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Common Procedures


Topics on this page

Regular Exams and Cleanings | Bonding | Bridges | Crowns | Dentures | Extractions | Fillings | Fluoride | Implant Restoration | Mouthguards | Nightguards | Root Canals | Sealants | Veneers | Wisdom Teeth

For exceptional general dentistry in Wichita, make an appointment to see us at Wichita Family Dental. Our outstanding doctors strive to deliver the best and most comfortable dental care in a relaxing, state of the art environment.

Not only does a healthy smile make you look and feel more attractive and confident, it’s a crucial part of your long-term general health. By looking after your teeth and gums today, you can help preserve your natural teeth and avoid costly and painful dental restoration work in the future. You are also helping to protect yourself against serious health problems that begin in the mouth, such as oral cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

We offer a comprehensive range of services in general dentistry in Wichita, because we understand how important oral health is to your overall wellbeing. These include regular professional cleanings and exams, a cornerstone of our approach to preventive health.

Regular Cleanings and Exams

During a dental cleaning at Wichita Family Dental, our dentists use professional instruments to remove the build-up of tartar that accumulates in the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth, even with twice-daily brushing and flossing. Dental cleanings also help to prevent bad breath, and will remove most stains, leaving you with whiter, brighter, and more polished teeth.

Dental exams are another of our most important services in general dentistry in Wichita. Our dentists use the latest digital x-ray technology, to take a detailed image of your entire mouth. Digital x-rays have up to 80 percent less radiation than traditional film x-rays, and they play an invaluable role in diagnosing and treating dental problems.

Our dentist have expertise in the full range of general dentistry procedures to enhance the long-term health and beauty of your teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. These include fluoride treatments, root canal treatments, tooth-colored fillings, and treatments for gum disease and TMJ.

Whatever you need, we’re here to help with the highest standard of personalized care. For the leading general dentistry in Wichita, call us at (316) 630-9339 to make an appointment today.

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bondingBonding is a conservative way to repair slightly chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. During dental bonding, a white filling is placed onto your tooth to improve its appearance. The filling “bonds” with your tooth, and because it comes in a variety of tooth-colored shades, it closely matches the appearance of your natural teeth.

Tooth bonding can also be used for tooth fillings instead of silver amalgam. Many patients prefer bonded fillings because the white color is much less noticeable than silver. Bonding fillings can be used on front or back teeth, depending on the location and extent of tooth decay.

Bonding is less expensive than other cosmetic treatments and can usually be completed in one visit to Wichita Family Dental. 

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bridgesA bridge may be used to replace missing teeth, help maintain the shape of your face, and alleviate stress on your bite.

A bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. Your bridge can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.

The success of any bridge depends on its foundation — the other teeth, gums, or bone to which it is attached. Therefore, it’s very important to keep your existing teeth, gums, and jaw healthy and strong.

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A crown is a ceramic or porcelain cap that fits over the portion of a tooth above the gum line. It can hold together a severely cracked or broken tooth, protect a root-canal treated tooth, or act as an anchor for a dental bridge. Dental crowns can also improve the appearance of a tooth by adding length or width to misshapen teeth, masking tooth discolorations, and restoring a dental implant.

Wichita Family Dental uses CEREC® technology for the majority of our patients’ crowns. CEREC’s software creates a digital rendering of your crown and sends that information to our in-house ceramic mill. Your CEREC crown can be completed in just one visit, so you don’t need to wear a temporary crown or make several trips to our office to restore your smile.

With more than 30 years of experience in restorative and cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Pierson can help you regain an ideal level of oral health with a fully customized CEREC crown. Schedule your complimentary consultation at our Wichita dental office today!

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dentures Why consider dentures in Wichita?

Dentures can help fill out the appearance of your face and profile by filling in the area where your facial muscles may sag due to tooth loss. They can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that your appearance does not change much.

New dentures may feel awkward for a few weeks until you become accustomed to them. The dentures may feel loose while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place. It is not unusual to experience minor irritation or soreness. You may find that saliva flow temporarily increases. As your mouth becomes accustomed to the dentures, these problems should go away. Follow-up appointments with the dentist are generally needed after a denture is inserted so the fit can be checked and adjusted. If any problem persists, particularly irritation or soreness, be sure to consult your dentist.

Even if you wear full dentures, you still have to practice good dental hygiene. Brush your gums, tongue and roof of your mouth every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures to stimulate circulation in your tissues and help remove plaque.

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extractionsThere are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth at risk of decay, so your doctor at Wichita Family Dental may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.

When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, your dentist may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may request another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within your jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and your tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, your dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with your doctor any concerns or preferences for sedation.

Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift, causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, your dentist may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth.

