West Cactus Dental 602-863-9079

 

 ADVANCED PROCEDURES

CEREC CROWNS (One Visit Crowns)
Crowns are full coverage restorations that are used to cover a tooth that is likely to break, or is too broken down to be restored with a filling. They are most commonly done after root canal treatment, or when a large filling wears out. The larger the hole made by a cavity that has to be treated, the more likely a crown will be needed. Even after a filling is put in a large cavity, a tooth is more likely to break. Keep in mind that the jaw muscles are the strongest in the human body. Teeth are subjected to tremendous pressures. Crowns cover the weakened tooth, providing strength and protecting the tooth against breakage. A broken or cracked tooth is a far more serious matter and much more difficult to treat. Crowns help prevent this, as well as making for a nice smile.

In MOST OTHER dental offices it takes two appointments to restore a tooth with a crown. In the first visit, any decay is removed from the tooth and it is shaped to accept the crown. Then an impression is made of the tooth for use in fabricating a crown. Between the two visits the crown is made, usually of high-strength porcelain over gold alloy, all ceramic material, or gold. During this time a temporary crown is worn. In the second visit this temporary is removed. Then the permanent crown is adjusted as needed and then cemented in place. At West Cactus Dental, Dr. Johnson generally creates crowns in a single visit using CEREC technology.  This helps save your valuable time, reduces discomfort, and avoids impressions and temporaries that many patients prefer to avoid.  Click here to view a YouTube clip that will show you how the CEREC technology looks and works in our office.  Or watch this brief video explaining how we fix a broken tooth.

Too bad David Letterman doesn't live in Phoenix--Dr. Johnson could have avoided this entire 2 minute rant that aired on national television.  Click here to view a YouTube clip that will make you laugh and find out why YOU NEED A CEREC CROWN!

DENTURES
There are different types of dentures, but they share a common function. They replace teeth that have become lost due to bone loss or tooth decay. No one enjoys losing their natural teeth, but you can still eat and talk regularly, especially if you opt to have implants placed to hold your dentures in place.  See the video just below the next paragraph to learn more about implant supported overdentures.

The entire mouth is examined and a determination is made as to which teeth will have to be removed, which will remain, and how to best replace the missing teeth. The loose teeth are then extracted and dentures are fitted to go over or around whatever teeth remain in the mouth. There is an adjustment period after dentures are placed in the mouth, and it can take some getting used to. But once accustomed to the dentures, all the normal functionality and appearance return and one just carries on as usual.

IMPLANTS
A dental implant is an option to replace a missing tooth or secure a denture. In this procedure, a small titanium root is surgically implanted into the bone and allowed to set. The bone grows around it forming a tight connection, which additionally slows or stops the bone loss that occurs when the root of a natural tooth is missing. Once the new implant is firmly set in the mouth, the dentist then works to attach the replacement tooth onto the top of the implant. This permanent solution has the advantages over bridge work that it does not stress the surrounding teeth for support, and, should the tooth wear out, another can simply be replaced on the titanium root.

Implants can also be used as support as part of an implant bridge. This is an alternative to partial dentures, and has several advantages. First, there is no adjustment period to acclimatize the patient who, once the work is done, only feels teeth, not metal supports intruding into the mouth. Second, this slows the bone loss occasioned by missing teeth. Third, there is no discomfort or difficulty in eating. And, best of all, of course, they don't have to be taken out all the time..

ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when a cavity is allowed to reach all the way to the pulp. (Regular cleanings and checkups help prevent and detect problems early.) Sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point it needs root canal therapy, sometimes years after the event. Once this occurs the pulp becomes infected, and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is an abscess). Once the pulp is infected it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous to your overall health, not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, however, no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until a checkup with x-rays.

A root canal is performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp, and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The only alternative treatment available would be to extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a large white filling (called a core build-up) and crown is recommended to restore a tooth that has had root canal therapy.

BRIDGES
This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. It is formed to look like the missing tooth, and it takes its place in the mouth. Bridges use at least two surrounding teeth for support, hence the name. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or esthetics.  Dr. Johnson can discuss the appropriate materials required to ensure a long term result.

It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift, creating a chain reaction of poor outcomes.

TMJ TREATMENTS
TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint. Temporal, as in temple area of skull; mandibular as in mandible, or lower jaw; joint as in it's where the head and jaw meet. Problems in this joint may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension. Aside from the two bones that meet there, cartilage buffers them and five muscles are involved in the area. If something goes wrong a good deal of trouble can result.

Problems in this area can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Pain in the jaw muscles
  • Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face

Often a plastic mouthpiece is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem.  Other dental treatments for the condition can also include the replacement of missing teeth, moving teeth, and/or adjusting the bite. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.

 


 

2933 W Cactus Road
Phoenix, AZ 85029
(602) 863-9079

 

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