Restorative Dentistry

Tooth-Colored (Mercury Free) Fillings
In years past, all fillings were made of amalagam or silver material which was
typically visible when the patient opened their mouth. These restorations were
not considered visually appealing and were prone to shrinking and expanding
allowing decay to settle into the restored tooth. Debate exists about possible
health risks resulting from the various metals used in these restorations.
Amalagam fillings have given way to a more durable and cosmetic form of
dentistry known as tooth colored fillings or composite fillings.

At Dr. Gardnerís office, we offer metal-free or tooth colored fillings that present
an aesthetic value to a safer, more structurally sound restoration. These types
of fillings are metal-free, mercury-free, and are made of state-of-the-art
material specifically developed to bond to the existing tooth structure with
minimal shrinkage. Furthermore, the restorations closely match the shade of
your natural teeth allowing you to be more confident about your smile.

Root Canal Therapy
Every tooth has between one and four root canals. Sometimes, the canals that
house the tooth pulp, consisting of nerves, blood vessels, and other tissues,
become inflamed or infected. Traumatic injury to a tooth might also be a catalyst.
The first indicators that there might be a problem arising are pain and sensitivity
to heat and cold. While you might be experiencing some pain, the spreading
infection can lead to an abscess.

Root canal therapy involves removing the damaged tissue, stopping the infection
from spreading, and restoring the healthy part of the tooth. This type of
treatment allows the patient to keep a natural tooth that, in the past, would
have been considered for extraction before root canal therapy treatments were
commonly done.

Crowns and Bridges
Crowns are realistic looking covers, or caps, that fit securely over a single
natural tooth. They are permanently bonded or cemented to a patientís own
tooth that has been modified to support the new restoration. The purpose of
crowns is to offer support and comfort to teeth that have been badly damaged,
decayed, cracked, or injured.

Bridges use the same restorative procedure as single crowns but they serve to
bridge a gap caused by a missing tooth. An artificial tooth is attached to a
porcelain crown on each side. The two porcelain crowns fit over the existing teeth
bridging the space in between. Replacing the missing tooth restores the
functionality of the patientís bite and also gives the patient a more confident-
looking smile. Crowns and bridges can ultimately offer a more uniform and
improved appearance of your smile with strength and stability as an added bonus.

TMJ Dysfunction (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction)
The temporomandibular joints, or TMJ, is the joint located directly in front the ear where the lower jaw connects to the temporal bone of the skull. This joint is one of the most complex joints in the human body. Because of the complexity of this particular joint, those suffering from TMJ dysfunction may experience a variety of symptoms including popping or clicking of the joint, locking of the jaw or pain in the jaw joint, the ear, head or neck.

TMJ dysfunction can result from a variety of things, but among the most common is grinding of the teeth because of an occlusion (bite) that is less than ideal. As is the case with most diseases, treatment is easiest and the best results are obtained if the problem is diagnosed early.

Invisalign is a revolutionary way to straighten teeth simply by wearing clear removable plastic retainers that gradually move your teeth. These retainers are less noticeable than traditional braces and much easier to maintain. The average treatment time is about 18 months. Dr. Gardner is Invisalign certified. For more information on Invisalign, click here.

Replacing Missing Teeth

Dental implants are a long term solution to missing teeth that feel natural and are easy to care for. Implants are essentially artificial tooth roots that are permanently placed into your jaw, by oral surgeons, periodontists or dentists who limit their practices to these procedures. We complete the procedure in our office by placing the artificial teeth or bridge onto the implant. These teeth are matched to the surrounding teeth and because they are anchored directly to the jawbone they feel and function almost like your own teeth.

Dental implants can be the solution to many dental problems. They can be used to replace a single tooth that may be missing due to genetic causes or the result of an unfortunate accident, Implants can be used as anchors for bridges or help secure dentures. Implants can be a life changing option for people who are embarrassed by their smile or for long-time denture wearers who have never had a comfortable, functional, or cosmetically pleasing denture.

Partial Dentures
Partial dentures are removable appliances that replace one or more teeth and are in some way clasped to the remaining teeth. Removable partial dentures can be made without sacrificing esthetics. Valplast partials, for example, do not have metal clasps at all. Precision attachments are clasps that in many cases can be hidden.

The retention of partial dentures can often be improved by using precision attachments or, in some cases, using implants.

You may also click on implants to learn more about them as an alternative for replacing missing teeth.

Denture comfort and function is affected by a variety of conditions and circumstances. These include the health of the gum tissue, amount of gum tissue, muscle activity in the lips, cheeks and floor of the mouth, the medications you take and oneís ability to adapt. If you have struggled with ill-fitting dentures call us for a no-charge consultation appointment at 931.486.2949.

Fixed Bridges
Fixed bridges are a means of replacing missing teeth by attaching false teeth to crowns which rest on implants or on natural teeth beside the missing space. The false teeth are made to look like your natural teeth. Fixed bridges can be made from a variety of materials. We will be happy to advise you as to which material is best for you.

Teeth being properly aligned within the arch are not only cosmetically appealing but important to your overall dental health. An attractive smile boosts oneís confidence and enhances self-esteem.

Teeth that are properly aligned also allow you to chew properly which aids in digestion of food. In addition, your teeth are much easier to brush and floss and receive more of the benefit of the self-cleansing saliva when they are properly aligned. Temperomandibular Joint Dysfunction, TMJ, is less likely to develop in individuals whose occlusion (bite) is correct.

Our office highly recommends orthodontic treatment to patients of all ages who would derive benefit from such treatment, whether it be for cosmetic or functional in nature or both as is often the case.

