealants cover the chewing surfaces and serve as a barrier to prevent tooth decay.

Digital X-rays and Intra-oral Cameras

Our office uses computer generated digital x-rays (radiographs) and intra-oral cameras. Digital radiography has many advantages over traditional film radiography. Digital radiographs requires less radiation and allow us to view images instantly. We can enhance them in a variety of ways to help ensure a more accurate diagnosis. Images are stored electronically and can be retrieved at future visits. Additionally, digital radiographs are environmental friendly by eliminating the use of chemicals to process the film. The Intra-oral camera, about the size of a dental mirror, allows us to take non-radiographic photos of your teeth and surrounding structures. These images, due to their clarity and photo enhancement features, are invaluable in visually communicating to patients their specific dental needs. These images can be stored electronically as well and displayed for future reference.

 

Teeth Whitening

In office or at home…the choice is yours. Some of the most common factors causing tooth discoloration are: the consumption of staining foods and drinks (i.e.-berries, coffee, tea, soda, and red wine), smoking, age, genetics, medications and tooth trauma. Today there are a wide variety of products and procedures available to help improve the color of your teeth. Only dental professionals have access to the most effective whitening products. We offer multiple options for achieving a brighter, whiter smile. One option is a custom take-home whitening kit. This includes custom-made bleach trays and whitening gel applied by the patient in the comfort of their own home. A second option is the professionally applied Zoom!® Tooth Whitening in-office procedure. Everyone loves a bright, white smile and we would love to customize a whitening treatment for you so you can whiten your way.

Composite Fillings

Dental fillings are used to replace and restore tooth structure that is damaged by decay or breakage. Traditionally, silver amalgam was the dominant material used for these fillings. Today, we can provide strong, tooth-colored restorations made of composite (bonded) resins and ceramics. These modern materials allow us to mimic the color and texture of your natural teeth while simultaneously providing excellent function for years to come.

Cosmetic Bonding

Cosmetic bonding can be used to improve the appearance of your teeth and enhance your smile. It is a one-visit procedure that is ideal for patients who have minor chips, cracks, gaps, or discoloration and faded areas on the tooth.

Crowns

 

Crowns are placed on teeth that have become weakened over time from being filled multiple times, cracks/fractures, severe wear or when there is not enough remaining tooth structure to support a large filling. This dental restoration protects your tooth by covering or “capping” your tooth to restore it to its ideal shape, size and function. Crowns can be made from many different materials such as metal alloys, ceramics, or a combination of these materials. When deciding what type of material to use, we will evaluate any cosmetic considerations as well as functional requirements to create a crown that looks natural and feels comfortable. Visit our CEREC one visit crowns page to learn more about the latest technology for our single visit restorations.

Veneers

Commonly associated with complete ‘Smile Makeovers’, porcelain veneers are often able to achieve the most striking cosmetic changes for a patient. Unlike a crown which covers the entire tooth, a veneer is a minimally invasive procedure where a ceramic facing is placed over the front and edge of the tooth. Porcelain veneers can be used to dramatically improve the length, shape, position and color of your teeth. They are a more durable and color stable restoration than cosmetic bonding and can provide many more years of beauty and functionality. We will work with you to choose a custom shape and shade that will compliment you and create a beautiful smile.

Bridges

When there is no alternative and a tooth/teeth must be removed, a bridge is a non-removeable, natural-looking replacement option. It is important to replace missing teeth since loss of teeth can create a myriad of problems. Tooth loss can create space deficiencies and cosmetic issues. It can lead to an inability to chew or speak properly. It can create bite issues and pain in the mouth and surrounding structures. Bearing that in mind, a bridge generally consists of teeth fabricated to fit into the space where a tooth/teeth are missing and is attached to and supported by crowns on natural teeth or implants on either side of the space. Bridges can be made from three types of material: solid metal for reliable long wear, porcelain fused to a metal base for strength and beauty, and high-strength metal-free porcelain for optimum cosmetic results. We will discuss which materials are best suited for your needs.

