Thanks to advances in modern dentistry, teeth that have been affected by a range of imperfections or that have sustained damage from trauma or dental decay, can be restored to produce a naturally beautiful looking and functional smile. The cosmetic dental solutions available today can effectively improve and enhance the appearance of teeth that are stained, discolored, misshapen, chipped, fractured, gapped, crowded or broken down as the result of dental decay.
Cosmetic dental procedures can range from treatments that are relatively quick and non-invasive to more comprehensive plans of care to restore incomplete smiles that have been affected by severely damaged, lost, or missing teeth.
When teeth are missing, a series of changes that can impact your overall dental health and jaw function may begin to develop. The adjacent teeth may start to drift or tilt into the space, and teeth in the opposing jaw may start to shift toward the area of the missing tooth. It is therefore important to replace either the single tooth or multiple teeth that are missing from this area. One of the best options to prevent the consequences of shifting teeth and to restore full function to a small edentulous section in the mouth is a dental bridge.
A dental bridge replaces the missing teeth with artificial teeth called “pontics,” and is supported on the ends by prepared natural teeth. Once fabricated and fitted a dental bridge will be permanently “fixed,” or cemented into place. Like crowns, bridges can be made of either porcelain baked on to a metal substrate or many of the new ceramic materials that have been developed.
A dental cleaning is a procedure done by a dental hygienist to get into hard to reach areas of the gums and teeth in order to remove bacteria and food debris. The ADA recommends Prophylaxis cleanings and examinations every 6 months, so that patients can have plaque and tartar scraped off of their teeth. Plaque is a hard substance that adheres to the surface of a tooth. Too much plaque and tartar can cause gum disease and problems with teeth. A dentist has special tools that can remove this plaque and tartar so that teeth are fresh and clean again. Because plaque and tartar buildup happen on a daily basis, patients should still brush and floss regularly.
During a dental cleaning the hygienist will get inside the hard to reach areas and clean out the spaces in between the gums and teeth. If the patient is suffering from gum disease or early gum disease, a deep cleaning, periodontal scaling or root planing may be administered. In this procedure, the hygienist gets into the flaps of gum under the tooth and into the pockets where bacteria can hide. A patient with pockets deeper than 4 mm is usually recommended to have a root planing or scaling. Patients with periodontal disease may need to have more than one cleaning per 6 months.
Dental Fillings are the most common type of dental restoration used to replace sections of teeth that are missing, damaged or decayed. While traditional dental materials like gold, amalgam, porcelain, and composite successfully restore teeth; recent advances in dental technology have made a wider and improved selection of restorative choices available. Some of the newest state-of-the-art filling materials, including ceramic and the latest composite materials, are not only strong and durable, they offer the most aesthetically pleasing and natural looking results.
Whether from disease, malnutrition, genetic disorders or an accident, it is occasionally necessary for patients to have some or all their upper and lower teeth extracted. While this can be upsetting news, partial or full dentures can be fabricated to restore an attractive smile, provide needed support for normal facial contours, and reestablish a highly functional occlusion.
A denture consists of natural looking artificial teeth set in a supportive base. It may be fabricated to replace either a small group of teeth, an entire upper arch, an entire lower arch, or used to restore both dental arches.
A complete denture refers to the replacement of all the teeth in a dental arch. It can be inserted either of two ways. It can be inserted some weeks after the extraction sites and other surgical procedures have had a chance to heal, or as an “immediate” denture placed the same day the last remaining teeth are extracted. Although an immediate denture offers the advantage of not having to go without teeth for any length of time, it can require multiple adjustments as the tissues remodel and heal following dental extractions or other surgical procedures.
In situations where some sturdy teeth remain, partial dentures can be fabricated. Partial dentures can achieve adequate retention and stability by having clasps on the teeth surrounding the edentulous areas.
In some cases, added stability for the dentures can be provided by strategically placed implants.
