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Convenience and excellence are what we continuously strive for at Miller Comfort Dental. We offer a range of dental services in Lakeville that you can count on.
Providing Dental Services with Care
Our practice uses only state-of-the-art equipment, supplies, and techniques in providing dental treatments and solutions. We adhere to the strictest infection control procedures because that’s how much we care about you. We want patients to get the necessary dental care in a safe, clean, and comfortable environment.
Be it tooth whitening and bleaching, restorative or preventive care, prosthodontics and implants, endodontics, pediatric dental care, cosmetic, or simple general dentistry care, we make sure to provide the treatment and service you need. Our impressive range of dental services in Lakeville are designed to meet the unique needs and preferences of each patient.
Our practice offers:
Restorative dentistry encompasses the “restoring” of the teeth when decay, fracture, or wear has occurred.
The most common type of restorative dentistry is what people call “fillings”. Fillings are usually placed to restore the tooth or teeth after removal of decay, or “cavities”.
The most common type of restoration is known as “Composite resin”. This is the tooth-colored material that people refer to most commonly as white fillings. The quality of the materials we use is constantly improving, and these materials can be used in a multitude of situations. Composite materials are used in situations where we formerly used silver-amalgam fillings. Composites are bonded to the the teeth by both mechanical and chemical bonding, and return much of the structural strength that was lost to the decay or trauma. They are very natural looking and feeling. There are instances where silver-amalgam fillings can still be used, but they are few and far between, and will eventually be unavailable.
Cosmetic Bonding involves using the same materials and bonding methods used for tooth-colored fillings, but using them on the front teeth to improve your appearance. We call this area the “Smile Zone”. Sometimes this is done to replace decay. Sometimes this is done to repair a fracture or trauma. And sometimes it is done to improve the looks of a tooth or teeth that are otherwise unattractive to you, the patient.
Crowns, Inlays, and Onlays
Crowns are what many people refer to as “Caps”. A crown can be made of many different materials, and for many different reasons. We choose the type of material after an evaluation and discussion of where and why you need the crown.
We sometimes place crowns due to tooth fracture. We place crowns due to a tooth becoming weaker over time due to a history of large fillings or extensive decay. We place crowns on many teeth that have an endodontic treatment (a root canal therapy) to increase strength and longevity. We can place crowns to improve esthetics (the way the teeth look). They can be placed of real teeth or on implants.
Crowns can be made of porcelain fused over a metal sub-structure. They can be made of all-ceramic (porcelain or porcelain-like) materials. They can be made of all metal , like a gold alloy, or other types of high noble metals. They can be made of a material called Zirconium, that is very,very strong, and yet looks like tooth structure. Why and when we place these different materials is based on each individual tooth, and each individual case.
Inlays and Onlays are restorations that are used when something stronger than a “filling” is needed, but placement of a crown may be too aggressive. “Inlays” are restorations that are made outside of the mouth, and then cemented or bonded INTO the tooth, hence the name “inlay”. Onlays are larger restorations, also made outside of the mouth, that are cemented or bonded ONTO the tooth, hence the name “onlay”. Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain or other ceramic materials, or of metal, like gold alloys or other noble metals.
We will show you what, where, why, and how before we procede.
Bridges are a way to replace missing teeth that involves placing a Crown on the teeth in front and behind the missing tooth or teeth. Bridges can be made out of the same materials as crowns. They are bonded or cemented into your mouth. They look, feel, and function like real teeth. Sometimes a bridge is a great option, and sometimes there are better options. We will help you decide which option is best for you. Bridges can also be placed on real teeth or on implants.
Veneers are usually made of porcelain, or a similar reinforced resin/ceramic material, and are placed in your “Smile Zone” to improve the appearance of teeth that may have problems that can’t be satisfactorily dealt with in other ways. They can be used for severely discolored teeth that won’t whiten adequately, or teeth that are of noticeably different sizes and shapes than you would prefer. They are bonded to your teeth, and usually do not involve as much reduction of the natural tooth as crowns sometimes do.
Almost everyone has looked in a mirror at least once in their life and thought,
“I wish my teeth were whiter!”
