When you see or hear the terms “general dentistry” and “general dentist,” you may find yourself wondering, “How does a general dentist differ from other oral-health professionals?” or “Do I need to see a general dentist regularly?” The answers to these questions are key in helping you make the best decisions about your oral health care. As your York, PA general dentistry practice, the staff at Bowser Dentistry want to make sure you know everything about general dentistry that you need to in order to enjoy a lifetime of optimal oral health.
What Is General Dentistry?
Similar to a primary healthcare provider, a general dentist is the primary dental care provider for patients of all ages. They care for your overall oral health and are responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, and management of the services required to meet your dental needs.
At Bowser Dentistry, we work hard to form long-term, trust-based relationships with you by getting to know your lifestyle as well as your oral-health history and goals. We then implement and oversee a personalized dental treatment plan that helps you meet those goals. Most dental treatment plans employ a variety of our general dentistry services as needed.
What Services Fall Under the General Dentistry Category?
Regular visits with general dentist Dr. Bowser will help you maintain good oral hygiene and aid in the prevention and early detection of serious oral health issues, like gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer. Our dental services include a wide range of preventive and restorative options that can be performed in the dentist’s office and are designed for patients of all ages.
Our general services include:
- Dental Fillings
- Inlays and Onlays
- Same Day Crowns
- Tooth Extractions
- Wisdom Teeth Removal
- Root Canels
- Dental Bridges
- Digital X-Rays
- Oral Cancer Screenings
Approximately 92% of adults have experienced a cavity. Cavities occur as a result of tooth decay, and if left untreated, they can severely damage teeth and lead to a decline in oral health. Though cavities are common, at Bowser Dentistry, York, PA dentist Dr. Bowser can easily fix them using a routine, restorative dental treatment called a dental filling, also known as a tooth filling.
What Is a Dental Filling?
A dental filling can be made out of a variety of materials and is used to fill and seal the hole caused by a cavity, preventing decay from spreading to the rest of the tooth.Dr. Bowser quickly, easily, and comfortably removes decay from a tooth before it progresses. The type of tooth filling that is used is largely based on your needs and preferences.
Types of Fillings
Certain filling materials do better in different environments within the mouth, so the doctor will choose the one that suits you best. We don’t place amalgam (silver) fillings, so in most cases this will be a composite resin (white) filling. In some cases the doctor may choose a glass ionomer filling material, and very rarely, a sedative-type of filling will be necessary if there was a lot of decay close to the nerve of the tooth. Filling options include:
- Gold fillings: Gold tooth fillings are very durable and last at least 10 to 15 years. Though they don’t match the surrounding tooth, some prefer the coloring and shine to that of amalgam fillings. Gold fillings tend to cost more than other materials.
- Composite resin fillings: Composite tooth fillings are made from a mixture of plastic and fine-glass particles. They generally cost less than gold fillings but more than amalgam fillings, and they can take up to two appointments to complete.
- Porcelain fillings: Porcelain tooth fillings last approximately five to seven years, with a wide range of pricing. They match the color of your teeth and are more resistant to staining than composite fillings.
Beautiful restorations are an important part of retaining and preserving your natural smile. As your York, PA area dental provider, at Bowser Dentistry, dental inlays and onlays are the preferred type of restoration when your tooth is too damaged for a filling but not damaged enough for a crown (otherwise known as a dental cap or tooth cap).
When Do You Need a Dental Inlay or Onlay?
Damage to a tooth that is too severe to support a filling but not severe enough to require a dental cap calls for a dental inlay or onlay. Using a filling when a dental inlay is needed results in the continued decay of the remaining tooth, which eventually leads to the need for a root canal. Receiving a tooth cap or crown when one is not called for results in the unnecessary removal of healthy tooth structure.
Dental inlays are similar to fillings and fit inside the outer edges of the tooth. They can be made out of a variety of materials, but most often they’re made out of tooth-colored porcelain. The inlay procedure requires approximately two visits with York dentist Dr. Bowser. During the first appointment, you receive a tooth-decay treatment; then impressions are taken and the temporary inlay is applied to the tooth. At the second appointment, the permanent inlay is bonded to the tooth, hiding any signs of imperfection.
