General Dentistry

The most advanced general dentistry.

General Dentistry in Spring Texas

General Dentistry

The most advanced general dentistry.

General Dentistry

Most of the conditions that negatively affect your smile can be avoided with regular care. Your team at Spring Oaks Dental is committed to answering your questions about proper hygiene and providing you with the most advanced general dentistry.

General Dentistry in Spring Texas

Periodontal Therapy

Most Americans experience some form of periodontal disease, often without realizing it. Periodontal disease is chiefly responsible for adult tooth loss, bleeding gums, bad breath, and receding gums. The truth is, periodontal disease is easily prevented with proper hygiene, routine home care, and professional treatment. If diagnosed in its early stages, gum disease treatments are easier, less invasive, and more effective. Your visit with Dr. Klein includes a complete evaluation of your gums and supportive tissues. At Spring Oaks Dental, you will have access to advanced periodontal therapy to heal and restore your oral health.

SMART Removal of Dental Amalgam Fillings

The filling of cavities is one of the most common services in family dentistry, and two options are: white and silver. This name, however, is somewhat misleading. While an amalgam may be silver in color, these fillings contain very little silver metal. Instead, they are composed 50% of mercury, with small amounts of several other metals like tin, copper, silver, and zinc. This combination can present a major problem, as mercury can cause profoundly negative health effects.

Fortunately, there are measures available to protect from exposure during removal of amalgam fillings. Mercury-free, composite resin fillings—now a staple of cosmetic dentistry due to their white coloring and ability to bond strongly to teeth—are one alternative to amalgams. Composites are most common-not just in cosmetic dentistry. You may also choose to have your existing amalgam fillings removed and replaced through the SMART technique (explained below in more detail).

Click to read more about the SMART amalgam filling removal method

Why is mercury so bad? Scientists and physicians have known for years that elemental mercury is neurotoxic, or damaging to the human brain and nervous system. The phrase “mad as a hatter” originated in Victorian England where workers would use mercury in the hat-making process. Frequent exposure to mercury and mercury vapors caused neurological effects that seemed similar to dementia.

Elemental mercury, or mercury that is not bound molecularly to other compounds, is extremely unsafe. Even infinitesimal amounts of mercury can build-up over time in human tissues, eventually causing neurologic problems. In the late 1990s, researchers discovered that inhalation of mercury vapors could lead to the formation of brain lesions similar to those found in many Alzheimer’s patients. Mercury can also cross the placental barrier in pregnant women, potentially harming the fetus.

So, if mercury is so toxic, why was it ever used in dental fillings? One answer is convenience. Mercury is the only metal that is a liquid at room temperature. This property means that mercury is easy to shape and form into dental fillings. When mixed with a powdered alloy of other metals, mercury forms a durable “plug” that is well-suited for filling cavities.

Additionally, dentists had long thought that the mercury in dental fillings was safe since it was never ingested. We now know that this is not the case. Amalgam fillings corrode or wear down over time from teeth grinding and simple, everyday chewing. This process releases mercury vapors which enter your body.

What is the SMART removal method? Those who routinely handle mercury must take precautions. Also, mercury cannot be allowed to escape into the environment as it poses huge threats to humans and animals. The SMART (Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique) method is a way of removing amalgam fillings, while also maximizing safety for patients, dentists, dental assistants, and the environment.

The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) developed SMART as a set of guidelines. Because each patient’s case is unique, your dentist can adapt SMART to suit your individual situation. The following are just a few of the general recommendations outlined in the SMART method:

  • The patient, clinician, or assistants should not be pregnant or breastfeeding at the time of amalgam removal. In some cases this cannot be avoided.
  • The treatment room should have a high-quality air filter to handle any mercury vapor.
  • The office should be equipped with an amalgam separator to capture the waste mercury so that it is not released into the public water system.
  • The treatment team should wear protective gowns and face coverings.
  • Before the SMART procedure, the treatment team should have the patient rinse their mouth with an adsorbent material. Our office uses activated charcoal. This rinse should be repeated at the procedure’s conclusion.
  • Barrier precautions should be taken to protect the patient’s skin and clothing.
  • The patient should have external air or oxygen delivered to protect against mercury vapor.
  • The dental team must follow all local, state, and federal regulations when disposing of mercury contamination.

What about filling replacement? Once you have your amalgam fillings safely removed through the SMART technique, you will need replacements.

Composite fillings are the best alternative.  These fillings are free of metal and are instead made of resin. Composite fillings are made of resin that binds to the tooth structure, reinforcing the tooth’s integrity, but these fillings contain no toxic mercury. Additionally, composite fillings are a shade of white and blend in excellently with your surrounding tooth. In other words, they are hidden and unobtrusive, making them an excellent cosmetic dentistry option. Amalgam fillings are known to cause fractures in teeth due to expansion and contraction (temperature changes) of the metal over time within the tooth. This may cause the tooth to break or to need a crown.

Choosing a SMART Dentist Although many dentists offer filling replacement, not all of these dentists use the SMART technique. For your safety and health, it is important that you select a SMART dentist who employs all the necessary precautions for removing your amalgam fillings. You will also find it convenient to have that same dentist replace your amalgam fillings with non-mercury alternatives. So, be certain to do your research and to choose an appropriate family and cosmetic dentist near you for dental amalgam removal.

