At Bellevue Dental, we offer a variety of services to care for your mouth. If you have any questions or would like more information on how we can care for your teeth and mouth, please contact us today.
Your teeth have small grooves that sometimes are easy areas for decay to develop. With dental sealants, it’s easy to flow a resin material into those grooves and protect those hard-to-reach areas. Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth to protect difficult areas while a child is still growing and maturing, but are sometimes recommended for adults, depending on their anatomy. Sealants fill the deep grooves and present a smooth surface, making it easier to brush and maintain.
Although it’s common to see sealants last into adulthood, they typically last three to five years and are only protecting the teeth while fully intact. If a sealant comes out or chips, schedule an appointment to have sealant reapplied.
Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay. A fluoride treatment in our office takes just a few minutes, and it can help strengthen or remineralize teeth. After the treatment, you may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride.
Bonding is a conservative way to repair slightly chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. Dental bonding is a white filling bonded to your tooth to improve its appearance. Because it comes in a variety of tooth-colored shades, it closely matches the appearance of your natural teeth. The bonding material is about 50% the strength of enamel. Therefore, in some situations, a chip or fracture would be better suited to be repaired with much stronger porcelain.
Bonding is less expensive than other cosmetic treatments and can usually be completed in one visit to our office. However, bonding is more porous and can stain or is easier to break than other cosmetic treatments. If it does break or chip, the bonding can generally be easily patched or repaired in one visit. A good rule of thumb is the larger the bonding, the lower the life expectancy of that filling. Remember that anything can be filled, but that doesn’t always mean it is the right material of choice. Placing large bonded fillings on any teeth is usually a temporary means toward something more permanent with greater strength and substance.
Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, may include gold, porcelain, or composite. Newer dental fillings include ceramic and resin compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. Composite resins can be used instead of mercury-based amalgam. Many patients prefer bonded composite fillings because the white color is much less noticeable than the silver amalgam. Bonding fillings can be used on front or back teeth, depending on the location and extent of tooth decay.
Crowns are a restorative procedure used to improve your tooth’s shape or strengthen it. Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have weakened portions due to tooth decay. Depending on the amount of restoration needed, a dental crown or “cap” may be required to reduce the risk of fracturing the tooth.
A crown acts as a “cap” or “jacket” that usually covers the portion of a tooth above the gum line. The crown effectively becomes the tooth’s new outer surface—like the enamel that forms the surface of your teeth. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both and are cemented onto the existing tooth. Porcelain crowns are most often preferred because they mimic the translucency of natural teeth and are very strong.
Crowns or onlays (partial crowns) are needed when there is insufficient tooth strength to hold a filling. Unlike fillings, which apply restorative material directly into your mouth, a crown is fabricated away from your mouth.
A bridge may be used to replace missing teeth, helping maintain the shape of your face and alleviating stress on your bite. Ideally, all missing teeth are replaced with dental implants. If there is not sufficient bone or financial means to restore a smile with dental implants, a bridge may be the next best option.
A bridge is typically made of porcelain that has been designed to look like natural white teeth. If needed, it may have a metal substructure for support. The key to a successful bridge is in its foundation: the abutment teeth on either end, bone, and gums. Flossing is essential for improving the health and longevity of your bridge. Flossing will prevent gum disease and maintain healthy teeth. Without regular flossing, any restoration will certainly fail.
In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you’d probably lose that tooth. Today, your tooth can be saved with a dental procedure called “root canal therapy”.
If a tooth has deep decay or is cracked, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and cause an infection inside. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This may not only be detrimental to your jawbone and the adjacent teeth but also to your overall health.
Root canal treatment involves one to multiple visits. During treatment, a general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems with the nerves of the teeth) removes the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite. Afterwards, most teeth will need to be crowned in order to strengthen and reinforce them. Without properly restoring the tooth, the risk of fracturing increases tremendously. A crown should be considered while planning treatment.
Dentures are natural-looking replacement teeth that are removable. There are two types of dentures: full and partial. Full dentures are given to patients when all the natural teeth have been removed. Partial dentures are attached to a metal frame connected to your natural teeth and are used to fill in where permanent teeth have been removed.
Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be properly cared for. Use a gentle cleanser to brush your dentures, always keep them moist when they’re not in use, and be sure to keep your tongue and gums clean as well.
It is important to remember that removable dentures are always transitional restorative options. This is because the bone in your mouth is tooth-dependent. When teeth are removed, the bone continuously erodes for the rest of your life (unless you use implants, which will prevent bone loss).
If you choose a complete denture as an option, you should expect to have the denture relined frequently over the course of your life to compensate for the bone loss and erosion that will take place. if you choose a partial denture as an option, you should know that the teeth that anchor the partial are highly susceptible to fracture and tooth loss. When you do partial dentures, you place a lot of weight on a few teeth. This puts a lot of stress on those couple of teeth and is another reason why implant-supported restorations are a much more predictable solution.
If you are missing teeth, it is crucial to replace them. Because people still eat when missing teeth, the remaining teeth get worked harder and harder until they become overloaded and chip, break, or become loose, leading to more tooth loss. When teeth are missing, your mouth will change and can cause your face to look older. Implants are a great way to replace your missing teeth and, if properly maintained, can last a lifetime!
Implants are used primarily in two ways. One way is by using dental implants to replace one tooth or a few teeth. Implants of this type are composed of three main parts: first, a titanium implant body that takes the place of the missing root; second, an abutment or connector that screws into the implant body; and third, a tooth-colored crown that is cemented on top of the abutment (or connector). With implant treatment, you can smile confidently, knowing no one will ever suspect you have a replacement tooth.
The other way implants are used in dentistry is to replace all the teeth in an arch for denture stabilization. If you must have all your teeth removed, you could have a row of 4-8 implants placed and then a fixed (nonremovable!) exactly replicating permanent teeth. If 4-8 implants are not an option, then 2-4 implants can be used as an anchorage for dentures. The dentures would snap on and off the implant anchors. This is especially critical for lower dentures, which tend to shift when you talk or chew. For patients with removable partial dentures, implants can replace missing teeth so they have a more natural-looking smile.
Dentistry can be a very stressful event for some people. Fear can be a barrier to oral health. Some percent of the population experience severe dental phobia. If dental anxiety is a barrier to treatment, or if you would prefer to just not to worry about treatment and would rather stay relaxed during your procedure, you may be a candidate for sedation dentistry.
Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. Whether you wear braces or not, protecting your smile while playing sports is essential. If you participate in any kind of full-contact sport, the American Dental Association recommends you wear a mouthguard. Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard from a dentist. When you choose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable, and well fitted for your mouth, is easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly.
If you often wake up with jaw pain, earaches, or headaches, or if you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, or notice increased wear of your teeth, you may have a condition called “bruxism.” Many people do not even know they grind their teeth because it often occurs during sleep. If not corrected, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, or even tooth loss.
There is an easy, non-invasive treatment for bruxism: nightguards. Nightguards are an easy way to prevent the wear and damage that teeth-grinding causes over time. Custom-made by a dentist from soft material to fit your teeth, a nightguard is inserted over your top or bottom arch and prevents contact with the opposing teeth.