South Tampa Dental Office Services
The key benefit of dental implants over other tooth replacement systems is that an implant connects directly to the jaw bone. It’s obviously not the same as the original connection, but functions just the same. When a tooth is lost, bone loss will eventually occur in that region because the root is no longer stimulating and stabilizing the bone. By using titanium–which biochemically joins to bone–to replace the root, you get a bond that more accurately replicates the one found in nature.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LOSE A TOOTH?
When you lose a tooth, especially a back tooth, you may feel you don’t need to replace it, since no one can see that it’s missing and you have plenty of other teeth. However, there is more bone loss going on under the surface once a tooth is lost. Surrounding each tooth is an alveolar bone that supports the tooth and when the tooth is lost, that bone basically melts away. This is why people who have lost most of their teeth and are not wearing dentures appear to have a caved-in appearance to their mouths.
Besides causing damage to the immediate area, tooth loss affects remaining teeth as well. Teeth create a structure for the face and their loss can shift the surrounding teeth, creating esthetic issues and bite problems. A lost tooth can also affect facial structures such as the jaw, muscles, jaw joints, and even the skin. If several teeth are lost, it’s not uncommon to suffer from social consequences and poor nutrition.
When the supporting alveolar bone melts away, it’s gone for good, but through grafting, a skilled dental professional can recreate bone to fuse with and support an implant. This is wonderful news, but it is still best to have a dental implant as soon as possible after the tooth is lost for the most predictable esthetic outcome.
Replacing a tooth with an implant and a crown is not a one-day procedure. The implant needs time to properly adhere to the bone and create a healthy fusion before the crown can be attached and full bite force can be applied. In most cases, it will take a few months to complete the process.
Due to the timeline, dental implants are actually a series of steps; each is very different and may require an individual specialist.
Dental porcelain can be sculpted to closely replicate the look of natural tooth enamel, while providing desirable strength and resilience. Porcelain crowns are an excellent choice when recreating the form and function of a damaged tooth, because a crown basically replaces the entire external portion of the tooth down to the gum level. Crowns are not limited to simply replacing the original tooth, but can be designed to create an even better esthetic appearance.
COSMETIC INLAYS AND ONLAYS
Inlays and onlays are indirect restorations that can be used to help an otherwise healthy tooth with a large filling. Inlays are placed within the grooves between the cusps (points) of a tooth, whereas onlays are placed within the grooves and over the cusp tips. Inlays and onlays can be used to replace old filings, and are more esthetically pleasing because they can be made to match a tooth’s natural color. Aside from improving a tooth’s appearance, inlays and onlays can strengthen the structure of a tooth because of their durability and longevity.
Crowns can be selected for necessity or cosmetic reasons. No matter what the case, the first step is to schedule an appointment. Our dentists will examine your teeth and in some cases will immediately see that a crown is the best option. In other situations where the problems aren’t so obvious, you may need to express your concerns and discuss your future smile goals so both you and your dentist have all the facts.
THE HOWS AND WHYS OF PORCELAIN CROWNS
Porcelain crowns replace the exterior portion of a tooth to re–establish its original function and to create a natural appearance. Crowns are the treatment of choice in situations where tooth decay has destroyed most of the original tooth, when a traumatic event has caused damage, or in cases of severe enamel erosion. They are also an option for people who grind and clench their teeth so much that the original structure of their teeth has been compromised.
The great benefit to porcelain crowns is they can not only replicate the original tooth in function, but can be designed to look like the original–or even better. When patients select a porcelain veneer for cosmetic reasons, they’re usually covering up the front portion of the tooth that has some esthetic flaw. A porcelain crown is thicker than a veneer and, in some situations, this thickness is needed. A porcelain crown can be used for cosmetic reasons. Crowns and veneers are situated and secured in the mouth in a similar fashion, using a light-sensitive resin placed between the original tooth and crown, and then hardening that resin with a special curing light.
