Your smile is fundamental to the personality and attitude you share with the world. It’s often the first thing people notice about you, and a stunning smile makes a lasting first impression. We know you wouldn’t trust it to just any dentist. At Helena Family Dental we provide advanced restorative dentistry services to help keep your teeth beautiful, healthy, and strong. We understand that poor oral health can cause difficulty with eating and speaking, or even continuous discomfort, affecting your overall quality of life. Therefore, our team of doctors along with their dedicated team make restoring a happy, healthy smile with a focus on quality and function their first priority.
Restorative dentistry can resolve a range of oral problems including:
- Discolored Teeth
- Dental Decay
- Chipped, Cracked & Broken Teeth
- Missing Teeth
With advancements in dental care over the years, restorative dentistry has become increasingly cosmetic in nature. If you’re missing a tooth, you probably want to replace it to restore function and smile without feeling self-conscious. With procedures like dental implants, we can repair damage in a way that not only restores lost oral function, but improves the look of your smile as well. Tooth-colored fillings have taken the place of silver amalgam fillings for a seamless, natural-looking result. Porcelain can be used to craft dental crowns, allowing us to avoid the dark look of metal in your mouth.
If you’re looking for a dentist who can provide cosmetic-quality restorative dentistry, Helena Family Dental is the right place for you.
Our restorative dentistry procedures include:
- Root Canal Therapy
- Tooth-Colored Fillings
- Dental Implants
- Porcelain Crowns & Veneers
About Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are artificial teeth that are carefully shaped and colored to match your natural teeth. Crowns, also known as ‘caps,’ restore functionality to severely damaged teeth. Each dental crown is made of a durable material that offers chewing support and protection from further tooth decay when placed over the existing damaged tooth.
While crowns can be created from a variety of materials, Helena Family Dental is proud to offer BruxZir® solid zirconia crowns and bridges which are some of the strongest and most natural looking restorations available today. BruxZir® offers an educational video demonstrating the differences between materials chosen for your restoration. There are many advantages of using the BruxZir Solid Zirconia including reduced removal of natural teeth, superior cosmetic appearance (no metal), and the chip-proof durability for bruxers, or those who grind their teeth, who have broken natural teeth or previous restorations.
A crown may be recommended for the following reasons:
- to restore a tooth that has been badly damaged by decay or so heavily restored by fillings that it can only be saved with cast restoration
- to provide support for a tooth that has been treated endodontically; therefore, it has lost a great deal of tooth structure from fracture, decay, or the drilling process and is prone to fracture under normal or light chewing forces
- to be used as an abutment, or support, for a bridge that is intended to replace a missing tooth
- to complete an implant restoration
- to conceal teeth that are discolored or poorly shaped
WHAT TO EXPECT
During your visit at Helena Family Dental, your doctor will remove any damaged or decaying enamel to make room for the crown before making a mold of the affected area. This mold ensures that your crown will perfectly fit the exact specifications of your mouth. Careful consideration will be given to matching the crown to the shade of your natural tooth enamel resulting in a crown that will be indistinguishable from the surrounding teeth. Once prepared, the crown is then slipped over the remaining structure of the remaining tooth structure and bonded into place. If the tooth was in good alignment before the crown was prepared, the crown will be in good alignment. If the tooth was misaligned before the crown, sometimes the crown may be made to obtain a more ideal shape and position. Your doctor will ensure that your dental crown fits aesthetically and comfortably in order to effectively restore the health, function, and beauty of your smile. Your new restoration will function just as your natural teeth and should last you for years to come with proper home care and regular recare visits.
Implant supported crowns are an excellent alternative to a dental bridge. Replacing a missing tooth not only improves the appearance of your smile, but it also restores the function of that tooth. If you have a tooth that needs to be extracted or have previously lost a tooth, Our doctors may suggest replacing it with a dental implant crown. Because implant crowns have a predictable long-term prognosis and do not require alteration of the neighboring teeth, they are considered the standard of care in treating missing teeth. Dental implant crowns look, feel, and function like your natural teeth. Your doctor will discuss all of your options for an implant crown and will make a recommendation based on your specific needs. Implants and implant supported crowns offer a number of cosmetic and practical benefits, including:
- A natural-looking appearance: Implant-supported crowns rest against your gums, making them virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth. In addition, our advanced dental lab provides customized restorations made from the latest materials that reflect light like natural dental enamel.
- Enhanced function: Implants themselves are incredibly strong. They prevent restorations from slipping out of place, meaning you can enjoy many foods you may not have been able to with traditional crowns.
- Hygienic convenience: You will care for your implant-supported crowns just as you would your natural teeth.
- Protection for your jaw bone: Your permanent dental implants stimulate your jaw bone. This prevents it from naturally degenerating and resorbing into your body.
Before you receive an implant-supported crown, you will first need to undergo implant surgery. Diagnostic scans and X-rays will be taken to determine how your implant can be best placed to support your crown. You may receive nitrous oxide in addition to local anesthesia during surgery to ease your nerves and make for a more comfortable experience.
After your implant has been placed, you will be given a temporary restoration to wear while your implant heals. Over the course of a few months, the process of osseointegration will occur within your jaw. During this process, your jaw bone will fuse with your implant, stabilizing it in place permanently.
Once your implant and gums are healed, your doctor will attach a zirconia abutment piece to the exposed head of your implant post. Zirconia is indistinguishable within your prosthetic tooth, unlike metal abutments. Your Bruxzir® crowns will then be placed directly upon your zirconia abutments.
Fixed Partial Bridges
Most people place more significance on replacing missing front teeth that can obviously improve the appearance of the smile; however, most people fail to consider what happens when missing posterior teeth are not replaced. Each time you lose a tooth, you lose approximately 10% of your ability to chew. When a tooth is lost, the other teeth surrounding the site of the now missing tooth tend to move into the empty space. This contributes to an increased opportunity for decay and gum disease to begin, along with bite problems and a potential for other dental problems. Replacing molars will help regain normal chewing, swallowing, and digestion. Missing teeth should always be replaced; the sooner, the better.
