Comprehensive Dental Exams
Exams at Tuscarora Family Dental Care are so thorough patients tell us how much they enjoy them! They really appreciate the fact that we never rush through these screenings, but take all the time necessary to learn everything about your oral health and the condition of your teeth. We also take lots of time to review our findings with you, and if we discover problems, discuss the options available to get you back on the road to health. Our comprehensive exams usually include:
- Face, neck, and mouth check for abnormalities
- Sleep apnea probability evaluation
- Bite and jaw appraisal
- Oral cancer screening and soft tissue inspection
- Bio/Screen fluorescence oral cancer exam
- Measurement of your gum pockets
- Intraoral camera exam
- Digital x-rays and scans
- Bruxism (clenching and grinding) diagnosis
We will also discuss your hygiene routine and your diet to make sure you are doing all you can to keep your smile as safe and strong as possible.
Oral Cancer Screenings
There are a lot of cancers people talk about more often than mouth cancer, but we think mouth cancer should be getting a lot more attention than it does. Considering that it is one of the fastest growing cancers with over 450,000 new cases being found worldwide each year. And according to the Oral Cancer Foundation (https://oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/) “…the death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development….Oral cancer is particularly dangerous because in its early stages it may not be noticed by the patient, as it can frequently prosper without producing pain or symptoms they might readily recognize, and because it has a high risk of producing second primary tumors. This means that patients who survive a first encounter with the disease, have up to 20 times higher risk of developing a second cancer.”
This is why Tuscarora Family Dental Care takes oral cancer screenings so seriously – and why you should too! When oral cancer is discovered early, it is much easier to treat and control. Our doctor and hygienist are trained to use a special piece of equipment called the Bio/Screen which uses fluorescent LED lights to detect early tissue changes.
Risk factors for oral cancer are broad-ranging and include:
- Diminishment of immune system competence
- Smoking or other tobacco use
- Alcohol consumption
- Persistent viral infections such as the HPV virus
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight
- Frequent exposure to traditional dental x-rays (we use digital x-rays to minimize radiation exposure)
Dr. Browning was trained under the top oral pathologist in the country and has experience in finding oral cancer as well as treating the types of complications that go hand-in-hand with a history of radiation or problems with head and neck cancer.
We care about our patients’ wellbeing and understand that even something as necessary as dental x-rays can expose them to harm. That is why we have invested in digital x-rays for both oral and panoramic imaging. Digital radiographs reduce radiation exposure by up to 90%! In addition, digital x-rays are better for the environment because they eliminate the need for film development. Instead, your x-rays can be directly stored on our operatory computers for instant evaluation and saved in your records for future comparison.
For panoramic x-ray imaging, the machine stays outside of your mouth and moves around your head. This allows us to get an image of your entire oral cavity as a whole, as well as images of your sinuses, jaw, and neck. This is ideal for checking bone-levels prior to implant placement, evaluations before dental restorations, checking the position of wisdom teeth, and checking for other problems such as abscesses or signs of sinus problems.
Oh, that feeling of freshly cleaned teeth! You can’t stop smiling, looking at yourself in the rearview mirror as you drive home, and running your tongue over those smooth, polished pearly whites. But dental cleanings aren’t just designed to make your teeth look and feel great. They are also crucial for the protection of your teeth, gums, and body against harmful bacteria. You see, no matter how well you brush and floss, bacteria can build up in the form of plaque and tartar, especially in areas that are hard to reach with a toothbrush and around the base of the gums. It takes a professional touch, experience, and tools to remove it all. If bacterial films are left on the teeth and gums, it can lead to periodontal disease, tooth decay, and loss, as well as staining and bad breath.
We use the advanced technology of ultrasonic scaling to gently but efficiently remove all plaque and tartar. Patients find it much more comfortable than traditional planing and scaling, and we love the fact that the sound waves are so effective at removing every last bit of biofilm. We also only use all-natural pastes, free of colorings and artificial additives for your cleanings.
If you want a smile that is so much more than clean, call us about ultrasonic hygiene appointments now.
Life can get busy, and we forget our regular cleanings. You started a new medication that leads to a dry mouth. Your mother suffered from periodontal disease, and now you worry that you might be showing signs of it to.
