Our Dental Care Services



Preventive & Diagnostic Dentistry


An oral examination is a visual inspection of the mouth, head, and neck, performed to detect abnormalities.  Radiographs allow for a more complete examination, helping the doctor to detect cavities, problems in existing dental restorations, gum and bone recession or other abnormal conditions within the mouth, head and neck area.
A dental cleaning, also known as an oral prophylaxis, is the removal of dental plaque and tartar (calculus) from the teeth. Specialized instruments are used to gently remove these deposits without harming the teeth. First, an ultrasonic device that emits vibrations and is cooled by water is used to loosen larger pieces of tartar. Next, hand tools are used to manually remove smaller deposits and smooth the tooth surfaces. Once all the tooth surfaces have been cleaned of tartar and plaque, the teeth are polished.
Many sports require athletes to use a Mouth Guard to protect their teeth while practicing and playing. Frequently used in contact sports, the mouth guard covers the gums and teeth to provide protection for lips, gums, teeth and arches. A properly fitted mouth guard can reduce the severity of dental injuries.

Pre-formed, ready-to-wear mouth guards can be purchased inexpensively at many sporting stores, but they do not always fit well. They can be uncomfortable and interfere with talking and even breathing.

Sporting goods stores also offer semi-custom mouth guards, in which the plastic is heated and then the athlete bites on it while still warm to provide some level of custom fit.

Your dentist can make a custom mouth guard by taking an impression of your teeth and then creating a device fitted to your mouth for the highest level of both comfort and protection. A custom fitted mouthguard can be particularly important for athletes who wear braces.

Be sure to bring your mouthguard to your dental appointments so your doctor can be sure it still fits you well.


Restorative Dentistry


Tooth-colored fillings are the most lifelike material used to fill cavities. Composite fillings can be done in one visit. Once the decay is removed from the tooth, it is filled with this composite material and left to harden immediately afterwards.
A crown is a dental restoration that completely covers the outside of a severely decayed tooth. Dental crowns can be completed in two visits. During the first visit, the tooth is prepped (shaved down) and an impression is taken. A temporary crown is placed while the permanent crown is being made. During the second visit, the permanent crown is carefully fitted and then cemented into place for a permanent restoration.
A bridge replaces missing teeth without the use of a denture or dental implant. A false tooth is held in place by being attached to a neighboring tooth. In order to fabricate a bridge, crowns are made for the teeth on either side of the space and a false tooth is placed in between the crowns, which act as supports.
Dental implants are the replacement of tooth roots in the mouth. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed or removable replacement teeth. Dental implants, which are placed in the jawbone, are small anchors made of a biocompatible metal called titanium. The anchors begin to fuse with the bone over the course of a few months. After the fusing process, known as osseointegration, abutment posts are inserted into the anchors to allow for the permanent attachment of the replacement teeth.
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth. There are two types of dentures: Complete (Full) and Partial Dentures.

Complete (Full) Dentures are made after all the teeth in the upper and/or lower jaw have been removed and the gum tissue has healed. The denture includes an acrylic base that is custom made in the dental laboratory and is made to look like natural gums. The denture sits over the gums or can be anchored to dental implants.

Removable Partial Dentures are made when only a few teeth need to be replaced. Removable partial dentures either attach to crowns on either side of the denture or to a metal framework that is then attached to the teeth on both sides of the partial denture. When worn during the day, removable partial implants can also be supported in place by dental implants. As opposed to being removable, partial dentures can also be anchored in place by being attached to dental implants.


Pediatric Dentistry


Children and adults with special needs often require specific techniques and skills to help them feel comfortable receiving dental care. Our office is experienced in treating children with special needs and we are dedicated to helping these children maintain oral health, knowing that oral health is an important factor in overall systemic health.

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride is a natural substance that helps strengthen teeth and prevent decay. Fluoride treatments are administered at the office. It is applied to the teeth in a gel, foam or varnish form.

Sealants

Sealants protect your child’s teeth from decay. Sealants are placed on the biting surfaces of premolars and molars to seal the grooves and pits of the teeth. The teeth are prepped for the sealant application and the sealant is painted directly on the chewing surface of the teeth and then hardens. Sealants are applied in one visit.

Pulpal therapy involves treating decay within the inside of the tooth. If the inside of the tooth, known as the dental pulp, is damaged it will gradually decay if left within the tooth. The process involves removing the pulp, cleaning out the root canals, and packing the canals with material that will help restore the tooth until it is time for it to exfoliate (or fall out on its own naturally).
Space maintainers are used to keep teeth from drifting into an empty tooth space due to early loss of primary (baby) teeth. Baby teeth act as a guide for the eruption of the permanent teeth. A space maintainer is made of stainless steel and/or plastic. It can be removable or fixed to the teeth.