Fixed bridges are one of the possibilities that exist for the replacement of one or more missing teeth. Bridges are crowns that are attached or fused together, suspending the crown portion of a false tooth in or over the space left by the missing tooth. A bridge can be used to replace one or several teeth. Sometimes a bridge is used to splint loose teeth together in order to make the teeth more stable. The bridge is typically attached to the teeth on either side of the site of the missing tooth. The teeth are generally the same shape as natural teeth. However, if the existing teeth (abutments) that are used to anchor the bridge have moved from their original position because a tooth or teeth have been missing for years, the added tooth (pontic) may be longer or shorter than the tooth that it is replacing. With a bridge, the false tooth will most often fit flush against the soft tissue ridge where the missing tooth once existed.
What to Expect
The shape of the tongue side of the false tooth varies. It is usually smaller on the tongue side and completely fills the space. Food will have more of a tendency to collect in this area, so you must be prepared to clean it. If the missing tooth has been gone a long time, the ridge may have shrunk considerably, and the pontic tooth will be longer than the teeth on either side. If this is the case, there are several periodontal procedures that can be done prior to the construction of the bridge. These procedures will build up the tissue to its former height. The more your mouth has changed from its normal state, the harder it is to make new teeth look and feel natural.
One or more teeth can be replaced by a fixed bridge. The design of the bridge is affected by, among other factors, the number, strength and position of the remaining teeth, and your ability to properly clean the completed bridge.
The teeth that are to be the supports for the bridge are prepared similarly to the preparation of a single crown. The tooth is made smaller by about 1 to 2 millimeters, depending on the part of the tooth being prepared. An impression is made of the prepared teeth and sent to a lab. While the bridge is being made, the prepared teeth are protected by a well-designed temporary bridge. Once the final bridge has been placed, it is not easily removed.
You practice meticulous home care, especially around the bridge. We will show you how to properly brush and floss. It is important that you follow our recommended dental hygiene recare schedule. Frequent examinations are one way to protect your investment and to maintain optimal oral health. The bridge teeth can be brushed the same as natural teeth, but since they are attached together, must be flossed differently by using a floss threader or other device.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages of the fixed bridge include proven reliability and longevity.
Disadvantages include cost, increased difficulty in proper cleaning by the patient, and the necessity of preparing healthy adjacent teeth for support
Removable Partial Denture
A partial denture is designed to replace one or several missing teeth. You may consider a removable partial denture to replace the missing teeth, if:
- the remaining teeth are not suitable to support a fixed bridge
- there is not sufficient bone for implants
- periodontal disease is present
- finances are limited
Partial dentures are composed of three different materials. A cast metal base with clasps, pink acrylic gum tissue, and lifelike artificial teeth. The metal clasps are absolutely necessary to hold the partial in place and, depending on the individual circumstances, may or may not be visible when you talk or smile. Their location and design are dictated by the shape and position of your remaining teeth and which missing teeth will be replaced. Your doctor will show you where the clasps will attach. Most of the time, the amount of preparation (drilling) of your natural teeth needed to ensure successful clasp design is minimal. There is often no need for a local anesthetic injection. This is unlike fixed bridgework, which always requires significant tooth reduction for proper design and fit.
A removable partial is bulkier than a bridge and may be difficult to wear initially. You may have to adjust the way you posture your mouth or speak to accommodate this extra bulk which may result in a lisp that is slightly evident when you’re talking with others. Most people acclimate to their new appliance within about a week or so.
You might explore other options if you strongly object to the visibility of metal clasps while smiling or a slight lisp while speaking. In certain circumstances, crowns may be placed on the teeth that hold the partial in place allowing the clasps to be discretely placed inside the crowns. This offers a more natural appearance but increases the ultimate cost of treatment. Significant preparation of the natural teeth that are to be crowned is required; therefore, you may wish to reconsider fixed bridges or implants.
It’s important to mention, there may be negative effects associated with delayed treatment. Forgoing a partial while you save for a more advanced alternative may end up costing you more than you might expect. If the site of missing teeth is left unaddressed for too long the remaining teeth may begin to shift, tilt, and supraerupt resulting in more extensive treatment being required. The functional, psychological, and social consequences associated with missing teeth can be profound as well; therefore, the risk of delaying treatment far outweighs any benefit. An interim, or temporary partial, can be very affordable and may be all that’s needed to minimize these issues until you can afford your treatment of choice.
Dentures are intended to replace a full arch of missing teeth to recreate a lost smile as well as restore function, overall appearance and self-confidence. Unfortunately, they don’t always deliver their intended results. If they don’t fit correctly, dentures can be quite embarrassing! Loose dentures can shift, or even fall out, while you’re eating or talking. This leads to comfort issues, as well. When your dentures shift around while you chew, mouth sores, and painful ulcerations may develop from the friction. Additionally, your diet may become limited because you will not be confident or able to eat foods that require a large amount of chewing.
You may think that creating comfortable, well-fitting dentures that are aesthetically pleasing is easy, but it actually takes a combination of great skill and communication between your dentist and an experienced dental laboratory technician. Constructing natural, stunning dentures that deliver comfort and function is one of the most difficult tasks in dentistry. It’s not just about replacing missing teeth; it’s also compensating for bone loss and, very often, sunken facial profiles which can prematurely age a patient up to ten years. Careful, calculated consideration of each individual’s anatomy is essential for outstanding results to be gained in this delicate area.
You can look 10 years younger, eat well, and feel great with fabulous, natural looking Lifestyle Dentures that are custom designed and personally hand-crafted by David Howell, a clinical dental technician, who has been making high-quality dentures alongside Dr. Edward Passini for over 18 years. Together they have an approximate total of 77 years experience in removable dentistry. Helena Family Dental is proud to offer some of the most up-to-date techniques and materials in an on-site dental laboratory that routinely provides same day service.
When you visit Helena Family Dental, your doctor will evaluate your oral health and determine if you have sufficient bone to retain your dentures. An implant supported denture treatment method may be recommended depending upon your individual needs and preferences. This method includes three to four strategically placed dental implants that allow your denture incredible stability.
Implant supported dentures provide the added bonus of promoting bone retention, which allows you to stay healthier and appear youthful longer. You’ve tried the rest…now it’s time to experience the best with Helena Family Dental’s high quality, custom-fabricated Lifestyle Dentures!
