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Preventative Care

Teeth Cleaning and Preventative Care

Dental Hygiene, teeth cleaning & preventative care are extremely important. At Pearisburg Dental Center, we spend time discussing the importance of preventive care with our patients. You may understand that you should floss daily and brush twice daily, but you may not understand why. We can help you discover the best oral hygiene techniques to protect your teeth and gums from plaque buildup.


As a part of our hygiene program, we provide:

  • Free toothbrushes and dental floss at each recare appointment.

  • A cleaning schedule that is custom-tailored by a dentist and registered dental hygienist to fit your specific needs.

  • Review of the best flossing and brushing techniques to improve your oral health and prevent oral problems.


Preventative Care Products

Dr. Sam advises all patients purchase an electric toothbrush as they are proven to clean the teeth and gums better. This would not be the “spin brushes” you may see in the ten dollar range — Dr. Sam prefers manual toothbrushes (our giveaways) to these. We recommend either the Sonicare or Oral B Smartseries 5000 for the best home-care possible in between your professional cleanings.

We also offer Dental Sealants to protect your teeth and your family’s teeth against tooth decay.


Oral Health Connection to Your Health

We want patients to understand their gum health is just as important as their tooth health and that overall oral health relates to whole body systemic health. Dental and periodontal disease has been linked to health problems such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, low birth weight babies, erectile dysfunction and other issues.

We take our patients’ oral health seriously. Our team goes beyond thorough cleanings and dental treatments to provide comprehensive dental care.


TMJ and Sleep Apnea Issues

Dr. Sam has extensive training diagnosing and treating TMJ issues and sleep apnea. We will test your jaw joint and screen you for TMJ problems. Your TMJ may be causing you unnecessary neck, jaw and head pain. We may also need low exposure digital X-rays to see the development of your teeth, though not every patient will need dental X-rays.


Oral Cancer Screening

We provide oral cancer screenings at each dental appointment. Oral cancer is more dangerous the longer it goes undiagnosed. Dr. Sam will inspect your lips, tongue, face, neck and throat for any signs of oral cancer. If you smoke tobacco, eat a diet low in fruits and vegetables, have HPV or have been overexposed to sunlight, you may be more at risk for developing oral cancer.

Notice any changes to your mouth, teeth, gums and jaw function. Oral cancer symptoms include:

  • trouble chewing

  • trouble swallowing

  • difficulty opening and closing the jaw

  • red or white oral sores

  • tongue numbness

  • jaw swelling

If you have symptoms that last longer than two weeks, you should come in for an examination.

If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us.

Fillings & Restorations

Mercury-Free Dentist

We are a mercury-free practice. However, many people still have silver/mercury fillings in their mouths from years past. These fillings are not particularly pleasing to the eye, and we know that by unavoidable design, silver/mercury fillings ultimately result in a weaker tooth structure. Porcelain inlays and Tooth-Colored Restorations (onlays) create fillings that are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable) but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are aesthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.

Disadvantages of Silver fillings:

Silver fillings have many drawbacks. The edges of the silver filling can wear down, become weak or break. This results in the tooth not being protected and lets cavities get started once again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can split.

Silver fillings contain 50 percent mercury. They can corrode, leak and cause stains on your teeth and gums.

Fortunately, silver fillings can safely be replaced with Tooth-Colored Restorations.

Advantages of Tooth-Colored Restorations

There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Resin onlays are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger.

Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contain fluoride this can help prevent decay. The resin wears like natural teeth and does not require placement at the gum line, which is healthier for your gums!

The result is a beautiful smile!

Replacing Silver Fillings with a Tooth-Colored Restoration

You can have your silver fillings replaced with tooth-colored restorations (onlays). This process requires two appointments.

Your First Appointment:

  1. The old filling is removed along with any additional decay.

  2. An impression is made of your teeth. A model of your teeth is made and sent to the lab.

  3. A temporary onlay is placed on the tooth.

At the Lab: A resin is carefully placed into the model of your teeth. It is then designed to look natural.

