Archive for June 2018

Dental Bridges: Get Over Your Gap

Dental Bridges: Get Over Your Gap

Are you missing one or more teeth? If so, you understand how these gaps can make everyday tasks—such as speaking and chewing—more difficult. You might also find yourself covering your mouth upon hearing, “Smile for the camera!”

Beyond these daily hindrances, missing teeth can pose a more ominous risk to your oral health.

Think of your teeth as a team—they work better together. When you lose a tooth, the nearby teeth may tilt or drift into that empty gap. The teeth in your opposite jaw may also shift up or down toward the space. This movement can affect your bite and place more stress on your teeth and jaw joints, which over time causes pain and discomfort. Moreover, teeth that have shifted are also harder to clean, putting you at a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease. And if your bone starts to shrink in the gapped area, it can even change the way you look by affecting the support structure of your jawbone.

Although living with missing teeth can sometimes feel isolating, you should know that you’re not alone. In fact, the American Dental Association reports that the average adult between 20 and 64 years old has three decayed or missing teeth.

If only there was a minimally invasive, effective solution for getting your teeth back…

Enter stage right: Dental bridges

A dental bridge quite literally “bridges the gap” where one or more of your teeth used to be. This common procedure can be accomplished in just two simple visits to your local Ozark, MO dentist. Read on to learn more about how dental bridges can benefit you and your smile.

What is a Dental Bridge? 

A dental bridge, also known as a fixed partial denture, replaces your missing teeth with artificial teeth known as “pontics”. The pontics are adhered to a bridge that is typically constructed from metal, ceramic, porcelain, or a combination of these materials and is attached to your surrounding teeth for support. Your trusted dentist at Excel Dental will determine which materials are best for you and your mouth.

There are several benefits to bridging your gap. Dental bridges:

  • Look, feel and function like natural teeth
  • Don’t require removal for cleaning
  • Are cost-effective in comparison to other treatments
  • Restore your ability to properly chew and speak
  • Renew the aesthetics of your smile
  • Maintain the shape of your face
  • Properly distribute the force of your bite
  • Prevent your remaining teeth from shifting 

What Should I Expect?    

Placing your dental bridge will typically require two dental visits.

On your first visit, your dentist will place dental crowns over the teeth on either side of the gap where the bridge will later adhere to. A local anesthetic is used so that you’re completely comfortable and pain-free during this process.

Your Springfield, MO dentist will then take an impression of your mouth. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory where technicians will customize your dental bridge. During this time, your dentist may install a temporary bridge to protect your exposed teeth while you’re waiting for the permanent one to arrive.

Upon your second dental visit, your permanent bridge will be adjusted and adhered in place for a comfortable and completely personalized fit. 

Caring for Your Bridge

A bridge is only as strong as its foundation. London Bridge may have fallen down, but your dental bridge doesn’t have to share that same fate. It’s important to keep your surrounding teeth in tip-top shape so your bridge stays well supported. Follow these simple tips to maintain your dental bridge for years to come:

  1. Brush and floss twice daily. A dental bridge can sometimes make it easier for tiny particles and bacteria to hide, which can lead to plaque buildup. Brushing and flossing between your teeth helps to remove these particles.
  2. Schedule regular dental exams. Make sure to visit your local dentist for regular checkups and professional cleanings.
  3. Eat a balanced diet. Avoid sugary drinks and foods which create an environment that’s ripe for bacteria to thrive.

Dental bridges that are well cared for can last upwards of 10 years. Over time, however, your dental bridge may require restoration. The CEREC® machine by Sirona Dental Systems is the world’s first and only platform for completing ceramic dental restorations in just one office visit. We are thrilled to now offer CEREC technology to our patients at Excel Dental.

CEREC stands for “Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics”. In other words, damaged teeth can be economically restored in one appointment using a high-quality ceramic material matching the natural color of your remaining teeth. Ask your dentist if CEREC is the right solution for restoring the ceramic pontics on your dental bridge. 

