WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that provide a permanent base for fixed, replacement teeth. Dental implants are a popular and effective long-term solution for people who suffer from missing teeth, failing teeth or chronic dental problems. Because they fit, feel and function much like natural teeth, dental implants are quickly becoming the new standard in tooth replacement. 

Dental implants typically have three parts:

1) The implant: A screw that acts as the root for the tooth. This is placed into your bone and is not visible in the mouth.

2) The abutment: The piece of metal that connects into the implant.  This is visible in the mouth until the crown is placed on top of it.

3) The crown: This is similar to a crown that is placed on a natural tooth and is attached to the abutment. This is the part of the tooth that you can see. 

You can use dental implants to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth or a full upper and/or lower set of teeth. There are several ways to retain or support complete dentures with implants in order to give the dentures more stability and retention. 

Restorative Fillings


What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not removed through daily brushing and flossing, plaque can build up and the bacteria infect not only your gums and teeth, but eventually the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth. This can cause your teeth to become loose and infected. 
There are three stages of gum disease:

Gingivitis: this is the earliest stage of gum disease.  If daily brushing and flossing do not remove the plaque, it produces toxins (poisons) that can irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. You may notice some bleeding during brushing and flossing. At this early stage in gum disease, damage can be reversed, since the bone that holds the teeth in place is not yet affected.
Periodontitis: at this stage, the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place are irreversibly damaged. Your gums may begin to form a pocket below the gumline, which traps food and plaque. Proper dental treatment and improved home care can usually help prevent further damage.
Advanced Periodontitis:in this final stage of gum disease, the fibers and bone supporting your teeth are destroyed, which can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. This can affect your bite and, if aggressive treatment can't save them, teeth may need to be removed.


How do I Know if I Have Gum Disease?


Gum disease can occur at any age, but it is most common among adults. If detected in its early stages, gum disease can be reversed so see your dentist if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Gums that are red, puffy or swollen, or tender

  • Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing

  • Teeth that look longer because your gums have receded

  • Gums that have separated, or pulled away, from your teeth, creating a pocket

  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

  • Pus coming from between your teeth and gums

  • Constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth


How is Gum Disease Treated?

The early stages of gum disease can often be reversed with proper brushing and flossing. Good oral health will help keep plaque from building up.
A professional cleaning by your dentist or hygienist is the only way to remove plaque that has built up and hardened into tartar. Your dentist or hygienist will clean or "scale" your teeth to remove the tartar above and below the gumline. If your condition is more severe, a root planing procedure may be performed. Root planing helps to smooth irregularities on the roots of the teeth making it more difficult for plaque to deposit there.

By scheduling regular checkups, early stage gum disease can be treated before it leads to a much more serious condition.


Healthy Gums - healthy gums are firm and don't bleed. They fit snugly around the teeth.




Gingivitis - gums are mildly inflamed, may appear red or swollen and may bleed during brushing.




Periodontitis - gums begin to separate and recede from the teeth. This allows plaque to move toward the roots, supporting fibers and bone.





Advanced Periodontitis - supporting fibers and bone are destroyed. Teeth become loose and may need to be removed.

What Is Preventive Dentistry?

Preventive dentistry is the practice of caring for your teeth to keep them healthy. This helps to avoid cavities, gum disease, enamel wear, and more.
There are many forms of preventive dentistry, such as daily brushing and dental cleanings. To maintain optimal oral health, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visits to the dentist at regular intervals determined by a dentist. Children should be taught proper oral hygiene at an early age.

Brush Your Teeth Daily

The most important part of preventive dentistry is to brush your teeth at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Most people should replace their toothbrushes three to four times per year or as the bristles start to fray.
Don’t forget to brush your tongue. This will help remove bacteria from your mouth and also help freshen your breath.

Floss Daily

Daily flossing is also recommended. Flossing helps to clean out the tight spaces between the teeth. If you have braces, you may need to use floss threaders to get between the metal brackets.
To get the most benefit out of flossing, you’ll want to make sure you’re flossing in the correct way. At your next dental appointment, ask your hygienist for a quick flossing demonstration to make sure you’re getting the full benefit from using this tool.

Visit Your Dentist

You should see your dentist at least once per year for an exam to check for any problems in the teeth or gums. If you’re at a high risk for dental problems, you’ll likely benefit from more frequent dental visits. Dental cleanings and exams allow dentists to identify problems and take care of them right away.
If you have dental insurance, find out what’s covered. Many insurance plans cover two preventive dental visits per year.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Eating a balanced diet also helps to protect your teeth by providing them with the nutrients they need. Limit your sugar intake, including simple carbohydrates like white bread, and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Vitamins are important for oral health. Eating a varied diet will help you to get all of the vitamins you need to maintain a healthy smile.

What Does Preventive Dentistry Do?

Preventive dentistry prevents people from developing dental problems later on. If you use proper dental care, you can avoid or lessen the effects of these:

  • cavities

  • gingivitis

  • enamel loss

  • periodontitis


Who Benefits from Preventive Dentistry?

Everyone benefits from preventive dentistry. Children, in particular, benefit because it allows their newly developing adult teeth to come in strong and healthy. Dental sealants and topical fluoride treatments help prevent decay in your children’s teeth. If you’re an aging adult, you can benefit from preventive dentistry because it helps you to keep your real teeth.
Oral health is connected to the health of your body as a whole. This is because the mouth is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Maintaining a clean mouth benefits your overall health.

What Are the Benefits of Preventive Dentistry?

