Restoring the health and appearance of damaged teeth
Air abrasion is a new micro-dentistry technique that is used to treat tooth decay and prepare teeth for restorations. Traditionally, dentists used noisy dental drills to remove decay and prepare the teeth for fillings, but air abrasion has proven to be a noiseless, heatless, minimally invasive alternative. Air abrasion is similar to sandblasting, in that tiny particles are propelled toward small areas of decay to remove them. A filling is then applied to seal the tooth from further harm.
An anesthetic is not usually required for this procedure, which means the dentist can treat multiple teeth in a single appointment. The goal of air abrasion is to pinpoint and remove early areas of decay, while preserving more of the natural tooth. The combination of air abrasion and composite resin fillings quickly and comfortably restores functionality and strength to the teeth.
Here are some of the main advantages associated with air abrasion:
- More of the natural tooth is left untouched.
- No need for anesthesia in most cases.
- No vibrations, horrible noises or excessive pressure.
- Quicker, easier procedures.
- Reduced risk of further damage to the teeth (chipping and fractures).
- Teeth are left dry, which is advantageous for filling placement.
Who can benefit from air abrasion?
As with many dental procedures, air abrasion is not necessarily suitable for every person. The best candidates for air abrasion are patients who are fearful of the dental drill, children, and individuals with minimal dental decay. Regular dental check ups help diagnose cavities which may be forming on the surfaces of the teeth. Spotting cavities early increases the chances that the air abrasion treatment can be utilized.
Air abrasion can be used in instances other than tooth decay, including the removal of existing composite fillings, the preparation of teeth for sealants and the removal of surface stains on teeth. Amalgam and silver fillings cannot be used in conjunction with air abrasion because the procedure leaves the teeth too smooth for metal fillings to properly adhere. Therefore, only composite fillings can be applied following air abrasion.
What is involved with the air abrasion procedure?
Initially, the dentist will thoroughly examine the teeth and assess whether the air abrasion technique is going to be the most effective option. Once this has been decided, the procedure can be scheduled.
First, rubber dams and cotton balls will be used to segregate the teeth and ensure the adjacent teeth are not affected. Under specialized lighting and magnification, the teeth will be sprayed with particles including aluminum oxide and silica. Jets of compressed air, delivered through a dental hand-piece, provide enough force for the particles to remove the decay. The waste will be eliminated from the mouth with a suction device.
The dentist will use a special red chemical dye to ensure that all traces of decay are gone. An acid solution will then be applied to the affected areas to roughen the surface enough for the filling to be placed successfully. The composite filling will be hardened using specialized lights, then polished to make it look completely natural.
If you have questions about the air abrasion process, please ask your dentist.
A silver amalgam filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a silver filling.
There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Amalgam fillings, along with composite (tooth colored) fillings, are the most widely used today. An amalgam filling is more commonly used in the back teeth since the color is less visually appealing than a composite filling.
As with most dental restorations, amalgam fillings are not permanent and may someday need replacement. They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting smile.
Reasons for amalgam fillings:
- Cracked or broken teeth.
- Decayed teeth.
- Worn teeth.
What does getting an amalgam filling involve?
Amalgam fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleansed and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The silver filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when amalgam fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
You will be given post-care instructions at the completion of your treatment. Proper oral hygiene, good eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.
A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.
There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or more visible areas of the mouth.
As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.
Reasons for composite fillings:
- Chipped teeth.
- Closing space between two teeth.
- Cracked or broken teeth.
- Decayed teeth.
- Worn teeth.
How are composite fillings placed?
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as needed. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.
Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances.
Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth (usually titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by a dentist or Periodontist - a specialist of the gums and supporting bone. The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient’s smile!
Dental implants are strong and durable and will last many years. On occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear.
Reasons for dental implants:
- Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
- Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.
- Restore a patient’s confident smile.
- Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
- Restore or enhance facial tissues.
- Support a bridge or denture, making it more secure and comfortable.
What does getting dental implants involve?
The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.
X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself for up to six months. Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the “post” that will hold the artificial tooth in place. With other implants the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.
After several weeks of healing the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete. After a healing period, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.
You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene and eating habits, alongside regular dental visits, will aid in the life of your new implant.
If you have questions about dental implants or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office.
A denture is a removable dental appliance and a replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They are made to closely resemble your natural teeth and may even enhance your smile.
There are two types of dentures - complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. A partial denture not only fills in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from shifting.
A complete denture can be either “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional type is made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed (usually takes 4 to 6 weeks). During this time, the patient will go without teeth. Immediate dentures are made in advance and immediately placed after the teeth are removed, thus preventing the patient from having to be without teeth during the healing process. Once the tissues shrink and heal, adjustments will have to be made.
