Posts for category: Dental Procedures
We can do a great many things to preserve diseased teeth, from filling cavities to crowning damaged but still viable teeth to protect them and restore their attractiveness. But there may come a point where continued treatment just isn't worth it, and it may be time to remove and replace your troubled teeth.
Dental implants have become the premier restoration for missing teeth. But they have some anatomical limitations and may not work for some situations like excessive bone loss or close nerve proximity. And while a removable partial denture is a solid option, perhaps you'd rather have a fixed solution.
You might then want to consider a fixed bridge to replace one or more missing teeth. This tried and true option has been a mainstay in dentistry for several decades; and while implants may have surpassed them in popularity, they're still available and effective as a restorative option.
A traditional fixed bridge is composed of three or more life-like crowns that are fused together like pickets in a fence. The crown or crowns in the middle fill the empty tooth space; the outside crowns fit over and are bonded to the natural teeth on either side of the empty space to support the bridge. These natural teeth must be reduced in size to accommodate the crowns to fit over them.
Depending on how many teeth are missing, fixed bridges can be a more affordable alternative to dental implants and can achieve life-like results in both form and dental function. But the alterations required for the supporting teeth are permanent and can weaken them. The interface between the natural teeth and the bridge crowns has a higher risk of decay and periodontal disease, so you'll need to be extra vigilant with daily hygiene and regular dental cleanings and checkups.
And even though implants can be more expensive in the short-term, they typically have better durability and less maintenance costs than other restorations. Over the long-term, an implant restoration might actually incur less cost than a fixed bridge.
Still, a fixed bridge can be an effective way to replace missing teeth. Depending on your finances and your overall dental health, a bridge could help you regain an attractive smile.
If you would like more information on options for replacing missing teeth, 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 “Crowns & Bridgework.”
Chronic tooth pain or sensitivity could be a sign that you need a root canal. The procedure not only relieves pain but helps you avoid tooth loss. Your Waukesha, WI, dentist, Dr. James Murphy, performs root canal therapy at Proven Dental.
Root canals eliminate the source of your pain
Pain originates in the pulp deep inside your tooth if you need a root canal. The pulp is a soft mass of blood vessels, tissues, and nerves that fill the core of your tooth. Luckily, it's possible to eliminate the infection or inflammation by removing your pulp and replacing it with a filling material during a root canal.
Despite the stories you may have heard, root canals aren't painful. Before the procedure begins, you'll receive a local anesthetic that will keep your mouth numb throughout the entire root canal.
Root canal signs and symptoms
Pain is the most obvious sign that there's something wrong with your tooth. During your visit to your Waukesha dentist's office, he'll determine if your pain is caused by tooth decay or an inflammation or infection in your tooth.
Although an inflammation or infection can cause severe pain, sometimes the pain is mild or can even come or go, at least initially. If you don't see your dentist, the pain may worsen eventually.
Have you noticed that eating seems to worsen your pain? That's not unusual if you have an infection or inflammation in your pulp. Chewing exerts considerable pressure on your teeth and can irritate a problem tooth. Sensitivity to hot, cold, or sugary foods and beverages is also common if you need a root canal. You may notice that your pain increases for as long as 30 minutes after you eat or drink these substances.
If you need a root canal, your tooth may darken or you may notice that the gum around the tooth is painful, inflamed and swollen. Severe, throbbing pain may mean that you have a dental abscess. The bacterial infection is a dental emergency and requires prompt treatment to prevent the bacteria from reaching other areas of your body. Other abscess symptoms include swelling around your jaw, swollen lymph nodes, fever, a bump on your gum, or pus around the tooth.
Do any of these signs and symptoms sound familiar? Call your Waukesha, WI, dentist, Dr. James Murphy of Proven Dental at (262) 650-3000 to schedule an appointment.
While the sport of golf may not look too dangerous from the sidelines, players know it can sometimes lead to mishaps. There are accidents involving golf carts and clubs, painful muscle and back injuries, and even the threat of lightning strikes on the greens. Yet it wasn’t any of these things that caused professional golfer Danielle Kang’s broken tooth on the opening day of the LPGA Singapore tournament.
“I was eating and it broke,” explained Kang. “My dentist told me, I've chipped another one before, and he said, you don't break it at that moment. It's been broken and it just chips off.” Fortunately, the winner of the 2017 Women’s PGA championship got immediate dental treatment, and went right back on the course to play a solid round, shooting 68.
Kang’s unlucky “chip shot” is far from a rare occurrence. In fact, chipped, fractured and broken teeth are among the most common dental injuries. The cause can be crunching too hard on a piece of ice or hard candy, a sudden accident or a blow to the face, or a tooth that’s weakened by decay or repetitive stress from a habit like nail biting. Feeling a broken tooth in your mouth can cause surprise and worry—but luckily, dentists have many ways of restoring the tooth’s appearance and function.
Exactly how a broken tooth is treated depends on how much of its structure is missing, and whether the soft tissue deep inside of it has been compromised. When a fracture exposes the tooth’s soft pulp it can easily become infected, which may lead to serious problems. In this situation, a root canal or extraction will likely be needed. This involves carefully removing the infected pulp tissue and disinfecting and sealing the “canals” (hollow spaces inside the tooth) to prevent further infection. The tooth can then be restored, often with a crown (cap) to replace the entire visible part. A timely root canal procedure can often save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted (removed).
