Family Dentistry in Auburn

 

Explore Our Dental Services for the Entire Family

At Smiles for Life, Dr. Heffelfinger and his dedicated team want to make sure you keep your smile healthy and beautiful for life. We offer a full range of services for every member of the family.

Professional Cleanings and Checkups

We encourage all of our patients to visit us twice a year for a thorough cleaning and checkup to ensure the health of their teeth, gums, and jaws. It’s during these appointments that we check for any potential problems such as gum disease or cavities. Detecting dental problems as early as possible allows us to treat these conditions and prevents them from becoming more severe. You’ll also receive a professional cleaning to help prevent dental issues from developing in the first place.

Pediatric Dental Care

With two children of his own, Dr. Heffelfinger knows how to help our younger patients keep their smiles healthy and looking great. We’ll make your child’s visit a positive and enjoyable experience, so they’re excited to take care of their teeth. Whether your child needs a checkup and cleaning or more extensive work, we complete each pediatric visit as efficiently as possible, so you’re in and out in no time!

Personalized Gum Disease Treatment

Periodontal (gum) disease is nothing to ignore. If left untreated, it can lead to additional dental issues and even tooth loss. We offer thorough gum disease treatment that’s customized to each patients’ individual needs by using innovative oral DNA saliva testing. If you have gum disease, we’ll create a treatment plant to clean up the infection and make sure it doesn’t come back.

Oral-DNA Salivary Testing

You may be familiar with oral DNA testing as a way to find out your ancestry, but we also use this type of technology in our dental practice.

If you’re experiencing periodontal disease, salivary DNA testing can tell us the type and quantity of bacteria present which allows us to create a customized treatment plan. It also helps us know if you’re susceptible to developing periodontal disease again so we can personalize your prevention plan. Oral DNA testing also helps us screen for oral diseases such as cancer.

Treatment of Bite-Related Disorders

The way your top and bottom teeth fit together can impact many areas of your oral and overall health. From problems with your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) to chronic headaches and even uneven wear of your teeth, an incorrect bite can cause a range of problems. Luckily, we have solutions for your bite-related disorders.

As a graduate of the Kois Center in Seattle, Dr. Heffelfinger considers proper occlusion in every procedure he performs. His goal for even the most complex cases is to restore his patients’ natural bite patterns, helping create a more harmonious environment that improves bite-related issues and overall wellbeing.

OraVerse: Numbness Reversal Treatment

Have you ever bit your lip or you felt uncomfortable speaking with others because your mouth was still numb long after a dental procedure? Now we can prevent these problems with OraVerse. This product allows us to reverse the numbness more quickly so you can go back to work or school worry free. Most people who are given OraVerse after a procedure that required a local anesthetic regain normal sensation twice as fast as normal.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I improve my dental health?

In addition to participating in a regular oral hygiene routine of brushing twice daily, flossing every day, and rinsing between meals, you’ll want to schedule biannual appointments with our office for professional cleanings and checkups. 

Here are a few detailed tips on how to improve your at-home oral hygiene regimen:

  • Position your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle near the gumline
  • Clean your tongue
  • Protect your teeth with mouthguards if you grind or play sports
  • Brush your teeth with a toothpaste containing fluoride
  • Keep your gums strong with Vitamin D and calcium 
  • Avoid foods high in sugar or starch 

Remember, prevention is better than a procedure. Some people wait to visit the dentist until something goes wrong, but it’s a much better plan to visit the dentist before that happens. With regular professional cleanings and checkups, we can help prevent tooth decay and catch any issues before they become problematic.

What is the process like for scaling and root planing?

Prior to a scaling and root planing procedure, you’ll likely receive a local anesthetic and won’t feel a thing. During the procedure, our dental hygienist will scale, or remove, all the plaque and tartar from your teeth and roots’ surfaces. During root planing, the root’s surfaces will be smoothed to keep plaque, tartar, and bacteria from invading beneath the gum line.

How can I keep my gums healthy?

In addition to scheduling biannual checkups at our Auburn dental office, you’ll want to follow a few recommendations to keep your gums healthy, including:

  • Brushing twice a day
  • Flossing daily
  • Rinsing between meals
  • Stop smoking
  • Eating tooth-healthy foods including calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C

While these remedies may help keep your gum disease at bay, once the symptoms have set in, you’ll need to have a deep cleaning to restore your oral health.

 

Is there a cure for TMD?

The only permanent way to get rid of TMD is with surgery. However, the surgery is invasive and only used as a last resort for the most severe cases. Before we even consider the need for surgery, we’ll suggest certain lifestyle modifications and the use of a mouthguard, also known as an oral appliance, to help relieve your symptoms. 

An oral appliance is a mouthpiece that Dr. Heffelfinger may recommend to relieve your TMJ pain. It works by creating a barrier between your upper and lower arch to prevent you from grinding your teeth. It also evenly distributes the pressure among all of your teeth and therefore can reduce pain associated with TMD.