At Berkshire Dental Arts, we provide comprehensive services such as oral cancer screenings, periodontal therapies, minimally-invasive TMD therapies, root canal therapies, extractions and other treatments.
Root Canal Therapy
When teeth are badly damaged due to extensive cavities or trauma, the nerve that lives inside the tooth can become inflamed or irritated beyond repair. Eventually, this inflammation causes the nerve to die and become a source of infection in the body— a potentially painful and dangerous condition.
Root canal therapy (RCT or endodontic treatment) is performed on an infected or dead tooth. RCT cleans away the damaged nerve and bacteria that are the source of infection, allowing your body to heal. Normally, this is a routine, highly-successful and fairly comfortable procedure that can save a tooth otherwise needing extraction.
Periodontitis (a form of periodontal disease) is a bacterial infection of the bone and supporting tissues of the teeth and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Often, chronic periodontitis is symptomless until it becomes advanced enough to cause severe, potentially irreversible damage. It can also impact general health and make diseases like diabetes harder to control.
Signs of periodontitis can include red, puffy gums that bleed easily, teeth that become mobile or "flare out" over time, abscesses or infections in the gums, bad breath, receding gums, lengthening teeth or "black triangles" developing between teeth.
At Berkshire Dental Arts we screen every new and returning patient for gum and periodontal disease so we can intervene to prevent damage. We also provide initial therapies to correct early disease as well as targeted maintenance plans to keep periodontal disease in check and help our patients return to health.
Unfortunately, it is possible for teeth to become damaged beyond repair due to cavities, trauma, infection or bone disease (periodontitis) or other pathologies. In these situations, extraction or removal of the tooth may be the best or only remaining option to restore oral health. In addition, sometimes teeth may need to be removed for other treatment goals, such as facilitating orthodontic treatment, addressing severe crowding, or when braces are not an option to reposition out-of-place teeth.
Jaw pain, popping or grinding sounds, or difficulties with jaw mobility are commonly reported symptoms that have many possible causes. Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD or TMJD) is a non-specific, umbrella term that describes any condition of pain originating in the muscles of the head and neck related to chewing function and/or the temporomandibular joint (TMJ or "jaw joint"). Arthritis, disorders of the nerves or blood vessels, salivary glands, ear infections, and even medications can all be causes of TMD. However, most TMD results from trauma, repetitive oral habits or general overuse and other stresses and rarely are its causes singular.
Because TMD is a complex disorder with many interrelated factors, treatment is usually trial-based and prolonged. Dr. Barnes's first step in addressing TMD is to perform a thorough patient interview. Once she has helped a patient identify contributing factors, minimally-invasive therapies like oral appliances, medications, physical therapy, and behavior modifications can often make substantial progress in improving a TMD sufferer's quality of life before invasive and costly surgical procedures are considered.
Oral Cancer Screenings
An important component of your dental exam is the Oral Cancer Screening. In addition to evaluating your teeth and gums, Dr. Barnes with also screen you for oral cancer and other abnormalities to help ensure early detection and treatment.
While not all cancers are predictable, some risk factors are known: age over 55, male gender, tobacco or alcohol use, sun exposure, human papilloma virus (HPV) and poor diet. Click to learn more.