Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are a great way to replace missing teeth. Your existing teeth are used to literally create a bridge to cross the area where your tooth is missing. Bridges are made from gold, metal, alloys, or porcelain to ensure that they are strong and durable.

The process of creating a bridge begins by creating abutments out of your existing teeth where the bridge will be attached. The existing teeth are recontoured to provide a base for the bridge. After the abutments have been created, a mold is taken of the area which is sent to a dental lab. The lab is able to use the mold to create a bridge that will fit properly and feel as close to your natural teeth as possible. The bridge consists of two crowns on either end to place on the abutments and a pontic, which is the new tooth that replaces your missing tooth.

We will fit you with a temporary bridge while we wait for the lab to craft your permanent bridge. This will protect the abutments and the exposed gum areas and look more appealing than having a missing tooth. When the permanent bridge has been created, you will have a follow up visit to set the bridge. It will be placed on the abutments and the dentist will then use an adhesive to make sure that the bridge is set.

The bridge may take a little while to get used to, but after a few days it should feel like you have your own teeth back again. You should eat soft foods for the first few days after having your bridge placed. After the initial phase, you will be able to eat whatever you want with no issues.

If you are missing a tooth you should strongly consider having it replaced. Besides the aesthetic disadvantage of missing a tooth, it could also cause structural changes to your mouth and jaw, as well as making it difficult to eat or speak properly. Set up an appointment today to restore your smile.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are a permanent and appealing solution to replace missing or extracted teeth. They are better than other alternatives like bridges because no additional teeth need to be altered to place the new tooth.

The entire implant process is performed over the course of a few months. The first part of the process is to install the implant itself, where a screw is placed into the jaw bone. An incision is made in the gum so that the implant can be inserted. Multiple implants can be placed at once if necessary. After the implants are placed the gums are sutured.

The implant must be allowed about 3-6 months to heal, and during this time the jaw bone will form around the implant in a process called osseointegration. During this healing time you can have temporary crowns installed so that you can eat and speak normally and maintain a proper aesthetic appearance for your smile.

After the implant has healed it is time to place an abutment on the implant. The abutment serves as the base for your new tooth. One this is placed an impression of the abutment is taken and is used to create your permanent restoration. Some offices have an onsite lab to create the crown, but others will have to send it to an outside lab. Once the restoration is completed you can return to the office to attach the restoration permanently. Your smile will look just like it used to, and after a short period of getting used to the implant it will feel just like one of your own teeth.

Dental Implants FAQ

Mini Implants

Mini dental implants are about half the size in diameter of a regular dental implant. This offers many benefits, and they can also be used in situations where regular implants cannot. If an implant needs to be placed in a narrow space, mini implants are the preferred method because of their smaller size.

A main use for mini implants is to install a full upper or lower denture. A series of mini implants (4-6) are placed along the gum line and they serve as the base of the denture. Rather than placing a single implant for a single tooth, an entire lower or upper set of teeth are directly attached to the gum line.

The small size of mini implants often means that no incision needs to be made to place the implant. They can usually be inserted right through the gum into the bone. This eliminates the need for a recovery period, and the restoration can usually be placed right away or only a short time after.

Mini implants are also less expensive than regular implants. Only your dentist knows if mini implants are right for you, so call for your consultation today.

Dentures

Dentures are a replacement for missing teeth that can be removed and put back into your mouth as you please. Depending on each individual patient case, they may receive full or partial dentures. Full dentures are used when all of the natural teeth are removed from the mouth and replaced with a full set of dentures. There are two types of full dentures.

Conventional Full Dentures

This is when all the teeth are removed and the tissue is given time to heal before the dentures are placed. It could take a few months for the gum tissue to heal completely, and during this time you will be without teeth.

Immediate Full Dentures

Prior to having your teeth removed, your dentist takes measurements and has dentures fitted for your mouth. After removing the teeth, the dentures are immediately placed in your mouth. The benefit is that you do not have to spend any time without teeth. You will, however, need to have a follow up visit to refit your dentures because the jaw bone will slightly change shape as your mouth heels. The dentures will need to be tightened after the jaw bone has healed. Partial dentures are another option when not all of your teeth need to be removed. This is similar to a bridge, but it is not a permanent fixture in your mouth.

