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Bridge Out Ahead: Avoiding the Common Pitfalls of Dental Bridges

Since as far back as 200AD, dental bridges have been used to fill the void left by a missing tooth (or group of teeth). Fast forward to the 18th century, and even the famous patriot, Paul Revere was familiar with the dental bridge. In fact, during his life – Mr. Revere even placed advertisements in a local Boston newspaper, informing his neighbors of his very own dental practice.

Fortunately for the patients, the vetting process for dentists has become quite a bit more selective. But in his experience as a dentist, even Revere was familiar enough with the dental bridge to be able to identify a friend’s body by the bridge that he himself constructed.

This brief bit of history goes to show that dental bridges have been time tested, and they’ve continued to get better and better as the years have passed. Today, a modern dental bridge is often indistinguishable from a natural tooth, and their stability and strength allow patients of all ages to use their restored teeth almost as if they were their natural teeth.

But there are some pitfalls when it comes to dental bridgework.

the Most Common Disadvantages of Having a Dental Bridge

They are “Destructive”

Dental bridgework relies on the teeth on either side of a missing tooth as support. Unfortunately, if those teeth are completely natural and healthy – preparing them for the bridge can be damaging. This is because, in order to make enough room for the bridge, the teeth need to be filed down.

There is one situation where this is actually positive. If the teeth in question have already been damaged or have had multiple fillings, this step will actually play an important role by protecting those teeth in the future.

They Can Get Expensive

Not only can dental crowns add up (and bridgework typically requires two crowns), but dental bridges tend to last between 5 and 8 years.

For this reason, if the supporting teeth are healthy and only one tooth needs to be replaced – dentists often recommend dental implants. While a dental implant can cost more at the outset, a dental implant will last as long as a natural tooth, doesn’t damage the teeth on either side, and makes oral care easier — all factors that can help save money in the long run.

They Can Damage Your Nerves

When your dentist prepares your teeth for the crowns used to support your future dental bridge, there’s a small chance (roughly 1-15%) that the nerve in the tooth could die, which ultimately could require future root canal treatment. If you’re at a particular risk for this, your dentist may recommend performing a root canal before bridgework is completed.

The Appointment Can Be Long

Despite being one procedure that can replace a missing tooth in just 2 visits (compared to an implant, which will require repeat visits to the dentist’s office over the course of about a year before the tooth is fully complete.) The procedure for installing a bridge takes quite some time. Your first appointment will usually take between 1 and 3 hours. While the second appointment, when your bridge is installed permanently, typically takes about one hour.

They are Harder to Clean (When Compared to Implants)

With dental bridges, a bit of extra care is needed when it comes to cleaning. Since the underside of your dental bridge isn’t a part of your jaw, you will need to clean under your bridgework using a special tool known as a bridge threader. Because of this added difficulty, patients sometimes opt for the easier-to-clean dental implant, which can be treated just like a natural tooth.

How to Know When It’s a Dental Emergency

WHAM!

               CRACK!

                                CRUNCH!

No, unfortunately you’re not reading a comic book. But if you combine your teeth with any of the onomatopoeia (noun: the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named) above, there’s a good chance you might be wondering, “Who’s a dentist near me” and “Should I call them to take a look at this?”

Dental emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. Fortunately, some simply seem scarier due to the amount of sheer stress generated when  the CRUNCH or CRACK! that you feel (and hear)  is the result of one of your teeth taking the brunt of the impact during a collision on the sports field or after a nasty fall. But it’s not always easy to know when you need emergency dental care.

So, without further ado: some simple guidelines.

When You Need Immediate Dental Care

The most important thing to remember when it comes to dental emergencies is the fact that no list of  symptoms is comprehensive. If you’re experiencing an issue that isn’t discussed in this article, please don’t hesitate to contact us at your earliest convenience.