References

Bengtsson, U.G. et al. “Increased Mercury Emissions From Modern Dental Amalgams.” Biometals. 2017;30(2):277-283. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5352807/

Colgate. “Dental Amalgam: A Health Risk?” November 12, 2014. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/procedures/fillings/dental-amalgam-a-health-risk

Homme, K.G. et al. “New Science Challenges Old Notion that Mercury Dental Amalgam is Safe.” Biometals. 2014;27(1):19-24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905169/

Lorscheider, F.L. et al. “How Mercury Causes Brain Neuron Degeneration.” July 8, 2009. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrHbOJJ_Oyg

The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. “The Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART).” December 6, 2016. https://iaomt.org/resources/safe-removal-amalgam-fillings/

Fillings

Over time, and often despite excellent at-home care, the sugars and acids in food and drink can interact with the natural bacteria living on our teeth to create tooth decay. Treatments for tooth decay vary by degrees, but the sooner caught, the better. When Dr. Klein removes decay from the tooth, the vacant portion is replaced with a filling to restore the tooth’s structure. Silver-colored mercury fillings were the standard for many years, but tooth-colored resin fillings are now available. In addition to looking much more natural, they also provide increased protection against further decay. You can now even elect to have old silver fillings replaced with tooth-colored resin fillings.

Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral cancer affects tens of thousands of Americans every year, but as with most cancers, the key to beating the disease is catching it before it progresses to a later stage. With early detection from a routine oral cancer screening, there is a 90% success rate after diagnosis. A trusted dentist like Dr. Klein is truly your only line of defense against oral cancer. She and her team of dental professionals are the only ones to regularly evaluate your oral health and to notice any potential abnormalities. Gain the peace of mind that comes with regular oral cancer screenings from Dr. Klein. With the help of the latest dental technology, even a diagnosis of oral cancer can be successfully treated through early detection.

Tooth Extractions

In some cases, injury or decay extensively damages a tooth, and an extraction is the proper treatment option to start you on the path toward complete dental health. We can remove your troublesome tooth and give you the treatment options for replacing that tooth, completing your beautiful smile once again. IV Sedation is also an option for tooth extractions to make the experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Speak with Dr. Klein to see the options for your specific situation.

Nightguard

Many people who notice mysteriously chipped or cracked teeth have sustained the damage while sleeping. Unconsciously grinding or clenching your teeth at night can eventually cause teeth to chip, crack and even break. To protect your teeth from serious damage, we recommend a dental appliance called a night guard. This specially-fitted guard slips over your teeth to create a protective barrier and discouraging nighttime clenching or grinding. If you suffer from tension headaches, you may also find that a side benefit of your night guard is headache prevention. Many headaches start during the night, caused by the extreme pressure generated as you grind and clench your teeth. Ask Dr. Klein about having a night guard custom created just for you.

Mouth Guards

If your child plays sports or other similar activities, mouth guards are a great way to protect their teeth from potential injury. They are easy to clean, come in many color combinations and are custom made to fit comfortably in your child’s mouth.

Technology

Your enjoyable dental experience depends on your comfort and safety. Dr. Klein and her team utilize the latest technological advances in dental equipment and techniques to ensure your satisfaction with your visit and your continued excellent health.

Intraoral Camera

An intraoral camera lets you see inside your mouth during both treatment planning and dental procedures. Our intraoral camera displays your teeth on a video screen, allowing Dr. Klein to walk you through your proposed treatment. The use of this camera allows us to work with you as a team to meet your dental care goals. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and discuss your treatment options with you. We want you to picture how your appearance will improve with dental care, giving you all the more reason to smile.

Laser Therapy

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a potentially serious inflammatory condition affecting more than 64 million Americans. If left untreated, it can result in tooth and bone loss as the supportive structures of your mouth become more and more damaged. Treating gum disease used to require painful oral surgery and stitches, but not anymore. Using new EPIC™ laser technology, Dr. Klein can remove damaged gum tissue, restoring the healthy tissue beneath, without you feeling a thing!

Laser therapy can also improve your “gummy” smiles, remove oral growths, and relieve the pain of cold sores and canker sores. Because EPIC™ is a laser-based therapy, you’ll also enjoy faster healing times and fewer follow-up visits.

Root Canals

Damage to the nerve tissue inside of a tooth sometimes requires a root canal procedure. Despite the tales you may have heard regarding this procedure, most root canals are minimally uncomfortable – especially compared to the pain and discomfort you may be feeling before the procedure. Dr. Klein takes advantage of advances in technology and dental techniques that make root canal procedures more effective and less time consuming.

A root canal involves removing the soft tissue within the tooth (the pulp) when it has become infected and inflamed. Dr. Klein gently files the infected tissue out of the root canals of the tooth (where the procedure gets its name) and fills the void with an inert material. The procedure is completed with the placement of a filling or, in some cases, a crown.

NEW PATIENT

At Spring Oaks Dental, we take great care to ensure that your first visit is comfortable, informative, and never intimidating.

AFFORD YOUR CARE

Helping make your dental care affordable and comfortable is important, and we proudly offer a variety of options to fit your dental care into your life.

NEW PATIENT

At Spring Oaks Dental, we take great care to ensure that your first visit is comfortable, informative, and never intimidating.

AFFORD YOUR CARE

Helping make your dental care affordable and comfortable is important, and we proudly offer a variety of options to fit your dental care into your life.