Cosmetic Dentistry


Whitening, also known as bleaching, is the procedure used to brighten teeth. There are two different ways to achieve a desired whiter smile: In-Office Bleaching and At-Home Bleaching.

In-Office Bleaching usually requires only one office visit. A protective gel or a rubber shield is placed over the gums to protect the soft tissue. A bleaching agent containing carbamide peroxide is applied to the teeth, and a laser light is then used to enhance the action of the whitening agent.

At-Home bleaching requires an impression of the teeth to be taken to make a customized mouth guard to hold the whitening gel, containing carbide peroxide, against the teeth. Once the mouth guard is made, it is worn for a period of time, as instructed by our office. The amount of time may vary from a couple hours a day, or all night, to up to four weeks or longer, if desired.

Cosmetic bonding is the process of filling or restoring teeth with a tooth-colored material in order to maintain a natural appearance. In order to bond a tooth, tooth colored material is added to the tooth to build it up.
An inlay or onlay is a partial crown restoration that can be placed when there is not sufficient tooth structure to support a filling, but not quite large enough to require a crown. They are made of a composite or porcelain that aesthetically and functionally replaces the missing tooth structure.

Invisalign® takes a modern approach to straightening teeth, using a custom-made series of aligners created for you and only you. These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that you wear over your teeth. Wearing the aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place, based on the exact movements your dentist or orthodontist plans out for you. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You just pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete. You’ll achieve a great smile with little interference in your daily life. The best part about the whole process is that most people won’t even know that you’re straightening your teeth.
Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain used to recreate the natural look of teeth. To place a veneer, a very small amount of the original tooth enamel must be removed. Afterwards, an adhesive layer is placed between the slightly prepped tooth and the veneer. The veneer is then hardened with a curing light.

Additional Services


Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure used to treat gum disease. During the scaling process, specialized dental instruments are used to remove dental plaque and calculus from beneath the gums. Planing is the procedure used to smooth the tooth’s root after the scaling process. Root planing helps the gums heal and reattach themselves to a cleaner and smoother root surface.
Root canals are most often necessary when decay has reached the nerve of the tooth or the tooth has become infected.  When root canal therapy is performed, infected or inflamed pulp is removed from the tooth chamber. The inside of the tooth is then cleaned and disinfected before being filled and sealed to limit the possibility of future infection.  Soon after the root canal is performed, the tooth is restored with a dental crown or filling to protect the tooth and restore normal tooth function.
A tooth that can not be saved with restorative materials may need to be removed. Before removing your tooth, the area will be numbed with anesthesia. The tooth is then loosened using a special dental instrument known as an elevator. After it is loosened from the socket, it is gently removed by forceps, a dental instrument commonly used in dental extractions. Stitches may be necessary after the removal of a tooth.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is similar to a sliding hinge that connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ disorders can cause pain in the jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.

To treat TMJ disorders, first the cause has to be identified. In less severe cases TMJ disorders can be treated with self-managed care (eating soft foods, using ice packs, avoiding extreme jaw movement) or nonsurgical treatments (anti-inflammatory medications, Botox injections, stabilization splints).

At Dental Associates of Lodi, we are committed to making your visit to our office as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. If fear or anxiety are causing you to avoid trips to the dentist, we are able to alleviate your fears using sedation dentistry.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, sometimes referred to as “laughing gas,” is an effective and safe sedation agent that is inhaled through a mask that fits over your nose to help you relax. Mixed with oxygen, Nitrous oxide allows you to breathe normally through your nose and within minutes you should start to feel the effects. You may feel light-headed or a tingling in your arms and legs. Some patient’s comment that their legs and arms feel heavy. Ultimately, you should feel comfortable and calm. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off quickly after the small mask is removed. Talk to the doctor about whether nitrous oxide would be a good option for you.

Conscious Oral Sedation

Conscious oral sedation is an alternative minimal sedation that allows you to remain awake but relaxed. For people who have a fear of dental procedures, conscious sedation may take away some of the anxiety. The doctor will combine the use of oral sedation along with a local anesthetic so you have little to no discomfort. You should plan to have someone bring you to the appointment and be available to drive you home following treatment.

IV Sedation and General Anesthesia

In conjunction with an Board-certified anesthesiologist, our highly qualified staff is trained to provide both IV sedation and general anesthesia.

IV sedation is an alternative sedation that allows patients to be relaxed during procedures. Combining the use of IV sedation along with a local anesthetic,  you will experience little to no discomfort and will have no memory of the procedure.

General Anesthesia renders patients completely unconscious through the use of IV medication as well as inhaled anesthetics. While under general anesthesia, your brain is unable to respond to pain or reflexes.

For both IV Sedation and General Anesthesia, our patients’ vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate are continuously monitored by our trained staff. Patients should plan to have someone bring them to the appointment and be available to drive them home following treatment.