SERVICES

Our practice was built on the philosophy that the patient is the most important person in our practice. Comprehensive dental care is our goal for every patient, and we strive to help our patients obtain total wellness. We believe that the mouth is the gateway to overall health. At your visits to our office, we will assess your Healthy Mouth Baseline and address ways to bring you to dental well-being.

Exams and Oral Hygiene Maintenance/Treatment

While we advise most patients to see us every six months to maintain the health of their teeth and gums, pregnant women and individuals with a weakened immune system, gum disease, or diabetes, as well as those that tend to have high levels of plaque build-up and/or frequent cavities, may need to visit us more frequently for optimal care. Even if you floss daily and take great care of your mouth, a thorough examination to evaluate your teeth and gums during maintenance visits, twice a year, will allow us to check for problems that you may not see or feel, catch signs of early tooth decay, or treat oral health problems that may arise between visits.

During a routine maintenance examination, we will examine your teeth, gums and supporting structures for any signs of disease or cavities. We will take measurements of the pocketing depth of your gums with a probe (ruler) to determine the presence of gum infection (periodontal disease). We will also periodically take x-rays, throughout your lifetime, to identify areas of decay, infection or other pathology. We take photos of existing conditions such as recession of your gums, cracks in your teeth, and areas of decay forming around existing restorations (fillings). A laser cavity detector (DIAGNOdent-see below for more details) will be used to assist in determining any areas of early tooth decay. The measurements, x-rays, and photos are repeated at future appointments so that we can monitor the conditions of your mouth for apparent changes. We may also take photos to use for cosmetic evaluations.

Children’s Dentistry

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children see a dentist within 6 months of the eruption of their first tooth. The AAPD also suggests that children who are at risk of early childhood cavities visit a dentist by age 1. Pediatricians agree. The idea of such early dental visits is still surprising to many new parents. However, national studies have shown that cavities are increasing in preschool-aged children. More than 1 in 4 children in the United States has had at least one cavity by the age of 4. Many kids get cavities as early as age 2. We do encourage parents to bring their children for their first visit by 18 months of age to allow them to become familiar with the dentist, our team, the office and the environment. Having a positive experience at their first visit is preferable to bringing them after a problem develops (and allows us to catch any signs of early decay).

To prevent early childhood cavities, parents first have to find out their child’s risk of developing cavities. Cavities aren’t all that parents need to learn about their child’s dental health. They also need to learn how to manage diet, hygiene and fluoride to prevent problems. At the first dental visit, the hygienist and doctor will discuss how to care for an infant’s or toddler’s mouth (proper brushing and flossing techniques), proper use of fluoride, oral habits (including finger and thumb sucking), and the link between diet and oral health.

We do provide a full range of pediatric dental services for our younger patients. We are a Teen Invisalign Provider for orthodontics for older children as well. In order to make your child’s first visit (regardless of age), we do encourage you to bring your young children with you any time you or a family member has an appointment so they can be comfortable with our practice (and see that it is not so scary).

Sealants

A dental sealant is a safe white plastic material painted on the chewing surfaces of permanent molars. The sealant bonds to the tooth and forms a thin protective cover that keeps plaque and food out (germs), reducing the risk of tooth decay. We use dental sealants to fill the narrow grooves in a tooth that can be difficult to clean while brushing or flossing. Even if the patient brushes and flosses adequately, these fine grooves can accumulate plaque and develop cavities over time because the bristles of a toothbrush cannot reach between these small spaces. We will recommend a dental sealant if we see this issue during an examination.

The placement of a sealant is quick and comfortable. The tooth is cleaned, a special liquid is put on top of the tooth to get it ready, it is dried, and then the sealant flows in the grooves. It is hardened with a special light. You can eat after the sealant is placed. Sealants cost THREE times LESS than what one filling costs! Sealant fee: $50/tooth; Filling fee: $150-265/tooth; Root Canal $909. So putting sealants on NOW will save you money in the long run by avoiding fillings or crowns used to fix decayed teeth. Sealants need to be checked to make sure the seal is not chipped or broken at your 6 month maintenance appointment. We guarantee the repair or replacement of the sealant for 5 years as needed if you come in every 6 months for your maintenance appointment.

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent caries and can repair teeth in the very early, microscopic stages of the disease. Fluoride can be obtained in two forms: topical and systemic. Topical fluorides are applied directly to the tooth enamel. Some examples include fluoride toothpastes and mouthrinses, as well as fluoride treatments in the dental office. Systemic fluorides are those that are swallowed; examples include fluoridated water and dietary fluoride supplements. The maximum reduction in dental caries is achieved when fluoride is available both topically and systemically.