Whatever the reasons, periodontal or gum disease is a major problem and should be dealt with as soon as it is discovered. Periodontal disease has been linked to a wide variety of health problems including:
- Cardiovascular disease and strokes
- Worsened diabetes
- Erectile dysfunction
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Immune system difficulties
- Pregnancy complications
- Problems with joint replacements
- And more
Though gum disease can be present with very few symptoms, if you notice any of the following indicators, please call us right away:
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Puffiness, redness, or tenderness of the gums
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Loose teeth
- Pain when biting down
We use a combination of techniques to treat periodontal disease. These include deep cleanings with our ultrasonic scalers as well as specialized trays that target harmful bacteria below the gums, removal of infected tissue with our soft-tissue laser or targeted antibiotic treatment. Our additional methods of treating gum disease are extremely fast, precise, painless and result in much faster healing times and less post-operative pain.
The Perio Tray® by Perio Protect: Non-Invasive Therapy for Gum Disease
Gum disease is caused by a bacterial infection that is hidden below your gums. Dental cleanings can effectively treat the bacteria, but when you return home the cycle often continues. Bacterial cells grow back in just hours after a cleaning, and toothbrush, rinse and floss can’t reach deep enough to address the infection at home.
The Perio Tray by Perio Protect gently applies medication deep under the gums to fight the infections. You use it at home for just minutes each day. The Tray is comfortable, flexible, and custom-fit precisely for your mouth.
With Perio Tray therapy, you have a new chance against the infections. In additional to healthier gums, patients commonly report whiter teeth and fresher breath. If you’ve been told that you have gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis), ask our team if Perio Trays are right for you.
Your family’s teeth are under attack every single day. Sports drinks, fruit juice, sweet treats (especially those sour candies kids love so much), carbohydrate-rich foods, stress, medications, even heredity can affect the strength and mineral content of your dental enamel. That’s why Tuscarora Family Dental Care in Martinsburg offers fluoride treatments to all of our patients, young and old. Fluoride works to remineralize teeth, protecting them against acid and bacterial attacks. We recommend that children under the age of 12 receive fluoride at every single visit to keep their precious smiles safe and strong. When adults show signs of sensitivity, wear, or decay we will set up a personalized routine of in-office and home fluoride treatments. At times, we are able to reverse the earliest symptoms of decay with adult fluoride treatments! Dental fluoride is even a great option for seniors to help them keep their own teeth as long as possible while preventing gumline decay.
We also offer Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF), which is a liquid made up of silver and fluoride particles brushed directly onto the tooth. SDF stops cavities from getting bigger by strengthening the enamel and killing bacteria which cause cavities. By keeping cavities from getting bigger, SDF can prevent the need for more invasive treatment like fillings, crowns, or even extractions.
Mouthguards & Orthotic Appliances
Tuscarora Family Dental Care offers many options to protect teeth against life with custom-made dental mouthguards.
Our sports guards are the choice of caring parents who know that not only are those boil-and-bite mouthguards available in sporting goods stores less comfortable, they are also less protective. Studies have shown – and parents already know – that if a mouthguard is improperly fitted or uncomfortable in any way, children are much less likely to use them as needed. What’s more, according to the Academy of General Dentistry and Dr. Jackson Winters, a pediatric dentist who also served as a high school and collegiate football official for 28 years, “Consumers may believe that today’s advanced helmet design provides sufficient protection, but our research indicates that, when compared to over-the-counter versions, a custom-made, properly fitted mouthguard also is essential to player safety.” (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140501101133.htm)
And to protect your teeth and your costly restorations during sleep, if you have a tendency to clench and grind, or if your bite is out of balance, we offer both specialized night-time appliances and physiologic occlusal orthotics for both children and adults.
Protect your smiles – talk to us about our custom-made and fitted mouthguards today.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
While it sounds a lot like snoring, sleep apnea is even more serious. Not only does it disrupt your sleep, leading to daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and impaired function, it also causes oxygen deprivation. Together, lack of sleep and oxygen can lead to issues, many of which can be life-threatening, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Acid reflux
- Erectile dysfunction
- Metabolic syndrome
- Liver problems
What’s worse, according to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep apnea affects more than 18 million Americans – and their bed partners!
