Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?
Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?
Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.
Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.
But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?
In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.
Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.
What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.
If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointmentfor a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”
Dental implants are widely recognized as the best tooth replacement option available. For most people, though, it’s a long process: after a tooth is extracted the socket is allowed to heal and fill in with new bone before implant surgery: that can take anywhere from two to five months. Afterward, there’s usually a two– to three–month period after the implant is placed before the permanent crown (the visible tooth) can be attached.
Without adequate bone present the implant’s long-term stability might be compromised. Furthermore, the implant’s durability is dependent upon bone growth around and attaching to its titanium post after surgery in a process known as osseo-integration. These two considerations indeed serve a critical function in the implant’s ultimate success.
In recent years, however, a variation to this traditional implant process has emerged that allows for immediate implantation right after extraction. Besides combining extraction and implantation into one surgical procedure, immediate implants minimize the disruption to a person’s appearance (especially with visibly prominent front teeth) when combined with a provisional crown.
Immediate implants joined together that replace a full arch of teeth can receive biting forces and succeed. Individual implants that replace single teeth, however, won’t work in all situations and must be undertaken with care to ensure long-term success. Because there may be less available bone, the implant must fit snugly within the socket to maintain as secure a hold as possible. The surgeon must also take care not to damage too much of the gum and bone tissue when extracting the tooth, which could affect both the integrity of the implant and its appearance in the gum line.
Temporary crowns may be attached during the implant surgery, but they’re installed for appearance’ sake only. For individual crowns, they must be designed not to make contact with the teeth on the opposing jaw to avoid generating biting forces that will cause the implant to fail and stop the bone-healing process that occurs with osseo–integration.
If you’re considering dental implants, it’s important to discuss with us which type of procedure, traditional or immediate, would be best for you, and only after a comprehensive examination of your mouth and jaw structure. Regardless of the approach, our goal is to provide you with a smile-transforming restoration that will last for many years to come.
If you would like more information on the dental implant process, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Immediate Implants.”
Do you have an upcoming summer event such as a graduation or wedding? Or do you just want to improve your personal appearance in a very noticeable way? Then professional tooth whitening may be for you.
This wonderful cosmetic dental service is provided in a relatively inexpensive and quick way by your Rochester Hills general dentist, and the dramatic change in tooth color will enhance your smile for as long as 2 full years. Best of all, under the supervision of your dental care professionals at Family Smiles Dental Care, tooth whitening is safe and effective.
Why do teeth need whitening?
Over time, teeth become discolored and stained because of:
When those pearly whites are not so white any more, people notice. Most of all, you notice, and your self-confidence can suffer. You may even want to hide your smile in public.
While some people elect more expensive and time-consuming procedures such as porcelain veneers to improve their smiles, tooth whitening can be accomplished in as little as an hour right in the dental chair. It’s a great option for healthy teeth that just need a little cosmetic help.
Why is it better to whiten your teeth at the dentist’s office?
The reasons are many. One of them is skill and supervision. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry maintains that dentists and trained dental technicians can apply whitening gels expertly and safely.
Unlike over the counter toothpastes and bleaching gels, professional whitening renders brighter and more accurate shades of tooth color and protects sensitive tooth roots and gums. In addition, the dentist can adjust the amount of whitening for people who have dental crowns and implants, matching the shade of the natural teeth to the color of these restorations. Often, the doctor or dental technician uses a special light to activate and enhance the bleaching chemicals.
Also, the whitening trays which place the gel are customized to each patient. There’s no one-size-fits-all application; so, results are simply better.
Family Smiles Dental Care Offers Tooth Whitening
Yes, you can have that dazzling smile for the summer. Just call Family Smiles Dental Care in the Rochester Hills, Michigan area. Joseph Matievich DDS PLLC and his staff offer superior dental care for a smile that is beautiful and healthy, too.
For a consultation on tooth whitening options, contact Dr. Matievich’s office today at 248-853-2222.