As much as we strive to save natural teeth, sometimes the loss of a tooth or several teeth is unavoidable due to injury, infection or decay. Helena Family Dental is proud to offer immediate dentures that can be delivered at the time of your extractions saving you the embarrassment of visibly missing teeth. With careful planning, our on-site laboratory allows us the ability to provide same-day service whenever needed.
There is an approximation of the fit for immediate dentures as the impressions are taken prior to the removal of the teeth. The immediate denture will be inserted the same day the teeth are removed. You won’t be able to determine the comfort of the denture or the feel of the bite at this time as you will be numb and swollen from the procedure and local anesthetic. You should expect several appointments during the healing period as the swelling goes down and the denture base settles. Your bite will change and need to be readjusted. The more teeth removed at the time the immediate denture is delivered, the longer it will take to heal and the more sore spots you will have.
Once the gum tissue has healed and the remaining tissue ridges reach their final shape, approximately three to six months after extraction, the denture base will need a reline. The extra reline material will fill in the space between the denture base and the new position of the soft tissue. The longer you age with no teeth the smaller the bones in the jaw become. The base of your denture does not change along with the jaw changes, so a periodic reline is necessary.
Furthermore, it is possible that after many years of missing teeth, the bone on which the denture sits becomes so small that it is difficult, if not impossible, for a denture to remain properly in place. Dental implants may help retain the denture and prevent further bone loss.
Full Mouth Restoration
A full mouth restoration, also referred to as a full mouth reconstruction or rehabilitation, is the process of restoring every tooth in the mouth. The restoration usually involves general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry. A full mouth restoration is performed because the treatment is needed to correct dental issues such as infection, decayed, or missing teeth; whereas, a smile makeover includes cosmetic procedures that were desired by the patient to enhance the smile. A full mouth restoration may be necessary if:
- Most or all of the teeth are missing or broken due to injury or decay.
- Most or all of the teeth are fractured, chipped, or worn due to untreated temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) symptoms or craniofacial pain.
- Most or all of the teeth are significantly deteriorated causing bad breath, missing teeth, and gum disease.
About Full Mouth Restorations
A full mouth restoration usually takes place in carefully planned stages and may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete. Helena Family Dental offers added convenience to patients in need of a full mouth restoration as all the services can be performed in the same location which reduces disruptions to your schedule.
Your doctor will recommend procedures for your custom full mouth restoration based upon your individual needs. Some of the following treatments may be recommended:
- Periodontal Treatment
- Composite Fillings
- Porcelain Veneers
- Dental Implants
- TMJ Therapy
- Bone and Soft Tissue Grafting
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
Another uncomfortable condition involving the head area, sleep apnea is a serious condition wherein a person experiences abnormal pauses in breathing while asleep, which may last from several seconds to a minute. Not everyone knows that this is a potentially life-threatening condition. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It is caused by a blockage in the airway, which can be due to excess tissue in the nasal passages or behind the tongue. About 15 million Americans suffer from this disorder. Typical symptoms include snoring, choking or gasping for air during sleep, daytime sleepiness, and fatigue. What makes the condition so dangerous is that it can cause high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, diabetes, and depression.
The good news is that there are several sleep apnea appliances that may help solve this problem. We offer several options to help patients suffering from sleep apnea, including oral appliance therapy (OAT) and a mandibular advancement device (MAD). The oral appliance therapy procedure uses a device similar to a mouth guard which is placed inside the patient’s mouth and keeps the airway free from obstruction. A mandibular advancement device is used to slightly adjust the position of the lower jaw in order to keep the airway open more consistently during sleep. It is important to note that these sleep apnea appliances are adjustable. Since patients experience varying degrees of the condition, adjusting the devices is important in achieving the necessary comfort. TMJ and sleep apnea should never be a problem when you know the right appliance or therapy to use.
Oral Sleep Appliances & Therapy (OAT)
Many of our patients suffering from the troublesome symptoms of temporomandibular disorder (TMD) also sleep poorly. Although, some have already been diagnosed with breathing related sleep disorders by the time they visit our office others remain alarmingly unaware. The most common complaints from our patients suffering from sleep disorders are snoring, disturbance of their bed partner’s sleep, witnessed episodes of not breathing, excessive daytime sleepiness and poor concentration. These episodes of not breathing are known as sleep apneas. The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Some other symptoms of sleep disorders are:
- morning headaches
- unrefreshing sleep
- a dry mouth upon awakening
- chest retraction during sleep in young children (chest pulls in)
- high blood pressure
- obesity or overweight (rapid weight gain)
- change in personality
- difficulty concentrating
- excessive perspiring or sweating during sleep
- reduced libido or decreased desire for intimacy
- insomnia or sleeplessness (inability to fall asleep/stay asleep)
- frequent nighttime urination (nocturia)
- restless sleep
- nocturnal snorting, gasping, choking (may even wake the sufferer)
- confusion or disorientation upon awakening
Relapse of the tongue into the airway is one of the primary causes of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Some other causes are retrusion of the mandible (a lower jaw that is further back that it should be), facial deformities such as micrognathia (a lower jaw that is smaller than it should be), obesity, enlarged tongue or tonsils, throat muscle and tongue relax more than normal, and the aging process.
The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research estimates that approximately 70 million people in the United States have a sleep disorder; furthermore, sleep disorders, sleep deprivation, and sleepiness add an estimated $15.9 billion to the national health care bill each year. These calculations do not include related health problems, lost worker productivity, interpersonal relationship issues and accidents. Those with untreated sleep apnea are two to three times more likely to be in motor vehicle accidents.
Undiagnosed or untreated obstructive sleep apnea can potentially lead to heart attacks, strokes, impotence, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and heart disease. The symptoms become progressively worse with time and severity range from mild to severe. The quality of life can be greatly affected if left untreated so the condition should not be taken lightly.
Sleep Apnea Recommendations
Common recommendations for those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea are a weight loss program, sleeping on one’s side, CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) for those with mild to moderate symptoms and BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) for those with more severe symptoms. While CPAP is an effective form of treatment and has been the standard of care for most patients suffering from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea the effectiveness and success is greatly reduced due to patient intolerance. Many patients are unable to wear CPAP due to claustrophobia, noise disturbances, the mask causing jaw discomfort or applying pressure to the upper lip/anterior (front) teeth, a latex allergy, or and having an unconscious need to remove the device during the night. Others that have a career that requires frequent travel often find it cumbersome.
