General Dental Care

Our office is equipped to provide patients with the best care possible. We strongly recommend regular visits to the dentist to correct dental problems before they become extensive, painful episodes. Since the oral cavity is an extreme type of environment, in constant use and with repeated changes in temperature — from hot coffee to cold drinks, from chewing soft foods to extremely hard ones — nothing should be left for granted. We recommend all dental issues be addressed immediately. Delaying needed dental care leads to involved and lengthy treatment with obvious cost escalations.

Dr. Kirkorian has provided the answers to these questions. He also recommends that patients take the time to visit our Patient Education Webpage for additional information on specific areas of dental treatments.

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Q: What type of fillings are used for cavities?

A: When a tooth gets a cavity it needs to be restored. The restoration could be a silver filling, a composite (tooth colored restoration), a porcelain replacement or a metallic restoration such as gold or white metal. Today, most restorative materials are tooth colored and the old silver fillings are used less and less.

Q: What is root canal?

A: When a cavity forms in a tooth and is neglected while small, the bacteria that lodge into the cavity can penetrate the tooth and infect the nerve. The tooth becomes painful and the only way to save it, and relive the pain, is to remove the nerve from inside the root and disinfect the tooth from the inside. This procedure is called a root canal.

Q: What are caps (crowns)?

A: Caps (or crowns) are used when a tooth is damaged to the point where it can fracture while chewing, if a tooth is broken in an accident, or the tooth has been root canal treated (after the root canal, the tooth dries up and it becomes brittle). To restore the tooth to its natural shape and function, the dentist will make a cap (or crown) to cover the entire tooth. Caps can be made of all ceramic material or porcelain baked over a metal cover. In general the all-porcelain crowns are used in front of the mouth because they look the most natural, whereas the metal ceramic crowns are used in the back of the mouth because they are stronger, but not as pretty.

Q: What are bridges?

A: If one tooth is missing and a replacement is needed, we can prepare the tooth in front of the space and the one behind and create a bridge from one to the other across the space. The concept is similar to a road bridge with supports on each side of the river and the span across the space. Today, more and more spaces are filled with implants, since placing an implant does not alter the adjacent teeth. For more information on implants, visit our What are Implants webpage.

Q: What are dentures or removable dentures?

A: When someone losses all their teeth either on the top or bottom jaw or both, the dentist makes a complete set of new teeth, or dentures, so the person can talk, smile and eat. If a considerable number of teeth have been lost but some teeth are still present, a removable partial denture can be made. The removable partial denture usually has a metal frame with hooks to attach to the existing teeth and is not as bulky as complete dentures. Today, more and more implants are used to stabilize both the removable or complete dentures, thus leading to an improved quality of life, less pain and, in general, better functionality.

Q: What is gum disease?

A: Gum disease is essentially an infection that starts in the gums, progresses down the roots infecting the bone and eventually leads to tooth loss. Research shows that there is a major connection between gum disease and overall health. There is some medical evidence that directly relates gum infections with heart disease and even some cancers. Gum disease is extremely prevalent in the human population and it is estimated that 70-80% of the adult population has one or another form of gum disease. Some of the symptoms of gum disease are bleeding gums, swollen gums, bad breath, loose teeth and severe gum recession