  • Excessive bleeding that doesn’t want to stop: If your mouth is bleeding severely, you need to be seen be either your dentist or the emergency room as soon as possible. In many cases, your dentist will recommend you visit an emergency room first.
  • Pus in your mouth: If a sore or injury in your mouth ever begins to emit pus, you should contact your dentist immediately. Pus is a sign of definite infection that your body is having a hard time correcting on its own. Dental intervention such as a root canal treatment is likely.
  • Swelling in your mouth or gums: Swelling can be dangerous, especially when its in your mouth. If swelling isn’t addressed, it can quickly (or gradually) begin to restrict your airway. If your swelling doesn’t appear to be related to any of your teeth or gums, a visit to the emergency room is in order.
  • Traumatic dental injuries:  Here, it is important to remember that “trauma” is objective. While even the smallest chip can seem traumatic to some patients, a traumatic dental injury typically involves a tooth that’s been completely knocked out, cracked, or broken.
  • Infection with a Fever: If you have what appears to be a dental infection accompanied by a fever, you should seek immediate medical care as soon as possible. Generally, an emergency doctor should be seen first to take care of the fever. Following this, your dentist will want to address the underlying cause by locating and treating the infection.

It’s What’s Inside That Matters

Contrary to popular belief, most chipped teeth aren’t dental emergencies. In fact, the difference between a chipped tooth that’s an emergency and one that can wait until you can call your dentist during regular office hours is pretty simple, that difference lies in whether or not your tooth’s “insides” are exposed. If your tooth’s dental pulp is exposed, you should contact your dentist ASAP to prevent infection and other damage. In most cases (and depending on the severity) your dentist will recommend either a porcelain veneer, dental bonding, or a dental crown.

Having an emergency right now? 

Cypress DDS brings together the best dentists in Cypress, CA to offer patients the highest level of care when they need it the most.  If you have questions, concerns, or you’ve just experienced your own dental emergency – we’re here to help.

3 Common Questions Answered About Your Teeth

This week is national teacher appreciation week.  Given the topic of today’s blog, that simple fact is particularly relevant to the fact that, many times, good teeth are the result of good teaching.

One of the most common roles we find ourselves in as dental care professionals is that of the teacher. Without good teachers, our children are hopeless. Similarly, without good dental education, it’s no stretch to say our teeth are hopeless, too.  But that’s where your nearest family dentist comes in, to answer the questions you have about teeth to ensure you have healthy teeth for years to come.  So let’s start with a few of the most common questions we get from both patients looking  for a new family dentist in Cypress, CA and existing patients alike.

When should I take my child to the dentist?

Most dentists recommend that your child should see the family dentist around the age of one, or about 6 months after his or her first tooth has come in. Don’t think that just because your baby has “no teeth” they don’t need to see the dentist. Establishing comfort with the dentist early on, and ensuring everything is “coming in” properly can pay long-term dividends when it comes to a long life of healthy teeth.

Do I need Fluoride?

Fluoride is an important mineral that is actually found in a number of foods, as well as in your water. Naturally, fluoride can be found in tea, fish, spinach, cooked kale, skim milk, and apples. On top of this, many municipalities add fluoride to water supplies, giving residents access to vital fluoride from simple tap-water. Fluoride in tap-water is a primary contributor to teeth that are stronger and healthier in the long-term, and fluoride deficiency has been identified as a contributor to cavities and decay.

Fluoride’s primary function is help your tooth’s enamel protect itself against decay by strengthening the enamel against acid and plaque.

Who can get their teeth whitened?

Many patients often wonder if age is a factor when it comes to teeth whitening. The answer? Sort of. After about age 10 or older, most of a patients permanent front teeth will be fully erupted. While it’s generally not “worth it” to bleach a discolored baby tooth, it’s incredibly common for patients young and old to bleach their teeth once most of the front teeth are “here to stay”. The reason is simple: why deal with silly nicknames for darkened teeth when they can be taken care of quickly and inexpensively?

If a young patient is self conscious about a tooth’s discoloration, the solution is incredibly simple and likely only required a short whitening session in our dentist’s chair.