A study conducted by the Department of Otolaryngology at the Henry Ford Medical Group in 2011 demonstrates a CPAP compliance rate of a mere 28.8%. In contrast, oral sleep appliances have proven to have up to an 88% compliance rate and are considered a first line of treatment for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea according to reports published in the February 2006 Sleep Journal and the March 2010 Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technology in Health Journal. Although CPAP has a higher efficacy in a clinical study setting oral sleep appliances have proven to have higher effectiveness due to continual compliance and intolerance issues with CPAP.
Helena Family Dental offers effective and patient-friendly treatment alternatives for those who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. If you think you have obstructive sleep apnea but have yet to be diagnosed, Helena Family Dental offers a convenient sleep test that can be taken in the comfort of your own home. Once a diagnosis is confirmed you can be fit for a custom fabricated oral sleep appliance that is designed to reposition the lower jaw, soft palate and tongue to open the airway. Oral appliances are then titrated (adjusted) to an optimal position to alleviate snoring and reduce the number of shallow or non-breathing events while sleeping (apneas/hypopneas). Oral appliances may include a SUAD™ or Full Breath Solution™ based on your specific treatment needs. Treatment length is indefinite and success directly correlates with compliance.
The sleep dentist at Helena Family Dental may also recommend a lingual frenulectomy/frenectomy to correct low tongue posture or tongue tie that is often found in patients with sleep apnea. This is a simple procedure that involves clipping the tissue underneath the tongue that binds it down. This procedure allows for free movement and advancement of the tongue out of the throat resulting in an increased opening of the airway.
We are proud to offer our patients the latest in root canal therapy. A root canal is a procedure that extracts decayed pulp from the central part of the tooth, reshapes the canal and replaces it with strengthened filler.
A common misconception is that a root canal is a painful procedure. Actually, root canals are similar to having a cavity filled, producing minimal pain.
There are a number of reasons a root canal may be necessary, including:
- Inflamed/infected tooth pulp
- Severe sensitivity to hot and cold elements
- Tooth decay
- Chipped or broken tooth
- Blow to the tooth
- Swelling or tenderness near the infected tooth
- Repeated dental procedures on a tooth
When left untreated, these problems can lead to severe tooth decay reaching the root of the tooth, causing extensive damage to the tooth structure. When the damage goes beyond what can be treated with a filling, we can perform a root canal to preserve the tooth and retain its original integrity.
The root canal procedure involves the following steps:
- The patient undergoes anesthesia.
- A dental dam is used to isolate the tooth.
- The tooth is opened to allow for removal of infected or dead dental pulp.
- The tooth is comprehensively cleaned, including any cracks and canals.
- With special tools, the doctor reshapes the canals.
- The tooth is filled again with cutting edge biocompatible filling material.
- A temporary covering is used to cover the access opening
- Following a recovery period, the patient will return for the placement of a permanent restoration.
We will work with each patient individually to discuss the details of your treatment and any possible alternatives. Our top priority is to provide you with the highest standard of care.
Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements that were first developed half a century ago by a Swedish scientist named Per-Ingvar Branemark. Implants arose from the patient’s need to secure loose-fitting dentures. Since the advent of the implant, engineering and enhancements to the implant have enabled dentists to expand the implant’s usefulness, including the replacement of missing or lost teeth. Today, implant techniques provide a wide range of tooth replacement solutions including:
- Single Tooth Replacement
- Anterior Replacement
- Posterior Replacement
- Full Upper Replacement
Types of Implants
- There are three main types of implants:
- The root implant
- The plate form implant
- The subperiosteal implant
The root implant—by far, the most popular—is the most effective because it mirrors the size and shape of a patient’s natural tooth. This implant is often as strong as the patient’s original tooth. The implant or artificial root is placed into the jawbone under local anesthesia, then allowed to heal and integrate with the bone. Once the healing process is completed and the jawbone is attached to the implant, the patient returns to the dental office where the implant is fitted with the new tooth. This process generally takes anywhere from three to eight months.
The plate form implant is ideal in situations where the jawbone is not wide enough to properly support a root implant. The plate form implant is long and thin, unlike the root implant, and anchors into thin jawbones. It is inserted the same way as a root implant. In certain cases, the plate form implant is immediately fitted with the restoration without waiting for the healing process to run its course.
The subperiosteal implant is used when the jawbone has receded to the point where it can no longer support an implant.
Post Implant Care
Although proper oral hygiene is always recommended for maintaining good dental health, it is especially important when a patient has received a dental implant. Bacteria can attack sensitive areas in the mouth when teeth and gums are not properly cleaned, thus causing gums to swell and jaw bones to gradually recede. Recession of the jawbone will weaken implants and eventually make it necessary for the implant to be removed. Patients are advised to visit their dentists at least twice a year to ensure the health of their teeth and implants. Dental implants can last for decades when given proper care.
According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), Cosmetic dentistry is dentistry aimed at creating a positive change to your teeth and to your smile. Most think of tooth whitening or veneers when cosmetic dentistry comes to mind, but a cosmetic dentist can provide much more.
A skilled, experienced cosmetic dentist can help to improve your appearance, your smile, even your self-esteem, and confidence. Today, cosmetic dentistry has continued to evolve so that cosmetic dentists can address functional and esthetic concerns of the patient.
About Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry has transitioned from simply replacing and restoring damaged teeth to covering a wide scope of esthetic procedures. Today’s cosmetic dentistry include procedures such as:
- whiten teeth to a lighter color or shade
- bonding to alter the shape and alignment of teeth or to repair small chips in teeth
- tooth-colored restorations and fillings
- porcelain or resin veneers to alter the shape and alignment of teeth
- straighten crooked teeth with orthodontics (braces)
- replace missing teeth or support dentures with dental implants
- replacement of old discolored fillings
- replacement of amalgam (silver) fillings with tooth-colored restorations
- cosmetic shaping of teeth by recontouring your natural enamel
- close gaps or spaces between teeth
- porcelain inlays or onlays for back teeth
- contouring the gum tissue to make it more symmetrical with periodontal surgery
- restoration of worn, ground down or small teeth to their proper form and shape
- repair toothbrush abrasion
- soft tissue grafts or composites to conceal missing gum tissue due to recession
- replace missing teeth with bridges or partials
- replace defective, unsightly or aged crowns (caps)
- cover stains
- remove stained fracture lines from enamel
- make teeth appear longer or shorter
Costs for these cosmetic procedures vary according to the complexity of the treatment needed. Telling us what you’d like your smile to look like is the first step. We can then tell you what procedures would be best, how long it will take to achieve and the monetary investment needed to make it a reality. You may be surprised by how dentistry has changed, how affordable it can be and what can be done by an experienced cosmetic dentist.