With good dental hygiene, you can greatly reduce your risk of getting cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, and other dental problems. This, in turn, can reduce your risk of secondary problems caused by poor oral health. Some health problems that may be linked to poor oral health are:

  • diabetes

  • heart disease

  • osteoporosis

  • respiratory disease

  • cancer

Premature birth and low birth weight may also be linked to poor oral health. You should continue to practice or adopt good preventive oral health if you’re pregnant. This includes visiting your dentist for routine checkups during your pregnancy.

Susan Henson, DMD, PA

Crowns & Bridge

Preventative Exams, Cleanings & Xrays for all ages

Root Canal Therapy

Implants

             Silver Amalgam                                                                     Gold Filling                                                                     White Filling

                                                                                                                                                                                               (Composite)

Periodontal Care

Root Canals
Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with root canal, or endodontic, treatment. Learn more about root canal treatment and how it can relieve your tooth pain and save your smile.
Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, and helps to grow the root of your tooth during development. In a fully developed tooth, the tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.
Contrary to jokes about the matter, modern endodontic treatment is very similar to having a routine filling and usually can be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances. You can expect a comfortable experience during and after your appointment.

Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:

  • Efficient chewing

  • Normal biting force and sensation

  • Natural appearance

  • Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain 


How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?
Root canal or endodontic treatment—treatment done to the inside of the tooth—is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
During root canal or endodontic treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterwards, the tooth is usually restored with a crown for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.


What is a Filling?
A filling is a way to restore a tooth back to its normal function and shape. A filling may be necessary if a tooth has decay or is broken.  When a dentist places a filling, he or she cleans the affected area and then fills the cleaned out cavity with a filling material.
By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Materials used for fillings include gold, porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-colored fillings), and an amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc).
Which Type of Filling is Best?
No one type of filling is best for everyone. What's right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost. Considerations for different materials include:

  • Gold fillings are made to order in a laboratory and then cemented into place. Gold inlays are well tolerated by gum tissues, and may last more than 20 years. For these reasons, many authorities consider gold the best filling material. However, it is often the most expensive choice and requires multiple visits.

  • Amalgam (silver) fillings are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, amalgams are not placed as frequently as they use to be.

  • Composite (plastic) resins are matched to be the same color as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. The ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the cavity, where they harden. Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco, and may not last as long as other types of fillings.

  • Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays and are produced to order in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth and resist staining. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth. Their cost is similar to gold.If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown, or cap, may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may need to be treated with a root canal before a permanent filling or crown is done.


What Types of Crowns Are Available?

Permanent crowns can be made from stainless steel, all metal (such as gold or another alloy), porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, or all ceramic.

  • Stainless steel crowns are prefabricated crowns that are used on permanent teeth primarily as a temporary measure. The crown protects the tooth or filling while a permanent crown is made from another material. For children, a stainless steel crown is commonly used to fit over a primary tooth (baby tooth). The crown covers the entire tooth and protects it from further decay. When the primary tooth comes out to make room for the permanent tooth, the crown comes out naturally with it. In general, stainless steel crowns are used for children's teeth because they don't require multiple dental visits to put in place and so are more cost- effective than custom-made crowns and prophylactic dental care needed to protect a tooth without a crown.

  • Metals used in crowns include gold alloy, other alloys (for example, palladium), or a base-metal alloy (for example, nickel or chromium). Compared with other crown types, less tooth structure needs to be removed with metal crowns, and tooth wear to opposing teeth is kept to a minimum. Metal crowns withstand biting and chewing forces well and probably last the longest in terms of wear down. Also, metal crowns rarely chip or break. The metallic color is the main drawback. Metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molars.

  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns can be color matched to your adjacent teeth (unlike the metallic crowns). However, more wearing to the opposing teeth occurs with this crown type compared with metal or resin crowns. The crown's porcelain portion can also chip or break off. Next to all-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth. However, sometimes the metal underlying the crown's porcelain can show through as a dark line, especially at the gum line and even more so if your gums recede. These crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth.

  • All-resin dental crowns are less expensive than other crown types. However, they wear down over time and are more prone to fractures than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.

  • All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide better natural color match than any other crown type and may be more suitable for people with metal allergies. However, they are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and they wear down opposing teeth a little more than metal or resin crowns. All-ceramic crowns are a good choice for front teeth.

  • Temporary versus permanent. Temporary crowns can be made in your dentist's office, whereas permanent crowns are made in a dental laboratory. Temporary crowns are made of acrylic or stainless steel and can be used as a temporary restoration until a permanent crown is constructed by a lab.

  • Zirconia or milled crown which are digitally constructed either in an office that has the software and hardware to produce them or in a dental lab. Dental offices that have the software and hardware have the ability to produce a crown in one visit with no need for a temporary. These crowns require no impression.


What Steps Are Involved in Preparing a Tooth for a Crown?


Preparing a tooth for a crown usually requires two visits to the dentist -- the first step involves examining and preparing the tooth, the second visit involves placement of the permanent crown.


How Should I Care for My Temporary Dental Crown?

Because temporary dental crowns are just that -- a temporary fix until a permanent crown is ready -- most dentists suggest that a few precautions. These include:

Avoid sticky, chewy foods (for example, chewing gum, caramel), which have the potential of grabbing and pulling off the crown.
Minimize use of the side of your mouth with the temporary crown. Shift the bulk of your chewing to the other side of the mouth.
Avoid chewing hard foods (such as raw vegetables), which could dislodge or break the crown.
Slide flossing material out-rather than lifting out-when cleaning your teeth. Lifting the floss out, as you normally would, might pull off the temporary crown.



Does a Crowned Tooth Require Special Care?


While a crowned tooth does not require any special care, remember that simply because a tooth is crowned does not mean the tooth is protected from decay or gum disease. Therefore, continue to follow good oral hygiene practices, including brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily -- especially around the crown area where the gum meets the tooth -- and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash at least once a day.