Do you have a question? We’re a dental office in the Cypress, CA area focused on delivering the highest level of care to our patients. To us, that starts with questions answered. Feel free to ask your own below, or contact us today to schedule your first visit.

5 Reasons Your Dentist May Recommend a Dental Bridge vs a Dental Implant

Picture your face and your smile as they would appear in an ideal world.  Now, picture your smile with a big piece missing.

When we’re missing a tooth, it’s hard to ignore. It’s only natural for a patient (of any age) to want to replace it. Fortunately, that’s where we have options. While the two most common options, dental bridges and dental implants, have a variety of advantages and disadvantages, today we’re going to discuss the dental bridge – and which situations it might be preferable when compared to a dental implant.

There isn’t enough space for a dental implant

Sometimes, a dental implant won’t work simply because there isn’t enough space to fit one. For some patients, missing a tooth for an extended period of time causes the adjacent teeth on either side to shift in place. If the adjacent teeth are allowed to shift too much, it can cause the gap to grow small enough that the implant post and prosthetic simply won’t fit without having to make more extensive adjustments. While a bridge can often be used instead, your dentist might also recommend orthodontic treatment to widen the gap and make the space suitable for a dental implant instead.

When Time is of the Essence

If time is of the essence and you need to fill the gap in your teeth quickly, a dental bridge will always be the fastest choice. Dental bridgework can be prepared and installed in as little as two visits to your family dental office.

When Surgery Isn’t an Option

Some patients simply don’t want to get the surgery required for dental implants, which can sometimes seem uncomfortable or invasive. Compared to implants, dental bridgework requires very little and is complete very quickly, improving your smile in virtually no-time.

The Question of Cost

When cost is important, and the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth would benefit from the bridge preparation, dental bridgework is an ideal solution. For an immediate fix, bridgework is much more affordable than dental implants. On top of this, while patients can expect to get at least 5 and 8 years out of a traditional bridge, many patients find that proper care and diligence can lead to a dental bridge that lasts for many, many years.

In addition to dental bridges involving a lower up-front cost than dental implants – it is also often recommended because dental insurance providers often cover dental bridgework, but not implants.

Questions? Get the answers you need. In our family dental office in Cypress, we provide support for patients needing dental bridges virtually every day. To learn more, schedule a consultation or contact us today. 

Saving Money on Children’s Dental Care

Just about every parent wants what’s best for their children, and that generally doesn’t change when it comes to teeth. Then again, everyone knows that dental care can get expensive when the patient hasn’t been very careful with their teeth. But sometimes kids just don’t know any better, so we’ve compiled a few tips to make sure your children’s teeth get the best care, while your wallet doesn’t take a beating.

Baby teeth matter, get them checked!

In order to avoid the need for potentially expensive dental replacements like dental bridges and implants in the future, it’s important to start early by building great habits when it comes to teeth. This begins in the dentists office at your child’s very first appointment. While many parents mistakenly believe an infant doesn’t need to see the dentist (because they don’t have teeth) this isn’t actually true. In order to make sure everything is as it should be, your baby should see the family dentist right around the time their first tooth comes in (6 months to a year). In the meantime, be sure to wash your baby’s gums with a warm, damp wash cloth to take care of any residual food.

Limit Bottles and Pacifiers 

Bottles and pacifiers should see limited use at night due to their ability to impact the future bite and tooth placement of your child. However, it’s doubly important to avoid letting your child go to bed with a bottle with anything that could hurt their teeth, particularly sugary drinks. Doing so would simply bathe your child’s tooth In sugar all night, and a cavity wouldn’t be too far away.

Brush with them

One of the most important tips you can learn when it comes to setting your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth is that brushing with them will quickly help them develop healthy brushing habits. By brushing with your children, you take advantage of their natural urge to emulate mom or dad,  which goes a long way when it comes to helping them realize how important it is to brush after every meal and floss daily.

