Services

Dr Wintersteen General Dentistry offers a variety of services.

Preventative

Cleanings

Our office has two full-time hygienists and several part-time hygienists who provide experienced, exemplary service. It is recommended that patients schedule regular cleanings every six months to ensure the continued health of their teeth and gums. Some  individuals may need personalized treatment plans  with more frequent visits. In fact, research has  shown that patients who have had gum surgery to  treat periodontal disease can  best maintain the  health of their gums if they come every two to three  months.

X-Rays

In our office we use digital radiography which allows us to take X-rays using 50-70% less radiation than conventional X-rays. Did you know that a digital X-ray contains the same amount of radiation as watching your TV for five minutes? Digital X-rays and computer technology allows us to enhance the images for better diagnosis of any dental concerns. X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnostic process, and not to use them could lead to undiagnosed disease. Without an X-ray of the whole tooth, and supporting bone and gum tissues, there is no real way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention.

Sealants

Sealants are used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. The sealant contains a coating that is brushed onto the tooth and hardened to seal the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.

Non-Surgical Gum Treatments

Non-surgical gum treatments, such as deep cleaning, scaling, and root planing, are used to treat patients who have gum disease. The gums, ligaments, and bone surrounding the teeth are all important for the overall health of your mouth. To learn more about the symptoms and treatment for gum disease, see our Symptoms, Diagnoses, and Treatment Options page.

TMJ Treatments

TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint. Temporal refers to the temple area of the skull and mandibular refers to the mandible, or lower jaw. This joint is where the head and jaw meet. Problems in this joint may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension. Aside from the two bones that meet there, cartilage buffers them and five muscles are involved in the area. If something goes wrong a good deal of trouble can result.

Problems in this area can cause:

Dental treatments for the condition can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, filling gaps between teeth, etc. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece, such as an NTI, is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.

To find out more about the causes and symptoms, see the section on Teeth Grinding on our Symptoms, Diagnoses, and Treatment Options page.

NTI

If you have jaw pain, a stiff or sore neck, morning headaches, tension headaches, or sensitive teeth (or any combination of these symptoms) you may be unknowingly grinding or clenching your teeth at night. The good news is that your dentist has a simple solution to treat this problem: an NTI.

An NTI (Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition Tension Suppression System) is a small device that fits over the front teeth (top or bottom). This device is generally worn only when you sleep and it prevents your back teeth from touching. The difference between the NTI and traditional mouth guards is that traditional devices, while they keep your teeth separated, still offer a surface to bite down on and can actually lead to clenching your teeth with even greater force.

The NTI addresses this problem because it does not allow your back teeth to touch at all which greatly reduces the pressure which you can exert while clenching or grinding. The reflex to clench or grind your teeth at night is suppressed.

Most patients notice improvement within a few days with maximum results typically obtained within 8 week. In fact, here at Dr. Wintersteen’s office, if you are not satisfied with your NTI, we will give you a full refund and therefore the NTI is a risk-free treatment for your symptoms.

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Restorative

Fillings

When a tooth has a cavity, the best treatment option is a filling. Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily with little or no discomfort. If not treated decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth would need root canal treatment or extraction.

There are two types of fillings, amalgam (silver) fillings and resin (tooth-colored) fillings. These days most teeth are treated with bonded tooth-colored composite resin fillings. Most dentists prefer tooth-colored fillings because they bond to the tooth structure and therefore help strengthen a tooth weakened by decay. White fillings are also usually less sensitive to temperature, and they also look better. In certain situations, however, silver fillings may be more suitable because they are easier to place: there are fewer steps and it is not required that the area surrounding the tooth be kept dry while the filling is being placed.

The process for tooth-colored fillings is fairly simple. First, all of the decay is removed from the tooth. Then the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the bonding and hold it. A gel is applied to micro etch the tooth surface, and a primer/bond agent is applied so the material adheres to the surface. The filling material is placed on the tooth and hardened with intense light. Finally, the filling is shaped and polished to get a lustrous finish as a last step.

Crowns

A crown, or cap, is a man-made cover that is used to restore and preserve decayed, broken, or cracked teeth. Crowns are made out of several materials, including metal crowns, usually made of gold, and tooth-colored crowns usually made up of porcelain. Metal crowns are stronger but less aesthetically pleasing. We generally use combination crowns: tooth-colored porcelain fused to a metal base. This gives the patients the look of a natural tooth and the strength of a metal crown. Crowns are custom fit to your mouth and we have an extensive shade guide to ensure your crown matches the color of your natural teeth.

Reasons You May Need A Crown:

The procedure for getting your tooth crowned requires two visits, usually with two weeks between visits. During the first visit, we will prepare the tooth, removing any decay and shaping the tooth to ensure the proper fit of your crown. We will then take an impression of your mouth that will be sent to the lab where they will craft your permanent crown.