Dentures are very durable appliances and will last many years but may have to be remade, repaired, or readjusted due to normal wear.
Reasons for dentures:
- Complete Denture - Loss of all teeth in an arch.
- Partial Denture - Loss of several teeth in an arch.
- Enhancing smile and facial tissues.
- Improving chewing, speech, and digestion.
What does getting dentures involve?
The process of getting dentures requires several appointments, usually over a period of several weeks. Highly accurate impressions (molds) and measurements are taken and used to create your custom denture. Several “try-in” appointments may be necessary to ensure proper shape, color, and fit. At the final appointment, your dentist will precisely adjust and place the completed denture, ensuring a natural and comfortable fit.
It is normal to experience increased saliva flow, some soreness, and possible speech and chewing difficulty, however this will subside as your muscles and tissues get used to the new dentures.
You will be given care instructions for your new dentures. Proper cleaning of your new dental appliance, good oral hygiene, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new dentures.
A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface, restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.
Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain (tooth colored crown) are the most popular. They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color of your teeth, giving you a long-lasting, beautiful smile.
Reasons for crowns:
- Broken or fractured teeth.
- Cosmetic enhancement.
- Decayed teeth.
- Fractured fillings.
- Large fillings.
- Tooth has a root canal.
What does getting a crown involve?
A crown procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate molds (or impressions) that will be used to create your custom crown. A mold will also be used to create a temporary crown which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.
While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. Once these details are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure you are biting properly.
At your second appointment, your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.
You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your new crown.
Dental veneers, crowns, onlays, inlays, and bridges are important restorations which enhance the health and functionality of the natural teeth. A sparkling smile can be an enormous confidence-booster and have a dramatic effect on a person’s appearance. Empress® has been dedicated to creating natural-looking restorations for almost two decades and is one of the world leaders in dental ceramics.
Empress® veneers, crowns, onlays, overlays, and dental bridges are renowned for their strength, durability, and exceptional optical properties. Empress® restorations are completely metal-free, and are constructed from inorganic material which is baked and cured at high temperatures.
Why should I choose Empress® restorations?
Empress® is continually refining and enhancing restorations to ensure that they look natural and restore complete functionality to the teeth.
Traditional ceramic restorations were known for being brittle and expensive to repair after sustaining damage. However, Empress® has developed a heat-pressed glass ceramic that is immensely strong and durable. There are several reasons for this, including the high shrinkage of leucite crystals. This shrinkage means that compressive stress is created during the vitreous stage, thus preventing breakage and cracking.
The unique veneer glaze and stain also increases strength by as much as 50%. These elements combined establish a thicker restoration that is fracture resistant. Empress® crowns have a 100% chance of surviving the first three years. This means less dental visits, less expense, and a sensational, comfortable smile.
Here are some of the advantages associated with Empress® restorations:
- Do not affect other dentition.
- Ease of application.
- Excellent polishing properties.
- Many levels of translucency available.
- Shades match the other teeth.
What restorations can be done using Empress® products?
Empress® has created many natural-looking restorations, including:
Empress® Veneers – These veneers are wafer-thin porcelain and ceramic covers which fit permanently over natural teeth. Empress® veneers are perfect for covering disfigured and stained teeth. They are stain and bacteria-resistant, strong, and can be manufactured to match the natural tooth shade.
Empress® Crowns – These crowns are generally placed after root canal therapy or after the removal of tooth decay. Empress® crowns are proven to last longer than many types of crowns, and again, can be matched exactly to the natural tooth shade. There is no visible, ugly metal edge, just a sensational end result.
Empress® Inlays/Onlays – Inlays and onlays are currently being used to replace the traditional amalgam fillings. Amalgam is unpleasant to view and unhealthy for the body. Empress® ceramic inlays and overlays are strong, healthy, and usually invisible to onlookers.
Empress® Bridges – As with all Empress® products, Empress® bridges are a completely natural-looking way to replace missing teeth. Metal bridges are often highly visible and make the teeth look shorter. Empress® bridges are almost impossible to spot and restore symmetry and sparkle to the smile.
If you have questions about any of the Empress® restorations, please contact our office.
A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.
There are several types of bridges. You and your dentist will discuss the best options for your particular case. The “traditional bridge” is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. This type of bridge consists of two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to pontics (artificial teeth), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years; however, they may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear.
Reasons for a fixed bridge:
- Fill space of missing teeth.
- Maintain facial shape.
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.
- Restore chewing and speaking ability.
- Restore your smile.
- Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance.
What does getting a fixed bridge involve?
Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits. While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.