Why it matters….and why they aren’t just “baby teeth”

One of the most dangerous misconceptions when it comes to children’s teeth is that “they’re just baby teeth, they’re not even permanent.” This line of thinking is bad for two reasons. First, it undermines how important it is for your children to develop good brushing and flossing habits. Just like learning a language, the fundamentals are easier to instill when it’s done early.

Secondly, while baby teeth will eventually be replaced by adult teeth, their influence lives on. Because every baby tooth doesn’t fall out at the same time, adult teeth rely on them for help when it comes to spacing and alignment. Without the baby teeth, adult teeth could come in crooked and out of alignment.

Do you have questions about your child’s teeth? If your family lives in California and you’re looking for a great family dentist in the Cypress area, we can help! If not, and you’re just looking for some good information, feel free to continue browsing our blog.

Do I Need a Root Canal

If you haven’t been to see the dentist in quite e while, you might be wondering if there’s anything wrong with your teeth. While it’s never good to go more than 6 months without seeing your dentist, even if your teeth feel fine it’s possible for infection and inflammation to live in your teeth without you even realizing it. Then again, more often than not if there’s something wrong with your teeth, you’ll know about it and, unfortunately, it probably won’t feel too good.

But when do you need a root canal?

Root canal treatment is designed to eliminate infection and inflammation inside the delicate interior of the tooth, know. As the dental pulp. When a crack or cavity allows bacteria inside the tooth this way, it feeds on the tissues inside and continues to spread to sourrounding tissue and teeth. While some patients mistakenly believe a dental infection only affects a single tooth, if left untreated it can do serious damage elsewhere as well.

So, what do you need to look for?

Pain

Pain is generally one of the first symptoms to be aware of. If you ever experience dentalpain, it’s generally a good idea to get in touch with your dentist. The pain associated with the need for a root canal will generally be constant and intense. It will also be incredibly painful when you apply pressure to the affected tooth.

Sensitivity

Sensitivity is the next most common symptom. But we are not talking about minor sensitivity that is genetic or caused by receding gums. This sensitivity will be intense and will last far longer, even after the hot or cold stimulus has been removed.

Dental abscesses

a Dental abscess forms when infection in your tooth begins to fester and spread into your gums. This can sometimes form a white, pimple-like bump on your gums near the affected tooth. It can also contribute to bad breath and a nasty taste in your mouth. It will also come accompanied by swelling of the gums.

If you think you might need a root canal, don’t wait to get treatment. While you might think you’re saving money by touching it out, an infection in your teeth doesn’t stop at your teeth, no if you don’t get it treated promptly it will be much more damaging and much more expensive to treat in the long run.

Putting off Dental Work is More Expensive Than Just ‘Getting it Over With’

We’ve all been there before, you see a toothpaste commercial or read something in the news about teeth, and begin to feel the tingle in your mouth. Chances are, there’s nothing wrong with your teeth, but you begin to get that lingering feeling that you’re long overdue for a trip to the dentist’s office.  No matter what reason you’re avoiding the dentist’s office, take this one simple tip: STOP.   Read on to learn a few reasons why you shouldn’t wait to go to the dentist.

Save Money, Get it Over With:  When it comes to your teeth, the waiting game is almost always a losing proposition. There are very few reasons to delay serious dental treatment, like a root canal or filling.  On the rare occasion that you do delay treatment, it is important to appreciate the fact that follow-up treatment should not be delayed. Another situation where delaying treatment might be recommended is if you are expecting one tooth to receive work and it is adjacent to a space that will soon be affected by a dental bridge.

The Insurance Problem: Sometimes, patients put off getting important dental work because they don’t have dental insurance, and the cost of the procedures could be expensive. Our advice to these patients: see if your dentist is willing to work with you. Many times, dental offices are willing to be flexible and provide payment plans for treatment.

Dealing with Dental Anxiety: An entirely different reason for patients to avoid getting timely dental care is the very real factor of anxiety. Do you get anxious about going to the dentist’s office? For some patients, its the prospect of a needle being used for local anesthesia, for other patients it’s the drill, and for some it’s the prospect of going in for dental work at all that fires up the anxiety. For those patients, a wide variety of solutions are available through sedation dentistry. Typically, sedation dentistry is accomplished by using either laughing gas (nitrous oxide) or IV sedation.