We will place a temporary crown on the prepared tooth. A temporary crown acts like a Band-Aid, protecting your tooth from sensitivity. It is important to note that, while we shape the temporary crown to fit your mouth, it is not the same shape, color, or texture as your permanent crown. It is important that your temporary crown remain in place so please be careful. Don’t eat hard or sticky foods, brush gently, and remove floss from the side. If your temporary crown falls off, please call our office right away so we may schedule you to have it re-cemented.

During your second visit, we will remove the temporary crown and try in your permanent crown to be sure it fits properly. Once we are satisfied that the fit, bite, and color of the permanent crown are correct, we will cement it in place.

Root Canal Therapy

Root Canal Therapy is a treatment used to save teeth that are severely damaged and have an infection in the nerve chamber of the tooth. In the past, these teeth would have needed to be extracted but with modern dental techniques, 90% of damaged teeth can be saved.  If left untreated the infection will spread, leading to bone loss around the root of the tooth and further health problems. Without this supporting bone structure, the tooth will become loose and fall out. Infected teeth are often painful so we recommend treatment as soon as possible after receiving a diagnoses.

Causes:

Symptoms:

We will talk with you about your symptoms and take an X-ray of the area before giving you a diagnosis. The root canal procedure itself usually takes only one visit. During that visit, the diseased nerve tissue will be removed and the root canals will be cleaned out and then filled with a rubber-like material. We will then place a filling to cover the opening in your tooth.

We highly recommend that any root-canal treated teeth be crowned, to ensure the continuing health of your tooth.

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Removal and Replacement

Extractions

If a tooth is severely decayed to the point that a restorative treatment cannot be attempted, it may be necessary to have that tooth pulled. Sometimes having your tooth extracted is the only treatment option. It is usually a comfortable and efficient procedure.

Our office also performs wisdom teeth extractions. If the tooth is erupted (above the gum line) it is a quick and simple procedure to have it removed. If the tooth is below the gum line Dr. Wintersteen will provide a referral to an oral surgeon to have the tooth removed.

Getting your tooth extracted is a simple process. We will provide you with anesthesia and check the area around to tooth before we begin the procedure to be sure that you are adequately numb. We will loosen the tooth and then remove it from the socket. In certain situations it may be necessary to cut the tooth in half and remove it in sections. During the procedure you will feel but you should not feel any pain. If you do, please let us know and we will give you more anesthetic.

Bridges

A bridge is a restoration that replaces one or more missing teeth. A conventional bridge consists of one or more replacement teeth attached to two crowns which are cemented onto the natural teeth to either side of the gap.

It is important to replace a missing tooth because the spaces left by missing teeth can cause your remaining teeth to shift, changing your bite and affecting your smile. If your bite is affected, your jaw may become sore and your teeth may be harder to clean leading to tooth decay and gum disease.

The procedure for getting a bridge is similar to that for a crown. There are two visits, one visit to prepare the tooth, take an impression of your mouth, and to fit a temporary bridge, and a second visit, two weeks later, to cement in your permanent bridge.

Partial Dentures

A partial denture, often referred to as a partial, is the most common solution to replace missing teeth. Partial dentures consist of acryllic replacement teeth, gum-colored acryllic, and metal clasps to attach the partial to your remaining teeth. One advantage of a partial denture is that teeth can be added to it at any time. Partial dentures are a relatively inexpensive option to replace several missing teeth as long as the remaining teeth provide adequate support. Some partials have no metal support and can quickly be converted to a full denture if necessary.

If you decide that a partial denture is the best option to replace your missing teeth, you will have to make several simple and quick visits to our office. The entire process typically takes about three weeks.

A partial denture is custom made to fit your mouth and you should be able to put it in and take it out without any trouble. However, your partial may still need to be adjusted by your dentist especially as your teeth shift over time.  Never try to force your partial in or bite down to try to get it into place and never try to adjust your partial yourself.

Partial Denture Care:

One disadvantage of partial dentures is that food can get caught beneath them so you will have to take them out and clean them after every meal. Another disadvantage is that partial dentures are made with metal clasps which may be visible when you smile or speak.

Dentures

While it is always best to try to restore and keep as many of your natural teeth for as long as possible, in some cases full dentures are a necessary solution.  Dentures are made from strong gum-colored acryllic with acryllic teeth and are made to custom fit your mouth.

Benefits of full dentures include:

If you and your dentist agree that full dentures are the best option for you, there are several steps to the process. In most cases, the first stage is to extract the remaining teeth. This is done in stages, working with one portion of your mouth at a time to allow your mouth time to heal after each visit, leaving the front teeth for the last visit.

When all of your teeth except for your front teeth have been removed and the gums have had several weeks to heal, we will take an impression of your mouth and send it to the lab so your dentures will be custom made to fit your mouth.  Then once your dentures are ready we will remove the remaining front teeth and give you your denture so you will never be without a proper smile. 

Even though your dentures are custom made to fit your mouth, it is not uncommon for minor adjustments to be needed within the first few weeks of obtaining your new denture. If your dentures are rubbing or causing sore spots on your gums, your dentist can quickly adjust them so that they are no longer a source of irritation. Never try to adjust or repair your dentures yourself.