At the second visit, your permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit. Occasionally your dentist may only temporarily cement the bridge, allowing your teeth and tissue time to get used to the new bridge. The new bridge will be permanently cemented at a later time.
You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of the procedure. Proper brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new, permanent bridge.
Veneers are very thin pieces of durable, tooth shaped porcelain that are custom made (for shape and color) by a professional dental laboratory. They are bonded onto the front of teeth to create a beautiful and attractive smile.
Veneers can completely reshape your teeth and smile. They can often be alternatives to crowns and the ideal solution in treating many dental conditions.
As with most dental restorations, veneers are not permanent and may someday need replacement. They are very durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.
Reasons for porcelain veneers:
- Cosmetically, to create a uniform, white, beautiful smile.
- Crooked teeth.
- Misshapen teeth.
- Severely discolored or stained teeth.
- Teeth that are too small or large.
- Unwanted or uneven spaces.
- Worn or chipped teeth.
What does getting porcelain veneers involve?
Getting veneers usually requires two visits to complete the process, with little or no anesthesia required during the procedure. The teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the surface to allow for the thickness of the veneer. A mold or impression of the teeth is taken and a shade (color) will then be chosen by you and the dentist.
On the second visit the teeth will be cleansed with special liquids to achieve a durable bond. Bonding cement is then placed between the tooth and veneer and a special light beam is used to harden and set the bond.
You will receive care instructions for veneers. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new veneers.
Traditionally, prosthodontic crowns were comprised of porcelain fused to metal. This solid combination is still used by many dental professionals as a simple, cost effective option. More recently however, the introduction of fully ceramic Procera® crowns have changed the aesthetic appearance of many smiles. Procera® crowns function in exactly the same way as traditional crowns, but their fully ceramic composition means that the restoration looks far more natural.
Dental crowns are usually placed to strengthen an injured tooth. All dental professionals agree that when possible, it is advantageous to restore a natural tooth rather than replace it with a prosthetic alternative. Procera® crowns are precision-engineered to create a beautiful fit and restore full functionality to the injured tooth.
Why might a Procera® crown be necessary?
Unlike the majority of the rest of the body, the teeth do not have extensive healing capabilities. Therefore, once the enamel (or surface) of the tooth is injured in some manner, it does not have the ability to heal itself. Dental crowns are placed to stabilize damaged teeth and permanently prevent the propagation of further damage. Enamel may be injured by trauma, bacterial infections or decay. Crowns are often used to seal teeth after root canal therapy.
Procera® crowns have many advantages over the porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) alternative, including:
Exact color matching – Procera® crowns can be created in a color that will perfectly match the color of existing teeth. This means the restoration is invisible to onlookers.
No metal base – The partially ceramic traditional crowns do look somewhat natural on top, but an unsightly metal band still exists near the base of the tooth. Procera® crowns completely eliminate the metal aspect.
Biocompatibility – Procera® crowns have been engineered to encourage the gums to grow back around them. This means that eventually, full gum symmetry and stability is achieved.
Custom fitting – Highly skilled technicians create custom Procera® crowns to ensure that a perfect fit is achieved.
What is involved in getting a Procera® crown?
Placing a crown is a common and straightforward procedure that dental professionals perform on a regular basis. X-rays and impressions are taken and a thorough examination is conducted prior to treatment. It is important for a dental professional to assess the health of adjacent teeth and gums, to ensure that there are no underlying issues.
A local anesthetic is administered while the tooth is being shaped. The shaping is necessary to ensure that the crown will fit snugly on the tooth. This process is done slowly and carefully to ensure that the soft tissue around the tooth is not damaged. When the tooth is fully prepared, the dental professional creates an accurate mold of the tooth and chooses the porcelain color. A temporary crown is placed while the custom Procera® crown is being created at the laboratory.
At the next appointment, the temporary crown is removed. The inner tooth is thoroughly cleansed to ensure that any bacteria are eliminated. The permanent Procera® crown is affixed to the tooth using luting cement, and a beautiful smile is created.
If you have questions or concerns about Procera® crowns, please contact our office.
An inlay restoration is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. It is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented into the tooth by your dentist.
Inlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Inlays are an ideal alternative to conventional silver and composite fillings. Also, they are more conservative than crowns because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of inlays.
As with most dental restorations, inlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.
Reasons for inlay restorations:
- Broken or fractured teeth.
- Cosmetic enhancement.
- Decayed teeth.
- Fractured fillings.
- Large fillings.
What does getting an inlay involve?
An inlay procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom inlay and a temporary restoration.
While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an inlay restoration. A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your inlay is made by a dental laboratory.
At your second appointment, your new inlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and comfortable bite.
You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new inlay.