Partial crowns, often referred to as onlays, are a type of restoration or filling that covers one or more cusps. An inlay is similar to a filling but the work resides completely within the cusps on a tooth’s chewing surface. These restorations are much more conservative than crowns, and can be imperceptible from your natural tooth.
POTENTIAL CROWN DOWNSIDES
Porcelain crowns do require some laboratory time to be created and times vary according to the laboratory and its distance from your dentist, so expect to be fitted with a temporary, or provisional, crown for a while.
Some patients may experience sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures after porcelain crowns are attached. It’s best to consult with your dentist for more information about your individual case.
While porcelain crowns are very durable, they do not have the flexibility of natural teeth, so avoiding certain foods may be necessary. Chronic tooth-grinders and jaw-clenchers will need to be fitted with a nighttime mouth guard to protect the porcelain from unnecessary and excessive pressure and use.
MAINTENANCE OF A PORCELAIN CROWN
Maintaining porcelain crowns is actually quite simple. Much like your original teeth, they require routine brushing with non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste and regular flossing.
A follow-up appointment will be scheduled to evaluate the crowns shortly after they’re placed, so the dentist can review the work and see how your mouth is reacting to the crowns. Even if you think the crowns are successful, this follow-up appointment is an important part of your future oral health.
Bonding is a popular treatment option because it provides a successful attachment between the filling material and the tooth’s original enamel and dentin. It looks like the original tooth and functions like it as well.
Direct composite bonding is used to recreate a smile in an additive manner, where little or no tooth reduction is needed. Direct bonding, in the hands of a skilled operator, is less costly than porcelain veneers and crowns and can be long-lasting with proper maintenance.
ENAMEL AND DENTIN
Teeth are a perfect combination of both strength and resilience and this is created through the fusion of enamel and dentin.
Enamel is the outer shell of the tooth or the portion that is visible within the mouth. It is composed of densely packed calcium crystals which are very hard and resistant to wear. Enamel is composed of no living material and is effectively mimicked by dental porcelain.
Dentin is the inner core of the tooth and is much more porous. Constructed of collagen tubes with calcium crystals, dentin is living tissue and transmits nerve sensation. Composite resins have properties similar to dentin and are a combination of a plastic resin and silica filler. This combination of materials allows for excellent tooth color replication and reliable adhesion.
BONDING TO REPAIR BROKEN OR CHIPPED TEETH
Tooth bonding is used in several different ways, but is probably most useful for repairing chipped teeth. Bonding materials (high-density, modern plastics called composite resin) and porcelain—are more natural in color and can be designed to perfectly match the surrounding teeth making it difficult to discern there ever was a broken tooth.
Transitional bonding is used for anything from a mock-up to a full-mouth rehabilitation. It’s called transitional because it allows the patient to transition into more permanent dentistry as he or she can afford, or as the treatment sequence demands, and it allows the dentist time to work out any bite-related and esthetic issues. Transitional bonding is an important tool in the skillset of an accomplished cosmetic dentist.
While dentures have been considered a tried and true method for tooth replacement for years, they come with their own set of issues. The main problem is that dentures rest on teeth and gums for stability, which can encourage bone loss, tooth decay, and periodontal disease. However, dentures can be relined every few years to compensate for bone loss and any compromised facial integrity.
There have been modern advances in dentures, as there have been in many other areas of dental healthcare, and an overdenture retained by implants may be an option. Overdentures are a combination of traditional dentures and the newer science of dental implants to prevent bone loss that could result from dentures alone.
There are different ways to replace missing or damaged teeth, so a dental health professional should be contacted if this is a problem you are facing. Your teeth will carefully be examined and the right course of treatment will be pursued.
If you think a porcelain bridge is an avenue you want to explore, be certain you raise this with your dentist. We will explain the benefits of using porcelain and the few pitfalls you may run across. Make sure you express your concerns and if the main reason you’re seeking porcelain is cosmetic, don’t be ashamed to admit it; you will quickly discover that porcelain is excellent for esthetic reasons, but also has some highly desirable functional benefits as well.