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crowns If you prefer that your fillings look more natural, then composite resins, or tooth-colored fillings, are a good option for you. They provide good durability and resistance to fracture by withstanding pressure from the constant stress of chewing. They can be used on either front or back teeth.

It usually takes longer to place a composite filling than a metal filling. That’s because composite fillings require the tooth be kept clean and dry while the cavity is being filled. Tooth-colored fillings are now used more often than amalgam or gold fillings, probably due to cosmetics. In a society focused on a white, bright smile, people tend to want fillings that blend with the natural color of their teeth.

Ultimately, the best dental filling is no dental filling. Prevention is the best medicine. You can dramatically decrease your risk of cavities and other dental diseases simply by:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Flossing daily
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Visiting Wichita Family Dental regularly

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flourideFluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay and in preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface. A fluoride treatment at Wichita Family Dental takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, patients may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or your doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months.

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Implant Restoration

implants What are dental implants?

If you are looking for a permanent solution to your missing tooth, then let our experts at Wichita Family Dental tell you about how dental implants can benefit you.  A dental implant is an artificial tooth that almost has the same look and feel as your natural tooth and what’s great about this is that it is surgically embedded into your jaw bone, so it is permanent, durable and has a very strong foundation.

Patients that are healthy and have sufficient gum tissue can receive implants.  For patients who are chronic smokers, or those with medical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, and those without enough gum tissue to hold the implant will be evaluated carefully by our dental team to determine if they are suited to receive the implants.  If you are a qualified candidate, we can guarantee a very high success rate for dental implants and you will feel like you had your natural tooth back right after the procedure.

What happens when you get a dental implant?

Our dental team will be presenting a customized treatment plan for you after careful evaluation of your condition that is based on your consultation and the series of tests like x-rays and tooth impressions.  We will be walking you through the whole procedure and since this will require surgery, we will be providing all the information that you need to know including risk factors during the surgery.

The procedure starts with the implantation of the tooth root.  A small titanium post will be surgically placed into the bone socket where the missing tooth used to be.  We usually estimate this to heal completely in about 12 weeks and the tooth root should have fused completely with your jaw tissue during this time providing a very strong and permanent foundation for the artificial tooth that will be placed later on.

Once the tooth root has fused successfully, you will come back in for the attachment of the connector or abutment that will hold the artificial tooth or the dental crown.  Based on your tooth impressions, artificial teeth will be fabricated and will be attached to the abutments.  Your dentist will make sure that this matches the color of the adjacent teeth and your teeth’s full function and natural appearance are restored right after the procedure.

What you should know about a dental implant.

Dental implants are the best solution to missing teeth because they provide a very permanent fix and it’s like having your own teeth back without the hassle of taking it off for cleaning.  Implants instantly improve your appearance and speech and boost your confidence and self-image.  They are durable and convenient, which is why they are such a popular choice at Wichita Family Dental.  They require the same dental care as your natural teeth such as regular brushing and flossing.  With proper oral hygiene, dental implants can last you a long time.

In addition to tooth replacement, implants may be used to anchor dentures, especially lower dentures that tend to shift when you talk or chew. For patients with removable partial dentures, implants can replace missing teeth so you have a more natural-looking smile.

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mouthguardWhether you wear braces or not, protecting your smile while playing sports is essential. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. If you participate in any kind of full-contact sport, the American Dental Association recommends that you wear a mouthguard. Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard from your dentist. When you choose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well-fitted for your mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly. Your dentist can show you how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right mouthguard to protect your smile.

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nightguardIf you often wake up with jaw pain, earaches, or headaches, or if you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, you may have a common condition called “bruxism.” Many people do not even know that they grind their teeth, as it often occurs when one is sleeping. If not corrected, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, or even tooth loss.

There is an easy, non-invasive treatment for bruxism: nightguards. Nightguards are an easy way to prevent the wear and damage that teeth-grinding causes over time. Custom-made by your dentist from soft material to fit your teeth, a nightguard is inserted over your top or bottom arch and prevents contact with the opposing teeth.

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Root Canals

root canalsA root canal treatment is recommended to try to repair or to salvage a tooth that has severely decayed and has become infected.  When the nerve of the tooth becomes infected and the pulp is already damaged, a root canal can be a good alternative to trying to save the tooth and maintain its function instead of extracting it and replacing it with an artificial one.  To be able to stop the infection, your dentist from Wichita Family Dental will remove the dental nerve and pulp inside your tooth.  The tooth will then be cleaned and sealed to prevent further damage.  If left untreated, an abscess may form and extend the infection beyond the tooth root.  This can result in swelling of parts of the face, and possible bone loss.

Patients are a bit apprehensive when told that they have to undergo a root canal because of the misconception that it is a painful procedure.  But most of our patients actually say that it’s even better than getting a dental filling.

