Fillings are the most common restorative procedure. Our office uses only white mercury-free fillings (see White Fillings). After decay is removed from a tooth, something must be placed in that space to give strength back to the tooth.
Inlays and Onlays
A crown fits over the entire top of the tooth above the gum line. Crowns cover, protect, seal and strengthen a tooth. A crown is needed when a filling just will not work. A crown may be made of gold, white porcelain, or porcelain fused to gold. There are many situations that may call for a crown:
- Large amounts of decay
- Large old fillings
- Cracked tooth
- Broken or fractured tooth
- Sensitive teeth
A permanent fixed bridge is a structure that is custom built to replace one or more missing teeth. The purpose of a bridge is to:
- Keep teeth in place and prevent them from moving and creating space due to a missing tooth
- Preserve normal function and normal bite
A permanent bridge is bonded in place and cannot be removed. Brushing of a permanent bridge is no different than natural teeth. Care should be taken in flossing around a bridge and our dental staff will advise regarding special care.
A partial denture or "removable bridge" replaces one or more missing teeth, but there must be teeth remaining for the partial to attach to. A partial will prevent other teeth from shifting, preserving your remaining teeth. Partials should be removed daily and cleaned thoroughly. The staff at Clinton Dental Care will advise you on how to properly care for your partial.
When most or all your natural teeth have been lost, dentures provide many benefits:
- Restore your self-esteem
- Regain your eating ability
- Aid speaking ability
- Give support back to the lips and cheeks (giving you a natural and younger appearance).
A complete denture is placed in the patient's mouth after all the teeth have been extracted and the gum tissue has healed. Healing takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
An overdenture usually requires that at least 2 roots be kept. These roots may be used to hold the denture in place by placing inserts in the roots and in the denture. The denture then attaches to the roots. These roots also give support to the denture and help retain the ridge the denture sits on.
An Implant-Retained Denture is similar to an Overdenture, but uses implants as anchors.
An Immediate Denture is placed the same day the teeth are extracted. The advantage to an Immediate Denture is that the patient does not have to be without teeth during the healing period.
Located on each side of your face, the temporomandibular joints connect your lower jaw to your skull. These joints and their accompanying muscles allow you to open and close your mouth, and to move your lower jaw from side to side. You can feel these joints by placing your fingers in front of your ears and opening your mouth.
TMD (disease of the TMJ) occurs when the temporomandibular joint is damaged or deteriorated, or when the muscles surrounding the joint malfunction, causing imbalanced jaw movement. The chronic muscle pain and spasms associated with this condition often can be quite painful.
In many cases, the cause of the disorder is unknown. However, TMD may be caused by trauma, such as injury or dislocation, or an improper bite, which affects the chewing muscles. Stress and its related behaviors, like clenching the jaw or grinding the teeth, may aggravate the condition. TMD appears to be more common in women than men, though there is no consensus as to why that might be.
Patients with TMD may experience the following symptoms on one or both sides of the face:
- Jaw pain or soreness that is more prevalent in the morning or late afternoon
- Jaw pain associated with chewing, biting, or yawning
- Clicking noises when opening and closing the mouth
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
- Locking or stiffness of the jaw when talking, yawning, or eating
- Tooth sensitivity not associated with dental problems
- Headaches or neck pain
- An earache not associated with an ear infection
Many TMD cases can be handled with simple lifestyle modifications, including:
- Avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails
- Taking non-aspirin pain relievers or using heat packs to manage pain
- Eating soft foods
- Practicing relaxation or stress relief techniques
In more severe cases, your dentist may recommend physical therapy (exercises to strengthen the jaw muscles), appliance therapy (a splint, mouthguard, or bite plate), or medication (stronger pain relievers, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety drugs).
TMD is often a cyclical condition that can recur during times of stress. This stress can be passed on to your teeth causing chipping, cracking, or fracturing of teeth. Dr. Derrick and her team are passionate about these symptoms because most of the problems that occur on your teeth can be prevented. If you have any of these symptoms, please make an appointment with Dr. Derrick today
Dental Implants have been used successfully for many years. The implant itself is a post that is surgically placed in the jaw. A prosthesis (artificial tooth or teeth) is then attached to the post. Dental implants involve cooperation between an oral surgeon and our office. The surgical phase of treatment is completed by the oral surgeon, and the restorative phase is completed at our office.
There are two basic uses for dental implants:
- As an artificial root for a single tooth replacement.
- As anchors for a fixed or removable prosthesis to replace multiple teeth.
Benefits of Dental Implants:
With the exception of your natural teeth, nothing looks more natural than an implant. One important benefit of implants is that they slow the shrinking of bone and gum tissue from the area of the missing tooth, thus preventing premature aging.
- 49% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 are missing at least one tooth.
- Dental implants are the most advanced tooth replacement system ever devised.
- More than nine out of ten implants last longer than 15 years.
- Dental implants never develop decay.
- Dental implants never require root canals.
- Dental implants preserve the jawbone, which can prevent premature aging.
Age is not a factor when considering implants. Some patients receive implant treatment when they are in their nineties!
Root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp (soft tissue inside your teeth containing blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue) becomes inflamed or diseased. The process of having a root canal involves having you dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in treating the insides of teeth) removes the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed. If the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result, which may require the tooth to be removed.
Causes of an infected pulp could include:
- a deep cavity
- repeated dental procedures
- a cracked or broken tooth
- injury to the tooth (even if there’s not a visible crack or chip)
A tooth that has been restored by the process of a root canal can last a lifetime. It is, however, very important to have regular checkups because a tooth without its nerve can still develop cavities or gum disease. In most cases, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with minimal discomfort involving one to three visits. The important thing to note is that this process saves the tooth and keeps your natural smile.