THE HOWS AND WHYS OF A PORCELAIN FIXED BRIDGE
A porcelain fixed bridge replaces missing teeth by using the surrounding teeth as a foundation. This creates a literal “bridge” between the remaining teeth and the missing teeth.
Dental porcelain is a great product because it can be shaped to replicate original teeth and fit comfortably within the established bite pattern. Porcelain is also very durable, will withstand most natural tooth functions, and can vividly mimic tooth enamel with its glass-like whiteness and translucence, which allows light to penetrate and scatter as it does with natural organic teeth.
Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain used to recreate the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel. It is often the material of choice for those looking to make slight position alterations, or to change tooth shape, size, and/or color.
Visiting our office and asking about veneers is the first step in determining if veneers are the right option for you, or if there are alternate solutions available. Communication with us about what you want corrected is critical for a successful result. Spend time clearly identifying what cosmetic improvements you want to accomplish.
You’ll often hear people say that celebrities have veneers and this may seem like the best way to replicate picture-perfect teeth, but each mouth is different and veneers need to be carefully researched.
We will most likely begin with a smile analysis to determine what steps are necessary to achieve the smile you desire. In addition, we may create a diagnostic mock-up that will allow you to “try on” veneers and other procedures to see if the final result is actually what you’re looking for.
We may also show you a photo of how your new smile will look. This is called cosmetic imaging.
Deciding that porcelain veneers will create the look you want is only one step in the process. There is much more to learn before proceeding further.
Dentists no longer need to rely on unsightly metals to replace tooth structure lost to decay, but use high density, state-of-the-art plastic (composite resins) and porcelain materials instead.
These materials more naturally mimic the look, feel, and function of natural teeth and actually bond directly to the remaining enamel and dentin.
This means that new fillings preserve more of the natural tooth so less repair work is necessary immediately and in the future.
These modern filling materials are also more natural in appearance; it’s almost impossible to tell that your tooth has a filling.
Most teeth can be whitened (some call it bleaching) and there are a number of ways to whiten teeth.
External tooth whitening happens when vital teeth are bleached by direct contact with a safe and commonly used whitening agent, either in a dental office or at home.
This means that in most situations, tooth whitening is possible and safe.
Orthodontics is more commonly referred to as “braces,” but this simple term can be misleading, as the science of orthodontics is actually quite precise.
Orthodontists are experts not only in the current position of teeth, but also in what has caused them to arrive at their current positions and what future movement is possible.
Your cosmetic dentist now has many options available, from conventional braces to “invisible braces” (clear orthodontic aligners) and reduced treatment times.
Ask your cosmetic dentist about the possibilities. Each option offers its own benefits and issues and should be carefully selected to suit the situation.
A preventive program is a cooperative effort by the patient, dentist, and dental staff to preserve the natural dentition and supporting structures by preventing the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions.
Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. It is continued in the dental office by the efforts of your dentist and dental hygienist to promote, restore, and maintain your oral health.
Prevention also includes regular dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Sealants and fluoride are also great preventive treatments that help protect the teeth.
Prevention helps avoid serious and costly dental problems and is the key to having a healthy, confident, beautiful smile.
A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will perform the following:
Examination of diagnostic X-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Digital Dental X-rays
A radiograph of dental structures stored as a digital image. The radiographs may be extraoral or intraoral. Three common types of intraoral dental images are periapical, interproximal, and occlusal radiographs. X-rays images help us diagnose problems that we cannot see during a regular exam. Such problems include:
Small areas of decay between fillings or teeth
Bone damage from a tooth infection (abscess) or cyst
Bone loss due to periodontal (gum) disease
Some types of tumors
Effects of trauma
The position of unerupted teeth
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJ) is a common condition affecting a wide variety of people. TMJ is characterized by severe headaches, jaw pain of varying degrees, grinding teeth, and an intermittent ringing in the ears. The vast majority of TMJ sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that a dentist can effectively treat.