Dentists have used in-office fluoride treatments for decades to help protect the oral health of children and adults, especially patients who may be at a higher risk of developing caries. Some factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing caries include poor oral hygiene, poor diet, active caries, eating disorders, drug or alcohol abuse, lack of regular professional dental care, active orthodontic treatment combined with poor oral hygiene, high levels of caries-causing bacteria in the mouth, exposed root surfaces of teeth, decreased salivary flow resulting in dry mouth, existing restorations (fillings), tooth enamel defects, and undergoing head and neck radiation therapy. Professional fluoride treatments generally take just a few minutes. The fluoride may be in the form of a solution, gel, foam or varnish. Typically, it is applied with a cotton swab or brush, or it is used as a rinse or placed in a tray that is held in the mouth for several minutes. After the treatment, you may be asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride and help repair microscopic carious areas. Depending on your oral health status, fluoride treatments may be recommended every three, six or 12 months. Your dentist also may recommend additional preventive measures if you are at a moderate or high risk of developing caries. These measures may include over-the-counter or prescription therapeutic products such as fluoride mouthrinses, gels or antibacterial mouthrinses.

Diagnodent: Laser Caries (Cavity) Detection

DIAGNOdent aids in the detection of caries. Even very small lesions are detected at the earliest stage, enabling you to protect and preserve the tooth substance. Caries lesions that once began on the tooth’s surface have now migrated below the surface. The device’s ability to see into occlusal pits and fissures enables dentists to treat sub-surface caries lesions that may not be detected with traditional methods (by x-ray, visual inspection, or using an instrument to get a “stick”). The DIAGNOdent operates on a specific wavelength at which clean healthy tooth structures exhibits little or no fluorescence, resulting in very low scale readings on the display. However, carious tooth structure will exhibit fluorescence, proportionate to the degree of caries, resulting in elevated scale readings on the display of the DIAGNOdent.

Use of the DIAGNOdent is painless to the patient. Prior to using the device, the hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth and dry them. Then the hygienist simply places the detector near the surface of the tooth and a reading is displayed on the device indicating the probability of caries. Readings are taken at each appointment to monitor any suspicious areas. This service is provided at no additional cost to the patient and is part of our standard of care for a healthy mouth.

Treatment for Gum Infection

The American Academy of Periodontology estimates that 75% of adults have some form of gum infection (periodontal disease). Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that affects the soft and hard structures that support the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums become swollen and red due to inflammation, which is the body’s natural response to the presence of harmful bacteria. In the more serious form of periodontal disease called periodontitis, the gums pull away from the tooth and supporting gum tissues are destroyed. Bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or eventually fall out. Chronic periodontitis, the most advanced form of the disease, progresses relatively slowly in most people and is typically more evident in adulthood. Although inflammation as a result of a bacterial infection is behind all forms of periodontal disease, a variety of factors can influence the severity of the disease. Important risk factors include inherited or genetic susceptibility, smoking, lack of adequate home care, age, diet, health history, and medications.

Treatment is broken into 4 categories or case types, the most severe of which is referred to a specialist. Treatment can range from a debridement to treatment by quadrant with anesthesia to remove calculus and infection from below the gumline on the root surfaces of the teeth.

Debridement

A debridement is a procedure for removing thick or dense deposits on the teeth. It is required when tooth structures are so deeply covered with plaque and calculus that the dentist and staff cannot check for decay, infections or gum disease. It is not the same as a regular “cleaning”; it is a preliminary or “first” treatment when a person has developed very heavy plaque and/or calculus. A debridement is similar to a cleaning in that the same instruments may be used, but the amount of time needed to complete the procedure as well as the difficulty and extent of the procedure are different.

While most people brush their teeth several times a day and try to take care of them, sometimes their efforts are not as effective as they might be. Flossing is required to remove food deposits from between teeth where brushing can’t reach. Lack of flossing, brushing too quickly, using a worn-out brush, using a brush that is too stiff, or using an inappropriate technique might be to blame. Some medical conditions or medicines also cause more plaque or calculus to develop. As part of your care, we will be showing you how to brush in the most effective way as well as how to use floss and other tools. This will help prevent dense plaque and calculus build up in the future.

Treatment for Abscessed Teeth

An abscessed tooth is a painful infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth. It’s most commonly caused by severe tooth decay. Other causes of tooth abscess are trauma to the tooth, such as when it is broken or chipped, and gingivitis or gum disease. These problems can cause openings in the tooth enamel, which allows bacteria to infect the center of the tooth (called the pulp). The infection may also spread from the root of the tooth to the bones supporting the tooth. A toothache that is severe and continuous and results in gnawing or throbbing pain or sharp or shooting pain are common symptoms of an abscessed tooth.

