A dental implant is an option to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, a small titanium cylinder is surgically implanted into the bone and allowed to set. The bone grows around it forming a tight connection, which additionally slows or stops the bone loss that occurs when the root of a natural tooth is missing. Once the implant is firmly set in the mouth, the dentist then works to attach the replacement tooth onto the top of the implant. This permanent solution has the advantages over bridge work that it does not stress the surrounding teeth for support, and, should the tooth wear out, another can simply be replaced on the implant.
Implants can also be used as support as part of an implant bridge. This is an alternative to partial dentures. There is no adjustment period required for the patient to adjust to a partial denture. This also slows the bone loss that occurs when teeth are extracted. There is no discomfort or difficulty in eating. And, best of all, of course, they don't have to be taken out all the time.
We also offer mini dental implants. These implants are about half the diameter of traditional implants and can be used to stabilize lower dentures. These implants can be placed in one appointment and can be immediately used. The cost is 50-70% of standard dental implants. Call for a free consult.
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when a cavity is allowed, through neglect, to reach all the way to the nerve of the tooth. (Regular cleanings and checkups prevent and detect problems early) Sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point where it needs root canal therapy. Once this occurs the nerve of the tooth becomes infected, and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is an abscess). By the time the nerve of the tooth is infected, it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous, not to mention painful. Symptoms that the nerve of the tooth has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, however, no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until a checkup.
A root canal is then performed to clean out the infected nerve of the tooth. The only other treatment would be to extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled to prevent any further infection. Usually, a post and core build-up and crown are recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy because teeth have been treated with root canals are more brittle and subject to fracture.
This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. It is formed to look like the missing tooth and takes its place in the mouth. The sides of a bridge use the two surrounding teeth for support, hence the name. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or esthetics.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated, the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward, creating complications. Teeth use their neighbors for support, and, with one missing, they start to "fall." As this worsens the bite changes in response to the pressure. This can eventually result in problems with the entire jaw, e.g. TMJ. The surrounding teeth deteriorate and it is just a matter of time before they, too, are lost. Gum disease becomes a serious problem, with the difficulty of treatment increasing as the neglect continues.
TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint. Temporal, as in temple area of skull; mandibular as in mandible, or lower jaw; joint as in it's where the head and jaw meet. Problems in this joint may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension. Aside from the two bones that meet there, cartilage buffers them and five muscles are involved in the area. If something goes wrong a good deal of trouble can result.
Problems in this area can cause:
- Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face
Dental treatments for the condition can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, filling gaps between teeth, etc. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.