When it comes to maintaining your smile and a healthy mouth overall, a missing tooth can interfere in more ways than one. Not only will it affect your look and potentially lower your confidence, causing you to smile less often, but it can also affect the surrounding teeth and their functionality.
Essentially, a missing tooth can lead to a weakening of the mouth structure, creating difficulties in the way you eat and speak. The remaining adjacent teeth often begin to shift overtime into the empty space, and this shifting can severely weaken your bite and leave you with aching jaws, headaches, and more.
There is a beneficial solution for these missing teeth, however, and it is in the form of a dental bridge. If you’re wondering what exactly a dental bridge is, and how many teeth it can replace, we answer these questions and more below.
What Exactly is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is essentially a synthetic (artificial) tooth attached to the adjacent teeth. These adjacent teeth serve as support for the artificial tooth, securing it in place so you can return to smiling confidently and also prevent shifting and preserve your bite.
The artificial tooth itself can be made of different materials, such as ceramic or porcelain bonded to a metal alloy. The supporting teeth on each side can be your natural teeth but are often crowns themselves.
Your dentist will use a bonding element or cement to hold the dental bridge in place, bridging the gap between teeth. Then, once the dental bridge is secured, you can return to eating, speaking, and smiling with ease and confidence.
The benefits of a dental bridge, besides the filling in of an empty space and preventing teeth from shifting, are that it can re-adjust an already affected bite and help maintain the natural shape of your face. It can also limit the risk of developing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
How Many Teeth Can a Dental Bridge Replace?
A dental bridge effectively restores a gap of one missing tooth but more commonly serves as a solution to replacing two, three, or four teeth in a row.
Any more than four teeth and the stability of the dental bridge is threatened, making it less efficient or dependable. One potential way around this is to first start with dental implants on the stabilizing teeth on each end. These implants are a good solution when a person’s natural teeth are not strong enough to hold the dental bridge in place.
To know what will work for you, however, start by consulting with your dentist to learn about the possibilities and what steps you’ll need to take to ensure a dental bridge will serve your best interests.
How Do You Take Care of a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge doesn’t require removal for cleaning, and you need not worry about it slipping, which is often the case with dentures. It will, however, need replacing at some point, usually between 5-15 years, depending on your dental hygiene practices.
Meanwhile, taking care of your dental bridge is similar to taking care of your natural teeth. Once it is secured in place, you can keep it looking and functioning at its best by following these steps.
Brush twice per day using a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove tartar and plaque that can build up along the gum line and surrounding teeth.
Floss between your natural teeth, or crowns, each day, keeping them healthy so they can continue to support the dental bridge efficiently.
Regularly clean out the area underneath the dental bridge. Since the bridge does not connect all the way down into your gum, the resulting gap can trap food particles or other mouth debris. Try using dental picks or other recommended implements to ensure you can reach the area adequately.
Schedule bi-annual dental appointments so your dentist can examine the dental bridge and supporting teeth, and also conduct a thorough cleaning of the entire area.
Other precautions you can take to maintain the life of a dental bridge is to avoid biting down on or chewing hard objects, such as ice, candy, and nuts. While dental bridges consist of strong and durable materials, like natural teeth, they can still fracture under extreme pressure.
Contact Lifetime Dental Health Today to Find Out More About Dental Bridges
When it comes to choosing the best solutions for missing teeth, dental bridges are high up on the list. With them, you can not only restore a confident smile but also protect and improve the functionality of your bite and restore normal eating and speaking abilities.
The team at Lifetime Dental Health proudly offers dental bridges for our patients to restore missing teeth and help them get back to enjoying life. Contact our Columbus office today to learn more and find out how dental bridges can work for you.
Being confident in your smile and appearance can be a boost to your self-esteem, and it all starts with the help of your dentist. Both restorative and cosmetic dentistry can benefit the shape, alignment, and even color of your teeth, removing any worry about showing them when you smile. You can also go a step further, taking additional measures to improve your overall facial appearance with the help of Botox treatments.
