Las Cruces General & Preventive Dentistry
While we are always dedicated to spending time determining the right treatment plans for each individual patient, the most important aspect of any dental care plan is committing to regular, preventive checkups with the team at Painted Skies Dental Center. Drs. Ramon and Natalie Ortiz work hard to help patients maintain their optimal level of oral health recommending treatments to prevent common oral health concerns, and diagnose and treat others in their earliest stages. Contact our Las Cruces dental practice to find out more or schedule an appointment with our team today.
Checkups & Cleanings
Possibly the most important part of any oral health treatment plan is visiting the dentist at least two times each year for preventive checkups and teeth cleanings. These visits give our dentists and team the opportunity to evaluate patients’ current oral health, answer questions, make recommendations for improvements to at-home hygiene routines, and create a personalized treatment plan for each patient. Six month checkups at our practice include four main parts:
- Diagnostics – we use state of the art digital x-rays and photography to capture the interior and exterior oral structures in order to pinpoint any areas that need immediate attention or may require adjustments to in-office or at-home care
- Evaluation – we carefully examine the teeth, gums, and other oral structures screening for signs of the most common oral health concerns including tooth decay, gum disease, bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching), temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, and oral cancer
- Cleaning – our hygienist carefully removes plaque and tartar from even the hardest to access parts of teeth
- Consultation – one of the Drs. Ortiz sits down with patients to discuss our findings, answer questions, and create a personalized treatment plan
Nightguards for TMJ/Bruxism Therapy
While temporomandibular joint dysfunction, sometimes referred to simply as TMJ or TMD, and bruxism typically have very different causes and side effects, both oral health issues can be treated with custom crafted oral appliances from our team. Many patients who struggle with TMJ dysfunction experience a great deal of strain to these joints while they’re asleep and unable to alter their clenching or jaw movement to prevent damage to the TMJ. Oral appliances position the jaw in its ideal location relieving strain on the connective TMJ and allowing patients to rest comfortably throughout the night. Many patients with mild to moderate TMD experience significant pain relief after just a few nights wearing their oral appliance. Patients who grind and clench their teeth at night can do significant damage. A nightguard, in addition to allowing the jaw to relax minimizing grinding and clenching, places a protective barrier between patients’ teeth.
Dental sealants are one of the safest, fastest, most effective methods of protecting teeth from decay. We frequently recommend dental sealants for younger patients who are still learning to care for their smiles, but adults who suffer from frequent tooth decay may also want to consider dental sealants. This thin coating of clear plastic can be quickly placed as part of any regular hygiene appointment, and with proper care, sealants last up to ten years.
We love treating whole families in our state-of-the-art practice, and we work hard to ensure every patient we treat is comfortable and relaxed. When it comes to caring for kids, we know there are a number of unique oral health and behavioral challenges we’ll need to tackle, and both Drs. Ortiz have years of experience working with young patients to develop happy, healthy smiles and keep them for life. Our main priority is to ensure your child’s oral health, but we also want to build trust with your little ones so they have positive associations with dental care throughout their lives.
Strong, healthy tooth enamel is the best way to keep teeth whole and avoid decay and other dental damage. As teeth develop, ingested fluoride in drinking water and foods helps to fortify tooth enamel leading to strong teeth. However, once they erupt from the gum line, ingested fluoride does very little to keep them healthy. Topical fluoride in toothpastes and mouthwashes is typically effective in keeping smiles healthy, but for those patients with weakened enamel, sensitive teeth, or who are prone to decay, professional topical fluoride treatment may be beneficial.
Traditional x-rays exposed patients to significant amounts of radiation, took a long time to capture and develop, and were cumbersome to view, store, and transfer to specialists. Digital x-rays significantly reduce the amount of radiation exposure, are quicker and more comfortable to capture, and are immediately available on chairside monitors for view. These digital files are easily shared with patients, insurance providers, and specialists. Additionally, we’re able to easily save these files to compare with future x-rays making early diagnosis more accurate.
Protecting patients’ smiles during sporting events is simple. As long as patients wear a mouthguard while participating in athletic events where their teeth may come in contact with other players, hard surfaces, or sporting equipment, they are typically able to prevent any dental trauma or damage that may occur. Our custom crafted sportsguards offer superior comfort and protection increasing patient compliance compared with bulky store bought guards.
Dental emergencies can be stressful and painful, but for many patients, the worst thing about a dental emergency is simply not knowing where to turn for help. Unlike medical emergencies, there’s not typically a dental ER or 911. At Painted Skies Dental Center, we’re happy to help patients who experience dental emergencies. Start by calling our office right away. Whenever possible, we’ll schedule same-day appointments, and our knowledgeable team always takes time to walk patients through first aid and pain management tips to ensure their comfort and safety until they reach our office. Some of the most common dental emergencies we treat include:
- Avulsed (knocked out), chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
- Avulsed, chipped, cracked, or broken dental restorations
- Damaged or broken partials or dentures
- Severe toothache and sensitivity to changes in temperature that may be indicative of root canal infection
- Soft tissue lacerations
- Infection or inflammation in the gums that may indicate abscess