Composite Restorations

zoom!_logo-1Often referred to as a filling, a composite restoration is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When Dr. Pitcock completes a composite restoration, he first removes the decayed tooth structure, cleans the affected area, and then fills the cleaned out cavity with a filling material.
By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. The composite restoration filling material allows Dr. Pitcock to match your natural tooth shade so the restoration is not visible in your mouth.

Treatment for Gum Disease

Gum disease is inflammation of the gums that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not removed through daily brushing and flossing, plaque can build up and the bacteria can infect not only your gums and teeth, but eventually the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth. This can cause them to become loose, fall out, or have to be removed by a dentist.
A professional cleaning by Carly, our Registered Dental Hygienist, is the only way to remove plaque that has built up and hardened into tartar. Carly will clean or “scale” your teeth to remove the tartar above and below the gum line. If your condition is more severe, a root planing procedure may be performed.

Occlusal Guards

An occlusal guard (also known as a “night guard”) is a horseshoe shaped piece of plastic which is worn over the teeth to protect them against damage caused by clenching or grinding. It works by creating a physical barrier between your upper and lower teeth so that you bite against the plastic rather than wearing down your teeth. Most people are unaware that they grind or clench their teeth as it usually happens when they are sleeping. It is often a person’s partner who first notices that they are grinding their teeth. People tend to go through phases of grinding their teeth, such as during times of stress. It is during these times that you may need to wear an occlusal night guard to prevent doing permanent damage to your teeth.
An occlusal guard is made of clear acrylic. It may be either soft or hard acrylic depending on what your dentist recommends. As it is only made of plastic, your occlusal guard may become cloudy and discolor over time, but this does not affect the functionality of the night guard. Occlusal guards can be made for either the upper or lower teeth. Occlusal guards are usually only worn at night when people are not able to stop themselves from grinding or clenching their teeth. If you are a severe grinder, Dr. Pitcock may also recommend that you wear it during the day, but this is not usually required.


zoom!_logo-1Whitening is among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because it can greatly improve the appearance of your smile. Tooth whitening is a procedure that uses a whitening gel to bleach your tooth enamel (the outer layer of your tooth). The color of your natural teeth is created by the reflection and scattering of light off the enamel, combined with the color of the dentin under it. Your genes affect the thickness and smoothness of the enamel. Thinner enamel allows more of the color of the dentin to show through. Having smoother or rougher enamel also affects the reflection of light and therefore the color.
Every day, a thin coating (pellicle) forms on your enamel and picks up stains. Tooth enamel also contains pores that can hold stains. The most common reasons for teeth staining are using tobacco, drinking dark-colored liquids (such as cola, coffee, tea, and red wine) and improper oral hygiene. Aging also contributes to the yellowing of the teeth because over time enamel becomes thinner and the dentin becomes darker.
Tooth whitening can be done either in our office or at home. In-office (chairside) whitening allows Dr. Pitcock to use a more powerful whitening gel. A specialized light activates the gel and allows bleaching to occur at a faster rate. It is very important to consult Dr. Pitcock before whitening your teeth to make sure he feels that you are a good candidate for the procedure.


Dental sealants are for children and are usually placed on the chewing (occlusal) surface of the permanent back teeth — the molars and premolars — to help protect them from decay. The chewing surfaces of children’s molar and premolar teeth have grooves, or “fissures”, that make them vulnerable to decay. These fissures can be deep, difficult to clean, and can be narrower than even a single bristle of a toothbrush. Plaque accumulates in these areas, and the acid from bacteria in the plaque attacks the enamel and cavities can develop. Fluoride helps prevent decay and helps protect all the surfaces of the teeth, while dental sealants provide extra protection for the grooved and pitted areas by providing a smooth surface covering over the fissured areas.


If a tooth has been broken or damaged by decay, Dr. Pitcock will try to fix it with a filling, crown or other restorative treatment. Sometimes, though, there is too much damage for the tooth to be repaired. If this is the case, Dr. Pitcock will recommend that the tooth be extracted. A very loose tooth also will require extraction if it can’t be saved, even with bone replacement surgery (bone graft).
Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are often extracted either before or after they come in. They commonly come in during the late teens or early 20s. They need to be removed if they are decayed, causing pain, or have a cyst or infection. These teeth often get stuck in the jaw (impacted) and do not come in properly. This can irritate the gum, causing pain and swelling. If you need all of your wisdom teeth removed, it is usually recommended to have them all removed at the same time.

Root Canal Therapy

A root canal treatment is the removal of the tooth’s pulp (or nerve) – a small, thread-like tissue in the center of the tooth. Once the damaged, diseased or dead pulp is removed, the remaining space is cleaned, shaped, and filled. This procedure seals off the root canal. Years ago, teeth with diseased or injured pulps were removed. Today, root canal treatment saves many teeth that would otherwise be lost.
The most common causes of pulp damage are: a cracked tooth, a deep cavity, deep decay under an existing restoration, or an injury to a tooth (such as a severe knock to the tooth, either recent or in the past). Once the pulp is infected or dead, if left untreated, pus can build up at the root tip in the jawbone, forming an abcess. An abscess can destroy the bone surrounding the tooth and cause pain.
As there is no longer a pulp keeping the tooth alive, root-treated teeth can become brittle and are more prone to fracture. This is an important consideration when deciding whether to crown or fill a tooth after root canal treatment.
Your treated and restored tooth/teeth can last a lifetime with proper care. Because tooth decay can still occur in treated teeth, good oral hygiene and regular dental exams are necessary to prevent further problems.

Implant Restorations

zoom!_logo-1Dental implants are metal posts or frames that are surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath your gums. Once in place, they allow your dentist to mount replacement teeth onto them. Because implants fuse to your jawbone, they provide stable support for artificial teeth. Dentures and bridges mounted to implants won’t slip or shift in your mouth — an especially important benefit when eating and speaking. This secure fit helps the dentures and bridges — as well as individual crowns placed over implants — feel more natural than conventional bridges or dentures.
For some people, ordinary bridges and dentures are simply not comfortable or even possible due to sore spots, poor ridges or gagging. In addition, ordinary bridges must be attached to teeth on either side of the space left by the missing tooth, possibly compromising unnecessary natural tooth structure. An advantage of implants is that no adjacent teeth need to be prepared or ground down to hold your new replacement tooth/teeth in place.

Crowns / Bridges

A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape, or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic.
Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.