Dental Concerns

Dental Concerns & Your Oral Wellness

The best way to protect your smile from dental health issues is by visiting the dentist at least twice a year and practicing good oral hygiene. Preventative dentistry keeps your teeth and gums healthy, supports long-term oral wellness, and helps you confidently look and feel your best. 

Here at Laser Dentistry in Bradenton, FL, Dr. Kelly Clarke and our entire dental team help patients understand their oral health by prioritizing patient education. We take the time to learn about your dental concerns and find a solution that best fits your individual case. Our office is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art dental technology to maintain and enhance your oral health for years to come. 

It’s important to address dental concerns as soon as possible. Common dental issues such as cracked or crooked teeth can lead to more serious health complications when left untreated. Patients who stay on top of their routine dental visits and maintain healthy habits are far less likely to develop tooth or bone loss in the future.

Comprehensive Treatment for Your Dental Concerns

Dr. Clarke and our dental staff offer a variety of treatments to address your dental concerns. Each visit begins with a thorough consultation that can involve an examination and x-rays. Dr. Clarke will then recommend what he believes to be the most comfortable and least invasive treatment. We work on a case-by-case basis and can personalize treatment to fit your budget while meeting your dental needs. Common dental concerns range from minor tooth decay or gingivitis, to more complex concerns such as improper bite and missing teeth. Whatever your oral health needs may be, we offer unparalleled care at our top-rated dental practice in Bradenton, FL.

About Sedation Dentistry

Dental anxiety is a very common fear that prevents patients from getting the care they need. We offer oral sedation dentistry to ensure your comfort at all times during your visit with us. Sedation dentistry makes it possible for us to treat even the most complex dental issues with ease. Instead of worrying about pain, patients are fully relaxed and can even be in a dream-like state. We can help determine if this option is best for you at your initial consultation.

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Bleeding Gums Treatment
Bleeding gums during brushing or flossing is a common symptom of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is typically caused by poor oral hygiene habits and progresses over time. Gum disease oftentimes goes undetected until the later stages when the teeth and gums have already been compromised and are susceptible to damage.

Dr. Clarke screens for gum disease during routine dental visits as part of our comprehensive oral health care treatment. This allows us to catch any signs of gum disease early on and perform conservative treatment options such as a deep cleaning procedure known as scaling and root planing. Gum disease that has already progressed may require more extensive treatment such as laser therapy or oral surgery.

Do I Have Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an extremely common dental concern. In fact, nearly 70% of adult Americans have some stage of gum disease. Gum disease can develop at any age, but it’s most prevalent among adult patients and worsens if left untreated.

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss because the gums get so swollen and infected, the teeth become loose and eventually shift or fall out. Patients should book a dental appointment at the first signs of gum disease to avoid serious oral health complications.

Gum Disease Prevention
The best way to prevent gum disease is with routine dental health visits and good at-home hygiene.

Aim to brush twice a day and floss at least once a day to remove any food that may be trapped in between teeth. Professional dental cleanings help remove plaque and tartar buildup, which can create a bacterial breeding ground for gum disease to occur. We recommend at least two dental visits a year so Dr. Clarke can look out for any early signs of gum disease and provide prompt treatment.

Dr. Clarke is also trained in laser therapy, a state-of-the-art technology that can in many cases eliminate the need for gum surgery in later stages of gum disease. Laser therapy is minimally invasive and eliminates pockets of bacteria without requiring a scalpel, sutures, or long downtime.

At your routine dental exam, Dr. Clarke and our compassionate dental team can provide recommendations for improving your oral health. We’d be more than happy to help you improve your brushing technique or suggest an anti-bacterial mouth rinse to achieve the cleanest mouth possible.


Illustration comparing periodontitis to a healthy tooth

Patients who have gum disease may experience the following symptoms:

Bleeding gums
Change in the fit of an oral appliance
Swollen, tender gums
Tooth sensitivity
White or red patches on their gums

If periodontal disease is left untreated, the bacteria can eventually enter the bloodstream. Patients with advanced gum disease are at risk of developing serious medical conditions such as:

Gum disease is believed to increase the risk of:

Cardiovascular disease
Heart attacks
Crooked Teeth
Did you know that crooked health can negatively affect your oral health?

