Restorative Dentistry: Bring Back Your Smile
Our Chandler, AZ dental practice offers many high quality options to restore your smile. Dr. Heaton and our friendly staff will work closely with you to determine the best treatment plan to allow you to put dental mishaps behind you.
Patients with cracked or broken teeth typically have crowns placed over a damaged tooth to protect it from further damage and to reinforce the remaining natural structure. Some dentists choose crowns to cover teeth that are too severely decayed for a filling. Patients who have root canal therapy receive a crown to cap the tooth after the procedure. Dental bridges require crowns that attach to teeth on either side of the gap left by missing teeth, and doctors can even attach a ceramic crown to a dental implant to help replace a missing tooth.
The process of placing a ceramic crown typically requires two visits to our Chandler, AZ office. The first visit begins with a one-on-one consultation with one of our doctors. The doctor will review your medical and dental history and perform a complete examination of your mouth to identify any other issues that need to be addressed. The doctor will prepare your affected tooth to receive a crown, then take impressions. He will forward the impressions and his design to a US-based dental lab, where a ceramist will fabricate your crown and tint it to match your natural tooth color. You will wear a temporary crown while the permanent one is manufactured.
About two weeks later, you’ll visit us to have your final crown permanently placed. The doctor will replace the temporary crown with your new restoration, checking for a good fit and testing for proper occlusion. When satisfied that all is well, the doctor will use a dental adhesive to permanently bond your new crown in place. With proper care and regular dental visits, your ceramic crown can last up to 15 years before it needs replacement.
When a tooth needs to be replaced following an extraction, or after a tooth has been lost to gum disease or trauma, a bridge is often fabricated for the patient. The bridge fills the space for chewing efficiency, maintains the positions of the surrounding teeth and positively impacts the esthetics of the patient’s smile.
A bridge is essentially two crowns (retainers) with one or more artificial teeth (pontics) between them. The “crown portions” support the artificial tooth/teeth over the gums. Since the teeth adjacent to the space have to be capped, some tooth structure from these teeth needs to be removed.
The process of creating and seating a dental bridge is very similar to that of receiving a single crown. Usually it takes two or three visits. We will take impressions of your teeth to create a model or your mouth, and the dentist will prepare your teeth to support the bridge. Once this is complete, another set of impressions are taken to be sent to the dental lab, and a temporary bridge will be made and cemented into place. After the temporary bridge is in place and adjusted the first appointment will be complete. Once the lab finishes fabricating the bridge (in about 2 weeks) you will have a try-in appointment. Once you and your doctor are satisfied, he will permanently cement the new bridge into place and make some final fine tuning adjustments. He will also provide instruction regarding care for your new bridge to ensure you receive the maximum life out of the appliance and health from the surrounding tissues of your mouth.
Although modern implants and a couple other solutions fill similar roles as bridges, there are many situations in which a dental bridge is still the most viable and beneficial option for the patient. Dr. Heaton and Dr. Casillas (Smiles of Chandler dentists) have vast amounts of experience in this area and can help restore the function and esthetics of your smile with a dental bridge.
Facial Collapse/Loss of Teeth
Facial collapse is a condition that occurs over time after the teeth are gone. It is the manifestation of the loss of bone that occurs after one has lost their teeth. Over time, the bone levels of the jaws recede, leaving little support for the cheeks and lips, an unstable base for dentures (particularly the lower denture), and leaving the lower jaw much more prone to fracture. It results in a ‘sunken’ face that can cause someone to look much older, and weakens the jaws due to loss of bone. Dr. Heaton and Dr. Casillas can help you to avoid facial collapse, or treat the existing condition.
The good news is that facial collapse can be halted in most cases with the use of dental implant technology. Implants are inserted into the bone, integrate with the bone on a cellular level, and stimulate the jaw in a similar way to natural teeth. As a result, several properly placed implants can halt the process of jaw resorption, preventing further collapse in addition to providing a stable foundation for dentures. Dr. Heaton at Smiles of Chandler has extensive experience placing both traditional and mini implants and would be happy to provide a consultation to determine whether implants are a good fit for you.
It’s important to be proactive. Once facial collapse has occurred, it can be difficult to treat. As mentioned, implants are an awesome development in dentistry which can keep the bone in the area they are placed from resorbing. If the process has been allowed to continue for too long, however, there may not be enough bone to support traditional implants. If this is the case, a bone graft may be recommended before implants can be placed. Additionally, Dr. Heaton is able to offer his patients mini-implants, which require significantly less bone for support. This service may help you to avoid the need for bone grafting, and will still provide the stability your dentures need to function optimally and fit comfortably.
Dental implants are titanium screws that are placed in the jaw bone to replace the root of the tooth. Titanium is a very strong and light weight metal that is used by dentists and orthopedic surgeons because it is bio compatible, meaning the body not only won’t reject it, but our bone will actually create a type of fusion (osseointegration) to the implant. Because of this, dental implants have a very high success rate. Once the body has had time to fuse to the implant, a crown or dentures can be attached to the top of the implant to replace the missing teeth.
Dental implants have completely changed the way we do dentistry over the last 20 years. For those who are missing one or more teeth, implants now offer an amazing new option for restoring these missing teeth. Dr. James Heaton has taken advanced implant courses through the Mid West Implant Institute and from the Blue Sky Bio Implant curriculum. He will make sure your implant experience in as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Mini Dental Implants
As the name suggests, the primary difference between mini and traditional implants is the diameter of the part of the implant that anchors it within the jaw (the screw). This provides several distinct advantages when using them to stabilize dentures.
A major advantage is that mini implants work for a broader base of patients. Once someone loses the natural teeth, the bone of the jaws begins to atophy and erode, resulting in constantly decreasing bone mass (unless an implant is placed in the vicinity). This process can be hastened even further with an unstable denture. Eventually there is no longer enough bone to support a traditional implant. Mini-implants are ideal for this situation. Not only will they allow for stabilization of your denture, resulting in a more comfortable and functional experience and helping you to worry less about possible embarrassing situations, but the placement of the implant itself will virtually halt the process of bone atrophy in the region around it. This means that your jaw will remain stronger than if implants are not placed.
Another advantage of mini-implants is that they are less difficult and expensive to place in comparison with traditional implants. In most cases, the implant can be placed in one visit, the dentist will not be required to flap open the gums, and since the procedure is less invasive, your healing period will be shorter and more comfortable. These are all significant benefits of mini-implants over the more traditional appliances.
If you have a denture that is uncomfortable, flops around, or that you are otherwise dissatisfied with, please come to see Dr. Heaton to discuss whether mini-implants are right for you. Mini-implants can be a life-changer and you will likely wonder how you ever lived without them.
Which Option Will You Choose?
Call our practice to learn more about any of our great restorative options. We look forward to seeing you soon!