Dental onlays, sometimes referred to as partial tooth caps, are similar to inlays in that the procedure is the same and takes place over the course of two days. Like a dental cap, it is a custom-made fitting that we secure to the damaged tooth; however, unlike a dental cap, it only covers a small portion of the affected tooth. Onlays cover one or more of the outer edges of a tooth. They are the conservative alternative to receiving a crown or tooth cap, and they preserve more of your natural tooth.
- Fluoride treatments
- Restorations, including fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns/tooth caps
- Root canals
- In the most extreme cases, extraction
When a tooth cracks or breaks, it can be painful and embarrassing. At Bowser Dentistry in York, PA, we believe our patients deserve to live pain-free and reap the benefits of the top-of-the-line restoration services that are available to them. That’s why we use CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing) technology that allows us to offer our patients same-day crowns. In just one office visit, we can return your smile to its natural state.
What Are Same-Day Crowns?
Same-day crowns use cutting-edge CAD/CAM technology — such as CEREC® technology — to build a permanent, custom-fit, natural-looking, metal-free restoration that provides the form, fit, and function you need. Traditional crowns entail multiple visits and the inconvenience of temporaries while waiting for the crown to be made and fit properly. With this advanced same-day crown technology, York dentist Dr. Bowser quickly, safely, and accurately creates a digital, 3-D model of the tooth in need of repair. While you wait, the crown is then designed in the office using the CAD/CAM software. When the design is finished, the new tooth is created in an on-site milling center right in front of your eyes. The CAD/CAM process eliminates all of the errors that add wait time with the traditional crown method.
The Benefits of Same-Day Crowns
Same-day crowns and CAD/CAM technology offer a host of benefits:
- Safe, simple, and fast dental appointments
- Same-day crowns, veneers, fillings, inlays, and onlays
- A minimized number of injections
- A quick and comfortable digital-impression process
- Same-day color corrections
- A process that happens right in front of you, from start to finish
- Increased accuracy, resulting in a perfect, personalized fit
At Bowser Dentistry, we know that investing in better technology means investing in the increased well-being of our patients and our community. Same-day crown technology allows us to serve you better by turning what was once an uncomfortable, drawn-out process into an opportunity to improve and preserve your perfect smile on your schedule.
Your children brush twice a day — so why do they still get small cavities? Brushing and flossing cleans most of the surfaces of their front teeth, but getting to the crevices in the back molars and premolars is nearly impossible for little, untrained hands. Those tiny dips and pits are perfect for trapping food and bacteria, which often results in the formation of cavities in young, vulnerable teeth.
What Are Sealants?
Fortunately, at Bowser Dentistry— your local York, PA family dentist — Dr. Bowser can include sealants in your child’s dental plan: a noninvasive, preventive tooth-decay treatment that protects teeth and keeps them healthy while they mature and strengthen. Dental sealants are made from a resin material that is used to coat the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. It is painted on and seals the nooks and crannies in the teeth so that food and other plaque-causing materials that cause cavities are kept out.
At Bowser Dentistry, the procedure for applying sealants is simple, painless, fast, and takes only one visit. First Dr. Bowser will remove decay from your teeth and thoroughly clean and dry them. Next the sealant material is painted on the chewing surface. It will naturally bond to the tooth on its own; however, a special light may be used to speed the process, helping the sealant to harden in just a couple of minutes.
At Bowser Dentistry, we understand that having a complete, natural smile is key to feeling confident in your daily life. We also know that on occasion, circumstances may arise that require a patient to receive a routine or emergency tooth extraction in order to preserve overall oral health. As yourYork, PA dentist, Dr. Bowser knows that the decision to extract can be a difficult one, so he makes sure that every aspect of the procedure is as stress-free and comfortable for our patients as possible by keeping you well informed, aware of what is happening, and aware of what your choices are along the way.
When Is a Tooth Extraction Needed?
A tooth extraction is performed only after all alternatives have been considered and ruled out. Situations that may lead to an extraction include:
- Infection or risk of infection from decay (may require emergency tooth extraction)
- A tooth that is severely damaged from trauma (may require emergency tooth extraction)
- Impacted wisdom teeth (results in a wisdom tooth extraction)
- Overcrowded teeth (often requires orthodontic treatment)
What Is a Tooth Extraction?
