Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry

Family Dentist in Hinesville, GA

Whether you need a routine cleaning, or you want to enhance your smile with cosmetic or restorative dentistry, we promise to provide you with exceptional care. Townsend Family Dental in Hinesville, GA provides a wide array of services to our patients. Below are some of the procedures and services we regularly provide.

Diagnosis and Cleanings

During your complete oral health exam, Dr. Townsend will perform an oral cancer screening. According to the National Institute of Cancer, approximately 37,000 are diagnosed every year in the United States. More than 90 percent of oral cancers occur in patients older than 45 years. The incidence increases steadily until 65 years, when the rate levels off.

Tobacco and alcohol use are the primary risk factors for oral cancer in American men and women. This includes smokeless tobacco. In addition, infection with human papillomavirus 16 has been associated with an excess risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx.

Good oral hygiene is important not only for aesthetic reasons, but for your overall health as well. Poor oral hygiene can lead to a variety of dental and medical problems including: gum disease, bone loss, heart disease, infections, tooth loss, strokes, bad breath, oral cancer, and more. To prevent these problems, it is important to attend regular checkups and cleanings, as well as practice good at-home oral hygiene habits.

A dentist’s main focus is not solely teeth, but also the head and neck area. Many signs and symptoms and disease have manifestations that can be found in the mouth. Dr. Townsend is a dentists with extensive experience. He will provide you with a thorough, comprehensive exam of your head and neck while taking into consideration any special needs you have as a result of another health condition. During your exam, Dr. Townsend will examine your hard and soft tissues, consult x-rays of your mouth, and listen very carefully to your concerns. He is not only interested in your teeth, but your overall health.

The foundation of dentistry is periodontal maintenance. The periodontium consists of the bones and gums, which form the foundation for the teeth. A weak foundation will not last. Furthermore, without regular cleanings and dental exams, patients are at risk of developing periodontal disease. Gum disease occurs because the tartar and plaque that develops on your teeth is full of bacteria. This bacteria secretes toxins, which the body’s immune system tries to fight these bacterial byproducts, inflammation occurs, and gum tissue and bone is destroyed.

Because of this, recall appointments with our hygienists are essential to monitoring your periodontal health. Some patients are genetically predisposed to developing calculus (tartar) more easily than others. Moreover, these people require more frequent cleaning visits than every six months. Periodontal Maintenance is a follow up therapy to deep cleaning or quad scaling. We will work with you to achieve optimum oral health and instruct you how to care for your mouth the best you can.


Restorative Dentistry

All ceramic crowns are restorations that can be placed when a tooth is broken and cannot be repaired with a bonded filling or veneer. Ceramic crowns are the most life-like crowns and are placed to help complement a patient’s natural smile. In the past, these types of crowns were only placed on anterior teeth. Modern dental science has helped created porcelains strong enough to better withstand the forces generated with the function of back teeth. One of the many advantages of this type of crown over tradition porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns is they are much more aesthetically pleasing. The materials in these crowns allows light to pass through them, giving a natural appearance. PFM crowns do not allow light to pass through because of the metal substructure underneath the porcelain. In addition, as we age, the gums often recede around the margins of crowns, which can make a tiny bit of metal noticeable at the gum line. Together with you, Dr. Townsend will determine if an all porcelain crown is suitable for restoring your tooth.

Dental Amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material and have been used by dentists for more than a century. It is durable, easy to use, and highly resistant to wear. In comparison to other materials, it is relatively inexpensive. Because of this, it remains a valued treatment option for dentists and their patients.

Amalgam fillings can withstand very high chewing loads, and are particularly useful for restoring molars in the back of the mouth where the chewing load is greatest. They are also useful in areas where a cavity preparation is difficult to keep dry during the filling replacement, such as in deep fillings below the gum line. Amalgam fillings, like other filling materials, are considered biocompatible—they are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response.

Disadvantages of amalgam include possible short-term sensitivity to hot or cold after the filling is placed. The silver-colored filling is not as natural looking as one that is tooth-colored, especially when the restoration is near the front of the mouth, and shows when the patient laughs or speaks. Lastly, to prepare the tooth, the dentist may need to remove slightly more tooth structure to accommodate an amalgam filling than for other types of fillings.

Dental amalgam is a stable alloy made by combining elemental mercury, silver, tin, copper and possibly other metallic elements. Although dental amalgam continues to be a safe, commonly used restorative material, some concern has been raised because of its mercury content. However, the mercury in amalgam combines with other metals to render it stable and safe for use in filling teeth.

While questions have arisen about the safety of dental amalgam relating to its mercury content, the major U.S. and international scientific and health bodies, including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, among others have been satisfied that dental amalgam is a safe, reliable and effective restorative material.

If you have gaps between your teeth and want to restore your smile and bite, dental bridges may be the right treatment option for you. Dental bridges are a form of oral prosthetics that close the gap created by one or more missing teeth.

A bridge is made up of a series of crowns that are anchored to existing healthy teeth. A bridge can be made from a white tooth like porcelain, gold, or some alloy metal. While dental bridges are usually supported by natural teeth, they may also be supported by implants.

What Is the Process for Getting a Dental Bridge?

The process of getting a bridge usually takes two appointments. During the first visit, the abutment teeth are prepared. This involves recontouring the teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, we will make impressions of your teeth. These impressions serve as a model for the bridges, pontic, and crowns, which will be made by a dental laboratory. To protect the exposed teeth and gums, your dentist will make a temporary bridge for you to wear.

During your second visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and your new permanent bridge will be checked and adjusted as necessary to achieve a proper fit. Depending on your individual case, you may be required to attend multiple visits to ensure the correct fit of the metal framework and bite. If you are received a fixed (permanent) bridge, your dentist may temporarily cement it in place for a couple of weeks to make sure it fits properly. After this time has passed the bridge is permanently cemented into place.

Teeth needing a root canal usually have large fillings or a lot of decay, and most of the original tooth is gone. During a root canal, a hole is drilled through the natural crown. This drilled out area is called the core of the crown. After the root canal is done, the old filling and decay are removed from the tooth, and the remaining tooth is cleaned and filled with a special composite filling material or dental amalgam. The material replaces the entire missing tooth and strengthens the remaining tooth structure.

In addition, the tooth will receive a dental crown. In order for the crown to be successful, it must have a good foundation. The core build-up and filling materials provide this support. It also makes it easier to design a crown, as it replaces the original shape of the tooth.

If you have a tooth or teeth in an advanced stage of tooth decay or severe damage, a dental crown may be your best option. Like fillings, implants or bridges, dental crowns restore aesthetics, strength and function to your teeth. A dental crown can be made from several materials and covers the remaining tooth structure. The material used depends on the area of your mouth being restored.

How Long Does It Take?

Fitting a crown requires at least two office visits. Initially, we will remove decay, shape the tooth, and fit it with a temporary crown of either plastic or metal.

On the subsequent visit, we will remove the temporary crown, and then fit and adjust the final crown. Finally, we will cement the crown into place, giving you have a new, beautiful-looking tooth.

Our goal is to provide dentistry that is undetectable. We replace existing crowns and fillings with restorations that look and feel like your natural teeth.

As a highly trained dentist,Dr. Townsend can provide you with the latest technology in decay removal and tooth restoration. He will work to design an individualized treatment plan for you. This includes informing you of the most durable, least invasive, and least sensitive filling material for your teeth. To help prevent complications Dr. Townsend places sealers and/or bases under all of this fillings. This reduces post-operative sensitivity and prolongs the life of this work.

Implant dentistry is used in several areas of tooth replacement. A dental implant is used to replace a tooth root. Sometimes this involves placing one implant when a single tooth is lost. Other circumstances involve replacing more than one tooth. Multiple implants can be placed and restored with crowns, bridges, or implants. The can also be used to retain dentures and give them great stability.

Implant placement involves careful evaluation by your dentist and a specialist, usually an oral surgeon or periodontist. These specialists are responsible for placing the implants, and Dr. Townsend will provide the restorative work (i.e. placing the crown, bridge, or denture).

Crowns, inlays and onlays can be made in the laboratory from dental composites. These materials are similar to those used in direct fillings and are tooth colored. One advantage to indirect composites is that they do not excessively wear opposing teeth. Their strength and durability is not as high as porcelain or metal restorations and they are more prone to wear and discoloration.

Inlays and onlays are restorations that are used to restore decayed and broken teeth. The difference between these restorations and fillings is a greater longevity and strength than dental fillings. At your first visit, Dr. Townsend will remove decay or your old filling, prepare your tooth, and take a mold of the tooth. He will them place a temporary restoration and send the impression to a dental lab. A ceramic or gold restoration is then made. During your next visit, the inlay or onlay is placed with permanent cement. The main difference between an inlay/onlay is the conservation of tooth structure. The preparation for a dental onlay or inlay is more conservative than that of a dental crown, so more of your natural tooth structure is kept intact.

There are circumstances when a tooth needs to be restored with a crown and your doctor may recommend a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown or an all gold crown. Some patients have such a strong bite that the metal reinforcement under the porcelain is necessary to endure chewing forces. When performed by a quality ceramist, these restorations can still be highly esthetic and cost less than an all ceramic or all gold crown. If occlusion is a problem, Dr. Townsend may recommend an all gold crown. This is because teeth can be very short in the back of the mouth and occasionally there is not enough tooth structure for a porcelain-fused-to-gold crown. Porcelain has to have a certain thickness to be strong and when placed in the very back teeth the crown may fracture. Gold is a great material because it is gentle on opposing teeth when you are chewing, and the gums typically have little irritation from gold crowns.


Pediatric Dentistry

We are very happy that you have chosen Townsend Family Dental Center to care for your child’s dental health. Our practice is dedicated to treating the dental needs of children of all ages in a kind and caring manner. Our treatment of your child will be based on his or her needs, both therapeutic and emotional, which we will address with tenderness, patience and expertise. At Townsend Family Dental Center, we feel that if children can have fun while developing a positive dental attitude, they will be more likely to have good oral health for the rest of their lives.

A dental sealant is a safe plastic-like material that is painted on to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars and premolars) and acts like a physical barrier to help “seal out” germs and food that cause tooth decay and destroy tooth structure. Sealants are 100% effective in reducing tooth decay as long as the sealants remain intact. Sealants are a painless, effective, safe, easy to apply, a long-lasting, and cost effective, preventative treatment.

Stainless steel or chrome steel crowns are one of the most durable restorative (filling) materials used in pediatric dentistry. They are usually made of stainless steel, hence the name. They are biocompatible and do not corrode in the moist atmosphere of the oral cavity even after many years.

When do you need stainless steel crowns?

Stainless steel crowns are indicated for the following conditions:

  •  Tooth decay involving more than two surfaces of a tooth (where the normal filling materials do not stay)
  •  Tooth treated with root canal treatment etc.
  •  Sometimes these crowns are used as space maintainers
  •  Other developmental problems in which the form of the tooth is affected badly

In primary teeth, when deep cavities are in or close to the nerve, it’s sometimes necessary to perform a pulpotomy. A pulpotomy is the removal of the irritated part of the pulp, while leaving the healthy root canals intact.


Cosmetic Dentistry

Having a beautiful smile may be even easier than you think. Many people achieve the look they’ve been dreaming of with our simple “bleaching” procedure. Dental bleaching can be used to correct many tooth discolorations. These discolorations may have been caused by staining, aging, or chemical damage to teeth. Using the latest in bleaching technology, we can offer a safe method for creating a beautiful, “brilliant” smile. In cases of extreme tooth discoloration, crowns or veneers may be the only choice. However, because of the low cost of bleaching treatments, bleaching is nearly always worth a try.

It’s safe, quick, and inexpensive. Just let us know at any appointment if you would like to begin bleaching. You can lighten only your upper teeth or both the upper and lower teeth, depending on how much of each row shows when you talk and smile. Please keep in mind, while over-the-counter bleaching agents are available at drug stores and pharmacies, these products can harm the gums and teeth, it’s better to use products that our practice recommends. For very severely stained teeth, crowns, or veneers may be more appropriate.

In only a day or two, your custom bleach splints will be ready for you. We provide you with a special bleaching agent that you put into the clear, nearly invisible splints. With only a few hours of wear per day, our special bleaching agent bubbles stains right out of your enamel without altering tooth structure or existing dental work in any way. When your teeth reach the brightness you want, only occasional treatment is needed to maintain your new smile. We’ll want to take “after” photos at your next appointment.

Veneers are custom-made porcelain laminates that bond directly to the front and top surfaces of the teeth. Because veneers look and feel like normal teeth, they are an ideal choice for improving your smile and correcting misaligned or crooked teeth. In addition, porcelain veneers are also an excellent option for patients looking to close gaps between teeth, while having an option that is resistant to discoloration from dental bleaching, coffee, tea, and event cigarette stains.

With proper care, porcelain veneers will brighten your smile for well over a decade. The process takes about four appointments, including your final follow-up visit. You first visit is dedicated to helping you plan your smile. The second appointment involves lightly buffing your teeth, taking molds of your teeth, and then sending the mold to a dental lab for fabrication. Depending on your case, a temporary veneer will be placed at this time. The third appointment is where your permanent veneers are placed and cemented to your teeth. Both the second and third appointments take one to two hours each.

