Advanced Dental Treatment for Missing Teeth, Damaged Teeth and Jaw Problems
At Dental Care Associates of Buffalo, we offer a complete range of corrective dentistry services for damaged or missing teeth, as well as jaw issues like TMJ.
Your dentist will work with you to choose the best treatment plan to address your dental health needs to correct or restore your oral health!
Dental Crowns and Bridges
Crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth that are damaged, or to take the place of missing teeth. Bridges and crowns are very durable and can last a lifetime with extra care and by practicing good oral hygiene.
Why Choose a Crown?
A crown, also referred to as a cap, is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth. A crown not only strengthens a tooth, but it can dramatically improve a tooth’s appearance, shape and alignment. Dental crowns are useful in the following circumstances:
Replacing a large filling when there is little tooth structure remaining
Protecting a weak tooth from fracturing
Restoring a fractured tooth
Attaching a bridge
Covering a dental implant
Covering a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
Covering a tooth that has had root canal treatment
Why Choose a Bridge?
A bridge is an ideal method to fill the space created by missing teeth. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth that are cemented into place using the teeth on either side for support, hence the name. This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material made to match your natural tooth color. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or esthetics.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward. Since teeth use their neighbors for support, if one is missing they begin to "fall” and shift into the open spaces. This may worsen the bite due to changes in pressure and can eventually result in problems with the jaw such as TMJ.
How Bridges and Crowns Work
Bridges and crowns are made by first taking an impression of your mouth. The impression is sent to a dental lab where your crown or bridge will be custom made to fit your mouth and match your natural tooth color. A temporary crown or bridge will be placed into your mouth until your permanent crown or bridge is made. When the permanent crown or bridge is ready, it will be cemented into place.
At Dental Care Associates of Buffalo, we take every possible measure to prevent tooth loss. Still sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, it becomes necessary for a tooth to be extracted.
How Do I Know if I Need a Tooth Extracted?
A tooth may need to be extracted if the following occurs:
Advanced periodontal disease
Infection or abcess
Fractured teeth or roots
How Does Tooth Extraction Work?
Before a tooth is removed, the dentist will take an x-ray in order to understand the shape and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. Based on the degree of difficulty, we may refer you to a specialist called an oral surgeon.
For a simple extraction, we will first apply a local anesthetic to prevent pain and discomfort. The tooth will be loosened with a tool called an elevator and then removed with dental forceps. Once the procedure is complete, the area may be closed with one or two stitches.
It is critical to keep the extraction area clean to prevent infection. We will provide you with dry, sterile gauze to bite down on for 30-45 minutes to limit bleeding while clotting takes place. For the next 24 hours, you shouldn't smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously, or brush teeth directly next to the extraction site.
A certain amount of pain and discomfort is to be expected following an extraction, which can be minimized with a painkiller and ice packs applied to the face for 15 minutes at a time. After a routine extraction, discomfort should lessen within three days to two weeks. If you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever, call our office immediately.
Wisdom Tooth Removal
Wisdom teeth are the last molars, or “third molars” that develop on each side of the jaws. Wisdom teeth usually emerge in the back of the mouth between the ages of 16-20.
How Do I Know if My Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?
Wisdom teeth are a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy and properly positioned. Often, however, problems develop that require their removal. When the jaw isn't large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth, they can become impacted (unable to come in or misaligned). Wisdom teeth may grow sideways, emerge only part way through the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.
How Does Wisdom Tooth Removal Work?
A wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively routine procedure. The dentist will numb the area in your mouth with a local anesthesia or use IV sedation so you are asleep during the procedure.
After the tooth (or teeth) is removed, you may be asked to bite down softly on a piece of gauze for 30 to 45 minutes after you leave the office, to limit any bleeding that may occur. Some pain and swelling may occur but it will normally go away after a few days; however, you should call us right away if you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever.
Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when a cavity is allowed, through neglect, to reach all the way to this pulp.
Regular cleanings and checkups prevent and detect problems early; however, deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point it needs root canal therapy. Once this occurs, the pulp becomes infected, and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone, causing an abscess.
By the time the pulp is infected it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous, not to mention very painful.
How Do I Know if I Need a Root Canal?
Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include:
Sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets
Pain to biting or pressure
A bad taste in the mouth
Sometimes, however, no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until a checkup. (Just another reason to make your bi-annual exam appointment today!)
How Does a Root Canal Work?
A root canal cleans out the infected tooth pulp and disinfect the canals of the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy.
A dental implant is a titanium post that an oral surgeon or a periodontist surgically positions into the jaw. Once in place and bone surrounding the implant has had time to heal, a replacement tooth is attached to the post. If multiple implants are placed it can support a bridge (multiple teeth) or help a partial or denture stay securely in place.
Benefits of Dental Implants
A dental implant is an ideal tooth restoration for people who are missing one or more teeth as a result of injury, periodontal disease, or any other reason. While implants are typically more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, they provide superior benefits. Implants are stronger than natural teeth and generally last 10-20+ years. They are also a more favorable approach than bridgework since they do not depending on neighboring teeth for support.
How Do I Know if I’m a Candidate for Dental Implants?
To receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. You must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits, as these are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures available, including partial and complete dentures. Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain, while complete dentures are used to completely replace all teeth.
A removable partial denture is a device used when one or more natural teeth still remain in the upper or lower jay. They usually consist of replacement teeth attached go a gum-colored plastic base which is held in place in the mouth. A fixed partial denture acts the same as a removable denture, but it is cemented into place using the adjacent teeth for support. This fills the space created by missing teeth, as well as creates a support for remaining teeth to prevent shifting.
Dentures are made to resemble your natural teeth so there should be no noticeable change to your appearance. In fact, dentures may even improve your smile!
This restoration method is used to restore your smile and mouth function if all your teeth have been lost. The dentures are custom created to resemble natural teeth and are positioned into a patients mouth to take the place of where the natural teeth used to be. Complete dentures are removable and may require adjustments in order to create a proper fit with the gums and mouth.
What to Expect When You Get Dentures
New dentures may feel awkward or loose for the first few weeks until the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place and you are comfortable eating and speaking. This may require some practice, but soon you will adjust and enjoy the benefits that a full mouth of teeth can provide.
Nightguards & Athletic Mouthguards
Custom designed mouthguards and nightguards are made of flexible plastic and molded to fit the shape of your teeth. Mouthguards are recommended to protect the jaw and teeth during physical activity and sports such as boxing, football, basketball, or other activities where your mouth may get hit. In addition, these guards protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining.
Nightguards are recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth at night as a way to protect their teeth and bite.
If you have decided a guard is right for you, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth, which will then be sent to a lab to make a custom fit guard for you. In most cases you can choose from a variety of colors and styles for your guard. On average, guards last between 2 and 5 years.
TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint. Temporal, as in temple area of skull; mandibular as in mandible, or lower jaw; joint as in it's where the head and jaw meet. Problems in this joint may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension. Aside from the two bones that meet there, cartilage buffers them and five muscles are involved in the area. If something goes wrong a good deal of trouble can result.
Symptoms of TMJ
Signs that you are suffering from TMJ include:
Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
Clicking or popping of the jaw
Pain in the jaw muscles
Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face
Treatments for TMJ
Dental treatments for TMJ can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, filling gaps between teeth, etc. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.