COMPLETE OR FULL DENTURES
A complete upper or lower denture is a removable appliance that will replace all the natural teeth and provides support for lips and cheeks. Replacing missing teeth with a complete denture improves a person’s ability to speak and eat.
An upper or lower partial denture is an appliance that fills in the spaces caused by missing teeth. Filling in these spaces with a partial denture prevents the remaining teeth from changing positions or drifting into the surrounding space. A partial denture will help you properly chew food and may improve overall speech.
A crown is a fixed restoration that caps, or covers a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size. A crown is placed for a number of reasons including: to support a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining, to attach a bridge, to protect weak teeth from fracturing (such as following root canal therapy), to restore fractured teeth, to cover badly shaped or discolored teeth, or to cover a dental implant.
Bridges are a fixed restoration, which spans or replaces space where one or more teeth are missing. Bridges are bonded into place and are not removable except by a dentist. It is important for your dental health to replace missing teeth. Teeth were designed to complement each other, and if one or more are missing the surrounding teeth may drift towards the missing space, or the opposing teeth may move up or down in the jaw toward the space. Missing teeth can affect the way that you chew and speak, and replacing them will improve the overall function of your mouth. Crowns and bridges usually take two visits to complete. At the first visit Dr. James will prepare the tooth (or teeth) by removing the outer portion of your tooth to accommodate the thickness of the crown or bridge. An impression is then taken to provide an exact model of the prepared tooth. A temporary crown or bridge is placed for approximately two weeks while a dental laboratory makes the permanent bridge or crown. At the second visit the temporary is removed, the permanent placed and permanently cemented after any necessary adjustments are made.
Dental implants are an option to replacing missing teeth. Implants are placed below the gums into the jawbone and are very stable because they fuse with the bone. The implant placement is a surgery and will be completed by a specialist. After a healing period of generally three to six months, an implant crown, bridge or even an implant supported denture can be placed by Dr. James. The fitting of this final restoration over your implant may take several appointments. Candidates for an implant need to have adequate bone and healthy gums to support the implant. If you are interested in dental implants a thorough examination by Dr. James can determine whether or not you are a candidate.
AMALGAM VS. COMPOSITE
A dental filling is a restoration placed into a prepared cavity in a single visit. There are two options when having a dental filling placed: either an amalgam or silver filling, or a resin/composite or tooth colored filling. Amalgam, or silver filling material has been used by dentists for over a century and is the most researched and tested restorative material in use. It is very durable and highly resistant to wear. Amalgam is a stable alloy, which combines elementary mercury, silver, tin, copper and possibly other metallic elements. Although some concerns have been raised about the use of mercury in dental amalgam, the mercury combines with other metals to render it stable and safe to use for fillings in teeth. Much research on dental amalgam has been preformed and has passed all safety regulations by many major U.S. and international health and sciences bodies, including the Food and Drug Administration. If you have any other questions regarding the safety of dental amalgam, please visit the American Dental Association’s website at www.ada.org. Composite, or tooth colored filling material is a mixture of quartz or glass filler in a resin medium. Composite fillings provide good resistance and durability in small to mid-size restorations. The placement of composite material is sometimes a little less invasive of a filling due to the composite material can be “bonded” or adhesively held in a cavity. This means that less tooth structure may need to be removed when placing the filling, making the filling slightly more conservative than an amalgam filling.
In the past, if the nerve of a tooth was diseased, the only option was to have the tooth extracted. Today a dental procedure called root canal therapy may save that tooth. Inside each tooth is the pulp, which provides the nerves and nutrients to the tooth. If the pulp is diseased or damaged, the pulp tissue dies. If the pulp is not removed, the tooth may get infected and you could lose it. Root canal therapy involves removing the pulp, cleaning the canals of the tooth’s root(s), and filling them with a substance that will keep the tooth functional. A root canal often involves one to three visits either with Dr. James, or with a specialist in root canals called an endodontist. Once the root canal is completed, you will return to see Dr. James to put a final restoration on the tooth, which usually involves the placement of a crown.