General Dentistry

Periodontal Therapy

Protect your smile’s health, beauty, and integrity with periodontal therapy.

Your gums are the unsung hero of your smile’s health and beauty. Along with shaping your smile’s appearance, your gums seal out bacteria and snuggly hold each of your teeth in place. Your gums are incredibly resilient, though they can become infected with an inflammatory and progressive condition known as periodontal (gum) disease.

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth that progressively damages your smile’s health, appearance, and integrity. Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease affects over 50% of adults over 30 and is a top cause for adult tooth loss.

If you know or suspect you may have gum disease, Dr. May and the Metro East team are here to help you reclaim your smile’s health and resilience with gentle, compassionate, and comprehensive periodontal therapy.

Potential Signs of Periodontal (Gum) Disease

As the early signs of periodontal disease may be undetectable, a visit with Dr. May is the best way to prevent and detect gum disease in its earliest stages. Contact our office to schedule a visit, especially if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Gums that bleed easily with brushing, flossing, or eating
  • Tooth pain while chewing
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Unexplained bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Gum recession
  • Teeth that appear longer than they used to

Compassionate Periodontal Therapy in Granite City

After carefully evaluating your gums and teeth, Dr. May will recommend one of the following treatments based on your individual needs.

Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a combination of deep cleaning techniques that remove infection and debris along your gum line, which may have pulled away from your teeth and formed “pockets.” A scaling and root planing treatment removes bacteria and debris from periodontal pockets, sanitizes infected tissue, and smoothes your tooth roots to help your gums reattach and heal.

Root Canal

Save your natural teeth.

Your teeth are incredible structures from the inside out. The core of each tooth is composed of delicate nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue known as pulp. If a tooth is damaged due to injury or deep tooth decay, the pulp can become infected or inflamed. While diseased tooth pulp cannot be treated with antibiotics or reversed, you can alleviate and prevent undesirable symptoms with a root canal treatment.

Potential Signs You May Need a Root Canal

An evaluation by Dr. May is the best way to know if you need a root canal, though some signs you may need treatment include:

  • Tooth pain
  • Sensitivity to cold or heat
  • Discomfort while chewing or biting
  • Tooth cracks, chips, or decay
  • Tender, swollen, or darkening gums
  • Pimple-like bumps on the gums
  • Swelling around your face or neck

Ignoring diseased tooth pulp can eventually lead to serious complications. Diseased tooth pulp puts you at risk for tooth loss, jaw bone deterioration, and the spread of infection to other parts of your mouth, jaw, and face. In worst-case scenarios, infection from diseased tooth pulp can trigger a life-threatening condition known as sepsis.

Root Canal Treatment
A root canal is a simple and common dental treatment that removes damaged pulp and eliminates harmful bacteria from a diseased tooth. During your root canal treatment, Dr. May will ensure you’re comfortable with a local anesthetic before making a small opening in your tooth so he can reach and remove the diseased tooth pulp.

After the diseased pulp has been removed, Dr. May will flush, disinfect, and fill the empty pulp chamber and fit you with a temporary crown until your custom crown is ready. Once your permanent crown has been placed, you’ll have a fully functional smile that’s as strong as it is healthy.

Tooth Extraction

Make space for better oral health.

Dentistry generally aims to preserve your natural teeth, though there are cases when removing a natural tooth is the best option for alleviating symptoms, restoring your oral health, and preventing unwanted dental issues.

Feeling nervous or anxious about a tooth extraction is normal, though Dr. May and the Metro East team are here to create a comfortable, positive, and relaxing treatment experience.

Reasons for a Tooth Extraction

Reasons you or your child may need a tooth extraction include:

  • Tooth damage: Extracting a broken, loose, or severely decayed tooth can alleviate pain, reduce your risk of infection, and prevent further oral and overall health complications.
  • Past-due baby teeth: Primary (baby) teeth are usually best left to fall out naturally, unless they are blocking the path of a permanent tooth. Tooth extraction can clear the way for an adult tooth to properly emerge and reduce the risk of misalignment.
  • Orthodontic prepwork: If you or your child are receiving orthodontic treatment to address overcrowding, your orthodontist may recommend a tooth extraction to make more space to align your teeth.
  • Certain health conditions or medications: If your immune function has been suppressed due to a health condition or medication, a tooth extraction may be the best solution for treating a diseased tooth and preventing unnecessary health complications.

