What are dentures?
At some point in your life you may need to get dentures. Dentures are replacement teeth that can be removed in and out of your mouth. You may have experienced gum disease, tooth decay or an injury that forced the removal of all or part of your teeth. Dentures can be made to resemble natural teeth and hardly change your smile.
There are two main types of dentures, complete and partial. Complete dentures are for individuals who have had all of their teeth removed for one reason or another. Partial dentures are replacement teeth that are connected to a gum-colored base to match your natural gums. Partial dentures are only used when you have one or more natural teeth in either your upper or lower jaw.
Depending on the kind of denture you and your dentist decide is best, the process may be slightly different.
For Complete Dentures
Step 1: Preparing the Area
If you need to have dentures for your upper, lower or both rows of teeth, the dentist will first need to remove all of the damaged teeth.
Step 2: Wait for Gums to Heal or Receive Immediate Dentures
After the teeth have been pulled you will have an option to wait for your gums to heal or you can receive immediate dentures.
- Immediate Dentures: Immediate dentures are fitted prior to tooth extraction. They offer you the ability to not have any missing teeth, but as your mouth heals from the tooth removal, the denture will need to be adjusted again after a few months to fit over your healed gums.
- Wait for Gums to Heal: If you decide to wait for your gums to heal, the procedure looks like this:
- Your dentist will make several jaw impressions to make sure the denture(s) fit properly.
- Your dentist will then make “test” dentures for you to try and the dentist will mark any adjustments needed, including fit, shape and color. This process continues until the denture looks and fits exactly how it should.
- The final denture will be made from the information provided by the “test” denture.
For Partial Dentures
If you have some healthy teeth that can stay in your mouth, partial dentures will most likely be offered by your dentist. As we described above, partial dentures are replacement teeth that sit on a base that match your natural gum color.
The procedure for getting a partial denture entails similar measuring and testing to what you see with complete dentures. With partial dentures though, the base of the dentures covers a metal frame which is used to hook onto one of your natural teeth to keep it in place. If your dentist sees it necessary, they may put a crown over the tooth that will be supporting the partial denture to help the denture fit better.
It is important to remember that there is no alternative to your natural teeth, but in cases where your natural teeth are no longer able to function correctly, dentures are a viable option. Your dentist will be able to offer you anesthesia if you need any teeth pulled, your gums may be soar after the visit but will get better as they heal.
What is a Filling?
Fillings are used by dentists when they need to restore a tooth that has a cavity, although they can be used to help treat a cracked or broken tooth as well.
You may not even know you have a cavity when it first develops, which is why it’s important to maintain regular dental visits. If you have not been to the dentist in a while, sometimes you may notice some things that could be signs of a cavity, such as one of your teeth becoming sensitive or causing you pain after eating sweets, hot food, or cold food. You may also be able to see a hole forming in your tooth as well. If you do experience sensitivity or pain in one of your teeth, it is important to visit your dentist to have them figure out the issue.
If a cavity has formed, the dentist will schedule you to receive a filling.
The Procedure for a Filling
Step 1: Numbing the Area
Your dentist will begin by numbing the area around the tooth so you don’t feel any pain during the procedure.
Step 2: Removal of Decay
Once the area around the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove the decay and clean the tooth.
Step 3: Filling
With the decay removed and the tooth clean, your dentist will fill the tooth with a filling. Generally, you have an option of a gold, silver, plastic, or porcelain filling. Your dentist can discuss with you prior about which option is best.
Step 4: Setting the Filling
When the dentist places the filling in the tooth, they will use a special light to heat up the filling so it hardens and is cemented on your tooth.
In most cases, the whole process does not take very long, less than 30 minutes, and does not require multiple visits to complete.
While dental fillings can eliminate pain and restore the strength of your tooth, it is best to avoid needing one in the first place. To prevent cavities it is important to brush and floss twice per day, have a healthy diet and schedule routine dental cleanings with your dentist twice per year.
Traditional dental crowns could take weeks to be completed, but with advancements in technology, many dentists can now create a dental crown in a matter of hours!
A dental crown is used to restore a tooth back to its normal functionality. Crowns are used in a number of cases including:
- Covering a dental implant
- Treating discoloration
- Repairing a cracked tooth
- Supporting a dental bridge
Traditional dental crowns are sent to a lab to be created, usually taking a couple weeks to be completed and sent back to the dentist. On the other hand, same day crowns are created in a couple of hours using 3D images of the tooth and made right in the dentist’s office.
If your dentist recommends receiving a same day crown, here is what you can expect:
Step 1: Preparing the Tooth
As long as the tooth does not have severe damage, your tooth will begin to be prepared for the crown. This includes filing down the sides and top of the tooth to ensure the crown will fit.
Step 2: Digital Images
The dentist will then use a small camera to take digital images of the tooth that are sent to a computer that creates 3D images of the tooth.
