Posts for category: Uncategorized
Dental implants aren't simply prosthetic teeth, but rather an innovative system that restores both smile appearance and dental function. And while an implant can indeed replace a single tooth, they can do so much more. Integrated with removable dentures or a fixed bridge, they provide a secure solution to multiple missing teeth.
Implants essentially replace a missing tooth's root, the basis for their lifelikeness and functionality. As such, they're also the most sophisticated restoration used today, requiring a high degree of technical and aesthetic skill to place them properly. In reality, implantation is more a process than a procedure.
If you're considering implants, that process begins with a comprehensive dental exam. During the exam, we'll assess the exact condition of your oral and facial structures like the length of remaining teeth, your bite and jaw dimensions. We'll use this information to plan the type and placement of your implants. The exam may also reveal problems like bone loss that might postpone your implants or suggest another form of restoration.
Using digital technology, we then locate the exact positions for your implants on the jaw to ensure the best outcome. This often results in the creation of a surgical guide, a plastic template placed over the jaw that accurately pinpoints the locations for the drilling sequence during implant surgery.
In most cases once the implants are surgically installed, gum tissue may be sutured over the implant to protect it while it integrates with the bone. In some cases, though, a visible crown may be placed immediately, so the patient can enjoy a tooth-filled smile the same day. This immediate crown, though, is temporary and will be replaced with a more durable, permanent one in a few months.
During this interim, the titanium in the implant post will attract bone cell growth, which will build up on the implant surface. This increased bone contact will help secure the implant fully in the jaw, giving the implant its signature durability.
Once the integration is complete, the permanent crown is affixed to the implant (or implants in the case of a fixed or removable dental appliance). It may have been a long road, but you'll have the closest thing to real teeth.
If you would like more information on implant restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “New Teeth in One Day.”
At the first-ever Players Weekend in August 2017, Major League Baseball players wore jerseys with their nicknames on the back. One player — Cleveland Indians shortstop, Francisco Lindor — picked the perfect moniker to express his cheerful, fun-loving nature: “Mr. Smile.” And Lindor gave fans plenty to smile about when he belted a 2-run homer into the stands while wearing his new jersey!
Lindor has explained that he believes smiling is an important part of connecting with fans and teammates alike: “I’ve never been a fan of the guy that makes a great play and then acts like he’s done it 10,000 times — smile, man! We’ve got to enjoy the game.”
We think Lindor is right: Smiling is a great way to generate good will. And it feels great too… as long as you have a smile that’s healthy, and that looks as good as you want it to. But what if you don’t? Here are some things we can do at the dental office to help you enjoy smiling again:
Routine Professional Cleanings & Exams. This is a great place to start on the road toward a healthy, beautiful smile. Even if you are conscientious about brushing and flossing at home, you won’t be able to remove all of the disease-causing dental plaque that can hide beneath the gum line, especially if it has hardened into tartar, but we can do it easily in the office. Then, after a thorough dental exam, we can identify any problems that may be affecting your ability to smile freely, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or cosmetic dental issues.
Cosmetic Dental Treatments. If your oral health is good but your smile is not as bright as you’d like it to be, we can discuss a number of cosmetic dental treatments that can help. These range from conservative procedures such as professional teeth whitening and bonding to more dramatic procedures like porcelain veneers or crowns.
Tooth Replacement. Many people hide their smiles because they are embarrassed by a gap from a missing tooth. That’s a shame, because there are several excellent tooth-replacement options in a variety of price ranges. These include partial and full dentures, bridgework, and dental implants. So don’t let a missing tooth stop you from being Mr. (or Ms.) Smile!
If you’d like more information about oral health or cosmetic dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”
Do you pass on ice cream or hot coffee because these treats sometimes cause your teeth to ache? This tooth sensitivity is often the result of worn enamel or gum recession that leaves the interior layer of the tooth exposed. Enamel is the hard outer coating of the tooth that protects and insulates it. If the enamel is lost due to wear, chipping, or improper brushing, the porous underlying layer called dentin will transmit these temperature sensations to the very center of the tooth, where the nerve resides. It can also result if your gums have receded, leaving the root surface that would normally be covered by healthy gum tissue exposed. If the dentist has ruled out decay or a cracked tooth as the cause for this exposure, there are a few ways we can treat the condition to reduce this hypersensitivity. The first thing we want to do is make sure you are brushing with a proper technique using a soft bristled tooth brush. Enamel wear is often caused by over- brushing or using a toothbrush with overly firm bristles. We also need to evaluate whether your diet includes highly acidic foods or beverages. Sodas and fruit juices contain a great deal of acid which causes tooth enamel erosion. To treat the areas where enamel has already been lost, we can employ agents designed to block the open ends of the exposed dentin tubules (pores) and prevent the stimuli from ever reaching the inside of the tooth. We usually recommend that you start with desensitizing toothpaste, which contains compounds that will accumulate in the tubule openings with regular use over a few weeks. If that is not adequate, we may prescribe in office fluoride treatments which will strengthen the remaining enamel or treatment with other dentin blocking agents like oxalates or adhesive sealants. If this sounds like an issue you’ve been experiencing, call us today to discuss how we can help.
Everyone seems to be experiencing just a little extra stress these days. And we all deal with it in our own unique ways. While grinding our teeth is certainly a less destructive outlet than others I can think of, it’s not without effects that can cause permanent damage to our teeth and jaws. Most often, if we grind or clench our teeth, it is something we do absolutely unconsciously while sleeping. You may become aware of it if your partner tells you they can hear it or if you tend to have soreness in your jaws in the morning. However, sometimes you are not even aware of this habit, called bruxism, until your dentist notices the damage it has caused to your teeth. Those of us who grind will develop flattened facets on the bite surfaces of our teeth, representing wear that has actually shortened the tooth and begun the process of collapsing the bite. Because grinding and clenching put lots of additional force on our teeth, it actually causes them to flex at the junction of the crown and root portions of the tooth. This repeated flexing will cause rods of enamel at that junction to fracture away (a process called abfraction) and the delicate ligaments of gum tissue to detach from the root surface. This process results in receded gums, notched teeth that may become sensitive due to missing protective enamel, and increased susceptibility to decay. Once the habit is identified, you can prevent further damage to your teeth and bite by having your dentist fabricate a mouthguard. An occlusal mouthguard is made of durable plastic that is custom fitted to your teeth. It snaps securely over either arch and provides a protective boundary between the upper and lower teeth while you are sleeping. The mouthguards that we make at our office have a hard layer of outer plastic for durability and a softer inner layer to provide comfort and shock absorption to prevent those extra forces from transmitting to the opposing teeth. While it may not be a cure for all that stress, a mouthguard can prevent bruxism from contributing more stress to your life.
Did you know…that flossing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent decay and maintain a beautiful smile? As if keeping those pearly whites gorgeous isn’t enough, here are five major reasons to take a few minutes out of your day to floss:
- Flossing helps to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease.
- Flossing prevents bad breath by getting food and bacteria out from between your teeth.
- Flossing helps to prevent decay. By getting bacteria out from between and around teeth, the acidic by product that they produce doesn’t have an opportunity to cause decay.
- Flossing helps to prevent plaque and tartar build up.
- Flossing helps to prevent systemic complications from heart disease and diabetes.