Well, we can make that happen! And we can do it relatively quickly and with reasonable cost. We look at this process as “tooth brightening”, as sometimes teeth that are too white can look unnatural and fake. Modern whitening systems allow you, the patient, and us as the dental professionals, to have good control over how white and how bright your teeth can become.
There are many over-the-counter whitening products on the market that you can buy at the local pharmacy or store. Some of these are better than others. Some work reasonably well, and some don’t work at all. But even the ones that work take a lot of your time, a lot of effort on your part, and end up costing more money than you would think. They can be messy, difficult to use, and can cause sensitive teeth, burned or irritated gums, and general dissatisfaction for you.
The active agent in almost every whitening system is a form of Hydrogen Peroxide. The differences are in the preparation of the bleaching gel, and in the strength of the chemical content in the gel. The newest gels now contain Fluoride and Desensitizers to decrease sensitivity during the bleaching/whitening process.
The two main systems in use are a take-home system, and an in-office system. The take-home systems are by far the most popular, and involve custom-made trays that fit your mouth and only your mouth. They are trimmed and contoured to be as comfortable and lightweight as possible. They maximize the coverage of the gel, and minimize the leakage and sensitivity. They usually involve about two weeks of at-home use, usually once a day for 1-2 hours.
The in-office systems are sometimes called “power bleaching”. These are much stronger in concentration, and bleach the teeth much faster. These MUST be used and applied in the dental office under the direct supervision of a dental professional trained in the use of these products. They work much faster, but are also more expensive. They may cause a slightly higher amount of sensitivity in some patients. Some of these systems use lights, some of them do not. They all take about 2 to 2 ½ hours of time, about 1 hour of which is actually spent bleaching. We will include take-home trays and some material for touch-up bleaching at home.
Ask us about your options, and what will work the best for you. We will present different plans to you, and let you choose the one you would like to try.
Many dentists present themselves as Cosmetic Dentists. In truth, all dentists are cosmetic dentists! We are all trained in the methods and materials used in esthetic dental care. Many dentists seek additional and extensive training in these methods, and some try to focus their practice on cosmetic and esthetic care only, while other dentists incorporate cosmetic and esthetic methods into their general practice.
Cosmetic and esthetic treatments are treatment methods used to improve the appearance of your teeth. These methods can include simple bonding of composite resins to specific areas; placement of crowns or veneers to one, two, or several teeth; replacement of old or discolored restorations (fillings) that affect your smile and your confidence; implants in your “Smile Zone”;
Really, whenever we are placing a material that is natural looking, and mimics the appearance of real teeth, we are doing cosmetic / esthetic dentistry. Ask us what options are available for your mouth, your smile, your situation. We will sit down and discuss with you what will work the best for you.
Preventive dental care is just what it sounds like. It is care designed to help you maintain a state of oral health, and help you to prevent further problems from occurring, or new problems from developing.
Preventive care includes complete oral examinations, proper X-rays (radiographs) taken at proper intervals, general hygiene care, Oral Hygiene instruction (to help you do your part in keeping your mouth clean and healthy), routine check-up intervals, and ongoing care and information for you.
We will work with your children to ensure that they enjoy coming to our office, and we will help you instill good home care techniques. We will be proactive in recommending and placing sealants to significantly decrease the incidence of molar cavities in your children.
Some people can be seen at six month intervals, some need to be seen at four month intervals, and some even need to be seen at three month intervals. What kind of care, and the intervals of your care, will be explained to you in a way that will help you understand and accept the reasons specific to your mouth and your oral health.
Aww, our children! The most important things in our lives! And we want our children to be healthy and happy, don’t we?
When should you bring your child to the dentist for the first time? Good question. The members of the American Pediatric Dental Association recommend that you begin taking your child to a dentist as soon as your child has teeth. But if something needs to be done when children are that young, it can be difficult and scary for someone so small and hesitant of their surroundings. What we tell people is that unless you see something that concerns you in your child’s mouth, plan on bringing them in around 33-36 months of age. At that age, they are able to realize that we are trying to help them, and they can be more involved, and therefore more cooperative in their care. But if you see something that concerns you, by all means bring them in! If they need care we can provide, we will do so. If they need care best provided by a Pediatric Specialist, we will refer you to a qualified and professional office to provide your child the care they need.
