WHAT ARE RESTORATIONS?
With the advancements in dental care and the increase in patient awareness over the years, the occurrences of tooth decay have gone down significantly. Despite such great news, the teeth are still prone to decay, infections, damage and other issues brought on by normal use. When a tooth has been damaged in some way or another, restorations can be used to bring back the tooth’s normal shape, appearance and function. Due to the improved techniques in dentistry, there are now several restoration options available to patients, so they can select the best one for their individual situations.
If you ever need a restorative treatment, we’ll take the time to sit down with you and discuss the different options you have available, making recommendations for what we believe would be the most effective and least invasive treatment. Our number one goal is helping you create a beautiful smile, and our excellent care is a reflection of that goal.
Restorative dentistry can:
- Enhance your smile
- Fill in unattractive spaces between teeth
- Improve or correct an improper bite
- Prevent the loss of a tooth
- Relieve dental pain
- Repair damaged and decayed teeth
- Replace missing teeth
- Replace old, unattractive dental treatments
- Restore normal eating and chewing
Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth, and they often provide a better alternative to partial or complete dentures. Unlike dentures, implants are a fixed solution, and they provide excellent support for dental appliances.
Dental implants consist of artificial roots and teeth that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone; these implants are typically made of titanium. Once the implants are in place, the teeth are attached, providing patients a natural-looking and functional smile once again.
Dental implants are designed to last patients for many years; however, they might require re- tightening on occasion and sometimes even replacement.
Dental implants are used to:
- Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth
- Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into a missing tooth’s space
- Restore a patient’s confident smile
- Restore chewing, speech, and digestion
- Restore or enhance facial tissues
- Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable
WHAT DOES GETTING DENTAL IMPLANTS INVOLVE?
Getting implants is a month-long process that requires several visits to the dentist.
To start the process off, x-rays and molds are taken of both the jaw and the teeth. These are used to determine the spacing available for an implant, and they also reveal the condition of the bone and gum tissue. The implant is surgically placed into the bone once the area is completely numb. It is then left to heal and integrate itself into the bone for a period of about 6 months. Some, though not all, implants require a second surgery to place the post that holds the artificial teeth.
The patient is given several weeks for healing before the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the “post” of the anchor. This part of the process could take up to two months, as several fittings may be required to place everything properly. At the end of the healing period, the artificial teeth will be securely attached to the implant.
Care instructions will be given at each step of the process. As with any restorative procedure, your implants will last longer if helped by good oral hygiene, healthy eating habits and regular dental visits.
WHAT DOES GETTING DENTURES INVOLVE?
Getting dentures is a process that takes several appointments spread out over many weeks. Highly-accurate molds and measurements are necessary to create a well-fitting, custom denture. It might take several appointments to ensure that the dentures are the correct color, shape and fit. Your dentist will adjust and place the completed denture at your final visit, giving you a comfortable, natural-looking fit.
When first adjusting to new dentures, it is normal to experience some soreness, difficulty in speaking and eating, as well as increased saliva flow. As you get used to the dentures, these issues will resolve themselves.
Proper care of your dentures, along with regular visits to your dentist, are necessary to extend the life of your dentures, and you will be given instructions on how to best care for your new dental appliance.
DENTURES & PARTIAL DENTURES
Dentures work as replacements for missing teeth and the surrounding gum tissue. These removable dental appliances are designed to resemble a patient’s teeth as close as possible, oftentimes even enhancing the patient’s smile.
Dentures can be either complete or partial. Complete dentures are necessary when all the teeth are missing; partial dentures, on the other hand, can be used when only some of the natural teeth are missing. Partial dentures are effective not only at filling in the spaces left by other teeth, but they are also good at keeping the other teeth from shifting.
Complete dentures can fall under two categories – conventional and immediate. Conventional dentures are made after the teeth have been removed by the dentist and the gum tissue has healed. The healing process typically lasts 4 to 6 weeks, and during this time the patient will go without teeth. Immediate dentures are created before the teeth are removed and are put in right away. With immediate dentures, the patient does not have to go without teeth, but adjustments will be necessary after the gum tissues heal and shrink.
Dentures are created to last for several years, but they might have to undergo repairs or readjustments. Sometimes, they must even be remade.
Reasons for dentures:
- Loss of all teeth in an arch (requires a complete denture)
- Loss of several teeth in an arch (requires a partial denture)
- Enhancing smile and facial tissues
- Improving chewing, speech, and digestion
ROOT CANAL THERAPY
Root canal therapy is utilized to save the tooth after the tooth’s nerve has been affected by infection or decay. During this treatment, the pulp (living tissue inside of a tooth), nerves, bacteria and decay are removed. The space that remains after the procedure is filled with medicated dental materials that will restore the full functionality of the tooth.
Root canal therapy is typically done to keep a tooth from having to be removed. Though pulling out a damaged tooth may seem like the easiest solution to the problem, it actually turns out to be more costly for the patient. In addition, it typically causes significant problems for the teeth on either side of the damaged one.
This procedure is very successful in its purpose, and it typically lasts a lifetime. On the rare occasion, a tooth will have to be treated again due to more infections.
Common signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:
- An abscess (or pimple) on the gums
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
- Severe toothache pain
- 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?
One or more appointments are necessary for a root canal, and either a dentist or endodontist (root canal specialist) will perform the procedure.
After numbing the tooth, the dentist will place a rubber dam (sheet of rubber) around the tooth. This dam keeps the tooth dry and safe from saliva. An access opening is then created on the top of the tooth. A series of root canal files are passed through this opening and are used to remove the pulp, nerve tissue, bacteria and decay.
After a thorough cleaning, the tooth will then be sealed with a permanent filling. If more appointments are necessary, a temporary filling will be used instead.
The second appointment usually takes place about a week after the first. At this time, the roots and cavity inside the tooth are filled and sealed off; the opening created on top of the tooth is also covered. Crowns are also typically placed on any teeth that have received root canal therapy, thereby protecting the tooth from further breakage and making it fully functional once again.
The tooth will likely be sensitive after the treatment, but this sensitivity will diminish after the tooth has healed.
Care instructions are provided to all patients who receive a root canal treatment.