Services

Your First Visit

At your first appointment, we will perform an extensive and comprehensive examination of your teeth, gums, bite, joints and soft tissues with the goal of creating a comprehensive dental care plan just for you. If it is beneficial for your situation, we will also use intra-oral photographs and study models of your teeth and jaws to identify areas of concern. We believe that our in-depth examination process is the cornerstone of quality dentistry.

Preparing for Your First Visit

Please bring any records you have from your previous dental provider with you so that we can take only the necessary x-rays to complete a full set. Also, please go to our Patient Forms page and print the 4 forms that you find there. Please fill them out and bring them with you.

We are looking forward to meeting you! If you need directions to our office, click here.

Examination Process

Examination ProcessExcellence in industry begins with a careful diagnosis and treatment plan to move us toward the goals we will establish together. At your first appointment, we will perform an extensive and comprehensive examination of the teeth, gums, bite, joints and soft tissues. We ask that if records are available from a previous provider, that you bring those with you to your first appointment. We will only take the necessary x-rays to complete a full set, and if beneficial we will use intra-oral photographs and study models of your teeth and jaws to identify areas of concern. We believe this in-depth examination to be the cornerstone of quality dentistry.

Hygiene

At the first appointment with our hygienist, she will establish a schedule for your professional cleanings and exams based on the degree of your health. Although insurance companies typically pay for only two routine cleanings and exams each year, the average patient today requires more frequent visits annually to maintain optimum oral health.

We recognize that there is a growing epidemic in our society today known as periodontal disease which affects approximately 80% of adults. Understanding of this disease has increased greatly over the last few years. We now know that periodontal disease is a bacterial infection in the pockets around the teeth which can cause physical destruction or loss of attachment around your teeth. This supporting gum tissue and bone is just as vital as the teeth themselves. Latest research shows that periodontal disease has been linked to a number of other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, low birth weight babies, diabetes etc..

We are constantly learning and striving to advance the standard of patient care in our office. As such, we now not only treat periodontal disease with your normal cleaning, but are also addressing the underlying infection that causes it with laser decontamination.

Oral Surgery (Extractions)

Tooth extractions, or even just the idea of having oral surgery, can put a person ill at ease. But, if you understand the principles behind pulling teeth and dental surgery in general, you will probably find the process having a tooth extraction to be less of an ordeal.

When might a person require a tooth extraction?

You and the dentist may decide that you need to have a tooth extracted for any one of a number of reasons. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed, others because they have suffered the effects of advanced periodontal disease (“gum disease”). Some teeth need to be extracted because they have broken in a fashion that makes it impossible to repair them. Teeth may need to be removed because they are positioned in the mouth inappropriately (such as impacted wisdom teeth), or else in preparation for orthodontic treatment (“braces”).

When might a tooth extraction be a bad idea?

During the examination of your teeth and mouth it is possible that the dentist will be able to recommend various alternative treatments instead of just having a tooth extracted. While having a tooth extracted may be less expensive than the other options proposed it may not be the least expensive in the long run.

When a tooth is missing, its neighboring teeth will tend to shift, possibly significantly. Any alignment changes that occur can have a major impact on your dental health. Removing even a single tooth can lead to problems associated with your chewing ability or jaw joint function. Teeth whose alignment has changed can trap food or be hard to clean thoroughly, thus placing them at risk for tooth decay or gum disease.

So to avoid these complications, in most cases the dentist will probably recommend that you replace the tooth that has been extracted with either an implant, bridge or partial. Replacing a tooth that has been extracted with an artificial one can often cost more than the alternative of not having the tooth extracted and instead trying to restore the natural tooth with a crown.

Patient Comfort

Drill-less Technology:

Also referred to as the “sand blaster“, the KCP unit allows your dentist to literally spray away decay without heat, vibration or the whining sound of the drill. Often, the KCP can be used without anesthetics. Therefore, it enhances our ability to treat patients who are pregnant or medically compromised.

This technology can be used for tooth-colored fillings, veneers, inlays and onlays. It also allows us to apply protective sealants in a matter of seconds.

