January 8, 2014

What Is A Dental Implant?

What is a dental implant?

Many people have heard of dental implants but don’t know how to answer the question – “What is a dental implant?”  A dental implant is a manmade replacement for a missing tooth root.  The root is the important part of the tooth that supports the crown of the tooth that you see in your mouth.  Once a tooth is extracted, it can be replaced with a dental implant, and the replacement involves three parts.

What are the parts of replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant?

  1. As we explained, the most important part is replacing the foundation.  The foundation is the root of a tooth.  In this case, the foundation is the actual dental implant.  The dental implant is like a hollow screw.  That hollow screw is what is placed in the dental bone.  That part is actually the part that is what a dental implant is.
  2. The second part to replacing a missing tooth is called a dental post and core or a dental abutment.  The post is needed to be placed inside the dental implant, the hollow screw that replaces the extracted tooth root.  Once the post is in the implant, there is something there to hold the restoration of the dental crown.
  3. The third part of the dental implant system is the crown that we see in the mouth.
We are referring to a single dental implant, however, sometimes when dental implants are used to replace many missing teeth with removable restorations, or used to be a foundation for a loose denture, instead of a post, an attachment is placed inside the dental implant to act as an anchor for a denture.
If you’ve asked yourself the question, “What is a dental implant?” and you thought that the answer was the crown of the tooth, you were experiencing a common misunderstanding.  We hope that we’ve cleared up the basics about what a dental implant is.
For information about dental implants and additional dental topics visitwww.TavorminaDentistry.com
Ask a Dentist is written by Tavormina Dentistry where you can schedule complimentary consultations or second opinion visits by calling 973-761-5090.

December 18, 2013

A Brighter Smile For The New Year

It's amazing how times flies.  This year is almost over and it seems like it just got started.  Chanukah has passed and Christmas and the New Year are around the corner.  Do you think it's too late to bring in the new year with a whiter, brighter smile?  It's not!

If you opt for take home whitening, if you get started right away, you will have a beautiful whiter smile by New Year's Eve.  Take home whitening can be accomplished in several ways.  For younger people, whitening kits that can be purchased at the pharmacy, can usually whiten a smile satisfactorily. However, for most adults, professional whitening is needed to see a favorable result.

Professional whitening is usually accomplished in 1 - 2 weeks.  We take impressions of your teeth and from a model of your teeth that is made from the impression, we make plastic trays that fit exactly over your teeth.  With a custom fitted tray, just the right amount of whitening agent can be placed in the tray, and the whitening agent works directly on your tooth surface.  Most people start seeing an improvement in their smile in a few days, and by 10 days to two weeks, most people are happy with the whitening.

Research shows that whitening that takes place over time is the best whitening, and the results last the longest.  It may take up to 18 months before you may want a touch up.  Save your custom trays, and then all you have to do is purchase some more whitening agent, and you can whiten your teeth again.

There is a faster method for whitening your teeth called one-hour whitening.  This kind of whitening takes place in the dental office.  There is an advantage to getting a quick result, but this procedure costs more than take home whitening, uses stronger whitening agents, and requires that you sit perfectly still for an hour.  The results are not always as white as some people may like, and one-hour whitening results don't last as long as take home whitening results.  If you don't have time to wait for a take home result before a big party or upcoming event, one-hour whitening can be a "life saver" that enables you to smile with confidence and enjoy having party photos.

Whether you whiten your teeth to bring in the new year, or not, we wish you only blessings and always something to smile about.  Let us know if we can help you smile more confidently.  You can always call for a free cosmetic evaluation at 973-761-5090.  For information about whiter teeth and other dental topics visit www.DrTav.com.

Happy Holidays to all!

December 11, 2013

What Everybody Ought To Know About Porcelain Veneers

If you are unhappy with your smile for any number of reasons, you have got to know about porcelain veneers.  In two visits you can have the smile of your dreams and in most cases you may not even need any novocaine to accomplish this.  

What are porcelain veneers and how do they accomplish creating a Hollywood smile or smile makeover?  Porcelain veneers are eggshell thin pieces of porcelain that are bonded onto the outer surface of your teeth to resurface your teeth.  They can change the color, change the shape, change the size, fill in gaps, "straighten" tooth rotations, and do all of this while providing a surface that's smoother than your own tooth enamel and resistant to stain.

Porcelain veneers are usually done from start to finish in two office visits after an initial visit to analyze how your dream smile will be accomplished, and initial impressions may be taken for planning.  Sometimes we prepare a mockup of the smile changes on a dental model, and sometimes we can use photographs and show you a simulated photo of how your smile will look after you have veneers, but before you go for it.

