Cosmetic Dentistry in High Prairie
We all want to keep as many natural teeth as possible, but what should we do if our natural teeth present concerns like discolouration, breakage or infection? Cosmetic dentistry to the rescue! Cosmetic dentistry is the branch of dentistry that is more concerned with the appearance of the tooth than its function, although in many cases both are achievable. If you have questions about what could be used to improve the shape or colour of the tooth, or how to conceal a gap between teeth, we are here to answer questions and have a discussion about the possibilities for your smile. To begin, these are the kinds of procedures available with us in cosmetic dentistry.
Did you know that the sockets of the teeth have a function beyond securing the tooth in place in the jawbone? Your teeth and their sockets work together to continuously regenerate your jaw as bite forces travel from the crown of the tooth into the root. You may have wondered why grandma or grandpa’s facial profile changed so much after having their teeth extracted. This is because the signals that would otherwise be sent to the jaw three times-a-day or when chewing is occurring are no longer being sent. In fact, the jawbone waits as little as 6 months before it begins to erode (or resorb). Unfortunately, dentures only meet about one eighth of the bite force into the jaw as natural teeth – which means that the conditions are not sufficient to stop the resorption process. While this may not be of major consequence when one tooth is lost, several teeth lost along the arches may begin to impact biteforce efficacy.
Dentists are now providing a more permanent alternative to tooth replacement, and one that achieves over 80% bite force to keep the jaw line strong. Dental implants are comprised of a false ‘root’ made of titanium and anchored into the jaw, as well as a pontic (false tooth). These two components are secured together with an abutment. Dental implants are costly due the material required to fabricate them and the skill set and training required to install them. Dental implants are also an investment in your health. A strong and healthy jaw is not just esthetically pleasing, it is required to maintain a diverse and healthy nutritional profile as we age.
Root Canal Therapy/Crowns
If you’ve had a tooth that has been infected, broken or traumatized, you may have been offered a root canal. But what is a root canal really and why is it on the cosmetic dentistry page? A root canal is used when the pulp and nerve chamber of the tooth is infected or at risk of being exposed by a deep cavity. The dentist drills into the canal (inner chamber) of the tooth and excavates the nerve and pulp, essentially rendering the tooth dead but allowing it to remain in your mouth. Root canals are cosmetic in two ways: first, it allows you to avoid a gap along the gum line if the tooth were to be removed, and second, the procedure is finished with a cap or crown (below) which is made to match the shape and colour of your natural teeth. If your tooth is discoloured or otherwise detracts from the appearance, your dentist has the ability to produce a pontic in a complimentary shape and colour to improve it.
Dental bonding uses composite resin to fill holes, restore size, adjust colour or restore broken teeth. This versatile material is painted onto the teeth before being cured with a light.
Crowns, unlike pontics, are hollow. They are placed over the natural tooth once it has been etched for maximum bonding. Crowns extend to the gumline and can come in a variety of materials such as gold or steel, but most are made to blend in with the natural teeth and are therefore made of porcelain.
A bridge is a false tooth that is attached to a neighbouring tooth to hold it in place. The false tooth can be used to conceal a gap between teeth due to removal or loss and it is made in the right size and shade. Colour matching the bridge is what makes it virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth. But don’t forget, your false tooth is resilient against the effects of plaque and acid, but your soft tissues still need to be brushed gently during your regular brushing routine.
Veneers can be understood as a one-sided ‘shell’ for the front/visible side of your teeth. Veneers require that the tooth’s surface be etched by approximately 1mm (or the width of a chicken eggshell), so they are non-reversable. They are made to match the profile of your tooth using a mold, and may require a temporary veneer while the standard veneer is being made.