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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Redwood Dental Health Center
February 10, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
YourCrowningAchievement

Creating a dental crown that looks good and wears well is not an easy achievement. It is the result of good communication you, the patient, have with us, your dental professionals, and that we have with the dental lab that manufactures the crown. In addition, it reflects the quality of work done by us and by the lab technician.

What is a dental crown?
A crown is a dental restoration that surrounds the remains of a damaged tooth or is attached to a dental implant so that it resembles a natural tooth as it extends above the gum line. The choice of materials and appearance of the crown depend upon many factors. One is the location of the crown. If it is in the back part of your jaw, strength and wear will be a major factor. If it is in the front, a life-like appearance will be important.

What goes into making a good-looking and functional crown?
Options for crown materials include porcelain, gold, porcelain fused to metal (called PFM) and some newer materials such as “pressed-ceramic” restorations and computer-milled-ceramics.

You as the patient can have a say in choosing the crown's color and appearance. Before it is cemented into its final position, make sure you are happy with the feel and appearance of your new crown.

Gold is often chosen for crowns on back teeth because of its superior wear qualities. Gold crowns have been known to last more than 50 years. They also cause minimal wear to the teeth that they touch on the opposing jaw.

Crowns made of porcelain (a glass-like substance fired in an oven at a high temperature) look good but may be too brittle to stand the wear and forces given to back teeth. Like glass, they can fracture under pressure. But because of their lifelike appearance they make a good choice for visible front teeth.

PFM (porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns) are a good combination of the best of gold and porcelain, but they sometimes lose the stains applied to make them look natural, and occasionally they fracture away from the metal.

A provisional crown can help you make sure you are getting a crown with the qualities you want. With the provisional crown all the details are worked out ahead of time, and you get a chance to try them out to make sure the crown looks good and that you can eat and talk normally. After you give your approval on the provisional crown, the final crown will be made to match it, in longer-lasting and better quality components.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about crowns and other dental restorations. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Gold or Porcelain Crowns.”

By Redwood Dental Health Center
February 03, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  
WhiteningaDiscoloredToothfromtheInsideOut

If you have discolored teeth, the cause is often staining on the enamel surfaces from foods, beverages, or smoking. But tooth discoloration may also originate deep within the root of a tooth. Sometimes this happens to a tooth that had to have earlier root canal treatment because of injury or decay.

In such cases the living pulp tissue and its blood vessels and nerves had to be removed from the root canals, resulting in the death of the dentin layer, which makes up most of the tooth's body. Over time this caused the dentin to darken. The color may come from remains of blood that was left in the tissue, or from filling materials left in the root canal that are showing through.

Since these stains are caused internally (intrinsic) and not on the outside of the tooth (extrinsic) they must be whitened from the inside. This is usually done by putting a bleaching agent into the empty chamber from which the pulp was removed. Usually the bleaching agent is a substance called sodium perborate.

When it is mixed with a solution of hydrogen peroxide, sodium perborate slowly bleaches the color from the tooth's internal material. It is considered to be safe and reliable for this use.

The work begins by taking x-ray images to make sure that the root canal is correctly sealed and the bone is healthy. After this, we will make a small hole in the back of the tooth through which the root canal space will be cleaned. The root canal space will be sealed and the bleach will be applied in a putty-like form and sealed off from the rest of your mouth. Every few days this procedure will be repeated until the bleaching reaches the desired level.

At this point a tooth-colored composite resin will be used to seal the small hole that was made in the dentin to insert the bleach. After the tooth has reached the level of whiteness that matches it to your other teeth, veneers or crowns must sometimes be used to repair the surface if it is chipped or misshapen, for example.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about whitening internally discolored teeth. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Whitening Traumatized Teeth.”

By Redwood Dental Health Center
January 24, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
HowtoMakeDentalFearsGoAway

Three quarters of people surveyed have admitted to having some fear about going to the dentist. About 10% to 15% are so afraid that they never go. Because they put off checkups and treatment they end up with toothaches, infections, and even lost teeth.

You should know that even those who are most afraid of the dentist can learn to reduce their fear and have dental treatment in comfort.

How does fear of the dentist get started?
Fear is learned behavior. People may learn it from stories they have heard from their parents or others, or they may learn it first hand by having a bad dental experience. Once the fear is planted, they avoid going to the dentist, so there is no way for them to learn that a visit can be a positive experience.