The symptoms of TMJ are debilitating and can greatly interfere with every day life. The comfort and general well being of the patient is at the heart of the dental practice, so pain relief is the first consideration of the dentist. The dentist is able to test, diagnose, and devise an immediate plan to treat the underlying causes of the TMJ disorder.
Reasons for treating TMJ
TMJ sufferers report that their symptoms generally worsen during periods of prolonged or unexpected stress, and that intense outbreaks of the condition can lead to neck pain and dizziness.
The most common cause of TMJ is the misalignment of the teeth, often called “bad bite.” It is possible for the dentist to realign or adjust the teeth without the need for painful or expensive surgeries. The realignment/adjustment will stop the pounding headaches, the jaw pain, and the dizziness.
The grinding teeth symptom is particularly common and usually occurs at night. The grinding will eventually erode the structure of the teeth and lead to much more severe dental problems in the future. Untreated TMJ is one of the prime underlying factors in eroded jawbones and loose teeth.
It is important for anyone experiencing the symptoms of TMJ to visit the dentist for an exact diagnosis.
What does treating TMJ involve?
TMJ could be a result of several different problems. Bad bite is the most common, but an injury resulting from a blow to the meniscus cartilage is also a possibility. Initially, the dentist will thoroughly examine the jaw area, the patient’s bite, take X-rays, and review the patient’s history in order to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend necessary treatment.
Once a firm diagnosis is attained, there are several ways in which relief can be provided. A specially molded bite guard can be created to stop teeth grinding during the night. A bite relationship analysis may be recommended by the dentist. The dentist can also provide advice on relaxation techniques which will lessen the effects of stress. As a last alternative, the dentist is also able to prescribe muscle relaxants.
A better option is to change the shape of the teeth and get rid of the bad bite completely, often called “realignment.” This is especially useful because it alleviates TMJ symptoms and may improve the aesthetic appearance of the teeth as well. Realignment involves adjusting the relationship between how the upper teeth come together with the lower teeth. This may require new restorations and/or adjusting the natural teeth as well. It is not a painful procedure, and it is one the dentist has performed with great success numerous times. As with any procedure, the dentist will be happy to answer questions and discuss symptoms, options, and treatments.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMJ, we encourage you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment.
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. The term sleep apnea is derived from the Greek etymology meaning “without breath”. Breathing pauses can last anywhere from several seconds to minutes, and happen as often as 30 times or more per hour. Ongoing disrupted breathing causes an imbalance between the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the bloodstream, as not enough carbon dioxide is exiting and not enough oxygen is entering the body.
Sensing this imbalance, the brain sends a message to the body, telling it to wake up to restart the breathing process. People with sleep apnea will partially awake as they struggle to breathe, and this is often accompanied by loud snoring or choking sensations. Because people with sleep apnea don’t always completely awake during the episodes, they are often unaware they have a sleeping disorder and it can remain undiagnosed.
There are two main types of this disorder; central sleep apnea which occurs when the brain fails to send important signals to the breathing muscles, and obstructive sleep apnea which occurs when air cannot flow through the nose or mouth even though the body is still trying to breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea is far more prevalent and easily treatable by the dentist.
Common signs of obstructive sleep apnea can include severe early morning headaches, sleepiness in the daytime, and insomnia. Fortunately, the dentist is equipped with the necessary technology and expertise to treat sleep apnea in several different ways.
Reason for treating sleep apnea
It is very important to seek medical attention if sleep apnea is suspected. A sufferer can completely stop breathing numerous times per hour, and this can quickly turn into a deadly situation. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue lying at the back of the patient’s throat collapses into the airway. The tongue then falls towards the back of the throat which tightens the blockage and prevents oxygen from entering the lungs.
The problem worsens when the chest region, diaphragm, and abdomen fight for air. The efforts they make to obtain vital oxygen only cause a further tightening of the blockage. The patient must arouse from deep sleep to tense the tongue and remove the soft tissue from the airway.
