Routine Dental Exams
Comprehensive dental exams and cleanings are recommended once every six months for all patients. These visits help identify any tooth decay or early signs of gum disease or oral cancer through diagnostic X-rays and physical examination. Early detection of these conditions can help ensure effective treatment and prevent permanent damage.
Regular cleanings help keep teeth clean and healthy through thorough exams provided by a certified dental hygienist. A dental cleaning includes removal of tartar and plaque, which can build up and cause inflammation and disease if left untreated. The teeth are also polished during a cleaning to remove stains and further buildups of plaque that may not be removed during regular tooth brushing.
Cone Beam CT Scans
As a part of our commitment to providing our patients with the most advanced type of digital radiography, we added the Planmeca Promax 3D scanner to our high tech fleet of digital equipment. Cone beam technology provides the surgeon with a three-dimensional, digital image of structures beneath the surface of the teeth and gums. This unprecedented view includes teeth roots, internal canals, and bone structure. CBCT (Cone-Beam Computed Tomography) scans are similar in detail to traditional medical CTs, but taken in a fraction of the time. Since the scan takes only seconds, your radiation exposure will be drastically reduced. This allows non-invasive evaluation of anatomy and specific areas of interest to assist the doctor in diagnosis and treatment planning.
When might it be necessary to have a Cone Beam CT Scan?
Some common uses of this Scan in our office would include:
- Determining the specific location of impacted teeth.
- Evaluating important anatomic structures in an area of proposed surgery (i.e. nerves, sinus cavities, adjacent tooth roots).
- Identifying cysts, tumors or other abnormalities in the bone, such as extra teeth.
- Planning the surgical exposure of impacted teeth for orthodontic eruption.
- Evaluation of possible dental implant sites and implant planning.
- Evaluation of the Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ).
- Planning for bone grafting or similar procedures.
- Evaluation of the sinuses.
In the past, dental cavities had been filled with a mixture of metal alloys also known as amalgam. Contemporary fillings are usually “tooth” colored and practically invisible to the untrained eye. For aesthetic purposes, these tooth-colored fillings can be used to replace old and worn dental amalgam, gold or other metal fillings.
Composite fillings, are a mixture of resin, glass or quartz and porcelain ceramics. These materials are resilient and long lasting. While they have visual advantages, over time composite fillings can become discolored. Just like metal fillings, composite fillings can be set and cured in one visit to the dentist.
Tooth-colored fillings are priced similarly to metallic alloys; they tend to be less expensive than precious metals but more costly than common metals.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap used to replace damaged or missing teeth to restore the appearance of the smile and help protect against further damage and conditions such as gum disease. They can be made from many different materials, including metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal or all-resin. Your dentist will help you decide which type of crown is best for you after a thorough evaluation of your condition.
Dental crowns are placed during a series of two office visits. This first involves preparing the tooth and creating an impression from which the crown is made. The tooth is also thoroughly cleaned and shaped during this appointment, and a temporary crown is placed. The permanent crown is then placed with cement after a few weeks.
For most patients, dental crowns last for at least seven years, but many can last for decades and provide a strong, reliable tooth replacement with no special care needed. However, it is important for patients to clean their crown like their regular teeth, and to see their dentist on a regular basis for professional care.
A dental bridge, also known as a fixed partial denture, is a dental prosthetic that effectively replaces a missing tooth. Most bridges are positioned between two dental crowns that hold the bridge in place. To ensure a successful repair, the teeth adjacent to the target bridge area are reduced to the proper pattern that will fit the new tooth’s material and shape. This also allows for seamless integration with the teeth directly above or below the replacement during chewing. Precise insertion of the bridge is vital to the proper functioning of the teeth. Careful planning must be followed to ensure the bridge, also known as pontic, will be adequately supported by the crowns on either side.
Using Ante’s Rule to determine ‘the combined roots’ surface area of the abutment (supporting) teeth must be equal to or larger than that of the tooth being replaced’ your doctor may determine that additional abutment teeth may be needed.
Dentures can effectively replace missing or severely damaged teeth throughout the mouth, restoring a patient’s ability to smile, speak and eat without difficulty or worry. Unlike older dentures that were often uncomfortable or slipped while moving the mouth, custom dentures are specifically crafted with each patient’s individual needs in mind.
Dentures are created over the course of several appointments that includes taking impressions of the mouth, production of the prosthesis and placement in the mouth using dental implants, cement or other techniques. Most patients can receive their dentures after a series of three to five appointments, each spaced a few weeks apart.
Custom dentures ensure that your replacement device is designed to precisely fit your individual mouth, for enhanced comfort, appearance and functionality. Even patients who currently wear dentures may benefit from custom dentures for an overall improved experience.
Partial dentures are used to replace one or more missing or diseased teeth in the upper or lower jaw to restore the appearance and function of the teeth, as well as reduce the patient’s risk of gum disease. This type of replacement is often used when one or more healthy natural teeth remain in the area to support the device. Patients will be able to eat, speak and smile without difficulty once dentures are in place.
These devices may be fixed or removable, depending on the preference and oral health of the patient. Regardless of the type, partial dentures are precisely fitted to replace the missing teeth in the individual patient’s mouth for improved comfort and functionality. Placement of partial dentures is done over a series of visits to your dentist spaced several weeks apart.