We at Miller Comfort Dental are happy to take care of the general dental needs of your children. While Dr. Miller is not a Pediatric Specialist, he was the Dental Director of the Des Moines Health Center for five years. The Des Moines Health Center provides primary dental and medical care to the children of low-income families in the central Iowa area. The patient load in that clinic comprised over 68% children. So Dr. Miller has a lot of hands-on experience with these little people! And he has young children of his own, so you know that your child will get the same quality care that his own children would receive.
And if and when it’s time for that consultation with the Orthodontist – the Braces!- we will provide you with a referral to one of our area’s excellent state-of-the-art Orthodontic Specialists for the first step in that phase of your child’s dental care.
“Perio” means around, and “dont” means the teeth. So “Periodontal” means the gums and bone that support your teeth. Periodontics is the discipline of dentistry that deals with the health of the structures that support and protect your teeth.
As a general rule-of-thumb, most tooth loss that occurs prior to or near age 30 is due to decay or fracture. More tooth loss after that age is due to periodontal disease. Now this is just a general rule, not specific. People can develop periodontal problems at any age, but it becomes more common the older we get. You can have beautiful teeth, but if the gums and bone aren’t healthy, you will still have problems. We use the example of building a beautiful cedar fence all around your yard, but only placing the fence posts 12 inches into the ground. The fence looks great, but the first time the wind blows…problem!
Years ago, periodontal disease used to be called “pyorrhea”…what an ugly word! And it didn’t really mean anything to most people. Periodontal disease is a much more accurate term, and describes better what is going on.
What causes periodontal disease? Lots of things are involved, and it is usually a combination of factors that lead to the problem. Factor number one in most cases is simply lack of proper dental care. Periodontal disease occurs when the bacteria that populate the crevices around your teeth are able to remain and develop long enough to produce by-products and enzymes that can break down the gum and bone support for your teeth. And the longer this happens, the more it progresses, like a viscious cycle. Genetics can play a part, but that part is more related to your immune system, and the way your system handles the certain bacteria that are involved. Just because your mother and your grandmother had “that there pyorrhea” doesn’t mean you will, or that you have to.
Prevention of periodontal disease is the best method, and that includes regular visits to your dental office, proper care from that office, and conscientious care by yourself at home. But if periodontal disease still begins to develop, we have care and therapy methods to arrest the disease process, and maintain a state of continuing health. This will help you retain your teeth for your life.
We complete a full periodontal evaluation of all of our patients, both to gauge your condition and status at your first visit with us, and to establish a baseline so we can catch any progression while it is in its early stages.
And in the circumstances where maybe you have already reached a point of moderate to severe periodontal disease, we have access to some excellent Periodontal Specialists. The specialists have many new methods and techniques that are wonderful , and can lead to restoring your oral health with a minimum of, or no, tooth loss.
Endodontic literally means “inside the tooth”. Endodontics is the discipline of dentistry that deals with treatment of the disease processes and conditions that occur to the living tissues inside your teeth. Yes, we’re talking about that big old bad buzzword – Root Canal!
Each tooth has one, two or three roots, and in rare cases more. Inside each of those roots are canals (little tube-like chambers) that hold the nerves, blood vessels, and fibers that we call the pulp. The purpose of the pulp was to develop your tooth when it was still growing in your jaw. Once the tooth is developed, the pulp waits inside your tooth with no real purpose anymore. Occasionally that pulp tissue will become damaged or diseased by decay, trauma, fracture, or some unknown reason. This can then cause your immune system to react, and “reject” the tooth. When this occurs, we are able to do Therapy on the Canal that is inside the Root – hence, Root Canal Therapy. We are able to numb your tooth, remove that diseased tissue, disinfect the canal, and seal it with a biocompatible material that your immune system will accept. This will allow you to keep your tooth for years more, if not for your whole life.
So why do we hear so many horror stories about Root Canal Therapy? The example we use is this: 100 people by a new car model. 96 people get a great car, but four get lemons. Who do you hear from? That’s right, the people who got lemons! This 96% rate is the approximate success rate associated with Root Canal Therapy. And of the four people who had a problem, three of them knew they needed the care, but put it off until the tooth hurt so bad, or became so badly infected, that the dentist has a harder time getting sufficient anesthesia to treat the tooth as comfortably as they could have weeks or months ago.
