Shawn McFarland DDS PLLC

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Dental Procedures and Services

Our office offers a full range of dental treatments and procedures for the entire family. When routine exams identify the need for additional procedures to maintain the health of your mouth and teeth we are equipped with state-of-the-art training and equipment to meet the your needs. On occasion we may need to refer your to a specialists. However, the majority of your dental needs can be handled in-house.

Comprehensive Care
Your first visit to our office will consist of a full oral evaluation.  Your teeth, gums, bone, tongue, and other oral tissues will be evaluated for their health status.  We will engage you in conversation about how you feel about your teeth and smile and also discuss any findings that are encountered.  We will answer any questions you might have and discuss treatment options with you.  We want to help optimize your oral health through comprehensive care.

Oral Exams & X-Rays

The ADA recommends annual dental exams and diagnostic x-rays (radiographs) to diagnose, treat and maintain optimal oral health. Our digital x-ray process minimizes the amount of radiation needed to accurately asses the condition of your teeth, surrounding bone, and gums. X-rays allow us to evaluate both the internal aspects of the tooth as well as the tooth's root portion and the bone that encases it.

Crowns and Bridges

A crown is used to cover a tooth and restore it to its normal shape and size. A crown can make your tooth stronger and improve its appearance. Crowns can cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn't enough tooth left. It can be used to attach a bridge, protect a weak tooth from breaking or restore one that's already broken. A crown is a good way to cover teeth that are discolored or badly shaped. It's also used to cover a dental implant.  Crowns can be made to look just like a natural tooth by using porcelain, zirconia or combination of materials.
Sometimes called a fixed partial denture, a bridge replaces missing teeth with "bridged" teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. The restoration can be made from porcelain, zirconia, gold, metal alloys,  or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support. Bridges help maintain the shape of your face, as well as alleviating the stress in your bite by replacing missing teeth.

Dental Implants

Crowns and conventional bridges or dentures may not be your only options when replacing missing teeth. For some people, dental implants offer a smile that looks and feels very natural. Surgically placed below the gums over a series of appointments, implants fuse to the jawbone and serve as a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or a denture.  Implants offer stability because they fuse to your bone. Integration of the implants into your jaw also helps your replacement teeth feel more natural and some people also find the secure fit more comfortable than conventional substitutes.  Candidates for dental implants need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. A thorough evaluation is needed to determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants.  We use some great surgeons here in Tucson to place the implant and then when its intergrated with the bone, we will build the tooth or bridge or denture onto it/them.

Veneers
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells crafted of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front side of teeth. They're placed on top of your teeth and are used to correct nature's mistake or the results of an injury. Veneers can be used to create a beautiful smile by hiding gaps in your teeth, teeth that are stained, badly shaped or crooked.  There are veneer systems now that don't require any tooth preparation.  These are even thinner facings that are cemented to the face of a tooth.
Sometimes it's necessary to remove a small amount of enamel from your teeth to accommodate the shell, it's important to know veneers are a permanent and normally irreversible solution and that it is best to avoid some foods and beverages that may stain or discolor your veneers such as coffee, tea or red wine. Sometimes a veneer might chip or fracture. But for many people the results are more than worth it.

Teeth Whitening
We offer several systems for teeth whitening.  Bleaching trays can be made to custom fit your teeth.  We have different strengths of bleach that can be used with the trays.  We also have an over the counter style system, much like the systems you might see in the store. A number of in-office bleaching agents have the ADA Seal of Acceptance, your assurance that they have met ADA standards of safety and effectiveness. If you are a candidate for bleaching, our dentists may suggest a procedure that can be done in our office. This procedure is called chairside bleaching and may require more than one office visit. Each visit may take from 30 minutes to one hour. During chairside bleaching, the dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the oral soft tissues. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth. We do not use teeth whitening procedures using lasers to enhance the action of the whitening agent as they are not currently on the ADA list of accepted products.

Composite Fillings

Composite resins are tooth-colored, acrylic-like materials (made of glass and resin) that are used both as fillings and to repair defects in the teeth. Because they are tooth-colored, it is difficult to distinguish them from natural teeth.  They can be placed on both front and back teeth.

Extractions
A tooth may need to be extracted for any one of a number of reasons. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed, others may have advanced periodontal disease ("gum disease"), or else have broken in a fashion which cannot be repaired. Other teeth may need removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth (such as impacted wisdom teeth), or else in preparation for orthodontic treatment ("braces").  We strive to accommodate patients and perform extractions in the office, but there are situations where an oral surgeon may be needed and a refferral is given.

Dentures
If you’ve lost some or all of your natural teeth, whether from periodontal disease, tooth decay or injury, complete dentures and partials can replace your missing teeth and your smile. Replacing missing teeth will benefit your appearance and your health. Without support from the denture or partial, facial muscles sag, making a person look older. You’ll be able to eat and speak—things that people often take for granted until their natural teeth are lost.  There are various types of complete dentures. A conventional full denture is made and placed in the patient’s mouth after the remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed which may take several months. An immediate complete denture is inserted as soon as the remaining teeth are removed. The dentist takes measurements and makes models of the patient’s jaws during a preliminary visit. With immediate dentures, the denture wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period.

Root Canal Therapy

Root canal treatment is necessary when the soft inner tissue, or “pulp,” of the tooth becomes inflamed or infected. This may happen as a result of deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or an injury to the tooth. Root canal (endodontic) treatment removes the damaged pulp. Then the tooth’s canals are cleaned and filled to help preserve the tooth.  Often, the only alternative to root canal therapy is extraction of the tooth. The extracted tooth must then be replaced with an implant, bridge, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. Because these alternatives require surgery or dental procedures on adjacent healthy teeth, endodontic treatment is usually the most biologic and cost-effective option for maintaining your oral health.

Teeth Cleaning
In addition to your every daily brushing and flossing, it's important to get your teeth cleaned professionally. The ADA recommends semi-annual (every six months) routine teeth cleaning appointments. Some individuals may require more frequent appointments to maintain optimal oral health.  These more frequent hygiene appointments are utilized to help acheive or maintain optimal oral health, especially in the gums.

Periodontal Procedures
Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The word periodontal literally means "around the tooth." Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.  This is commonly reffered to as gingivitis.  Chronic gingivitis can lead to loss of bone around teeth.  This bone loss defines the periodontal disease status of a tooth or teeth.

Root scaling and planing are non-surgical procedures in which the plaque and tartar are removed from below the gum line. Tooth root surfaces are cleaned and smoothed with specially designed instruments. It is important to remove the plaque and tartar from the pockets, because aside from the bacterial toxins that irritate the gums, plaque and the rough surfaces of tartar make it easier for bacteria to get a foothold. Depending on how far your periodontal disease has progressed, treatment can vary widely. If the disease is caught early, simple procedures can be done that will remove the plaque and calculus from below the gum line and eliminate the infection-causing bacteria. If the disease has advanced to the point where the periodontal pockets are deep and the supporting bone is lost, surgery might be necessary.


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