What is a root canal procedure like?

As with any other dental procedure, a consultation with your dentist to discuss your treatment plan and taking the necessary exams like an x-ray of your tooth is essential in the evaluation of your condition.  A root canal is typically done in one visit.  Your dentist will drill a hole into the damaged tooth to create an access point to the nerve and dental pulp.  Then your dentist will use dental files to work down the full length of your tooth and clean out the nerves and the dental pulp and scrape off the sides of your root canals.  Once your dentist is sure that all the debris has been cleaned and there are no more traces of dental pulp or nerves left, your doctor may apply medication to ensure that the infection is eradicated.

Inside the tooth, your dentist will use a sealer paste, and a rubber compound. To complete the procedure and restore the look and feel of your tooth, your dentist will use tooth colored fillings that will be molded and shaped to look like your natural tooth.  If the tooth surface was severely damaged, your dentist will talk to you about using dental crowns or other restorative options to restore the full function of your tooth.

Things that you should know about the root canal procedure in Wichita.

We make it a point to make all our patients at Wichita Family Dental aware of any consequences that could possibly come out of getting a root canal.  We do guarantee that after a root canal, patients will be relieved of the pain that they were feeling prior to the procedure and that their teeth will be restored to full function.  However, without proper oral care after the procedure is done, the tooth can become infected again and retreatment may be required.  Also, the normal wear and tear of the restoration could breakdown the seal of the treated tooth and contaminate it again.

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sealantsSometimes brushing is not enough, especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach spots in your mouth. It is difficult for your toothbrush to get in-between the small cracks and grooves on your teeth. If left alone, those tiny areas can develop tooth decay. Sealants give your teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.

Dental sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden in the deep grooves on your tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, brushing your teeth becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.

Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth as a preventive measure against tooth decay after the permanent teeth have erupted. However, adults can also receive sealants on healthy teeth. It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every patient has unique needs, and your dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.

Sealants last from three to five years, but it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact, so if your sealants come off, let your dentist at Wichita Family Dental know, and schedule an appointment for your teeth to be re-sealed.

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Porcelain Veneers

veneers What are porcelain veneers?

Among all the Cosmetic procedures that we have available, porcelain veneers offer the ultimate value in aesthetics and gives the most natural results compared to other treatments.  A porcelain veneer is a very thin piece of dental covering that is bonded to your natural tooth.  This is a conservative alternative to dental crowns, but can also provide you the perfect smile that you have always dreamed of.

As one of the top of the line treatments in cosmetic and restorative dentistry, porcelain veneers are a good option for chipped, broken, worn down, and discolored tooth.  They are also a recommended procedure for patients who want to improve the shape and color of their teeth.  If you are looking for a great alternative for your orthodontic problems, then Wichita Family Dental can provide you with porcelain veneers, which may be just what you need to have a beautiful smile in the shortest amount of time.

What happens when you get porcelain veneers?

The procedure begins with a consultation with your Wichita Family Dental specialist who will walk you through the whole procedure of getting dental veneers and provide all the information that you need.  Examinations will be taken such as dental impressions or imaging to make a full assessment of your dental needs. Your doctor will then decide based on your needs whether the veneers can be made in office or sent off to a dental lab. 95% of the time veneers are made in office and the entire procedure can be completed in one visit.

After making sure that the perfect color match and fit is achieved, the porcelain veneer is bonded to the tooth using special cement.  It is then activated by a special light instrument that ensures a strong bond to your tooth.

Things you should know about getting porcelain veneers.

Before deciding on whether or not you should get porcelain veneers, Wichita Family Dental provides not only the benefits but also the disadvantages, if any, of getting this treatment.

Porcelain veneers are very popular among our patients because they provide the most natural results and can help make dark teeth whiter.  Porcelain is well tolerated by the gums and is very resistant to stain, which makes it a good choice for dental veneers.  The entire procedure is not as invasive as the other restorative treatments because it does not require taking off as much healthy tooth structure.

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Wisdom Teeth

wisdom teethWisdom teeth are types of molars found in the very back of your mouth. They usually appear in the late teens or early twenties, but may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry. When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. If it is not removed, you may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.

Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the teeth's roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extraction easier as well as shorten the recovery time.

In order to remove a wisdom tooth, your dentist first needs to numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Since the impacted tooth may still be under the gums and imbedded in your jaw bone, your dentist will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth. In order to minimize the amount of bone that is removed with the tooth, your dentist will often “section” your wisdom tooth so that each piece can be removed through a small opening in the bone. Once your wisdom teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction, healing time varies. Your dentist will share with you what to expect and provide instructions for a comfortable, efficient healing process.