Dental emergencies can come about in any number of ways. Your discomfort may be due to an injury to the oral facial area, the acute flare up of a longstanding problem, or the result of the sudden onset of seemingly inexplicable pain. Whatever the case may be, urgent dental care is needed to provide you with relief and to avoid any further consequences to your oral health or function, as well as your overall well being.
There are many reasons to seek emergency dental care, including severe toothaches, chipped or fractured teeth, a dental abscess, impacted teeth, loose or broken fillings, lost or dislodged crowns, broken dentures and more. While the pain of a toothache is one of the more common reasons that patients come to our dental office for emergency dental care, we also promptly treat emergencies that are not necessarily painful like crowns that have been dislodged and broken dentures that leave embarrassing gaps in one’s smile.
Whether your dental emergency is painful, if it affects the appearance of your smile, or if you suspect that an infection is present, contact our office immediately for care. We will make every effort to see you as promptly as possible.
Sometimes it is necessary to extract a tooth. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Extractions are commonly performed in cases where a deciduous “baby” tooth is reluctant to fall out, a severely broken down and non-restorable tooth is present, or “wisdom tooth” is poorly positioned and unable to fully erupt into place.
To reduce any anxiety and insure patient comfort whenever a tooth extraction is necessary, the procedure, the post surgical instructions, as well as any restorative follow-up care will be carefully and completely explained.
Bone loss in the jaws and around the teeth can be the result of missing teeth, periodontal disease, or trauma. This bone loss is more than a detriment to oral health and function; it can also alter facial appearance as the support for the natural contours of the face is diminished.
When a tooth is extracted, the natural stimulation to the underlying bone that is generated by the forces of biting or chewing is lost. The fact of the matter is that bone width can be reduced by as much as 25% in the first year following tooth loss.
By performing grafting procedures, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon can help restore the bone to its original dimensions to maintain facial esthetics, repair the damage caused by periodontal disease as well as facilitate the success of procedures such as the placement of dental implants. A bone graft provides a platform or “scaffolding” for new bone growth and the material for a bone graft can be derived from the patient, other donor sources or be comprised of synthetic, bone-like materials.
Several types of grafting procedures are performed depending upon the particular needs of the case.
A bone graft can be placed immediately upon the extraction of a tooth or some time after tooth loss. Placing a bone graft at the time of tooth removal reduces the amount of bone loss in the area to maintain the hard tissue support that is required for the future placement of a dental implant. When a bone graft is placed awhile after tooth loss, a separate surgical procedure is required to reflect the soft tissue, expose the underlying bone, place a graft and then suture the soft tissue back into place.
For patients lacking a sufficient amount of bone for a dental implant to replace a maxillary back tooth (upper back tooth), a procedure, which is known as a “sinus lift” is performed. During this surgical procedure, the sinus membrane is lifted, and bone graft material is added between the jaw and the floor of the sinus to provide the needed bone height to support a dental implant successfully.
In addition to bone grafting for purposes of ridge preservation or augmentation to allow for dental implants, an aesthetic ridge augmentation procedure to restore the natural contours of the bone is sometimes performed in preparation for fixed bridgework to achieve a more cosmetically pleasing result.
To guide tissue regeneration as well as protect the graft and promote healing, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon may place specialized membranes and biologically active materials over the grafting material.
Guided Implant Placement represents an important step forward in the way dentists perform implant treatment. With the use of advanced 3-D imaging technology, the precise pre-planning of every phase of the implant procedure based on the specifics of a patient's anatomy is possible. Guided implant surgery allows the dentist to “virtually” map out an implant procedure and to select the optimal implant site beforehand. Based upon highly accurate 3D diagnostic information a custom surgical guide is fabricated and used during the procedure to ensure the safe and precise placement of the implant to achieve the most predictable results of care.
Losing a tooth due to injury, dental decay, or gum disease can happen. However, in order to avoid causing problems for the adjacent teeth and your overall dental health, it is important to replace the tooth that has been lost. This can be done any number of ways including fixed bridges, removable partial or full dentures as well as a more recent procedure known as dental implants.