There are varying factors that determine how much, if any, tooth structure will be removed to produce a healthy and beautiful result.  It’s important to understand how much tooth structure will be removed.  If tooth structure is removed, that is not reversible.  This factor is important because your veneers will last for many years (10-15 years is the statistical average, although we have patients who have veneers for longer than that), however, the younger you are, you should be aware that down the road you may want to replace them due to slight color changes.  If you want the option to not have to replace them, you would want to know if it’s possible to get the result you want without removing any tooth structure.  If no tooth structure is removed, the procedure is reversible.  It usually is advisable to remove some tooth structure especially at the gum line, to encourage optimum gum health, and to have the most natural looking result.

Porcelain veneers feel very smooth and feel just like your own teeth.  They require no additional care other than your routine brushing and flossing.  It’s advisable not to eat ice or bite into bones with your veneers.  Interestingly enough, the strength of the porcelain over the front of your teeth actually strengthens your teeth.

The process is simple, the results are life changing.  If you’ve been unhappy with your smile, what are you waiting for?

For information about other dental topics visit www.TavorminaDentistry.com or call us for a complimentary cosmetic evaluation at 973-761-5090.

December 4, 2013

Get Rid of Crooked Teeth Once and For All

Do you dislike your smile because of crooked teeth?  Have you put up with feeling self-conscious when you smile or do you hold yourself back from smiling?  Do you cover your mouth when you smile?  Won’t you let now be the time you say, “I deserve a beautiful smile!?” 

There are several ways you may go about getting the straight teeth you desire.  Many people are stopped because as adults they don’t want to be caught dead wearing orthodontic wires or brackets on their teeth.  Wearing conventional braces like these can be psychologically uncomfortable for many people, but there are other avenues.

There are various types of invisible braces available that can handle most cases of crooked teeth.  An evaluation is performed and can determine if you are a candidate for invisible braces.  We use ClearCorrect invisible braces at Tavormina Dentistry because there is more flexibility using this system.  The flexibility of when to receive the next set of tooth repositioners enables us to take into consideration each patient’s compliance with the system, and make adjustments to the patient’s program on an individual basis when compliance is somewhat of an issue.

Very thin clear appliances are worn over your teeth and these can barely be seen, without focused scrutiny.  Every few weeks a new set is received, and your teeth are moved gradually, without the embarrassment of wearing conventional braces.  If for some reason you are not a candidate for invisible braces, you can opt for conventional orthodontic tooth movement.

Another approach involves the use of cosmetic dentistry to change the appearance of your teeth by resurfacing them with dental veneers.  The most beautiful, natural looking, and long lasting veneers are porcelain veneers.  Dental veneers can change the color, size, shape, and apparent position of the teeth.  Hand sculpted bonding is often less of a financial investment, but the hand sculpted bonded materials stain and wear.  Porcelain veneers actually strengthen the teeth and provide a tooth surface that’s even smoother than enamel.

Let’s explore more information about porcelain veneers in our next post.  In the meantime, please visit DrTav.com for other dental information, or call us at 973-761-5090.  We’ll be happy to answer your questions or schedule a free consultation for you.

November 27, 2013

Have A Smile You Can Be Proud Of

Do you feel uncomfortable when you smile?  Do you hold back smiling?  Some people actually cover their mouth when they laugh or smile.  Why?  Because they wish they had a beautiful smile, and they are ashamed of smiling in front of others.  Do you have any idea how that makes these people feel, or how it limits their lives?  Cosmetic dentistry has solutions for people to smile with pride.

How can modern cosmetic dentistry help beautify a smile?
Invisible braces           
Conventional braces
Crown lengthening
Snapon Smiles
Laser treatment for gummy smiles
Dental implants

That’s quite a list.  These various services address all the various cosmetic challenges someone can face when they smile.  What do you dislike about your smile?

Spaces between teeth
Crooked teeth
Old discolored fillings
Teeth too long or short
Gummy smile
Yellow or dark teeth
Missing teeth

You have so many ways available to you to make a change and get the smile you want and deserve to be proud of.  We do a smile analysis and help you pinpoint the areas of your smile that make you unhappy.  Sometimes when we provide the analysis, the questions we ask help to clarify what the issues all actually are.  Then we discuss the various options and look together with our patient to see what procedure or combination of procedures will bring about the best result.  We factor in the desired result and the budget.  We find that most people do not want to compromise on the result once they know what they want and how to get it.

If you are happy with the shape and size of your teeth, but wish they were whiter, you’d be amazed at what a difference whitening can make.  If your smile is basically attractive, whitening can be just the thing to make your smile pop and give you the confidence you are looking for.

Bonding is when we hand sculpt tooth colored material onto the front surface of a tooth to change its size, shape, color and fill in gaps between teeth.  The filling material fits into small openings in the enamel that are made with dilute acids that take away some of the mineral in the enamel.  These openings enable the bonded material to lock into the enamel.

There’s a lot to learn about these cosmetic techniques.  We will continue our discussion in upcoming blog posts.

