A beautiful, healthy smile is something we all strive for. It affects how people perceive us in the world. There are many ways to achieve a great smile, and a dentist can offer many options.
As we age, the enamel on our teeth can erode. This leads to discoloration and weakened teeth. Porcelain veneers are used to restore the teeth, for a healthy, beautiful smile. Veneers are typically used for the top front teeth. The teeth are prepared using special instruments. Impressions are taken and sent out to a lab. Temporary materials are used while the patient waits for them to come back. A shade is chosen to ensure the natural look of the teeth. Many celebrities have undergone this process because it produces such gorgeous and natural looking results.
A crown is used for teeth that have extensive decay. Different materials can be used, such as porcelain, stainless steel, or gold. All of the decay is removed from the tooth and the tooth is prepped to fit the new crown or cap over it. An impression is taken of the area so that a custom made crown can be created. This impression is sent to a specialized lab to make the crown. Another impression is taken so that a temporary crown can be fitted that day. The patient will need to come back when the permanent crown is ready to have it glued onto the tooth. There can be some discomfort after prepping the tooth and your dentist may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever. Sticky foods should be avoided.
Dentures and Bridges
Dentures and bridges are used to replace one or more teeth. The procedure for having dentures fitted is usually painless and quick. The dentist will take impressions of the mouth and have them sent to a lab to be created. A tooth color will be chosen for the most natural appearance. When the dentures are ready, the patient comes back in to make sure they fit properly. Sometimes, minor adjustments must be made in the office to tweak the fit.
A Bridge involves the same procedure as having a crown put on, except multiple teeth will be prepped for the abutment, or crown portions. A bridge may involve replacing multiple missing teeth between the abutments. Impressions are taken of the mouth and sent off to a lab to create the bridge. The bridge is glued onto the teeth in the same way a crown would be.
Implants are the new way to replace missing teeth. The procedure for getting implants is quite involved, but the results are amazing. Periodontists specialize in implant technology. Many patients report feeling like they never lost their teeth. The implant is screwed into the jaw where the missing tooth should be. A temporary tooth may be used until the area is healed. The bone around the implant grows and incorporates the implant into the jaw. A special replacement tooth is then locked into the implant. The replacement looks, and is reported to feel, just like a natural tooth would. For patients who have lost more than one, or all of their teeth, multiple implants are placed in the mouth. There is some pain associated with having the implants placed and your dentist will prescribe medications to ease that pain for the following days.
All of these options have different benefits and drawbacks. What works for one person may not be the best option for another. A dental professional can go over the procedure, costs and payment options to ensure the best possible outcome on a case by case basis and should be consulted first.
This post is courtesy of Washington Periodontics, a periodontist in Washington DC helping their patients to restore their beautiful smiles and promote healthy teeth and gums.