Do you have cracked, chipped or stained teeth? Maybe you have a small, bothersome gap between your teeth or teeth that don’t match in shape or size. If so, dental bonding may be a suitable for you. Bonding is an exceptionally effective and cost efficient approach to correct these issues and provide you with a dazzling smile.
DENTAL BONDING is one of the most requested procedures in our office; it can be used to repair or reshape chipped and cracked teeth. It can even conceal severely stained teeth. The procedure can be completed in one simple visit and is relatively painless. Bonding isn’t as durable as crowns or porcelain veneers, but with proper care they can last approximately three to seven years.
About Dental Bonding
Bonding is one of the most conservative cosmetic procedures available in dentistry because it requires very little alteration to the natural tooth. Priming the tooth and applying a special liquid compound that enables the bonding material to adhere is far less invasive than the removal of tooth structure that is required during preparation for crowns and veneers.
There is an art to dental bonding when it comes to shade and shape. Ensuring the composite material is as close to the color of the adjacent teeth is all important. It takes years to master the art of matching the shade and then cosmetically shaping the bonding material. Once the composite is applied to the tooth it is then buffed and polished so that cracks, chips and discoloration are no longer visible to the naked eye. When it comes to reshaping a tooth or hiding a gap between teeth the bonding material is applied, trimmed, shaped and polished to be symmetrical with the adjacent, corresponding natural teeth.
Many people define a beautiful smile as one that is straight, white and symmetrical. Very few come by such a smile naturally; luckily, there is help for the rest of us! Orthodontic treatment, or braces, is a common solution for this problem; however, there are situations where it may not be possible or desirable to use braces to straighten teeth. Recontouring is occasionally all that is necessary to significantly improve your appearance. In select cases, the appearance of the upper and lower teeth can be slightly or dramatically improved by recontouring, or reshaping, the enamel and/or gum tissue.
About Enamel Recontouring
Enamel recontouring is simple and painless; it does not weaken the teeth and does not increase the risk of decay or temperature sensitivity. This procedure is useful when there is slight to moderate overlapping of the front teeth, uneven wear, or teeth that do not meet harmoniously. One or several teeth may require some reshaping, and to different degrees, depending on your individual needs. Other times, when there is significant misalignment, it may be done in conjunction with a bonding procedure.
About Tissue Recontouring
Tissue recontouring may be the treatment of choice if you have a “gummy” smile, your teeth look too short or there are noticeable asymmetries in the height of the gums. This excessive tissue can have the appearance of malformed, underdeveloped, or weakened teeth; and can detract from your appearance even if you enjoy good oral health and a straight, uniform, bright white smile. Gum lifting, or reshaping, is performed in the office and involves removing excess gum tissue and/or reshaping the gums with a laser. This advanced technology allows us to modify the gum tissue safely, quickly and with minimal discomfort for a more natural-looking smile. Slight, short-term tooth sensitivity may occur after the procedure; however, postoperative discomfort is usually minor. Significant improvement in your smile can often be achieved in one convenient visit.
Your dentist will use years of experience in combination with refined skills and a keen artistic ability to determine whether enamel or gum tissue can be removed, bonding material must be added, or if orthodontics is the treatment of choice. The fees are often reasonable and depend on the extent and complexity of the treatment desired.
Do you have missing teeth, failed dentistry, or loose dentures? If so, dental implants are the answer to your problem. Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth or provide extra support and stability for removable prosthodontics such as dentures and partials.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is used to replace one or more missing teeth. It consists of an artificial tooth “root” and an artificial tooth that sits on top of the “root.” The “root” is usually made of titanium, and the artificial tooth is typically a porcelain crown. This dental appliance is called an implant because it is literally implanted into the jawbone of the patient. After a certain period of time – typically several months – the implant fuses to the patient’s bone. After that, the artificial tooth (a crown) is permanently affixed to the top of the implant.
What are the advantages of a dental implant over other options?
If you are missing one or more teeth, it’s important to replace those teeth so that your other natural teeth won’t shift in place to fill in the gap – something that can cause a host of other problems. Although you can replace missing teeth in a variety of different ways, such as dental bridges or partial dentures, many patients prefer dental implants because they are a more permanent solution. Dental implants cannot be removed and, if properly cared for, can last throughout a patient’s lifetime. Other options, such as bridges or partials, have a tendency to move around or slip in a patient’s mouth, which can affect chewing and talking. Dental implants never slip or move because the artificial tooth is firmly affixed to the artificial root, which is embedded into the patient’s jaw.
What is involved in the dental implant procedure?
The first step in getting a dental implant is for your dentist or an oral surgeon to implant the artificial root into your jawbone. Although this procedure typically doesn’t take long to complete, it is considered oral surgery, and it takes a certain amount of time afterwards to allow the implant to fuse to the bone – usually several months. Once the implant is ready, your dentist will attach a connector to the top of the implant, and affix the artificial tooth (usually a porcelain crown) to the connector. Although the procedure takes several months, many patients find that the end result is definitely worth the wait since a dental implant is very much like getting a brand new natural tooth.
How do I care for my new dental implant?
One of the many advantages of dental implants is their similarity to natural teeth. While some other dental appliances require special care and cleaning – such as partial dentures or removable dental bridges, for example – dental implants need no special treatment whatsoever. You simply brush and floss as you normally would. It’s important to remember, however, that the vast majority of dental restorations, including dental implants, cannot be whitened with teeth whitening products. Dental implants typically last for many, many years and can, in fact, last throughout a person’s lifetime, although they may need adjustment after a certain period of time.
