Archive for March 2018

Removable Partial Dentures For a Full Smile

Do you have only a few missing teeth? Are the rest of your natural teeth relatively healthy? A removable partial denture might be the right choice for restoring the beauty and functionality of your smile.

Did you know? The number of U.S. adults needing dentures is projected to increase from 33.6 million in 1991 to 37.9 million in 2020, according to research published in The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry.

Removable partial dentures, also known as “artificial tooth appliances”, “partial dentures” or “flippers” use gum-colored plastic bases that give the appearance of natural teeth. And because a removable partial denture is custom-designed for your mouth, you’ll feel confident and comfortable wearing it every day.

Read on to discover the benefits of a removable partial denture, what to expect with the procedure, and answers to some of your most pressing questions.

Benefits of Removable Partial Dentures

There are a handful of options for replacing missing teeth. Some of these options include implants, bridges or dentures. While each solution offers its own unique pros and cons, removable partial dentures provide several unique benefits:

Natural appearance. Removable Partial dentures blend seamlessly with the rest of your natural teeth, providing a complete and beautiful smile.

Less Invasive. Removable partial dentures are attached to your teeth in a way that is considered less invasive than other options. Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews at Excel Dental will secure your partial denture to your teeth in one of the following ways, depending on your situation:

  • Clasps and a metal framework
  • Natural looking connectors
  • Precision attachments
  • Crowns with attachments
  • Implant locaters

Cost-effective. Typically, removable partial dentures are lighter on the pocketbook than other options.

Improves mouth function and health. Most patients find that after a couple weeks, removable partial dentures soon make it much easier to comfortably speak and chew. Further, by filling the gap in your mouth, removable partial dentures will help maintain the shape of your face and ease stress in the jaw.

Flexible. Additional teeth can usually be added to your removable partial denture, should you lose more adjacent natural teeth over time.

Tooth Stability.  Removable partial dentures can hold remaining teeth in the correct place.  This will keep the teeth from incorrectly tipping forward or an opposing arch tooth from “over-erupting”.

What to Expect

Following a consultation with your local Ozark, Missouri dentist, a removable partial denture will be custom-designed for your mouth and specific needs.

As with any new hardware in the mouth, it may take a few days to become accustomed to wearing your removable partial denture; inserting and removing the piece will require practice. Never force the denture into position by biting down, however, as this could result in serious damage to the hardware.

Try to wear your removable partial denture as much as possible those first few days in order to quickly identify areas that may need adjustment. If you encounter any sore areas in your mouth, call your local dentist for an adjustment. Remember, your dentist’s goal is to optimize both the functionality and comfort of your new removable partial denture.

Questions & Answers

Can I eat while wearing removable partial dentures?

Yes. In fact, many people find that eating becomes a more pleasant experience with their removable partial dentures. Ease into eating by starting with soft foods that are cut into pieces. Try to chew on both sides of your mouth to keep even pressure on both sides. Eventually, you should be able to once again enjoy most of the foods you once loved. There are some foods you’ll want to avoid, though, including anything sticky or hard like candies and chewing gum.

Can I sleep with a removable partial denture in my mouth?

Most dentists agree that you should not sleep with your removable partial denture in place. Wearing your removable partial dentures to sleep is not recommended for a few reasons:

  1. If you’re wearing your removable partial denture to sleep, that means you’re missing the opportunity to properly clean the appliance. Removable partial dentures are designed to be cleaned outside the mouth. Sleeping with your removable partial denture in place provides the perfect environment for bacteria to fester, which could lead to gum inflammation and over time, periodontal disease.
  2. Your gums need the ability to rest and recover just as much as the rest of your body. Removal of your removable partial denture at night allows the gums to do just that.
  3. Some people tend to clench their teeth during sleep (often times without even knowing it!). This pressure can cause damage to both your natural teeth and denture.

How should I care for my removable partial denture?

With proper care, your removable partial denture should last approximately 5 to 8 years. Denture care differs from natural tooth care, so make sure to follow these important steps:

  • Lightly brush your removable partial denture daily to remove food particles and plaque buildup. Look for a soft-bristled toothbrush; hard-bristle brushes can damage your denture. 
  • Your local dentist will recommend a professional denture cleaner. Toothpaste is too harsh for use and some will scratch the acrylic.
  • Clean your removable partial dentures by moistening the brush and applying the denture cleaner. Brush all surfaces gently to avoid damaging the plastic or bending the attachments.
  • It’s important to keep your removable partial denture moist when not in use. Soak your removable partial denture in solution or water overnight. In the morning, make sure to thoroughly rinse the denture before placing back into your mouth.
  • Never chew, swallow or gargle with denture cleansers.

At Excel Dental, we’ll recommend the proper method for keeping your removable partial denture in tip-top shape.

My removable partial denture isn’t fitting quite right. Can I fix it myself?

Can you? Yes. Should you? No, and here’s why. Our bones, gum ridges and mouth structure naturally change as we age. As a result, your removable partial denture may need an adjustment over time to ensure optimal fit. If you find yourself with a removable partial denture that suddenly doesn’t feel as comfortable as it used to, do not attempt to fix it yourself. Do-it-yourself kits can damage the hardware beyond repair, costing you a pretty penny for a brand new appliance. Over-the-counter glues often contain harmful chemicals that are not advised for use in or around your mouth. Call your dentist immediately if your partial denture becomes painful, breaks, cracks or chips.

Fulfill Your Smile With Removable Partial Dentures

Are removable partial dentures the right choice for you? Make an appointment with Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews at Excel Dental to find out. We’ll partner with you to determine the best solution for optimizing your smile. Find us in Ozark, Missouri—a short 10 minute drive from Springfield—where a full, healthy smile awaits.