While nitrous oxide isn’t generally used to “put you under” it is incredibly effective at rendering a patient relaxed and ambivalent towards their surgery. While you will still be capable of following directions and comprehending what’s going on, you simple won’t care about the drill or the needle. When combined with some headphones for music to drown out the sound of the drill, many patients never need anything more than laughing gas. Fortunately, in addition to working quickly, the gas also wears off relatively quickly – meaning you won’t feel hungover after your procedure.

IV sedation is a little more serious and is typically reserved for more in-depth surgeries. Because it actively uses anesthesia to render a patient unconscious, diligent attention must be paid to the patient’s vitals at all times. With IV sedation, you won’t even know a dental procedure has taken place until you’re back in the waiting room receiving after-care instructions before a friend or family member drives you home.

Are you someone in the Cypress, CA area that’s been putting off important dental work? Stop the trend today, give us a call! We’ll make the process easy.

When a Dental Bridge is Right For You

Whenever you think it might be time for some long-overdue dental work, it’s only natural to do a little research in order to learn which procedure is the most appropriate for your situation.

When it comes to replacing teeth, one of the most time-honored and reliable treatments remains the dental bridge.

But don’t let the fact that dental bridges are time-honored, make you think they’re antiquated or old-fashioned. As dental technology has advanced over the years, so to have the flexibility, longevity, and reliability of dental bridges. Today’s dental bridges can last for many years, while successfully replacing missing teeth virtually everywhere in your mouth.

The Good News: 

The good news is that virtually anyone missing either one to three teeth is a candidate for replacing them with a dental bridge. To support the bridge, your healthy surrounding teeth will serve as a structural foundation. This means that they need to be free of decay and gum disease. Once these two conditions are met, the teeth are crowned and ready for the bridge and pontic (replacement tooth) to be installed.

On the other hand, if you’re missing more than 3 teeth, something like a partial denture might be more appropriate.

If You’re Missing “More Than a Couple” Teeth

When you’re missing more than a few teeth, you might be a candidate for implant supported bridges. With implant supported bridges, the implant is installed directly into your jawbone, where the implant’s titanium gradually fuses with the bone. Because of this, while the teeth are being replaced, the underlying bone must still be healthy and strong. For most patients, this isn’t a problem. However, if you’ve experienced deep, untreated decay and infection for years – this option could be out of the picture.

However, even if you’ve experienced some bone degeneration, there is still a chance that an implant supported bridge is a possibility. For some patients, bone grafting procedures can provide the density necessary to create a strong implant foundation.

When a Dental Bridge Won’t Work

Bad periodontal support:  The very first requirement of a strong dental bridge is healthy natural teeth on either side. If the support for a dental bridge is poor, it could cause future issues. On top of this, if existing support for teeth is bad, the resulting bone degeneration over time (from having a prosthetic) could result in the bridge coming loose over time.

More than 3 missing teeth

It is often more affordable to replace multiple missing teeth with a partial denture. However, some patients prefer the more expensive option of multiple dental implants or multiple dental bridges.

Too Many Healthy teeth

Sometimes, having too many healthy teeth can be a problem. But only when you’re trying to install a bridge. Since a dental bridge uses adjacent teeth as supports, it’s always a shame to have to remove enamel and healthy structure from a perfectly good tooth in order to crown it for a dental bridge.  In these occasions, it’s generally preferable to use an implanted dental crown.

Recovering from Root Canal Treatment

More often than not, patients that are new to the root canal procedure generally don’t know what to expect when they sit in the dentist’s chair.

If you’re one of those patients who has yet to sit in the dentist’s chair, you might be happy to know about a couple of the most popular misconceptions when it comes to root canal treatment. First, there’s that pesky rumor that says that root canal treatment is painful.