In the past, cosmetic procedures, including Botox injections, were the realm of dermatologists and plastic surgeons. Today, however, this is changing as dental offices expand to offer such services to patients in addition to dental procedures, often being the perfect combination to achieve that confident and healthy look you crave.
Botox can provide beneficial results for your appearance, including the reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, and even crow’s feet. In addition, Botox is a solution for various dental issues, such as bruxism (teeth grinding at night), TMJ, and pain relief.
With the administering of small injections in specific spots around your mouth, lips, and face, Botox works by refraining certain muscles from contracting and causing those creases, lines, and wrinkles. Your skin returns to its natural smooth appearance as the muscles begin to relax.
While you’ll love the results, it’s important to note that they are not permanent but instead last approximately 3-4 months. After that, you will need to create a scheduled plan with your dentist’s office and repeat the procedure throughout the year as needed.
5 Reasons to Schedule a Botox Treatment with Your Dentist
Dental offices today offer more specialized services, including facial aesthetics, and are a safe and convenient option for receiving Botox along with your optimal dental care. To understand why, here are five reasons you should schedule a Botox treatment with your dentist.
1. Dentists Have Extensive Knowledge of Facial Structures
As you already know, dentists are familiar with all parts of your oral health needs. However, their extensive knowledge doesn’t end there. They also learn everything about facial structures and how everything is connected.
As a result, dentists are highly knowledgeable when it comes to how bones, muscles, nerves, and teeth work together to create the entire facial structure. With such in-depth understanding, your dentist can recommend and administer Botox treatments efficiently and effectively.
2. Dentists Expertly Administer Facial Injections
Various dental procedures require injections, usually for numbing, and dentists are experts at giving these injections with as little discomfort or pain as possible to the patient.
Combining their steady hands with ample experience, and overall knowledge of facial structures, your dentist is the perfect professional, then, for safely administering Botox injections as well.
3. Dentists Use Botox for Clinical Solutions as well as for Cosmetic Uses
While cosmetic uses of Botox are popular today, other valuable clinical uses exist as well for patients. The most well-known of these uses is to alleviate pain and soreness attributed to bruxism (teeth grinding and jaw clenching) and temporomandibular joints (TMJ) or to tame chronic headaches such as migraines.
Botox injections also benefit those new to wearing dentures by retraining facial muscles and can limit gummy smiles, which often lead to self-consciousness.
4. Dentists Provide Convenient Services to Benefit Both Your Oral Health and Appearance in One Location
Maintaining a healthy mouth with dental cleanings and exams can easily be combined with the administering of Botox treatments, allowing you to address both needs at one location.
In other words, you can create your perfect smile by utilizing the expertise of your dental team, including their facial aesthetics know-how, without having to make multiple appointments at different offices. By doing so, you save time and receive comprehensive services to help achieve and maintain the look you want.
All your records remain in one location, so the team can refer back to them to ensure you receive the right treatments at the right time also.
5. Dentists Obtain Specialized Botox Training
To provide Botox treatment services to patients, dentists receive additional training in the best methods for administering the injections themselves. With the already obtained knowledge of dental procedures and facial structures, this additional training brings even more confidence to the skills they can provide to patients.
Today there are more available options than ever to help you create and keep a smile you love to share with others. Your dentist can help, not only in assuring healthy and attractive teeth but also with facial aesthetic services, including beneficial Botox treatments.
Find Out More About Botox Treatments at Lifetime Dental in Columbus
Whether you suffer from pain or soreness from such conditions as TMJ or bruxism or want to elevate your smile to a higher level, the addition of Botox treatments by the professionals here at Lifetime Dental may just be the solution you’re looking for. To find out more, schedule an appointment today with our compassionate team and see how we can help.
