Endodontics

Endodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that deals with the complex structures found in the teeth. The Greek word “Endodontics” literally means “inside the tooth” and relates to the tooth pulp, tissues, nerves, and arterioles. Endodontists receive additional dental training after completing dental school to enable them to perform both complex and simple procedures, including root canal therapy.

Historically, a tooth with a diseased nerve would be removed immediately, but endodontists are now able to save the natural tooth in most cases. Generally, extracting the inner tooth structures, then sealing the resulting gap with a crown restores health and functionality to damaged teeth.

Signs and symptoms of endodontic problems:

  • Inflammation and tenderness in the gums.

  • Teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold foods.

  • Tenderness when chewing and biting.

  • Tooth discoloration.

  • Unexplained pain in the nearbylymph nodes.

Reasons for endodontic treatment

Endodontic treatment (or root canal therapy) is performed to save the natural tooth. In spite of the many advanced restorations available, most dentists agree that there is no substitute for healthy, natural teeth.

Here are some of the main causes of inner tooth damage:

  • Bacterial infections – Oral bacteria is the most common cause of endodontic problems. Bacteria invade the tooth pulp through tiny fissures in the teeth caused by tooth decay or injury. The resulting inflammation and bacterial infection jeopardize the affected tooth and may cause an abscess to form.

  • Fractures and chips – When a large part of the surface or crown of the tooth has become completely detached, root canal therapy may be required. The removal of the crown portion leaves the pulp exposed, which can be debilitating painful and problematic.

  • Injuries – Injuries to the teeth can be caused by a direct or indirect blow to the mouth area. Some injuries cause a tooth to become luxated or dislodged from its socket. Root canal therapy is often needed after the endodontist has successfully stabilized the injured tooth.

  • Removals – If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the socket, it is important to rinse it and place it back into the socket as quickly as possible. If this is impossible, place the tooth in special dental solution (available at pharmacies) or in milk. These steps will keep the inner mechanisms of the tooth moist and alive while emergency dental treatment is sought. The tooth will be affixed in its socket using a special splint, and the endodontist will then perform root canal therapy to save the tooth.

What does an endodontic procedure involve?

Root canal therapy usually takes between one and three visits to complete. Complete X-rays of the teeth will be taken and examined before the treatment begins.

Initially, a local anesthetic will be administered, and a dental dam (protective sheet) will be placed to ensure that the surgical area remains free of saliva during the treatment. An opening will be created in the surface of the tooth, and the pulp will be completely removed using small handheld instruments.

Space will then be shaped, cleaned, and filled with gutta-percha. Gutta-percha is a biocompatible material that is somewhat similar to rubber. Cement will be applied on top to ensure that the root canals are completely sealed off. Usually, a temporary filling will be placed to restore functionality to the tooth prior to the permanent restoration procedure. During the final visit, a permanent restoration or crown will be placed.

If you have questions or concerns about endodontic procedures, please contact our office.

CRACKED TOOTH

Racked and fractured teeth are common dental problems. As people retain their natural teeth longer (due to advances in dental technology), the likelihood of cracked teeth increases. There are many reasons why teeth may crack, for example, biting on hard objects, trauma, grinding and clenching of teeth. All of these behaviors place the teeth under extra strain and render them more susceptible to cracking.

When tooth enamel is cracked, pain can become momentarily debilitating. In the absence of pressure on the crack, there may be no discomfort. However, as the cracked tooth performs a biting action, the crack widens. The pulp and inner workings of the tooth then become exposed, and painful irritation occurs. As pressure is released again, the two parts of the crack fuse back together, and pain subsides. If left untreated, the pulp becomes irreversibly damaged and constantly painful. The resulting pulp infection can affect the bone and soft tissue surrounding the tooth.

Symptoms of a cracked tooth may include:

  • Unexplained pain when eating.

  • Sensitivity to warm and cold foods.

  • Pain with no obvious cause.

  • Difficulty pinpointing the location of the pain.

What kind of cracks can affect the teeth?

There are many ways in which a tooth can be cracked. The specific type of crack will determine what type of treatment is viable. In cases where the crack is not too deep, root canal therapy can be performed, and the natural tooth can remain in the mouth. In other situations, the tooth is too badly damaged and requires extraction.

Here is a brief overview of some of the most common types of cracks:

  • Crazes – These are generally tiny vertical cracks that do not place the teeth in danger. These scratches on the surface of the teeth are considered by most dentists to be a normal part of the tooth anatomy. A craze rarely requires treatment for health reasons, but a wide variety of cosmetic treatments can be performed to reduce the negative aesthetic impact.