If you are among those who fear going to the dentist, the fearful feelings you have can be enough to reinforce themselves. Sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, and a queasy stomach are not pleasant, and if you experience such feelings they may be your main memories after an appointment, even if the visit was not frightening in itself.

Dental fear can be a subconscious automatic response. This means that you can't control it and make it go away. But there are things you can do to reduce your fear and feel comfortable during your appointment.

Move slowly and get help to conquer your fears.
You need to have new, positive experiences to counteract the bad experiences you had in the past. Realize that you are not alone, many people share this fear. Then talk about your fears with our office. We will start by doing things that cause only mild or no anxiety. You want each visit to be a good experience, so you are able to leave our office with a feeling that this was okay, and you can do it again. It may take a while to train yourself to get over your fears, but we have helped many people accomplish this — and you can, too.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about any fears you may have. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Overcoming Dental Fear & Anxiety.”

By Redwood Dental Health Center
January 07, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: wisdom teeth  
TestingyourKnowledgeTheFactsandMythsofWisdomTeeth

Of all the teeth in the mouth, the ones receiving the most discussion and controversy would have to be the wisdom teeth or third molars. And this is not just a recent phenomenon, as people have been discussing them for centuries! See how much you really know about wisdom teeth by taking our quick and easy true/false self test.

  1. Third molars received their name, “wisdom teeth,” because a moderate amount of wisdom is supposedly achieved in life about the time they appear.
    True or False
  2. Wisdom teeth and all of their associated problems are commonplace in the practice of dentistry.
    True or False
  3. Because wisdom teeth are so unpredictable, they typically make their appearance between the ages of 17 and 25.
    True or False
  4. The most common consequence of impacted wisdom teeth is gum (periodontal) disease.
    True or False
  5. If wisdom teeth are not removed, they will become impacted or cause crowding. This is why so many people require orthodontic treatment (braces).
    True or False
  6. While most people have four wisdom teeth, having more (supernumerary teeth) or less (hypodontia) is possible.
    True or False
  7. Through dental x-rays and routine check-ups, we can predict the timing and way in which wisdom teeth become visible (erupt).
    True or False
  8. An impacted wisdom tooth, by definition, is a third molar that is colliding with or jammed against another important structure, such as an adjacent tooth, the gums or other important soft tissues in the mouth, or nerves and blood vessels.
    True or False
  9. The primary symptom for indicating you have an impacted wisdom tooth is pain.
    True or False
  10. If wisdom teeth need to be removed, it is best to remove them at a younger age rather than waiting until periodontal disease has started.
    True or False

Answers: 1) True. 2) True. 3) True. 4) True. 5) False. While wisdom teeth can be a factor in crowding, some people have no issues with these teeth. For them, they grow into proper position and are healthy teeth. 6) True. 7) False. Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict the way wisdom teeth will erupt. 8) True. 9) False. In some scenarios, impacted wisdom may cause no pain. 10) True.

To learn more about wisdom teeth and in particular, impacted wisdom teeth, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Wisdom Teeth.” Or you can contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions.

By Redwood Dental Health Center
December 19, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
UnderstandingTheMaintenanceAndLifespanOfPorcelainVeneers

An important consideration prior to having any cosmetic dentistry is to understand both the pros and the cons of each particular dental procedure. And while porcelain laminate veneers are among the most aesthetic means of creating a beautiful, more pleasing smile, they are permanent and non-reversible and should be maintained properly.

On average, you can expect porcelain veneers to last anywhere between 7 and 20+ years. However, much of that depends whether or not you care for them properly in addition to the quality of the dental porcelain, the craftsmanship, and placement of them. How long your veneers last can also depend to some extent upon how you age. This is because the gum tissues attached to the living tooth that your veneers are cemented to may shrink or pull away from the tooth exposing its root surface. If this occurs, you should see your dentist for an evaluation, as it may require veneer replacement. Or, the issue might be resolved through some minor periodontal (gum) plastic surgery.

Porcelain veneers are a low maintenance solution for solving a multitude of cosmetic dental challenges, but they do require that you protect them during sports or vigorous activity. You should also wear an oral appliance or mouthguard (nightguard) to protect them from grinding or any other involuntary damage during sleep.

To learn more about porcelain veneers, continue reading the Dear Doctor article, “Porcelain Veneers.” If you are ready to see what cosmetic dentistry can do for you, contact us to schedule a consultation.