Your Smile

worn teeth

To ensure the best clinical outcome when fixing worn teeth, we strive to figure out why our patients may be clenching and grinding.

When the adrenal glands are over-stimulated, we see negative effects on oral health, usually in the form of clenching and grinding, both during the day and at night. The cause of this could be many things, including sleep apnea, Lyme disease, poor gastrointestinal bacteria balance, and physical or mental stress.

The grinding down of teeth is a gradual process, so the effects are commonly missed until the entire dentition is worn, meaning your smile esthetics and tooth display are suddenly missing when talking or smiling, or functionally your dentition cannot protect itself from future destruction.

If the dentition is mildly worn, we recommend a hard acrylic night-guard to protect your teeth from losing their form or function.

If your teeth are severely worn and feel short or flat, or if you find yourself continuously breaking teeth and want a better solution than unplanned dental emergencies, our dentists are happy to present you with advanced solutions.

 missing teeth

When you are missing a tooth, whether you were born that way (considered “congenitally missing”) or you require an extraction due to a cracked or hopelessly broken tooth, a failing root canal or large infection, we must first visualize your teeth as a system. When one of these parts breaks or is missing, we can expect to have certain complications with the rest of the system.

Let’s first consider where the tooth is in your mouth, along with its function. While you may not perceive losing a molar as a big deal since it’s likely not visible when you smile, our back teeth are responsible for all mastication and support the health of your front teeth. Our molars are the “Gronkowskis” of our bite - they take the chewing abuse so our smaller teeth, the “wide receivers” of our bite, don’t crumble from the forces of masticating our food. Force distribution helps the entire system and keeps an individual tooth from breaking under the same burden designed for a team to handle.

Grafting options will be discussed at a surgical consultation if an extraction is recommended for you. The grafting process preserves the bone of your jaw, both during and after the procedure. Normal healing without the grafting procedure will cause atrophy or bone loss up to 40-60%, inhibiting future capability for implant placement and contributing to the loss of jawbone.

Your teeth may stain or be discolored for a couple of different reasons. Stains due to food or drink are considered extrinsic – or on the exterior of the teeth – and can typically be removed during your cleaning appointment or with a bleaching procedure, whether that’s in our office or with custom-fit trays you can take home. Discoloration happens when the intrinsic – or interior of the tooth – is affected, usually from tetracycline or other medications during childhood. Your teeth may also discolor after a root canal, or you may even feel like you were simply born with darker teeth. Porcelain veneers are thin porcelain facades for teeth that can change the appearance of your smile dramatically.

While over-the-counter bleaching agents have improved over the years, we do not recommend toothpastes with “whiteners.” These abrasive additives will scrub the stains off but often at the expense of a reduction in enamel thickness or sensitive teeth.

 Crooked teeth

Aligning teeth without the visible metal of traditional braces using invisalign® has been a game-changing technology for teenagers and adults with minor teeth crowding, gaps or bite concerns. Having misaligned teeth or malocclusion can lead to the premature wearing of a tooth, possible tooth loss, bacterial buildup and gum disease due to poor cleansibility and difficulty flossing, dry mouth, receding gums, sensitive teeth, and even self-consciousness when smiling due to appearance or fear of food being caught between your teeth.

From a dentist’s perspective, straighter teeth offer two things: improved cleansibility and force distribution/alignment improvement. By putting teeth in position to withstand the forces of mastication (chewing, grinding, clenching) and putting teeth in position to aid in their daily cleansing, our patients are set up for successful oral hygiene and ideally teeth for life. Optimizing the width of an arch of teeth will provide the tongue additional space, improving breathing, joint function, and sleep quality, and has even been shown to decrease headaches.

Daily habits, genetics and environmental factors will determine our health. While we want our habits to be a mindful choice, we understand life can interfere with our discipline and negatively affect our oral health as we skip flossing or brushing, eat poorly, live in a high-stress environment or cut back on sleep to fit more into a day.

Our advice:

  • Establish a comprehensive baseline. Sometimes making the call is the hardest part. Spending a couple of hours with one of our hygienists and dentists will get you up to speed on radiographs, gum, joint and bone health, and determine where you sit on the spectrum of oral health. We promise it’s never as bad as you may think!
  • Brush twice daily, ideally with an electric toothbrush. Overwhelmed when you walk through the dental section of your grocery store? Ask us for our recommendations!
  • Floss, floss & floss some more (but at least once daily!)
  • Follow the advice of your dentist and hygienist – We want to come up with a plan for your oral health that meets your needs.
  • Sleep well, eat nutrient dense whole foods, hydrate and exercise – it’s all connected!
  • Protect your teeth from parafunction (grinding and clenching), whether at night or in the day.

Remember, there is no pill for better oral health. By working together with your hygienist & dentist team, you have the ability to improve your overall health for life!

 Cosmetic enhancement

Do you find yourself constantly staring at your teeth or smile? Do you hate having pictures taken or find yourself not fully smiling because there’s that one thing that just drives you nuts? Maybe you feel like your smile is “too gummy”? Your teeth seem too big/small/short/uneven/discolored (the list can be endless)? It all starts the same way: with a plan.

Our method of producing consistent results always begins with photographs of your face and smile, impressions of your teeth and bite to be placed on a jaw simulator and, ultimately, a cosmetic workup to determine what your smile enhancement would look like. From there, we will sit down with you and your family to discuss phases of treatment & make any changes or improvements you’d like. We can even “try-in” a mock-up of your ideal smile for you to test. We’ll never start treatment until we know you’ll be 100% satisfied with the outcome.

 Dentures and bone loss

In our office, dentures are ideally not the final treatment for our patients but instead a temporary set of teeth prior to dental implant placement. Already in dentures? Edentulous patients (or patients who no longer have any of their natural teeth) are suffering psychological, nutritional and physical consequences as jaw bone deteriorates, chewing capability decreases and the facial shape starts to collapse.

Dentures not fitting? Sometimes the solution is simple and a quick impression can have a lab resealing your denture to the ideal fit. Another solution to denture retention is dental implants. The placement of implants allows us to turn a denture into a removable or fixed prosthetic, based on your preference. Stabilizing your dentures can lead to the uncovering of the roof of your mouth, allowing you to taste and feel the texture of your food. Dental implants also allow us to arrest bone loss, maintaining your facial shape and oftentimes making you appear younger!

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