My Blog

Posts for: February, 2011

By Drake Tollefson DDS
February 27, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

Before determining if a bridge or an implant will work best for you, here is some useful background information. There are two main parts to a tooth; the crown or part that you see above the gum line and the root portion that is below the gum line and encased in bone — the part that is replaced by a dental implant.

A dental implant is inserted into the jawbone during a surgical procedure. The implant is actually a titanium screw-like device that is placed in contact with the bone. During a 3 to 6 month healing period, it subsequently fuses to the bone. A crown made from dental porcelain, gold or a combination of both is then attached to the implant to mimic a healthy, normal tooth.

There are two critical reasons why implants are the preferred method for permanently replacing an adult tooth. The first is that they are less susceptible to gum disease and they are not subject to tooth decay. The second is that because they attach to the jawbone and not to the adjacent teeth. And while an implant may cost a little more initially, when compared to the longevity and replacement cost of bridgework over a lifetime, they may cost less.

By contrast, a fixed bridge is also a non-removable restoration or prosthesis (replacement part) that is held in place by attaching it to your natural adjacent teeth. The treatment gets its name from the French word for bridge, “pont,” as the tooth being replaced is called a pontic. Before placing a bridge, the teeth on either side of the missing tooth must be prepared by removing layers of tooth enamel. Three new teeth are then crafted as a single unit from dental porcelain and/or precious metals with crowns on either side of the pontic. The pontic is held in place when the crowns are placed. Bridgework is at risk for gum disease and tooth decay and requires careful maintenance.

As with most dental procedures you have options and choices. Luckily, when it comes to determining whether a bridge or an implant will work best for you, you can rely upon our expertise. However, by having a clear understanding of these two options you are now better prepared for working with us should you require this treatment option. To learn more read the article, “Implants Vs. Bridgework.” Or, contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment.


For many brides and grooms, planning for their wedding is something they start weeks, months or even years in advance. Obviously for most couples, these plans include finding the perfect location, dress, reception area, florist and caterer. However, a growing number of couples (and parents of the bride and groom) are also looking to cosmetic dentistry prior to the wedding. A smile makeover to correct an issue and boost self-confidence makes sure that your wedding pictures are truly memorable.

If this sounds like you, take the first step towards the smile you have always wanted. To create your ideal smile, we will first meet with you to hear your concerns, goals, expectations and wedding day timeline. Feel free to bring in photos or magazine images of smiles that illustrate exactly what you want, do not want, as well as images of smiles that you consider beautiful. We will give you a thorough examination, review photos you bring with you and ensure that everyone understands and agrees with your smile makeover treatment decisions. You will also be informed about what you should expect immediately prior, during, and following your treatment.

We pride ourselves on using the latest technologies and techniques to restore natural-looking smiles. Our smile makeovers have a two-fold design plan in that we artistically create the cosmetic look you want while ensuring you obtain optimal functionality and oral health. After all, we all on the same team for helping you achieve the look you want for your wedding and maintaining your smile for years to come.

Want to learn more?

Contact us today to discuss your smile makeover questions or to schedule an appointment. You can also learn more when you continue reading the Dear Doctor article, “Wedding Day Smiles.”


By Drake Tollefson DDS
February 13, 2011
Category: Oral Health

No one participates in sports or recreational activities with the goal of oral or facial injury. However, the facts reveal two things: sports injuries are the number one cause, impacting thousands of adults and children annually and many of them can be prevented or at least minimized with education and the use of a properly fitted professional mouthguard.

In addition to the obvious negative of the physical injury to the mouth and face, oral-facial injuries can also be both emotional and psychological. And while these injuries can occur due to a multitude of reasons, a recent study found that approximately 25% occur while playing sports. The following poignant facts should raise your awareness of dental injuries.

Did you know…?

  • On average, 22,000 dental injuries occur annually in children under the age of 18.
  • Outdoor activities and products are associated with the largest number of dental injuries to baby (primary) teeth in children aged 7 to 12 with 50% of these incidents related to bicycle accidents.
  • Outdoor activities and products are also associated with the largest number of dental injuries to permanent teeth in adolescents aged 13 to 17.
  • Of all sports, baseball and basketball consistently produce the largest number of dental injuries each year.
  • Over 80% of all dental injuries involve the upper front teeth.
  • Age, gender, condition and position of the teeth, as well as the type of sport being played are all key risk factors associated with the likelihood of experiencing a sports injury.
  • Studies show that teenage boys involved in contact sports, collision sports, and high-velocity non-contact sports are at the highest risks for dental injuries.
  • Young girls are starting to participate in many of these same sports, and thus their risks for injuries are climbing.
  • Home furniture is the main culprit in over 50% of the dental injuries in children under the age of 7.

We encourage you to take a moment to assess your own as well as your family's risk of dental injury and to think about how you can treat and prevent them. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor article, “An Introduction To Sports Injuries & Dentistry.” Or, feel free to contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule a consultation.


By Drake Tollefson DDS
February 06, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

When it comes to restoring both the beauty and functionality of a smile, two of the most commonly used techniques are porcelain crowns and veneers. Why? They consistently deliver beautiful, natural-looking results that are permanent and require very little maintenance. And while they have many things in common, they also have just as many differences.

The Similarities

Here are some facts that apply to both porcelain veneers and crowns:

  • Both enable changes to a tooth's color and shape.
  • Dental laboratory technicians use precise molds made by our office to hand-craft porcelain veneers and crowns.
  • Both are made using high-quality dental porcelain.
  • Neither respond to tooth whitening products — the color of the veneer or crown remains the same color as the day it was placed.
  • Neither procedure is reversible once completed.

The Differences

Here are some of their differences:

  • Crowns are used to replace a larger amount of tooth structure while veneers are thin shells that are placed over the front surface of teeth.
  • Veneers require much less tooth preparation (reduction by drilling) than crowns.
  • Crowns allow for greater change of tooth shape, while veneers allow for more minor changes.
  • Crowns are generally used to restore teeth that have lost tooth structure from decay or trauma.
  • Veneers are generally used where teeth are structurally healthy and intact, but color and shape change are required.
  • Veneers are used mostly for teeth that are visible when smiling, while crowns can be used to restore virtually any tooth.

Want To Learn More?

To learn more, read the Dear Doctor article, “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.” Or, you can contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule a consultation.