Neville W. Richter, DDS

Professional Education
Indiana University, BA 1972
Indiana University School of Dentistry, DDS 1976 Professional History
Private practice in the State of Washington, 1978-present
Indian Health Service, Inchelium, WA 1977-1978

About My Practice

I am devoted to treatment of the person as a whole entity, not just an oral cavity. A healthy, attractive smile is an important form of communication. It instantly portrays your personality, and self-image. Successful people tend to smile a lot. It is in this way that their success is best demonstrated. People whose teeth are healthy and attractive feel more confident and aware of their own vitality.

My goal is the “perpetual presentation of what remains rather than the meticulous replacement of what is missing.” M. M. De Van

Your Mouth: An Owner’s Manual

Also known as decay or caries. This is an actual pathology (disease) caused by bacteria. It is the most widespread disease in the world and costs billions each year in lost productivity in all countries of the world. A cavity is simply a hole in your tooth caused by a combination of many different bacteria that we all have. There are a many, many factors that influence the frequency and severity of cavities, and why some people don’t get any cavities at all! If unchecked, decay will literally eat a tooth down to the very end of the root. My goal in taking care of you is to remove and repair any decay in an optimal fashion and teach you how to avoid future cavities.

Periodontal disease
Another pathology caused by many types of bacteria that we all have. It is usually painless (unlike decay) and very, very common. The bacteria here are different than those that cause decay. Periodontal disease has been proven to be linked to heart disease. Left untreated periodontal disease will cause a cascade of events ending in the loss of your teeth, a devastating proposition in anyone’s mind.

I don’t use amalgam
Amalgam is any metal mixed with mercury. Dental amalgam is a combination of mostly silver with small amounts of zinc, nickel, palladium, and other metals. It doesn’t bond to tooth structure and has to be reinforced in large amounts with self-threading pins tapped into the tooth structure. All of this weakens the tooth. Amalgam alone can cause gross fracture of a tooth. This is the main reason amalgam is not used in my practice.

Generally, replacing metal dental fillings for cosmetic reasons should only be done after careful consideration and if your dentist feels it won’t compromise the long-term health of your teeth. Likewise, there’s no need to replace metal dental fillings because of concerns about mercury in your fillings.

Most metal dental fillings are dental amalgam — a stable alloy made with mercury, silver, tin, copper and possibly other metals. Although concerns have been raised over the years about the safety of mercury in dental amalgam, there is no conclusive evidence to support that you’re better off having amalgam fillings replaced with alternative materials. The American Dental Association supports the use of dental amalgam as a safe, reliable and effective treatment for dental decay.

If you’re unsure whether you need to replace your metal dental fillings, ask your dentist to explain the options and help you understand what’s best in your case.

Root canal therapy
Any number of circumstances can cause a tooth to be weakened such as decay or fracture. When the repair of a tooth threatens the pulp or nerve tissue inside the tooth, then a root canal procedure is performed before a crown is made. However not all teeth that need a crown need a root canal! This is a judgment call determined by diagnosis, x-rays and an exam. Simply stated, a root canal procedure removes the contents inside the canals of the teeth: nervous tissue, blood tissue, and lymph tissue. These canals are then filled with an inert rubber-plastic material. The tooth remains intact and ready for a crown. A crown is always needed after a root canal procedure because the tooth becomes brittle and can fracture without the protection of the crown.

On Dental Aesthetics
The ultimate goal of restorative and cosmetic dentistry is to restore a tooth in a manner that makes the repair invisible. The flip side of that is to make the tooth look better than it did before!

We live in an age where materials used to repair teeth can look almost exactly like enamel, even under the scrutiny of ultraviolet light! These materials are universally available to all dentists; the art in using them is hearing what you, the patient wishes, and translating that into the desired appearance. For instance, do you want a younger look or do you wish to match the shape and color of the existing teeth? That kind of flexibility may mean merely reshaping the teeth, smoothing some worn, chipped edges, moving the teeth to a more functional position, or even a good cleaning and some in-office or over-the-counter whitening.

Why straight teeth are important
The advantages of straight teeth are more than a beautiful smile. You’re able to clean them more easily thereby avoiding decay between crowded, difficult-to-fix teeth. Easier cleaning means less gum problems, too.

A very important point is that straight teeth is very critical if you have any type of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.  A stable joint is enhanced by a stable occlusion.

Having straight teeth at any age is now easier than ever. Using Invisalign, a system of sequential clear plastic shells that fit over your teeth, you avoid using wires and brackets. Some advantages of Invisalign are the “invisibility” of it; no one knows you are having your teeth straightened, the shells (called aligners) are virtually impossible to detect. Your speech is unaffected and they are very comfortable. You’ll change the aligners every two weeks as they slowly and safely coax your teeth into better alignment relieving crowded, rotated teeth. A huge advantage is that you take the aligners out to eat and clean your teeth thereby maintaining your oral health and no more spinach caught in the wires and brackets. Though Invisalign will not shorten the time it takes to straighten your teeth it has been shown to be kinder to the roots due to the gentle forces used to straighten.