Posts for category: Dental Procedures
Find out more about how implants replace missing teeth for good.
If you are dealing with tooth loss, the idea of getting dental implants from your Appleton, WI dentist, Dr. Jolanta Pajek, probably sounds very appealing. After all, this is the only long-term solution for replacing one or more missing teeth. If you are looking to get implants find out more about them and how they actually work.
If you need to replace a missing tooth, your Appleton dentist may recommend getting dental implants because they are designed to look, feel, and work just like real teeth. In fact, you treat them exactly as you would normal teeth, by brushing and flossing them daily and getting regular dental checkups.
Once we examine your teeth and determine that you are right for dental implants we will start to create your treatment plan:
Step 1: We will place the implant (a small titanium post) into the jawbone. This surgery is performed right here in our office under local anesthesia so you don’t feel any discomfort.
Step 2: Once the surgery is complete we will give your mouth a couple months to heal. During this time, osseointegration will happen. This is when the implant will start to fuse together with the jawbone. Over time, they will meld together to become one strong, long-term foundation from which to hold your dental crown, bridge, or full dentures. This healing process is different for everyone and can take several weeks to a couple months to fully integrate.
Step 3: Once the implant has completely melded with the jawbone an abutment is placed on top of the implant. The abutment is designed to connect the implant (which lies under the gums) with the dental crown (which sits on top of the gums and is designed to look and function like a natural tooth). Sometimes a dental implant will already have an abutment attached to it while other implants will require the abutment to be placed separately.
Step 4: Then a custom-made dental crown is cemented over the abutment to replace your missing tooth. If you need to replace more than one tooth multiple implants can be placed into the jawbone to support a dental bridge or dentures.
Think you could be an ideal candidate for implants? The next step is to schedule a consultation with our Appleton, WI cosmetic dentist at Modern Touch Dentistry.
Many otherwise attractive smiles have one noticeable blemish — a large gap between the two upper front teeth. If you have such a gap, there’s a solution that could transform your smile.
The most likely reason for the gap is an issue with a bit of muscle tissue between the gums and upper lip known as the frenum, part of the face’s muscular system. The frenum, though, can overdevelop and grow between the two front teeth into the front part of the palate (roof of the mouth). This can keep or push the teeth apart to form a gap.
To correct the issue, it’s first necessary to consult with an orthodontist, a specialist in bites and tooth alignment. It’s possible for there to be other factors contributing to the spacing including tongue thrusting or finger sucking habits, or missing or misaligned teeth. If the examination reveals an overly large frenum, then the treatment usually commences in two stages.
First, we would need to close the gap by the moving the teeth toward each other with some form of orthodontic appliance like braces or clear aligners. Once closed, the next stage would be to surgically remove the excess frenum tissue and cosmetically alter the gums if necessary.
The order of treatment is important — if you remove the frenum tissue first, any resulting scar tissue could prevent closing the gap with orthodontics. Further, cosmetic surgery on the gums beforehand could result in the loss of the papillae, the small triangular gum tissue between teeth, which results in an unattractive “black” hole.
A frenectomy, the procedure to remove the excess frenum, is a relatively minor procedure that can be performed by a periodontist (gum specialist), oral surgeon, or a general dentist with surgical training. The area is numbed with a local anesthetic, the tissue dissected with a small scalpel, and the resulting small wound closed with a few stitches (another option is to use a surgical laser to remove the frenum). Healing should be complete in about a week with only minor discomfort.
Depending on your individual circumstance, full treatment can take time. But in the end these otherwise routine dental procedures can have a huge impact — a more attractive smile without the noticeable gap.
If you would like more information on treating abnormal teeth spacing, 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 “Space between Front Teeth.”
Want to know the exact wrong way to pry open a stubborn lid? Just ask Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC-TV’s popular “Tonight Show.” When the 40-year-old funnyman had trouble opening a tube of scar tissue repair gel with his hands, he decided to try using his teeth.
What happened next wasn’t funny: Attempting to remove the cap, Fallon chipped his front tooth, adding another medical problem to the serious finger injury he suffered a few weeks before (the same wound he was trying to take care of with the gel). If there’s a moral to this story, it might be this: Use the right tool for the job… and that tool isn’t your teeth!
Yet Fallon is hardly alone in his dilemma. According to the American Association of Endodontists, chipped teeth account for the majority of dental injuries. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a number of great ways to restore damaged teeth.
If the chip is relatively small, it’s often possible to fix it with cosmetic bonding. In this procedure, tough, natural-looking resin is used to fill in the part of the tooth that has been lost. Built up layer by layer, the composite resin is cured with a special light until it’s hard, shiny… and difficult to tell from your natural teeth. Best of all, cosmetic bonding can often be done in one office visit, with little or no discomfort. It can last for up to ten years, so it’s great for kids who may be getting more permanent repairs later.