How do I know if a dental implant is right for me?
If you are missing one or more teeth, you may be a good candidate for a dental implant. The only way to know for sure is to ask your dentist. While implants are often an excellent choice to replace missing teeth, they may not be for everyone. For example, you’ll need an adequate amount of jawbone present to accommodate the implant. Your dentist can perform a dental exam to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for a dental implant.
ABOUT DENTAL IMPLANTS
Implants are a long-term treatment option to replace one or multiple teeth that may last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. older couple sitting on grass Helena Family Dental’s implants are so well designed that they mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. Dental implants are titanium root forms, or anchors, that are similar in appearance to a screw. Once it is implanted into the ridge of the bone and healing (osseointegration) occurs, these anchors can be used to attach artificial teeth such as crowns, bridges, partials, and dentures. A temporary tooth is placed on top of the implant as the healing process takes place to ensure the space for the final restoration does not close and to allow you to chew properly. These temporary teeth look similar to real ones. From the replacement of a single missing tooth to extensive reconstruction, dental implants offer the healthiest and most natural-looking result.
ADVANTAGES OF DENTAL IMPLANTS
- Improved Speech – Implants look and feel like natural teeth. Often times when patients are missing teeth or wear ill-fitting dentures or partials they have difficulty with speech that has a lisp or sounds mumbled or slurred.
- Increased Comfort – Implants help resolve temporomandibular joint pain or bite problems that result from teeth drifting into the areas where teeth are missing.
- Restore Chewing and Digestion – Ill-fitting dentures that slide around while eating do not allow for proper chewing of food which leads to digestive issues. Implant supported dentures allow you to chew your food well enough to facilitate proper digestion.
- Enhanced Appearance – Implants provide a more youthful appearance by preventing further bone loss. When you lose a tooth, you also lose bone as your other teeth shift in an attempt to fill the space. Bone loss, left unchecked, will result in a collapsed and sunken in face which in turn causes further wrinkles and sagging skin. Dental implants can make you look years, maybe even decades younger. This prevention of bone loss is an added benefit that dentures and partials alone cannot match.
- Rejuvenate Your Smile and Your Confidence – Quality implants offer beauty, form and function as well as reassurance. Implants give renewed confidence as you need not be concerned with missing teeth or shifting dentures while you eat or speak. With your dazzling new smile you’ll be eager to smile broadly for the camera, enjoy a dinner date, and chat with friends like you used to!
- Replace One or More Missing Teeth without Affecting Adjacent Teeth – Dental implants rely upon osseointegration, which is the fusing of bone to the artificial implant root, for support rather than adjacent teeth leaving no need to alter healthy teeth. Since implants are not supported by nearby teeth it does not cause them additional stress which in turn helps preserve them.
- Easier Maintenance – You brush and floss your implant as you do your natural teeth unlike a bridge that requires extra effort to floss the underside. If an issue develops with any of the teeth involved in a bridge the entire bridge will have to be replaced.
What to Expect
At Helena Family Dental you’ll receive a comprehensive implant evaluation and detailed treatment plan. With advanced iCAT® cone beam CT imaging the doctors are able to obtain a full three dimensional (3D) view of the potential implant site allowing for accurate planning and placement. They will then present you with the benefits and risks so you may make an informed decision about your care. If the teeth on either side of the site of the missing tooth and the remaining bone are healthy, an implant will likely be recommended. If you have large fillings on adjacent teeth then a bridge may be best. Once you and your dentist decide that an implant is the best course of treatment the implant will be surgically placed in the jaw. After the implant has bonded to the bone and it is strong enough to proceed the final crown or bridge restoration will be attached with a connecting piece referred to as an abutment and, voila, you will then have a beautiful, natural looking tooth!
Implant Vs. Bridge
If you’re a candidate for implants and you need to replace a single missing tooth, you’re probably wondering which is better, an implant or a bridge? Initially, it appears that a bridge is the more economical route when comparing the cost with that of an implant. Fees for an implant tend to start at the upper end of the cost for a fixed bridge. However, upon closer evaluation the dental implant is often found to be the more cost-effective and better treatment option when comparing cost versus value.
Dental implants do not require support from adjacent teeth whereas bridges do. The teeth on either side of the site of the missing tooth must be prepared, or drilled down, to support the bridge. This process may make these teeth more susceptible to bacteria, decay, gum disease, and may even lead to future root canals. This is particularly unfortunate when the adjacent teeth are healthy and free of decay. So, in essence you protect the vitality of adjacent teeth when you opt for a dental implant.
You can care for implants just as you would your natural teeth; brushing and flossing is essentially the same. In contrast, many consider the additional effort required to care for a bridge to be cumbersome and time consuming.
The key part of a dental implant is the titanium anchor that will integrate into the socket that once held the root of the now missing tooth. This is essential as it prevents the bone loss that normally occurs when a missing tooth is replaced with a bridge, partial, or denture.
Although the titanium root form, or anchor, of the implant may last a lifetime the implant supported crown will require replacement at approximately the same interval as a bridge. The typical functional lifespan of these restorations is anywhere from seven to fifteen years depending upon home care and regular professional maintenance. With that said, implants generally have a lower cost over their lifetime than bridges. In addition, implants look and feel more natural than bridges which leads to higher patient satisfaction.
Not everyone is an ideal candidate for implants. The patient should be a non-smoker in good general and oral health, have adequate bone density in the jaw to support the implant, and be free of periodontal disease. Both procedures have a risk for failure. There tends to be a higher failure rate for fixed bridges, especially the posterior ones, because they are difficult to clean.
Bridges, on the other hand, have their advantages as well. There is absolutely no surgery involved with a bridge procedure. In contrast, dental implants require surgical intervention and, at times, the patient may undergo general anesthesia.
The process of the bridge procedure is quicker and less complex than that of dental implants. The entire bridge procedure will be complete in approximately two to three visits to your dentist. Whereas, the implant may require coordination of your care with other healthcare professionals and numerous office visits.
A dental bridge is recommended in the case of jaw bone loss or significant damage. The process will be simpler, less painful, and less expensive in such instances. It is important to know that the positioning of dental implants demands healthy bone.