Your Second Appointment:

  1. The temporary onlay is removed.

  2. A conditioning gel is placed on your tooth to prepare it for the new onlay.

  3. Bonding cement is placed on the tooth and a high intensity light bonds the resin to the tooth.

  4. The tooth is then polished.

Your teeth are restored to a natural look and feel, they are stronger and the tooth is protected!

Please call our office if you have any questions or wish to discuss replacing your old silver fillings.

Amalgam Fillings

Dental Amalgam is a commonly used dental filling that has been used for over 150 years. It is a mixture of mercury with at least one other metal. Amalgam has many advantages over other restorative material, such as low cost, strength, durability, and bacteriostatic effects.

Amalgam is used in dentistry for a number of reasons. It is relatively easy to use and manipulate during placement; it remains soft for a short time so it can be packed to fill any irregular volume, and then forms a hard compound. Amalgam possesses greater longevity than other direct restorative materials, such as composite. On average, most amalgam restorations serve for 10 to 12 years, whereas resin-based composites serve for about half that time. However, with recent improvements in composite material science and a better understanding of the technique-sensitivity of placement, it should be noted that this difference is decreasing.

There are circumstances in which composite (white fillings) serves better than amalgam; when amalgam is not indicated, or when a more conservative preparation would be beneficial, composite is the recommended restorative material. These situations would include small occlusal restorations, in which amalgam would require the removal of a more sound tooth structure, as well as in “enamel sites beyond the height of contour.”

The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs has concluded that both amalgam and composite materials are considered safe and effective for tooth restoration.

Dental Sealants

Preventative Care

Highly effective in preventing decay on the biting surfaces of your chewing teeth, dental sealants are a simple procedure in which a tooth-colored acrylic “coating” is painted onto the surface of the tooth. This effectively “seals” the deep grooves, acting as a barrier and protecting enamel from plaque and acids.

Sealants protect the depressions and grooves of your teeth from food particles and plaque that brushing and flossing can’t reach.

Easy to apply, sealants take only a few minutes to seal each tooth. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and can last several years before a reapplication is needed.

Children and adults can benefit from sealants in the fight against tooth decay.

Please call our office if you have any questions or wish to discuss if Dental Sealants are right for you and your family.


Missing Tooth Replacement Options

All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing, and in maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss doesn’t necessarily have to occur as you age, but if you do lose teeth they must be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss.


Dental Bridge Options

  • A bridge — a device used to replace missing teeth — attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridges are either permanently attached (fixed bridges), or they can be removable.

  • Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth.

  • Removable bridges are attached to the teeth with metal clasps or by precision attachments.

If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of their importance to your appearance and dental health. Your teeth work together for many daily functions, from eating to speaking. With missing teeth, it’s difficult to do these things. Missing teeth can and should be replaced. Fixed bridges are a great way to restore your dental health and appearance.


What exactly is a bridge or fixed partial denture?

A bridge (fixed partial denture) is a device which fills the gap where teeth are absent. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and can only be removed by a dental professional. Removable bridges, as the name implies, can be taken out and cleaned. Fixed bridges offer more stability than their removable counterparts.


Why do I Need a Bridge?

  • Oral functionality and appearance are important reasons for wearing a bridge. A bridge helps support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to look older.

  • Dental health is the most important reason for a bridge. Teeth were designed to complement each other. Unusual stresses are placed on the gums and other oral tissues when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful disorders.

  • Increased risk of gum disease has proven to be one of the worst side effects of missing teeth and can be minimized with a bridge.

  • Missing teeth can cause speech disorders as they are used to make many of the sounds we use to speak clearly.


How is a bridge attached?

The attachment procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment, our dentists will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin.

Since the bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure correct bite and to match the opposing tooth, impressions of the teeth are taken and sent to a lab where the bridge will be constructed.

Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth. Crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.


What materials are used?

Bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Porcelain is often bonded to either precious or non-precious metal.


How do I take care of my bridge?

A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.

Please call our office if you have any questions or wish to discuss if a Dental Bridge is right for you: 540-921-3323

Dental Implants

Are Dental Implants Right for Me?