A tooth extraction is a routine procedure for Dr. Bowser, though, in some instances, an emergency tooth extraction may be called for. The procedure includes:
- X-rays to assess the location, size, and position of the tooth to be removed to help determine the extent of the procedure
- An assessment of the anesthesia and sedation options that will best serve your needs, allowing for a pain-free, less-than-memorable experience
- The careful removal of the tooth, which often includes a bone-preserving graft
After the tooth has been removed, Dr. Bowser will have you bite down on some gauze in order to help stop the bleeding, so that a blood clot can form.
Tooth Extraction Aftercare
After your extraction, your recovery typically takes a couple of days. The following tips will help you relieve discomfort and avoid complications.
- Take pain relievers as prescribed or recommended.
- Leave gauze in place for the recommended amount of time.
- Apply ice for 10 minutes at a time to minimize swelling after the procedure.
- Avoid rinsing, sucking, or spitting for six hours after the procedure.
- After six hours, rinse your mouth with ½ teaspoon of salt and warm water.
- Do not smoke.
- Eat soft foods the day after the extraction; gradually add solid foods as the extraction site heals.
- Avoid the extraction site when brushing your teeth.
When teeth must be removed, especially ones that appear in your smile, there are a number of natural-looking, permanent tooth-replacement options, such as implants, that can give your smile a second chance.
Wisdom teeth are the final set of molars that tend to appear after adolescence (when a person is more “wise” — thus the name “wisdom teeth”). Their emergence can be painful, resulting in impacted wisdom teeth or damaged tooth alignment if allowed to come in fully. In fact, wisdom teeth removal is called for in 85% of dental cases.
Why Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Necessary?
Poor alignment and impaction are the two main reasons wisdom teeth removal becomes necessary. When the final set of molars erupts (grows in) at an angle, it sometimes pushes on nearby straight teeth, altering their alignment. This is painful and can cause damage to neighboring teeth, as well as injure nerves and the jawbone. Impacted wisdom teeth result from either the last set of molars developing but failing to erupt — instead remaining encased in the jaw’s soft tissue — or from only partially erupting, creating a passageway for bacteria to get into the soft tissue.
What Are Common Complications Associated with Wisdom Teeth?
In an effort to avoid the pain and complications associated with impacted wisdom teeth and tooth misalignment, York, PA dentist Dr. Bowser’s approach to your family’s ongoing dental healthcare plan will include the monitoring and removal of wisdom teeth. Typically, the earlier the need for wisdom teeth removal is identified, the better; early removal can prevent damage to neighboring healthy teeth, bone, gum tissue, nerves, and blood vessels.
Persistent pain in the area around a single tooth may indicate that it is extremely infected or decayed. The good news is York, PA dentist Dr. Bowser at Bowser Dentistry can often relieve discomfort quickly with a root canal treatment, saving a tooth that is severely damaged. Though the term “root canal” has a notorious association with pain, with all of the advances in the field of dental care and pain management, receiving a root canal treatment is now a comfortable and efficient way to preserve and restore your oral health.
When Is a Root Canal Treatment Needed?
When decay and infection cause damage to the nerve and pulp of a tooth, a root canal treatment is performed. Common symptoms that indicate a possible need for root canal treatment is:
- Consistent pain (may include throbbing) in the tooth area
- Pain caused by the pressure of chewing or as an extended reaction to contact with hot and cold temperatures
- Tender, swollen gums
- The appearance of a pimple on the gums
What Is a Root Canal Treatment?
During a root canal, Dr. Bowser gently removes your tooth’s damaged tissue and nerves, then carefully cleans and seals the tooth to protect it from bacteria. The procedure may require more than one visit, depending on the severity of the infection and the type of restoration — typically a filling or a crown — that is needed.
What Can I Expect My Root Canal Recovery to Be Like?
You will experience instant pain relief after your root canal treatment. During your root canal recovery, chewing on the affected side of the mouth should be avoided until the filling or final restoration is completed. Your tooth may be sensitive for a couple of days following the procedures. Any discomfort you experience can be easily managed through the use of over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen. Your oral health routine should continue as usual and should include brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
The root canal treatment has a success rate of 95% and can last a lifetime.
Do you suffer from persistent jaw pain, tension headaches, or worn teeth? If so, you may be suffering from temporomandibular disorder (TMD), a painful jaw disorder that York, PA dentist Dr. Bowser regularly treats successfully at Bowser Dentistry.
