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General Procedures

General Dentistry Procedures
General Dental Procedures, Options & Details

Epic Smiles dentists have the experience and credentials you should look for when considering a new General Dentist.

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Certified Sedation Dentistry for optimal comfort during treatment.
Be relaxed and comfortable throughout your procedure.

Epic Smiles offers a wide range of general dental procedures including emergency dentistry, gingivitis, periodontal therapy, injectables for TMD and teeth cleaning.

Serving the Greater Houston area with locations in both Richmond and Conroe, Texas.

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OR CALL ALIANA (281) 903-5635 or CONROE (936) 539-9400 TO GET STARTED.

Emergency Evaluation / Treatment

At Epic Smiles, we understand that in emergencies, there is no time to waste. Please contact our office if you are having any of the following dental urgencies:

severe dental pain: pulpal inflammation, pericoronitis, or third-molar pain.
dental trauma: avulsion, luxation, fractures resulting in pain or damage to soft tissue.
post-operative osteítis or dry socket pain.
dental or gingival abscesses that are causing pain and swelling
lost or inconvenient final or temporary restorations.
denture adjustments in radiation or oncology patients.
snipping or adjustments of orthodontic wires or appliances. Soft tissue trauma associated with braces.

Video 00:21 | “Dental emergencies can occur at anytime and after normal business hours. It is important to know what your options are in case of a dental emergency. Epic Smiles offers extended office hours and time open in their daily schedules to accommodate emergencies.”

Common Dental Emergencies

Toothaches

At Epic Smiles, we know that toothaches are almost unbearable. This pain can be a result of several dental problems like trauma, infections, teeth decay, and bruxism. Our team will determine what is causing the pain and provide alternatives to relieve it immediately.

If you are having a toothache, visit the office as soon as possible. In the meantime, rinse your mouth with water, and try to eliminate all food particles that might be present in the area. Apply a cold compress if there’s any visible swelling in or around the mouth, and take pain relief if necessary.

Broken tooth

The course of treatment will depend on how severe and extensive the fracture is:
small chip or fractures: only the enamel (external tissue) is affected, so the tooth can quickly be restored with a composite filling.
fractures that involve dentin: these fractures affect the inner layer of dental tissue. Usually, too much dental structure is lost to be treated with a dental filling. That’s why the treatment choice for these fractures tends to be a porcelain dental crown.
fracture that affects the pulp: when the pulp is involved, there’s no other choice but to treat the tooth with root canal therapy. In these cases, patients will see some blood in the area of the fracture.
complicated fractures: in some rare cases, the fracture extends in such a way that there’s no means of saving the tooth. The dentist will have no choice but to make an extraction.

If you have a broken tooth, please get in contact with our office. Our dentist will examine the fracture and its x-ray and determine which treatment is best for you.

Loose or Lost Teeth

Common in children and sportspeople. Whether it’s a misplaced tooth or a completely knocked-out tooth, please make an emergency appointment to see our team as soon as possible. The sooner loose or lost teeth are repositioned, the more likely it is to fix themselves back into the gums.

In the case of total avulsion, the lost teeth should also be brought to the office. Please rinse it with milk, saline, or a strong balance medium, holding it by the crown, and store it in any of the liquids before mentioned (water should be avoided by all means!).

Abscessed Teeth

Dental abscesses are a collection of pus (necrotic material) caused by a bacterial infection. They are acute processes, and regularly present all signs of inflammation: redness, pain, swelling, and heat (and loss of function in severe cases).

There are two types of dental abscesses: periapical abscesses (infected pulp) and gingival abscesses (infected gums). In both cases, the treatment consists of draining the pus and eliminating the source of infection. Depending on the abscess’s location, this will be achieved with a root canal treatment or extraction, or with a small incision that allows the drainage and a deep cleaning of the area. Antibiotics might also be prescribed.

Lost Crowns and Fillings

There are many reasons why some crowns and fillings fall off. Sometimes, it is merely due to normal debonding that happens over a period of time, and the treatment is only a recementation. In other cases, there’s a decay in the tooth that is housing the restoration, and the solution requires a more complicated procedure. 

If you are having any trouble with your crowns or fillings, please visit our office. Our team at Epic Smiles will evaluate the restorations and determine what’s best for each case.

Dental emergencies are distressing, and most patients are not ready for them to happen. But they should always remember that our team at Epic Smiles will always be prepared to help them. We will take care of their smile no matter how complex the emergency might be.

Gingivitis Therapy

Oral health is not only about having bright, white teeth. So, at Epic Smiles, we also encourage our patients to start noticing other vital tissue in the oral cavity: the gingiva, commonly known as gums.