Our office is certified in Invisalign (click here for more information). If your treatment can best be accomplished by traditional orthodontic treatment (braces), then we will advise you of that and refer you to an orthodontist.

Hygiene Services

Regular Cleanings and Oral Exams
Our dental team is dedicated to helping you reach and maintain your dental health. We believe the best way for you to maintain a healthy smile is to maintain good plaque control on a daily basis with some simple preventive measures like brushing and flossing. It is important to your dental health to have regular cleanings to remove any mineralized plaque and to aid in plaque control techniques. It is also important to have dental exams regularly to catch and halt any oral disease (including dental decay, periodontal (gum) disease, etc.) as early as possible.

At every cleaning visit, our hygienist will scan your mouth for dental issues and alert Dr. Gardner to any concerns. She will also evaluate your oral hygiene habits and plaque control to make technique and product recommendations. She and Dr. Gardner will also assess your overall health because there are several health conditions and medications that affect your oral health and vice versa. In order to provide the best care possible, it is essential that you provide an accurate health history to the dental team so they can identify any correlating health conditions. Our dental team wants to help you maintain your oral health and we request that you allow us to do so.

Teeth Whitening
Teeth can become stained by some foods and drinks, tobacco use, certain medications, and aging. Fortunately, in most cases, we can whiten teeth that have become stained. Whether you are 18 or 81, a bright white smile can boost your confidence by creating a more youthful, healthy, and vibrant smile. We can perform a complete whitening procedure in our office in just one hour. Here at Dr. Gardnerís office, we use a process called Luma Teeth Whitening* that is relaxing and pain-free. The entire process is very simple. A member of our dental team will apply Lumaís whitening solution to all of your teeth and then set a special light in front of your teeth to activate the solution. After 10 minutes, he/she will remove the solution and re-apply. Each session is 10 minutes and the average whitening case takes 4 sessions. No heat, needles, or drills are used and you can swallow normally while you relax in the dental chair to some tunes of your choice. Itís that simple! You can leave our office with a whiter, brighter smile in only one hour.
The whitening results you get could last for years all depending on your lifestyle. At the beginning of the whitening session we will take impressions of your teeth to make personalized whitening trays for you to touch up at home. Whenever you notice the whitening is fading, you can touch it up quickly and easily. When considering whitening your teeth, please understand that crowns and fillings will not whiten. Only natural, vital teeth can be whitened. In order to keep the color of your teeth uniform, you may need a new crown or filling once the whitening process is complete. Whitening is meant only to change the shade of your natural teeth. If you are concerned about the shape of your teeth, you may be a candidate for cosmetic dentistry.

*This process has been thoroughly studied and safety-tested. Research has shown that the materials used with Luma Whitening are effective and safe.

Periodontal Care
One of the most common oral diseases affecting adults in the United States is gum disease, or periodontal disease. It is estimated that approximately 80 percent of all U.S. adults have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal diseases range from mild gum inflammation to advanced disease that causes major damage to the bone and other tissues that support the teeth. Advanced periodontal disease threatens your chance to keep your teeth. Recent studies have shown that it not only affects your oral health, but your overall health. Periodontal bacteria, as well as the toxic by products of these bacteria, can lead to a 30 percent greater chance of stroke, 50 percent greater chance of heart attack, increased risk of delivering pre-term low birth-weight babies, and difficulty controlling blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Periodontal disease is also of great concern if you are having joint replacement surgery.

At our office, our goal is to target any periodontal issues before they become serious problems. The dental hygienist will evaluate your gums at every cleaning then periodically use a miniature ruler to check for periodontal pockets. If Dr. Gardner diagnoses you with periodontal disease, you will first go through an evaluation of your level of disease, your risk factors, and your treatment options. Periodontal diseases is a bacterial infection. It is the result of plaque accumulating between the teeth and gums. If that bacteria moves into the bloodstream, that condition is known as bacteremia. Bacteria being carried through the body by the bloodstream, can infect any organ or structure of the body. If the bacteria infects the joint, healing can be seriously impeded, even to the point of having to repeat the surgery. Many orthopedic surgeons require their patients to be free of periodontal disease prior to surgery.

We practice state-of-the-art, non-surgical periodontal therapy. We now know that periodontitis is caused by 11 different types of bacteria. We can test for those bacteria with a saliva sample. Once we know which bacteria are present, we can better treat the disease. If you are facing joint replacement surgery, we would be happy to help you receive the appropriate dental care both prior to and following your surgery.

If you want to learn more about it, please click here.

Fluoride Treatments
More information coming soon!

Sealants are thin coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth to prevent bacteria from getting down into the pits and grooves of your teeth. Even thorough brushing leaves some plaque on the back (molar) teeth due to the intricate anatomy of them. Young children are great candidates for sealants because in most cases, decay has not already set in.

Typically, sealants can be placed as soon as the back (molar) teeth fully erupt into the mouth which happens around age 6 and then again at age 12. The dental hygienist can place the sealants in a matter of minutes and without any drills, needles, or other frightening instruments.

Sealants actually were developed about 50 years ago, but did not become commonly used until the 1970ís. Today, sealants are widely popular and effective. In fact, the cost of one sealant is only about one-third of the cost of a single filling. Research has proven that dental sealants help prevent decay and last for nine years or more. Sealants help stomp out decay!

Office Hours
Monday-Thursday, 8AM to 5PM
(Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday closed for lunch 1-2PM)
Tuesday closed Noon-3PM)

Please call during normal business hours other than during an emergency.
If you are experiencing a dental emergency, please call 931.

Dennis R. Gardner, D.D.S
5311 Main Street
P.O. Box 129
Spring Hill, TN 37174
Phone 931.486.2949
Fax 931.486.0000