Thanks to its precision and gentleness, the KCP allows us to treat decay at an earlier stage without as much removal of healthy tooth material, thereby helping to preserve the strength of the tooth. Teeth treated this way may be less likely to require crowns in the future. Smaller fillings are less susceptible to wear and may last longer.

The aspect of the KCP that many patients appreciate most is its comfort!

Nitrous Oxide:

Nitrous oxide is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide and is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. When inhaled, it is absorbed by the body and has a calming effect. It is nonaddictive, mild, easily taken then quickly eliminated from the body by flushing the body with pure oxygen for 5 minutes. Patients who benefit from the use of nitrous oxide for dental treatment do not need a ride home and can safely drive after their appointment.

Other:

For the comfort of our patients, we also offer: ergonomic patient chairs, headphones (you can bring a favorite CD), pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, large windows and fresh mountain air in each operatory as well as compassionate and comforting staff.

Restorative Dentistry

Patients suffer many problems because of inadequately planned and executed dental treatment. Restorative dentistry is a branch of dentistry that takes into consideration all the needs, wants and values of you, the patient, and designs the best treatment plan that will fulfill your needs and goals.

Tooth Colored Fillings

We ONLY use resin filling material for all our restorations. Resin is a white, enamel colored material that actually adheres to your natural tooth, becoming one with the tooth. With resin, the Doctor removes far less natural tooth structure than is required with the commonly used silver, amalgam material. This minimizes gaps where decay can develop and increases the longevity of your restoration.

Crowns/Bridges

crownCrown restorations are similar to veneers, because they too are attached to individual teeth. Crowns completely cover the tooth on all sides, helping to correct any problems that you might have with alignment. Crowns are used to repair teeth that have undergone root canals, have severe erosion, or extreme malposition. The use of crowns is essential in any situation that requires greater strength and aesthetics. Crowns are fabricated from ceramic or ceramic and metal, and are indistinguishable from adjacent teeth.

Having crowns applied takes two or three appointments so that your teeth can be prepared and impressions can be made. The impressions are used to fashion a porcelain crown that fits into the contour of the remaining teeth. While your permanent crowns are being created in a laboratory, you’ll wear temporary crowns that maintain your appearance and ability to function. Often crowns are added to existing teeth to create better connecting surfaces for attachment of fixed bridges and partial dentures. As with all treatments, crown restorations require meticulous oral hygiene; proper brushing and flossing techniques are effective in eliminating plaque and bacteria. Crowns or caps can last the longest compared to other treatments depending on placement and forces placed on them.

bridgeBridges are useful as corrective measures after an accident or serious dental decay. These restorations-generally made of porcelain or a composite material- are used to replace missing teeth. Bridges are a method by which to restore your bite and create a pleasant smile. Fixed bridges are placed on the neighboring teeth, so they span the site of the missing tooth. The bridge is fitted with ceramic teeth to replicate the missing teeth, to restore function, and aesthetics.

Removable bridges (full or partial) are recommended in complex dental situations to restore support and proper function. These bridges are constructed of ceramic and metal and require creation of a study model made from impressions. The bridge is also fitted with ceramic teeth to replicate the missing teeth and combined with metal that is shaped to fit the inside contours of the mouth. Multiple visits are required for adjustments to the bite and fit of the appliance. Fixed bridges require meticulous cleaning usually with a threading floss. Removable bridgework requires meticulous cleaning after meals and soaking in a solution to remove plaque and bacteria.

Inlays/Overlays

Inlays and Onlays are often used to restore teeth that have been damaged by decay or wear. They are typically placed on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth or molars. These durable fillings are often used when the amount of lost tooth structure is more than what a regular filling can replace but less than what you would need a crown to repair.

An onlay may be used to provide extensive coverage for a tooth that has little tooth structure left. It is sometimes used to help protect from possible fracture a tooth that has had root canal therapy or one that sports a worn filling.

