Crowns & Bridgework / Cosmetic Dentistry / Dental Implants / Orthodontic Treatment / Teeth Whitening
Crowns & Bridgework
Dentistry is an art as well as a science; dental crowns offer a perfect example of this. A dental crown or “cap” is a covering that fits over a damaged, decayed or unattractive tooth straightening the damaged teeth allowing them to function normally once again. It can even replace a tooth entirely as part of dental bridgework.
When crafted from today's high-tech porcelains (dental ceramics), crowns are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. They can even be designed to improve upon a tooth's original appearance. Crowns can also be used to create a lifelike replacement for a missing tooth.
This is done with bridgework, which spans the space of the missing tooth and requires at least three crowns. Two of those crowns will be placed over healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth; these healthy teeth are referred to as abutment teeth.
The two crowned abutment teeth become supports for a third crown placed in between them; that third crown is referred to as a pontic.
If more than one tooth is missing, more crowns will be needed to bridge the gap in between the abutment teeth. Engineering and designing of the bridge requires an understanding of how to replace teeth, as well as the biology of the supporting gum and bone tissue.
Bonding uses tooth-colored materials to replace missing tooth structure or hide cosmetically unappealing minor defects in a tooth — chips, discoloration, and even minor spacing irregularities. Bonding materials are called “composite resins” because they contain a mixture of plastic and glass, which adds strength and translucency.
The composite actually bonds, or becomes one, with the rest of the tooth. Composite resins come in a variety of tooth shades for truly lifelike results. When bonding is done with a skilled hand and an artistic eye, it may be impossible to distinguish the bonded tooth from its neighbors.
Though bonding will not last as long as a dental veneer, it also does not require the involvement of a dental laboratory and, most often, can be done without drilling of the tooth. It's a particularly good solution for teens, who often need to wait until their teeth have finished maturing before choosing a more permanent type of dental restoration.
The world of cosmetic dentistry is diverse, full of many new materials and techniques guaranteed to enhance your smile. Cosmetic dentists keep current with all the new, innovative dental treatments, including dental technology. When you visit a cosmetic dentist, you can be assured you will be offered state-of-the-art treatment to change your look and your smile.
You should consider visiting a cosmetic dentist if you have teeth that are:
- Heavily stained from smoking, coffee or medication use
- Broken or damaged from trauma or injury
- Crooked or poorly aligned from genetics
- Badly shaped or uneven from age-related wear
- Gapped or spaced apart from genetics
- Cracked or chipped from overuse
Correct the smile and look of your teeth with one of our many cosmetic treatments:
- Dental whitening treatments
- Dental veneers
- Dental bonding
- Contouring and reshaping
- Cosmetic fillings
Of all the ways modern dentistry has to replace missing teeth, dental implants are by far the best. There is no tooth-replacement option that will give you a longer-lasting result. Implants also help preserve tooth-supporting bone that naturally deteriorates when a tooth is lost. Loss of bone is one of the major hidden consequences of losing teeth. A dental implant most often takes the form of a small, screw-shaped titanium post that replaces the root-part of a missing tooth. The surgical procedure used to place an implant is actually quite minor and routine, requiring only local anesthesia in most cases. After a healing period, the implant is topped with a lifelike crown custom-made to match your existing natural teeth. Implants have a documented success rate of over 95%, which is significantly higher than any other tooth-replacement option.
Replace One Tooth — When you have one tooth missing, a single implant is inserted into the bone to replace the root part of that tooth; a crown then goes on top to simulate an actual tooth. This treatment choice has the highest success rate, making it the best long-term investment for replacing a single missing tooth. Even if the initial cost is slightly higher than other options, it is the most cost-effective solution over time. An implant will never decay or need root canal treatment and feels just like the tooth that was there.
Replace Multiple Teeth — When you have more than one tooth missing, implants provide an ideal replacement mechanism. You don't even need one implant for every missing tooth. Instead, implant teeth can act as supports for fixed bridgework. For example, if you are missing three teeth in a row, we can place two implants, one on either side of the gap, and a crown in between that has no implant underneath. That way, you won't need to use any of your remaining natural teeth as bridge supports, which could weaken them and make them more susceptible to decay.