Dental hygiene is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of our overall health. Nearly 180 million Americans are missing one tooth, and an estimated 40 million are missing all of their teeth, according to the American College of Prosthodontists. There are many things to be done for damaged or missing teeth, including dental implants. Below you will learn more about what could prevent you from getting a dental implant.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant acts as an orthodontic anchor and is made of titanium that connects to the jaw or skull to support a dental prosthetic, such as a denture, bridge, or crown.
The process in which the titanium implant forms a bond to the bone is called osseointegration. The dental implant is placed first, allowing a moderate amount of time for healing and osseointegration to occur before a prosthetic is added.
What Disqualifies Me as a Candidate for a Dental Implant?
Dental implants require a certain level of health to be maintained by the recipient. Patients are often told they are not a candidate for dental implants for several reasons such as:
Smoking increases a patient’s risk of dental implant failure. If a patient is a smoker, their dental professional will often give them a time frame that they will need to stop smoking to be considered for a dental implant.
Gum disease often goes untreated for long periods, destroying our healthy gingiva, the tooth itself, and even the bone. Gum disease must be successfully treated before a dentist considering approving a dental implant
Poor overall health
Receiving one or more dental implants is considered a surgical procedure requiring incisions and sutures. If you as a patient are not healthy enough to undergo an operation, you may be denied the procedure.
Diabetes not only affects the blood sugar of a patient, but it is a systemic disease affecting essentially all parts of the human body. A patient with diabetes must receive treatment to get their diabetes under control before they are deemed safe to receive a dental implant.
A patient currently receiving, or who has recently received, radiation therapy near the face or neck may be denied dental implant surgery due to an increased risk to the patient.
Medications, such as blood thinners or steroids, increase the patient’s risk during a dental implant procedure deeming it unsafe for the patient. A dentist may recommend the patient stop taking their current medications, if approved by their primary care physician, for a certain length of time before being approved for a dental implant.
Surgery is not recommended in pregnant females unless medically necessary. It is recommended to wait until after pregnancy to receive a dental implant.
Low bone density
Many dentists will not perform dental implants if they do not believe there is enough bone for the implant to attach to. Low bone density is the number one reason that patients are denied dental implant surgery. The dental implant must osseointegrate to the bone before a prosthetic being placed, however, when there is not enough bone density available within your jaw the implant cannot attach securely.
Rather than approve you for a surgery that is not medically safe for you, or that is beyond the skill level of the dentist of choice, they will often deem you a bad candidate. You may seek out a second opinion from a more highly trained professional.
A highly skilled, and properly trained dentist may recommend a bone graft to be considered a candidate for a dental implant. A bone graft replaces missing bone in your jaw with bone tissue from either the chin, hip, or shin, to allow new bone to grow.
A bone graft, depending on the severity, requires several weeks of healing prior to the start of a dental implant procedure. As a bone graft patient, you may require several appointments to ensure proper bone density once a graft is completed before being approved to receive a dental implant. Again, the implant may take several weeks to heal before receiving the prosthetic whether that be a crown, bridge, implant, or anchor for your orthodontic treatment.
Young patients, whose bones have not fully developed, are considered at risk for a dental implant. A dentist will not perform a dental implant procedure on a patient whose jaw is still growing. You must be an adult with a fully developed bone structure.
Considerations for a Dental Implant
To be considered for a dental implant procedure, there are many things your dentist will take into consideration. First and foremost, you must be missing one or more teeth. Your dentist will require that you not smoke or drink for a set number of days or weeks prior to the procedure to ensure there is no risk associated.
Your dentist will evaluate your bone density to ensure your jaw bone is a strong candidate to take on and be able to hold the implant securely in place. Overall, a good candidate for a dental implant is overall healthy, an adult, and has good bone density.
Over time, your teeth begin to lose their color or may become stained, from what you eat or drink such as wine, tomato sauce, and coffee. Many people believe the only way to get a bright, white smile is through expensive dental visits with professional whitening products. While professional teeth whitening at the dentist can get you optimal whitening results, there are at-home alternatives as well. Below are the best teeth-whitening products available today.
