Dentist - Kenosha
3600 80th Street
Kenosha, WI 53142
P:262-697-5444, F:262-694-1650
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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Josephine Chianello Berman, D.D.S.
May 20, 2022
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   braces  
SNLStarsToothGapHasApparentlyVanishedAndSoCanYours

For all you hardcore Saturday Night Live fans, here's a trivia question: Who was the first cast member born in the 1990s? The answer—Pete Davidson, the edgy young comic who joined in 2014 at age 20. Speaking of Davidson, here's another question: What happened to his tooth gap?

If you're a dedicated viewer, you may have noticed in his early SNL seasons that Davidson had a noticeable gap between his front teeth, as well as some overall unevenness. Recently, though, the gap seems to have vanished and his teeth look straighter. As gossip goes, some believe his recent relationship with Kim Kardashian may be behind any dental changes.

So, what happened? Well, we're not sure! Davidson hasn't dished on any dental work. We'll just have to speculate and we do have a few possibilities.

First, though, it's helpful to understand what causes tooth gaps. In some cases, the size of a person's tooth might be too small in proportion to their jaw, which can leave space between teeth.

A gap can also develop if the strap of tissue connecting the upper lip to the gums (labial frenum) is overly large. Problems during childhood like an abnormal swallowing pattern or thumb sucking that put pressure on upper front teeth to move outward can create a gap.

Knowing the underlying cause can help us determine the best approach to correcting a tooth gap. Here a few of them.

Orthodontics. If a poor bite has created the gap, correcting the bite can close it. In this instance, we may turn to braces, aligners, or other orthodontic devices for moving teeth.

Dental bonding. With this technique, we apply a composite dental material to the tooth surface and bond it in place. This method is often used to repair chips, cracks or, in this case, fill in a slight gap.

Veneers. These thin shells of dental porcelain are bonded to the face of teeth to mask dental defects. Depending on how wide it is, a tooth gap could fall into this category.

Crowns. A step up from veneers, porcelain crowns are cemented over small-sized teeth to completely cover them.  Crowns could alleviate a gap by improving the proportional size of teeth.

One other thing to note: It may be possible to avoid a gap altogether by addressing causative issues in childhood. A simple frenectomy—snipping the tissue of an overly large labial frenum—or cessation therapy for thumb sucking could prevent a gap from developing.

But if that ship has already sailed, we may still be able to address your tooth gap and improve your smile. An initial consultative exam is your first step to a more attractive, gap-free smile.

If you would like more information about tooth gaps and how to treat them, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Space Between Front Teeth.”

By Josephine Chianello Berman, D.D.S.
May 10, 2022
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: partial denture  
ThisTemporaryRPDCouldSustainYourSmileWhileYouWaitForImplants

Dental implants are often the ideal choice to replace missing teeth. Unfortunately, "ideal" and "affordable" don't always align simultaneously for people. Even if implants are right for you, you may have to put them off to a more financially appropriate season.

In the meantime, though, you're still missing teeth—and perhaps some of them are right square in the middle of your smile. What can you do now, even if temporarily?

The solution might be a flexible removable partial denture (RPD). These newer types of RPD fit somewhere between the lightweight "flipper" and the more traditional rigid plastic appliances often made for permanent use. The flexible RPD is made of nylon plastic (technically known as a super-polyamide), which although lightweight, is highly durable.

Super-polyamides change their shape under high heat, a characteristic dental technicians take advantage of by injection molding heated material into flexible denture bases, to which they then attach the replacement teeth. Like other RPDs, a flexible RPD is custom-designed for the individual patient to match their jaw contours, as well as the types and locations of their missing teeth.

Flexible RPDs also differ from other RPD types in how they stay in place. While the more rigid RPD depends on metal clasps that grip to some of the remaining natural teeth, a flexible RPD uses finger-like extensions of the nylon material to fit around teeth near the gum line where they're difficult to see. As such, the flexible RPD is both comfortable and securely held in place.

A flexible RPD, like their counterparts, does require regular maintenance. Any RPD can accumulate dental plaque, a thin biofilm buildup on teeth that causes dental disease. For this reason, wearers should regularly remove their RPD and clean it thoroughly with an antibacterial soap (never toothpaste). All RPDs should also be removed at night to limit bacterial growth.

With a little care, a flexible RPD could last for several years. It could be just the solution to buy you time while you're waiting to obtain dental implants.

If you would like more information on restoration options for missing teeth, 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 “Flexible Partial Dentures.”

By Josephine Chianello Berman, D.D.S.
April 30, 2022
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  
ImplantsCanLastaLongTimeIfYoullDoThistoMaintainThem

Dental implants have taken restorative dentistry by storm for a number of reasons: They're incredibly life-like; and their unique design allows them to function much like natural teeth. But perhaps the clincher for many is their longevity. Numerous studies show that more than 95% percent of implants are still performing after 10 years.

The reason for their durability is wrapped up in their "unique design" mentioned earlier—a titanium metal post imbedded into the jawbone, to which a dentist attaches the visible crown. The titanium attracts the growth of new bone cells, which adhere and accumulate on the implant surface.