While they’re often thought of as a cosmetic concern, crooked teeth can also increase your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and complicated bite disorders.

Patients of all ages can benefit from straightening their misaligned teeth. Thanks to advancements in modern dentistry and orthodontic technology, there are now more comfortable and discreet options for straightening teeth. Dr. Clarke offers a range of orthodontic and cosmetic solutions to help you achieve a straight, healthy smile.

Solutions for Crooked Teeth

Here at Laser Dentistry, we provide patients with comprehensive solutions for even the most advanced dental concerns. We begin by conducting a thorough exam and bite analysis in order to fully understand your oral health and unique needs. Dr. Clarke meets with each patient 1-on-1 and takes the time to discuss your dental goals and answer any questions you may have. Together, he’ll work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that both address your dental health concerns and results in a stunning smile.

Dr. Clarke is a Bradenton, FL, Invisalign provider. Invisalign uses a system of clear aligners to discreetly shift teeth into their proper alignment, resulting in a comfortable bite and aesthetic appearance. Some of the many benefits to using invisible braces include:

Discreet treatment: the aligners are virtually invisible, allowing you to straighten your teeth without anyone knowing
Improved oral health: the aligners are easily removable, making it easy to brush and floss
No food restrictions: patients remove aligners before eating, allowing them to enjoy a balanced diet
Teeth grinding protection: the aligners can also act as a thin guard, protecting the teeth from bruxism

Have a crooked tooth that doesn’t impact the function of your bite? Dr. Clarke can recommend a cosmetic solution that restores the balance to the smile. To achieve a straighter and more beautiful smile, he may recommend:

Porcelain veneers: Dental veneers are thin, porcelain shells bonded to the front teeth to conceal imperfections such as cracks, chips, or crooked teeth.
Dental crown: Dental crowns cover the entire tooth like a cap and can correct a tooth that is crooked, misshapen, or discolored.
Tooth bonding: Tooth bonding is a simple and affordable way to hide dental imperfections in a single visit. The bonding material is placed on teeth, sculpted to the appropriate shape, and cemented into place.

Photo showing Orthosnap invisible aligner.

Why should I straighten my crooked teeth?

Crooked teeth make it difficult to thoroughly clean your mouth and remove bacteria and plaque. Patients with crooked teeth often have more cavities and poorer oral health.

Malocclusion or misalignment caused by crooked teeth is one of the most common underlying causes of TMD. TMD is a complex bite disorder that affects the alignment and function of the jaw joint and can lead to chronic pain and reoccurring headaches if left untreated.

Discolored Teeth

Teeth commonly become yellow or discolored as we age. Stains from certain beverages, gradual wear, and thinning of the tooth enamel lead to discolored teeth over time. Other factors such as smoking, genetics, and certain medications can also cause tooth discoloration.

People with bright, white smiles are often viewed as more attractive and confident. Patients with discolored teeth can benefit greatly from whitening treatments to brighten the surface of their teeth. Dr. Clarke offers in-office professional teeth whitening treatment, take-home whitening kits, and cosmetic veneers to help you achieve a brighter smile.

Common Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Age– The enamel on your teeth gradually wears thin as you age, no matter how good your oral hygiene or diet is. As the enamel wears down, the inner layer of the tooth known as dentin becomes exposed, giving the tooth a yellow appearance. Certain lifestyle habits and diet can worsen this process, leading to premature staining of the teeth.
Diet– Certain beverages such as coffee, tea, or red wine can cause tooth discoloration. Highly acidic foods are also known to wear away the enamel. Patients must be careful about limiting their intake and drink beverages quickly as opposed to slowly sipping on them to prevent staining.
Tobacco Use– Smoking, chewing, or vaping tobacco products leads to tooth discoloration and staining. Patients who have quit smoking can benefit greatly from a professional dental cleaning and whitening treatment. After all, whiter teeth can take years off your appearance.
Injury– In some cases, a traumatic injury to the tooth can cause dark brown or black spots to form. This type of discoloration usually doesn’t respond to whitening treatment. We recommend cosmetic solutions such as veneers or tooth bonding to address permanent discoloration.
Medications– Certain antibiotics and medication can cause permanent discoloration that doesn’t respond to whitening gels. Cosmetic dental treatments can conceal stains to create a more beautiful smile in as little as one or two visits.