Bridge the Gap

It’s time to “get over” your gaps and restore your smile with a dental bridge. Make an appointment today at Excel Dental with Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri—just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.

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Maintain Oral Health With Fluoride

Maintain Oral Health With Fluoride

Do you remember getting flouride treatments as a child at the dentist’s office? Sitting still in a chair while wearing mouth trays filled with brightly colored “goop” probably wasn’t an experience that topped your “summer fun” list. But, you’re an adult now—no need for flouride treatments anymore, right?

Wrong.

Fluoride treatments can greatly benefit anyone’s smile, regardless of age. Everyday, we lose this natural mineral by consuming acids and sugars that break down the protective barrier on our teeth.

Fluoride treatments help prevent cavities and reverse early stages of decay and disease that are caused by this natural breakdown. And before you start having flashbacks to your youth, the good news is that there are a variety of more tolerable fluoride treatment options today than in years past, including swabs, varnishes, and mouthwashes.

Read on to learn why fluoride is an essential mineral to the health of your smile.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride has been a trusted, essential oral health treatment for decades. In fact, fluoride treatment for cavities dates all the way back to the year 1901, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Similar to calcium, except that it carries one extra electron, fluoride bonds to your teeth in place of calcium. And similar to calcium, fluoride is a hard substance that strengthens the enamel on your teeth.

Fluoride works to prevent cavities by concentrating in the growing bones and developing teeth of children to harden enamel before the teeth emerge, and also by restoring the enamel of adult teeth that has weakened or thinned over time.

There are two different types of fluoride: topical and systematic.

Topical fluoride is applied directly to the enamel via toothpaste and/or treatments provided by your local Springfield, MO dentist.

Systemic fluoride can be found as an additive in local tap water and through dietary supplements.

Did you know? In the 1930s, researchers found that people who grew up drinking naturally fluoridated water had up to two-thirds fewer cavities than people living in areas without fluoridated water, according to the Alliance For a Cavity-free Future.

You can achieve the maximum reduction in dental cavities with a treatment approach that includes both topical and systemic fluoride.  

Benefits of Fluoride 

Fluoride benefits your oral health in two critical ways:

Protects against tooth decay and cavities. The earlier that children are exposed to fluoride, the less likely they are to develop cavities. One study found that children and teens who received fluoride treatments for one year were 43 percent less likely to experience decay and cavities. The risk of developing cavities doesn’t waver as you age, however, which is why it’s important to include fluoride treatments as part of an ongoing, regular oral health regimen.

Improves your smile. Diet, oral hygiene, and genetics are all major issues that can compromise the aesthetics of your smile. While fluoride can’t promise whiter, straighter teeth, it can help you fend off other factors that lead to discoloration, misalignment, and gaps.

Our teeth naturally age over the years, just like our skin, bones, and organs. Despite the best efforts in brushing and flossing, your teeth will naturally lose their luster over time. Getting regular fluoride treatments throughout your adult life is a smart approach for fighting back against Father Time.

What Should I Expect?

Your local dentists at Excel Dental recommend a professional fluoride treatment every 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on your oral health. Professional fluoride treatments take only a few minutes, and typically are offered in the form of a highly concentrated solution, gel, foam, or varnish. The application process may include a cotton swab or brush, rinse, or via mouth tray. These topical treatments provide more concentrated fluoride than what’s found in your tap water or at-home toothpaste.

Once the treatment is complete, make sure not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow your teeth to absorb the fluoride and repair microscopic areas where cavities might be forming. If your Ozark, MO dentist determines you are at a higher risk for cavities, a professional-grade fluoride rinse or gel for regular use at home may be prescribed. 

At Excel Dental, we’ll customize a fluoride treatment that is the perfect fit for you based off your full health history and following a full dental exam.    

All For Fluoride!

It’s much easier (and cheaper!) to preserve your smile rather than trying to restore it later. Fend off cavities and maintain a healthy grin with a tailored fluoride treatment plan from Excel Dental. Make an appointment today for the whole family with Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri—just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.

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