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Posts for: November, 2012

ldquoPreplessrdquoPorcelainVeneersAreTheyRightForYou

Designing a better smile sometimes requires a change in the size, shape, or color of your teeth. Porcelain laminate veneers (thin layers of dental ceramic material) enhance your appearance by replacing the natural enamel on the outside of your teeth. A veneer is physically bonded to the surface of a tooth, in essence, becoming part of it.

Traditionally, a small amount of the natural tooth enamel is drilled away to allow room for the veneer. But today, in some circumstances, it is possible to use an approach where enamel reduction or preparation is not necessary because the veneers can be bonded directly onto the tooth's natural surface. These are called “Prepless” or “No-prep” veneers, and are used to create aesthetically pleasing and natural looking restorations. An advantage of the prepless procedure is that the process is reversible so that you can give your new smile a “test drive.”

You may be a good subject for Prepless veneers if:

  • Your smile is narrow because the teeth in the sides of your smile are positioned inward and do not show from a frontal view.
  • There is spacing between your teeth, and the teeth appear too small.
  • You have a fairly common genetic condition in which one or both of the teeth directly next to the two upper front teeth are very small and peg-shaped.
  • There is an imbalance between the size of your lips and teeth (large lips and small teeth), which are not in proportion to show off your best smile.

Prepless veneers are probably not for you if:

  • Your teeth are not aligned properly in your bite.
  • Your teeth are very crowded, resulting in poor facial profile.
  • Your teeth are already relatively large or positioned forward.

In these cases you may need to have some form of orthodontic treatment to move your teeth into better position. Sometimes veneers can be used to create an illusion of proper tooth alignment, but some amount of tooth reduction may be required.

We can assess whether prepless veneers are right for you. There is no substitute for an expert dentist's talent and expertise with the various cosmetic techniques available today. These skills combined with a thorough diagnostic evaluation, and a clear understanding of your goals, are the keys to providing you with a successful and beautiful smile.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about cosmetic dentistry. You can also learn more about prepless veneers by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Porcelain Veneers Without the Drill.”


SinusSurgerymdashCreatingBoneforDentalImplantsldquoOutofThinAirrdquo

FAQs About This New and Miraculous Procedure

How can sinus surgery contribute to the replacement of missing back teeth with dental implants?
Dental implants must be anchored the in bone to be successful. Maxillary sinus surgery can help regenerate bone that has been lost and is critically needed to anchor dental implants.

What are the maxillary air sinuses?
Inside the upper jaw, or “maxilla,” are structures known as the maxillary air sinuses, one on either side of the upper jaw. Each sinus is an air-filled space lined by a membrane. Upper back teeth are normally encased in the bone of the maxilla, below the sinuses.

Why is it important to replace missing back teeth?
Replacing back teeth restores the ability to eat, chew, and talk properly. The back teeth also provide facial and cheek support.

Why use dental implants?
Dental implants are the state-of-the-art method for replacing missing teeth.

Why does bone loss occur?
Unless special precautions are taken to prevent it, when teeth are lost, the bone supporting them is also lost.

If there is insufficient bone to anchor dental implants, what are the alternatives?
If all the back teeth are lost and dental implants cannot be placed, removable upper dentures may be the only alternative.

How do you determine whether a sinus surgical procedure is necessary?
The size, shape, and remaining bone of the maxillary sinuses influence whether you can have dental implants with or without a sinus surgical procedure.

How does surgery grow bone?
A small window is created in the sinus wall above where implants need to be placed. The sinus membrane is lifted and the space thus created filled with bone grafting and biologically active bone generating materials. The window is then closed and simply heals.

How is the surgery done?
The surgical procedures are performed from inside the mouth in the area just above the missing back teeth. They are generally carried out under local anesthesia (small shots, just like for a filling), sometimes with the addition of sedation or anti-anxiety medication.

How do bone grafts work?
Bone grafts act as scaffolds that the body replaces with its own bone. The most well researched bone substitute grafting material is currently bovine (cow) bone. All grafting materials are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They are specially treated to render them completely sterile, non-contagious, and free of rejection factors.

What can I expect after surgery?
Moderate swelling and discomfort after surgery generally lasts for a few days to a week, about the same as having an upper impacted wisdom tooth removed. Supportive treatment usually includes a course of antibiotics to prevent infection and prescription strength medication of the aspirin or ibuprofen type. A decongestant may also be prescribed, if necessary. Healing is generally uneventful.

Who performs this surgery?
Maxillary sinus augmentations are usually carried out by oral surgeons, periodontists, or appropriately trained general dentists. Proper assessment of your situation and diagnosis are critical pre-requisites to the right procedure.

If you are missing upper back teeth, contact us today to schedule an appointment and discuss maxillary sinus augmentation. You can also learn more about this procedure by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sinus Surgery: Creating Bone for Dental Implants out of Thin Air.”


By Drake Tollefson DDS
November 08, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: wisdom teeth  
TheConsequencesofanImpactedWisdomTooth

Anytime you have a tooth that does not erupt (surface) correctly but rather stays submerged below the gum you have a problem. Sometimes this situation can cause significant pain, while other times it can be totally pain-free. When this occurs to a wisdom tooth (third molar), you have what is commonly referred to as an impacted wisdom tooth. This generally occurs when there is insufficient room in the mouth, and the wisdom tooth “impacts” or butts up against an adjacent tooth.

Third molars come in typically between the ages of 17 and 25, when a moderate amount of “wisdom” is supposedly achieved. Most people have four wisdom teeth; however, it is possible to have more or less. The key to not having issues generally depends upon one main factor: having adequate space for them to grow and erupt into proper position.

The most common consequence of having an impacted wisdom tooth is gum (periodontal) disease and damage to adjacent healthy teeth. This makes removing the impacted tooth so important. Another problem with impacted wisdom teeth is that they can affect other adjacent structures like gum, bone, nerves, blood vessels and sinuses. They can also become cystic, a condition in which the submerged tooth is surrounded by a closed sac or membrane that can cause possible infection and loss of bone.

We stress the importance of routine dental exams between the ages of 17 and 25 to catch problems with wisdom teeth before they start. The best time to remove a wisdom tooth is when it is not causing problems and the sooner and younger you are the better!

To learn more about the symptoms and treatment options of impacted wisdom teeth, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Wisdom Teeth.” Or, you can contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions.