Preventive Dentistry

Dental Examinations

Preventive care is essential to healthy teeth and gums. Besides brushing and flossing every day, a dental exam is a sure-fire way to prevent major problems from occurring with your oral health. By maintaining a checkup every six months with your dentist, you'll be able to catch and head off any problems, if you have any, before they become painful and costly to repair.

When you come to your dental examination, you will be treated with the greatest of care. We'll perform a variety of tests and evaluations to make sure your mouth is in great health. Examinations include oral cancer screening, gum disease evaluation, X-rays to check for cysts, tumors, invisible decay, and a visual checkup on tooth decay and evaluation of your current fillings, crowns, bridges and so on.

As a part of our examinations, we use a 100 point checklist to make sure we pinpoint and address all of your oral hygiene needs. After the exams, we seal the teeth of all our patients, for both adults and children, to prevent tooth decay.

To ensure your examinations are smooth, don't forget the most important part of preventive dentistry is to brush teeth daily with toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).

Teeth Cleaning

At Dr. Rudick & Associates, your smile is important to us. The best way you can keep your mouth healthy and your teeth clean is coming in for a teeth cleaning. Professional teeth cleanings prevent gum disease and tooth decay. It's the one of the most important appointments you'll make twice a year.

Your Hygienist will start by removing plaque from your teeth. Plaque is formed when food, saliva, and bacteria stick to your teeth over time. It can be a leading cause of tooth decay and gum disease. Next, they will remove all the tartar above your gum line, which is plaque that has hardened and is difficult to remove. Finally, your teeth will get a beautiful polish to remove the stains from your teeth.

In the last few years, dentistry has come a long way, yet 30% of infections reside in areas that cannot be reached during regular cleanings. Remember, the mouth hosts thousands of bacteria. To further protect your teeth and overall oral health, our dentists will apply an antibiotic in the gum pockets to prevent the reoccurrence of disease.

Digital Dental X-Rays

Our practice is focused on making your dental experience as safe as possible. With advancements in digital images, digital X-rays have become safer, cheaper, more convenient and much more detailed. This is why we use digital X-ray technology. Digital X-rays use up to 90% less radiation than the older photographic method.

The purpose of your dental x-ray is to show your dentist cavities, hidden dental structures (such as wisdom teeth) and bone loss under your gums and other tissue. X-rays are necessary for helping find potential problems with tooth decay and gum loss. So they play a crucial role in preventive care. Dental X-rays are entirely safe so you have nothing to fear when it comes to radiation.

The process is much simpler too. Instead of X-ray film, a digital X-ray uses a special capture device so that you will not have to wear one of those medieval looking heavy lead shield; instead, a space-age shield made of materials that weigh less than your average wool coat is all you'll need. The advantages of this technology are not only with safety but also with better magnification. Your images will be much clearer and can be magnified up to 300% more than previously so that your dentist can see the near microscopic details of bone, gums and teeth. Plus, the results are immediate as the images are instantaneous.

This technology is also used to find other problems besides tooth decay, damaged jaw bones, and dental injuries (such as broken tooth roots). Digital X-rays help the dentist locate misaligned teeth, or show wisdom teeth that have not broken through the gum line (commonly called impacted teeth). They are also used to find cysts, tumors or abscesses.

Besides preventive care, these X-rays are used to plan treatment, in the case of cavities, root canal surgery, or dental implants.

Rehabilitative Dentistry

Cosmetic Dentures

Sometimes we lose our teeth. When we do, our ability to chew and speak changes so much so that we become afraid to eat certain foods, have certain conversations and do certain things with others. The loss of teeth sometimes even creates a sense of loss identity and confidence in our appearance.

One effective and affordable response to these situations can be cosmetic dentures. High-quality dentures can make chewing easier, smiling better, and they can fill out a sunken cheek and lift up your jaw—lifting your smile and attitude. In short, cosmetic dentures can transform your life by returning your confidence.

Cosmetic dentures are crafted by your cosmetic dentist who will tailor the dentures to fit your mouth snuggly and perfectly. Made of acrylic or porcelain, they look and feel natural, and thus no one will be able to tell they're dentures!

Why choose cosmetic dentures over ready-made ones?

Previously, dentures were manufactured by a heat curing process that would cause the dentures to change the original bite from the molds they were meant to duplicate. Now, we use injection-molded acrylic dentures to eliminate any distortion caused by the heating and cooling process. What's the result? Dentures that perfectly match your gums! That means the best possible fit and comfort. It's a win-win result.

The days of visiting your parents and clearly noticing their dentures are past. Now cosmetic dentures are crafted one-of-a-kind sets of teeth that only fit one mouth. The change is dramatically good, and you'll be able to see the change before you buy. Our dentists use digital-imaging computers that will simulate how you will look with your new teeth. You'll be able to see the changes with the simulation. Cosmetic dentures will return the natural look to your teeth and smile. Some have noticed so much change in their jaw that they've called it a wonderful little makeover.

Dental Implants

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is a synthetic tooth root in the shape of a post made of titanium that is positioned into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth, bridge or denture. Titanium is also used for hip and knee replacement. The tooth can be either fixed or removable. A fixed tooth feels and looks natural.

Why get dental implants?

Despite advancements in dental care and education, many Americans still suffer tooth loss, usually because of tooth decay, gum disease, or injury. At one time, dentists were much more limited in their options in such cases, and would offer bridges or dentures as a solution. Today dental implants can replace one or several missing teeth, the whole root too, and these implants may even provide a stronger foundation—often stronger than natural teeth—for either a permanent or removable replacement of one or several teeth. And, like resin fillings, these will match the color of your natural teeth. At Dr. Rudick's, we will make sure that your implants have the look and feel of natural teeth.

Another reason for implants—despite regular brushing, flossing and checkups—is that sometimes our teeth just can't last as we age and continue to enjoy eating certain foods and tooth-staining pleasures such as wine and tea. You can still enjoy life while maintaining your natural smile for a lifetime. If you've lost a tooth (or a few teeth) due to injury or disease, dental implants can rejuvenate both your smile and your overall health.

Implant or bridge?

Such procedures as dental bridges or dentures are cheaper and effective, but they have neither the longevity nor the natural look of a dental implant. In fact, the time and money saved over the long-term far outweigh the price of dentures or a dental bridge.

Who are they for?

In general, the ideal candidate for implants is someone who is a non-smoker with good oral health and a sufficient amount of jawbone, along with healthy gums with no signs of periodontal (gum) disease.

Are they safe?

Few risks are associated with implants. They have a 93- 98% long-term success rate.

Advantages over dentures or bridges?

Only implants are fixed to the bone, whereas conventional bridges and dentures are not, and can therefore be unstable. The instability can make it difficult to eat certain foods and smile with confidence. Implants not only look more natural, but feel and act more like normal teeth, with a stronger biting force. Furthermore, they don't place pressure on neighboring teeth that would compromise the integrity of the other teeth. In fact, bridges average seven years of longevity, root canals last less than ten years on average, but implants can last a lifetime.

Post treatment care

Consider your replacement teeth to be like your natural teeth. The replacements, therefore, require the same attention and care natural teeth do, such as daily brushing, flossing, and regular checkups. Just like your natural teeth, the better you care for your replacements, the longer they will last.

Restorative Dentistry

Tooth-Colored Filling

Most of us will get at least one cavity, whereas some will get many, and the lucky few will have none in their lifetimes. In the past, amalgams, also called silver fillings (containing mercury), filled cavities, leaving shiny bright metallic in your mouth. Now, the most preferred filling is tooth-colored made from biocompatible resin or porcelain. These new materials have become the obvious alternative to mercury-amalgam fillings.

When your dentist removes tooth decay caused by a cavity, he or she will then take a composite photosensitive material and apply it to your tooth. Slowly the composite is applied and treated with a special light that causes the filling to harden. Once hard, the filling is shaped and polished to match your original tooth and surrounding teeth.

Composite restorations can have similar longevity to amalgam ones. They look and feel like your natural teeth. And if properly cared for, they can last as long as silver-mercury amalgams. They also prevent your tooth from fracturing because they do not require the removal of healthy tooth material to be applied.

Inlays and Onlays

What are inlays and onlays?

Should tooth decay becomes extensive—so extensive that little tooth structure remains—a filling may not be strong enough to restore the tooth, and in such a case, a stronger restoration than a filling will be prescribed, like an onlay or inlay.

The difference between the two restoration types is that an inlay is placed inside the cusp of the tooth.

The inlay will look similar to your natural teeth, and be placed in an existing tooth that is too damaged to support a filling but not so much that it needs a dental crown. It covers the chewing surface between the cusps, whereas onlays restore fractured cusps, the outer grinding edges of a tooth.

Inlays and onlays are typically prescribed instead of a composite restoration (or conventional “filling”) because the tooth decay has simply become too extensive. Instead of “filling” the decayed portion of the tooth, a ceramic inlay or onlay, fabricated in a dental laboratory, is placed over the natural tooth; this reinforces the tooth. Both inlays and onlays are more conservative than crowns because they cover only a portion of the tooth, allowing a more natural and preserved tooth to exist.

Inlays and onlays are made from tooth-colored material that will match your adjacent teeth's structure and color. This procedure is a minimally invasive alternative to a crown. The alternative to an inlay/onlay is a crown, which is both more invasive and generally covers the entire tooth surface above the gum line, putting you more at risk for gum infections.

Bridges

Sometimes our teeth just don't hold up, or due to disease or injury, we lose a tooth or several. Dental bridges were created for any one of the mentioned situations. They are used to replace one or several missing teeth.

What is a dental bridge?

To make a dental bridge, two or more crowns are used as anchors in order to hold a false tooth or teeth in place. These false teeth are called pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Your natural teeth on either side of the missing teeth serve as anchors for the bridge. There are several types of bridges and one of Dr. Rudick's team of doctors will determine the best type of bridge for your overall health and smile.

How long does it take?

Generally, this procedure takes only two appointments. Your dentist will need to make an impression of your teeth during the first appointment. The impression is then sent off to a laboratory where a porcelain and biocompatible resin bridge is made, but in the meanwhile, you'll be given a temporary bridge.

Once the bridge is complete, your temporary one will be replaced by a permanent one. It will be checked and adjusted to ensure the bite is natural as well as your smile. Once the fit is perfect, the bridge is bonded to your teeth.

How effective are they?

Fixed bridges are highly effective, mostly because they are stable and permanent. Because they are fixed firmly to your natural teeth, they are known to last anywhere between 10-20 years, and in some cases, with proper oral hygiene, even longer. Plus, they look and feel natural.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Teeth Whitening

Have you ever thought of brightening your smile by making your teeth whiter with a whitening treatment? It only takes a few shades of white to make your smile dramatically different. Teeth whitening procedures have been used as a non-invasive treatment for decades to make and maintain your pearly whites safely whiter.

What is teeth whitening?

Should you love a cup of joe, soda or a glass of red wine, you won't have to give those pleasures up if you chose to use one of Dr. Rudick's whitening treatments. It's a simple solution to maintaining any healthy looking smile, and it's the easiest and most cost-effective approach in cosmetic dentistry.

At Dr. Rudick & Associates, we use Phillips Zoom, a teeth whitening method that lifts stains and other spots left on your teeth for all dental conditions ranging from dark-stained and sensitive teeth to mildly stained ones that demand perfection.

We can significantly whiten your smile with ZOOM, a quick way to whiten teeth. Just don't mind the name. It really is the best noninvasive whitening system available. It's long-lasting, safe and affordable. Zoom offers immediate results!

How does it work?

First, we take a custom tray that fits your teeth. This tray-based tooth whitening system is worn for a period of time, generally from a couple of hours a day to every day during the night for up to four weeks and even longer (depending on the degree of discoloration and desired level of whitening). Once they are finished and ready to be taken home, all you have to do is apply a special whitening gel and wear the trays for a few hours a day. Most people wear them after dining or during sleep.

How long does it take?