Whitening toothpaste does not bleach the teeth as professional treatment would do but rather removes the discolored surface area using mildly abrasive ingredients. Many whitening kinds of toothpaste contain things such as peroxide, baking soda, activated charcoal, and more.
Using whitening toothpaste is an inexpensive way to achieve a brighter smile as many of the most used brands are $10 or less per tube. It is important to know that the overuse of whitening toothpaste containing peroxide can permanently damage or destroy the natural collagen on your teeth.
An electric toothbrush is much more effective in comparison to a manual toothbrush at removing surface stains from your teeth. Oscillating toothbrushes are often better compared to others but can come with a higher price tag.
Electric toothbrushes range anywhere from $8 all the way to $300 depending on the brand and feature it offers. Many electric toothbrushes ranging from $20-$30 are effective in removing surface stains.
Many whitening strips are clear stips containing a hydrogen peroxide-based gel. In just a few weeks you will notice a significant difference in the color of your teeth. Whitening strips are often sold in sets, one strip for both the bottom and the top teeth.
Whitening strips are relatively inexpensive, especially in comparison to professional whitening treatment, as they are often available starting at approximately $10 and up depending on things like the brand and strength. The strips are designed to be left on for up to 30 minutes, again, depending on the brand.
Teeth-whitening strips are made both intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic whitening is the actual bleaching of the teeth to change the enamel color, most commonly with hydrogen peroxide. While extrinsic whitening uses a mild abrasive, such as activated charcoal, to remove stains from the outer surface of the teeth, making them appear more white, but not actually changing the color.
Whitening Gel Tray
Another commonly used teeth whitening practice is the use of a whitening gel tray. These gel trays yield the best, longest-lasting results of the most available whitening methods.
The tray is custom-made and fitted specifically for you by your dentist by using a mold of your teeth. Your whitening tray can be used as long as you have it, given your teeth do not significantly shift.
To use this whitening gel tray you will purchase a gel to be used at home. To ensure the life of the gel it is best kept in the refrigerator. To use the tray at home, remove the gel from the refrigerator and squirt it into the tray. Place the tray on your teeth ensuring the gel does not touch your gums. The whitening tray can be left on anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on your teeth sensitivity and personal preference. It is important that you do not use the whitening gel tray overnight as it can lead to extreme sensitivity.
Professional Teeth Whitening
A professional teeth whitening session is often performed in a dentist’s office. These visits often take longer than at-home whitening treatments, however, the results are typically better than you will receive from at-home treatments. Professional teeth whitening takes several sessions to healthily achieve a bright, white smile.
At a professional teeth whitening appointment, a high concentration of either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide will be applied to your teeth, typically several times throughout the duration of your appointment. Your dentist will often finish up your treatment using a UV light to accelerate the reaction of the whitening treatment.
Professional teeth whitening does not just change the color of the surface of the tooth. With professional whitening treatments, you can whiten your teeth from the inside out. You will see a noticeable difference in the color of your teeth with just one treatment, although it is still recommended to follow through with 1-3 appointments for optimal results.
Professional Teeth Whitening at Lifetime Dental Health
Whether you are currently whitening your teeth, or are looking into professional teeth whitening, it’s important to remember that you must keep up with routine dental appointments and good oral hygiene. It is recommended to see a dentist for a routine cleaning and a checkup every 6 months.
It’s happened to just about all of us. At your semi-annual dental check-up, you hear the words “you have a cavity.” It’s unfortunate. But it’s not a catastrophe because you know there is a fix for a cavity — a dental filling.
Ever since dentistry began, dentists have been filling cavities. In modern times, the most common filling material has been amalgam: a combination of several metals, such as silver, mercury, zinc, and copper. Amalgam has been popular for fillings for nearly a century because it’s strong, long-lasting, and much more affordable than the only alternative that was available: gold.