For more information about this topic visit www.TavorminaDentistry.com or give us a call at 973-761-5090.

November 13, 2013

How To Replace Missing Teeth And Enjoy Eating Again!

Did you know that dental implants can offer missing tooth replacement that looks very natural and feels remarkably secure?

Whether you have full or partial dentures or are just missing teeth and have no replacement teeth, dental implants may be an option for you.  As a means of attaching natural-looking teeth directly to the jaw, dental implants can replace one or more teeth, provide support for a bridge, or be used to attach a full denture for either retention or support.

At this time, there are two types of dental implants that are considered safe and effective by the American Dental Association.  These are endosteal and subperiosteal dental implants.

To determine which type of dental implant to use, our practice first looks at the patient's jawbone.  The jawbone must be able to support the dental implants, and both the quantity and the quality of bone must be taken into consideration.            

Endosteal implants act like a metal "root" and are implanted directly into the jawbone.  When the jawbone is thick, a cylindrical endosteal implant is used.  When the jawbone is thin, a slender, plate-type dental implant is recommended.

Unlike an endosteal implant, subperiosteal implantation does not go directly into the jawbone.  Instead, a metal framework is inserted onto the jawbone and under the gum tissue.  This approach is used when the jawbone has an inadequate amount of bone available for endosteal implantation.

Patients who are candidates for subperiosteal implants usually have been lacking some or all of their teeth for several years and there is not enough bone to support their denture.  When there is so little bone remaining to support a denture, it is especially true with lower dentures, that the denture wearer experiences pain and has difficulty to the extent that many of such denture wearers are dental cripples.

The jawbone itself can also be changed or augmented to create a foundation for the dental implant or implants needed by the patient.  To a great extent, the choice of removable or non-removable replacement teeth by the patient will dictate the kind of dental implants used; and the type of dental implant, in turn, is usually the determining factor regarding whether or not augmentation of the jawbone is necessary.

A thorough dental evaluation including a clinical examination of your teeth, radiography (x-rays) and a complete medical history is required to determine if you would be a good candidate for dental implants.

For more information and information on other dental topics visit DrTav.com or call us at 973-761-5090.

November 6, 2013

Does My Root Canal Therapy Tooth Need A Crown?

A tooth may need a root canal therapy for many reasons.  For those of you who have heard of the term, but don't know what root canal therapy is, we would like to offer some background information.

Inside the hard tissue of each tooth lives the source of vitality for each tooth.  There is space called a chamber inside the hard structures of a tooth, and that chamber houses the blood supply and nerve supply of the tooth.  Sometimes the nerve of the tooth becomes infected and ultimately dies.  When this happens, the blood and nerve supply and any infection in the tooth must be removed and cleaned out.  The chamber extends via narrow canals down the tooth and into the roots of the teeth.  When root canal therapy is needed, the chamber and the canals in the roots are cleaned, disinfected, and shaped so that an inert material can be placed in the canals to seal the tooth and allow any infection that may have spread into the dental bone to heal.  This procedure is called a root canal therapy.  It only treats the nerve and any remaining blood supply to the tooth.  Once decay or infection has entered the chamber, a root canal therapy is the only way to treat this problem, other than extracting the tooth.

Sometimes there are no symptoms at all, and the infection is seen on an x-ray as a dark area at the tip of the root.  Other times, there’s a toothache to deal with – there can be spontaneous pain, and pain to hot and cold and chewing.  Of course we want to save the tooth, so we do a root canal therapy.  But then what do we have to do for the tooth?  Depending on the cause of the root canal, sometimes there is enough tooth structure remaining so that only a small filling is needed to close the opening where the doctor entered into the chamber to perform the root canal procedure.  However, sometimes the tooth has died because of trauma that has fractured or broken tooth structure, or most times, the tooth has had extensive decay that entered the tooth nerve chamber and also destroyed a significant amount of the tooth.  When enough tooth structure has been destroyed by decay or trauma, a dental crown is needed to restore the original form and function of the tooth.
It’s also important to note that sometimes so much tooth structure has been lost, that the dentist has to create a substructure onto which a crown can be cemented.  This is called a post and core.  The post goes into the root canal as a support for a core onto which a crown is fitted and cemented.  When significant tooth structure has been lost, these restorative procedures are needed. 
Teeth that have had root canal therapy obviously can be functional, however, they are dead.  Because they are dead, they tend to be more brittle and susceptible to fracturing.  This is another reason to crown a tooth after having root canal therapy – to protect it from fracture.  It is a shame when someone has saved a tooth with a root canal therapy only to lose the tooth in the future because they didn’t have the tooth protected with a crown.  If a tooth fractures vertically, it cannot be saved and must be extracted.

We hope this information has been useful to you and invite you to visit DrTav.com for more dental information, or call us at 973-761-5090.