Your first visit in our office will include a thorough, complete dental examination. We will go over the medical history that you have provided, examine and record your existing dental work and check for any current dental problems. A thorough periodontal examination will be done to check for any signs of gum disease. We will check your bite, and evaluate the condition your jaw (TMJ) joint. The doctor will perform an oral cancer screening to check for any soft tissue abnormalities. We will also take any necessary x-rays and may take intra-oral camera photographs as well.
Dental cleanings, also called a prophylaxis, are a very important part of maintaining your oral health. We strongly recommend having your teeth cleaned and an oral examination at least every six months. People who have a history of gum disease may need more frequent cleanings to control their disease. In addition, recent medical studies indicate that maintaining your oral health will have a positive effect on other health issues such as diabetes and heart disease.
Our office uses the latest technology to take radiographs. Digital x-rays have many advantages, the main one being over 60% less radiation to you, the patient. Digital x-rays also save the time that was involved in processing the old films; the digital image appears on the computer screen in front of you seconds after it is taken! Intra-oral cameras can take pictures inside your mouth. With the digital x-rays and intra-oral photos, we can not only tell you what is going on in your mouth, we can show you in detail.
Fillings (a.k.a. restorations) are done to repair a defect in the tooth caused by tooth decay or small breaks in the tooth. There are two basic types of fillings, silver (amalgam) and tooth colored (composite). Each type has its place and its own advantages and disadvantages. In our office we try to educate the patient as to what the situation is with a particular tooth that needs a restoration. We may make a suggestion as to the type of filling we recommend in a particular case, but the patient will make the final choice.
The composite fillings are very cosmetic. We can closely match the color of these restorations to the rest of your tooth. They work very well in filling your front teeth. However, when placed in back teeth that undergo a lot of heavy chewing forces, composites work best in filling smaller cavities. The composite fillings are more expensive than silver fillings. If a back tooth needs a large filling and you desire a tooth colored restoration, a ceramic (porcelain like material) inlay, onlay, or crown may be a better choice.
The amalgam fillings work very well in filling your back teeth as they are very strong to withstand heavy chewing forces. They hold up well in large fillings of the back teeth, and are very durable. Another advantage is their low cost. Some have expressed concerns about the safety of amalgam fillings. There is no solid scientific evidence that amalgam fillings cause any health issues. The American Dental Association and the FDA both consider amalgam to be a safe material for dental restorations.
When a tooth has broken, cracked, or when then the tooth has been weakened by having large fillings or decay, a filling may not be the proper restoration. In this situation a crown will restore and strengthen the tooth. Crowns can be made of all metal (gold), metal fused with ceramic (tooth colored), or all ceramic (tooth colored). The ceramic crowns of today can duplicate or improve on the appearance of a real tooth. It usually takes two visits to make a crown. At the first visit the tooth is prepared to accept the crown, a mold is taken of the tooth, and then a temporary crown is placed. On the second visit the temporary crown is removed, the permanent crown is fitted and then cemented permanently to the tooth. Our office uses a high quality dental laboratory to fabricate our crowns that is located right here in St. Louis. We insist on only the most up to date materials to make the crowns.
bridges are used to replace missing teeth. They result in a highly functional
and cosmetic replacement for a missing tooth. Implants and bridges can replace
teeth in a much more natural and comfortable way than a denture can.
A bridge involves using adjacent teeth to replace a missing tooth. The process usually takes two appointments, much like placing a single crown. Except with a bridge it is like getting several crowns at once. The teeth on either side of the missing tooth (called abutments) are each prepared for a crown, and a mold is taken. The bridge is then fabricated with crowns to fit on the abutment teeth and attached in between is an artificial crown that replaces the missing tooth or teeth. The bridge is permanently cemented on the abutment teeth. The abutment teeth will then "share the load" of the function of the missing tooth. Bridges can replace more than one tooth, but care must be taken to not overload the abutment teeth. Bridges will require special care to maintain, especially when flossing.
Implants, however, are the state of the art in replacing missing teeth. They are a superior alternative to bridges because they do not involve the extensive preparation of adjacent teeth. Furthermore, an implant stands alone and will not cause an abutment tooth to potentially break down over time if it is overloaded by supporting a bridge. The implant is placed by an oral surgeon or a periodontist and then allowed to integrate ("fuse") to the bone over a period of 2-3 months. Dr. Done will then restore the implant by building a crown on top of it. Our office works with several highly qualified surgeons who, like Dr. Done, have a lot of experience with implants. Implants can be used to replace a single tooth, can support a bridge to replace several teeth, or can be used to greatly stabilize a denture.
be classified as full or partial dentures. They are used to replace many, or
all the teeth in a dental arch (upper or lower). Dentures consist of a pink
colored base with artificial teeth set into it. All dentures are removable-that
is the patient wears them most of the day then takes them out at night while
sleeping. Since the denture are removable, they will not feel as natural as
other tooth replacement options, will not function as well as natural teeth,
and will take an adjustment period to get used to them.
A partial denture is an economical way to replace several teeth in a dental arch. With a partial denture, there is no dramatic reduction of the teeth like there is with a bridge. It relies on "clasps" that attach to remaining teeth in the arch to hold it in place. These clasps can be made of metal or plastic-like material that will mimic the appearance of your teeth or gums. Full dentures are less stable than partial dentures; thus it is wise to always try to save your natural teeth. All dentures will need periodic adjustments over time as the tissue that supports the dentures will change. These changes in the tissue will require periodic relining of the denture base.
can make custom fitted mouth guards for athletes that fit much better than the
over-the-counter versions, and thus will provide better protection.
We also make special mouth guards to protect the teeth from bruxism. Bruxism is the clenching and/or grinding of your teeth. It is very common. As a matter of fact, everyone does some clenching or grinding of their teeth-usually when we are under stress. When a person is clenching and grinding excessively, we can make a mouth guard for them to wear, especially at night, when a person often bruxes. These "night guards" will not only protect the teeth from excessive wear, but may also help in reducing the discomfort in the muscles and your jaw (TMJ) joint.