Dental implants provide a secure, natural-feeling form of tooth replacement for the millions of people in the United States with missing teeth. Whether you have lost teeth to injury, periodontal disease, or tooth decay it is likely that dental implants are the best solution for you. Pearisburg Dental Center would be happy to review your health history and conduct a dental/radiographic examination to assess whether you are a good candidate for dental implants. Looking for dental implant experts? We have you covered.


How Dental Implants Work

Dental implants are small titanium posts anchored into the patient’s jaw bone in place of missing teeth. The implants act as a new tooth root, fusing with the bone and providing a solid foundation for permanent or removable replacement teeth. Your new teeth are matched to your existing ones for a natural look. Implants offer significant advantages over traditional “replacement” methods like bridges or dentures.


The Advantages of Dental Implants

Comparing Dentures and Tooth-Supported Bridges to Dental Implants

Look and Sound Natural

Dental implants look and feel like real teeth. They can boost your confidence and restore your smile, so you can feel like yourself. Without teeth the jaw rises giving the human face a sunken look and changing your appearance over time. This sagging face can be interpreted as looking sad or despondent. While dentures help fill this space, dental implants come as close to restoring your natural teeth as possible, filling out your jawline and looking real. Implants also do not move in your mouth. You don’t have to worry about a dental implant slipping or falling out like dentures. Dental implants are silent, and their fit ensures that you speak naturally rather than exerting effort to pronounce words you wouldn’t normally think twice about.


Eat What You Want

Dental implants allow you to eat what you want again. The titanium posts provide dependability and stability that empower patients to live a normal life, eating apples, corn or your favorite food without stress. Dental implants don’t shift during chewing like conventional dentures, and they’re less fragile than bridges. If you’ve struggled with uncomfortable dentures or limited your food choices because of tooth-supported bridges, dental implants can improve your quality of life. Not worrying while you eat or adapting your diet is a huge benefit to dental implants.


Protect Your Jawbone and Dental Health

Dental implants encourage bone growth and protect the jawbone’s integrity. When empty spaces are left in your mouth it can expose you to the risk of bone loss in your jaw. In the absence of teeth the jawbone can recede, deteriorating over time. Such deterioration can also pose a risk to neighboring teeth. Implants act like your natural teeth encouraging jawbone strength and robustness by acting as a stimulant to bone growth. Dentures do not provide the necessary resistance for jawbone health, and tooth-supported bridges actually require neighboring teeth to be ground down in the process of creating the bridge support. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement that protects your jawbone from attrition and encourages a healthy bone structure.


Durable and Long-Lasting

Dental implants are long-lasting. A quality implant when properly cared for can last a lifetime. By comparison the lifespan of tooth-supported bridges is five to seven years, and the lifespan of dentures is seven to ten years. The cost of repairing or replacing bridges and dentures is not insignificant and can mount over time. The durability of dental implants means less maintenance costs over the long run as well as peace of mind. Dental implants will allow you to forget what it was like before the procedure.


Ease of Care

Unlike dentures and tooth-supported bridges, which require special cleaning processes, dental implants can be cared for just like your natural teeth – brushing and flossing as you normally would. You can forget about the inconvenience and embarrassment of removing dentures to clean them. Moreover, the crown that is mounted to your dental implants cannot develop dental caries or cavities. While consistent oral hygiene is still important to your gum health and that of your remaining teeth, the crown itself is safe.

What Does a Dental Implant Procedure Involve?

Generally, the dental implant procedure takes place over the course of two visits. During the first visit, the titanium posts are secured to the jaw bone, which are then given three to six months to bond to the bone and develop a stable foundation for the crown. During this period the surface of the gums cover the implants, and temporary dentures can be worn. Once the implants have fused with the jaw bone, we will install a small healing collar and begin the process of creating your new teeth. The implant-restored crown is custom matched to your existing teeth. The new teeth are created over the titanium posts, providing a strong and natural replacement. The entire process generally takes six to eight months.


How Do I Care for a Dental Implant?

