Posts for category: Dental Procedures
For over a hundred years dental amalgam — a combination of silver, mercury, tin and other metals — has been an effective filling material for teeth damaged by decay. But it has one major drawback — its metallic appearance stands out in stark contrast to the natural color of teeth.
As an alternative, composite resin fillings can match the color, shape and texture of natural teeth. These materials and the techniques used to bond them are proving just as effective as and more aesthetically pleasing than dental amalgam.
Fillings help protect and preserve a decayed tooth. By first removing decayed tooth structure through drilling, the resulting void is filled with durable material that strengthens the tooth and provides it protection from further decay.
The ultimate goal for restoration is to return the tooth to as near normal form and function as possible. Dental amalgam serves well in terms of function, providing the tooth strength in the face of the daily biting forces it encounters. In contrast, composite resins excel in appearance, but haven’t always matched the durability of amalgam. They’re material construction has improved over time, though, as well as the techniques used to bond them to teeth.
Most of these bonding techniques incorporate layering. The first step is to seal the dentin (the porous, living tissue just below the enamel); we then build up the composite material layer by layer within the tooth using special bonding adhesive and curing lights. In some cases where a large volume of tooth structure must be replaced, the restoration is first formed on the tooth and then removed for curing before being cemented into the tooth or a separate restoration is formed by a dental lab.
The end result is a tooth which both looks and functions like a fully intact tooth. Though care must be taken not to subject composite resin restorations to undue forces (no cracking open nutshells, for example), your new filling should continue to serve you and look great for a long time to come.
If you would like more information on metal-free restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Natural Beauty of Tooth Colored Fillings.”
Your dentist at Modern Touch Dentistry in Appleton, WI offers same-day dental crowns. How can Dr. Jolanta Pajek and her staff do it? Don't crowns take two visits to complete? The fact is restorative dentistry offers an amazing restorative process called CEREC--crowns that take only one dental appointment. From exam, to site preparation and design to manufacture and placement, everything takes place in and beside your comfortable dental chair. You'll leave smiling and keep smiling for years to come when your tooth is restored with an all-porcelain CEREC crown.
What CEREC means for you
CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic. Plainly stated, your cracked, infected, or deeply decayed tooth receives a beautiful porcelain crown that's made right in your treatment room. Dr. Pajek examines and X-rays your tooth first to see if a dental crown can fully restore (cover and protect) it. Then, she takes digital impressions using a special manual instrument and impression powder. That's right. There are no uncomfortable and gooey impression trays and putty.
Next, she prepares the tooth, removing old filling material and decayed enamel. Typically, patients have some locally injected anesthetic to ensure they are pain-free. Then, your Appleton dentist uses the impressions and other details to design your crown. The CEREC machine features CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing) software to assist the doctor in creating the crown. The CEREC milling machine carves the crown from a single-piece of realistic dental porcelain.
Finally, Dr. Pajek bonds the new crown onto the prepared tooth. Because CEREC crowns are created with such precision, the restorations usually fit perfectly with the first try-on. The dentist also ensures that the color of the crown blends well with neighboring teeth.
CEREC technology also crafts porcelain veneers to disguise the front of teeth marred by deep stains, cracks and other defects. For teeth which require less extensive restoration than a full crown, Dr. Pajek can create partial crowns called inlays and onlays which are bonded to the top of teeth that have large fillings or cavities.
Additionally, same-day crowns restore dental implants and also support fixed bridgework. In short, CEREC crowns produce life-like and durable restorations without all the fuss of multiple dental visits, fittings and remakes at an outside dental lab.
If you need a dental crown, CEREC technology can help. Why not contact Modern Touch Dentistry to arrange your consultation with Dr. Pajek in Appleton, WI? Call today: (920) 993-8682.
If we could go back in time, we all probably have a few things we wish we could change. Recently, Dr. Travis Stork, emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors, shared one of his do-over dreams with Dear Doctor magazine: “If I [could have] gone back and told myself as a teenager what to do, I would have worn a mouthguard, not only to protect my teeth but also to help potentially reduce risk of concussion.”
What prompted this wish? The fact that as a teenage basketball player, Stork received an elbow to the mouth that caused his two front teeth to be knocked out of place. The teeth were put back in position, but they soon became darker and began to hurt. Eventually, both were successfully restored with dental crowns. Still, it was a painful (and costly) injury — and one that could have been avoided.
You might not realize it, but when it comes to dental injuries, basketball ranks among the riskier sports. Yet it’s far from the only one. In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are some two dozen others — including baseball, hockey, surfing and bicycling — that carry a heightened risk of dental injury. Whenever you’re playing those sports, the ADA recommends you wear a high-quality mouth guard.