Ultimately, it’s a matter of your overall health, personal preference, and the investment you are willing to make. The doctors and staff at Helena Family Dental are happy to discuss your options with you.
Implant vs. Partial
You are likely weighing the pros and cons of implants versus a partial if you have several missing teeth. Partials are often the least expensive in terms of tooth replacement options; however, they are the most lacking when it comes to function and aesthetics.
Partials generally attach to the remaining teeth with clasps and are fully removable. This makes them susceptible to rocking and other undesired movement. Due to this attachment to the remaining teeth, they tend to accumulate a lot of bacteria which can lead to an increased incidence of gum disease and tooth decay. Teeth may become loose over time if the partial does not fit properly or if it’s unstable during function. Implants, on the other hand, are fixed, cannot be removed and do not make adjacent teeth susceptible to damage..
Many partial wearers complain of discomfort due to friction or poor fit. Lower partials are particularly difficult to fit due to bone resorption over time. Furthermore, partials tend to be unstable where several teeth are missing on one side with no end tooth on which to attach for support. A good solution is to place one or two strategic dental implants, which fuse to the bone providing a rigid anchor to improve stability to the partial. This does not dramatically increase costs, yet significantly improves treatment outcomes.
Partials do not look as natural as implants nor do they function as well. Implants function much like natural teeth and may be brushed and cared for just the same.
A well-designed, properly fitting partial fabricated of high quality material can provide a very viable aesthetic and functional alternative to more expensive implant options, especially when the patient practices impeccable home care.
Implants vs. Denture
If you have considered dentures, you may be wondering about dental implant cost vs. the cost of dentures. It is true that dentures are the more affordable, low-cost solution in comparison to implants. For this reason, many individuals seeking to replace missing teeth automatically select dentures as their first and only solution. This could be a mistake when you consider the continual, long-term additional cost of fixatives, cleaning solutions, and denture replacement, as well as the disadvantages of slippage and discomfort.
Dentures, or removable false teeth, have long been the most popular choice for those missing all of their teeth. Unfortunately, patients are not always made aware of the treatment alternatives that are now available or they are not informed well enough in terms of value and long-term costs.
Dentures are often held in place with adhesive paste that lacks a secure bond which leads to a generally unpleasant experience. Dentures often slip and move around causing discomfort and embarrassment while eating and speaking. Slippage and discomfort can be particularly pronounced with a lower denture as the lower jaw is susceptible to bone resorption which causes the denture to move around frequently. This ultimately leads to gum irritation and painful sores.
Dental implants, on the other hand, are the modern-day solution to missing teeth. Unlike dentures which provide a façade of teeth, dental implants provide an actual replacement to natural missing teeth. They are secured in the gum or jaw where they serve as an anchor for a dental crown. This method of placement not only makes them very strong but it also preserves bone and prevents bone loss. Implants will not slip or move, thus eliminating the embarrassment and discomfort associated with dentures. Furthermore, they provide the most permanent solution for tooth loss, often lasting a lifetime. Dental implants look and function just like natural teeth and you care for them as you would your natural teeth.
It is possible, however, to have the best of both worlds! Implant supported dentures, or Lifestyle Dentures, may be the “perfect fit” when it comes to affordability and functionality. While the dentures are still removable, the implant posts hold them firmly and securely in place.
Orthodondics or Braces
A beautiful, straight smile is all-important in today’s aesthetically driven society. Although most won’t admit it, an article in the April 2012 Dental Tribune cites that a study conducted by Kelton, a market research group, shows those with a healthy, straight, and symmetrical smile are considered to be happier, healthier, and smarter. We are often judged by our appearance whether we like it or not!
More importantly, if your teeth are in poor alignment, you could be facing a functional problem. Difficulty eating, speaking, and breathing can all result from misaligned teeth and poor jaw posture. Orthodontics, or braces, can correct these functional problems. While orthodontic therapy is admittedly easier in the child patient, you are never too old to begin orthodontics. The number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment has risen dramatically during the past couple decades. Those with healthy teeth and supporting bone are often good candidates for orthodontic treatment. Adult cases take 18 to 24 months to complete, on average.
Helena Family Dental offers a wide range of orthodontic services to align and straighten your teeth in the fastest and most effective way possible. Despite the differences in the costs, the level of comfort, and length of treatment, they all deliver lasting results. Traditional braces are still one of the most trusted. Hundreds of patients still get their teeth straightened with the use of metal brackets and wires. Clear aligners, on the other hand, are becoming more and more popular. They are not only comfortable to wear but are also removable and virtually invisible.
Over the past decade smile makeovers have become increasingly popular with people from all walks of life. A smile makeover is basically any combination of cosmetic dental treatments provided concurrently with the goal of dramatically enhancing your appearance and self-confidence. Your dentist will plan your smile makeover based upon your individual needs, and may recommend a combination of cosmetic bonding, teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, or tooth-colored fillings.
WHAT TO EXPECT
A smile makeover involves more than just improving the appearance of your teeth; therefore, careful consideration will be given to the following:
- Face shape – Patients with a longer face will look better with teeth that are wider and vice versa.
- Skin tone and hair color – If you have dark skin, we may recommend a less-intensive teeth whitening treatment, so that your smile looks natural.
- Tooth shape – Open edges between teeth create a more youthful look, whereas uniform teeth suggest maturity.
- Spacing and alignment – Small gaps can be closed and slight misalignments can be corrected with bonding or veneers. For more involved cases, we may recommend orthodontics that can also be conveniently provided within our office.
- Affordability – Porcelain veneers offer translucency and light reflecting properties that more closely resemble natural teeth than the more affordable resin composite alternative. Your dentist will work closely with you to choose materials and treatments that will be most appropriate for your budget, oral health, and expectations.
Smile Makeover Process
The smile makeover process at Helena Family Dental is entirely collaborative. From your first consultation, Dr. Edward Passini or Dr. Nathaniel Hill will work closely with you to help you choose the treatments best suited to perfect your smile. Goals, concerns, and preferences will all be discussed with you during your consultation. You may wish to use photos of your favorite smiles to point out the characteristics you would like for your own smile. Your input is valued and respected at each stage of your smile makeover process, and no decisions are finalized until you have had a chance to view a wax-up of what treatment can provide, and have given us your approval. This empowers you to have the final say in what you want your smile to look like.
