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Lekha Tull DDS
 



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Patient Education

We are convinced the better you understand your own dental health, the better you will be at maintaining it and the better dental health decisions you will be able to make. Below are various topics of short, helpful essays regarding treatments, procedures and general oral health for your education! If you need more information, please let us know.

Cleanings & Regular Check-ups

Dental Exams and Cleaning
Cleanings and regular check-ups are crucial for a beautiful and healthy smile. Starting in childhood, everyone should visit their dentist every six months, or twice a year, for a cleaning and check-up.

  • Visual inspection of the soft tissue inside the mouth, including a check for lesions and signs of oral cancer.
  • Periodontal screening, which may include a measurement of the space between the teeth and gums for signs of gum disease.
  • Examination of a patient’s bite, which may indicate a need for braces.
  • Visual inspection for signs of tooth decay. This may include the use of specialized tools that can help a dentist identify the presence of cavities.
  • Feeling the head and neck area, including the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), for signs of infection, disease or other problems.
  • Dental x-rays, to identify any hidden signs of decay or disease. The frequency of x-rays depends on a patient’s dental history and risk of tooth decay.
  • Dental cleanings, usually performed by a dental hygienist who cleans and polishes the teeth, and may apply a fluoride treatment.

A regular check-up and cleaning involves a thorough, professional cleaning. We can clean your teeth more thoroughly than you can at home, and can remove plaque and tartar. Even if you have excellent oral hygiene, regular cleanings are still essential to help prevent cavities and gum disease. At your check-up, your dentist will also evaluate your oral health and ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy. This is essential, since your dentist can detect and treat early signs of gum disease, oral cancer and cavities. If you wait to see your dentist, you may face more complications and costlier treatments, so you will want to visit your dentist at least twice a year.
 

Cosmetic Dentistry

Composite Fillings
Composites are tooth colored fillings that are directly bonded to the tooth. When enough healthy tooth structure exits, composite resins are the materials of choice. They can be used to reshape teeth, replace old silver fillings, and fill in large gaps or act as temporary veneers prior to bonding the porcelain veneers.

Conservative Esthetic Gold Castings
Everybody is concerned about keeping their teeth for a lifetime. The conflict comes with wanting both esthetic restorations which often times don't last as long. Gold is still the standard for longevity. Conservative esthetic gold castings remove the least amount of tooth structure and retain as much of your original enamel as possible often resulting in showing no gold whatsoever. Therefore, this choice is for one who is interested in keeping their teeth for the longest time with the fewest problems removing the least amount of tooth as possible.

Dental Implants
A dental implant is special surgical grade titanium post, manufactured to highly precise specifications, under strict sterile conditions, that is inserted surgically into the jawbone below the gum surface. As the bone bonds to the post, it forms a secure foundation onto which your new teeth are then attached and shaped to match your mouth. Dental implants can help replace a single tooth, or a full set of teeth.

Dentures & Partial Dentures
A denture is a removable dental appliance replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They are made to closely resemble your natural teeth and may even enhance your smile.

There are two types of dentures - complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. A Partial denture not only fills in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from shifting.

A Complete denture may be either “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional type is made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed, usually taking 4 to 6 weeks. During this time the patient will go without teeth. Immediate dentures are made in advance and immediately placed after the teeth are removed, thus preventing the patient from having to be without teeth during the healing process. Once the tissues shrink and heal, adjustments will have to be made.

Dentures are very durable appliances and will last many years, but may have to be remade, repaired, or readjusted due to normal wear.

Digital X-Rays
Digital x-rays to snap a picture of the inside of a patient’s tooth and the image instantly appears onto a computer screen. Digital x-rays: expose patients to 90 percent less radiation; can be magnified on the computer screen to better show patients any areas of concern; save time so staff can spend less time in the dark room and more time with the patient; and are environmentally friendly.

Inlays or onlays
Inlays or onlays are laboratory -fabricated restorations that are bonded to tooth structure to replace amalgam (silver) fillings or decayed or fractured portions of the tooth. Porcelain is the material of choice due to its strength. The color can match the natural color of your tooth. Porcelain inlays/onlays can last 15 years or more with proper care and are more resistant to staining than composite resin fillings. Furthermore, with porcelain inlays/onlays there is no risk of mercury poisoning that comes with amalgam (silver) fillings.

Invisalign
FDA approved Invisalign is the “invisible” way to straighten your teeth without wearing conventional metal braces. Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable custom-made aligners to move your teeth. Because you remove your aligners before you eat and drink, there are no food restrictions or problems with flossing or brushing. This technology is also more comfortable, avoiding the mouth abrasions that can be caused by the metal and wires of conventional braces. And this technology is also more convenient, since you are likely to spend less time in the doctor's office getting adjustments.

Porcelain Crowns
Crowns (caps) and bridges were always made with porcelain fused to metal that resulted in very opaque, unnaturally white teeth with black margins over a period of years. We now have metal-free crowns and bridges that result in more natural smiles as this allows the natural tooth color to show through. These crowns and bridges are bonded to the tooth.

Porcelain Veneers
These are thin shells of porcelain that are individually sculpted by the best laboratory technicians to the specifications of the dentist. These are bonded to the tooth structure with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish. Porcelain Veneers mimic the shape and color of regular teeth, so they are indistinguishable from your natural smile. Porcelain Veneers can be used to repair chipped, cracked, stained, or missaligned teeth. Porcelain Veneers resist stains better than normal teeth and with proper care can last a lifetime.

Lumineers
LUMINEERS ® are porcelain veneers that offer the painless way to a permanently whiter and perfectly aligned smile. Your LUMINEERS dentist can apply these contact lens-thin "smile shapers" to teeth without any grinding or shaving, transforming teeth into a naturally beautiful smile that looks perfect for every individual. LUMINEERS can even be placed over existing crown or bridgework without having to replace them.

Porcelain Fixed Bridges
Porcelain fixed bridges are the most popular type of bridge since they resemble your natural teeth. This type of bridge consists to two or more crowns that go over the anchoring or abutment teeth. One or more pontics or artificial teeth fill the gap created by the missing tooth or teeth. Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years, however they may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear.


Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.

Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.

Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.
 

Tooth Whitening
Tooth whitening and bleaching remove stains and discoloration from the surface of your teeth. If you are not very confident in your smile, whitening can help you achieve a bright, white smile that you can be proud of. Many patients report that having whiter and brighter teeth helps them feel more confident and makes them feel better about their appearance.

VELscope Oral Cancer Screening System
The VELscope Oral Cancer Screening System offers an easy-to-use technique for the early detection of oral cancer. The system is painless and non-invasive, consisting of blue light that causes normal tissue to reflect green light, and abnormal tissue to show dark. It only takes a minute or two as part of an ordinary examination.

When caught at an early stage, oral cancer has an 80-90% survival rate. But only 35% of cases are diagnosed early.