Mouthguards have come a long way since they were introduced as protective equipment for boxers in the early 1900’s. Today, three different types are widely available: stock “off-the-shelf” types that come in just a few sizes; mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” types that you adapt to the general contours of your mouth; and custom-made high-quality mouthguards that are made just for you at the dental office.
Of all three types, the dentist-made mouthguards are consistently found to be the most comfortable and best-fitting, and the ones that offer your teeth the greatest protection. What’s more, recent studies suggest that custom-fabricated mouthguards can provide an additional defense against concussion — in fact, they are twice as effective as the other types. That’s why you’ll see more and more professional athletes (and plenty of amateurs as well) sporting custom-made mouthguards at games and practices.
“I would have saved myself a lot of dental heartache if I had worn a mouthguard,” noted Dr. Stork. So take his advice: Wear a mouthguard whenever you play sports — unless you’d like to meet him (or one of his medical colleagues) in a professional capacity…
Are you concerned that pain in a tooth may mean that you need a root canal? Our Appleton, WI, dentist, Dr. Jolanta Pajek of Modern Touch Dentistry, explains why root canals are needed and shares a few signs that may mean that a root canal is in your future.
Why do I need a root canal?
The pulp is a soft bundle of connective tissue, blood vessels and nerves located under your tooth's hard dentin layer. When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, extraction or root canals are the only options.
Although root canals have a bad reputation among the general public, root canals don't have to be painful and aren't particularly difficult procedures. During a root canal, the pulp is removed and the tiny canals that extend from the roots to the crown are cleaned and shaped with small files. You'll receive enough local anesthetic to ensure that you're comfortable during the procedure, which won't seem much different than getting a cavity filled.
What are the signs that I need a root canal?
Many people who need a root canal complain of pain when they visit our Appleton office. Everyone doesn't experience the same level or intensity of pain. The pain may be constant, intermittent, throbbing or severe. Whether your pain is mild or severe, it may worsen when you chew, eat a piece of hot pizza or enjoy an ice cold beverage.
In some cases, a change in tooth color may be a sign that your pulp has become infected or inflamed. When your tooth turns gray or brown, it's important to schedule a dental visit as soon as possible. Other signs that you may need a root canal may include swelling or irritation around the gum of the affected tooth.
A bacterial infection called an abscess can also occur if you need a root canal. The infection can cause severe pain that makes it hard to sleep, swollen lymph nodes, swelling of your face or a pimple or pus on the gum near the tooth. Removing the pulp will get rid of the infection in your tooth, but you will need to take antibiotics to ensure that the infection doesn't spread to other parts of your body.
Do you think you may need a root canal? Call our Appleton, WI, dentist, Dr. Pajek of Modern Touch Dentistry, at (920) 993-8682 to make an appointment.
Your teenager is about to take a big step toward better health and a more attractive appearance — orthodontic treatment. You both know the benefits: better chewing function, lower risk of dental disease, and, of course, a straighter and more beautiful smile.
But your teen might also dread the next couple of years of wearing braces. And it's hard to blame them: although they're effective, wearing braces restricts eating certain snacks and foods, they require extra time and effort for brushing and flossing, and they're often uncomfortable to wear. And of high importance to a teenager, they may feel embarrassed to wear them.
But over the last couple of decades a braces alternative has emerged: clear aligners. This form of bite correction requires fewer food restrictions, allows greater ease in hygiene, and is considered more attractive than braces. In fact, most observers won't notice them when a wearer smiles.
Clear aligners are a series of clear plastic trays created by computer that are worn in a certain sequence. During wear each tray exerts pressure on the teeth to gradually move them in the desired direction. The patient wears a single tray for two weeks and then changes to the next tray in the sequence, which will be slightly different than the previous tray. At the end of the process, the teeth will have been moved to their new positions.
Clear aligners aren't appropriate for all bite problems. When they are, though, they offer a couple of advantages over braces. Unlike braces, a wearer can remove the aligner to brush and floss their teeth or for rare, special or important social occasions. And, of course, their appearance makes them less likely to cause embarrassment while wearing them.
In recent years, design improvements have increased the kinds of bites aligners can be used to correct. For example, they now often include “power ridges,” tiny features that precisely control the amount and direction of pressure applied to the teeth. They've also become thinner and more comfortable to wear.
If you're interested in clear aligners as a treatment option, talk with your orthodontist about whether your teen is a good candidate. If so, they could make orthodontic treatment for achieving a more attractive and healthy smile less of an ordeal.
If you would like more information on clear aligners as an orthodontic option, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Clear Aligners for Teens.”