  • Oblique supragingival cracks – These cracks only affect the crown of the tooth and do not extend below the gum line. Usually, the affected part of the tooth will eventually break off. Little pain willresult,

    because the tooth pulp (that contains the nerves and vessels) will remain unaffected.

  • Oblique subgingival cracks – These cracks extend beyond the gum line and often beyond where the jawbone begins. When a piece breaks off, it will usually remain attached until the dentist removes it. Oblique subgingival cracks are painful and may require a combination of periodontal surgery (to expose the crown) and endodontic treatment to place a crown or other restorative device.

  • Vertical furcation cracks – These cracks occur when the roots of the tooth separate. This type of crack almost always affects the nerve of the tooth. Because the tooth will not generally separate completely, root canal therapy and a crown can usually save the tooth.

  • Oblique root cracks – Thes tracks tend not to affect the surface of the tooth at all. In fact, the damage is only apparent below the gum line and usually below the jawbone. Root canal therapy may be possible, depending on how close the fracture is to the tooth surface. However, extraction is almost always the only option after sustaining this classification of fracture.

  • Vertical apical root cracks – These cracks occur at the apex (tip of the root). Though the tooth does not require extraction from a dental perspective, many patients request an extraction because of the high degree of pain. Root canal therapy alleviates the discomfort for a while, but most often, teeth affected by such cracks are eventually extracted.

How are cracks in the teeth treated?

There are many different types of cracked teeth. Some can only be exposed using X-ray machines, while others are clearly visible to the naked eye. In cases where the tooth root is affected, root canal therapy is the most viable treatment option. The pulp, nerves, and vessels of the tooth will be removed, and the resulting space will be filled with gutta-percha. A crown or filling will be added to stabilize the tooth, and it will continue to function as normal.

When the crack is too severe for the tooth to be saved, the dentist will perform an extraction. There are a number of restorative options in this case, such as bridges, dental implants and partial dentures. All of these structures can restore biting, chewing, and speaking functions.

If you have any questions or concerns about cracked teeth, please contact our office.

ROOT CANAL RETREATMENT

In rare cases, root canal therapy fails to work as expected. The treated tooth might not heal properly or a patient might experience post-surgical complications that jeopardize the tooth. Root canal retreatment involves the removal of the previous crown and packing material, the cleansing of the root canals, and the re-packing and re-crowning of the tooth. In short, root canal retreatment is almost identical to the original procedure, aside from the structural removal. The success rate for a root canal retreatment runs at around 75%.

Root canal treatments and retreatments are a better alternative than extraction for most individuals. If a tooth has good bone support, a solid surface and healthy gums beneath it, it stands a good chance of being saved. Opting for root canal retreatment can be far less expensive than the alternatives. Dental implants, extensive bridgework and the creation of aesthetically pleasing prosthetic teeth cost far more than working with the natural tooth. They also require maintenance and feel less natural than a “real” tooth.

Why is root canal retreatment required?

Though the prospect of more endodontic surgery might not be pleasant, root canal retreatment is fairly simple. In general, the whole treatment can be completed in 1-3 visits.

There are a number of reasons why root canal therapy unexpectedly fails, including:

  • Cracked Crown leaking filling material.

  • Curved or narrow canals not treated during the original procedure.

  • Delay in the placement of restorative devices following the procedure.

  • New decay to the tooth.

  • New fracture in the treated tooth.

  • Saliva entering the restorative structure.

  • Undetected complex canal structures.

What does root canal retreatment involve?

On the day of the retreatment procedure, a local anesthetic will be administered, unless another type of anesthetic has been selected. The affected tooth is isolated with a rubber dam. The dam protects the tooth during treatment from bacteria and saliva. The amount the dentist can do within a single appointment will much depend on the amount of inflammation present, and the complexity of the treatment.

The first step in a root canal retreatment is to gain access to the inner tooth. If a crown and post have been placed, these will be removed.

Next, filling material and obstructions that block the root canals will be removed. This removal is conducted using an ultrasonic handpiece. The advantage of using this tool is that any unwanted material is vibrated loose. Tiny instruments will then be used to clean and reshape the root canals. X-rays may be taken to ensure that the roots are thoroughly clean. If this part of the treatment proves to be complex, medicated packing material will be applied, and the rest of the cleansing procedure will be done at the next visit.

