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General Treatment

Tooth Colored Restorations | Porcelain Crowns and Bridges | Night Guards

Our practice can provide a wide range of dental services. Our emphasis is on total preventive care for our patients. Total care begins with regular hygiene visits, regular check-ups and continued home oral health routines.

Our practice also provides the highest-quality services for restoring mouths that have been damaged by dental disease and injury and common problems that require cosmetic dentistry. Our primary goal for our patients is to achieve and maintain optimum oral health through advances in techniques, technologies and by maintaining their scheduled dental exams.


Tooth Colored Restorations

Our office has not placed a silver mercury filling since 1995. We only place white tooth-colored fillings. We now have two options for white fillings. One option is a composite filling with the other option being a porcelain inlay. The concept of a filling is to replace and restore your tooth structure that is damaged due to decay or fracture with a material. We can also replace old, broken-down amalgam/metal fillings that contain traces of mercury with white fillings to restore your smile and teeth to a more natural look and feel.

With today's advancements, no longer will you have to suffer the embarrassment of unsightly and unhealthy silver/mercury fillings or metal margins of the past. Eliminate the dark, black appearance in your teeth with new-age, state-of-the-art, tooth-colored resin or porcelain materials.

     Composite Fillings

A composite is a filling material that is a mixture of a resin medium with a quartz or glass filler, this combination makes it a tooth colored material. Composite fillings are placed in one appointment. After the decay is removed, the tooth is prepared and carefully cleansed before the filling is placed. The new composite filling is then bonded to the tooth structure and properly shaped, set up hard with a special ultraviolet light and polished. The brand of composite that we use contains fluoride, which helps prevent new decay at the edges of the filling. Composite fillings are typically used when the decay or fracture is small or medium in size. They are durable but will need to be replaced over the years due to natural wear.

     Porcelain Inlays

A porcelain inlay is a solid piece of porcelain that is bonded to the tooth once decay is removed or a fracture is cleaned up. Inlays are used to replace a medium to large amount of tooth structure that cannot be filled with composite. For years, inlays could only be fabricated by a dental lab and required two appointments. However, with our CEREC technology (CAD-CAM), we can now fabricate and place porcelain inlays in one visit. Porcelain inlays are stronger and more durable than composite fillings and therefore, typically last much longer. Because of this, many of our patients have opted for porcelain inlays for all their fillings even for the smaller restorations.


Porcelain Crowns and Bridges

Crowns

A crown is a dental restoration that completely caps or encircles a tooth. A crown is typically required when a tooth has fractured or decayed to the point where a filling will no longer protect or restore the tooth properly. Crowns are also used for teeth that have had root canals or to replace a missing tooth on an implant. Crowns are made of a variety of different materials such as all-porcelain, porcelain-to-gold, or gold. We will discuss which material will be the best option for your individual situation to provide optimal dental health.

The most common method by most dentists for a patient receiving a crown on a tooth involves:

  1. Numbing the tooth to remove the decay in or around it.
  2. Re-sculpturing the tooth to provide an ideal fit for the crown.
  3. Making an impression of your teeth in order to create a custom-made lab crown (usually takes two to three weeks).
  4. Making a temporary crown out of acrylic resin and fitting it onto the tooth during the interim period when the custom-made crown is being created.
  5. Applying the crown (when received from the lab) by removing the temporary crown and fitting the lab crown onto the tooth.
  6. After ensuring that the crown has the proper look and fit, the dentist cements it into place. This process generally consists of a minimum of two visits over a two to three week period. Once the procedure is completed, proper dental hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, is required to maintain healthy, bacteria-free teeth, gums and crowns. This helps in the prevention of gum disease. Given proper care, your crowns can last a lifetime.

Our office has a more technologically advanced method for the fabrication of porcelain crowns called CEREC. CEREC technology allows us to make porcelain crowns in one visit without impressions, without temporary crowns and without a second visit. Instead of a physical impression, we take a digital impression with a 3D imaging camera and upload the image to the CEREC computer. We then design the porcelain crown using proprietary CEREC software and fabricate the crown with CAD-CAM technology right before your very eyes with our MC XL milling machine. A final porcelain crown made in about 2 hours.

Bridges

A bridge is a fixed (non-removable) dental device that fills a space that a tooth previously occupied. A bridge is fabricated by reducing the teeth for crowns on either side of the missing tooth or teeth and eventually cementing the bridge to the prepared teeth. The "traditional bridge" is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. A bridge may be necessary to prevent:

  • Shifting of the teeth that can lead to bite problems (occlusion) and/or jaw problems and resultant periodontal disease.
  • Bridges safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.