Now, there’s another option to an amalgam filling that’s gaining a following for a variety of reasons — the composite filling.
What are the differences between an amalgam filling and a resin filling?
When amalgam fillings were introduced, they were a welcomed option to a gold filling. A gold tooth was quite noticeable when you talked, ate, or even smiled, and the cost of a gold filling could be prohibitive. The combination of metals used in an amalgam filling, while replacing the glint of gold with a hint of silver, was more affordable by far than gold. Still, anyone who saw you would likely see them.
Enter the composite resin filling: today’s option for a dental filling that only you and your dentist need to know about. Introduced in the 1960s and continually adjusted and improved, composite fillings are made of a combination of soft, shapeable ceramic and plastic that is applied to the cavity then “cured” with a bright blue light.
Both amalgam and composite fillings do the job they’re intended to do — they fill in the “cavity” in your tooth. There are differences, however. The biggest difference between amalgam and composite fillings is visibility.
What are the advantages of a composite filling?
No one wants their smile to offer a glint of metal; whether it’s silver or gold doesn’t really matter. Still, everyone wants their fillings to be strong enough to handle the wear and tear of chewing for as long as possible. A good composite filling will definitely fit that bill, with some other advantages added on.
Advantage #1: Invisibility. Amalgam fillings are one color — silver. And silver in your mouth is noticeable, regardless of where the filling may be. On the other hand, composite fillings start out white, which by itself is hardly noticeable on most teeth. Better yet, composite filling material can be colored to match your natural teeth, which we know are never pure white. This makes composite fillings a much better choice for teeth in the front of your mouth (the ones that everyone sees when you smile).
Advantage #2: Preservation. Getting a filling means “filling in” a cavity, which is a hole in your tooth. Counterintuitively, though, we have to drill out the decay in your tooth – making a bigger hole – in order to accommodate a filling. Both amalgam and composite fillings require some drilling, but the malleability of the composite material requires less, so the maximum amount of your tooth is preserved.
Advantage #3: Sensitivity. Amalgam fillings have been around for over a century, and they work well. However, many people notice a sensitivity to temperature with an amalgam filling, and some people are allergic to the metals used. Additionally, depending on how many amalgam fillings a person has and how large they are, the amount of mercury in an amalgam filling may be of concern even though the level of mercury has been declared safe by the American Dental Association.
How can I choose between amalgam and composite fillings?
Of course, as in most situations, there is no clear winner between amalgam and composite fillings. They both do a good job of filling a cavity. There are two significant differences that you will want to consider before you make a choice: longevity and cost.
Filling a cavity should be a long-lasting “fix” because no one wants to endure the drilling and filling process any more often than necessary. When it comes to longevity, amalgam fillings are generally more durable than composite ones, lasting for 10 to 15 years if cared for. That’s why they are recommended for fillings in back teeth — especially molars — that are subjected to more of the rigors of chewing. Composite fillings last for five to seven years, so while they are an ideal choice for a filling in your smile, they are seldom the best choice for a filling in the harder-working teeth.
Filling a cavity is a “must-do” if you are to maintain your oral health. Depending on the size of the filling needed, cost can be a factor in your choice. An amalgam filling is likely to cost less than a composite filling because of the cost of the composite material, the demands of applying it, and the process of dying it to match your natural teeth. Particularly if you have an especially large cavity, or several cavities, the cost of composite fillings may be prohibitive. In addition, some dental insurance plans do not cover composite fillings at the same level as they cover amalgam fillings, or cover them not at all. You’ll want to check with your dental plan before you decide. (We may be able to help if your insurance isn’t enough.)
Composite fillings meet an important need when it comes to your appearance, though they’re not ideal for every situation. That’s why we encourage you to talk with us about your personal dental needs and how we can help you achieve the result you’re hoping for. You can contact us by phone or make an appointment on our website. We’re here to help!