If you suspect that you may have an abscessed tooth, please call the office immediately for an examination and x-ray to determine the cause and course of action. The tooth may need a root canal or an extraction may be recommended if the tooth is beyond repair. An antibiotic is often prescribed to treat the infection until recommended treatment can be completed to eliminate the cause of the infection.

Treatment for Gum Infection

The American Academy of Periodontology estimates that 75% of adults have some form of gum infection (periodontal disease). Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that affects the soft and hard structures that support the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums become swollen and red due to inflammation, which is the body’s natural response to the presence of harmful bacteria. In the more serious form of periodontal disease called periodontitis, the gums pull away from the tooth and supporting gum tissues are destroyed. Bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or eventually fall out. Chronic periodontitis, the most advanced form of the disease, progresses relatively slowly in most people and is typically more evident in adulthood. Although inflammation as a result of a bacterial infection is behind all forms of periodontal disease, a variety of factors can influence the severity of the disease. Important risk factors include inherited or genetic susceptibility, smoking, lack of adequate home care, age, diet, health history, and medications.

Treatment is broken into 4 categories or case types, the most severe of which is referred to a specialist. Treatment can range from a debridement to treatment by quadrant with anesthesia to remove calculus and infection from below the gumline on the root surfaces of the teeth.

Snore/ Sleep Apnea Devices

Dr. Ken is one of a handful of dentists that works with the RMH Center for Sleep Medicine to treat snoring and mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea with appliances that reposition the lower jaw and improve the airway during sleep. These devices are often covered by medical insurance when the patient is referred to us by a medical doctor. Each device is custom made in a laboratory for an ideal fit and optimal function. Custom-made oral appliances are proven to be more effective than over-the-counter devices, which are not recommended as a screening tool or as a therapeutic option. The small plastic appliance fits in the mouth during sleep like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer. These oral appliances help prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat, keeping the airway open during sleep and promoting adequate air intake.

Nightguards

Nightguards are recommended for patients who have a habit of grinding or clenching their teeth at night. This habit can wear down the enamel on the teeth and can cause serious damage to the bite and jaw. We will custom design a nightguard out of flexible plastic and mold it ot fit the shape of your teeth. We want to ensure that the guard is comfortable for you so that you are able to sleep soundly without causing damage to your mouth. These custom fabricated appliances are much more comfortable than over the counter appliances. By covering the teeth, the appliance opens the mouth to allow the muscles of the jaw to relax and break the clenching and grinding habit.

Athletic Mouthguards

We recommend high quality, custom athletic mouthguards for patients who participate in high intensity sporting activities where the teeth and gums may be damaged. In our office, we can fabricate custom mouthguards to protect your teeth during most types of sporting endeavors. Mouthguards provide a resilient, protective surface to distribute and dissipate forces on impact, thereby minimizing the severity of traumatic injury to the hard or soft tissues.

Anesthesia

Fear of needles and “getting numb” are very real reasons some people avoid the dentist’s office. Dr. Ken was always afraid of needles due to an experience he had. For that reason and his commitment to providing exceptional service, he decided early in his dental career that he wanted to change people’s perception of receiving injections and alleviate that fear in his patients. He has taken numerous classes and spent hours perfecting his technique for delivering anesthesia. With his years of experience with dental surgery and restorative procedures, he has gained the ability to give practically painless injections. Our patients consistently comment about how easy and comfortable the process is. At Ken Copeland Family Dentistry, we truly try to remove all obstacles that prevent our patients from obtaining comprehensive dental care.

Extractions

Ken Copeland Family Dentistry takes every measure to prevent tooth loss because the loss of any tooth can have a major impact on your oral health and/or physical appearance. However, a tooth extraction may be necessary for any of the following reasons: advanced periodontal disease (gum infection leading to bone loss), severe tooth decay, infection or an abscess, orthodontic retention, malpositioned (poorly positioned) teeth, fractured teeth or roots, and impacted teeth (such as wisdom teeth). After careful examination and treatment, we may advise you to have a tooth extraction. We will take an x-ray to understand the shape and position of the tooth and the surrounding bone. You will be given a local anesthetic to prevent pain and discomfort. Every effort is made to remove the tooth with minimal damage to the bone and surrounding gums to minimize discomfort after the procedure and to speed the healing process.

Prior to removing your tooth, we will also discuss options for replacing the missing tooth which can include an implant and crown, a bridge, or a removable partial denture. The pros and cons of each option will be discussed so that you can make an informed decision about which option would be best suited for your needs. If no treatment is chosen to replace the missing tooth, the remaining teeth will shift which often results in increased decay and gum infection and malocclusion. Additional procedures may be required when extracting the tooth for instance to preserve the extraction site, to prepare your teeth for a bridge, to possibly place an immediate implant, or to obtain a temporary partial denture to use while the extraction site heals for implant placement.