Dental Frequently Asked Questions
Q: My tooth broke. What can I do to fix it? A: Depending on the severity, a broken tooth can be fixed very simply and inexpensively with just a filling. However if there is persistent pain and/or deep cavities then a more comprehensive treatment such as a crown, onlay and root canal maybe warranted depending on your symptoms. Generally, I will always try my best to do the least treatment to get you back into shape. And as a rule of thumb it is better to see the dentist immediately while it is a small issue before the problem gets out of hand and it is also easier on your wallet. If a large piece of tooth broke off please save the fragment, in some cases I was able to directly bond the portion back on to the tooth. You can store the fragment in Hank's balanced salt solution and if you don't have that you can store it in your own saliva.
Q: Can you work within my budget and insurance? A: Cost of dental work is the #1 issue for just about everyone. Here at my office we will always present you with the cost before any procedure is done. I am happy to discuss alternatives with you, maybe we can do a filling instead of a crown or we can maximize your insurance utilization. We also accept the majority of PPO's and will be happy to file preauthorizations with you insurance company so you know ahead of time what you are in for.
Q: Are there any solutions for my dentures? A: Today there are many solutions for denture wearers and you do not have to be content with your old plate. If your dentures are coming out or are simply uncomfortable to wear we offer services from soft and hard relines to custom fabrication of new dentures. We allow you to check every step of new dentures from choosing the teeth to approving the position of the teeth and smile. We also offer implant dentures and even one implant can dramatically improve the fit and bite of existing dentures. Implants can eliminate sore spots, slow down bone loss, and increase bite force of the denture wearer. Typically, with implant dentures a patient will find that they are able to eat a healthier and complete diet and chew their food entirely.
Q: What will dental implants do for me? A: If you believe that your current dentures are lacking in bite strength or slip out too easy then implants can help with that. If you are missing some teeth and are unhappy with your bridge or partial denture and would like new teeth for esthetics and an improved bite, we can help. Dental implants not only function like normal teeth, but are impervious to cavities. They typically last longer than a bridge and help retain bone that maybe lost over time by wearing a denture.
Q: How long does it take for dental implant therapy? A: Well the answer to this question is that it depends. In general the bone on the top jaw called the maxilla is generally more porous and soft compared to the bottom jaw the mandible. Implants placed in the top require anywhere from 4-6 months of healing before the new crown can be placed on top of it. The lower jaw typically is harder and more dense and will be done in 3-4 months of healing. Occasionally, teeth can be placed immediately on lower implants if there is sufficient stability.
Q: Are there any conditions that preclude me from dental implant treatment? A: For the most part dental implant treatment is very simple and done in a single appointment. Age is also not an absolute factor that would exclude you from treatment, but it can depend. Conditions that would caution treatment are uncontrolled diabetes, impaired wound healing and heavy smoking, etc.
Q: What is bone grafting/tissue grafting and do I need it? A: Basically, if a patient has insufficient height or width of bone to accommodate the implant some type of bone grafting or tissue grafting is necessary. This is especially important in the esthetic zone where you smile because a great deal of careful planning must go into the treatment in order to get a fantastic result. Ideally, the implant should blend in so that it is indistinguishable from your natural teeth. Bone graft and tissue grafting are used to properly frame the soft tissue around crown so that when you smile it looks as natural as possible. Also if bone grafting is necessary it will lengthen the treatment time by 4-6 months for healing.
Q: With such long treatment times, what will I use in the meanwhile? A: Typically once a treatment plan has been formulated some type of temporary prosthesis will be made to accommodate your needs. We are capable of fabricating all types of provisionals from dentures to teeth that connect to implants and function like your own.
Q: What should I know about veneer treatment? A: Veneers and all ceramic crowns can be an excellent treatment if you are looking for the perfect smile. If you are unhappy with you current old crowns or chipped and filled teeth, veneers maybe the solution. First you need to determine how wide you smile and how many teeth show in order to determine how many teeth should be veneered. Bleaching is almost always recommended in advance to lighten the shade of all the teeth as much as possible. Veneers are also recommended if you are looking to change shades dramatically or you have teeth with heavy staining. However, if you have minor esthetic changes that are needed then simple bonding with bleaching and enamelplasty can do wonders. Veneers are also not recommended if you are a heavy grinder.