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Dental extraction(s) (the removal of a tooth or teeth) may become necessary as a result of progressed gum or “periodontal” disease or because of deep dental decay. Extractions are often requested by the patient when a tooth is infected and causing severe pain. After extraction, patients may consider tooth replacement options, such as a bridge or dental implant. Spaces in teeth can cause other teeth to shift, which will lead to malocclusion or bite problems.
Pain management techniques has made dental extractions much more comfortable option than it was many years ago. Patients often have their wisdom teeth removed to prevent decay in these teeth and prevent crowding.
If you are considering dental extraction, make sure to discuss your concerns with your doctor.
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Root canals are often recommended when decay has reached the nerve of your tooth. During a root canal, a dentist has the ability to remove the nerve of the tooth. He or she will also remove any decay existing in the enamel and pulp layers of tooth structure.
Root canals are often done in order to save a deeply decayed tooth. They get a bad rap and are often referred to as painful procedures. With today’s pain management technology, root canals don’t have to be painful.
After a root canal, your doctor will most likely recommend a crown to protect and restore the tooth. This is an essential part of the procedure. Without the crown, bacteria in your mouth can travel into your blood stream. The remaining tooth structure can also encounter more decay, chipping or breaking.
For more information about a root canal, speak to your dentist or endodontist.
Gum Disease / Periodontal Disease
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Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. Gum disease occurs when bacteria build up between your teeth and gums. As this disease progresses, it is not reversible, however it can be maintained with gum treatment, also called a “deep cleaning” or “Scaling and Root Planing”.
Your dentist will evaluate your gums and teeth during your regular examinations. He or she will measure any space that may exist between your teeth and gums. This space indicates the amount of bone loss that has occurred due to bacteria.
Regular brushing and flossing of your teeth can prevent gum disease. Home care is vital for gum disease prevention. Gum disease (or “periodontal disease”) can be prevented.
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. As bone loss occurs and the space between your teeth and gums progress, your teeth can become loose and will eventually fall out.
Early signs of gum disease include bleeding while brushing and flossing. If you experience these symptoms, you should contact your dentist right away and schedule and appointment for an exam and cleaning.
Maintaining gum disease may mean that you will need to see your dentist or hygienist every 3 months instead of 6. It will also be imperative to brush twice daily and floss daily. Gum disease has been linked to a variety of other health complications such as heart attack and diabetes.
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A dental bridge is a common solution for tooth loss. A bridge is made by placing 2 crowns on anchoring teeth and connecting them with false teeth, or “pontics”.
Crowns and bridges are restorative dental procedures and can be made of various strong materials, such as: porcelain, metal and ceramics.
Restore your smile
Provide you with the ability to properly chew and speak
Maintain the intended shape of your face
Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
When receiving a bridge, you will first have your anchor or “abutment” teeth prepared. Tooth preparation may involve removing part of these teeth in order to securely attach the dental crowns, which will hold the false tooth or teeth in place. Next, your doctor will take an impression of your teeth, which is necessary for the lab to create your bridge. Your dentist will provide a temporary bridge to wear until the final bridge is placed.
The number of visits and the exact process may vary based on your doctor’s recommendation.
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Dentures are custom-made replacements for missing teeth and can be taken out and put back into your mouth. While dentures take some getting used to , and will never feel exactly the same as natural teeth, todays dentures are natural looking and more comfortable than ever. With recent technology, many people are considering dental implants over dentures. Dentures can last years, but you should visit your dentist regularly in order to make sure they fit properly. With time, your gums can change in shape and size, which can affect the fit and feel of your dentures.
The use of denture “glue” can help keep your dentures secure. Overuse of denture cream or glue can be harmful to your health.
Removable partial dentures are a solution for patients who are missing some of their teeth on a particular arch. A fixed partial denture, also known as “crown and bridge“, are made from crowns that are fitted on the remaining teeth to act as abutments or anchor teeth made from materials to resemble the missing teeth.
Dentures are custom made replacements for missing teeth and can be taken out and put back into your mouth. While dentures take some getting used to, and will never feel exactly the same as natural teeth, today's dentures are natural looking and more comfortable than ever.