One to two weeks after your veneers are placed, you will return to our office for a follow-up visit. Taking care of your veneers is as easy as maintaining your normal dental hygiene routine. You brush and floss as you normally would. In the first one or two weeks after having your veneers you may experience sensitivity to hot and cold. This is totally normal. If sensitivity persists longer than a few weeks, please contact our office.

With today’s advanced dental technology, it is possible for you to have a new smile. Dr. Townsend can create a treatment plan for you that can add small, simple enhancements to your smile or change every tooth to create a whole new look. When you come in for your appointment, it is important to know that with dentistry you can change the color, shape, and position of most teeth. Even if you do not quite know how to explain what it is about your smile that you want changed, Dr. Townsend can help you understand and answer any questions or concerns you may have.


Endodontics

A post and core buildup connects a tooth that has had a root canal to a crown. It is generally performed on a tooth after a root canal and prior to placing a crown on the tooth. Although not all root canalled teeth need post and cores, many do. After placement of a post and core, it is recommended that a crown is placed on the tooth. Waiting too long for the crown may cause the tooth to break. The tooth could then be lost.

The first step in placing a post is performing root canal therapy on the tooth to remove the infection and shape the root canal to receive the post. We’ll use a small instrument called a dental file to shape the top of the root canal. Then we will select a post cement it in place. After the post is in place, we fill the tooth with the new core material. Once it has hardened, the core material is shaped and prepared to receive a crown. We then take an impression of your teeth so dental laboratories can custom-craft a crown that will precisely fit your tooth.

If you have a toothache you may need a root canal. Root canals are usually thought of as a negative thing. However root canal therapy has been used in dentistry for over 100 years. Many people you see every day have had a root canal on a tooth that was in pain and were able to save the tooth from further pain, infection, and removal. You are numbed for root canal therapy the same as if you were having a filling placed in your tooth. When you are numb you do not feel the procedure being done. Remember it is always better to keep your natural tooth than have a false tooth replace it.

With Dr. Townsend’s assistance, you 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 are 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, Dr. Townsend will discuss alternatives to extractions as well as replacement of the extracted tooth.


Prosthetics

No one wants to wear dentures or partials that do not look real or function well when eating and speaking. Having fitted patients for dentures for several years now, Dr. Townsend knows what works and what does not work well with patients of all ages. As a dentist, he is committed to restoring form and function to his patients’ mouths. Dr. Townsend wants his patients to smile and not have anyone know that they are wearing dental prostheses. Your friends and family do not need to know that you have false teeth. Your false teeth should be a secret between you and Dr. Townsend. Dr. Townsend uses competent labs and the latest materials with proven techniques to treat his patients that are missing one or more teeth.

Dentures are another alternative to tooth replacement. In many instances, dental implants can be used in conjunction with dentures. While full and partial dentures may have come a long way since their early years, they can still be a hassle resulting in slipping, inconvenience, and discomfort. Many denture wearers are looking for a better solution, and dental implants may be the answer for you.

Dental Implants can be an ideal solution for people with dentures, providing replacement teeth that are as close to your natural teeth as possible, regardless of whether you’re missing one tooth or an entire set of teeth. The Dental Implants are anchored into the jawbone like natural teeth; making your replacement teeth so strong that slippage becomes a thing of the past. With your new Dental Implants, you’ll be able to eat whatever you like more comfortably and speak with confidence. Dental Implants allow for a happier, more active lifestyle. They allow you eat the foods you want to eat and allow you to speak clearly and with more confidence.

TMJ treatment involves treating the temporomandibular joint. This is the joint that connects the lower jaw to your skull. People often have pain in this joint or experience popping or clicking noises from this area. These symptoms of temporomandibular disorder (TMD) arise from trauma to the jaw joint. Trauma can result from an improper jaw alignment, a non-ideal occlusion (how the top and bottom teeth come together), a parafunctional habit (clinching or grinding your teeth), or a physical accident to the joint. Regardless of the cause of the joint disorder it is treatable with proper diagnosis from your dentist. TMD often results in overactivity of your jaw muscles and the strain on these muscles can result in headaches. Please ask your dentist about TMD and treatments available if you have frequent headaches or any problem with your jaw joints.

Having orthodontics, or braces, to perfect your smile is not just a procedure for teenagers anymore. With the invention of clear tray therapy, you can now have your teeth perfected while wearing clear trays that are virtually invisible to others. As a Clear Correct certified dentist, Dr. Townsend can correct your smile without the unsightly wires and brackets.


For more information about our dental services in Hinesville, GA, our policies or to schedule an appointment please contact us today at 912-877-6453.