Services

At Taylor Diggs Dentistry, we perform a wide variety of services to help you get the smile you deserve. By leveraging today's advanced techniques and technology, your Missoula dentist Dr. Diggs can restore your beautiful smile to help you maintain your youthful appearance. Whether you need a filling, have crooked teeth, or need a complete smile makeover, we can offer a treatment plan that's right for you.

Tap the links below to learn more about some of the procedures we offer. (Tap again to close.)

Preventive


► Cleanings & Exams

Cleanings

Professional cleanings performed by a licensed dentist or hygienist are just as important to your dental health as daily brushing and flossing. Using specialized tools and training, your hygienist will:
•  Remove plaque build-up from the surfaces of teeth. Bacteria in the mouth form plaque, which collects on teeth and causes decay, gum disease, and gingivitis.
•  Remove tartar from teeth surfaces. Tartar, or calculus, is plaque that has become so hardened on the teeth that its removal requires special procedures. Tartar below the gum line is also an indication of gum disease.
•  Remove surface stains from teeth through polishing.

Examinations

Regular examinations by Dr. Diggs help detect and prevent health issues before they become serious. Consistent dental check-ups help catch problems when they are small and easier to treat. Left unattended, small treatable problems become worse and may require more extensive, expensive procedures to repair. Dental examinations generally include the following:
•  Gum disease screening
•  Oral cancer screening
•  Visual tooth decay evaluation
•  Visual gum disease examination
•  Gum pocket measurement and tracking
•  X-ray examination

X-rays (Radiographs)

Dental x-rays are a primary tool for early identification of dental problems. Dentists can detect issues with x-rays before they become problems saving you money in the long run by preventing the need for more extensive, expensive procedures or surgeries. X-rays are primarily used to detect:
•  Internal tooth decay
•  Cysts (fluid filled sacks at the base of your teeth)
•  Tumors, both cancerous and non-cancerous
•  Impacted teeth
•  Teeth that are still coming in

► Sealants & Topical Fluoride Treatment

Sealants

Dental sealants are generally used to help prevent tooth decay on the biting surfaces of back teeth (molars). The natural grooves of these teeth can trap food that can resist casual brushing and rinsing. If left in place, the trapped food allows bacteria to multiply, eventually causing tooth decay and requiring costly attention.

Sealants are painted directly onto the tooth where they seal the natural grooves to help prevent tooth decay. While sealants are durable, they are not permanent. They can last up to 5 years of normal wear before needing replacement.

Sealants offer a cost-effective, preventative step to reduce the chances of tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of molars. However, they do not replace the need for regular brushing and flossing.

Topical Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride is a natural mineral that has been proven to strengthen teeth and prevent the incidence of tooth decay. The American Dental Association recommends fluoride treatment for children as soon as teeth emerge. This simple preventive measure of applying a fluoride varnish to a child's first teeth can strengthen teeth at risk for decay and create a tooth surface that is more resistant to decay.

Applying a fluoride varnish protects a child's primary (first) teeth from decay. Fluoride is applied twice a year from ages one to six or seven when the child gets their permanent teeth. Fluoride varnish works by repairing gaps in the tooth enamel, protecting teeth from plaque forming bacteria that likes to colonize in small pits and gaps.

Fluoride is easily applied to teeth. It dries almost immediately upon contact with clean dry teeth and will not be removed by saliva. The procedure is quick, painless, and often included in dental insurance coverage, but you will want to check with your provider to be certain.

Once children have their permanent teeth, dental sealants may be applied for the protection of the back teeth or molars. Sealants are a thin plastic coating painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth (usually the back teeth) to prevent tooth decay. Most children get their first molars between the ages of five and seven and their second (permanent) molars around the ages of 11–14 which is an appropriate time to apply sealants.

Using both fluoride varnishes on your child's primary teeth and sealants on the chewing surfaces of your child's permanent teeth are effective ways to help prevent or slow down tooth decay.

► Gum Disease
Gum disease (periodontal disease) is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. Because gum disease is sometimes painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by the bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.

Some Warning Signs:

•  Gums that bleed easily
•  Red, swollen, tender gums
•  Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
•  Persistent bad breath or bad taste
•  Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
•  Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
•  Any change in the fit of partial dentures

There are many factors that increase the risk of developing gum disease, including: smoking, pregnancy and diabetes. It is important to visit Taylor Diggs Dentistry if you suspect you have gum disease, because the sooner you treat it the better.

