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Posts for: October, 2017


Although dental implants are best known as single tooth replacements, they can actually play a role in multiple or complete tooth loss (edentulism) restorations. While replacing multiple teeth with individual implants is quite expensive, there’s another way to incorporate them in a restoration at much less cost — as supports for bridges.

In this case, only a few strategically placed implants are needed to support restorations of multiple crowns fused together into a single unit. Implant-based bridges consist of two main types: the first type is a fixed bridge, which is permanently attached to the implants and can’t be removed by the patient. It’s often the preferred treatment for patients who’ve lost most or all of their teeth but have not yet experienced significant bone loss in the jaw.

This choice, however, may not be the best option for patients with significant bone loss. In these cases, there’s a second type of fixed bridge: an implant-supported fixed denture. This type of fixed denture provides support for the lost bone support of the lips and cheeks. If a fixed bridge is not possible due to finances or inadequate bone support to place 4 to 6 implants, a removable denture (also known as an overdenture) that’s supported and held in place by implants is the next best alternative. Unlike a fixed bridge, an overdenture can be removed by the patient for cleaning purposes, and will require less investment than a fixed bridge.

For people with bone loss, the overdenture does more than restore chewing and speech function. Because bone loss can diminish support of the facial structures — actually shorten the distance between the chin and the tip of the nose — an overdenture provides additional bulk to support these structures to improve appearance. Depending on what the patient needs for facial support, overdentures for the upper jaw can be designed as “full palates,” meaning the denture plastic completely covers the upper jaw palate, or open in which the plastic doesn’t completely cover the palate.

Besides the condition of your teeth, gums and bone, your own personal preferences and financial ability will also play a role in which option is best for you. After considering all these factors, we can recommend which of these types of implant-based restorations will fit your needs. With either bridge, fixed or removable, you’ll certainly benefit from the improvement to both your mouth function and your smile.

If you would like more information on implant-supported bridges, 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 “Fixed vs. Removable.”

By Sandy Spring Dental Care
October 13, 2017
Category: Oral Health

At no other time in a person’s life will their teeth and mouth change as rapidly as it will between infancy and adolescence. In this short span an entire set of teeth will emerge and then gradually disappear as a second permanent set takes its place.

While the process may seem chaotic, there is a natural order to it. Knowing what to expect will help ease any undue concerns you may have about your child's experience.

The first primary teeth begin to appear (erupt) in sequence depending on their type. The first are usually the lower central incisors in the very front that erupt around 6-10 months, followed then by the rest of the incisors, first molars and canines (the “eye” teeth). The last to erupt are the primary second molars in the very back of the mouth just before age 3. A similar sequence occurs when they’re lost — the central incisors loosen and fall out around 6-7 years; the second molars are the last to go at 10-12 years.

A little “chaos” is normal — but only a little. Because of the tremendous changes in the mouth, primary teeth may appear to be going in every direction with noticeable spaces between front teeth. While this is usually not a great concern, it’s still possible future malocclusions (bad bites) may be developing. To monitor this effectively you should begin regular checkups around the child’s first birthday — our trained professional eye can determine if an issue has arisen that should be treated.

Protecting primary teeth from tooth decay is another high priority. There’s a temptation to discount the damage decay may do to these teeth because “they’re going to be lost anyway.” But besides their functional role, primary teeth also help guide the developing permanent teeth to erupt in the right position. Losing a primary tooth prematurely might then cause the permanent one to come in misaligned. Preventing tooth decay with daily oral hygiene and regular office visits and cleanings (with possible sealant protection) is a priority. And should decay occur, it’s equally important to preserve the tooth for as long as possible for the sake of the succeeding tooth.

Your child’s rapid dental development is part of their journey into adulthood. Keeping a watchful eye on the process and practicing good dental care will ensure this part of the journey is uneventful.

If you would like more information on the process of dental development in children, 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 “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”

By Sandy Spring Dental Care
October 12, 2017
Category: None
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Crowns and Bridges: Repair and Replace Damaged or Missing Teeth

When tooth loss occurs, what are your options to restore your smile? A dental crown may be used to protect a cracked tooth, restore functionality of a tooth with excessive decay or replace a pre-existingDental Crowns and Bridges crown.  Dental bridges on the other hand, like implants, are used to replace missing teeth by filling the gap and are made up of two dental crowns for the teeth on either side.  With the help of dental crowns or bridges, you can fully restore your smile to prevent the development of more severe dental health problems.  

Cap off Damaged teeth with Dental Crowns

If your tooth decay or dental damage is too extensive for veneers, direct composite bonding or other conservative treatments are not viable treatment options; your dentist in Sandy Spring may consult with you about dental crowns.  Whether the dental crowns are used to restore a damaged tooth or to create a lifelike tooth replacement for an implant, crowns can be fabricated in your Sandy Spring dentist’s office for a one-visit restoration. 
Dental crowns are synthetic caps, usually made of porcelain, placed on the top of a tooth.  They are a restoration that covers a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size, which strengthens and improves the appearance of your damaged tooth.  When your tooth is broken down and fillings are unable to solve your problem, crowns are necessary in order to restore function to your tooth.  

Dental Bridges Close the Gap

Bridges are natural-looking dental appliances that can replace a section of your missing teeth.  Since they are custom-made, bridges are not noticeable and can restore the natural contour of teeth, in addition to the proper bite relationship between upper and lower teeth.  Sometimes referred to as fixed partial dentures, bridges are permanent and bonded to existing teeth or implants.  Some bridges are removable and can be cleaned, while others need to be removed by Sandy Spring dentist. 
A resin-bond bridge requires less preparation of adjacent teeth and is often used to replace your front teeth.  This is only possible if your gums are healthy and your surrounding teeth do not have extensive dental fillings. If you are a candidate for a dental bridge, you will be given a local anesthetic so that your dentist can prepare your teeth that require the support of the bridge.  If the support of your teeth are decayed or badly broken down, your dentist will have to build them back up in order to successfully apply a dental bridge.  
If you have damaged or missing teeth, it is recommended that you visit your Sandy Spring dentist for further consultation on the best procedure for restoration.  Dental crowns and bridges are not for everyone, but your dentist in Sandy Spring can help you find a treatment plan for an improved smile.