General Dentistry in Orlando, FL

Serving the community of Orlando, FL

As a general dentist, Dr. Gary Michaelson is the primary provider for your family’s basic dental needs. We diagnose and manage your overall needs, but we’re also here to coordinate your care if your needs require a specialist.

We realize that everyone is at different stages with their dental health. If your teeth are currently healthy, we’ll help keep them that way. If you have a major dental issue, we’ll develop a treatment plan that will get your oral health back on track.

What does general dentistry include?

General dentistry includes all the diagnostic, preventive, and restorative services your family needs to maintain optimal oral health:

  • Cleanings & exams
  • Digital x-rays
  • Tooth-colored fillings
  • Root canals
  • Extractions

We believe that when you are an informed patient, you are better able to understand your own needs and make confident decisions about your care. For this reason, we take the time to answer your questions and educate you about areas of your oral health that concern you and your well-being.

How often should I visit the dentist?

The American Dental Association recommends that you see your dentist every six months for preventive cleanings and exams. However, your needs are unique, and we can only determine the frequency of visits that best suits your needs after we perform a thorough evaluation.

The goal of these visits is to help you stay a step ahead of dental problems by providing preventive treatments that include cleanings, exams, fluoride applications, and dental sealants as needed. Making and keeping your routine appointments is much easier than dealing with discomfort and complicated dental problems in the future.

What happens during a routine dental visit?

During your routine visits, Dr. Michaelson performs a comprehensive exam to note the condition of your teeth and gums and any changes since your last visit. We take x-rays as needed to monitor ongoing conditions and diagnose new problems. We also care about your general health and well-being, so every exam includes an oral cancer screening.

Plaque and tartar that sits on your teeth lead to cavities and gum disease, so your dental hygienist performs a thorough cleaning to remove them. These appointments are also a perfect opportunity for you to ask questions about your oral hygiene, and your hygienist will be happy to provide tips to get the most out of your routine.

Why do I need an oral cancer screening?

Oral cancer is aggressive but is also easily treated when caught early, which is why everyone should have an oral cancer screening at least once a year. You are at higher risk if you use tobacco in any form; 85 percent of head and neck cancer is related to tobacco use.

Other risk factors include:

  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Sun exposure
  • Presence of HPV
  • Being male
  • Being over the age of 45

An oral cancer screening is non-invasive and nothing to worry about. Dr. Michaelson visually inspects all soft tissue in your mouth and palpates (examines by touch) each side of jaw, neck, and collarbone for differences, sensitivities, or growths.

Are dental x-rays safe?

Background radiation is all around us, and you are exposed to it daily. But we understand that you may still be concerned about any unnecessary exposure. Your complete safety is our priority, so we offer state-of-the-art digital x-rays that produce about 80 percent less exposure that traditional film x-rays.

Digital x-rays are the most valuable diagnostic tool we have. During a visual exam, we’re limited by what we can see. Dental x-rays allow us to identify problems like decay and gum disease long before they cause discomfort and damage your oral health.

How do I know if I have gum disease?

Gum disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that as many as 47 percent of US adults over the age of 30 have mild, moderate, or advanced gum disease. For those over age 65, the number jumps to 70 percent.

Common symptoms to look for are:

  • Inflamed, swollen, or tender gums
  • Bleeding gums when you brush
  • Gum recession
  • Persistent (bad breath)
  • Loose teeth

Your hygienist identifies gum disease by measuring the pockets between your teeth and gums. If your gums are healthy, pocket depth typically measures less than 3 millimeters (mm). Pockets deeper than 3mm, indicate the presence of gum disease that requires treatment.

How do you treat gum disease?

If we find gum disease or decay during our exam, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan to restore your oral health and prevent gum disease from reoccurring.

Gum disease in its earliest stage is called gingivitis. To treat gingivitis, our hygienist performs a thorough dental cleaning, points out problem areas and gives you tips for maximizing your oral hygiene efforts, including the use of an antimicrobial rinse.

Without treatment, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis where pockets deeper than 3 millimeters open up and your gum and bone pulls away (recedes) from the teeth. The pockets become infected, and bacteria and plaque spread below the gum line.

Periodontitis requires a non-surgical deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing to remove the bacteria. Scaling scrapes away plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing smoothes the rough spots on the tooth root where bacteria collect. The smooth, clean surface helps the gums reattach to the teeth.

Am I at risk for gum disease?

Since gum disease can easily develop without your knowledge, it’s a good idea to understand the risk factors and how they affect you.

  • Genetics
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Tobacco use of any kind
  • Diseases that affect the whole body like diabetes and AIDS
  • Medications that cause dry mouth
  • Changing hormone levels in teens and pregnant women

What causes cavities?

Also called dental caries, cavities occur when bacteria in plaque produce acid that dissolves enamel and creates holes or cavities. Anyone can get cavities, even in teeth that have existing fillings and crowns.

The problem is that by the time a toothache tells you that you have a cavity, the decay has penetrated the enamel of your tooth. In the early stages, a cavity is easy to fix with a tooth-colored filling. But without treatment, decay advances until it reaches the innermost area of your tooth, causes intense pain, and requires a root canal to fix.

It is always best to treat problems when they are small, and the purpose of your exams and cleanings is to do just that. You can save yourself a lot of time, discomfort, and expense by merely maintaining your routine appointments.

Will anyone notice I have a filling?

Today we create fillings using state-of-the-art tooth-colored composite material that results in a seamless repair that is virtually unnoticeable. The filling material is a blend of non-toxic plastic and glass particles that create an appearance similar to natural tooth enamel.

We customize composite fillings by shading them to blend seamlessly with surrounding teeth. The putty-like material is placed in the cavity, then shaped and contoured, so it matches the appearance of remaining teeth. The material is then hardened with a curing light for an invisible repair that protects the tooth from further damage and improves its appearance.

How do I schedule my first appointment?

The team at Alafaya Dentistry would love to welcome you to our dental family! Please feel free to arrange your first appointment by calling our office at (407) 381-3000 or email us using our convenient online contact form.