Patient Services


Dr. Fossum and his staff are dedicated to making sure your visit is as comfortable and as anxiety-free as possible. Each procedure will be thoroughly discussed with you and any questions you have resolved prior to the start of your care. Please call us at (832) 595-2266 if you have any questions regarding a specific dental procedure or condition.

Periodontal Health (Gum Health)


Gum, or periodontal, disease can cause inflammation, tooth loss and bone damage. Gum disease begins with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque, which if left on the tooth can begin to build up. Your gums are meant to protect the root of your tooth if left untreated the gums are unable to protect the root, leaving it vulnerable to disease. Gums in the early stage of disease, or gingivitis, can bleed easily and become red and swollen. Another indicator of gum disease is consistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. Because gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults we have to be forever vigilant.
Gum disease is highly preventable and can usually be avoided by seeing our Dentist or Hygienist at least twice a year.


Intraoral Camera


Magnification has made it possible for science to take great leaps. In dentistry, we also use magnification to do more things better than we could before we had these tools. The intraoral camera, offers a perspective that helps the patient and our team make better decisions for your oral health. Small cracks and pits are easier to see and catch before they harbor disease and do serious damage.

Both patient and practitioner are able to view old restorations such as metal fillings and crowns close up. Without this type of information, the doctor needs to make a recommendation without the patient’s full ‘visual knowledge’ of the condition of their teeth. The camera’s immediate, full-color and easily understood information is not possible with an x-ray.


ViziLite Plus (Oral Cancer Screening)


Most people are surprised to learn that one American dies every hour from oral cancer; a death rate that has remained virtually unchanged for more than 40 years. In fact, recent statistics published by the American Cancer Society indicate that while the incidence and death rates for cancers overall has decreased, the incidence of oral cancer has increased by 5.5% and the death rate has increased by 1.5%

Oral cancer is far too often discovered in late stage development, the primary reason for the consistently high death rate. Oral cancer treatment often results in disfiguring effects on patients, and can seriously compromise their quality of life. Early detection and diagnosis can make a tremendous difference in life expectancy; oral cancer is 90% curable when found in its early stages. Unfortunately, 70% of oral cancers are diagnosed in the late stages, III and IV, leading to a five-year survival rate of 57%.

Oral cancer is one of the most curable diseases when it’s caught early. That’s why the ViziLite Plus exam has been developed. ViziLite Plus uses technology that has proven successful in identifying soft tissue abnormalities in other areas of the body. A ViziLite Plus exam is particularly important if you are at increased risk for developing oral cancer.

The ViziLite Plus exam can help your dentist or hygienist identify abnormal tissue, that might develop into oral cancer.

An annual ViziLite Plus exam, in combination with a regular visual examination, provides a comprehensive oral screening procedure for patients at increased risk for oral cancer. The ViziLite Plus exam is painless and fast, and could help save your life.

ViziLite Plus is performed immediately following a regular visual examination.

First, you will be instructed to rinse with a cleansing solution. Next, the overhead lighting will be dimmed. Then, your dental professional will examine your mouth using ViziLite Plus, a specially designed light technology.

As with most serious diseases, early detection is the key to successful outcomes. Unfortunately, the problem with oral cancer is that approximately 70% of the time it is not visible to the dental professional until it has reached an advanced stage. ViziLite Plus technology assists your dental professional in seeing abnormal tissue in the mouth, before it is plainly obvious.

As ViziLite Plus passes over oral tissue that has been treated with the rinse solution, normal healthy tissue will absorb the light and appear dark, abnormal tissue will appear white. The purpose of using ViziLite Plus is to identify tissue changes at their earliest stage; once abnormal tissue has been identified it is up to your dental professional to determine what the appropriate next steps are.


Diagnadent Laser Technology


Disease and decay are a constant threat to your teeth and gums. Once we can see decay with the naked eye, it usually means severe damage has occurred, and is sometimes irreversible. Diagnadent laser technology is the latest breakthrough in decay detection.

When the laser detects decay, it gives us both visual and audio cues. The higher the pitch and measuring number, the more likely decay is present in the area pictured by the laser. This kind of diagnosis helps us catch disease that is deeper and smaller. It is especially helpful in detecting disease under old restorations such as metal fillings and crowns that are somewhat detached or loosened from the natural tooth structure. These old restorations might be stable, but can harbor disease.


ClearCorrect™ Invisible Braces


ClearCorrect™ is an alternative to traditional braces. We can straighten your theeth using a series of clear, removable aligners. Each aligner is custom made and moves your teeth each a little bit until they are perfect straight. ClearCorrect™ aligners are virtually invisible and can be easily removed for eating and brushing & flossing of your teeth.

ZOOM® Tooth Whitening


Do you want a beautiful smile? Whitening your teeth is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your smile and boost your self-confidence. Imagine, a single whitening procedure can counteract years of exposure to coffee, tea, red wine, cola and smoking, giving you the smile you’ve always dreamed of!

Even with today’s advanced whitening techniques, not everyone’s teeth will whiten with the same results. During the visit with your dentist, your situation will be carefully evaluated and you will be advised accordingly.

A word about the do-it-yourself bleaching kits and toothpastes… many professional dental organizations warn against using bleaching kits available at your local drug stores. The one-size-fits-all bleaching trays usually leave the sensitive gum tissue exposed to the bleaching gel, resulting in irritation. The gel may also damage the tooth’s enamel and pulp chamber. Whitening toothpastes, which use abrasive substances to “polish” away stains, can damage your tooth enamel. Dentist-prescribed kits are your best option for teeth whitening, where your progress can be closely monitored for adverse reactions.