The beauty of dental implants is that you can care for them as you would your natural teeth. Dental implants require no extra planning. Brush and floss as part of your normal tooth care regimen. During your regularly scheduled cleaning appointment, we’ll inspect your dental implants to ensure they’re continuing to perform well for you.


How Do I Schedule a Visit to Discuss Dental Implants?

If you feel that dental implants may be right for you or would like to know more about dental implants, we’d be happy to give you an assessment and answer any further questions you may have.


To schedule a complimentary consult please call our office at 540-921-3323


Crowns or “Caps” are known as Fixed Prosthodontics in the world of dentistry. Pearisburg Dental Center takes a special interest in dental crowns, led by Dr. Sam. Dental Crowns are a cosmetic restoration used to strengthen a tooth or improve its shape. Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or partially destroyed by tooth decay.

Dental Crown Process

Dental Crowns are “cemented” onto an existing tooth and fully cover the portion of your tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes your tooth’s new outer surface. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are most often preferred because they mimic the translucency of natural teeth and are very strong.

Crowns or onlays (partial crowns) are needed when there is insufficient tooth strength remaining to hold a filling. Unlike fillings, which apply the restorative material directly into your mouth, a crown is fabricated away from your mouth. Your dental crown is created in a lab from your unique tooth impression, which allows a dental laboratory technician to examine all aspects of your bite and jaw movements. Your crown is then sculpted just for you, so that your bite and jaw movements function normally once the crown is placed.


Please call our office if you have any questions or wish to schedule an appointment to restore your tooth with a Dental Crown: 540-921-3323

Tooth Extractions

You and our dentists may determine that you need a tooth extraction for any number of reasons. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed; others may have advanced periodontal disease, or have broken in a way that cannot be repaired. Other teeth may need removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth (such as impacted teeth), or in preparation for orthodontic treatment.

The removal of a single tooth can lead to problems related to your chewing ability, problems with your jaw joint, and shifting teeth, which can have a major impact on your dental health.

To avoid these complications, in most cases, our dentists will discuss alternatives to extractions as well as replacement of the extracted tooth.


The Extraction Process

  • At the time of extraction the doctor will need to numb your tooth, jaw bone, and gums that surround the area with a local anesthetic.

  • During the extraction process you will feel a lot of pressure. This is from the process of firmly rocking the tooth in order to widen the socket for removal.

  • You feel the pressure without pain as the anesthetic has numbed the nerves stopping the transference of pain, yet the nerves that transmit pressure are not profoundly affected.

If you do feel pain at any time during the extraction please let us know right away.


Sectioning a tooth

Some teeth require sectioning. This is a very common procedure done when a tooth is so firmly anchored in its socket or the root is curved and the socket can’t expand enough to remove it. The doctor simply cuts the tooth into sections then removes each section one at a time.


After Tooth Extraction

After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. Bite on a gauze pad for 30–45 minutes immediately after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times to staunch the flow of blood.

After the blood clot forms it is important to not disturb or dislodge the clot. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol, or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities may dislodge or dissolve the clot and hinder the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours, as this increases blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.

After the tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Take pain medications as prescribed. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.

Use pain medication as directed. Call our office if the medication doesn’t seem to be working: Call us at 540-921-3323.

If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluids and eat nutritious, soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.

It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.

After a few days you should feel fine and can resume your normal activities.


If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for 2–3 days, or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately: 540-921-3323

Gum Disease

Gingivitis Symptoms

Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, affects the gums and teeth. The word “periodontal” comes from Greek – “perio” means “around” and “dontal” means “tooth.” Gingivitis is the beginning stages of gum disease, and you can still reverse the affects of gingivitis at this stage.

Patients sometimes notice their gums bleed easily when they brush and floss, and gums may also be swollen and tender to the touch. With more advanced gum disease patients may expegum diseaserience gums pulling away from the teeth, chronic bad breath, a change in their bites or loose permanent teeth. In severe cases patients may even suffer tooth loss.