The Early Stage of Gum Disease Is Called Gingivitis

If you have gingivitis, your gums may become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at your dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.

Advanced Gum Disease Is Called Periodontitis

Chronic periodontitis can lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and it may become more severe over time. If it does, your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your mouth. It usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression.

Aggressive periodontitis is a highly destructive form of periodontal disease that occurs in patients who are otherwise healthy. Common features include rapid loss of tissue and bone, and may occur in localized areas or in the entire mouth. Periodontal disease cannot be cured, however, we have measures to help slow or stop the progression.

Research between systemic diseases and periodontal diseases is ongoing. While a link is not conclusive, some studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated with several other health conditions such as diabetes or stroke.

Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. The treatment methods that our dentists diagnose will depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good dental care at home is essential for helping to keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious.

► Mouth Guards

Night Guards

Bruxism (teeth grinding) can cause moderate to severe long-term damage to teeth. Constant grinding wears down the surface of the tooth, exposing the soft dentin beneath the enamel. Wearing a night guard at bedtime can help protect your teeth from further damage.

Some of the damage from bruxism includes:
•  Chipped teeth
•  Tooth flattening and tooth wear
•  Cracked tooth enamel
•  Cracked, loose or broken fillings
•  Tooth loss
•  Gum recession
•  Tooth collapse

Bruxing can even cause a root fracture below the gum line, requiring a root canal and crown to restore the damaged tooth.

Athletic Mouth Guards

When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouth guard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age. While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, you can experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.

There Are Three Types of Mouth Guards

Custom-fitted: These are made specifically for you by Dr. Diggs. They may be more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customized, usually offer the best fit.

Stock: These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. However, they often don't fit well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.

Boil and bite: These mouth protectors can be bought at many sporting goods stores and drugstores, and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They are first softened in water (boiled), then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth.

The best mouthguard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by Dr. Diggs. However, if you can't afford a custom-fitted mouthguard, you should still wear a stock mouth guard or a boil-and-bite mouth guard from the drugstore. Give us a call at (406) 926-3488 to learn more about your options.

► Pediatric Dentistry
Depending on the age and needs of your child, we will complete a professional dental cleaning, conduct re-mineralization therapy, and take any necessary x-rays. Dr. Diggs will take time to discuss any concerns you may have, and prepare you for what you can expect during your child's oral development. If decay is found, the information collected will allow Dr. Diggs to prepare a treatment plan and recommend the best options for your child's dental care.

Please help us make your child's dental visits enjoyable and positive! We encourage parents and caregivers to use positive stories about visiting the dentist, songs, and descriptive words to describe your child's upcoming visit. Try to avoid using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear. Words like "needle", "shot", "drill", or "hurt" may cause preventable anxiety and make dental visits more difficult for your child.

At Taylor Diggs Dentistry, we will work with you to make your child's dental visits an adventure that sets a positive foundation for the rest of their life.


Restorative


► Fillings
Fillings are used to restore areas of your tooth affected by decay. Dentists use both amalgam (silver) and composite (tooth-colored) materials to "fill in" the surface of the tooth after all decay has been removed.

Reasons for Fillings

•  Restoring small to medium sized cavities
•  Restoring a chipped anterior (front) tooth

What does a filling involve?

First, Dr. Diggs will answer any questions you have and will apply anesthetic to the tooth requiring the filling. He will then thoroughly remove the decay that is present and prepare the tooth for either the composite or amalgam (silver alloy) filling.

What are composite fillings?

Composite fillings are tooth-colored to blend in with the remaining natural part of the tooth. The term composite refers to the actual filling material, which is a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium.

Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure.Composite fillings are considered more aesthetically pleasing than amalgam fillings. While amalgam fillings are packed into a tooth preparation and retained by undercuts, composite fillings are "bonded" or attached with adhesive directly to the tooth surface. This bonding of the composite filling often allows for a more conservative repair than amalgam fillings. Both composite and amalgam fillings can offer great and long lasting restorations. Dr. Diggs will be happy to discuss the best replacement options for your specific situation.

Composite fillings require that the tooth be kept clean and dry during the entire filling process, and they are subject to stain and discoloration over time. The life expectancy of a white filling can depend greatly on where it is in your mouth and how heavily your teeth come together when you bite.

Composite filling material is also commonly used to repair front teeth that have chipped or worn. Where possible, aesthetic bonding of composite material to front teeth is generally much less expensive than veneers or crowns. However, bonding typically does not last as long as veneers or crowns.