Once your gums have healed after about three months, then your dentures will need to be relined so that they fit properly in front as well as in back. Your dentures will need to be relined or replaced every five to ten years in order to ensure that they continue to fit and function as they should.

When you first get your dentures they may feel awkward. Until you are used to your dentures it is best to eat soft foods cut into small pieces chewing with both sides of your mouth at the same time. It is also a good idea to read out loud to get used to speaking with your dentures in place.

Denture Care:

Implants

If you are missing only a few teeth, dental implants are an alternative solution to bridges or partial dentures. A dental implant consists of a titanium post placed in the jawbone that acts as the root of the tooth and a crown that is placed over the implant post.

Benefits of Implants:

Patients considering implants need to be in good health, have good oral hygiene habits, healthy gums and healthy jawbones with adequate thickness.  Implants are more commonly being covered by dental insurance plans.

The procedure consists of a few visits and the process may take several months. The first step is to get the implant placed into the jawbone, a procedure that requires oral surgery and several months of healing time. The procedure is generally a comfortable procedure. The second step is to visit your dentist so he can determine the proper shade for your new tooth. The third step is to attach the new tooth, referred to as an implant crown (which is exactly like a regular crown except that it fits over the implant post rather than your natural tooth).

Implant crowns never decay but it is important to keep them clean because the surrounding area is still susceptible to gum disease. A dental implant is the most durable tooth replacement option available.

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Cosmetic

COSMETIC DENTISTRY:
This can be anything done to correct imperfections in the appearance of the mouth. Anyone who is unhappy with their smile can have it fixed. The upper teeth show, usually, only when smiling, while the lower teeth remain hidden. This is reversed when talking, with the upper teeth remaining hidden while the lower teeth show. The color, alignment, and spacing as well as regularity of the teeth are all characteristics that we can repair in order to enhance your overall appearance.

We offer a wide variety of cosmetic options including: whitening, bonding, veneers, re-contouring of the shape of the teeth, and all-porcelain crowns.

Whitening

Our office does not offer in-office bleaching but we do offer custom-made bleaching trays that include a take-home whitening kit, for which you can get refills at our office. If you decide to purchase custom bleaching trays from office, the process takes two visits: the first visit to take impressions of your mouth the second to give you your new custom trays and kit.

We also sell Professional Crest Whitening strips which cannot be purchased in a store.

Bonding

Bonding involves adhering tooth-colored composite resin material to the surface of the tooth. This is done to repair damage done to the tooth by decay, to alter the alignment of the tooth, close gaps between the teeth, or for cosmetic purposes. The process for bonding is very similar to the process for getting a filling.

Veneers

Veneers are a dental procedure in which a covering is placed over the outside (visible area) of the tooth. Veneers are usually only done to the part of the teeth that are visible when talking or smiling. The advantage of veneers over crowns is that much less tooth material, if any, is removed, and the procedure is minimally invasive and generally painless. Veneers are usually made using porcelain or pressed ceramic, and are very attractive.

The process of getting veneers involves two visits and takes about two weeks. At the first visit the teeth are prepared, impressions taken. Then we send your impressions to a dental laboratory where the veneers will be custom made to fit your teeth. On the second visit, we will check the fit and color of your new veneers and if we are satisfied, we will cement them in place.

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An abscessed tooth is a tooth where a pocket of pus has formed at the bottom of the root in the jawbone. An abscess is caused by an infection of the pulp layer of the tooth which is usually the result of a deep cavity or a cracked tooth. Click the link for more information.
A partial denture is the most common solution to replace missing teeth. Partial dentures consist of acryllic replacement teeth, gum-colored acryllic, and metal clasps to attach the partial to your remaining teeth. Click the link for more information.
Periodontal (gum) disease is a broad term used to describe various diseases that affect the gums, bone, and surrounding structures of the teeth. The most common types are gingivitis which leads to bleeding and reddening of the gums and periodontitis which can lead to tooth loss. Click the link for more information.
A bridge is a restoration that replaces one or more missing teeth and usually consists of replacement teeth attached to two crowns which are cemented onto the natural teeth to either side of the gap. Click the link for more information.
If a tooth is severely decayed to the point that a restorative treatment cannot be attempted, it may be necessary to have that tooth pulled. Our office also performs wisdom teeth extractions. Click the link for more information.
Root Canal Therapy is a treatment used to save teeth that are severely damaged and have an infection in the nerve chamber of the tooth. Click the link for more information.
When a tooth has a cavity, the best treatment option is a filling. There are two types of fillings. Fillings are a fairly simple and caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily with little or no discomfort. Click the link for more information.
A crown, or cap, is a man-made cover that is used to restore and preserve decayed, broken, or cracked teeth. Crowns are custom fit to your mouth and we have an extensive shade guide to ensure your crown matches the color of your natural teeth. Click the link for more information.