For less serious chips, dental veneers may be an option. Made of durable and lifelike porcelain, veneers are translucent shells that go over the front surfaces of teeth. They can cover minor to moderate chips and cracks, and even correct size and spacing irregularities and discoloration. Veneers can be custom-made in a dental laboratory from a model of your teeth, and are cemented to teeth for a long-lasting and natural-looking restoration.
Minor chips can often be remedied via dental bonding. Here, layers of tooth-colored resin are applied to the surfaces being restored. The resin is shaped to fill in the missing structure and hardened by a special light. While not as long-lasting as other restoration methods, bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique that can often be completed in just one office visit.
If you have questions about restoring chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers” and “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin.”
Gum disease and dental decay often come on suddenly with few warning signs, says the American Dental Association. That's why routine dental cleanings and check-ups are so important. At Proven Dental in Waukesha, WI, Dr. James Murphy and his team highly recommend twice a year prophylactic exams and teeth cleanings. Learn here about what happens as your hygienist cleans your teeth and what the long-term benefits are.
Your teeth cleaning in our Waukesha office
It's the first part of your semi-annual appointment at Proven Dental. Your friendly hygienist is your first oral health contact, performing many important health checks and services and preparing you for your visit with Dr. Murphy.
She'll ask you if you have had any problems since your last appointment. She'll take any partial dentures or removable appliances for cleaning in an ultrasonic device. Also, as needed, she'll take X-rays to inspect for interdental decay, bone problems or other health issues, and she'll do a visual check for:
- Gum disease (she'll measure gum pocket depth with a tiny metal probe)
- Oral cancer (a quick, painless inspection of your soft oral tissues)
- Loose or defective restorations such as fillings
Then, your hygienist will proceed to clean your teeth. She uses small, handheld tools and ultrasonic scalers to remove the plaque and tartar which have built-up on and between your teeth since your last cleaning. These bacteria-filled biofilms also accumulate at the gum line where they can cause an infection called periodontitis.
Periodontitis in its mildest form is known as gingivitis, a condition most notable for the bleeding and soreness it causes for gum tissue. As this gum disease progresses, other symptoms such as deep gum pockets, a long tooth appearance, mobile teeth, pus at the gum line, and persistent bad breath can occur. Additionally, research from important medical experts, such as The American Heart Association, shows that gum problems are linked to serious health conditions such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and dementia, among others.
In short, getting a professional dental cleaning greatly reduces your risk of dental decay, tooth loss, and dangerous periodontal disease.
Finally, your professional cleaning removes light dental staining created by coffee, tea, dark foods, and more. Your hygienist uses a special rotary brush and toothpaste to polish tooth surfaces to their shiny best. You'll notice a wonderful, smooth, clean feeling. A final flossing finishes the job.
A word about education...
When you see Dr. Murphy for your exam and cleaning, ask him or your hygienist about the best ways to keep your particular smile bright, healthy, and attractive. At Proven Dental, the professional staff considers routine services, such as cleanings, as great opportunities to know their patients and their needs and to help them with any concerns they have about their oral health and smile appearance.
If it's time for your six-month cleaning and exam, please call Proven Dental for an appointment. We look forward to seeing you! Phone (262) 650-3000 today.
While orthodontists can effectively correct most poor bites (malocclusions), some can be quite complex requiring much time and expense. But there's good news—we often don't have to wait on a malocclusion to fully develop if we catch it in time. Thanks to interceptive orthodontics, we may be able to intervene much earlier and eliminate or reduce the degree of difficulty with treatment.
Interceptive orthodontics is a group of techniques and devices used in early childhood to help deter a possible malocclusion. Here are 3 ways this approach could make a difference in your child's bite development.
Guiding jaw growth. On a normal-sized upper jaw, the permanent teeth usually have ample room to erupt. Not so with a smaller jaw: incoming teeth become crowded and may erupt out of alignment or too close to each other. Orthodontists often use a device called a palatal expander to aid an under-sized jaw in its development. The device fits along the roof of the mouth between the teeth and applies gradual outward pressure on them. This encourages the jaw to widen as it grows, thus providing more room for erupting teeth to come in properly and decrease the chances of obstructive sleep apnea in the future.
Reshaping and repositioning jaw bones. An overbite can occur when the jaws aren't properly aligned, often due to poor muscle and bone development. This is where devices like the Herbst appliance are useful. Its hinge mechanism encourages the lower jaw to grow further forward. The jaws can thus develop in a more normal way, minimizing the development of a malocclusion.
Maintaining space. Primary ("baby") teeth are important for dental development because they help guide future permanent teeth to erupt properly; they also keep nearby teeth from drifting into the intended space. But when a primary tooth is lost prematurely due to disease or trauma, the space can become vulnerable to this kind of "drift." With a simple mechanism called a space maintainer we can hold open the space created by a prematurely lost primary tooth until the permanent tooth is ready to erupt.
These and other techniques can help stop bad bites from developing in young children, minimizing or even eliminating the need for future orthodontic treatment. That means a healthier mouth for your child and less impact on your wallet.
If you would like more information on interceptive orthodontics, 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 “Interceptive Orthodontics: Timely Intervention can make Treatment Easier.”