Dental veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are custom made to fit over teeth, providing a natural , attractive look. A small amount of tooth surface is removed to permit placement of the veneer. Veneers can be used to fix chipped, stained , misaligned , worn down, uneven or abnormally spaced teeth. Dental veneers are bonded to the teeth with resin cement.
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Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the top of your back teeth to protect them from decay. By applying sealants to the areas of the tooth where children and teens typically experience decay, you drastically decrease their chances of cavities.
It is best to apply sealants to primary “baby” teeth and secondary “adult” teeth right after they erupt. This protects them before they have a chance to get decay.
The process of applying sealants is quick, easy and painless. A clear gel is applied to the teeth and it hardens into place. Sealants are virtually undetectable and very hard to see. They are often clear or very slightly tinted.
Sealants are important because they prevent the teeth from getting decay. Fluoride also helps prevent decay. Decay can cause pain for children and adults and prevention is always more comfortable and affordable.
Dental Cleanings / Dental Hygiene
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Dental hygienists receive training in order to provide professional dental cleanings to patients. Dentists themselves can also provide cleanings to their patients. Regular dental cleanings can help prevent decay and gum disease.
In a routine cleaning, your dentist or hygienist will remove any plaque on your teeth. You may also receive polishing of your teeth and may receive fluoride treatment. When patient skip their dental cleanings, they often develop dental problems that can be related to health problems.
Skipped dental cleanings can cause plaque build up, which causes decay and gum recession. Plaque and bacteria that forms in the mouth can lead to pain and even tooth loss.
During your cleaning, your hygienist or dentist may also provide you with regular dental examinations. During your exam, your doctor will check for irregular patches on your tongue, cheeks and gums. This process is an oral cancer screening. Your doctor or hygienist may also measure the space between your gums and teeth. This is called a probing. This will help them evaluate the condition of your gums. In the instance that you have gum disease, treatment will be recommended.
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Orthodontics(braces) is the branch of dentistry that corrects teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly. Crooked teeth and teeth that do not fit together correctly are harder to keep clean, are at risk of being lost early due to tooth decay and periodontal disease, and cause extra stress on the chewing muscles that can lead to headaches, TMJ syndrome, and other health issues. The benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance, and teeth are more likely to last a lifetime.
If you have any of the following, you may be a good candidate for braces:
Overbite: where the upper front teeth lie too far forward over the lower teeth
Underbite: where the lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth too far back
Crossbite: when the upper teeth do not come down slightly in front of the lower teeth when biting together normally
Open bite: space between the biting surfaces of teh front and/or side teeth when the teeth bite together
Spacing: gaps between the teeth as a result of missing teeth.
Crowding: when there are too many teeth for the dental jaw to accommodate
How does orthodontic treatment work?
Many different types of appliances, both fixed and removable, are used to help move teeth. These appliances work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws.
Braces: the most common fixed appliances, braces consist of bands, wires, and brackets. Bands are fixed around the teeth and used as anchors for the appliance, while the brackets are most often bonded to the front of the tooth. Arch wires are passed through the brackets and attached to the bands. Tightening the arch wire puts tension on the teeth, gradually moving them to their proper position. Braces are usually adjusted monthly to bring about the desired results, which make take up to a few years.
Aligners(Invisalign): an alternative to traditional braces for adults, serial aligners are being used to move teeth in the same way that fixed appliances work. Aligners are invisible and are removed for eating, brushing, and flossing.
Removal retainers: worn on the roof the mouth, these devices prevent shifting of the teeth to their previous position.
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Many dental services fall into the realm of cosmetic dentistry. Whenever a procedure is performed in order to preserve the appearance of your smile, it could be considered cosmetic or aesthetic services.
Often times, cosmetic and restorative dentistry overlap. Crowns may be considered cosmetic when performed on front or “anterior” teeth.
Whitening is a form of cosmetic dentistry and so are clear teeth aligners and braces in some instances. Cosmetic dentistry can dramatically improve your appearance but it can also contribute to your speech and eating habits.
Some cosmetic services include: dental veneers, whitening, crowns, Invisalign, and much more.
