What are dental fillings?

Cavities occur when bacteria in our mouth “feed” off the sugary foods we eat and produce acid that breaks down the outside layer of our teeth called enamel. Once a cavity has reached the softer inner layer of tooth structure, it has to be removed by the dentist or it will grow over time and eventually cause a toothache.

White – Composite Fillings

  • Bond to the tooth and provide structural integrity
  • Esthetically match the color of your teeth and are undetectable
  • Can be less sensitive to hot and cold
  • Can be more conservative, leaving more healthy tooth
  • More expensive and technique sensitive

Silver – Amalgam Fillings

  • Less expensive compared to tooth colored fillings
  • Quicker placement – requires less time in the dental chair
  • Can wedge the tooth over time and cause tooth cracks and fractures of teeth
  • Great for areas where a dry field cannot be achieved, cavities under gums

Dental Caps or Crowns

A crown is a dental restoration that completely caps or covers the tooth for protection of remaining tooth. Crowns can be made from many different materials and our dentists will create a crown out of the material that is best for your mouth.

What are the reasons a crown is treatment planned?

  • Teeth with severe wear
  • Cracked or fractured teeth
  • Large fillings that are weak
  • Posterior teeth after root canal therapy to prevent fractures
  • Esthetic improvements
  • Large cavities

My dentist said I need a root canal. What does that mean?

A root canal is performed when the nerve becomes irreversibly infected by bacteria. Your tooth can become symptomatic after an acute infection or have no symptoms and detected by our doctors during cleanings by x-ray evaluation.

When are root canals necessary?

  • When a cavity extends to the dental nerve
  • When the nerve inside your tooth dies or symptomatic due to dental abscess
  • When trauma exposes the nerve or luxates the tooth
  • When there is not enough healthy tooth to hold a crown

Are root canals painful?

Our doctors make sure your tooth is comfortably numbed before the procedure begins and remains so throughout the appointment. In most cases, after the numbness wears off, there is no post-operative sensitivity and you will not require pain medications.

What are the steps of  root canal therapy?

  • Cavity is removed after numbing of the tooth
  • The canals within the roots are detected and cleaned with files and irrigation solutions to disinfect the tooth
  • Medicine is placed to prevent future bacteria infecting the tooth
  • Filling or crown is placed to protect the tooth

What do I need to know about dentures and partials?

Dentures & Partials

Our doctors use advanced techniques to fabricate custom made dentures for our patients. One of the most important steps in denture fabrication is acquiring a very accurate impression of your gums. Our doctors use the Accu-dent dual phase alginate impression material which provides more accuracy and precision then traditional techniques.

Why is this important to our patients?

  • More comfortable and snug fit of your dentures
  • Less adhesive pastes needed to secure dentures
  • Less office visits to adjust sore spots

Immediate Dentures & Partials

Our doctors will take impressions of your teeth to have a full denture or partial denture custom made. Then you will be scheduled for extractions of your unhealthy and non-restorable teeth. The denture will be placed the day of surgery and adjustments will be made as the bone level remodels over time. As the bone changes, the denture will start to get loose and at that time (6 months to 1 year after delivery) a relining procedure is done to provide long term retention and stability of your denture.

Implant Supported Dentures

Overdentures are dentures that snap onto dental implants to provide less mobility of your denture. It requires 2-4 implants being placed into the jawbone to provide retention and stability of your denture. Many times this is necessary to keep a lower denture comfortable from rubbing or coming loose while eating.

What are my options to replace a missing tooth?

Dental Implants

  • Advantages:
    • High success rate
    • Does not require reduction of adjacent healthy teeth
    • Preserves and stimulates jawbone
    • Looks, feels, fits and functions like a natural tooth
    • Permanent restoration that is not removable by patient
    • Easily cleaned by flossing just like a natural tooth
  • Disadvantages:
    • High cost
    • Can take more than 6 months to have final crown placed
    • Surgery involved, sometimes bone grafting is required

Dental Bridges

  • Advantages:
    • Replaces missing tooth without surgery or bone grafting
    • Cost less then implants
    • Usually takes 3 months from tooth extraction to bridge placement, 1 month if tooth is already missing and bone is healed.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Requires reduction and crowning of two teeth adjacent to the missing tooth
    • Requires flossing underneath the bridge to prevent subsequent decay of supporting teeth. Cannot floss between teeth
    • Can get decay and need replacement if inadequate home care

Dental Partial

  • Advantages:
    • Least expensive
    • Least invasive – requires minimal to no reduction of adjacent teeth to missing tooth
  • Disadvantages:
    • Most unnatural feeling option
    • Requires frequent removal after meals for cleaning to prevent food packing and cavities from developing around supporting teeth
    • Not permanently cemented. Consists of a denture tooth and clasps around supporting tooth. Can feel bulky at first
    • Can loose it and need replacement

What if I don't replace my missing tooth?

  • When you loose a tooth, the surrounding teeth will shift, causing tipping and eruption of teeth. This can make future replacement more difficult and expensive. Sometimes, braces are needed to move teeth back in order to restore the missing space.
  • After removing a tooth, the jaw bone begins to resorb or deteriorate. Once the bone is lost it can only be regained by surgical procedures to graft bone back to the area.