One of the most significant dental innovations in recent times, an implant is a small surgical fixture made of biocompatible metal or ceramic materials that is placed into the jawbone and functions in the same manner as the root of tooth. In the same way that natural root supports the natural crown of your tooth, an implant once it fully integrates with the surrounding bone, provides a stable and durable foundation for a replacement tooth. Implants often support a crown for an individual tooth, but can also be used as abutment teeth for a dental bridge, or strategically placed to help stabilize a denture.
Out of all the restorative choices available today, an implant comes the closest to replicating the look, feel and function of a natural tooth. Furthermore, it is the only method of tooth replacement that does not require the involvement or preparation of the adjacent teeth. A dental implant also stimulates bone remodeling to prevent shrinkage in areas where teeth are missing and helps to restore facial contours in areas where significant bone loss has occurred.
Lost or missing teeth can diminish the appearance of your smile as well as affect your ability to speak clearly and properly chew food. In fact, an incomplete smile can even have an effect on your overall well being. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers several cosmetically pleasing and functional methods of teeth replacement to rebuild your smile.
Today, many individuals are interested in receiving dental implants to replace their missing teeth in order to reestablish a complete and beautiful smile. A dental implant is a small, biocompatible post that is placed directly into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. It behaves in much the same way as the root of a natural tooth. As the most advanced method of tooth replacement modern dentistry offers, a dental implant comes the closest to replicating the look, feel and function of a natural smile. Dental implants may be used to support either a single dental crown or multiple ones, as your smile requires. Special dental implants can also be placed in certain cases to provide added stability to a removable denture.
Once your dental implant has been placed and has had the time to integrate with the surrounding dental bone, it is ready to provide strong support for your new replacement teeth. At this time our office will fabricate the most cosmetically pleasing and durable crowns or dental bridges to give you back a smile that you can enjoy for many years to come.
Infection controls and universal precautions protect clients and staff alike. Everyone benefits from rigorous infection control you, your dentist, and the dental team. The cornerstone in a good and safe dental practice is the element of trust. You should feel free to discuss this topic with Dr. Maxson or Dr. De la Rosa to receive a straightforward answer.
Drs. Maxson, De la Rosa and our entire team follow procedures recommended by several federal agencies: the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These measures include:
We steralize all reusable equipment, including dental hand pieces. We use an autoclave, a device that kills bacteria and viruses by stea,, heat, and pressure.
The best defense against disease is information. The more you know, the better equipped you are to make wise decisions about your health care. The more you know about daily procedures and policies, the more comfortable you will feel.
Chronic jaw clenching and grinding one’s teeth is called bruxism. While it can happen any time of day, it often occurs at night causing an individual to wake up with any number of symptoms including jaw pain, headaches, and sore teeth that may feel loose. Although, stress and anxiety are the most common causes of bruxism there may be other contributing factors such as a sleep disorder, an abnormal bite, as well as teeth that are missing or poorly aligned.
To alleviate the symptoms of bruxism, wearing a night guard while sleeping is frequently recommended. This appliance is designed to fit over the teeth and to keep the jaws slightly apart. Wearing a night guard prevents a number of damaging events, including muscle strain, excessive pressure on the jaw joint (the TMJ), and such dental damage as chipped or cracked teeth resulting from the teeth grinding against each other.
In addition to preventing damage to the soft and hard tissues surrounding the orofacial cavity, a custom night guard fabricated at the dental office can help curb a bruxism habit and give the wearer a better night’s sleep.
Nitrous Oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe.
Nitrous Oxide has been the the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe, the patient receives 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide.
The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions.
The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.
Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide
Though there are no major contraindictions to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, exotic chest problems, M.S., a cold or other difficulties with breathing.
For more information on Sedation Dentistry or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Maxson or Dr. De la Rosa, please call our Stuart FL office.
Oral cancer accounts for 2.9% of all diagnosed cases of cancer in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society it is estimated that 51,000 people across the country will develop oral cancer this year and that 10,000 fatalities are expected from the disease.
Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the orofacial complex but is most often found on the tongue, the tonsils and oropharynx, the gums, floor of the mouth, lips, cheek lining or the hard palate. While the disease can affect anyone, men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women. Those particularly at risk for oral cancer are men over the age of 50 who are heavy smokers and frequently drink alcohol. Additional risk factors may include UV exposure from the sun or sunlamps, GERD (gastro-intestinal reflux disease, prior head and neck radiation treatment, exposure to certain chemicals and poor diet. While the death rate from oral cancer has been decreasing in the past several decades thanks to early detection and advanced methods of treatment improving the outcomes of care, there has been a recent rise in the incidence of oropharyngeal cancer due to increased transmission of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV).
As part of a comprehensive exam, the dentist will perform a screening for oral cancer. To start, the dentist will review the patient’s medical and dental histories and ask if there have been any changes to his or her oral health or overall health. The dentist will then carefully check in and around the oral cavity as well as the head and neck area for any of the following signs or symptoms that may indicate the presence of a problem
Your first visit to our office is very important with regard to establishing your oral health baseline. We will begin by carefully reviewing your medical and dental histories and taking special note of all of your dental concerns, as well as any symptoms that you may be experiencing. This will be followed by a thorough clinical examination, including an oral cancer screening, periodontal evaluation, an analysis of your occlusion (bite) plus a thorough examination of your teeth, their supporting structures, and the complete orofacial area. Any needed diagnostic dental films will be taken at this time.
At our office, we take pride in creating and maintaining beautiful and healthy smiles for our younger patients in an environment that is lighthearted and fun. With an emphasis on establishing oral health habits that last a lifetime, we offer a comprehensive program of preventive care and closely monitor the dental health of our pediatric patients as they grow.
As an added level of protection to guard against childhood dental decay, we recommend periodic fluoride treatments and the application of dental sealants on the biting surfaces of the newly erupted permanent back teeth.
Periodontal disease damages the surrounding soft tissues and bone that support the teeth. It is predominantly caused by the accumulation of bacteria, mucus and other particles in the form of plaque or tartar that sit between the teeth and the gums. Periodontal disease can range in severity from a simple gum inflammation, known as gingivitis, to a more serious inflammation of the periodontal tissues. Left untreated periodontal disease can result in significant tissue damage and eventual tooth loss.
The problem with periodontal disease is that often the progression is painless. As a result the affected individual may not be aware of an ongoing disease process. This is why it is so important to recognize the signs of the earliest stage of periodontal disease, which is gingivitis. The symptoms of gingivitis typically include red, swollen and bleeding gums. Treatment instituted at this point is often sufficient to reverse the course of the disease and to avoid any permanent damage to the periodontal tissues. A series of deep dental cleanings, an improved home care regimen, and a commitment to regular maintenance may be all that is required to prevent this stage of periodontal disease from progressing.
Left untreated, gingivitis can escalate into periodontitis. However, there are other factors that can contribute to the escalation of periodontal disease, including smoking, genetic tendencies, and unchecked diabetes. In either case, when periodontal disease has progressed to a more advanced stage there is usually clinical and radiographic evidence of damage to the bone and soft tissues supporting the teeth. Periodontal treatment in this phase is designed to halt the progression of the disease and to restore tooth support as possible. This may involve medications to control the bacteria and reduce the size of the pockets between the teeth and gums, gum surgery, as well as bone and tissue grafts.
According to recent studies good oral hygiene is essential not only for your dental health, it is important to your overall health and well-being. Our comprehensive dental hygiene program is designed to preserve your teeth and the supporting structures by preventing the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental disease.
To maintain your optimal oral health we recommend periodic professional dental cleanings. The ADA recommends Prophylaxis cleanings and examinations every 6 months. Removing plaque and debris from teeth, especially from places where a toothbrush can't reach, like underneath the gum line and in-between teeth is extremely important.
It is also important to keep in mind that in conjunction with periodic dental professional cleanings, a good dental home care regimen is necessary. As part of the preventive program at this office your current home care practices will be reviewed. Following that, we will make recommendations as to what areas require improvements, and instruct you in the proper methods of brushing and flossing.