Video 01:00 | If your gums are tender, swollen or bleed easily when flossing, you may have gingivitis—the early stage of gum disease. Fortunately, gingivitis can be prevented by following a good oral health care routine and by regularly visiting a dentist. Find out more about how to reduce the risk of gingivitis and, if needed, how to treat it.

What is gingivitis, and how is it treated?

Gingivitis can be defined as the inflammation of the gum tissue. The most common cause of gums disease is bacteria-associated. The same dental plaque that causes cavities affects the soft tissues around teeth. However, we should also clear out that other factors influence the development of this disease. Some examples are medications (including certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs and cancer therapy drugs), habits like smoking, and systemic diseases.

However, as mentioned before, the most common cause is bacterial build-up. So the best way to treat gingivitis is with an extensive cleaning session.

Signs of gingivitis

Patients can quickly notice if they are suffering from gingivitis. Gums, normally a pink soft and firm tissue, become very red, tender, and prone to bleeding (patients often see blood in the gum line while brushing). In some cases, gingivitis also causes persistent halitosis (bad breath).

Our team at Epic Smiles strongly suggest their patients to make an appointment if they are noticing any of these signs.

What are the consequences of untreated gingivitis?

When caught in time, gingivitis is a reversible condition that can be easily treated. After periodontal therapy, gums will slowly go back to normal. However, if patients shut their eyes to the signs of this disease, treatment gets more complicated.

A long-standing gingivitis can (and probably will) turn into periodontal disease. What does this mean? To put it simply, once gingivitis reaches a certain point, it will spread to the periodontal tissues. In later stages, it will end up affecting the bone tissue that anchors the teeth.

Periodontal disease has been linked to many systemic conditions like diabetes and heart problems. Stopping its progress is also essential for the maintenance of the overall health of our patients.

Periodontal Therapy (i.e., SRP)

Unlike the sign of gingivitis, the consequences of periodontal disease cannot be reverted. This means that once the bone tissue has been lost, there’s no way of getting it back.

The main inconvenience is that the first stages of periodontitis are silent. That’s why our team emphasizes the importance of cleaning and examination sessions. If the patient skips appointments or doesn’t pay attention to gingivitis signs, once he or she starts seeing the problems arisen by the disease (shrinking gum issue or loose teeth), it might be too late for prevention. Oral health has already been severely compromised.

Our team has no other choice but to resort to periodontal therapy to stop the disease’s progression and wait until the tissues are no longer infected. Only then, the dentist will evaluate how to treat the consequences.

Video 01:00 | Gums that are red, tender or swollen may indicate periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Because you can have periodontal disease without knowing it, it’s important to visit your dentist for periodontal screening. Discover more about how to prevent, detect and treat periodontal disease.

What treatment is recommended for the later stages of periodontal disease?

Once a patient is diagnosed with periodontitis, dentists will start treatment right away. The first step is to eliminate the infection that is causing the disease. 

Periodontal therapy involves what dentists call SRP (“scaling and root planing”). Our team considers it the best course of treatment for late-stage periodontal disease. It has the aim of eliminating the plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth and roots below the gum line. For this purpose, our team at Epic Smiles can use an ultrasonic or a manual scaler: the choice depends on the amount and the consistency of the calculus. The length of the treatment will vary according to the severity of the illness: it can go from a few sessions to a long-term treatment. Sometimes, this therapy needs to be aided by antibiotics. 

Once the infection has been controlled, the patient enters a maintenance phase, which implies control visits and a vigorous hygiene routine.

Will SRP cure periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease can’t be cured, just controlled, and this is something that patients need to bear in mind. Patients who have been diagnosed with this condition should work closely with our team at Epic Smiles. Together they are going to choose the best course of treatment. It will include routine visits to our office and a strong commitment to oral hygiene. Although these visits might require an effort for the patient, they will guarantee that they are on the right track for recovering oral health!

Video 01:00 | Gum disease can typically be resolved in a matter of a few months, depending on its severity.

Injections for Migraines, TMD & Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

You might have heard about Botox® before: it’s the most popular treatment option to get rid of wrinkles and other signs of aging. But nowadays, both Botox® (and Xeomin®, a similar injectable) are not only restricted to esthetic treatments. They are also being used in dentistry to treat pain with a high level of success.

In our field, these injectables are used to treat jaw pain and migraines associated with temporomandibular disorders (“TMD”). This disorder affects the temporomandibular joint (“TMJ”), a physiological structure that connects the lower jaw to the upper jaw. This joint enables a wide range of movements, including those involved in chewing.