Implants

Dental implants are artificial teeth that are placed permanently into bone to replace lost or missing natural teeth. In general, they are made of titanium and other bio-inert materials that are compatible with the human body. Implants can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or to support the replacement of an entire jaw full of teeth. A single tooth implant is a free-standing unit.  It does not affect the adjacent teeth; a distinct advantage over a natural tooth-supported bridge where the natural teeth on either side of the space where a tooth/teeth are missing must be trimmed down to act as supports for the bridge. An implant-supported bridge is used when one or more teeth are missing. It usually requires at least two implants but can allow for restoration of three or more teeth. If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant supported bridge or denture can be used to replace the missing teeth. Because the dental implants integrate with the jawbone, an implant supported denture tends to be comfortable and stable, allowing you to bite and chew naturally. Implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth and have been one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the last 40 years. Over 5.5 million implants are placed annually in the United States. Dental implants are the ‘Gold’ standard for replacing missing teeth and many patients can hardly tell them apart from natural teeth.

Root Canal Therapy

Root canals are needed when a dental infection or tooth decay reaches the pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves) of the tooth. The tooth has become so infected that it cannot heal and the source of the infection must be removed through root canal (endodontic) treatment. Years ago, diseased or injured teeth were frequently extracted, but today, the tooth can often be saved through root canal treatment. Once a root canal procedure is complete, the tooth will then need to be restored. There are several options available to restore the tooth. A crown is the most common restoration used to protect the tooth from breaking in the future. Sometimes a tooth may need added retention and strength so a post/core build up may need to be placed before a crown is fabricated. With proper care, an endodontically treated tooth will function normally for years to come.

Dentures and Partials

If you have lost some or all of your natural teeth, removable partial dentures can be an economical solution to replacing your missing teeth – improving your health as well as your appearance. Dentures can support cheeks and lips and prevent the sagging of facial muscles, which makes a person with no teeth look much older. Dentures also improve your ability to chew and enable you to eat much easier. Missing teeth can sometimes make it hard to speak clearly. Wearing a removable partial denture can help. These are little things often taken for granted until natural teeth are lost.

A full denture is a removable appliance for replacing missing teeth and gum tissue. Dentures are usually made of acrylic and denture design and technology has improved to the point where it is now possible to have esthetic, functional and well-fitting dentures.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to erupt in your mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth that usually erupt through the gums in their late teens or early twenties. Wisdom teeth that are healthy and properly positioned can be an asset. Commonly, however, wisdom teeth are misaligned, erupt partially or remain trapped in the jawbone under the gums because there is insufficient room for them to erupt.  Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed but it does become necessary when a patient develops infection caused by partial eruption of the tooth through the gum; damage to or crowding of adjacent teeth; or the formation of a fluid-filled cyst on or near an impacted tooth destroying surrounding bone. Regular checkups are important to allow us to track the progress and condition of your wisdom teeth and to determine whether or not they should be removed.

TMJ- Temporomandibular Jaw Disorders

 

What are some of the signs and symptoms of TMJ?
- Pain in or around your ear, tender jaw muscles, clicking or popping noises in your jaw, difficulty opening or closing your mouth, pain when you yawn or chew, jaw joints that feel as if they are “locked” or “stuck”, and headaches.

What are some of the causes of TMJ?
- Injuries to your jaw or head, diseases of the muscles or joints, such as arthritis, bite problems, and stress.

To determine how best to treat your condition, we recommend a thorough evaluation including checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping, or difficulty opening/closing the jaw. Treatments may include exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles, prescribed muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory medications.  In many cases, it may be necessary to fabricate a custom made appliance such as a nightguard or NTi appliance to help decrease clenching or grinding and provide protection for your teeth from excessive wear.

Snoring/OSA - Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea?