This "integration," a process which occurs over a few weeks after implantation, creates a strong bond between the implant and jawbone. This ultra-strong hold enables the implant to withstand years, if not decades, of chewing forces you generate on a daily basis.

With that said, though, there are rare instances when an implant loses its hold—or doesn't properly develop it. Integration may not fully succeed due to infection either before or right after surgery, which can inhibit bone growth around the implant.

Other conditions can compromise the bone's integrity like a weakened immune system, diabetes or osteoporosis. And even if integration occurs normally, later problems like gum disease or a teeth-grinding habit can damage the connection between implant and bone.

There are things you can do, however, to further minimize the risk of implant failure.

  • Brush and floss daily (especially around implants) and maintain regular dental visits to lower your risk of gum disease;
  • See your dentist if you notice swollen, reddened or bleeding gums, an indication of a gum infection that could impact your implants;
  • Stop smoking, which increases your infection risk, or abstain a few weeks before and after surgery;
  • Manage issues like diabetes, osteoporosis, or teeth-grinding that could affect your implants.

Implants can be a great long-term solution to tooth loss. You can help ensure their longevity by looking out for both your oral and general health.

If you would like more information on dental implant 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 “Dental Implants: A Tooth-Replacement Method That Rarely Fails.”

By Josephine Chianello Berman, D.D.S.
April 20, 2022
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  
Same-DayImplantsOfferanAttractiveSmileThroughouttheProcess

With traditional implant methods, it could take months before you can enjoy your new replacement tooth. That's usually not a big deal for a back tooth that's mostly out of sight. It's a different story, however, for a highly visible front tooth—the extended time without a tooth can be embarrassingly uncomfortable for some.

There is, however, another option, one you may already have seen advertised: same-day tooth replacement. In effect, you receive the implant and a life-like temporary crown in a single dental visit.

During the conventional process, the dentist surgically installs the titanium implant post into a prepared channel in the jawbone. Once it's properly positioned, the dentist then sutures the gum tissue over the implant. This protects the implant while bone cells grow and attach themselves to the post to give it a strong and durable hold within the bone.

But now dentists have developed another method to help address the appearance problem posed by teeth that are more visible. With this method, the dentist affixes a temporary crown onto the implant post immediately after installing it. The patient thus walks out the same day without a missing tooth gap and a full smile.

This is a welcome alternative for people desiring to maintain an attractive smile throughout the implant process. But it does have one major qualification—the patient's underlying jawbone must be relatively healthy and supportive of the implant. If not, the implant may require a longer period of bone growth before and after surgery to fully secure it. In those cases, it may be better to use the conventional method.

As we've already noted, a "same-day" crown isn't the permanent one, especially with single tooth implants. That's because the implant still requires bone integration over several weeks to achieve full durability. For that reason, this initial crown is made slightly shorter than the surrounding teeth to limit its encounter with biting forces generated by daily chewing, from which those forces would likely damage the implant at this stage.

After completion of the bone integration stage, the patient returns to swap out the temporary crown for the fully functional permanent crown. The "same-day" crown has served its purpose—providing the patient a seamless full smile throughout the implant process.

If you would like more information on "same-day" implant 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 “Same-Day Tooth Replacement With Dental Implants.”

By Josephine Chianello Berman, D.D.S.
March 31, 2022
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns   bridgework  
WithMoreCrownChoicesPatientsCanSaveaToothandTheirSmile

Porcelain crowns are most commonly used to protect and support teeth damaged by disease or trauma. Today's highly advanced crowns are more effective than ever—and more life-like and attractive.

For instance, dentists often install a crown for a tooth that's endured long-term decay. It's often necessary for a dentist to remove significant portions of affected dentin of a decayed tooth over time, which weakens its overall structure. By crowning the tooth, a dentist can both protect it from further decay and provide it structural support. For similar reasons, dentists routinely place crowns after root canal treatments.

To fulfill their role in preserving and strengthening teeth, crowns must be made of durable materials. For this reason, earlier generations of dentists often turned to crowns composed of precious metals like gold or silver, which could withstand daily chewing forces. But these metal crowns did have one downside: Other than shape, they little resembled real teeth.

Crowns later became more life-like around the middle of the 20th Century with the advent of a type of crown composed of a metal shell encased with a tooth-colored porcelain layer. Marrying functionality with aesthetics, these porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns became quite popular and reigned supreme until the early 2000s.

At that time, advances in dental porcelain led to the emergence of the all-ceramic crown. The effort had started a full decade before when dental labs began adding a material called Lucite to porcelain to give it strength. With further improvements, these new porcelain materials, which no longer required metal for durability, soon displaced PFMs as the most commonly installed crown.

Today's dental patient now has more crown choices than patients in previous generations. Especially useful for visible teeth (those in the "Smile Zone"), an all-ceramic crown now enhances rather than detracts from a tooth's appearance. Metal and PFM crowns haven't gone away either—they're often used with teeth that encounter heavy biting forces like molars, and which are not as noticeable.

With more choices, patients no longer need sacrifice their appearance to protect their teeth. You can now preserve a troubled tooth—and still maintain an attractive smile.

If you would like more information on restorative dentistry, 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 “Crowns & Bridgework.”