When the dentist is confident that the root canals are completely clean, gutta-percha is used to pack the space. This rubbery material seals the canals to prevent bacterial invasion. Finally, a temporary crown or filling is applied to tooth. At a later date, the color-matched permanent crown will be placed.

If you have any questions or concerns about root canal retreatment, please ask your dentist.

ROOT CANAL THERAPY

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 (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.

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 tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.

Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although, on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.

Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:

  • An abscess (or a pimple) on the gums.

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold.

  • Severe toothache pain.

  • Sometimes no symptoms are present.

  • Swelling and/or tenderness.

Reasons for root canal therapy:

  • Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).

  • Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.

  • Injury or trauma to the tooth.

What does root canal therapy involve?

A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).

While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.

Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.

At the next appointment, usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials. A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.

After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.

You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.

DENTAL ANXIETY AND FEAR

The overwhelming fear of dental appointments can be a common cause of anxiety. Many people visualize a drill-wielding man in a white coat just waiting to cause pain and remove teeth. The reality, however, is very different. The comfort, relaxation, and happiness of the patient are the primary focus of any good dental practice. The staff at the practice will do whatever they can to reduce anxiety, allay fears, and provide painless, quick treatments.

Recent technological advancements have meant that in many cases, dentists are able to replace noisy drills with painless laser beams. There are also a wide variety of safe anesthetics available to eliminate pain and reduce anxiety during routine appointments.

Here is a list of some of the most common dental fears:

  • Fear of embarrassment about the condition of teeth.

  • Fear of gagging.

  • Fear of injections.

  • Fear of loss of control.

  • Fear of not becoming numb when injected with Novocain.

  • Fear of pain.

  • Fear of the dentist as a person.

  • Fear of the hand piece (or the drill).

How can one overcome dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety and fear can become completely overwhelming. It is estimated that as many as 35 million people do not visit the dental office at all because they are too afraid. Receiving regular dental check-ups and cleanings is incredibly important. Having regular routine check-ups is the easiest way to maintain excellent oral hygiene and reduce the need for more complex treatments.

Here are some tips to help reduce dental fear and anxiety:

  • Talk to us – We can't read minds. Though it can be hard to talk about irrational fears with a stranger, we can take extra precautions during visits if fears and anxiety are communicated.

  • Bring a portable music player – Music acts as a relaxant and also drowns out any fear-producing noises. Listening to calming music throughout the appointment will help to reduce anxiety.

  • Agree on a signal – Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are in significant pain during the appointment and will continue with the procedure regardless. The best way to solve this problem is to agree on a “stop” hand signal. Both parties can easily understand signals like raising the hand or tapping on the chair.

  • Spray the throat – Throat sprays (for example, Vicks® Chloraseptic® Throat Spray) can actually control the gag reflex. Two or three sprays will usually keep the reflex under control for about an hour.

  • Take a mirror – Not being able to see what is happening can increase anxiety and make the imagination run wild. Watching the procedure can help keep reality at the forefront of the mind.

  • Sedation – If there is no other way to cope, sedation offers an excellent option for many people. There are several types of sedation, but the general premise behind them is the same: the patient regains their faculties after treatment is complete.

  • Ask about alternatives – Advances in technology mean that a dental microsurgery is now an option. Lasers can be used to prepare teeth for fillings, whiten teeth, and remove staining. Discuss all the options with us and decide on one that is effective and produces minimal anxiety.

If you have questions or concerns about how we can help you overcome anxiety and fear, please contact our office.

LASER DENTISTRY

In recent years, laser dentistry has superseded many traditional dentistry practices, making treatments more precise and less painful. This newer style of dentistry utilizes intense beams of light projected by a dental laser. Dental lasers can be used to perform a wide variety of treatments, including soft tissue shaping and removal.

The FDA deemed laser dentistry to be safe for public usage in 1990. Since then, many dentists have incorporated dental lasers into everyday procedures – reducing bleeding, anxiety and post-treatment recovery times. The beauty of dental lasers is that they damage far less of the surrounding tissue than traditional techniques – which means less discomfort and pain.

Here are some of the other benefits associated with laser dentistry:

  • Faster healing and tissue regeneration.

  • Preservation of more of the natural tooth.

  • Reduced bleeding during and after treatment.

  • Reduced need for anesthesia.

  • Reduced need for stitches and sutures.

  • Reduced risk of bacterial infections after procedures.

How can laser dentistry help me?