These dental restorations usually require two or more visits. The dentist prepares the tooth during the first visit by removing the tooth decay and/or existing filling. An impression is made of the prepared tooth, the opposing teeth and the bite.

From the impression, a model or mold is made in a dental laboratory. The mold is used for the preparation of the final inlay or onlay.

A temporary filling protects the tooth until the next visit when it is removed and the dentist places the permanent restoration. During that visit, the dentist checks the restoration for fit. Finishing, adjusting the bite for comfort and a final polishing may also be done then.

TMJ Care

Many people who suffer from such seemingly disparate symptoms as headaches, earaches, tenderness of the jaw joints or muscles, or dull aching facial pain often share a common problem. These people may suffer from a family of problems related to the jaw muscles and the jaw (temporomandibular, or “TM”) joint. These problems are often referred to as TM disorders. The muscles and joints may not function properly, resulting in cycles of pain and spasm. The causes of some TM disorders are not well understood. Because of this, there are varying opinions about diagnosis and treatment of these conditions.

Causes of TM disorders:

1. When muscles and joints do not work properly, the muscles will often go into a spasm (cramp). This spasm can become part of a cycle that results in tissue damage, pain, muscle tenderness and more spasm.

2. While some cases of TM disorder may have clear-cut causes such as trauma, arthritis, or severe stress, most are due to a combination of factors. Discs often slip forward in the joint leading to problems such as clicking, popping, or even getting “stuck” for a moment. However, these often are minor problems, and in the absence of jaw pain they usually don’t require treatment.

3. Oral habits such as clenching or grinding the teeth (bruxism) may develop as a response to stress, or as part of a sleep disorder. You may not be aware of nighttime clenching or grinding, but you may catch yourself doing this during the day. These habits can tire the muscles and cause them to go into spasm. The spasm causes pain which in turn causes more spasm. In time, persistent muscle problems may affect the joints themselves, and a complex cycle of pain and improper function will be set up.

It is important to note that while many of the above factors are believed to cause TM disorders, the exact causes of the disorders are unknown and sometimes it is not possible to determine the causes of the symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of TM disorders:

TM disorders have many signs and symptoms. Some of the most common ones include the following:

  • Pain in or around the ear, sometimes spreading to the face.
  • Tenderness of the jaw muscles.
  • Clicking or popping noise when one opens or closes the mouth.
  • Difficulty in opening one’s mouth.
  • Jaws that “get stuck,” “lock,” or “go out.”
  • Pain brought on by yawning, chewing or opening the mouth widely.
  • Certain types of headaches or neck aches.

Dentures/Relines

Dentures:

Replacing missing teeth has substantial benefits for your health and your appearance. A complete denture, also called a full denture, replaces all the natural teeth and provides support for cheeks and lips. Without this support, sagging facial muscles can make a person appear older. And by replacing missing teeth, dentures improve a person’s ability to speak and to eat.

Complete dentures are either called “conventional” or “immediate” according to when they are made and when they are inserted into the mouth.

  • Conventional dentures are made and inserted after the remaining teeth are removed and the tissues have healed. Healing may take several months.
  • Immediate dentures are inserted immediately after the removal of the remaining teeth. To make this possible, the dentist takes measurements and makes models of the patient’s jaws during a preliminary visit. An advantage of immediate dentures is that the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums can shrink over time, especially during the period of healing in the first six months after the removal of teeth. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may require rebasing or relining to fit properly.

What will dentures feel like?

New dentures may feel awkward for a few weeks until you become accustomed to them. The dentures may feel loose while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place.

It is not unusual to experience minor irritation or soreness. You may find that saliva flow temporarily increases. As your mouth becomes accustomed to the dentures, these problems should diminish. One or more follow-up appointments with the dentist are generally needed after a denture is inserted.

Care for your mouth:

Even with full dentures, you still need to take good care of your mouth. Every morning brush your gums, tongue and palate with a soft-bristled brush before you put in your dentures. This removes plaque and stimulates circulation in the mouth. Selecting a balanced diet for proper nutrition is also important for maintaining a healthy mouth.