Additional preventive services may be indicated for individual patients. An integral part of our preventive program for pediatric patients includes periodic fluoride treatments and the application of dental sealants.
Endodontics, or root canal therapy, is employed when the nerve supply to a tooth has been irreversibly affected by damage or decay. It is a way to prevent or help resolve a dental infection and save a natural tooth from extraction. A root canal is performed when there is enough sound root and crown structure remaining to eventually restore form and function to the involved tooth.
Inside every tooth is either a single central chamber or multiple ones that contain connective tissue, a nerve supply, and blood vessels. These core tissues, known as the dental pulp, help your tooth to grow and mature before it emerges into the mouth. A root canal procedure is required when this dental pulp is irreversibly damaged or has died.
Root canal therapy involves cleaning and shaping each canal, and then filling them with a special inert material. Following this they are sealed to prevent any subsequent infection. Once root canal therapy has been completed, the tooth should be fully restored as recommended.
Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially life threatening disorder involving repeated pauses in breathing while asleep. The most common form of this condition is obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when there is an obstruction of an individual’s airway that interferes with the flow of oxygen through the nose or mouth during sleep. In someone afflicted with obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles of the throat and mouth relax during sleep to the point where they fall back into the upper airway and create a blockage that restricts breathing.
The signs and symptoms of this disorder during sleeping hours may include, loud snoring, episodes of breathing cessation, abrupt awakenings, episodes of gasping for air, along with difficulties getting a good night’s sleep. An individual with sleep apnea will exhibit problems during the day as well. Sleep apnea can lead to a morning headache, excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.
A sleep study is typically conducted to determine the severity of the disorder. The results of this study along with other medical findings will play a role in determining the recommended therapy. The most common form of therapy is a CPAP machine that is worn when sleeping. This device provides a steady stream of pressurized air into the respiratory system through a mask.
In situations of mild to moderate sleep apnea, a dental appliance may be deemed the appropriate treatment. Worn in a similar fashion to a mouthguard or an orthodontic retainer, it is designed to help keep the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat from collapsing, thereby enabling the airway to stay open during sleep. An oral appliance is easy to wear, easy to care for, comfortable, and portable. Oral appliances are individually fabricated, and customized for both maximum effectiveness and comfort.
Getting a full night of sleep is essential to your overall health. Being well rested helps you to feel good and to function at your best. One of the most common problems that can affect the quality of your sleep is snoring. According to statistics, about 90 million individuals in the United States snore while they sleep. While for about half of these people the problem is simply snoring, the others may be afflicted with a serious disorder known as sleep apnea. Therefore, before any type of treatment can be prescribed, it must be determined whether the problem is sleep apnea or “simple” snoring.
If it is determined that your problem is simply snoring, and you are what is known as a primary snorer, then an oral appliance can help you as well as any of your roommates enjoy a quieter and more comfortable sleep. A custom fabricated oral appliance to address snoring fits somewhat like a sports mouthguard or orthodontic retainer and is only worn while you sleep. As a removable and non-invasive treatment for snoring, your appliance slightly repositions your jaw to allow for a less restricted airflow to promote a quieter and more restful sleep.
Teeth that have been stained or darkened by food, tobacco use, age, medications or injury can be lightened and brightened by means of a non-invasive process known as teeth whitening.
Teeth whitening or bleaching simply refers to any process that will make the teeth appear whiter. While there are many over the counter options for teeth whitening, the most effective and safest teeth whitening systems are the professional strength ones available at the dentist’s office. A dental professional whitening system offers a higher concentration of whitening components and delivers them to the teeth in the most efficient manner to achieve optimal results.
At our office, we offer a professional take home system. Our professional strength take home system produces excellent results.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), also referred to as temporomandibular disorders (TMD), are the most common source of chronic facial pain and jaw dysfunction. It is estimated that more than 10 million people in the United States are affected by temporomandibular joint problems.
What is the Temporomandibular Joint?
