Dentures

If you’ve lost all of your natural teeth, whether from periodontal disease, tooth decay or injury, complete dentures can replace your missing teeth and your smile. Replacing missing teeth will benefit your appearance and your health. Without support from the denture, facial muscles sag, making a person look older. You’ll be able to eat and speak—things that people often take for granted until their natural teeth are lost.

There are various types of complete dentures. A conventional full denture is made and placed in the patient’s mouth after the remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed which may take several months. An immediate complete denture is inserted as soon as the remaining teeth are removed. The dentist takes measurements and makes models of the patient’s jaws during a preliminary visit. With immediate dentures, the denture wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period.
Even if you wear full dentures, you still must take good care of your mouth. Brush your gums, tongue and palate every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures to stimulate circulation in your tissues and help remove plaque.

Dentures can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that little change in appearance will be noticeable. Dentures may even improve the look of your smile and help fill out the appearance of your face and profile.

 
Root Canals

Sometimes in order to save a tooth, a root canal procedure is needed. Underneath your tooth's outer enamel and within the dentin is an area of soft tissue called the pulp, which carries the tooth's nerves, veins, arteries and lymph vessels. Root canals are very small, thin divisions that branch off from the top pulp chamber down to the tip of the root. A tooth has at least one but no more than four root canals.

When the pulp becomes infected due to a deep cavity or fracture that allows bacteria to seep in, or injury due to trauma, it can die. Damaged or dead pulp causes increased blood flow and cellular activity, and pressure cannot be relieved from inside the tooth. Pain in the tooth is commonly felt when biting down, chewing on it and applying hot or cold foods and drinks.

Because the tooth will not heal by itself. Without treatment, the infection will spread, bone around the tooth will begin to degenerate, and the tooth may fall out. Pain usually worsens until one is forced to seek emergency dental attention. The only alternative is usually extraction of the tooth, which can cause surrounding teeth to shift crookedly, resulting in a bad bite. Though an extraction is cheaper, the space left behind will require an implant or a bridge, which can be more expensive than root canal therapy. If you have the choice, it's always best to keep your original teeth.

Once your general dentist performs tests on the tooth and recommends therapy, he or she can perform the treatment or refer you to an endodontist (a pulp specialist). Treatment usually involves one to three appointments.

 

 
Implants

Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements used to counter tooth loss. The procedure is categorized as a form of prosthetic (artificial replacement) dentistry, though it also falls into the category of cosmetic dentistry as well.

Although you have a number of restorative options for the treatment of missing teeth, none have proven to be as functionally effective and durable as implants. In many cases, dental implants may be the only logical choice for the restoration of all necessary functionality of the teeth and supporting structures.

Teeth are lost because of:

  • Tooth decay
  • Root canal failure
  • Periodontitis (gum disease)
  • Trauma to the mouth
  • Excessive wear and tear
  • Congenital defects

 

 
Bridges
One or more missing teeth can adversely affect the appearance and functionality of your smile. Missing teeth can cause a change in occlusion (bite), shifting of the teeth, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), speech impediments, an increased risk for periodontal disease and a greater chance of tooth decay.

Dental bridges, like implants and partial dentures, are used to replace missing teeth. There are several types of fixed dental bridges (cannot be removed), including conventional fixed bridges, cantilever bridges and resin-bonded bridges.

Typically, conventional and cantilever bridges require shaping of the teeth surrounding a missing tooth. Crowns are then placed on the shaped teeth and attached to an artificial tooth (called a pontic).
A resin-bonded bridge requires less preparation of adjacent teeth. It is often used to replace front teeth, provided that the gums are healthy and the surrounding teeth do not have extensive dental fillings.
The Dental Bridge Procedure

During the first visit, your dentist examines the health of your gums and other teeth to evaluate if you are a candidate for a dental bridge. If you are a candidate for a dental bridge, you are given a local anesthetic so your dentist can prepare the teeth required to support the bridge. If the support teeth are decayed or badly broken down, your dentist may have to build them back up before they can be used as support teeth for a bridge.

Next, your dentist takes an impression of the prepared teeth with a putty-like material that is used to create a model of your teeth. Your bridge is fabricated based on this model by a skilled lab technician so that it precisely fits the prepared teeth. It is important that your restoration fit perfectly to avoid additional oral health problems such as tooth decay.

While your bridge is being fabricated, your dentist fits you with a temporary bridge so the teeth and gums can be protected from damage until your permanent bridge is ready.

To complete the dental bridge procedure, you must return to the dental office for a second visit to have the bridge fitted and cemented.

 
Crowns
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth – covering the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and/or to improve its appearance.
The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.

A dental crown may be needed in the following situations:

  1. To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
  2. To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
  3. To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn't a lot of tooth left
  4. To hold a dental bridge in place
  5. To cover misshapened or severely discolored teeth
  6. To cover a dental implant
 
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