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 our office. However, bonding can stain and is easier to break than other cosmetic treatments, such as porcelain veneers. If it does break or chip, tell your doctor. The bonding can generally be easily patched or repaired in one visit.

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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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denturesDentures are natural-looking replacement teeth that are removable. There are two types of dentures: full and partial. Full dentures are given to patients when all of the natural teeth have been removed. Partial dentures are attached to a metal frame that is connected to your natural teeth and are used to fill in where permanent teeth have been removed. Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be properly cared for. Use a gentle cleanser to brush your dentures, always keep them moist when they’re not in use, and be sure to keep your tongue and gums clean as well.

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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 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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crownsTraditional dental restoratives, or fillings, may include gold, porcelain, or composite. Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are typically used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important. There are two different kinds of fillings: direct and indirect. Direct fillings are fillings placed into a prepared cavity in a single visit. Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. These fillings include inlays, and veneers fabricated with ceramics or composites.

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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 in your dentist’s office 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

implantsIf you are missing teeth, it is crucial to replace them. Without all your teeth, chewing and eating can destabilize your bite and cause you discomfort. When teeth are missing, your mouth can shift and even cause your face to look older. Implants are a great way to replace your missing teeth, and if properly maintained, can last a lifetime!

An implant is a new tooth made of metal and porcelain that looks just like your natural tooth. It’s composed of two main parts: one part is the titanium implant body that takes the place of the missing root, and the second part is the tooth-colored crown that is cemented on top of the implant. With implant treatment, you can smile confidently knowing no one will ever suspect you have a replacement tooth.

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 know, and schedule an appointment for your teeth to be re-sealed.

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veneersYou no longer need to hide your smile because of gaps, chips, stains, or misshapen teeth. With veneers, you can easily correct your teeth’s imperfections to help you have a more confident, beautiful smile. Veneers are natural in appearance, and they are a perfect option for patients wanting to make minor adjustments to the look and feel of their smile.

Veneers are thin, custom-made shells made from tooth-colored materials (such as porcelain), and they are designed to cover the front side of your teeth. To prepare for veneers, your doctor will create a unique model of your teeth. This model is sent to the dental technician to create your veneers. Before placing your new veneer, your doctor may need to conservatively prepare your tooth to achieve the desired aesthetic result.

When your veneers are placed, you’ll be pleased to see that they look like your natural teeth. While veneers are stain-resistant, your doctor may recommend that you avoid coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco to maintain the beauty of your new smile.

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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.