What Is TMD/TMJ?
TMD affects the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), the joints formed where the upper jaw meets the lower jaw, which is why it is often referred to as TMJ. It also affects the muscles that connect and control the joints. These muscles allow the jaw to move up and down, side to side, forward and backward. TMD results in pain in the jaw, as well as limited movement of it. It can affect an individual’s ability to speak, chew, swallow, and breathe easily.
Twenty to thirty percent of the adult population suffers from TMD/TMJ, and it is more common in women and in those between the ages of 20 and 40.
TMD/TMJ symptoms include:
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds coming from the jaw
- Muscle pain that can be felt in the cheeks and temples
- Jaw joint pain
- Difficulty opening the mouth wide
- Lockjaw, or the jaw getting stuck open
- A more bulky-looking face
- Severe tension headaches that can be debilitating
What Causes TMD/TMJ?
The exact cause of TMD is unknown. It is believed that symptoms can result from a variety of conditions that directly affect the jaw muscles and joints. TMD/TMJ symptoms are most often caused by physical stress reactions such as clenching and grinding of the teeth, which commonly occur while sleeping. Additional causes include:
- Injury to the jaw, TMJ joint, or the muscles of your head and neck
- Teeth grinding
- Stress and anxiety
- Movement of the soft cushion between the joint’s ball and socket
How Is TMD/TMJ Treated?
The staff at Bowser Dentistry is dedicated to helping you find fast relief from your TMJ symptoms. After administering a series of tests to determine the cause, Dr. Bowser will develop a personalized TMJ treatment plan that works in conjunction with your existing dental lifestyle. Treatments may include:
- Managing pain with a special diet
- Stretching exercises
- Anti-inflammatory medications
In some complex cases, treatment may require orthodontics, restorations, and/or cortisone injections.
If you are living in the York, PA area and are experiencing TMJ symptoms, call Bowser Dentistry today at 717.757.3474 to book an appointment.
Fixed and Removable Bridges
Having a complete, natural-looking smile contributes to healthy self-esteem and is essential to your comfort and confidence while performing everyday tasks like eating, speaking, and smiling. At Bowser Dentistry, if you are missing one or more teeth,York, PA dentist Dr. Bowser may recommend a dental bridge or tooth bridge as an aesthetic solution. This solution also keeps the empty space left by missing teeth from causing the surrounding healthy teeth to shift and move into the existing gap.
A bridge is a prosthesis (replacement part) that relies on support from healthy teeth surrounding the gap left by a missing tooth or teeth. The artificial replacement tooth is called a “pontic” after the French “pont” for bridge. The healthy adjacent teeth, called abutments, provide support on either side — just like a bridge spanning a canyon.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
There are two main types of bridges: fixed and removable. Recognizing the differences between the two will help you understand Dr. Bowser’s recommendations and decide which will work best for you.
Fixed Bridge: Dr. Bowser typically recommends a fixed bridge for patients who have lost one or all of their teeth but have not suffered significant bone loss. A fixed dental bridge is made up of two or more crowns that are cemented to the teeth on either side of the gap (the anchor teeth), with false teeth in between. The replacement teeth can be made out of gold, porcelain, or alloys. A fixed tooth bridge can only be removed by a dentist.
Removable Bridge: Dr. Bowser will recommend a removable dental bridge when multiple teeth are missing and the integrity of the supporting jawbone has been severely compromised. A removable bridge consists of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic support base that is connected with a metal framework. The bridge is then attached with metal clasps to existing teeth or implants. The plastic base restores the natural facial aesthetics by providing support where the missing bone and tissues once were.
Benefits of a Dental Bridge
A dental bridge offers the following benefits:
- Prevents remaining teeth from moving out of place
- Allows you to eat, speak, and smile naturally
- Maintains proper bite alignment and even bite-force distribution
- Maintains the aesthetic integrity of the shape
- Restores natural function, look, and beauty to your smile
At Bowser Dentistry, one of the many ways we provide superior dental care is through the use of dental x-rays that allow York, PA dentist Dr. Bowser to detect decay and disease earlier than what’s possible with a basic oral exam. As a new patient, you will most likely receive a dental x-ray; Dr. Bowser may also choose to have one taken if you have signs or a history of disease or decay, or if your teeth are touching and making it difficult to see all surfaces. Digital x-rays, also known as digital radiographs, are quickly taking the place of traditional film-based dental x-rays and have become one of the most important advances in dental technology today, offering our patients substantial benefits.