Video 01:00 | While a bright white smile may look healthy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that teeth are healthy.

Alternatives to Teeth Whitening

There are some instances in which tooth stains and discoloration don’t respond to professional treatment. Alternative treatments for teeth whitening can include the following:

These cosmetic dentistry treatments offer a long-lasting solution compared to teeth whitening. Tooth bonding is one of the most affordable dental treatments and can conceal discoloration for 4-8 years before needing retreatment. Crowns and veneers last significantly longer but are more expensive than tooth bonding.

Dr. Clarke will evaluate the cause of your discolored or stained teeth in order to make the best treatment recommendation to whiten your smile. 

Dental Anxiety
Is a fear of the dentist preventing you from getting the care you need? You’re not alone.

Many patients avoid going to the dentist due to dental anxiety. However, this can lead to an overall deterioration of your oral health over time.

Regular dental visits are key to maintaining healthy teeth, gums, and jaw. Patients who visit the dentist twice a year have significantly lower rates of tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. This also allows Dr. Clarke to identify any potential dental issues early on and treat them conservatively.

Compassionate, High-Quality Dentistry in Bradenton, FL

With nearly 20 years of experience as a licensed dentist, Dr. Clarke combines his advanced training, friendly demeanor, and state-of-the-art technology to make your visit as pleasant as possible. Your comfort is our top priority, and we’re proud to offer sedation dentistry for patients who are nervous about treatment. Our sedation options are very safe and effective at helping patients relax and receive the care they need. As an added plus, most of our procedures can be performed in a single visit.

As Laser Dentistry, our team understands how challenging it can be to deal with dental anxiety. Whether your fear comes from a negative past experience, anxiety about the cost, or the condition of your smile, we’re here and happy to help.

Our top-rated dental team is highly-skilled and has undergone rigorous training. We prioritize patient education, personalized care, and ensure you’ll feel welcomed as soon as you walk through the door. Appointments are never rushed and Dr. Clarke takes extra care to answer all your questions and explain your treatment plan in detail.

Video 01:00 | If you’ve ever felt nervous or anxious before visiting your dentist, you are not alone. Thanks to today’s technology, dental visits are usually comfortable and virtually pain-free.

Sedation Options

Oral Conscious Sedation – Oral conscious sedation is administered in pill form before the procedure begins. Patients remain responsive and in control, but may experience drowsiness and even fall asleep. Because the effects can last several hours after the appointment, a family member or trusted friend is required to drive patients home. Most patients have no recollection of their dental procedure, making this an excellent option for those who are very anxious.
Headache Therapy
Are you dealing with chronic headaches first thing in the morning? You may be experiencing a dental health concern.

Many patients are surprised to find that chronic headaches can be a sign of temporomandibular disorder (TMD), bruxism, or sleep apnea. Luckily, all of these issues can be addressed by Dr. Clarke. Patients who suffer headaches due to a dental or sleep condition often depend on over-the-counter pain relief and become frustrated by how their headaches affect their quality of life.


Photo of woman with headache

Dr. Clarke will perform a thorough analysis of your oral health, jaw joints, and bite alignment to uncover the cause of your headaches. Treating the root cause is essential to helping patients experience long-term relief and preventing damage to their smiles.

TMD occurs when the jaw joints are strained, creating a host of painful symptoms. Common symptoms of TMD include muscle tension, jaw pain, popping and clicking of the jaw, headaches, and discomfort while chewing or speaking.

Dr. Clarke may recommend correcting bite misalignment using orthodontics, restorative dentistry, or using an oral sleep appliance while sleeping. Treatment will be tailored to your specific needs and can require a combination of restorative and oral sleep appliance therapy for best results.