Your dentures may take some time to get used to. The flesh colored base of the dentures is placed over your gums. Some people say that it feels bulky or that they don’t have enough room for their tongue. Other times the dentures might feel loose. These feelings will affect the way you eat and talk for a little while. Over time, your mouth becomes trained to eat and speak with your dentures and they begin to feel more and more like your natural teeth. They may never feel perfectly comfortable, but it is much better than the alternative of not having teeth.

Even though dentures are not real teeth, you should care for them like they are. You should brush them to remove plaque and food particles before removing your dentures. After they have been removed you should place them directly into room temperature water or a denture cleaning solution. Never use hot water because it could warp the dentures. Your dentures are delicate, so make sure you are careful when handling them so you don’t drop them. Also, never try to adjust your dentures yourself. You could ruin them, so you should always seek assistance from your dentist if they feel uncomfortable or loose.

Endodontics/Root Canal Therapy

Endodontics is the dental specialty that deals with the nerves of the teeth. Root canals are probably the most notorious procedure in dentistry and the most common procedure relating to endodontics. When a tooth becomes infected it is usually related to the nerves in the root of the tooth. The infected nerves need to be removed. If left untreated an infection can turn into an abscess, which is a much more serious problem that includes bone loss in the jaw.

The area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic to start the procedure. The dentist will then drill down into the tooth to create an opening into the canal. They will then be able to remove infected tissue and clean the canal. After the infection has been removed, the space if filled with a sealant called gutta percha. It is highly recommended that a tooth that has undergone a root canal is fitted with a crown. This will improve the appearance of the tooth, and will also make it much more likely that the root canal is successful.

“Root canal” has become a scary term for dental patients to hear, but the benefits of the procedure and advances in dental technology have made it much less “scary”. Local anesthetics and proper pain medication allow the procedure to be performed with little to no pain in most cases. There may be some soreness following the procedure, but that is normal for most dental procedures. Over the counter painkillers are usually enough to relieve any pain afterwards, but your dentist may prescribe medication. The procedure will also relieve you from pain caused by the infection allowing you to enjoy all the foods you love without any pain from heat, cold, or biting too hard. If you are experiencing pain consult your dentist today.

Same-Day Porcelain Crowns w/ CEREC Technology

Over time our teeth begin to weaken and become more susceptible to problems such as decay, cracks, discoloration and others. If you feel your smile isn’t what it once was, crowns can help you recover your smile. If your dentist notices that a tooth is decayed or seems weakened/cracked a crown may be necessary to make sure that there are no additional problems with the tooth. In cases like this a filling or bonding will not be sufficient.

Crowns can be made from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or a full gold crown. To maintain a natural look and feel a porcelain finished crown is best, as it can be matched to the shade of your other teeth. This will allow it to blend in and appear just like one of your natural teeth.

The process of installing a crown takes 2-3 visits to the dentist. On the first visit the tooth will be reshaped by filing down the enamel so that the crown can be placed over it. You will be given a local anesthetic before this part of the procedure so that you do not experience any discomfort. Once the tooth has been reshaped, a mold will be taken of that tooth and the surrounding teeth. This mold will be sent to a dental lab so that your new crown can be made so that it fits in the spot created for it and looks the same relative to the surrounding teeth. Before leaving, your dentist will fit you with a temporary crown until your permanent crown is ready.

The crown takes about 2-3 weeks to be returned to your dentist. At this time you will have another appointment to place and fit the permanent crown. You will again have a local anesthetic to numb the area and the tooth will be placed using a cement to ensure the tooth sets in place. When you look in the mirror, you will see your old smile back. Crowns are durable and will usually last about 10-15 years. You should care for it as you would any of your other teeth with regular brushing and flossing. Call us today if you would like to learn more about how crowns can help restore your smile.