Restorative dentistry is vital for fixing all kinds of teeth damages and defects.
We all would like to maintain our teeth forever. However, sometimes our teeth break down and we need some help to restore them to form. Here at Blue Wolf Dental we have several treatment options to restore your dentition. Through the strategic use of composite restorations (aka “tooth colored fillings”), crowns, bridges, implants, tooth extractions, root canals, removable prosthesis (such as complete dentures and partial dentures) we can restore your smile. Let our team can perform a thorough examination of your dentition to discuss what treatment options might be best for you.
Dentistry is an art as well as a science and dental crowns offer a perfect example of this. A dental crown (often referred to as a “cap”) is a covering that fits over a damaged, decayed, or unattractive tooth. A crown completely covers a tooth unlike a dental veneer, which only covers a tooth’s front surface. Therefore, if a tooth is missing a significant amount of structure above the gum line, a crown would be the restoration of choice.
Crowns strengthen damaged teeth which allows them to function normally again. The high tech porcelain crowns crafted to are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. They can even be designed to improve upon a tooth’s original appearance.
There are other materials besides porcelain that we can be used to make dental crowns, depending on what qualities are most important for your case. The long term durability of cast gold crowns cannot be beat, but it is not always the most aesthetic choice. Porcelain fused to metal crowns (PFM) are also available which have a metal interior for strength and a porcelain exterior for a more natural appearance. Another option is a crown made of zirconia which is the strongest ceramic available in dentistry. The pros and cons of all these options will be discussed with you.
Crowning a Tooth
The crowning or capping of a tooth usually is a two to three visit process. At the first visit, your tooth is prepared to receive its new crown. The tooth is shaved down to a uniform shape to allow it to fit inside the new covering. This process is completed while you are numb. In some cases there is very little tooth structure left to begin with which requires the tooth to be built up with filling material in order to support the crown.
After the tooth is prepared, impressions of your teeth are taken, either digitally or with putty like impression materials, and sent to the dental laboratory. There, a skilled technician use the impressions will be used to make models of your teeth for the creation of a crown. The models will serve as guides to ensure that your new crown is designed to enhance your smile and function well within your bite.
Before the end of your first appointment, a temporary crown will be attached to your tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is ready. At the second visit, your permanent crown will be attached to your tooth with either a resin that hardens when exposed to a special light source or a type of permanent cement.
Taking Care of Your Crowns
Crowns require the same level of care as your natural teeth. Be sure to brush and floss between all of your teeth every day to reduce the buildup of dental plaque. When you have crowns, it is even more important to maintain your regular schedule of cleanings at the dental office. If you have a habit of grinding your teeth, wearing a night guard is a good idea to protect your teeth and your investment.
Missing teeth can cause a noticeable change in in the way we speak and eat. Fortunately we now have many options to restore your smile. Bridges or “fixed partial dentures” are a form of tooth replacement used where a tooth or several teeth are missing. Unlike a removable partial dentures, which can be taken out to clean, a fixed bridge is permanently cemented in and can only be removed by a dentist. They replace missing teeth by attaching to abutments, which are either natural teeth or dental. Fixed bridges are made by placing crowns on the abutments and fusing the crowns to the tooth replacement which is called a pontic. This bridge is then bonded onto the abutments.
The procedure for a bridge usually takes two appointments to complete. At the first appointment the abutment teeth on either side of the gap are prepared by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin. Accurate impressions of the prepared teeth are then taken and sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be constructed. A temporary bridge will be made and temporarily cemented while your permanent bridge is being fabricated. It usually takes about three weeks for the bridge to be fabricated by the dental lab. At your second visit, the bridge is adjusted for fit and cemented in place.
Though bridges can be a great restorative option, they are not indicated for all patients. Bridges require support on both sides of the area missing teeth either by other teeth or implants in order to be placed. Also, in situations where the two adjacent teeth are healthy and require no restorations an implant is a much more conservative treatment alternative. If you are interested in replacing a missing tooth, let the team at Blue Wolf Dental review what treatment options may be best for you.
If you are missing a tooth or several teeth you know it can greatly affect your ability to chew certain foods and even your quality of life. Studies show that the loss of a tooth will lead to bone loss in the jaw and consequences that often lead to the loss of adjacent teeth. Missing teeth can compromise our esthetics, which can be a source of anxiety or even depression. Dental implants area a great solution for the loss of a tooth or several teeth. Implants closely mimic your original dentition in form and function. Most dental professionals consider it to be the best way to restore a missing tooth.
If you have been told you are not a candidate for dental implants we encourage you to come in for a consult. With the use of state of the art three dimensional imaging, surgical guides can be used to achieve precise placement of implants while avoiding any critical anatomy. Using three dimensional imaging and the latest planning technology we can now place implants in many situations that were not possible in the past.
Our goal at Blue Wolf Dental is to preserve your natural teeth and keep them healthy for as long as possible. There are times when it is in your best interest (or your child) to have a tooth extracted (removed). This could be the case for a variety of reasons, including: damage or trauma to the tooth, extensive tooth decay, or even overcrowding.
Whatever the reason, tooth extraction is more often than not a very routine procedure. How straightforward this minor surgery is will depend several factors like your health history, the location in the mouth of the tooth to be extracted, and the position of the tooth roots. For example, a front tooth with a single straight root is easier to remove than a molar with multiple roots. This is especially true for wisdom teeth that are below the surface surrounded by gum tissue and bone. This is also referred to as an impacted tooth. We often see this with a wisdom tooth due to other teeth blocking its path preventing full eruption.