Headaches & Bruxism

Patients who chronically grind their teeth in their sleep often have little to no awareness of the behavior. Grinding or clenching of the jaw, also known as bruxism, can result in various dental issues such as cracked, chipped, or worn teeth. Patients with bruxism often wake up with painful headaches because the constant overuse of the jaw joints and muscles creates tension and facial discomfort.

Patients who suffer from bruxism can benefit greatly from an oral sleep appliance. The custom-made device looks similar to a mouthguard and fits on the upper or lower arch of teeth. The appliance prevents the jaw from grinding while the patient sleeps and holds the jaw in a comfortable alignment. Patients may also benefit from restorative dentistry procedures such as veneers tooth bonding to repair damage caused by teeth grinding.

Headaches & Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a medical condition that can drastically affect your overall wellness and leave you feeling exhausted in the morning. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked and disrupts the flow of oxygen. Patients experience painful headaches after waking up due to the lack of oxygen.

Patients who have sleep apnea should seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent the condition from causing other health problems. Oral sleep appliance therapy is discreet, comfortable, and can even help save your life. Dr. Clark offers various sleep apnea options at our state-of-the-art practice in Bradenton, FL.

Missing Teeth
Replacing missing teeth is necessary to maintain a healthy and functional smile. Even one missing tooth can lead to serious dental problems and put your oral health at risk.

Thanks to modern dentistry, there are several innovative and natural-looking solutions for replacing missing teeth. Dental restorations look and function like natural teeth with the use of advanced technology such as digital imaging and stunning dental materials. Here at Laser Dentistry, we utilize the latest technology to provide patients with the best solutions for missing teeth.

Missing teeth don’t just compromise the appearance of your smile, they also compromise your oral health. Just one missing tooth can weaken the jaw bone, create misalignment, and cause additional tooth loss in the future. Missing teeth also puts you at a higher risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and facial sagging.


Solutions for Missing Teeth

Dr. Clarke offers a range of treatment options for missing teeth. Whether you’re missing a single tooth or a full arch, we can help you rebuild a beautiful smile with restorative dentistry.

Dental Bridge – A dental bridge is an excellent option for patients needing to replace a single missing tooth or several consecutive missing teeth. The dental bridge is custom-made and color-matched to blend in with your natural teeth. The dental bridge is attached to two adjacent teeth to keep it in place and fill the gaps in your smile.
Dentures & Partials – Dentures are typically recommended for patients missing a full arch of teeth. Partial dentures are recommended for patients who are not good candidates for a dental bridge. Both traditional dentures and partials are easily removable and custom-designed to fit snuggly in the patients mouth. Dentures can restore your ability to eat, chew, and speak with confidence.
Single Dental Implant – Dental implants are considered the gold standard when it comes to teeth replacement. A small titanium post, known as the implant, is surgically placed in the jaw. After 3-6 months, the implant fuses with the jaw bone during a process called osseointegration. Once healed, an abutment and dental crown are attached to the dental implant to create a natural-looking tooth.
Implant Secured Dental Restoration – Dental bridges, full dentures, or partial dentures can be secured with two or more implants if there is adequate bone tissue in the jaw. Patients who choose to replace missing teeth with a dental restoration experience significantly improved oral health with less facial sagging. Patients who have an existing denture or dental bridge can also benefit from choosing to secure their restorations with dental implants.
Teeth Grinding
Do you have a tendency to clench your jaw or grind your teeth at night?

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can damage your teeth, gums, and jaw if left unaddressed. Many patients subconsciously grind their teeth at night if they are feeling anxious or experiencing lots of stress.

At Laser Dentistry, we can detect signs of bruxism during your routine dental exams. Diagnosing and treating bruxism is necessary to prevent more serious conditions such as TMD from occurring. Over time, bruxism can damage the jaw joints and put unwanted stress on the surrounding muscle and nerves, leading to chronic pain. Treating bruxism helps relieve these painful symptoms in many patients with TMD.

Video 01:00 | Teeth grinding also known as Bruxism, often happens at night during sleep.