Replace All Teeth Permanently — Implants can support an entire arch of upper or lower replacement teeth that are fixed into the mouth and are never removed. Sometimes the new teeth can be supported by as few as 4 implants. It's comparable to the structure of a table, which only needs 4 legs to hold it up. In cases where jawbone density and volume have deteriorated, 5 or 6 implants might be needed to support a row of 10 to 12 teeth. Dental implant replacement teeth protect your jawbone, won't slip, and should last a lifetime.
Support Removable Dentures — Implants can even make removable dentures more comfortable, effective and healthier to wear. Traditional dentures rest on the gums and put pressure on the underlying bone. This accelerates bone loss so that the jaw shrinks and the dentures slip, particularly on the bottom. But today dentists can attach a removable denture onto implants, transferring that pressure into the bone structure rather than the bone surface. This prevents the dentures from slipping while you eat and speak, and preserves the bone directly beneath them.
"When it comes to dental implants don't even hesitate they know what they are doing. I have NEVER felt any pain with them!! I look forward to appointments!!"
~ Lora Swan Mansfield
Happy Implant Patient of Erickson Dental Care
Orthodontic treatment is the original smile makeover tool — and you will be happy to know that you're never too old to take advantage of it. But it isn't all about looks: Properly aligned teeth help you to bite, chew and even speak more effectively. The amazing thing about orthodontics is that it harnesses the body's natural ability to remodel its own tissue. With the application of light, constant force, orthodontic appliances gently reshape bone and move teeth into better positions. Some examples of these appliances are traditional metal braces, inconspicuous clear or tooth-colored braces, and clear aligners such as Invisalign!
Having orthodontic treatment in childhood is ideal in order to take advantage of a youngster's natural growth processes to help move the teeth into proper alignment. Like the rest of the body, the teeth and jaws are now changing rapidly. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age, so you've never “missed the boat” for orthodontic treatment. In fact, about one in five of today's orthodontic patients is an adult. Before treatment, adults are carefully examined for signs of periodontal (gum) disease, which will be brought under control before treatment begins.
When you imagine someone wearing braces, you probably picture small metal brackets bonded to the front of the teeth, with a thin wire running through them. This time-tested style remains very popular — but it's no longer the only option. Clear braces use brackets made of ceramic or plastic which, except for the slim archwire, are hardly visible. Lingual braces are just like traditional metal braces — except they're bonded to the back of your teeth (the tongue side) so that no one can see them.
Removable clear aligners are an alternative to fixed orthodontic appliances. They consist of a series of clear plastic “trays” that fit over your teeth exactly; each one moves your teeth a little bit, until they are in the proper position. Whether fixed or removable, each type of appliance may have advantages or disadvantages in particular situations. After a complete examination, the best treatment options for you will be discussed. Once your orthodontic treatment is completed, it's extremely important to wear a retainer as directed. Wearing a retainer holds your teeth in their new position long enough for new bone and ligament to re-form around them, and helps keep your gorgeous new smile looking good for a lifetime.
It's hard to imagine anything more appealing than a sparkling, white smile. Yet our teeth rarely stay as white as we'd like them to without a little help. Fortunately, that help is available at Erickson Dental Care!
Teeth whitening done in a professional dental setting is a safe, effective way to brighten your smile. It's also perhaps the most economical cosmetic dental procedure. Depending on the whitening method you choose, results can be dramatic: in-office whitening, for example, can lighten teeth three to eight shades in a single hour.
In-Office Whitening — This technique offers the fastest results with the most powerful whitening solutions available. First, your gums and tooth-root surfaces will be covered with a protective barrier to ensure your safety. A thin plastic device known as a retractor will hold your lips and cheeks away from your teeth as a professional-strength hydrogen peroxide gel is applied. The gel will be left on for about an hour. When it is removed, the results will be obvious immediately.
Take-Home Whitening — This is another effective way to whiten your teeth, though you will play a greater role in ensuring the best possible results and several weeks may be needed to achieve your desired level of whiteness. First, a mold of your teeth will be taken and then two thin, flexible plastic mouth trays will be custom-made for you — one for the top teeth and one for the bottom. You will fill the trays with whitening gel and then position the trays over your teeth. The trays are left in usually for about an hour at a time.