Laser dentistry is incredibly versatile and plays an important role in a growing number of common dental procedures. Though laser dentistry is most notably associated with cosmetic treatments, it is equally effective for preventative purposes.

Here are some of the ways that dental lasers can be used:

  • Tooth Preparation – Prior to laser dentistry, a drill would be required to prepare the tooth for a filling. Lasers can now completely eliminate the need for drilling and anesthesia. Lasers also successfully kill oral bacteria around the surgical site.

  • Reshaping soft tissue – Dental lasers can dissolve soft tissue to expose more of the natural tooth (crown lengthening), reshape soft tissue to make “gummy smiles” more attractive, and remove uncomfortable soft tissue folds caused by denture wear.

  • Frenectomy – Lasers can improve speech and the feeding habits of babies, children, and adults by untying the tongue.

  • Tumor removal – When benign tumors have formed in the soft tissue areas of the mouth, a dental laser can completely remove them without causing pain.

  • Whitening – Lasers can greatly expedite the tooth whitening process by increasing the activity of the particles in the peroxide bleaching solution.

  • Biopsy – Lasers are sometimes used to perform a biopsy on suspicious areas of soft tissue. This biopsy procedure can be performed instantly and with great precision.

How are laser procedures performed?

Different types of dental laser have been created to treat different conditions. Each laser uses a different wavelength of light, which predicates its best use. The most common types of dental laser are carbon dioxide lasers and diode lasers, which are usually employed to treat soft tissue problems. The dentist will decide which type of laser is best to use after conducting X-rays and a thorough examination.

The laser beam is extremely bright, and special glasses will be provided to protect the eyes. The dentist will then direct the beam at the affected area and carefully dissolve the soft tissue, harden the filling or whiten the teeth.

The procedure will take far less time than conventional methods, and cause far less anxiety and discomfort. The only real disadvantage of laser dentistry is that it can prove to be more expensive.

If you have questions or concerns about laser dentistry, please ask your dentist.

DENTAL EMERGENCIES

Dental emergencies are quite frightening and often painful. Prompt treatment is almost always required to alleviate pain and to ensure the teeth have the best possible chance of survival.

Sometimes, teeth become fractured by trauma, grinding, or biting on hard objects. In other cases, fillings, crowns, and other restorative devices can be damaged or fall out of the mouth completely. If there is severe pain, it is essential to contact our office immediately. The pain caused by dental emergencies almost always gets worse without treatment, and dental issues can seriously jeopardize physical health.

Types of dental emergency and how to deal with them

Avulsed tooth (tooth knocked out)

If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the mouth, it is essential to see a dentist immediately. When a tooth exits the mouth, tissues, nerves, and blood vessels become damaged. If the tooth can be placed back into its socket within an hour, there is a chance the tissues will grow to support the tooth once again.

Here are some steps to take:

  • Call our office.

  • Pick up the tooth by the crown and rinse it under warm water. DO NOT touch the root.

  • If possible, place it back into its socket – if not tuck it into the cheek pouch.

  • If the tooth cannot be placed in the mouth, put the tooth into a cup of milk, saliva, or water as a last resort. It is important to keep the tooth from drying out.

  • Get to our office, quickly and safely.

We will try to replace the tooth in its natural socket. In some cases, the tooth will reattach, but if the inner mechanisms of the teeth are seriously damaged, root canal therapy might be necessary.

Lost filling or crown

Usually, a crown or filling comes loose while eating. Once it is out of the mouth, the affected tooth may be incredibly sensitive to temperature changes and pressure. Crowns generally become loose because the tooth beneath is decaying. The decay causes shape changes in the teeth – meaning that the crown no longer fits.

If a crown has dropped out of the mouth, make a dental appointment as soon as possible. Keep the crown in a cool, safe place because there is a possibility that we can reinsert it. If the crown is out of the mouth for a long period of time, the teeth may shift or sustain further damage.

When we are not immediately accessible, here are the steps to take:

  • Apply clove oil to the tooth to alleviate pain.

  • Clean the crown, and affix it onto the tooth with dental cement. This can be purchased at a local pharmacy.

  • If the crown is lost, smear the top of the tooth with dental cement to alleviate discomfort.

  • DO NOT use any kind of glue to affix the crown.

  • We will check the crown to see if it still fits. If it does, it will be reattached to the tooth. Where decay is noted, this will be treated and a new crown will be made.