How do I know if I grind my teeth?


Many patients aren’t aware that they grind their teeth because it usually occurs when they are asleep. They may have a partner that can’t sleep due to the grinding noises, or have a dentist diagnose bruxism at their biannual check-up. Dr. Clarke can help you treat bruxism early on to prevent it from damaging your smile and jeopardizing your oral health.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be grinding your teeth at night:

Regular headaches after waking up
Unexplained chipped or cracked teeth
Worn down teeth
Chronic jaw pain or facial muscle tension
Persistently sensitive teeth
Damaged tissue inside of the mouth
Unexplained earaches or facial pain

Treating Bruxism in Bradenton, FL

Dr. Clarke offers treatment to patients dealing with chronic teeth grinding. One of the quickest and most effective ways to treat bruxism is with an oral sleep appliance. Patients can also curb teeth grinding by making dietary changes or relieving stress. At Laser Dentistry, we identify the root cause of the issue and repair any damage from teeth grinding with restoration procedures.

How to stop grinding your teeth: An oral sleep appliance can help patients put an end to bruxism. The appliance protects your teeth and jaw from further damage and fits like a mouthguard. It holds the upper and lower jaw in proper alignment to prevent the grinding motion from occurring.

How to repair the damage caused by teeth grinding: In some cases, patients may need cosmetic or restorative procedures to repair the damage caused by persistent teeth grinding. Bruxism can leave teeth worn, chipped, cracked, and even affect the health of your gums. Dental crowns, veneers, and other dental solutions can help restore the form and function of your beautiful smile.

Tooth Cavity
Cavities are by far the most common dental issue.

Cavities affect patients of all ages and are caused by bacteria and debris getting trapped between the teeth. The bacteria eventually multiply and wears away at the tooth enamel, leaving the tooth vulnerable to decay or infection.

Video 01:00 | Cavities can affect people of all ages, and they don’t just happen overnight.

Treatment for a Tooth Cavity

We offer several treatments for cavities at our Bradenton, FL, dental office. Depending on how severe the decay is, Dr. Clarke may recommend one of the following treatments:

Dental Filling: Tooth decay can easily be treated with a dental filling if it’s caught in the early stages. Fillings are a simple and straightforward treatment aimed to preserve the tooth if it is weakened by a cavity. The filling restores the tooth’s strength and protects it from further damage by sealing off the decay.
Root Canal: If left untreated, an untreated cavity can reach the tooth’s root, causing extreme pain or infection. Root canal therapy is needed to save the tooth from being extracted and remove decay without putting your jaw or bite at risk.
Dental Crown: Dental crowns are a versatile treatment that can treat a range of restorative and cosmetic dental concerns. Dr. Clarke may use a dental crown to cover and protect a tooth that has a large cavity. Crowns provide an extra layer of reinforcement and strength to teeth that are weak or damaged.
Extraction: In extreme cases, a badly decayed tooth needs to be extracted if it cannot be saved. Dr. Clarke will make every attempt to preserve the natural tooth before resorting to extraction, which is the last resort treatment.

Dental cavities are most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene habits.

Tooth decay can be prevented with good oral hygiene and routine dental visits. Dr. Clarke and our compassionate team can help keep your teeth healthy and decay free. We recommend patients visit us at least twice a year to prevent the progression of tooth decay. Regular visits allow for early diagnosis and intervention, which saves you time and money in the long run. In between your six-month exams and dental cleanings, make sure to brush and floss twice a day to maintain proper oral health. Brushing and flossing remove the build-up of debris and food and helps stop the spread of bacteria in the mouth.

Having good oral hygiene habits and going to the dentist regularly significantly decreases your risk of developing cavities or other dental problems. Patients with tooth decay are more prone to developing gum disease or tooth loss in the future.

A healthy diet low in sugar is an excellent way to prevent tooth decay, as sugar can lead to plaque sticking to your enamel. If you do have the occasional sugary drink or snack, be sure to brush your teeth immediately to prevent any build-up from sticking to the surface of your teeth.

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