General Dentistry for Santa Rosa & Petaluma
General Dentistry Services Offered
Sonoma Smiles in Rohnert Park can help you halt the progression of tooth decay and gum disease with one or more of our general dentistry services described below. Schedule an appointment with Wayne Sutton, DDS to learn more.
Dental Crowns and Onlays
A dental crown or onlay, whether made from porcelain or metal, covers a structurally damaged tooth to restore integrity. Deep cavities, chips, or cracks may require a crown. In most cases, your dentist will place an all-porcelain crown on your teeth so that your smile remains white and natural-looking. Modern high strength porcelain systems have now allowed most restorative options to be metal free.
How we can help: You should expect two visits with your dentist for a full crown procedure. At the first appointment, the dentist will prepare the damaged tooth, take an impression, and place a temporary crown. Our dental lab will then fabricate a custom crown according to the impression and your doctor’s instructions. At your follow-up visit, the temporary crown will be removed and the permanent crown secured. We can often turn around your crowns in as little as three working days.
A small cavity, left untreated, can grow to destroy an entire tooth. Unlike our skin, teeth don’t heal naturally. Only professional dental care can correct your cavities and return you to optimal oral health. A dental filling, made from white composite resin or porcelain inlay, can fill a prepared cavity and reinforce a tooth’s structure. Surface cavities can often be repaired with no anesthesia by using Dr. Sutton’s Drill-less air abrasion dental units.
How we can help: To place a filling, your dentist will first prepare your tooth by removing decay and bacteria. Surface cavities often don’t require anesthesia, but your dentist will make sure you’re comfortable during treatment. After the tooth is prepared, your dentist will insert a small bit of tinted, liquid composite resin into the cleaned cavity and, once the material hardens, will sculpt and polish the filling. Porcelain inlays or fillings may be fabricated in a lab or in the office and are more durable than a composite filling.
Mercury Free Dental Fillings
Dr. Sutton and his team have made a commitment to provide only mercury free dental fillings for over 17 years. Old mercury based fillings are only removed in a specific mercury safe manner under proper isolation and ventilation for the safety of patients and team members.
Dr. Sutton is a proud member of The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT)
In some cases, extracting a tooth is the best treatment option to reduce crowding, prepare for dentures, or eliminate a dead or dying tooth.
How we can help: Extraction is a common procedure. Your dentist will administer analgesic or sedation to keep you comfortable throughout your procedure and will then carefully remove all parts of the tooth or teeth scheduled for extraction. Many times, a bone filling material will need to be placed in the extraction site to promote proper healing. Afterwards, be sure to follow postoperative instructions closely so that your gums will heal promptly. If you have questions or concerns following an extraction, don’t hesitate to contact our office immediately.
In some situations, you can avoid tooth extraction by undergoing a root canal. An internally infected or inflamed tooth may be treatable. Inside every tooth, canals house the pulp (nerve) that sustains the tooth’s life. A deep cavity or crack can compromise the pulp and cause infection or inflammation. As infection and inflammation builds, the tooth begins to ache from internal pressure. At this point, your dentist will recommend extraction or a root canal.
How we can help: During root canal therapy, infection or inflammation is removed from the canals of a tooth. Your dentist will insert man-made material into the emptied canal and then crown or restore the tooth. A root canal is a common procedure that can often be completed in one visit. Rest assured, your comfort will be maintained throughout treatment.
‘Periodontal’ refers to gums, the soft pink skin that supports teeth and covers bones in the mouth. About 80 percent of American adults have gum disease, a bacterial infection that breaks down the bond between gums and teeth. Gum disease has serious overall health implications in that it is associated with increased potential for:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Diabetes complications
- Heart attack/heart disease
- Low-weight births
- Respiratory problems
- Tooth loss
How we can help: Depending on your level of gum disease, your hygienist and dentist will recommend the appropriate therapy. If you have mild gingivitis, changing your oral home care routine could solve the problem. However, a deep cleaning is often recommended for mild to moderate gum disease. This procedure involves scaling to remove hardened plaque (tartar or calculus) from below the gum line and root planing to reduce rough areas on your teeth’s roots where bacteria tend to gather and flourish. We may use laser therapies for early, moderate, and advanced cases. Advanced gum disease cases may be referred to a periodontist. In some cases, surgery may be required.
TMJ/ TMD Treatment
Temporomandibular joint disorder has many possible causes, with one common effect: persistent pain in the jaw that ranges from moderate to severe. This pain is sometimes triggered by stress and may be felt beyond the jaw, from the ears to the neck and sometimes the shoulders.
Other symptoms of TMJ include swelling, headaches, earaches, increased tooth sensitivity, malocclusion and a feeling of popping or clicking when the joint is in motion. Sufferers may feel that the jaw is locking, and may struggle to chew and open the mouth normally.
How we can help: Treatment begins with basic changes to lifestyle and habits that may be causing TMJ. If clenching and grinding are suspected causes, stress management and nighttime mouth guards or oral splints may be an effective solution. Other options include muscle relaxants, corticosteroid injections and physical therapy. More invasive choices include arthrocentesis, which uses thin needles to clear away debris in the joint; and the use of an arthroscope to diagnose the joint and repair any anomalies.
Preventive dentistry is central to a dentist’s mission — and to the health of your mouth. Finding emerging problems early prevents the need for costly procedures down the road. It is also the best way to ensure you will keep a full set of teeth for a lifetime.
Preventive dentistry is not simply a matter of detecting cavities and filling them. Diagnosing and treating periodontal disease is just as important. The health of your gums will impact the integrity of the roots of teeth and the bone that anchors them in your mouth. Your overall health can also be at risk from the bacteria that accumulate under the gum line when periodontal disease develops.
How we can help: The first step is to get in the habit of scheduling regular appointments for cleanings and exams. When Dr. Sutton is able to examine your teeth, ideally at least twice a year, he can identify issues of concern and recommend immediate, state-of-the-art solutions. Patients who need a root canal have typically neglected routine visits; a basic infection of the tooth may have been ignored to the point it led to painful inflammation of the nerve and structural damage to the tooth. Once every two years, Dr. Sutton will take X-rays to look beyond the surface to discover problems with roots, bone integrity or other hidden issues.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea isn’t a condition that many normally associate with dentistry, but the cause of this silent health hazard can often be traced to problems with the mouth, throat muscles or jaw. The result is a condition that causes repeated interruptions of breathing during sleep. Because these breaks in normal breathing lower the amount of oxygen available to your body, the issue is very serious. It has been associated with development of cardiac arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke, memory loss, depression and fatigue.
How we can help: The first step is an overnight evaluation to check how your breathing, heart rate, muscle activity and oxygen levels change during sleep. This study is typically conducted at a sleep center, and will help determine the severity of the condition.
Treatment begins with the least invasive options. Because sleep apnea is often associated with obesity, weight loss is a recommended first step for overweight patients. Lifestyle modifications and stress management also play key roles. Smoking, alcohol and even improper sleeping positions may be causing or worsening the condition.
If sleep apnea persists, Dr. Sutton may recommend a CPAP machine to regulate nighttime breathing. Other options include a nasal expiratory positive airway pressure device or a dental appliance that maintains the jaw and tongue in a position that will keep breathing passages open throughout the night.
Sonoma Smiles wants to help you maintain a healthy smile. For more information about our general dentistry services, please schedule an appointment with Wayne Sutton, DDS, and we will be in touch with you shortly to finalize a day and time for your visit.