For larger chips or cracks, veneers or crowns may be suggested. Veneers are wafer-thin porcelain coverings that go over the entire front surface of one or more teeth. They can be used to repair minor to moderate defects, such as chips, discolorations, or spacing irregularities. They can also give you the “Hollywood white” smile you’ve seen on many celebrities.
Veneers are generally custom-made in a lab, and require more than one office visit. Because a small amount of tooth structure must be removed in order to put them in place, veneers are considered an irreversible treatment. But durable and long-lasting veneers are the restorations of choice for many people.
Crowns (also called caps) are used when even more of the tooth structure is missing. They can replace the entire visible part of the tooth, as long as the tooth’s roots remain viable. Crowns, like veneers, are custom-fabricated to match your teeth in size, shape and color; they are generally made in a dental lab and require more than one office visit. However, teeth restored with crowns function well, look natural, and can last for many years.
So what happened to Jimmy Fallon? We aren’t sure which restoration he received… but we do know that he was back on TV the same night, flashing a big smile.
If you would like more information about tooth restorations, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers” and “Artistic Repair Of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”
Did you know 50% of people admit to some form of anxiety visiting the dentist, with roughly 1 in 6 avoiding dental care altogether because of it? To ease anxiety dentistry has developed sedation methods that help patients relax during dental treatment.
Many can achieve relaxation with an oral sedative taken about an hour before a visit. Some with acute anxiety, though, may need deeper sedation through an intravenous (IV) injection of medication. Unlike general anesthesia which achieves complete unconsciousness to block pain, IV sedation reduces consciousness to a controllable level. Patients aren’t so much “asleep” as in a “semi-awake” state that’s safe and effective for reducing anxiety.
While there are a variety of IV medications, the most popular for dental offices are the benzodiazepines, most often Midazolam (Versed). Benzodiazepines act quickly and wear off faster than similar drugs, and have a good amnesic effect (you won’t recall details while under its influence). While relatively safe, they shouldn’t be used with individuals with poor liver function because of their adverse interaction with liver enzymes.
Other drugs or substances are often used in conjunction with IV sedation. Nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) may be introduced initially to help with anxiety over the IV needle stick. Sometimes pain-reducing drugs like Fentanyl may be added to the IV solution to boost the sedative effect and to reduce the amount of the main drug.
If we recommend IV sedation for your dental treatment, there are some things you should do to help the procedure go smoothly and safely. Because the after effects of sedation may impair your driving ability, be sure you have someone with you to take you home. Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight the day before your appointment, and consult with both your physician and dentist about taking any prescription medication beforehand. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and don’t wear contact lenses, oral appliances like dentures or retainers, watches or other jewelry.
Our top priority is safety — we follow strict standards and protocols regarding IV sedation and you’ll be carefully monitored before, during and after your procedure. Performed with the utmost care, IV sedation could make your next dental procedure pleasant and uneventful, and impact your oral health for the better.
If just the thought of having a cavity filled or hearing the whizz of a dental drill terrifies you, you are not alone. Fear of the dentist or dental procedures is an incredibly common occurrence in dental patients. However, did you know there is a way to quell this anxiety and be able to endure a dental procedure in peace? With sedation dentistry, you can do just that.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry uses medication to help relieve patients’ anxiety during dental procedures. There are four kinds of sedation used:
- Minimal sedation: The lowest level of sedation available, minimal sedation simply relaxes the patient, and they can speak normally and will remember the procedure.
- Moderate sedation: This level is stronger than minimal sedation. The patient remains awake during the procedure, but may not be able to speak correctly and may not be able to remember some parts of the procedure.
- Deep sedation: This sedation is as close to being asleep as you can get without general anesthesia. The patient may veer into unconsciousness, but is still able to be woken up.
- General anesthesia: General anesthesia puts a patient completely to sleep, and is usually only used for surgical procedures.
Your dentist will consult with you to determine which level of sedation is right for you, depending on your pain tolerance, anxiety level and how much dental work you need.
Is sedation dentistry safe?
There is always a risk associated with anesthesia, however it is usually very safe. The level of sedation is based on age, medication you currently take, medical history and, of course, your level of anxiety. Be sure to provide as much information to your dentist as possible to ensure they use the proper dosage.
If you are scared of the dentist, fear no more. Dr. Jolanta Pajek, DDS and the staff at Modern Touch Dentistry in Appleton, WI are dedicated to friendly and professional care, and can help you overcome your anxiety with sedation dentistry. Call (920) 993-8682 to schedule your appointment today.