Preventative care for long term oral health
A dental implant is made from a metal rod as replacement for your tooth’s root. This “root” is placed into the jaw bone and becomes the foundation for your replacement tooth (which is made to match your existing teeth). Getting an implant requires numerous appointments before the result is seen. After getting the post placed you will need to wait until your gums have fully healed before the new tooth can be installed.
Many patients wonder if getting dental implants is worth the investment and have a tough decision to make. While dental implants cost most out-of-pocket upfront they do have the potential to last a lifetime with proper care, and overtime will become the most financially responsible choice for tooth replacement. This is because on average a bridge will only last for 15 years before the patient then needs to pay for a replacement bridge. Dental implants offer numerous advantages to help justify their high cost:
- Convenient. Permanent dental implants eliminate the hassle of removing and cleaning dentures nightly, as well as eliminating the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.
- Easier to consume food. Implants function just like real teeth allowing you to eat your favorite foods without worrying about pain.
- Improved appearance and self-esteem. Dental implants feel and look like your own teeth. You can be confident in your smile and no longer worry about people noticing a fake tooth.
- Improved comfort. By choosing an implant you eliminate the discomfort associated with removable dentures.
- Improved oral health. Unlike a bridge, a dental implant does not require any neighboring teeth to be ground down. Leaving your natural teeth intact helps your long-term oral health. Implants also allow easier access between the teeth, allowing you to keep flossing without a struggle.
Deciding on dental implants is a major decision and one that you should discuss with your dental provider.
Teeth whitening is done to help enhance an individuals white and bright smile. One of the easiest ways to help your teeth stay healthy and white is by brushing and flossing a couple times each day. When patients feel like their smile is not sparkling like it used to the most common questions are; what is causing my teeth to change color and how can I get them white again?
Numerous factors can cause our teeth to dull or yellow over time. Two of the biggest factors are dark liquids and tobacco use. Avid coffee, tea, and red wine drinkers may start to notice the beverages’ intense color staining their teeth over time. Tobacco use is a big contributor due to tar’s natural dark color and nicotine’s yellowish color.
Teeth whitening is simple process that can restore your smile to it’s natural brightness and is offered in a variety of ways:
- Whitening Toothpastes contain mild abrasives to help remove surface stains and on average will lighten an individuals’ teeth by one shade.
- At-home whitening gels have you apply a peroxide-based gel to each tooth using a small brush.
- At-home whitening strips are thin strips containing a peroxide-based gel and that are applied to your upper and lower teeth.
- Whitening rinses are used twice daily before brushing your teeth. They contain ingredients to help whiten teeth along with helping to reduce gum disease and plaque.
- Tray-based tooth whiteners use a mouth guard to hold a whitening gel. Individuals wear the tray for a specified amount of time daily for about a month. The length of time using the trays will depend upon the targeted level of whiteness.
- In-office whitening is the costliest option, but results are seen much quicker. The whitening gel is applied to teeth and then is illuminated by a specialized light for an average a half hour. Results can be seen after the first appointment but depending on the staining numerous treatments may be recommended.
As always, it is important to talk to your dental professional before starting a tooth whitening regimen. Your dentist will go over your dental history and desired outcome to help you find the best option.
Dental Crowns and Caps
A dental crown, or dental cap, is most commonly used to strengthen a damaged tooth by fully covering it. In addition to strengthening a damaged tooth, crowns also help improve the tooth’s alignment and appearance. A dental crown is permanently attached to the affected tooth using a dental cement and can only be removed by a dentist. Numerous types of crowns are available including some that can be made same-day in our office.
- Metal crowns are comprised of non-noble metals making them unlikely to corrode. These crowns are very strong making them less likely to chip or break. The major drawback is the metallic color and therefore are recommended for molars that are not easily seen.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are metal structures covered in porcelain and are therefore more durable than all-ceramic crowns. These are fabricated to match the color of the surrounding teeth making them an excellent option for teeth visible when smiling. A couple drawbacks to this option is the metal can show through the crown at the gum line, and the porcelain can chip or break over time.
- All-ceramic crowns are most commonly used for front teeth due to their ability of blending in with your teeth’s natural color. These are also a great option for patients who have a metal allergy and can be made the same-day as your appointment.
Most patients will need to have a temporary crown placed at their initial appointment and then need to return to the office when their permanent crown is delivered from the lab. Temporary crowns are made from an acrylic material and are placed until your permanent crown can be installed. Same-day crowns are available for patients who are interested in all-ceramic crowns. For these our office will take photos of the tooth and then create a 3D image on the computer of your tooth. From this image a crown is then made in-house and can be installed the same day. One of the biggest benefits to same-day crowns is they are permanent, and you no longer must come back for a second appointment.