Porcelain Veneers


Do you want a beautiful smile? Whitening your teeth is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your smile and boost your self-confidence. Imagine, a single whitening procedure can counteract years of exposure to coffee, tea, red wine, cola and smoking, giving you the smile you’ve always dreamed of!

Veneers are custom-fitted to your teeth by removing a small amount of enamel and bonding the veneer to your teeth using a safe, high tech polymer resin. You can expect veneers to stay bright and strong for many years by performing good oral hygiene.


Cosmetic Bonding


If you have teeth that have stains that cannot be removed by bleaching, and veneers or crowns are not necessary, then cosmetic bonding might be a good option for you. Cosmetic bonding is an affordable, quick and painless way to repair many cosmetic flaws or injuries, including:

  • Gaps in teeth
  • Spots or stains
  • Chipped teeth

Dental bonding sculpts individual teeth without requiring removal of any tooth structure. This technique bonds a composite material that looks, acts and feels like the real thing, to an existing tooth. This procedure usually doesn’t require the use of an anesthetic; is relatively quick to apply; gives an immediate result and is less expensive than veneers.



Crowns


Teeth are often restored using silver or porcelain fillings. However, when too much of a tooth’s structure is removed to support a filling, a crown or “cap” may be needed. A crown may be needed to:

  • Restore a tooth when it is unable to support a large filling
  • Attach bridges
  • Protect a weak tooth from fracturing or restore fractured teeth
  • Cover badly shaped or discolored teeth
  • Cover dental implants

A crown essentially covers a tooth to restore it to its natural shape and size. This permanent covering fits over your original tooth to strengthen or improve the appearance of the tooth. Fitting a crown generally requires at least two visits to the dentist’s office.



Braces


When you look in the mirror, are you tired of seeing gapped or crooked teeth? Are you searching for a new job and longing for the confidence a straight smile would give you during interviews? Do you have a wedding or other big event on the horizon and wish you could get straight teeth in time for all the photo opportunities? If you answered "yes" to any or all these questions, Dr. Fossum has a solution for you: Six Month Smiles® clear, adult braces.

Bridges


Healthy and strong teeth support and maintain your jaw alignment. That is why when you lose one or more teeth, your remaining teeth may shift, and the ability to chew and speak may be affected. A bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, eliminating the gap where those teeth had been. The bridge is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support. Regardless of the type of bridge recommended, its success depends on keeping the surrounding teeth healthy and strong.



Dentures


Missing teeth can create a host of aesthetic and functional problems including sagging facial muscles, inability to eat certain foods and speak. Dentures may be your best solution if you’ve lost all your natural teeth due to periodontal disease, tooth decay or injury.

Fitting a patient for dentures does not have to be a traumatic experience. During the preliminary visit, the remaining teeth are removed and a model is made of the patient’s jaw. An immediate denture may be fitted so the patient does not have to be without teeth while the mouth tissue heals. Once the mouth tissue is completely healed, the patient is fitted with their custom dentures.



Nitrous Oxide


Many people are afraid or uncomfortable going to the dentist. They fear needles, have difficulty with their gag reflex, have very sensitive teeth or have difficulty becoming numb from oral injections. If you are a nervous patient, Nitrous Oxide may be the answer for you.

Nitrous Oxide, also known as Laughing Gas, places patients in a relaxed, yet fully responsive state where they will be unaware of the treatment. From brightening to bridges, patients are completely comfortable but completely free of anxieties. Treatment can be completed in less time and with less stress, which allows quicker recovery. And, with Nitrous Oxide, patients typically leave the dental office alone and can immediately resume normal activities.



Pediatric Dentistry


Our dentist is comfortable with all phases of children’s dental care, including cleanings, fillings, fluoride treatments, sealants and more. We have techniques specifically designed for children, which establish trust and help your child accept dental treatment. Our team will regularly evaluate your child’s dental needs to provide the highest level of prevention and treatment. As your child grows, we will monitor your child’s teeth for early treatment of bite or tooth alignment problems that may arise. We are committed to providing the best possible dental care for your child in a friendly, anxiety-free environment.



TMJ Treatment


Do you experience jaw joint clicking or locking, ear pain, headaches or sensitive teeth? Temporomandibular joint disease (TMJ) is usually characterized by a dull aching pain in the jaw joint, inability to comfortably open the mouth, clicking and popping in the jaw joint, teeth sensitivity, headaches and pain in the neck, shoulder or back. While many TMJ sufferers get better without treatment, TMJ can be responsible for persistent and debilitating pain.



Root Canal Therapy


When a tooth’s nerve or pulp area becomes diseased or injured, a special dental procedure called root canal therapy may help you save that tooth. If the diseased pulp is not removed, your tooth becomes infected and you could lose it. During a root canal, the dentist removes the pulp, cleans the root canal and seals the canal to protect it. Once you are healed, your dentist places a crown over the tooth to help make it stronger. Generally, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort.



Tooth Extractions


An extraction is performed when a tooth becomes impacted because it is prevented from growing into its normal position in the mouth by gum tissue, bone or other teeth. Teeth may also be extracted to make more room in the mouth prior to straightening the remaining teeth (orthodontic treatment), because they are so badly positioned that straightening is impossible or to remove teeth that are so badly decayed or broken that they cannot be restored. Tooth extractions can usually be performed with local anesthesia.


 

 

 

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