If you’re like many adults today, you have your share of cavities, most acquired during childhood. And, like many adults, you probably have some not-so-cherished memories of the drilling, and the stuffing, and the discomfort that can accompany getting a filling. Filling cavities in our teeth is important, but it can’t quite be called fun. And it’s not a sign of healthy teeth, either. Cavities signal tooth decay, but how can you keep that decay away? Call on dental sealants.
Do Dental Sealants Help Prevent Cavities?
Brushing your teeth and flossing daily removes most of the food and bacteria from your teeth. But not all of it. Especially on teeth in the back of your mouth — molars and premolars. These are the teeth that do most of the work, the grinding and chewing, when you eat. And the surface grooves and fissures —which all teeth have — are deeper on these teeth than on others, and harder to reach when you brush, especially for young children.
Dental sealants consist of a thin coating of liquid plastic that’s painted onto the chewing surface of molars and premolars. They serve as an extra barrier to help protect these hard-working teeth from decay. Sealants work much like the commercial packaging we find on perishable foods in a store. They keep food particles, bacteria, and plaque from settling into the hills and valleys of your tooth’s surface in the way that a package, be it a can or a bag, keeps dust and dirt out of the food on your grocer’s shelves.
Dental sealants are permanently bonded to a tooth’s surface. To apply a dental sealant, we first use an acidic solution to roughen the surface of the tooth so that the sealant solution will stick as well as possible. Once the acid is rinsed off, the sealant is carefully painted onto the surface of your tooth. As the sealant is applied, it flows into all the crevices in the tooth, some of which are thinner than a strand of human hair. The final step is hardening the sealant, called polymerizing, accomplished by shining a curing light on the tooth for a few minutes.
Their application takes little time — most often less than 45 minutes — and helps ensure that your tooth will be ready to keep out bacteria and food particles for years to come. And it’s usually painless, a plus for children who fear the dentist or people who have particularly sensitive teeth.
How Well Do Dental Sealants Do Their Job?
Keeping cavities out of teeth in order to avoid the need for a dental filling is one of the main jobs dental sealants are specifically designed to do. Although they are most often used on children’s teeth, sealants can work well for adults, too. The statistics are impressive:
According to the American Dental Association, sealants can not only prevent cavities, but they can also sometimes halt the progression of tooth decay that has not yet created a cavity.
Is The Cost of a Dental Sealant Worth It?
Typically, placing dental sealants will cost from $30 to $60 per tooth, depending on the teeth, your overall oral health, and the number of teeth to be sealed. Most dental insurance plans either don’t cover sealants at all, or offer minimal coverage. Nevertheless, even without dental insurance, sealants are likely to be less costly in the long run than handling tooth decay by putting in a filling.
The initial cost of filling a cavity is significantly more than the cost of a dental sealant. A filling can cost as much as $150 depending on the size of the filling needed and the type of filling desired. And cavities, and the need to fill them, are not uncommon. According to Zentist, a dental insurance website, on average:
42% of children age 2 to 11 have cavities in their primary teeth
59% of adolescents age 12 to 19 have cavities in their permanent teeth
92% of adults have at least one cavity
Even if cost isn’t an issue, time and inconvenience often are. At the least, like getting a dental sealant, filling a cavity means a visit to your dentist. But getting a filling takes longer, can be uncomfortable during the procedure, and may cause pain (from mild to severe) that keeps you from your normal activities for the rest of the day. Sealants can be applied rather quickly, compared to filling a cavity, and they usually cause no pain or discomfort. And, unlike replacing a filling, which requires re-drilling the tooth, if a seal is broken, for whatever reason, the sealant can easily be reapplied.
As with any oral health decision, the real first step to stopping cavities with dental sealants is to talk with your dentist. We at Lifetime Dental Health are here to help, right from the start. To talk to one of our dental professionals or to make your first appointment, contact us. We’ll be happy to help you stop cavities in their tracks, before they reach your pearly-whites.