There are many reasons for a fixed bridge:

  • Fill the space of missing teeth
  • Restore chewing and speaking ability
  • Restore your smile
  • Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
  • Maintain facial shape
  • Upgrade from a removable partial denture

Night Guards for Bruxism Treatment

Bruxism, commonly known as tooth grinding, is the clenching together of the bottom and upper jaw accompanied by the grinding of the bottom and upper jaw and followed by the grinding of the lower set of teeth with the upper set. This behavior will remove critical portions of healthy enamel from the chewing surfaces of your teeth and may cause facial pain. People who grind and clench their teeth are called bruxers. They unintentionally bite down too hard at inappropriate times, such as when you sleep, especially in the early part of the night. During sleep, the biting force - the force at which the jaws clench together can be up to six times greater than the pressure during waking hours. Bruxing is like clinching your two fists and holding them tightly against each other for eight hours. This behavior would cause you to end up with sore hands, arms and shoulders. Well, this same thing happens to your jaw muscles.

Bruxism is a force that is far more destructive to teeth than cavities because your teeth are worn down so much that their enamel is rubbed off, exposing the inside of the tooth called dentin. This exposed dentin will become sensitive.

About one in four people suffer from at least one of the following:

  • Pain or discomfort often around the ears and when yawning or chewing
  • Tenderness of the jaw muscles
  • Clicking, locking or popping in the jaw
  • Jaw muscle contraction, spasms or cramping
  • Jaw clenching or teeth grinding, severe or very loud
  • Headaches and neck aches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Tooth indentations on the tongue
  • Fractures of teeth and , especially on the front teeth, due to the high pressure
  • Teeth sensitive to cold, pressure and other stimuli

As bruxism can be a subconscious behavior that you do not realize is happening, symptoms might not be present.

Complications

  • Damage to teeth
  • May awaken sleep partner
  • Worsening of TMJ dysfunction
  • Worsening of dental disorders
  • Limitation or difficulty in jaw movement, jaw locks when opened or closed
  • The tips of the teeth wear flat
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth mobility (loose tooth)

Causes

  • Emotional stress
  • Personalities characterized by aggression, controlling, precise, nervous, competitive or people who have time urgency and achievement compulsion
  • Malocclusion: teeth that are not aligned properly
  • Jaw, head or neck injury
  • Diseases such as arthritis or missing teeth

Treatment

The goal is to change behaviors in order to relieve symptoms.

  • Learning how to rest the tongue, teeth and lips properly. The tongue should rest upward with teeth apart and lips shut to help relieve the discomfort.
  • Learn to control bad habits, such as chewing on ice or chewing fingernails or pens.
  • Chewing gum much of the day increases the wear and tear on the joint, giving little opportunity for your jaw to recover between meals.
  • If you chew habitually only on one side of your mouth, you concentrate all the pressure on one side rather than equally on both sides of your mouth. You need to learn to chew evenly -- left vs. right.
  • Clenching and grinding can be consciously suppressed.
  • Treat symptoms first with cold packs and as pain and spasms resolve, try hot packs for a half hour at least twice daily.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (ibuprofen, Naprosyn®, Tylenol®, Alleve®) even aspirin are very effective for reducing inflammation in joints, and are recommended before bed and upon waking.
  • Most importantly, the joint should be placed at rest by eating a soft diet, avoiding hard, chewy or sticky foods.
  • Mouth exercises to improve mouth opening, e.g., slow opening and closing, stretching the muscles to their extent then relaxing them.
  • Relaxation or stress management techniques.

A night guard which takes the punishment that your teeth would normally endure during bruxism minimizes the damage from grinding your teeth. A night guard is a thin transparent horseshoe shaped retainer like appliance made of hard plastic that has shallow borders for good tooth alignment and ideal bite relationship. This splint is worn between the top and bottom teeth and does not allow the teeth to interlock, which absorbs the force of the clenching and grinding to reduce joint irritation and inflammation.

It takes two simple appointments. At the first appointment, an accurate impression of your upper and lower teeth will be made. These impressions are used to create models of your teeth. A bite record may be taken. These items are used to form a customized heat-processed hard plastic night guard. At the second appointment, the night guard will be fitted and adjustments made. The lifespan of a night guard is 3-10 years. It can protect you from the symptoms of teeth grinding if you wear it regularly, which can even lead to a better night's sleep for you and your partner!

Alan D. Belenski, D.D.S.

  • Alan D. Belenski, D.D.S. - 225 W. South Boulder Rd., Suite 200, Louisville, CO 80027 Phone: (303) 666-5080 Fax: (303) 665-4339

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