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Dental Emergencies 101

Dental emergencies are much more common than you may think. According to the American Association of Endodontics, more than five million teeth are knocked out every year—talk about a lot of Tooth Fairy currency!

When it comes to a dental injury, time is of the essence. Save your smile or that of someone else by understanding the proper protocol for every type of dental emergency scenario.

Types of Dental Emergencies

Some dental emergencies are more urgent than others. In the section below, we’ve identified some of the more common dental emergencies ranked in order of typical emergency levels. As with any major dental injury, though, your first step should always be to call your Ozark dentist. Your dentist is equipped to determine the true severity of your injury and to detail your individual course of treatment.

Chipped Tooth

Emergency Level:

  • Without pain: Low
  • With pain: Moderate

What is it? A chipped tooth is relatively common, and can happen quite easily—especially if the injured tooth was already showing signs of decay. With this type of injury, a small portion of the enamel is damaged. This damage to the enamel creates a rough-edge serration. A chipped tooth is typically considered a mild dental injury; however, that doesn’t mean you should delay treatment, especially if you’re experiencing pain.

What to do: First, contact your local dentist office to schedule an appointment. In the meantime, prevent further enamel damage by using orthodontic wax or sugarless gum to gently cover the chipped edge. Do not entertain the “DIY” internet quick-fixes for a chipped tooth, such as at-home filing, which can cause painful nerve damage.

Rinse your mouth with salt water if you experience pain associated with the chip. An over-the-counter pain reliever can be taken as well.

During your appointment, your dentist will evaluate the severity of your chip and determine the best solution. For relatively minor and cosmetic chips, your dentist may suggest a quick and easy procedure called bonding or a filling. This simple process uses a tooth-colored composite material that is molded over the healthy area of the tooth to correct the chip. For more complex cases, your dentist may suggest a crown, which is essentially a fitted cap that comfortably adheres over your existing tooth.

Loose Tooth

Emergency Level: Moderate-High

What is it? A loose tooth is the potential precursor to losing a tooth. Unless you’re in the first grade, a loose tooth is not normal. In adults, this type of dental emergency can be the result of teeth grinding, external injury, or a receding gum line caused by advanced gum disease. Your dentist will be able to evaluate the injury and determine the underlying cause for optimal treatment and after-care.

What to do: Call your dentist for an emergency appointment right away. Your dentist will likely work to stabilize the tooth by splinting it to your teeth on either side. In the meantime, avoid excessive wiggling or movement of the tooth and steer clear from hard foods until you’re able to see your dentist.

Broken or Cracked Tooth

Emergency Level: Moderate-High

What is it? When a tooth is cracked or broken, it usually means that damage to the tooth has occurred to the outside and to the inside. Minor breaks typically don’t cause pain. If a large piece of the tooth breaks off, however, it can be quite painful and an indication that the nerve inside the tooth is damaged.

What to do: As with any dental emergency, the first step is to call your local dental office to schedule an appointment right away.

Then, clean your mouth by gently rinsing with warm water. A cold compress should be applied if your fracture was caused by a facial injury. Over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen can be used to temporarily alleviate pain. Avoid applying topical painkillers to the gum, like Orajel, which can further irritate your gum tissue.

During your appointment, your dentist will work to diagnose the severity of the fracture by using an X-Ray. If it’s determined that the soft tissue inside of the tooth, the “pulp”, is damaged, a root canal may be needed. For injuries that don’t involve the pulp, a crown may be used instead.

Knocked-out Tooth

Emergency Level: High

What is it? When your tooth has been knocked out of the socket completely, the nerves, blood vessels and supporting tissues are damaged also, and that is why this scenario constitutes a serious dental emergency. By taking appropriate, swift action following the incident, it is possible to preserve the tooth and save your smile.

What to do: Time is of the essence in this type of emergency situation. Ideally, seek treatment within 30 minutes at your local dental office to increase your chances of successful tooth reattachment to the socket.

If you have the knocked out tooth—great! Now, there are a few critical tips to keep in mind when preparing to transport your tooth to the dentist office:

1. Do not handle the tooth by the root. Be careful to only pick up or hold the tooth by the crown, which is the visible part of the tooth that is used for chewing.

2. Gently and carefully rinse the tooth clean with lukewarm water. Ensure a drain plug is in place so you don’t lose the tooth. Do not:

  • Use soap or harsh chemicals
  • Scrub the tooth
  • Wrap the tooth in towels, tissue or cloth

3. Place the tooth in a cup of milk, or an emergency preservation solution that is backed by the American Dental Association (ADA), like Save-a-Tooth®.

Upon arrival to the dental office, your dentist will examine the tooth and overall injury to determine if reattachment is a safe option. If so, your dentist will reimplant the tooth to the socket, using a splint for stabilization.

In some cases, a root canal may be performed right then or later down the road. There are several factors that will determine the best course of action, such as how long the tooth was out of the mouth and the severity of the overall injury and the health of the surrounding bone and tissue.

You can trust that your Ozark dentists at Excel Dental will thoroughly evaluate your individual emergency situation to determine the most successful treatment for long term viability of your tooth and smile.

Dental Emergency? Dial Your Dentist!

A dental emergency doesn’t have to end in dental disaster. By taking the right steps after an injury, the odds of saving your smile are in your favor. If you find yourself facing a dental emergency, call Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews at Excel Dental, located in Ozark, Missouri—a short 10 minute drive from Springfield. We’re equipped to preserve your smile using the latest diagnostics and treatment.

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