Tuscarora Family Dental Care in Martinsburg can help. If we discover signs or symptoms of sleep apnea either during an exam, conversation with you or your bed partner or because of certain risk factors, we will refer you to a doctor for a sleep study. Once your sleep study is complete, we will work with you and your doctor to find the best method of treatment for your particular case. For those who are CPAP intolerant, or have mild to moderate sleep apnea and prefer the convenience of a more travel-sized device, we offer a small and comfortable alternative called the TAP appliance.
The TAP device works by fitting over your teeth and holding your lower jaw forward. This prevents soft tissues from collapsing back into the throat, keeping the airway open, and allowing you to get the deep, restorative sleep you need.
Don’t take risks with your wellbeing. Talk to us about sleep apnea today.
Emergency Dental Care
Dental emergencies happen in the most unsuspected of ways. That bucket of popcorn you were happily munching during a movie concealed a restoration-breaking kernel. The playground you visit every day suddenly revealed that face-first slide rides could result in knocked out teeth. Or that visit to the ballpark offered a face-smasher foul ball instead of a day of fun. You might even wake up from a pleasant night’s sleep to discover you have a throbbing toothache. Whatever your dental emergency, whether it is dramatic or just painful, we understand how upsetting and nerve-wracking they can be. That’s why Tuscarora Family Dental Care is always here to help you get through the tough moments of a scary dental emergency.
If your emergency happens during the business day, we will work you into our schedule as quickly as possible, so call us right away. If your emergency is after hours, call us anyway. Our answering system will direct you to the best way to contact us and we will guide you through what to do until we are back in the office. If there has been any trauma to the face or head, please head to the emergency room and call us on the way. If a tooth is knocked out, don’t wash it or handle the roots. Instead, put it in a cup of milk or under your tongue and bring it with you to your visit.
Whatever happens, day or night, when a dental emergency takes you by surprise, our team is here to comfort, guide, and soothe you while you get back on the road to health.
We are crazy about technology – and so are our patients. Dental technology allows us to better evaluate your health, improve your understanding of what is happening in your mouth, educate your kids about dental hygiene, and perform certain procedures without the need for cutting or stitches. In fact, dental technology makes dentistry more comfortable, convenient, and clear than ever before.
Our dental technology includes:
These tiny, pen-shaped cameras are a favorite with kids and adults alike. We use them to get a super-magnified view of the surfaces of your teeth – and you can look at them at the same time we do! The images are transmitted directly to our chairside computers so we see even the most hidden and hard to see areas of your mouth. You will be amazed to see exactly what the inside of your mouth looks like up-close and personal. It also allows us to save the images for further perusal or comparison.
Soft Tissue Laser
Soft tissue lasers are a breakthrough in oral, general, cosmetic, periodontal, and pediatric dentistry. Our diode lasers use a gentle yet powerful beam of light instead of a scalpel to remove the infection, sculpt gums, and perform frenectomies without pain, bleeding, or stitches. They can also be used to treat herpes cold sores, canker sores, ulcers, and Bell’s Palsy.
Gone are the days of goopy, messy, and gag-inducing impressions! Not only are digital scans more comfortable and faster for our patients, they are more accurate as well, so your bonded restorations have a much more precise fit.
Bio/Screen Oral Cancer Light
Unfortunately, oral cancer is on the rise worldwide, and is often detected too late. With this special piece of equipment, Dr. Browning or the hygienist can detect early tissue changes and intervene much sooner, which dramatically increases your survival rate if cancer is detected in Stage 1 or Stage 2.
Has your bite ever just felt off after getting a new filling or crown? This amazing piece of technology shows us where you are biting and how hard you are biting in real time, so that we can quickly and accurately adjust your bite. Dr. Browning also uses this piece of equipment to balance the bite and get rid of harmful forces on the teeth which can cause fractures and gum recession.
This piece of equipment is a jaw-tracking device which measures how you chew and function, and also measures the contraction of the muscles of your face. The information obtained by the system helps diagnose and treat temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), sleep disorders and craniofacial pain. It can be used for restorative, orthodontic, denture, implant and occlusal reconstruction patient evaluation.
Our Planmeca MID CBCT has an extremely large field of view which allows us to diagnose not only cavities, gum disease, tooth fractures, and infections, but also sleep apnea, TMD, and orthodontics. This x-ray machine is also special because it offers incredible detail and the lowest-dose radiation on the market.