Causes of Gum Disease

Let’s back up for a moment to discuss how you may get gingivitis or gum disease. Plaque, a sticky, colorless film, builds up on our teeth. Plaque is constantly forming, and it’s our job to remove it by routine flossing and brushing. When we fail to remove plaque in our mouths, it accumulates and starts irritating and inflaming our gums. You may notice gum inflammation around just one tooth or around several. Gum disease is a bacterial infection.

We Can Help If You Are Suffering From Gingivitis

Gingivitis, as we said before, is the milder form of gum disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with gingivitis, there’s still time to eradicate its presence. Our registered dental hygienists will remove plaque with micro-ultrasonics and cleaning instruments. This technology is more satisfying and less invasive to our patients than the antiquated techniques of hand scaling alone. Scaling may help remove plaque, but the gum tissue is already infected. Our team uses micro-ultrasonics to irrigate the gum pockets and flush bacteria from them.


We also use laser dentistry to vaporize infected gum tissue and stimulate the body’s immune response. The body will then begin to heal itself. We use gentle anesthetics to relax our patients, but there’s virtually no discomfort with our periodontal disease treatment methods. Our Hygienists will keep one eye on your comfort and the other on giving you thorough complete care.

Our goal is for you to achieve healthy pink gums.

Treatment sessions will vary with each patient, depending on the severity of pocketing, inflammation, bleeding and swelling.

We discuss gum health and the importance of flossing with our patients at every visit. Our gums are the foundation for our teeth, and they deserve proper care and attention. If your gums bleed, swell or look bright red when you brush and floss, it’s definitely time to come in for a visit. We can assess your gum health and help you achieve healthy gums for a lifetime.

Please don’t “wait till it hurts” before contacting us. Periodontal disease is similar to high blood pressure, in the way it can progress without notice until there is a serious problem. If you are experiencing bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, bad breath, or haven’t been to the dentist in over a year, please call us today — we may be able to help you avoid more extensive treatment in the future by taking action now.

Gum Disease Laser Therapy

Our dentists are proud to offer the latest technology available for periodontal therapy: laser treatment. There are numerous advantages to using laser therapies opposed to the traditional methods requiring a scalpel and sutures.

Benefits of Gum Disease Laser Therapy

  • Comfort: With laser treatment, there is reduced or no bleeding, minimized swelling, no charring, and no drill noise or vibration. The stress and anxiety often associated with dental work is therefore eliminated when you experience quick, effective, and essentially pain-free laser procedures. Also, postoperative sensitivity is greatly limited by laser dentistry, and recovery time is much quicker than with traditional methods. In fact, due to the less-invasive nature of the laser technique, the mouth begins to heal immediately after work is completed!

  • Reduced Risk of Infection: The laser’s high-energy light beam acts as a sterilizer on the area it is working, thereby reducing the risk of bacterial infections and relapses.

  • Anesthesia Limited or Eliminated: Because laser dentistry is virtually painless, no longer will you suffer with fear of injections and numbness. Often, only a light anesthetic spray is required. Laser treatment eliminates the complications and cost associated with anesthesia.

  • Healthier Gums: There is a much lower chance of gum disease returning when laser therapy is used as opposed to traditional surgery.


Other Uses of Laser Dentistry

Our dentists can perform a variety of procedures using laser technology, such as a frenectomy, osseous surgery, and gum grafting. The team at Pearisburg Dental Center are also able to use laser technology as a way to regenerate healthy gums and remove diseases areas in a virtually painless way. This method also encourages healthy gum to regenerate and attach to the teeth.

Please call our office if you have any questions or wish to discuss if Laser Therapy for Gum Disease is right for you.

Non-Surgical Root Canal

What is a root canal?

A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges.

At the center of your tooth is pulp. Pulp is a collection of blood vessels that helps to build the surrounding tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of the infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums.


How is a root canal performed?

If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This therapy usually involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 90% of cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment. We use local anesthesia to eliminate discomfort. In addition, we will provide nitrous oxide analgesia if indicated. You will be able to drive home after your treatment, and you probably will be comfortable returning to your normal routine.


What happens after treatment?

When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are available at all times to respond. To prevent further decay, continue to practice good dental hygiene.


How much will it cost?

The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth.

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