Posts for: July, 2018
Even with the best oral hygiene routine and dental care, teeth are vulnerable to everything from diet and lifestyle factors to the natural aging process. Cosmetic issues like stained teeth and chips and cracks are some of the most common reasons to invest in a smile makeover, but other issues like gaps and tooth size can also be corrected with cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Paul Dunkling and Dr. Greg Penney, the dentists at Dunkling & Penney Dentistry in Burlington and Jericho, VT, recommend dental veneers as an affordable and minimally invasive option to restore a damaged smile.
Dental Veneers in Burlington and Jericho, VT
Veneers are like a silver bullet for many of the cosmetic dental problems that can ruin your smile. They are custom designed from a thin layer of porcelain that is cemented to the surface of the tooth and can change the size, shape, and color to leave your teeth looking and functioning like new.
How Veneers Can Improve a Damaged Smile
Veneers are a good choice for some of the following cosmetic dental problems:
- Chips and cracks
- Stains and discolorations that can't be removed with surface professional teeth whitening treatments
- Moderate gaps and spaces between teeth (if you have significant bite and alignment issues you may need orthodontic treatment)
- Large chips or cracks
- Uneven teeth
- To reinforce and seal a tooth after root canal therapy
But even if there is nothing technically "wrong" with your teeth, porcelain veneers are still available to you if you would simply like to change the size or shape of your teeth for aesthetic purposes. Many people go to the dentist with a picture of their ideal smile and the changes they'd like to make.
Find a Dentist in Burlington and Jericho, VT
For more information about porcelain veneers and other cosmetic dentistry options, contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Dunkling or Dr. Penney by calling (802) 863-3479 in Burlington and (802) 899-3973 in Jericho.
Anyone at any age, including older children and teenagers, can lose or be born missing a permanent tooth. And while those missing teeth can be restored, replacing them in patients who haven’t yet reached adulthood can be tricky.
That’s because their dental and facial development isn’t finished. This is especially problematic for dental implants because as the jaws continue to grow, a “non-growing” implant could eventually appear out of alignment with the surrounding natural teeth. That’s why it’s often better to install a temporary restoration until the jaws fully mature in early adulthood. Two great choices are a removable partial denture (RPD) or a bonded (“Maryland”) bridge.
While “dentures” and “teens” don’t seem to go together, an RPD in fact can effectively restore a teen’s lost dental function and appearance. Of the various types of RPDs the one usually recommended for teens has a hard acrylic base colored to resemble the gums, to which we attach prosthetic (“false”) teeth at their appropriate positions on the jaw.
Besides effectiveness, RPDs are easy to clean and maintain. On the downside, though, an RPD can break and—as a removable appliance—become lost. They can also lose their fit due to changes in jaw structure.
The bonded bridge is similar to a traditional fixed bridge. But there’s one big difference: traditional bridges crown the natural teeth on either side of the missing teeth to secure them in place. The supporting teeth must be significantly (and permanently) altered to accommodate the life-like crowns on either end of the bridge.
Instead, a bonded bridge affixes “wings” of dental material extending from the back of the bridge to the back of the natural teeth on either side. While not quite as strong as a regular bridge, the bonded bridge avoids altering any natural teeth.
While a fixed bridge conveniently stays in place, they’re more difficult than an RPD to keep clean. And while less prone to breakage, they aren’t entirely immune to certain stresses from biting and chewing especially in the presence of some poor bites (how the upper and lower teeth come together).
Choosing between the two restorations will depend on these and other factors. But either choice can serve your teen well until they’re able to permanently replace their missing teeth.
Along with periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay poses one of the two greatest threats to your teeth. Cavities are just the start: if decay invades the pulp, the tooth’s innermost layer, the infection created can continue to advance through the root canals to the supporting bone. This worst case scenario could cost you your tooth.
But we can stop this advanced decay in its tracks with a procedure called a root canal treatment. A root canal essentially removes all the infected tissue within the tooth and then seals it from further infection. And contrary to its undeserved reputation for being painful, a root canal can actually stop the severe tooth pain that decay can cause.
At the beginning of the procedure, we deaden the affected tooth and surrounding tissues with local anesthesia—you’ll be awake and alert, but without pain. We then isolate the tooth with a dental dam of thin rubber or vinyl to create a sterile environment around it to minimize contamination from bacteria found in saliva and the rest of the mouth.
We then drill a small hole through the enamel and dentin to access the interior of the tooth. With special instruments, we remove and clean out all the diseased or dead tissue in the pulp chamber and root canals. After disinfecting the empty spaces with an antibacterial solution, we’ll shape the root canals to make it easier to perform the next step of placing the filling.
To fill all the root canals and pulp chamber, we typically use a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Because it’s thermoplastic (“thermo”—heat; “plastic”—to shape), we can compress it into and against the walls of the root canals in a heated state to fully seal them. This is crucial for preventing the empty tooth interior from becoming re-infected. Afterward, we’ll seal the access hole with its own filling; later, we’ll bond a permanent crown to the tooth for additional protection and cosmetic enhancement.
After the procedure you may have some temporary minor discomfort usually manageable with aspirin or ibuprofen, but your nagging toothache will be gone. More importantly, your tooth will have a second chance—and your dental health and smile will be the better for it.
If you would like more information on treating tooth decay, 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 “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment.”