This is a much more serious condition than just snoring, although snoring can be the first obvious sign of someone having trouble breathing while asleep. It has been linked to excessive tiredness, depression and reduced resistance to infection. When left untreated OSA can increase the risk of heart attack, hypertension, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, catching colds and even death.

What causes OSA?

During sleep muscles relax, including those that control the tongue and throat. The soft tissue (or flesh) at the back of your throat can sag, narrowing the airway. Incoming air then makes the tissue at the rear roof of the mouth (the soft palate), the flap of skin hanging from the palate (uvula) and the throat vibrate—a sound we know as snoring. While most people who suffer from sleep apnea do snore, not all people who snore suffer from sleep apnea. If you or a loved one snores loudly at night, please have a sleep study done to rule out this potentially fatal condition. During the sleep study, a physician will monitor and measure your pulse rate, oxygen saturation and desaturation, body position, presence or absence of snoring, how much you slept throughout the night, how much time you spent in each phase of sleep, leg movements and blood pressure. The sleep study physician will interpret your results and provide you with a diagnosis.

What are some of my treatment options?

If you have OSA or display symptoms of OSA such as loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue and witnessed apneas, it is essential that you seek the right treatment option. A dental appliance can work very well to alleviate this and allow you to breathe more easily throughout the night. Our office offers different types of custom appliances:

The TAP® (Thornton Adjustable Positioner)  -a mandibular repositioning appliance that has two separate components for the top and the bottom jaws that are inter-connected to allow the lower jaw to be held in a forward position so that it does not fall open during the night and cause the airway to collapse.

 

The SomnoMed MAS is a mandibular advancement splint, comprised of upper and lower dental plates with a unique patented fin coupling component designed to hold your lower jaw forward while you sleep to allow easier breathing. Its key features include the ability to open and close your mouth normally as SomnoDent does not lock or fix your jaws together, it can be fine-tuned to help sufferers of nighttime tooth clenching or grinding, and can also be made for patients who are completely or totally edentulous (partially or completely without teeth).

 

Athletic Mouthguards

 

Studies show that more than 1/3 of all injuries to children from ages 5-17 occur during sports.  In many sports, high-speed collisions with a ball, stick, or opponent are an unavoidable part of the game. Unfortunately, many of these collisions can result in lacerations as well as fractured, loosened or lost teeth. Mouthguards have been shown to be extremely effective in reducing or eliminating these painful and costly injuries. A proper mouthguard, fabricated and fitted by a dentist, will offer athletes the best combination of comfort and protection.

Unfortunately, the word "mouthguard" is universal and generic, and includes a large range and variety of products, from "over the counter" models bought at the sporting goods stores to professionally manufactured and dentist prescribed custom made mouthguards. The custom made mouthguards designed by a dentist are the most satisfactory of all types of mouth protectors. They fulfill all the criteria for adaptation, retention, comfort, and stability of material. They interfere the least with speaking and studies have shown that the custom made mouthguards have virtually no effect on breathing.

Drs. Charney and Fratarcangeli are avid supporters of athletes wearing custom made mouthguards and have made it a personal mission to educate young athletes in our community on its importance. They are both members of the Academy of Sports Dentistry and provide dental services for Quinnipiac University’s Athletic Programs. You will often see our office at local community events and at Quinnipiac Basketball and Hockey games promoting our mouthguard services.

Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral Cancer Screenings

In America, oral cancer kills more people each year than skin and cervical cancer combined. At our Hamden dental practice, we perform oral cancer screenings utilizing visual inspection and manual palpation. In addition, we have the latest technology in oral cancer detection.

Our oral cancer screenig system helps us to visualize abnormalities in the musocal tissues of your lips, mouth, and upper throat. An oral cancer screening examination will allow our Dentists and Hygienists accurately assess your overall oral health.

To ensure that your mouth is as healthy as possible, request an oral cancer exam during your next visit to Family & Esthetic Dentistry of Hamden.