Crowns are made for several reasons: to protect a tooth if it is in danger of breaking from either a large cavity, already broken or because it has been treated with a root canal. To further explain the last point, when a tooth undergoes a root canal, it loses its nutrition, blood supply and hydration as a result becoming brittle. Now if you continue to chew on a tooth that is brittle it will eventually break, most of the time on something soft such as bread, lettuce and even a banana! Why? Imagine a paperclip. Have you ever tried to bend one? The first time you bend it can be tough, but every subsequent bend becomes easier and easier till you can pretty much blow it off. Crowns can also be done for cosmetic reasons such as to permanently change the color, shape or size of the tooth. We provide many types of crowns, each catered to your situation. There are special crowns for people who grind their teeth, people with metal allergies and some with gold substrates which the body tolerates the best.
Composite or “tooth colored” fillings have evolved quite a bit over the past 20 years to become a reliable option when deciding what material to use when restoring a tooth. With that said, every composite that enters dentistry will always be compared to amalgam or “silver” fillings. Why? Because amalgam lasts. I have seen many instances where a patient has had a silver filling for over 30 years. The newer generation of composites haven’t been around long enough to prove their longevity. We will discuss which is the best for you when the time comes.
Sometimes a cavity gets so big that a filling or a crown isn’t enough to fully restore the tooth and the damaged nerve must be removed in order to save the tooth. There is nothing special to prepare for from the patients point of view, it is like a 90 minute (more or less) appointment that is similar to getting a filling done.
If you are missing a tooth (or several), one option that may be available to you is a bridge. Like the illustration to the right shows, a bridge here replaces a missing lower right molar by cementing 3 crowns attached to each other. There are many options available to you in terms of material, each particularly suited for a situation much like crowns.
Dental implants are the best option for replacing missing teeth because if they are taken care of properly, they will last a very long time. More importantly, as compared to a bridge like in the picture above, the adjacent teeth to the missing tooth does not need to be shaved down to accommodate for the bridge. To the right, you can see the patient was missing two front teeth and was replaced with two implants.
Complete and Partial Dentures
Dentures are a wonderful and affordable option for those who are missing one, a few or all their teeth. If someone is missing all their teeth, they would need a complete denture to replace them. Complete upper dentures work by covering the whole palate and thereby creating an air-tight suction (much like a rubber suction cup on glass) to stay on. Lower dentures work similarly in that they cover the lower jaw but patients have a tendency of having some trouble adjusting to them in the beginning. The reason for this is due to the anatomy of the jaw doesn’t allow us to attain any suction. In addition, the lower jaw is constantly moving when we talk, chew and swallow. Occasionally some adhesive, such as Sea-Bond, Poligrip or Fixodent, is needed to help. One thing to help with complete lower dentures is to make it in adjunct to two implants, thereby snapping over it. They are called overdentures (a picture is provided to the right) and patients really love this.
Partial dentures come in a few varieties but their purpose is the same: to replace some teeth and allow you to eat and look better. Partial dentures can be made with a metal base or with a flexible plastic base. Some patients choose to get the flexible partial because it doesn’t leave the metallic aftertaste and it is a lot more natural looking since the clasps or “hooks” are in pink plastic and blend in with gums better than the metal clasps.
Last, but certainly not least, to answer our most popular question: yes, we do offer tooth whitening and in three different ways. We have one option with pre-loaded whitening trays like the products found in pharmacies but at professional strength. Typically worn once a day for one hour, results are usually seen in as little as five days. For whiter results we offer a stronger take home option where we make custom made trays for your mouth and results are seen in as many days.