After a few short weeks, you'll notice your teeth will be up to 6 shades whiter. This brightening system is highly effective and results are visible within days—it's far better than anything you can find at a drugstore.

How long will I expect the results to last?

Teeth whitening is not permanent; however, teeth stay whiter than their initial state. People who expose their teeth to foods and beverages that cause staining may see the whiteness start to fade in as little as one month. Those who avoid foods and beverages that stain may be able to wait one year or longer before another whitening treatment or touchup is needed.

The degree of whiteness will vary from individual to individual, depending on the condition of the teeth, the level of staining, and the type of bleaching system used.

Invisalign®

Invisalign® is an ingenious alternative to braces!

What is this revolutionary process that straightens teeth?

Invisalign® is a state of the art approach to straightening teeth, using finely tailored series of alignment molds made to fit only your teeth. These alignment molds, called aligner trays, fit exactly around your teeth and are made of clear plastic, so they are nearly invisible.

How does it work?

You wear the aligners every day as your dentist gradually and gently adjusts them in order to move your teeth into alignment. It's all done by tiny measurements, tiny and exact movements that cause little if any discomfort. No more wires. You can pop the aligners in and out before meals, and each is completely replaced every two weeks until your treatment is complete.

Like the name suggests, Invisalign®, taken from the words invisible and alignment, is a nearly invisible teeth straightening system that will allow the wearer to maintain confidence when he or she smiles since hardly anyone will notice the clear aligners in the mouth. Most all of our patients prefer the ease of use of Invisalign® over traditional braces. There are not metal wires or bands to cause discomfort.

It's easy and results are quickly visible!

Our dentists have exceptional experience with Invisalign®, and in this case, an experienced dentist is essential to a successful treatment with this procedure. You'll, of course, need an assessment before we determine whether you're an ideal candidate for this treatment. Once treatment begins, results often take as little as 6 months to see changes, and on average, up to one year for full treatment.

How does Invisalign® work?

This treatment uses state-of-the-art 3-D imaging technology in order to forecast the treatment from start to finish. Treatments take anywhere from 6 months to a year and a half, depending on your case. During that time, you'll replace your aligners every 2-3 weeks with a new set that gently moves your teeth into alignment. Over time, your teeth will slowly come into alignment, like a beautiful constellation.

What are the benefits?

Besides the obvious—a beautiful smile—you won't experience the pain and discomfort of traditional braces. We like to think of confidence as one of the end results of perfecting your smile. In short, your smile while gleam and glow along with your self-assurance.

How about health benefits?

But did you know there are many health benefits to straighter and less crowded teeth? For example, either over crowded or widely spaced-apart teeth can cause unhealthy conditions such as swollen gums, redness, and deep pockets. These conditions may cause serious periodontal (gum) problems in the future because they produce more and more space for bacteria, and bacteria is the enemy of your teeth and oral health. With proper tooth alignment, Invisalign® can be preventive as well as an esthetic cure to future problems.

Click here for more information on Invisalign®.

Porcelain Veneers

Dental veneers, also known as porcelain veneers or dental veneer laminates, are thin, custom-made natural looking materials used to replace the surface of the teeth so that you may improve your smile and look. Simply put, dental veneers are bonded permanently to the front teeth.

What is a porcelain veneer?

Dental veneers are usually made from either porcelain or from resin composite materials, both of which have a natural look. Porcelain veneers resist stains better than resin veneers and better mimic the reflection of natural light on teeth so that no one will be able to see that you have veneers. Resin veneers, in contrast, are thinner and involve the removal of less tooth surface before the veneers are bonded. Your dentist will offer the best option in veneers for your case along with clear reasons for why porcelain or resin is the best choice for your overall oral health and smile.

Who are dental veneers for?

When teeth whitening does not put enough confidence in your smile, then you may want to consider veneers. Porcelain veneers are best for those who have:

  • Stained/discolored teeth
  • Chipped/broken teeth
  • Rough-edged front teeth
  • Gaps between front teeth
  • Disproportionate/misaligned/uneven front teeth
  • Worn-down teeth

Porcelain veneers are long-lasting. However, they'll eventually need to be replaced.