Your doctor can revitalize the health, beautify the appearance, and restore the function of your teeth allowing you to realize the smile of your dreams and the freedoms and joys that come with it. Your smile is of paramount significance. It is often the first thing people notice upon meeting you and can leave a lasting impression on friends and strangers alike. Your smile plays a key role in your overall confidence and self-esteem. An attractive smile can improve your demeanor, make it easier to socialize, and diminish anxieties or insecurities.
Enhancing your smile is one of the wisest investments you can make, as it’s an investment in your health and well-being. All too often we prioritize material objects, career, travel, and others above ourselves, but at what expense? Studies show that individuals with attractive smiles make more money, go on more dates, and are perceived as more intelligent and trustworthy than those with discolored, crooked, or missing teeth. A beautiful, healthy smile doesn’t depreciate; it’s an investment in a greater quality of life.
When it comes to fillings it’s important to understand that a filling is not just a filling. Your doctor will help you determine the type of restoration that is best for you based upon the location and condition of the tooth involved, your health history, cosmetic expectations, and dental budget. At Helena Family Dental, we firmly believe in taking the time to discuss treatment options and potential outcomes with you so you may make a well informed decision about your care. You can expect your doctor to consider the health and appearance of your teeth, as well as how you will feel about your smile, when making treatment recommendations.
Placement of amalgam, or silver colored, fillings in the anterior teeth would be unsightly; therefore, they are generally only considered acceptable for placement on the posterior teeth. These fillings offer no aesthetic value, are visible while eating and speaking, and may cause further cosmetic concern as the metal ages, corrodes, or darkens. Changes in temperature from food and drinks consumed will cause the restoration to expand and contract ultimately resulting in weakening, or possibly fracture, of the tooth. Furthermore, if the tooth requires a large filling the remaining natural tooth structure may appear dark or gray in color. Amalgam fillings are not discrete and do not boast of good health; therefore, most patients opt for composite fillings.
A resin composite, or tooth colored, restoration offers a natural appearance in contrast to traditional amalgam, or silver colored, fillings. Composite fillings are considered to be the most conservative restoration available because they require less tooth preparation, or drilling. The tooth becomes weaker as the amount of preparation increases and smaller restorations last longer, so it’s best to keep it to a minimum.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Composite and amalgam fillings may last up to ten to twelve years depending on the size and position of the restoration, foods eaten, and proper care. Composites are more complex to place than amalgams; therefore, the cost associated with them is also higher. Your doctor will recommend the restorative materials best suited to meet your dental needs. Insurance coverage, or lack thereof, will never dictate what dental treatment we feel you need and deserve. Our goal is to provide you with the best and longest lasting restorations possible. Your doctor will be glad to discuss these options with you.
Your teeth will darken over time. Changes in the color of your teeth can be caused by such factors as the food and beverages consumed (like coffee, tea and soda). Other known factors for discoloration may include childhood medications or illnesses, tobacco use or improper oral hygiene. Restoring your natural white smile is a priority for our dental whitening team. We can provide a variety of options for whitening your smile.
Tooth whitening services are growing in popularity, and it’s one of the most requested services offered by our practice. Everyone sees the growing consumer market focused on whiter teeth. The reality is that over-the-counter, “too good to be true” solutions typically don’t work.
We are trained professionals using industry-approved methods. Our goal is to meet the needs of every patient, and every patient’s needs are different. One of the methods used by our practice is a gentle hydrogen-peroxide gel-activated solution. Our process will whiten your entire smile in one visit. Call us today for a whitening evaluation.
Nothing improves your appearance more than a bright, white smile!
If you’re looking for a fast way to dramatically whiten your teeth, Zoom! In-Office Whitening System may be the answer for you.
In a little over an hour, this safe and effective system can give you the instant results you’ve been wanting. A specially designed light activates the Zoom! Whitening Gel to gently break down stains on your teeth to put the sparkle back in your smile!
Zoom! Whitening is very safe while under the supervision of a trained dentist. It is one of the safest procedures in cosmetic dentistry. However, we do not recommend this procedure for pregnant women or children under age 13.
You will be given some post-whitening care instructions after your procedure. It is important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen post-whitening to preserve your bright, white smile. We also recommend occasional touch-ups with the Zoom!Take-Home Gel. Your smile will always be brighter than it was before the procedure, but by following these simple instructions, you can retain your results for a long time!
Although the Zoom! System can help almost anyone, it may not be as effective in every case. We can determine if tooth whitening is a possible option for your case.
Porcelain veneers are thin, semi-translucent “shells” typically attached to your front teeth. They are customized from porcelain material that is bonded to your teeth. Porcelain veneers are a great alternative to otherwise painful dental procedures to improve the appearance of your smile.
Common problems that porcelain veneers are used for:
- Spaces between the teeth
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Unsightly, stained or discolored teeth
- Permanently stained or discolored teeth
- Crooked or misshapen teeth
Porcelain veneers are a great aesthetic solution to your smile that may even help you avoid orthodontic treatment. Subtle changes to your smile can be achieved with veneers, and in most cases, veneer application is completed in only two office visits.
Please contact our office if you have any further questions on porcelain veneers.
A crown is a custom-made covering that fits over an original tooth that is either decayed, damaged or cracked. Though crowns can be made from a variety of materials, our office uses only porcelain crowns to provide our patients with the most natural appearance.
The treatment plan for a patient receiving a crown involves:
- Numbing the tooth to remove the decay in or around it.
- Re-sculpturing the tooth to provide an ideal fit for the crown.
- Making an impression of your teeth in order to create a custom-made crown (usually takes one to two weeks).
- Making a temporary crown out of acrylic resin and fitting it onto the tooth during the interim period when the custom-made crown is being created.
- Applying the custom-made crown (when received from the lab) by removing the temporary crown and fitting the custom-made one onto the tooth.
- After ensuring that the crown has the proper look and fit, the dentist cements it into place.
This process generally consists of a minimum of two to three visits over a three to four week period. Once the procedure is completed, proper dental hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, is required to maintain healthy, bacteria-free teeth, gums and crowns. This helps in the prevention of gum disease. Given proper care, your crowns can last a lifetime.