The truth is, endodontic therapy, or “a root canal”, is one of the more frequent, common, and successful treatments dentists do, and there are a lot of people walking around with all of their teeth who wouldn’t have those teeth without this form of treatment.
And, of course, in more difficult or extreme cases, we have access to wonderful and professional Endodontic Specialists who can help you keep that otherwise “done-for” tooth!
Wow, Oral Surgery! That can sound scary, huh? Well, surgery by definition simply means removing or altering a body tissue or structure. That is why dentists have the degree “Doctor of Dental Surgery”. Because technically, removing decay and some tooth structure while doing even a simple filling is regarded as surgery.
So when we say Oral Surgery, what do we mean? We most commonly mean the removal of teeth, known as “extractions”. There are many times that removal of a tooth or teeth can readily be accomplished in the office of the general dentist. These can include removal of baby teeth ahead of their scheduled time, removal of certain teeth when orthodontic care requires it, removal of a tooth or teeth compromised by advanced periodontal disease, removal of a tooth that cannot be restored (fixed), and many other reasons. A dentist experienced in removal of teeth can make the process less scary than you think, and less time-consuming than a trip to an Oral-Maxillofacial Surgeon.
That being said, let us remind you that there are situations and cases where the Oral-Maxillofacial Surgeon is the way to go. More advanced removals of impacted teeth, bony and skeletal repair after severe traumas, cooperative efforts and treatment with Orthodontists or Periodontists, and other situations.
We will evaluate the surgical care that you need, and either help you complete that care with us, or refer you to an outstanding Oral Surgery office to ensure that your treatment is completed to the best level possible.
Prosthodontics is the discipline of dentistry that involves the replacement of missing teeth. These replacements are called “prostheses”. There are two types of prostheses – fixed and removable.
A fixed prosthesis is “fixed” in your mouth. That means it does not come out. It is “permanent”. They can be taken out by a dentist, but this is usually not necessary, or only when a newer prosthesis is being placed. These are what a lot of people call “bridges”. But there are other types of fixed prostheses that are common, and very good choices for treatment in the right circumstances.
One of the most common types of fixed prosthesis involves IMPLANTS. Implants have been around for several decades, but are rapidly becoming easier to place, more affordable, and very dependable. An implant restoration consists of the implant core, an abutment that is attached to the implant to hold the crown, and the crown. Over the years, the multitude of original styles and types of implants have been placed, used, and studied. Through this research, the dental profession has eliminated the types of implants that were not dependable, and the types we are utilizing now are proven. The success rates of implants are well over 95% in general, and in many instances approach higher percentages.
Implants work very well to replace single missing teeth, and are the Treatment of Choice in most of those instances. Single implants basically replace the original tooth, and do not interfere with or compromise the other teeth in the mouth. But we can also place implants when more than one tooth is missing. And using those implants, we can place prostheses that, prior to implants, would have been bulky, cumbersome, and removable. And they weren’t always natural in appearance. With the newest and latest materials, we can now place prostheses that look so natural, it’s hard to even know that they are there.
A removable prosthesis is just what it sounds like. It is a replacement for missing teeth that is removable by you, the patient. Dentures and partial dentures are removable prostheses. These are tried and true treatment methods that have been used for decades, and will continue to be used. They are straight forward to make, and well proven in their success. They are usually significantly less expensive than fixed prostheses. And the great thing is that they can serve as a long-term interim for you until it becomes possible in the future to move forward to fixed prostheses and implants.
We can discuss all of these available options with you, and help you to determine a treatment plan and course of action that best serves your needs at this time in your life.
At Miller Comfort Dental, we make sure you get the right treatment and care, and that you understand the care you’re getting. Before any treatment or procedure, we make sure to explain the care you need, why you need it, and how we will proceed with it. We make it a point to listen and answer your concerns. When it comes to dental services in Lakeville, your convenience and satisfaction are our goals. Book an appointment today and let your smile shine the right way.