Step 3: Creating the Crown
The computer will take the 3D images and create a ceramic crown that fits your tooth using a milling machine.
Step 4: Placing the Crown
Once the tooth is created, your dentist will place the crown on your tooth and seal it using a special adhesive.
Same day crowns offer the same benefits of traditional crowns but with the added benefit of having the crown placed in one visit rather than multiple ones. For more information like this, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
What is a Dental Crown?
Dental crowns are used to save a tooth and restore it back to its normal shape, strength, and appearance. A crown, unlike a filling, will cover the entirety of the visible tooth. Dental crowns are recommended in a number of situations, which include:
- Protecting a cracked or broken tooth
- Giving support to a dental bridge
- Covering a dental implant
- Cosmetic issues, like discoloration
Your dentist will be able to tell you if you are in need of a dental crown. If you do find yourself in that situation, we have listed the steps of this procedure below.
Procedure for Receiving a Dental Crown
Generally, receiving a dental crown will take two visits. The first visit is to examine and prepare the tooth. The second visit is for actually placing the crown on the tooth.
The First Visit
- X-Rays. Your dentist might take some x-rays to make sure there is no severe damage to the roots of the tooth.
- Preparing the Tooth. As long as the damage is not severe, your dentist will begin to prepare the tooth by filing down the top and sides of the tooth to make sure the crown fits. Your tooth will be numb during this time so you should not feel anything as the dentist does this.
- Necessary Adjustments. If the tooth has had decay to the point where some of that tooth is missing, your dentist will fill in the tooth to make sure it can support a crown.
- Impressions of the Tooth. Once the tooth is shaped for the dental crown, the dentist will make an impression of the tooth receiving the crown as well as the teeth around it so the crown does not affect your bite.
- Temporary Crowns. While the impressions are sent to the lab and used to make the final crown, you will receive a temporary crown.
The Second Visit
Once the final crown is made you will go back to the dentist’s office to have it placed.
- Removing Temporary Crown. Your dentist will remove the temporary crown and check to make sure the permanent crown fits correctly and is the right shade to match your other teeth.
- Permanent Crown. You will then have the permanent crown placed on the tooth with an adhesive.
It is important to remember that dental crowns may not last your whole lifetime. The better care you take of your teeth the longer the crown will last. Over time, your dentist will be able to tell you if and when your crown needs to be replaced.
What is a Dental Bridge?
Dental bridges fill in the missing space where a tooth has been removed or lost. Dental bridges are generally made up of two crowns and a false tooth called a pontic. The pontic is the false tooth that goes where the missing tooth once was. Unlike dental implants that are inserted into your gum and bone to hold a fake tooth, the pontic is held in place by two crowns that are placed over the teeth on either side of the pontic. The row that includes the pontic and crowns are what make up the “bridge.”
What does a dental bridge procedure look like?
Step 1: Preparing your Teeth
Your dentist will first need to reshape the teeth that will be housing the dental bridge. These teeth will be fitted with dental crowns to support the bridge. Your dentist will offer you a local anesthesia during this process.
Step 2: Impressions
Next, your dentist will make impressions of your mouth for the dental bridge. These impressions will be sent to a lab to construct your permanent dental bridge.
Step 3: Temporary Bridge
While your dental bridge is being made, you will receive a temporary bridge to protect the gums where the missing tooth is and the teeth that will receive the crowns.
Step 4: Your Second Visit
When you return to the dentist, your temporary bridge will be removed and the permanent bridge will be applied. Your dentist will make any necessary adjustments to the permanent bridge to ensure a proper fit. You will wear the dental bridge for a couple of weeks so that your dentist can be sure the bridge is fitting correctly and comfortably in your mouth before they are cemented in.
It is important to continue good oral hygiene habits to keep the rest of your teeth healthy and functional.
Brushing and flossing twice per day, as well as using mouthwash, can help prevent tooth decay. You should also continue regular trips to the dentist for a professional cleaning and to make sure there are no issues.
A composite filling is used to repair a tooth that has been affected by decay, injury, or to fill in spaces between teeth.
There are a few different types of fillings, but many people prefer composite fillings because they are made to match the shade of your teeth. If your dentist has recommended that you receive a filling, here is what you can expect.
Step 1: Numbing the Area
The dentist will begin by numbing the tooth that is receiving the filling.
Step 2: Removing the Decay
Once the area is numb, your dentist will remove the decay from the tooth.
Step 3: Cleaning the Tooth
After the decay has been removed, the tooth will be cleaned and prepared for the filling.
Step 4: Filling
Finally, the dentist will place the filling on the tooth to restore it back to normal function and shape.
After the composite filling has been placed your dentist will instruct you on proper care. If you experience any tooth sensitivity or pain it is important you speak with your dentist. This may be a sign of decay or other dental health issues.