Cracked or broken teeth

The teeth are strong, but they are still prone to fractures, cracks, and breaks. Sometimes fractures are fairly painless, but if the crack extends down into the root, it is likely that the pain will be extreme. Fractures, cracks, and breaks can take several different forms, but are generally caused by trauma, grinding, and biting. If a tooth has been fractured or cracked, there is no alternative but to schedule an appointment as quickly as possible.

Where a segment of the tooth has been broken off, here are some steps that can be taken at home:

  • Call our office.

  • Rinse the tooth fragment and the mouth with lukewarm water.

  • Apply gauze to the area for ten minutes if there is bleeding.

  • Place a cold, damp dishtowel on the cheek to minimize swelling and pain.

  • Cover the affected area with over-the-counter dental cement if you cannot see us immediately.

  • Take a topical pain reliever.

The nature of the break or fracture will limit what we are able to do. If a fracture or crack extends into the root, root canal therapy is often the most effective way to retain the tooth. In the case of a complete break, your dentist will usually affix the fragment back onto the tooth as a temporary measure.

Dislodged/loose teeth

When a tooth has been dislodged or loosened from its socket by trauma or decay, it might be possible to save it. If the tooth remains in the mouth still attached to the blood vessels and nerves, there is a good chance root canal therapy will not be necessary.
It is important to the callour office immediately to make an appointment. In the meantime, use a cold compress and over-the-counter medications to relieve pain. Your dentist will reposition the tooth and add splints to stabilize it. If the tooth fails to heal, root canal therapy might be required.

If you have questions or concerns about dental emergencies, please contact our office.

PROSTHODONTICS

Prosthodontics is the specialized field of dentistry concerned with diagnosing, planning and executing restorative and cosmetic treatments. Dentists who choose to specialize in prosthodontics must complete three or four more years of dedicated training following dental school.

A prosthodontist is, in essence, an architect, who formulates a comprehensive treatment plan and informs the patient as to what is possible. Missing or defective teeth can be extremely detrimental to self-esteem and self-confidence. Using the latest technology, a prosthodontist is able to fill these gaps with functional, natural-looking teeth that boost confidence and enhance the smile.

There are many reasons why a prosthodontist may be consulted, including (but not limited to):

  • Creation of partial or full sets of dentures.

  • The desire to whiten the teeth or improve the aesthetics of the smile.

  • Filling gaps created by one or more missing teeth.

  • Interest in dental implants.

What treatments can the prosthodontist perform?

Prosthodontic treatments are designed to be functional, long-lasting and pleasing to the eye. These procedures can only be completed on generally healthy teeth. Issues like gum disease need to be controlled before prosthodontic treatments can begin.

There are an ever-increasing number of hi-tech prosthodontic treatments available including the following:

  • Dental Implants – Implants are designed to replace the natural teeth in the best possible way. Titanium roots are implanted in the jawbone in the same way as natural tooth roots. Implants look and feel the same as natural teeth.

  • Dental Veneers – Veneers are porcelain/ceramic covers that are bonded to the natural teeth. Veneers can instantly solve problems like uneven teeth, stained teeth, and chips and damage caused by general wear and tear.

  • Dental Crowns – Prosthetic crowns are generally made from porcelain, metal or a combination of the two. They have been designed to mimic the natural crown (surface of the tooth) and can last for up to a decade, and possibly longer.

  • Dental Bridges – Conventional and Cantilever bridges are used to support a prosthetic tooth. The natural teeth can support the bridge if they are in good condition, or dental implants may be used as anchors.

  • Complete Dentures – A complete set of dentures can be created for people who have no teeth due to gum disease or trauma. Complete dentures restore functionality to the mouth and make chewing and speaking easier.

  • Partial Dentures – Where many teeth have been lost, removable or fixed partial dentures can prove to be an excellent option. They enhance the aesthetics of the smile in addition to improving chewing abilities.

What other problems can a prosthodontist treat?

In addition to performing the treatments described above, the prosthodontist is also adept at treating problems with the jaw (TMJ), alleviating severe snoring, managing sleep apnea, and reconstructing the teeth following oral cancer treatments. Generally, the prosthodontist works in combination with other dental health professionals to ensure the best possible restorative results are achieved.

If you have questions or concerns about prosthodontics, please contact your prosthodontist.

CROWNS (CAPS)

A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface, restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.

Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain (tooth colored crown) are the most popular. They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color of your teeth, giving you a long-lasting, beautiful smile.
Reasons for crowns:

  • Broken or fractured teeth.

  • Cosmetic enhancement.

  • Decayed teeth.

  • Fractured fillings.

  • Large fillings.