Partial dentures require the same oral care as regular teeth, including brushing twice a day and receiving regular cleanings to prevent decay and gum disease. Your mouth may change over time, requiring minor adjustments to your dentures that can be easily made by your dentist.
More About Dental Crowns
A dental crown is a restoration that covers or caps a tooth, restoring it to its normal size and shape while strengthening it and improving its appearance. Crowns are necessary when the tooth is broken down to the point where a filling won’t be effective.
A dental crown can be used to:
- Hold a cracked tooth together to prevent further damage
- Cover and support a tooth with a large filling where only a little of the original tooth is left
- Attach a bridge
- Protect a weak tooth from breaking
- Restore a broken tooth
- Cover a discolored or misshapen tooth
- Cover a dental implant
What is the dental crown procedure like?
Before we place a dental crown, we first have to prepare your tooth. We will remove part of the tooth so the crown can fit securely and comfortably. The area around your tooth will be numbed throughout the procedure with a local anesthetic.
After the tooth is prepared, we will make an impression of your teeth and gums using a paste or putty. This will be sent to a laboratory in order to make your custom crown, which usually takes two to three weeks. You will be given a temporary dental crown until your permanent crown is ready.
Finally, the temporary crown is removed and the new one is cemented onto the tooth.
What are the different types of dental crowns available?
There are several different methods of crown restoration, each using a different crown material.
- Metal crowns are made entirely of a metal alloy that may include gold, platinum, palladium or other elements. Compared with other kinds of crowns, metal crowns preserve more of the tooth structure. They withstand biting and chewing forces well and rarely chip or break. The biggest drawback of metal crowns is the metallic color.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns can be color-matched to your teeth. Second only to all-ceramic crowns in appearance,porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look like normal teeth. However, the metal underlying the crown’s porcelain can create a dark line. PFM crowns tend to wear down opposing teeth more than metal crowns. The crown’s porcelain portion can also chip or break.
- All-resin crowns are the least expensive type of dental crown. The drawback is that they are more prone to chips and fractures than other crowns and tend to wear down over time.
- All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns provide the best natural color of all the dental crowns. They are not as strong as PFM or gold crowns, and they may wear down opposing teeth more than metal or resin crowns. Because they are the most cosmetically pleasing, they are usually used for the front teeth.
What are the potential problems patients may experience after getting a dental crown?
You may experience increased sensitivity immediately after the procedure, particularly if the crowned tooth still has a nerve in it. For sensitivity to heat and cold, you may want to try toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Pain or sensitivity from biting down usually means that the crown is too high on the tooth. If this is the case, we will be able to fix the problem.
- Porcelain crowns may chip. Resin can be used to repair the remaining crown. If the chipping is extensive, the entire crown may need to be replaced.
- Dental crownssometimes become loose if the cement washes out from underneath. Bacteria can then leak in and cause decay. If your crown feels loose, contact our office.
In some cases,a dental crown may fall off entirely. If this happens, contact us immediately so we can walk you through the proper maintenance of your teeth and crown until you are able to come in for an appointment. We may be able to replace the crown; if not, a new crown will be made.
More About Dental Bridges
What do dental bridges do?
A dental bridge can be used to:
- Restore your smile
- Reduce your risk of gum disease
- Restore your ability to bite and chew
- Improve your speech
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
What types of bridges are there?
There are three main types of bridges:
- Traditional bridges: also known as fixed bridges, traditonal bridges are used to replace one or more missing teeth. The procedure involves creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic (false tooth) in between. Unlike dentures, fixed bridges cannot be taken out of your mouth. These are the most common type of dental bridge and are made either of porcelain fused to metal or of ceramics.
- Resin bonded bridges: also known as Maryland bonded bridges, resin bonded bridges are primarily used for your front teeth. They are less expensive than fixed bridges and are best when the teeth are healthy and do not have any large fillings. A false tooth is fused with resin to metal bands that are bonded to the adjacent teeth and hidden from view. Resin bonded bridges require minimal preparation of the adjacent teeth.
- Cantilever bridges: are used in areas of your mouth that are under low amounts of stress, such as your front teeth. Cantilever bridges are recommended when there are teeth on only one side of the open space.
What is the dental bridge procedure like?
There are several steps that need to be taken in order to create your bridge:
- First step: the adjacent teeth must be prepared. This involves removing some of the enamel to allow room for the crown to be placed over them.
- Second step: impressions of your teeth are made. These will be sent to a laboratory so we can create the bridge, pontic, and crowns to fit your unique mouth. This may take 2 to3 weeks. While your bridge is being made, you will be given a Temporary dental bridge to protect the exposed teeth and gums.
On your next visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and replaced with the new, permanent bridge. Your doctor will make sure the bridge fits properly and then cement it to your teeth.
What can I expect after the dental bridge placement?
Replacing missing teeth should make eating easier, but until you get used to the bridge, it is recommended that you eat soft food cut into small pieces. For a few weeks after receiving a bridge, it is common to experience increased sensitivity to extreme temperatures. You should start noticing a difference when you speak, as your speech will become clearer.
How long will my dental bridge last?
With good oral hygiene, you can expect your dental bridge to last from 5 to 15 years, sometimes longer. You must remember to practice proper oral hygiene to prevent the build-up of bacteria on your teeth and gums.