There are many reasons why the TMJ may not work properly, like teeth grinding, birth malformations, and trauma. But in most cases, patients just notice (and suffer!) the signs: difficulty in chewing, headaches, tightness, limited mouth opening, locking, and sometimes clicking. So sometimes, reducing the symptoms is as urgent as treating the cause.

Although Botox® and Xeomin® cannot relieve all symptoms, they do a great job with the ones most dreaded by patients: migraines and jaw pain.

Video 01:00 | From time to time almost everyone has experienced facial pain. It’s possible that the pain may be related to the joint located in the front of your ear called the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. TMJ can occur in the form of headaches, tenderness around the jaw and clicking and popping noises when your mouth is open. Discover the various effects of facial pain and be sure to see your dentist who can give you a thorough exam and determine the cause of your facial pain.

Video 01:00 | Teeth grinding also known as Bruxism, often happens at night during sleep. Bruxism may be related to stress and anxiety, sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or temporomandibular joint. Learn more about the symptoms of teeth grinding and find out how your dentist can fit you with a mouth protector to help guard your teeth during sleep.

Injectables: what are they?

The truth is that Botox® and Xeomin® are both very similar. Usually, patients ask for Botox®, but only because they are not familiar with the newer alternative, Xeomin®. They are both a type of Botulinum toxin and come in a similar presentation. The main difference is that Xeomin® has no additives, just the toxin, so it has less risk of being rejected by the body. Also, some patients have achieved more extended pain-free periods than those normally obtained with Botox® (only a couple of weeks longer).

How do these toxins work?

Both headaches and jaw pain derived from TMD are caused by muscular overwork. Botox® and Xeomin® prevent muscles from tightening, so after the injections, the muscles start relaxing, and the pain stops.

Are there any side effects?

Dentists use a minimum dose of toxin, so there is little chance to experience side effects. However, some patients reported having redness or bruising at the injection site, headaches, or flu-like symptoms. Our dentist will explain the possible after-effects and give clear instructions on how to proceed if any of them happen.

How long does the treatment take?

An estimate of 15 minutes per session, but it can vary depending on the number of injections. The treatment isn’t unpleasant, and most patients claim to feel little to no pain during injections.

Does it work right away?

The full pain relief effect is expected to .. two weeks after the injection. Still, most patients agree on having experienced a significant improvement in pain severity within a few days after the injection.

Do I have to repeat the therapy?

Patients are expected to remain pain-free for at least 12 weeks after treatment. For many patients, only one session is more than enough to lead a life without pain. However, at Epic Smiles, we recommend a long-term treatment for those patients with severe migraines or jaw pain. If you are one of them, do not hesitate to make an appointment!

Teeth Cleaning

All patients need to visit the office at least every six months: dental examinations and cleanings are crucial to maintaining oral health. No matter how white and clean their smile may seem, there are some details that only dentists can spot.

These cleanings, also known as “prophylaxis” or “prophies”, are intended to remove both tartar and dental plaque that might have formed between appointments. Why do they accumulate? Simply, there are some areas of the dental arch that are more difficult to clean, like the back of the lower teeth or the lasts molars. If the patient doesn’t have a meticulous brushing and flossing routine, dental plaque will eventually appear. And the tartar is nothing but dental plaque that hardens over the time (and due to the action of some proteins and minerals present in saliva).

But it’s not only about eliminating plaque. While doing prophies, our team at Epic Smiles can also detect concerns like periodontal disease or dental cavities. These examinations allow our dentists to treat these concerns on time and keep more severe treatments like extractions and root canals away. Moreover, if patients are presenting signs of inadequate oral hygiene, our team will evaluate their brushing and flossing to see if they are using the appropriate technique.

Video 01:00 | Regular dental visits are also extremely important to prevent and treat oral disease. Learn why regularly visiting a dentist for a teeth cleaning can help keep your smile healthy for a lifetime.

What can I expect during a dental cleaning?

To assure a deep and complete cleaning, our team at Epic Smiles follows the next steps:

plaque and tartar removal: as explained before, they are often found in some hard-to-reach regions. Patients will hear scraping noises and can experience some bleeding if gums are swallowed. We pay special attention to tartar, as it can only be removed with in-office cleaning sessions.
polishing: using high-performance brushes, our team applies a prophylactic paste that contains both cleaning and polishing agents. In this way, they scrub away tooth stains and any roughness that could have to appear after the cleaning.
expert flossing: our dental hygienist uses dental floss to remove any plaque in between teeth.
fluoride treatment and sealing: only when the team considers that they are necessary. They are intended to protect your teeth from the action of bacteria.

How often should I have my teeth cleaned?

According to the ADA (American Dental Association), no more than six months should pass between cleaning and examination sessions. Patients need to visit the dental office regularly as it is the only way to act preventively and maintain oral health.

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