  • The tooth has a root canal.

What does getting a crown involve?

A crown procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate molds (or impressions) that will be used to create your custom crown. A mold will also be used to create a temporary crown which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. Once these details are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure you are biting properly.

At your second appointment, your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.

You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your new crown.

DENTAL IMPLANTS

Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances.

Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth (usual titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by a dentist or Periodontist - a specialist of the gums and supporting bone. The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient’s smile!

Dental implants are strong and durable and will last many years. On occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear.

REASONS FOR DENTAL IMPLANTS:

  • Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.

  • Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.

  • Restore a patient’s confident smile.

  • Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.

  • Restore or enhance facial tissues.

  • Support a bridge or denture, making it more secure and comfortable.

What does getting dental implants involve?

The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.

X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself for up to six months. Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the “post” that will hold the artificial tooth in place. With other implants the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.

After several weeks of healing the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete. After a healing period, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.

You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene and eating habits, alongside regular dental visits, will aid in the life of your new implant.

If you have questions about dental implants or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office.

DENTURES & PARTIAL DENTURES

A denture is a removable dental appliance and a replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They are made to closely resemble your natural teeth and may even enhance your smile.

There are two types of dentures - complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. A Partial denture not only fills in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from shifting.

A complete denture can be either “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional type is made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed (usually takes 4 to 6 weeks). During this time, the patient will go without teeth. Immediate dentures are made in advance and immediately placed after the teeth are removed, thus preventing the patient from having to be without teeth during the healing process. Once the tissues shrink and heal, adjustments will have to be made.

Dentures are very durable appliances and will last many years but may have to be remade, repaired, or readjusted due to normal wear.

Reasons for dentures:

  • Complete Denture - Loss of all teeth in an arch.

  • Partial Denture - Loss of several teeth in an arch.

  • Enhancing smile and facial tissues.

  • Improving chewing, speech, and digestion.

What does getting dentures involve?

The process of getting dentures requires several appointments, usually over a period of several weeks. Highly accurate impressions (molds) and measurements are taken and used to create your custom denture. Several “try-in” appointments may be necessary to ensure proper shape, color, and fit. At the final appointment, your dentist will precisely adjust and place the completed denture, ensuring a natural and comfortable fit.

It is normal to experience increased saliva flow, some soreness, and possible speech and chewing difficulty, however this will subside as your muscles and tissues get used to the new dentures.
You will be given care instructions for your new dentures. Proper cleaning of your new dental appliance, good oral hygiene, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new dentures.

FIXED BRIDGES

A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.

There are several types of bridges. You and your dentist will discuss the best options for your particular case. The “traditional bridge” is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. This type of bridge consists of two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to politics (artificial teeth), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.

Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years, however, they may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear.

Reasons for a fixed bridge:

  • Fill space of missing teeth.

  • Maintain facial shape.

  • Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.

  • Restore chewing and speaking ability.

  • Restore your smile.

  • Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance.

What does getting a fixed bridge involve?

Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits. While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.

At the second visit, your permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit. Occasionally your dentist may only temporarily cement the bridge, allowing your teeth and tissue time to get used to the new bridge. The new bridge will be permanently cemented at a later time.

You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of the procedure. Proper brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new, permanent bridge.

PORCELAIN VENEERS

Veneers are very thinpieces of durable, tooth shaped porcelain that are custom made (for shape and color) by a professional dental laboratory. They are bonded onto the front of teeth to create a beautiful and attractive smile.

Veneers can completely reshape your teeth and smile. They can often be alternatives to crowns and the ideal solution in treating many dental conditions.

As with most dental restorations, veneers are not permanent and may someday need replacement. They are very durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.

Reasons for porcelain veneers:

  • Cosmetically, to create a uniform, white, beautiful smile.

  • Crooked teeth.

  • Misshapen teeth.

  • Severely discolored or stained teeth.

  • Teeth that are too small or large.

  • Unwanted or uneven spaces.

  • Worn or chipped teeth.

What does getting porcelain veneers involve?

Getting veneers usually requires two visits to complete the process, with little or no anesthesia required during the procedure. The teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the surface to allow for the thickness of the veneer. A mold or impression of the teeth is taken and a shade (color) will then be chosen by you and the dentist.

On the second visit the teeth will be cleansed withspecial liquids to achieve a durable bond. Bonding cement is then placed between the tooth and veneer and a special light beam is used to harden and set the bond.

You will receive care instructions for veneers. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new veneers.