If your tooth is sensitive for a week or more it is important to Call Our Office so we can examine the tooth and determine if additional treatment is needed.

► Crowns & Bridges

Crowns

A crown is a covering that will wrap and protect the entire surface of a tooth, allowing it to look and function just like the original tooth. Crowns work to strengthen the tooth while protecting the existing structure, extending the life of the tooth longer that it would be with a filling or another restoration.

Reasons for Choosing a Dental Crown
Dental crowns can correct a variety of problems that you might be experiencing with your teeth:
•  Fractured or broken teeth
•  Severely decayed teeth
•  Cosmetic imperfections
•  Fractured fillings
•  Tooth protection needed after a root canal

Types of Dental Crowns
There are three main types of dental crowns available, and we'll help you choose the right one for your mouth:
•  All Porcelain: The all porcelain crown is one of the most aesthetically pleasing options, but it is generally only recommended for the front teeth. When placed on the rear teeth, the risk of fracture with these crowns will increase.
•  Gold: Gold crowns are extremely durable, and they are best suited for the back molars where they cannot be seen. Gold crowns are useful for people who clench or grind their teeth. Gold crowns tend to be most similar to your natural teeth, which will allow the tissue to quickly adapt to the restoration, and a minimal amount of your natural tooth structure will need to be removed to have the crown put into place.
•  Porcelain Fused to Metal: This type of crown will feature a metal base with porcelain attached to the outside, making the restoration more attractive than an entirely metal option. If you want the durability of a gold crown but want your tooth to look as natural as possible, this would be a great selection. Some risk does still exist regarding fractures, but in the event of a chip or break, it is usually just the outer porcelain portion that is damaged.

The Dental Crown Procedure
If you'll be getting a dental crown, you can plan on having two appointments to complete the process. At your first visit, the tooth will be prepared by removing decay, and the surface will be shaped so it can fit the crown. We will take impressions of your teeth so your customized crown can be created, and you'll likely wear a temporary restoration while we wait for your crown to be finished.

At your follow-up appointment, we'll take off your temporary crown and will carefully place the permanent one in place. We'll also ensure proper bite and spacing.

After your appointment, we'll encourage you to follow up with us regularly. While proper oral hygiene is essential, you'll also need regular dental care to ensure that your crown is in the best possible shape.

Bridges

Dental bridges are fixed appliances that will work to restore the structure and function of your teeth after tooth loss. These appliances are non-removable, so they will become a permanent part of your smile. There are many different types of bridges, and we can help you choose the option that is right for your unique dental needs.

A traditional bridge is the most common type of bridge used to treat tooth loss, and it is made of metal and porcelain. The bridge contains two porcelain crowns fused to metal that will slip over two anchoring teeth found on either side of the artificial teeth. The bridge then fills the gap that was created due to tooth loss.

Reasons for Choosing a Fixed Bridge
There are numerous reasons that you might choose a fixed bridge to correct your tooth loss:
•  Restore the smile
•  Improve your ability to speak and chew normally
•  Maintain your normal face shape
•  Fill in the spaces left by missing teeth
•  Prevent the remaining teeth from shifting positions
•  Upgrade from removable dentures

Getting Your Fixed Bridge
The process of getting your bridge will generally require at least two appointments with your dentist. Your teeth will be numbed to keep you comfortable throughout the procedure, and the anchoring teeth will then be prepared by having a thin portion of the enamel removed to make room for a crown. Molds will be made of your teeth to be sent to a dental lab, and the bridge is fabricated at this facility. You may also be able to wear a temporary bridge until your follow-up appointment, which will usually be scheduled about two weeks out.

At your next visit, we'll remove your temporary bridge, and the new bridge will be checked for proper fit. Once it is determined that the appliance is ready, it will be bonded or cemented into place.

Caring for Your Dental Bridge
Bridges are created to be highly durable, and with proper care, they can last for several years. However, even normal wear can require them to need replacement, so be sure to follow up with your dentist regularly to ensure that your appliance is still in good shape. You should also be sure to brush and floss properly in order to keep your remaining teeth healthy and avoid future tooth loss.

► Root Canal
A "root canal," or endodontic therapy, is a procedure available to save a tooth that is infected and would otherwise require extraction. There are many reasons that teeth can become infected, including: cavities, previous large fillings, crowns, cracks, trauma and extreme wear.

Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (nerve and blood supply), bacteria and any decay are removed, and the resulting space is filled with an inert material called gutta percha. After the tooth is healed, getting a crown is recommended, because the tooth will become brittle.

Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a problematic tooth is the best (and most economical) solution. Extracting, or pulling a tooth, could ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth, as well as causing loss of bone around the extraction site.

While root canal therapy has a high degree of success, it is not 100% guaranteed. It is very important to have a permanent restoration (usually a crown) placed within 30 days of the root canal. If a permanent restoration is not placed, the tooth can fracture or further decay to the point where the root canal must be re-done or, worse, the tooth must be removed.

Reasons for Root Canal Therapy

•  Decay has reached the tooth's pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
•  Infection or abscess has developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
•  Injury or trauma to the tooth
•  Extreme wear due to bruxism (grinding)

What does root canal therapy involve?

A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by Dr. Diggs. While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and isolated from the other teeth. Dr. Diggs will then create a hole at the top of the tooth, and clean the infected pulp from inside the tooth. Medicine will be applied to remove any bacteria, and a temporary filling will be placed. When the tooth has had time to heal from the root canal treatment, you will need to return to our office to check the healing of the tooth. If the tooth has healed, then it will be ready to have a permanent crown placed to prevent any further decay or fracturing of the treated area.

At times the tooth requiring treatment has a complex root or the infection is such that it needs a specialist, called an endodontist, to examine and complete root canal therapy. Dr. Diggs will work closely with an endodontic specialist to review your treatment case, send necessary records to their office, and place the crown after your root canal is completed. Our office staff will help coordinate your appointments, and help you understand your financial responsibility.

► Dentures
When the condition of the teeth has deteriorated so far that they can no longer be repaired, removal is the only option. Dentures are a "replacement" option for missing teeth. There are two variations of dentures: partial dentures and full dentures. The difference between the two lies in how many natural teeth remain.

A complete denture is a removable prosthesis of white plastic teeth in a pink gum-colored plastic base; the denture rests on the remaining gum ridge once all of the teeth in the arch have been removed.

It is important to note that life with an upper and/or lower denture is a major lifestyle change when compared to natural teeth.

Reasons for a Full Denture

•  All teeth missing in the same arch
•  Restore chewing ability
•  Restore a natural looking smile
•  Economical alternative to other procedures

► Implant Restoration
A dental implant is a titanium post designed to replace missing teeth. The post is surgically placed into the jawbone where the tooth is missing, and provides a more permanent solution.

Crowns and conventional bridges or dentures may not be your only options when replacing missing teeth. For some people, dental implants offer a smile that looks and feels very natural. Implants are surgically placed below the gums over a series of appointments, and fuse to the jawbone. Implants offer stability because they fuse to your bone, a process called osseointegration. Integration of the implants into your jaw also helps your replacement teeth feel more natural, and some people find the secure fit more comfortable than conventional substitutes. Candidates for dental implants must have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant.

Reasons for Dental Implants

•  Replace a missing tooth
•  Maintain healthy bone levels
•  Help support overdentures
•  Keep the look and feel of a real tooth where one is missing

What Does a Dental Implant Involve?

Implant Site Preparation
The gum tissue is opened to expose the bone area where the implant will be placed. In situations where there is insufficient bone structure, bone grafting may be a recommended procedure. Once healthy bone has been established, a special drill is used to prepare the bone to receive the implant.

Placing the Implant
After the bone has been prepared, the implant is placed and the tissue is sutured. After seven to ten days the sutures are removed. The healing process takes three to six months. This is the amount of time it usually takes the implant to become part of the bone of the jaw.

Attaching the Post
When the gum tissue is ready, a special post is attached to the implant; it is the support for the new porcelain crown. Today's technologies often include zirconium abutments attached to the implant post, to assure that the new porcelain tooth possesses translucency properties similar to a natural tooth.

Placing the Crown
After impressions are taken a crown is made and shaded to match your existing teeth. The crown is then slipped over the post and cemented. This final prosthetic crown appears as a natural tooth.

There is a high rate of failure of implants in patients who smoke, so dental implants tend to not be an option for patients who are actively smoking. We will help you determine whether dental implants will be a good tooth replacement option for you. Proper brushing and flossing will maximize the longevity of your new dental implant.


Cosmetic


► Teeth Whitening
Whitening teeth is one of the easiest and most noticeable changes that you can make to improve the appearance of your smile. Whitening, or bleaching, is a non-invasive and simple dental treatment that will alter the color of your tooth enamel to make your smile look whiter and brighter.

