We offer a full range of dental services. Details on these services are listed below.
Bleaching – We offer in-office bleaching and take-home bleaching. For the take-home bleaching custom made bleaching trays are made to fit your teeth. The trays are worn daily for 2-3 weeks for optimal results. The in-office bleaching is done here in the office and takes one and a half hours. It is recommended to get the take home bleach with the in office bleaching to maintain your maximum whitening results, your teeth will eventually stain if the whitening is not maintained. All bleaching results vary as to each individual’s natural tooth shade is different.
Cleanings – Teeth cleanings come in various types. We tailor our cleanings to fit your specific needs. Many people’s schedule fit regular cleanings. These are usually done every 6 months. Being on a regular schedule you can usually prevent or reduce the factors that result in bone and gum damage around your teeth. Some people need to come in 3 or 4 times a year, some every 6 months, and others yearly. If the wrong factors take hold, you then get into cleanings that are actually major detriments. If it is severe, then you end up cleaning the roots of the teeth or root planing. There are much more involved procedures requiring more than one visit, are more expensive, and insurance usually only covers a portion, versus the typical 100% coverage for a regular cleaning.
Most people can tell when they need a more involved cleaning: as you can see the buildup, your gums will often bleed easily and bad breath can be a problem that does not go away. Occasionally severe problems can exist without your being aware, but usually there is some sign. Prior to every cleaning we do check the gums for these problems. If it has been a long time since your last dental visit, your first visit in our office may very well be record taking and x-rays. Records to know what we are dealing with (for you and for us) and x-rays to see what is going on below the gums and in-between the teeth. It is very important to us that you understand what is going on and help correct any problems with your teeth and gums, and thus your overall health.
Crowns – Crowns are recommended when there is major tooth destruction due to tooth breakage or decay. The crown covers the tooth and is glued in. It is stronger than a filling and usually lasts longer. It can be made to match the color of your teeth and the crown can be made our of a variety of approved materials. Crowns do cost more than a filling and require more time with a second visit. At times a crown is the best choice to fix a tooth.
Extractions and Root Canals – Extractions and root canals are referred to specialists in the area, which includes Anniston, Douglasville, Newnan, and Lagrange
Fillings – In our office we do several types of fillings. When choosing a filling type, consideration is given to the location in your mouth where the filling is being placed, what you want, and what works best. Posterior teeth have different requirements than front teeth, and the chewing surfaces of a tooth bonds differently than the rest. Choices are made from plastic (composite), silver (amalgam), and glass ionomer (a type of composite) for roots.
Each as its advantages and disadvantages, among which are differences in cost, appearance, and technical placement. All are approved for use in the mouth and we will discuss with you the differences, leaving the final choice to you. As an example, the root area of a tooth is difficult to bond. The root is generally softer than enamel and less receptive to bonding agents. It is located around the gum which means it gets wet more easily. In this instance a glass ionomer is a good choice.
Fluoride – Our office has in-office fluoride treatments as well as take-home fluoride treatments. A topical fluoride for at-home use would be MI Paste. MI Paste has Recaldent (CCP-ACP) and fluoride, which when combined together, has been proven to strengthen and rebuild weakened tooth structure. The in-office fluoride treatment we provide is called “Varnish”. This fluoride stays on the teeth for 4-6 hours and continuously releases fluoride into the teeth. This treatment is better for younger children and patients with a higher risk of cavities. The other type of in-office fluoride we offer is a topical fluoride we apply to the teeth which sits on the teeth for one minute. This treatment is good for older children and patients with a lower incidence of cavities.
Implants – Implants are becoming more popular to replace missing teeth. An implant is an actual screw that is placed into the bone of the missing tooth. Dr. Balega does not place the actual implant, the patient is referred to an oral surgeon the the surgery and implant placement. Dr. Balega then places the crown (tooth, cap) to the implant. Implants are not for everyone. Implants can be very expensive but last a lifetime with proper maintenance and good home care.
Oral Surgery – For the convenience of our patients, we now offer oral surgery services. Dr. Richard Liposky of Special Dental Services of Georgia will be here on Fridays.
Orthodontia – Dr. Balega has been doing orthodontics since 1990, and continues to take annual courses to enhance his knowledge. In general, he only does orthodontia on existing patients as this is something that is checked in a child’s recall visit. If we discover during that visit that your child is a candidate for orthodontia we will discuss the appropriate time at which to begin the process. In some cases we will refer you to a specialist. We also offer orthodontia services to adult patients and in those cases are typically less involved.
Sealants – Sealants are usually placed on the permanent molars, but can be done on other teeth. Sealants cover the chewing surfaces of the tooth where there are pits and grooves that catch bacteria and cause cavities. First, the grooves are cleaned with a very fine bur or the prophy jet (pressure wash); usually this step is done without being numb. In general, smaller restorations last longer than larger restorations. However, sealants, if properly maintained, only protect the tops of the teeth not in between. This is why good home care (brushing and flossing daily) is important.
X-Rays – There are several types of x-rays that we take. One type, are the bitewings which are placed in the mouth and the patient bites on the tab. The bitewings are to detect cavities between the teeth. Another type of x-ray is the panoramic film, which is taken to check bone levels, root tips, permanent teeth in children, and jaw joints. The panoramic x-ray is taken while the patient stand and the machine circles the patient’s head. We also take full mouth series; this is taken on patients who have periodontal problems with bone loss and usually requires a deep cleaning. A periapical film is one individual film taken of a particular tooth where there is suspicion of decay or the patient is experiencing pain.