If you are considering changing the appearance of your smile, contact your dentist for his or her recommendation. Cosmetic dentists are often general dentists that excel in and enjoy cosmetic dental procedures
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Many patients consider teeth whitening. Whitening can be a quick and affordable way to brighten your smile. There are various kinds of whitening available in most dental offices. There are many brands of in office treatments and take home treatments.
Zoom and Opalescence are 2 of the more well known brands of tooth whitening. There are many very affective and approved brands being used in the United States.
When you speak to your dentist about teeth whitening, he will consider various things before recommending a treatment.
Firstly, most dentists like to make sure that you have no decay or oral health concerns prior to whitening. They will recommend treating more serious issues first. They may also consider the condition of your teeth and whether your teeth are too sensitive for the in office treatment.
Many dentists also offer take home whitening, which can be a more affordable solution for faded or stained teeth. The doctor may offer fitted trays and will provide instructions with your take home whitening kit. For more information about attaining a brighter smile, call your general dentist or your cosmetic dentist.
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General dentists often provide restorative dentistry. Restorative dentistry is recommended when a patient needs treatment for decay or has a chipped or damaged tooth.
Filling, white fillings, crowns, bridges and root canals all fall under the category of restorative dentistry. Anything that restores your smile or teeth is considered “restorative”.
When visiting a dentist for the first time, you can expect to receive a complete examination. During this initial visit, he or she will check your teeth and gums for any areas of disease (decay or gum disease). He or she will also provide you with a set of dental X-Rays to examine the areas between the teeth and verify actual decay. If decay reaches deep enough, a root canal may be necessary in order to save your tooth. If it’s beyond repair, there are a variety of tooth replacement options available.
It’s important that you receive regular dental care to catch problems early before they become damaging. Preventive care is always more affordable then treatment for dental problems. The sooner treatment is received the better.
If it’s been more than 6 months since you’ve seen a dentist, make an appointment and get on track to a healthy smile. Studies have linked oral health to your overall health. Gum disease and oral bacteria has been linked to heart disease and diabetes.
Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces tooth roots with titanium posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones.
Dental implant is an excellent alternative to dentures or bridges and also can offer an option when a lack of natural teeth don't allow building denture or bridge replacement. The major benefit of implants is solid support for your new teeth, a process that requires the bone to heal tightly around the implant. This process can take many months since it requires bones to heal around the implant.
Dental implants may be right for you if you:
Have missing teeth
Have healthy gum tissues
Unable to wear dentures
Willing to commit several months to the process
Have adequate bone to secure the implants
Like any surgery, there are some health risks to having dental implant. Problems are rare and easily treated. Risks include:
Infection at the implant site
Injury to the other teeth, blood vessels, sinus
Nerve damage which can cause numbness on the gums and lips
Dental implant is usually an outpatient procedure performed in stages. These steps include:
Removal of tooth
Bone graft when needed
Bone growth and healing
Custom abutment placement
Custom crown placement
When bone grafting is needed:
If your jawbone isn't thick enough or is too soft, you may need bone grafting before or during the implant surgery. That's because the powerful chewing action of your mouth exerts great pressure on your bone and if it can't support the bone, the surgery likely would fail. A bone graft can create solid base for the implant for better stability. It may take several months for the new bone to grow to help provide a solid base for your new implant.
When the complete healing is achieved after the implants typically after 3-4 months, you may need additional procedure to place the abutment. The abutment is the solid titanium piece that screws to the implant and eventually where the crown will eventually attach.
New impression will be made to make the custom crown which will cement or screw on top of the abutment.
A filling helps to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape, and helps prevent further decay by eliminating areas where bacteria can enter the tooth. We will consider a number of factors when choosing which type of filling material is best for you.
There are various types of fillings available including:
Composite (white) fillings: A composite filling is made from a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles and matches the color of the tooth. Thus, composite fillings are used most often on front teeth or the visible parts of the tooth.
Amalgam (silver) fillings: amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of metals including mercury and silver, and and thus doesn't match the color of your teeth. This type of filling is used most often for fillings in the back teeth. These fillings are very strong and usually last a lot longer than the composite fillings.
Ceramic fillings: ceramic fillings are made of porcelain and are tooth colored, so they look natural. They are more resistant to staining and are expensive.