What Is a Digital X-Ray?
During a digital x-ray, a small sensor is placed inside your mouth, instead of the traditional paper tabs that fit awkwardly and often cause pain. The sensor is connected to a computer by a thin, unobtrusive wire and records a highly detailed image of your mouth. The image is then sent to the computer, where it is instantly projected onto a screen for the dentist to review.
The two primary types of dental x-rays are intraoral (taken from inside the mouth) and extraoral (taken from the outside). Bitewing x-rays are the most common type of intraoral radiograph. Traditionally, uncomfortable pieces of film were placed inside the mouth for the patient to bite down on while the x-ray was being taken. With digital technology, the small sensors make this type of imaging much more comfortable. A panoramic x-ray is an extraoral x-ray in which a machine rotates around the head. The resulting images allow the dentist to see the entire mouth at once.
What Are the Benefits of Digital X-Rays?
Digital x-rays benefit both patient and dentist alike in many ways. Benefits include:
- Reduced chair time and wait time — results are instant and highly accurate
- Improved imaging — images can also be sharpened, enlarged, and optimized in a variety of ways that improve diagnostic proficiency
- Less radiation — the radiation exposure from digital imaging is 80% less than from traditional x-rays
- Decreased environmental impact — digital x-rays eliminate the material and chemical waste produced by traditional film-based x-rays
At Bowser Dentistry, the use of digital x-rays allows us to provide you with the dental experience you deserve. Decreased anxiety and precise diagnosis allow for your increased comfort and confidence in our commitment to helping you maintain a healthy, bright, white smile for years to come.
According to the American Dental Association, 41,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and throat cancers this year. With 60% of the U.S. population visiting the dentist each year, your York, PA dental office is the first line of defense for early detection.
As premier oral health experts in York, PA, we take our role in your overall health to heart at Bowser Dentistry. Every routine dental exam that Dr. Bowser performs includes more than diagnostic x-rays and a thorough cleaning. He also completes a potentially lifesaving mouth cancer screening that is executed with the sole purpose of identifying cancer early enough to significantly increase the chances of a full recovery.
What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral or mouth cancer reveals itself as a growth or sore in the mouth or throat that doesn’t go away with time. Oral cancer symptoms include:
- Red or white patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue
- Swelling or thickening of areas inside the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding
- Sores on the face, neck, or mouth that do not heal
- Chronic sore throat
- A change in the way your dentures fit
What Is an Oral Cancer Screening?
Our oral cancer screenings consist of a verbal, visual, and physical examination, and they include the following:
- Velscope Screening Tool: The Velscope is a wireless, handheld device that enhances our clinicians’ ability to visualize and detect mucosal abnormalities, such as oral cancer or premalignant dysplasia, that might not be visible to the naked eye. The Velscope does not diagnose oral cancer, but helps us more thoroughly screen for it and other abnormalities. We screen for oral cancer at each visit to our office, and use the Velscope as an adjunct to that screening every 2 years or so, more frequently for patients with 1 or more risk factors (tobacco use or family history for example) of oral cancer.
- A thorough review of your oral health history, as well as your overall health history, which includes questions that help assess your level of risk for mouth cancer
- A visual inspection of all the areas of your mouth and throat in an effort to locate any abnormalities, such as sores and red or white patches; this inspection includes the lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, floor of the mouth, roof of the mouth, and far-back section of your tongue
- A check for suspicious lumps by palpating your mouth, jaw, and neck
Though most sores (one of the primary signs of oral cancer) are noncancerous, the screening alone can’t determine this. If an abnormality is found, Dr. Bowser may perform a biopsy (remove some cells for testing) or refer you to a mouth cancer specialist.
Maintaining your routine dental visits with us ensures your smile continues to sparkle, but it also vastly improves the chance that abnormalities in your mouth will be caught early, which increases your chances of successful treatment should any be cancerous.
A vital part of our standard of care at Bowser Dentistry is taking time to get to know your oral health history, your lifestyle, and your smile concerns so our cosmetic dentist can, in partnership with you, design the smile of your dreams.
Request an appointment by calling 717.757.3474 or by using our online form.