For many people, dull or stained teeth are the primary concerns that they have about their smile. At-home teeth whitening systems are the most popular method for correcting this problem. However, if you have older fillings, crowns, and other restorations, you need to be aware that these whitening systems will only work to improve the appearance of the natural tooth enamel, so you won't notice any changes on those restorations. It is recommended that you have those restorations replaced after bleaching your teeth so they match the new and improved color of the rest of your smile.

Reasons to Whiten Your Teeth

There are numerous reasons why you might choose to whiten your teeth:
•  Brown or yellow stains due to smoking or your diet
•  Discoloration due to fluorosis (too much fluoride during the development of the teeth)
•  Stains due to certain medications
•  Normal wear of the enamel

The Teeth Whitening Process

If you choose to whiten your teeth with a home whitening system, you will generally need two dental appointments. At your first visit, Dr. Diggs will take molds of your teeth to create customized plastic trays to hold the whitening solution.

After your trays have been fabricated, you'll have a second appointment where we'll make sure they fit properly. You'll receive instructions on how to wear the trays for optimal results. In most cases, this will involve wearing them either overnight or twice per day for several weeks.

Caring for Your Whitened Teeth

When whitening your teeth, it is completely normal to experience sensitivity. Fortunately, this discomfort should stop once you have finished your bleaching treatment, but if it doesn't, sensitivity toothpaste can help with the symptoms.

It is important to remember that teeth whitening isn't a permanent procedure, so to get the most out of your results, you should be sure to avoid foods and beverages that could stain your smile, including: wine, tea, soda and coffee. If you are a smoker, you should also consider giving up the habit. Additionally, you will likely need an annual touch-up in order to maintain your beautiful, white smile.

► Porcelain Veneers
Tooth veneers are a popular cosmetic dentistry technique for creating a beautiful smile. They consist of thin sections of durable porcelain that are custom made for the unique shape of your teeth. Dental laboratories create the veneers to match the exact color and shape specifications sent in by your dentist, and once completed, they will be bonded onto the front surface of your teeth.

Veneers are often chosen as alternatives to crowns and other restorations, and they can be used to completely alter the shape of your smile and teeth. They are quite durable and can last for several years, allowing you to enjoy a beautiful and long-lasting smile.

Reasons to Choose Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers can improve the appearance and function of your smile by correcting a variety of dental issues:
•  Misshapen teeth
•  Crooked teeth
•  Teeth that have been severely stained
•  Yellowed or discolored teeth
•  Teeth that appear too large or small for your smile
•  Gaps or other uneven spaces
•  Teeth that have been chipped, broken, or worn

The Porcelain Veneer Procedure

If you've decided to use porcelain veneers to improve your smile, you'll need to schedule two visits. At your first appointment, your teeth will be prepared via light buffing and surface shaping so the veneer can fit around the tooth. Impressions or molds of your teeth will be taken and Dr. Diggs will help you choose the color of your new restorations.

At your second visit, your teeth will be cleaned with a specialized solution that will help the veneers to bond to the surface of your teeth. Bonding cement will be placed between the veneer and the natural tooth, and your dentist will use a specialized light to help set the bond and harden the cement.

After your appointment, you should continue to see your dentist regularly to check up on the health and appearance of your smile. By following a proper dental hygiene routine and visiting your dentist regularly, you'll extend the life of your beautiful new porcelain veneers.

► Cosmetic Bonding
Bonding is a procedure where we apply a tooth-colored composite material to a tooth, shape it, allow it to harden and polish it. It can be used in certain situations where a tooth has been damaged or become stained. These are generally minor repairs that can be resolved through this relatively inexpensive means rather than through a more costly dental procedure.

Here's How it Works

Dr. Diggs prepares the tooth surface so the bonding material will adhere. Once it has been applied, he will shape it so it has a natural appearance. Then the material is allowed to harden, usually with the help of a light. Finally, the composite is polished and buffed so that the surface is smooth.

This is not a process that is recommended if you are a smoker as smoke causes staining. Also, the material is not as durable as porcelain veneers and crowns so it chips more easily; eventually it may require replacing.

Bonding is a perfectly adequate and more affordable solution to certain dental problems. Dental bonding can take less time to accomplish and may not even require anesthesia. Depending upon the issue, insurance may cover it.

Please don't procrastinate if you have a dental problem but are worried about the time, cost or pain involved. Perhaps dental bonding can offer you a solution. Give us a call so we can discuss options with you.







237 SW Higgins Ave., Suite A, Missoula, MT 59803



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