There are two temporomandibular joints that connect the left and right sides of the lower jaw to the temporal bone. Both joints and their associated muscles, ligaments and tendons work together to allow for all manner of oral function as the jaw moves up and down, front to back and from side to side. Containing a shock-absorbing, soft disc that sits between the rounded condyles of both sides of the lower jaw and the corresponding concavities in the skull’s temporal bone, the TMJ makes chewing, speaking, yawning and all jaw movements possible.
Since the TMJ is a joint with both up and down hinge-like movements, as well as side to side and front to back sliding motions to perform, it is often considered one of the most complicated joints in the body and one of the most difficult to treat when problems arise.
Types and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
TMJ disorders can fall into one or more of the following three categories:
The risk for developing a TMJ problem is greater in the presence of long-term teeth grinding or bruxism, a jaw injury or various types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Furthermore, the manifestations of a TMJ disorder can vary from person to person with a wide range of symptoms possible, including earaches, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), headaches, back and neck pain, vertigo, muscle spasms and joint tenderness as well as jaw pain, popping or grating sounds with jaw movement, jaw locking and limited jaw movement. For some people a TMJ disorder can be resolved within a relatively short period of time, while for others it will continue to persist despite extensive therapy.
Diagnosis and Treatment
When evaluating for the presence of a TMJ disorder, the dentist will perform a thorough clinical assessment of joint symptoms and function. Special radiographic imaging and other diagnostic tests will be ordered as needed. The treatment of a TMJ disorder may include oral appliances such as night guards or stabilization splints to alleviate strain on the joints. Other types of therapy may include steroid injections, occlusal adjustments as well as orthodontic or prosthodontic treatment to improve occlusion. In cases of persistent and serious TMJ problems, surgery may be recommended.
Methods of self-care can be helpful in alleviating some of the symptoms of a TMJ disorder. Patients are typically advised to eat soft foods, avoid extreme jaw movement such as wide yawning and gum chewing, to practice stress reduction and relaxation techniques and applying ice packs or moist heat as directed. If recommended, a patient should follow the dentist or therapist’s instruction for gentle stretching exercises. The short-term use of over-the-counter, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medications may provide relief. If not the dentist or physician may prescribe stronger pain or anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants or anti-depressants.
If your teeth suffer from gaps, chips, stains, or discolorations you may be a candidate for porcelain veneers, a highly effective and minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that can achieve beautiful results.
Porcelain veneers are thin facings custom-made of the highest quality ceramic materials that are designed to fit perfectly over the front of your teeth. One of the most conservative cosmetic treatments available, veneers can mask a host of dental imperfections to give you the smile that you have always wanted. Porcelain veneers not only enhance and improve the shape of your teeth, they are able to create an overall whiter and brighter smile.
One of the most appealing aspects of the process of fabricating porcelain veneers is that they involve minimal tooth preparation and take just a few visits. Porcelain veneers, once they are fabricated and fitted, are permanently bonded to the underlying teeth. The result is a naturally pleasing smile that is both strong and durable.
When the natural structure of a tooth has been extensively damaged or compromised due to dental decay, damaged fillings, root canals, or habitual clenching or grinding of the teeth, a dental filling may not be adequate for its repair. In such cases, dental crowns, also commonly referred to as caps, are recommended to effectively restore the natural integrity, function, and appearance of the affected tooth.
Out of all the materials that are available today for a full coverage restoration, metal-free crowns, also known as all zirconia crowns, offer the most lifelike and biocompatible results. Strong and durable, zirconia crowns are lighter in weight than dental crowns that incorporate a metal substructure and are also kinder to the surrounding soft tissues. Furthermore, zirconia crowns present no problems for individuals with sensitivities to various metals. Since they are fabricated of the highest grade of dental Ziconia, they most closely approximate the natural translucency of your own teeth.
Custom fabricated for the optimal health and aesthetic of a patient's smile, zirconia crowns can also be indicated for an array of dental treatments, ranging from the cosmetic restoration of discolored teeth, to the coverage of a structurally damaged tooth, dental implant, or as the supporting ends of a dental bridge.