Still, tooth extraction is nothing to be feared when done by a gentle, experienced hand. Keep in mind that a tooth is not rigidly fixed in its surrounding bone. Teeth are actually attached to the bone via a network of fibers that form what is known as the periodontal ligament. By carefully manipulating the tooth, these fibers can be detached and the tooth freed without much trouble.
The first step in any dental extraction is a radiographic (x-ray) examination to assess the position of the tooth roots and the condition of the surrounding bone. This will allow any possible complications to be anticipated prior to the procedure. A thorough medical and drug history is taken, to ensure that you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. Your options for anesthesia and sedation will be discussed.
With every dental extraction local anesthesia is provided to numb the teeth to be removed, surrounding bone, and gum tissues in the area. For some patients additional sedatives nitrous oxide (which is inhaled), oral sedatives (taken in pill form), or conscious sedation (IV sedation) will be used to manage any anxiety.
As the tooth is being removed, steps are taken to ensure the bone and gums that surround it are not damaged. Sometimes, in the process of removing a tooth, a small amount of lab processed bone grafting material is placed into the extraction socket to help preserve the bone volume there. This is particularly important when the placement of a dental implant is anticipated in the future.
Immediately after your tooth is extracted, the socket will be covered with sterile gauze; gentle pressure will be applied for 10-20 minutes to control any bleeding. Small sutures (stitches) might also be used for this purpose. It’s normal to experience some mild to moderate post-operative discomfort and/or swelling. Taking non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and/or aspirin the day of surgery should control most symptoms. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to ensure infection-free healing. Using ice packs on the outside of your jaw, and eating softer foods until you feel more comfortable can also be helpful. Within a few days, all should be back to normal.
Root canal treatment, also called endodontics, is a specialized procedure designed to treat problems of the soft pulp (nerve) tissue inside the tooth. While some mistakenly think of it as an unusually painful treatment, in most cases the procedure is no more uncomfortable than getting a filling. It is one of the most effective ways of relieving many kinds of tooth pain.
A root canal procedure becomes necessary when infection or inflammation develops in the pulp tissue of a tooth. The pulp tissue in a tooth consists of connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerve cells. This is why people feel intense pain when there is a problem with a tooth. Dental pain will often go away temporarily with time, but without treatment the infection won’t. If left untreated it can lead to a dental abscess and even contribute to systemic problems in other parts of the body. Another reason not to delay root canal treatment is to avoid the problems that commonly occur when teeth have been removed. These problems include unwanted tooth shifting or migration, which can lead to difficulties in chewing; the need for bridgework or dental implants, which may be costly and complicated; and even the eventual loss of bone structure from the area of the missing tooth.
If an examination shows that you do need root canal therapy there is no need to worry. Root canal therapy is one of the most routine and effective dental procedures which can often be accomplished in just one visit.
The root canal process generally begins the same way as a filling does, and with no greater discomfort. A local anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth and the surrounding area. For many patients, the worst part of the procedure is already over. Next, a small opening is made in the surface of the affected tooth to gain access to the pulp chamber and root canals. Tiny instruments are used to remove the dead and dying pulp tissue from inside these narrow canals. The chamber and empty canals are then cleaned, disinfected, and prepared to receive a filling of inert, biocompatible material. Finally, adhesive cement is used to seal the opening in the tooth, preventing future infection.
Following root canal treatment, your tooth may feel some sensitivity or tenderness for a few days. Over the counter pain relievers like ibuprofen are generally effective in relieving any discomfort, but in some cases prescription medications may also be needed. All of these symptoms should be temporary, but it may help to avoid biting hard on the affected tooth.
To further protect the tooth and restore it to full function, it’s usually necessary to have a crown placed on it. Restorations can take many forms, from traditional gold crowns to tooth replicas made of high tech tooth colored materials. In any case, you will have made an investment in preserving your dental health for years to come.
If you begin to feel constant, severe pain and pressure in your mouth or noticeable swelling in your gums then you need an evaluation and treatment right away. Some other commons signs of pulp tissue damage are sharp pain when you bite down on food and lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods. If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to have an examination as soon as possible.
Tooth Colored Fillings (Composite Resins)
There have been great advancements in the field of dentistry over the years. We are now able to restore teeth with tooth colored restorations that allow for more beautiful smiles that mimic natural tooth color. These tooth colored fillings, often called composites or composite resins, are able to effectively restore function while appearing almost exactly the same texture and color as the patient’s natural tooth. Placement of tooth colored fillings often requires less removal of tooth structure which allows for a smaller restoration to be placed. These fillings are “bonded” to tooth structure and then sculpted around the tooth by the dentist in order to achieve an aesthetically pleasing result.
Placement of composite restorations is usually a one-visit procedure. The teeth are prepared by the dentist by removing any decay or fractures. Then the surface of the tooth is etched with a gel and a treatment of bonding agent is applied to the tooth. After the composite is applied and adjusted to the tooth, it is hardened with the use of a high intensity light. It is then buffered and polished to smooth out any rough surfaces.
It is amazing the beauty composite tooth bonding materials can bring to your teeth. Still, with all the advancements in this material, it still has its limitations. How long a composite restoration lasts depends on many factors that are unique to the individual. Many people will go for ten or fifteen years and have the composite restoration look as good as the day it was first placed. Some people will get staining on the margins of the restoration after one or two years and will need some touch-up work. If you take care of a tooth colored restoration well it would be unusual to ever need to have to replace it, but some touch-up work would be normal after three to five years.