This one might have been true in the middle ages, but due to the leaps and bounds that dental technology has made over the years, root canal treatment is no more uncomfortable than getting a dental filling. Modern dental drills and anesthesia make it, literally, waiting with your mouth open (because that’s all you really need to do).

With anesthesia available to numb your mouth, nitrous oxide to put you at ease, and advanced dental cleaning equipment, your dentist can easily make short work of any infection or bacteria that’s causing a tooth ache.

Next we come to the next misconception, that root canal treatment is bloody. For some reason, plenty of patients think that root canal treatment is incredibly gory. While there can sometimes be a little bit of blood (due to the fact that your dentist is cleaning out blood vessels and nerve tissue), there generally isn’t too much and, what blood there is, your dentist will quickly suck away with a specialized tool.

After a root canal, your tooth might feel just a little sensitive when compared to your other teeth. This can last for some time, but shouldn’t persist for longer than a few days. Taking care of your tooth immediately after root canal treatment is relatively simple, just follow these tips:

  • Avoid eating until after numbness goes away
  • Do not chew on or bite with the affected tooth until it’s fully sealed and restored by your dentist
  • Make sure you continue flossing and brushing to eliminate future infection
  • Immediately contact your dentist if you notice swelling inside (or outside of ) your mouth, returning symptoms, hives or itching, or if your bite feels like it’s uneven.

A tooth that’s had professional endodontic treatment is fully capable of “living” as long as any of your natural teeth. Once the tooth has been fully restored and sealed, all you need to do after your initial recovery period is to remain dedicated to good oral hygiene habits, including daily brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings and check-ups by your dentist.

The Major Differences Between Dental Bridges and Dental Implants

It’s not entirely surprising when a dental patient appears anxious to replace one or more teeth that have “gone missing”. Missing teeth is never fun. Your teeth are one of the first things people notice about you, as such, we hardly blame the patients who want to find the best and fastest solution available for tooth replacement. That’s where we tell them to pump the brakes a little bit.

When it comes to replacing any number of tooth, the most important step to take is to stop and breathe. Not only is it important to stop and think because there are more than one solutions available for tooth replacement, but the two main options take different lengths of time to prepare, install, and perfect. But, as is always the case, sometimes the best option available might take some time. Our word to the wise? Don’t rush.

Dental Bridges

Remembering that it’s important not to rush your decision, if you’re looking for a quick fix for a missing tooth and you’d rather avoid the need for surgery, dental bridges are the answer. We get it, dental implant surgery isn’t for everyone. Whether you’ve got a medical condition or you’re a bad candidate for dental implants (your dentist can explain), a dental bridge might be the most logical solution.

On the other hand, we have dental implants. A dental implant is the longest-lasting replacement alternative for teeth. On top of this, they also tend to produce the most natural looking results (however, keep in mind that dental bridges still offer an exceptional aesthetic). Even still, dental implants tend to be more expensive in the short-term but less-expensive in the long-term, as they will most likely never need to be replaced again – whereas a dental bridge can be expected to last around 10 years.

So, dental bridge or dental implant? Ultimately the choice is up to you. If you’re a younger patient and you’re only missing one tooth – there’s a good chance your dentist will recommend a dental implant. This isn’t because dental implants are more profitable! That, actually, couldn’t be further from the tooth. In fact, it’s likely your dentist will make this suggestion for a couple reason. First, it’s more cost-effective in the long term, since a dental implant will likely never have to be replaced. In addition, it preserves the surrounding teeth as well. Unlike a dental implant, a dental bridge requires the two adjacent teeth to be crowned in order to support the bridge (think of them as the bridge’s architectural supports). If these two teeth are already healthy, most dentist’s won’t want to damage them. However, if they have cavities, fillings, or could generally be expected to require a crown in the future – a bridge might be a perfectly suitable solution.

Do you have questions about dental bridges, dental implants, and the options available to you for replacing a tooth? At Cypress DDS, we’re the area’s experts when it comes to cosmetic dentistry.