General Dentistry

Comprehensive General Dentistry & Dental Care

general dentistry at KC Smile is very much of the belief that a beautiful smile is a healthy smile. That is why it is so very important to visit a general dentist for checkups on a regular basis. Doing so means that minor problems can be caught early on, preserving your smile and ensuring that expensive, and perhaps complicated, procedures do not have to be done at a later date.

Dr. Headley can help you to preserve your smile with basic services like regular examinations and professional cleanings. And if something does go wrong, he can recommend treatments like root canals or fillings. These are all very basic treatments, and if your dental health is generally good but you are not happy with your smile, we can consider cosmetic treatments. The main thing is to ensure that the foundation is set for good oral health.

Dental Exams

You’ve no doubt heard it said over and over that you should visit your dentist twice a year for a checkup. This is because that’s your first line of defense against tooth decay, and it is also so that problems like cracks, chips, or old dental work that’s lived out its usefulness can be caught early on. It is also the best way to ensure that you don’t develop gum disease and to screen against oral cancer. These are all issues that, if they are caught quickly, are treatable.

You might not notice a cavity in its early stages, and by the time you do notice it, the integrity of your tooth could be compromised. With modern dental technology, Dr. Headley can identify a cavity before it has a chance to cause any significant harm or to spread to other teeth. Periodontal disease can also be caught in its early stages, and that is very important since it is linked to a higher risk of strokes, heart attacks, and other health issues. When it comes to dental problems, prevention, and early treatment are far better than a cure later on.

Dental Hygiene

Remember how your mother wouldn’t let you go to bed without brushing your teeth? She had a good reason. Brushing and flossing are essential to taking care of your teeth and gums, but there is more to it than that. You have to do it properly, and it’s surprising how many people really do not know proper brushing and flossing techniques. If you are not sure how it should be done, our dental hygienists can show you when you come in for a professional cleaning.

Bad oral hygiene can do much more than just cause your teeth to decay – it can also affect the way you chew and talk, and can adversely affect your overall health. If you suspect that your oral hygiene could use a bit of work, our hygienists can offer suggestions on how to improve it so that you end up spending considerably less time in Dr. Headley’s chair.

Dental X-Rays

Not all that long ago, the process of taking dental x-rays took a lot of time and sometimes several tries to get just the right image. Films had to be developed, and if something went wrong in the process, you would have to begin again. X-rays were also very expensive, and many patients preferred that their dentist simply attempt treatment without the benefit of x-rays, even if the dentist advised otherwise.

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Today, dental x-rays have come into the digital world. Processing time is eliminated, and they hardly ever have to be re-taken. Additionally, the level of radiation with modern digital x-rays is very low. X-rays also take a lot of the guesswork out of dental restorations, and that means that your dentist can get it right the first time, so you save money and spend far less time in the chair. The benefits are obvious – better, more effective treatment, lower cost, and less risk.

Dental Cleanings

Everyone loves the way their mouth feels and looks after a professional dental cleaning. But it is so much more than that – a professional cleaning is your best defense against gum disease. Regular brushing and flossing at home is a start, but to really guard against gum disease you absolutely must have regular cleanings by a dental hygienist. That is because tartar, also known as dental calculus, can build up not just on your teeth, but also beneath the gum line where you can’t get at it.

Professional cleaning is done using dental instruments to get rid of harmful deposits. The procedure is known as “scaling”, and in years gone by it was done by means of tools that the hygienist would use to scrape away those deposits. Today, ultrasonic scalers are used to deliver super-fast vibrations that destroy tartar and plaque. If the buildup is extremely heavy, manual tools may also be used. Professional cleanings should be done twice a year in order to preserve your smile and ensure good dental health.

Composite (Tooth Colored) Fillings

Decades ago, dental fillings were made of amalgam, which is a combination of different metal compounds, including mercury. Possibly you still have some amalgam fillings in your mouth. Not only are they unsightly, because of the mercury content they may not be entirely safe. Today, you can have fillings that are made of composite resins that look exactly like your natural teeth. They look considerably better than metal fillings, and there are none of the attendant health considerations.

Standard practice today is that if you need a filling, tooth-colored composite materials will be used. In addition, if you would like to be rid of your metal fillings, Dr. Headley can remove them and replace them with the more aesthetically pleasing tooth-colored fillings. Additionally, the composite material bonds to your teeth more effectively than metal, so your fillings will last considerably longer.

If your cavity is small, or you just need a moderate restoration (which is usually the case with fillings), tooth-colored fillings could be the perfect solution.

Oral Cancer Screening

The word “cancer” can strike terror into your heart. Usually, when you think of cancer, you imagine it invading your lungs, your colon, your breast if you are a woman, or your prostate if you are a man. Most people never think about oral cancer. The fact is, though, that it’s one of the most prevalent types of cancer, with 30,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. If it is not discovered and then treated, it can lead to terrible pain, disfigurement, and finally, death. Of course there are factors that can increase your risk, like excessive alcohol consumption or smoking, but realistically, anyone can get it.

That is the bad news. The good news is that if you catch oral cancer early on, you have a very good chance of survival. That is why you should see Dr. Headley every six months for a checkup.  He will look at your mouth, check for irregularities, and if anything seems off, he’ll order a biopsy. Early detection and treatment can literally be a life-saver, so don’t put off your checkups.

Bite Alignment Checks

You might think that if your smile looks good, and you are not experiencing any discomfort, your bite is just fine, but this may not be the case. You might not realize that you have a misalignment, but if you’re experiencing headaches, it could mean that your teeth are not meeting properly. A bad bite causes your teeth to move improperly when you’re chewing or biting, and the result can be a sore jaw and frequent headaches, even migraines.

A poorly aligned bite can also mean that you clench or grind your teeth while you sleep. You might not even know that you’re doing it, but you could end up with worn or even fractured teeth as a result. The best-case scenario is that you’re not getting the restful sleep that you need.

As part of your regular dental checkup, Dr. Headley will assess your bite. If there are problems, he can suggest treatments which might include oral appliances, crowns, tooth reshaping or Invisalign® braces. With modern dental techniques, no one has to suffer from the discomfort of a bad bite.

The Final Word

Dr. Ross Headley and his team of qualified dental hygienists can offer treatments that will benefit your overall dental health. From exams to cleanings, fillings, cancer screening and more, you’re in good hands with KC Smile in Overland Park.

To learn more about general dentistry, read our blogs:

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Meet the Doctor

Ross S. Headley, DDS

Using the most advanced materials and techniques, Dr. Ross S. Headley will transform your smile. As Kansas’ only accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Headley understands how unhealthy or unattractive teeth can negatively impact a patient’s life. He witnesses daily how beautiful healthy teeth change lives. Take a moment and explore the options available for you.

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