Because sleep apnea causes carbon dioxide levels to skyrocket in the blood and oxygen levels to decrease, the heart has to pump harder and faster to compensate for the lack of oxygen. Sleep apnea patients can technically “die” many times each night. Sleep apnea has been linked to a series of serious heart-related conditions, and should be investigated by the dentist at the earliest opportunity.
What does sleep apnea treatment involve?
Initially, the dentist will want to conduct tests in order to investigate, diagnose, and pinpoint a suitable treatment. The dentist can offer many different treatment options which depend largely on the exact diagnosis and the health of the patient. The dentist may advise the patient to halt some habits that aggravate sleep apnea such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and tranquilizer use.
Sleeping masks were traditionally used to keep the patient’s airways open while they slept, but nowadays there are some less intrusive options. Dental devices that gently tease the lower jaw forward are very effective in preventing the tongue from blocking the main air passage. These dental devices are gentle, easy to wear, and often help patients avoid unwanted surgeries.
A more permanent solution is to have surgery that sections the lower jaw and helps pull the bone holding the tongue forward slightly. This surgery has an impressive success rate and is simple for the dentist or oral surgeon to perform. The dentist needs to formally make a diagnosis of each individual case before recommending the best course of action.
If you feel you may benefit from sleep apnea treatment, contact our practice today.
It only takes twenty four hours for plaque that is not removed from your teeth to turn into calculus (tartar)! Daily home cleaning helps control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention.
Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend that you have regular maintenance cleanings (periodontal cleanings), usually four times a year. At these cleaning appointments, the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy. Plaque and calculus that is difficult for you to remove on a daily basis will be removed from above and below the gum line.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
There are many forms of periodontitis. The most common ones include the following.
- Aggressive periodontitis occurs in patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. Common features include rapid attachment loss and bone destruction and familial aggregation.
- Chronic periodontitis results in inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth, progressive attachment and bone loss. This is the most frequently occurring form of periodontitis and is characterized by pocket formation and/or recession of the gingiva. It is prevalent in adults, but can occur at any age. Progression of attachment loss usually occurs slowly, but periods of rapid progression can occur.
- Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic diseases often begins at a young age. Systemic conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes are associated with this form of periodontitis.
- Necrotizing periodontal disease is an infection characterized by necrosis of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. These lesions are most commonly observed in individuals with systemic conditions such as HIV infection, malnutrition and immunosuppression.
BOTOX® Cosmetic is a prescription medicine that is injected into muscles and used to temporarily improve the look of both moderate to severe crow’s feet lines and frown lines between the eyebrows in adults.
BOTOX® Cosmetic targets one of the underlying causes of frown lines and crow’s feet—the repeated muscle contractions from frowning and squinting over the years. Your specialist will inject these muscles with BOTOX® Cosmetic to temporarily reduce muscle activity. You will begin to notice a visible smoothing of your crow’s feet lines and frown lines between your brows.
Wrinkles result from a combination of many factors. It’s not just about cellular changes that can occur over time, reduction of collagen, or damage caused by free radicals in the sun and the environment.
When you frown or concentrate, the muscles between your brows contract, causing your skin to furrow and fold. And when you squint, the muscles around your eyes contract and cause crow’s feet.
BOTOX® Cosmetic works beneath the skin’s surface and targets the underlying muscle activity that causes frown lines and crow’s feet.
JUVÉDERM® XC injectable gel is for injection into the facial tissue for the correction of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds, such as nasolabial folds.
Over time, your skin loses elasticity and moisture, which contributes to moderate to severe parentheses lines and wrinkles around the nose and mouth.
While serums and creams can help moisturize the skin’s surface, JUVÉDERM® XC adds volume to smooth these lines and folds, to help give you the natural-looking, long-lasting results you want.
Whether you’ve noticed your lips thinning over time, or simply want fuller lips, JUVÉDERM® Ultra XC can give you natural-looking results that last.