Tooth Extraction Procedure

Tooth extraction is an outpatient dental treatment to remove a troublesome tooth from its socket (called the alveolus). During both simple and surgical extractions, Dr. May and the Metro East Dental Care team prioritize your comfort and sense of well-being with appropriate sedation and skillful extraction techniques.

  • Simple Extraction removes a tooth that’s intact and fully visible.
  • Surgical (Complex) Extraction removes a tooth that’s broken or impacted (partially or fully stuck below the gum line). During a surgical extraction, Dr. May will make a small incision into your gums to access the targeted tooth and close the site with dissolvable stitches.

Most patients feel recovered from their tooth extraction procedure within a few days to a week. The Metro East Team will provide you with detailed self-care instructions to help you promote complete, comfortable, and speedy healing.

Tooth-Colored Fillings

Keep your smile’s health and natural appearance.

Cavities are one of the most common non-communicable diseases in the world. Also known as tooth decay or dental caries, a cavity is a tiny hole or opening in your tooth enamel, the outermost layer of your tooth. Enamel is nonliving and cannot repair itself once damaged. In fact, an untreated cavity will grow wider and deeper over time and is likely to require more extensive dental treatment to prevent further damage and alleviate pain.

Treat Cavities with Tooth-Colored Fillings

Metal amalgam fillings have been the standard for treating cavities for close to two centuries. While they are a reliable option for treating cavities, amalgam fillings are obvious and require more of your healthy tooth structure to be removed, as amalgam does not directly bond to the structure of your tooth.

Tooth-colored fillings are made of composite resin, a blend of microscopic plastic and ceramic compounds that mimics the shade and sheen of natural teeth. Unlike amalgam, composite resin directly bonds to your tooth structure. Along with requiring less of your healthy tooth structure to be removed, tooth-colored fillings are highly effective at sealing out oral bacteria and preventing further tooth decay.

Dr. May will use a shade of composite resin that completely blends with your natural teeth so you won’t even be able to see your tooth-colored fillings after treatment.

What causes cavities?

Cavities are most often caused by poor oral hygiene, which causes bacterial plaque to build up on your teeth. As it accumulates, plaque feeds on the sugars and starches you eat and drink, producing an acid byproduct that gradually attacks the enamel of your teeth. Cavities can also be caused by the side effects of certain medical conditions and medications, such as dry mouth.

You can prevent cavities with proper brushing and flossing, twice-annual dental visits, and a nutritious diet that minimizes sugary beverages, snacks, candies, and treats.

Night Guards

Protect your teeth and get better sleep.

Good oral health and a good night’s sleep are both key to optimizing your physical health, mental performance, and total well-being. If you have a pattern of unconsciously grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep, your oral health, sleep quality, and sense of well-being are likely to decrease.

A custom night guard from Dr. May can help you alleviate symptoms, protect your smile, and reap the rewards of better sleep.

Common Sleep Bruxism Symptoms

If you grind or clench your teeth while you sleep, you may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Morning headaches or fatigue
  • Sleep disruption (for you or your partner)
  • Sore or tired muscles in your jaw, neck, or face
  • Broken, cracked, chipped, or flattened teeth
  • Enamel erosion
  • Tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Clicking or popping in the jaw joint
  • Mouth or face pain while chewing or yawning

The side effects of sleep bruxism can impact your health in multiple ways. While damaged teeth or jaw pain can reduce your smile’s function and your self-confidence, poor sleep can contribute to higher levels of stress, weakened immunity, poor memory and focus, depression, anxiety, and an increased risk for accidents, weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.

Night Guards for Sleep Bruxism

A night guard is a simple dental appliance that’s customized to fit comfortably in your mouth while you sleep to reduce stress on your jaws and teeth. When worn regularly, a night guard helps protect your teeth and dental restorations from damage, support restorative sleep, and reduce the experience of stress in your mind and body.

Restorative Dentistry

Though facing or experiencing dental damage can feel challenging, you can reclaim your smile’s function and appearance with high-quality restorative dentistry.

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Your smile is yours forever, and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to receive the best dental care when you need it.

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Testimonials

“Dr. May and Lindsay are awesome. Had a root canal done and they did an excellent job. I have been going to Metro for several years and the staff has been great. If you are looking for a dentist that takes time and care, visit Metro East.”

• Pam G.

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