Patient Education

+ What Should I Ask My Dentist?

• Do you see emergencies? • Do you guarantee your work? • Do you see children? • Are you accepting new patients? • Do you have before and after photos I can look at? • Is your office friendly, comfortable and modern? • Do you accept my insurance? Do you have payment plans? • I dread the dentist. Can you help me? • Do you do dentures, implants, cosmetic dentistry, fillings ... • I need __treatment. Will it hurt?

+ What Dental Specialties Should I Know About?

• Endodontist: Root canals • Oral Surgeon: Extractions, Wisdom teeth, Implant surgery • Orthodontist: Braces • Pedodontist: Children‘s specialist • Periodontist: Gum disease, Implant surgery

+ Why Replace a Missing Tooth?

A full set of healthy teeth is crucial for oral well-being and overall health. Even a single missing tooth can be cause for concern. Here is what happens when a single firs molar is removed:

• Top tooth moves down. Tooth in back tilts forward, tooth in front tilts back • Food and bacteria catches develop leading to root cavities, inflammation, • Bleeding gums and jaw bone periodontal disease. • Teeth now take bite forces on angles leading to fractured cusps • Bite shifts forward so front take more stress. Spaces develop between front teeth as they are pushed forward. • Jaw bone where tooth was removed atrophies and shrinks making tooth replacement less ideal or more difficult.

+ How to Replace Missing Teeth?

Basically, Three Ways exist to replace missing teeth.

• Removable Partial Denture Traditionally this was a plastic appliance held in place by metal clasps or hooks. More recently, many ways to hide clasps have been developed, including clear or white clasps, flexible plastics with gum-colored clasps, and hidden snaps that connect to crowns or dental implants. • Advantages: Least expensive. Can replace multiple teeth with one appliance. • Disadvantages: Not as natural as other alternatives. Lower partials can be difficult to wear. • Fixed Bridges: A crown (cap) is placed on the teeth in front and back of your missing tooth with one or more replacement teeth locked into the crowns. When the crowns are cemented, the replacement teeth are cemented with them. • Advantages: Comfortable, natural biting. Many insurance plans may cover close to half the cost. • Disadvantages: You can still get decay (cavities) under the crowns, so you must be careful to keep crowns clean and check them every six months. More expensive than partials. Bridges typically last 10-15 years. One variation of fixed bridges are bonded bridges, which use porcelain veneers or metal plates glued (bonded) to the teeth adjacent to your space. Bonded bridges are not strong enough for many situations. • Dental Implants are artificial roots placed into the gum and bone tissue where your tooth once sat. Crowns, bridges, partials, and full dentures can be cemented or snapped onto implants. Titanium implants are made of the same material as artificial hips and knees and are well tolerated by the body. • Advantages: The most natural and comfortable tooth replacement technique. • Disadvantages: Cost. Requires surgery and a waiting period of several months, typically, before tooth replacements can be put on them. May need grafting to fit implants.