Scheduling appointments:

Your dentist will advise you about how often to visit. Regular dental check-ups are important. The dentist will examine your mouth to see if your dentures continue to fit properly. The dentist also examines your mouth for signs of oral diseases including cancer.

Relines:

Over time, dentures will need to be relined, remade or rebased due to normal wear. To make a rebased denture, the dentist uses the existing denture teeth and makes a new dentures base.

Dentures may need to be replaced because a mouth naturally changes with age. Bone and gum ridges can recede or shrink, causing jaws to align differently. Shrinking ridges can cause dentures to fit less securely. Loose dentures can cause health problems, including sores and infections. A loose denture also makes chewing more difficult and may change your facial features. It’s important to replace worn or poorly-fitting dentures before they cause problems.

Night Guards

Many people have a habit of grinding their teeth or clenching their jaws, a condition called bruxism. Most people do it in their sleep, so it often goes undetected. If diagnosed early enough, bruxism can be treated before it causes damage to the teeth.

When bruxism is serious enough, dentists can fit patients with a plastic mouth guard to be worn at night. Night guards are custom made of a thick plastic by a professional lab technician from an impression taken at your dental office.

Effects of Bruxism:

  • Worn down tooth enamel
  • Chipped teeth and teeth that look flat at the tips
  • Increase in temperature sensitivity
  • Eroding gums and supporting bones
  • Broken fillings or other dental work
  • Worsening temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
  • Cosmetic damage

Endodontics (Root Canals)

Root canalsEndodontics is a specialty of Dentistry that deals with diseases of the dental pulp and its supporting structures.

In order to understand Endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of a tooth. Teeth have several layers. The outside layer of the tooth is composed of a hard layer called Enamel. Enamel is supported by an inner layer called Dentin, which has at its center a soft tissue known as the Pulp.

The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that are responsible for forming the surrounding Dentin and Enamel during tooth development. The pulp receives its nourishment supply from vessels which enter the end of the root. Although the pulp is important during development of the tooth, it is not necessary for function of the tooth. The tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it even after the pulp is removed.

Why would I need Endodontic treatment?

Root canalsEndodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The most common reasons for inflammation or infection are deep cavities (caries), repeated dental procedures, cracks or chips. Trauma can also cause inflammation and often shows up as discoloration of the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

Signs and Symptoms

Indications for treatment include prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling or tenderness of the tooth or adjacent gums. Sometimes there are no symptoms.

How Can Endodontic Treatment help me?

The Dentist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the canal system and then seals the prepared space. Most treatment is now performed in a single appointment ranging from 60-90 minutes (depending on the number of canals).

Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?

Toothache pain is the main reason for patients seeking treatment. Fortunately, modern anesthetics can make the procedure pain free in most cases. Seeking treatment early makes the procedure more comfortable, so don’t wait. When caught early, treatment should feel no different than having a regular filling. For the first few days after treatment, there may be some sensitivity to biting pressure, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. Sometimes anti-inflammatory medications (like Aleve) are recommended for a day or two.

Spectra

Dr. David K. Yang, DMD of True North Dentistry is very excited to announce his recent acquisition of a remarkable innovation that helps dentists to detect caries (decay).

Spectra The device known as the “Spectra” is a hand held digital imaging system which uses fluorescence technology to detect cariogenic bacteria (bacteria which cause decay).

LED lights project high energy light with a wavelength of 405 nanometers onto the tooth surface causing the decay producing bacteria to fluoresce red. In contrast, healthy tooth structure fluoresces green.

The captured data is sent to the computer and the live image is presented on the monitor much in the same manner as Doppler radar shows weather data.

The use of digital caries technology such as the Spectra by Dr. Shannon and Dr. Yang is important for attaining the highest standard of care.

With Spectra, True North Dentistry can offer the latest technology in non x-ray digital imaging. While not completely eliminating the need for x-rays, the Spectra will provide better diagnosis of decay with significantly less x-rays.

True North Dentistry is the only private dental office in Northern Arizona to utilize this amazing technology.