Posts for category: Dental Procedures
How a Root Canal Can Help Your Smile
Do you need a root canal? Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Years ago, injured or diseased teeth were usually removed. But today, teeth can often be saved with root canal treatment. A root canal is a treatment to fix and save teeth that are badly damaged or infected. Led by Dr. Brandon Berguin, Dr. Kira Funderburk, and Dr. William Berguin, Western Slope Dental Center (located in Grand Junction, CO) offers root canal treatments to the patients they serve. Keep reading to find out how a root canal can help your smile.
1. It can stop the infection. The tooth is infected and dying; root canal treatment stops the infection. While teeth are hard on the outside, the inner pulp is made of soft tissue. This tissue sometimes becomes infected (through cracks in the tooth, deep decay, etc.), and starts to die. Once that happens, a root canal is needed right away — eliminate the pain, control the infection and keep it from spreading.
2. It can eliminate your pain. A toothache is a sign that you may need a root canal. Tooth pain is caused by the infection in the tooth. The pain can be mild or it may be severe. A root canal will relieve your discomfort and improve your well-being. The procedure does not cause pain; it relieves it. With modern technologies and anesthetics, root canal therapy is no more uncomfortable than having a dental filling placed.
3. It can save your smile. Tooth removal is not a good alternative to root canal treatment. Saving your tooth is the best option. The absence of teeth can ruin your smile, cause the surrounding teeth to shift out of place, and affect your ability to chew food. It can also cause speech problems, bone loss, and facial sagging. A root-canal-treated tooth can last for decades, if not a lifetime.
4. It can restore tooth function. A tooth that requires a root canal often is one that has extensive decay. Therefore, a dental crown needs to be placed on the tooth to protect it and restore it to full function. Dental crowns are known for their exceptional durability and great strength. A dental crown will strengthen your tooth and protect it from damage. It can also help you chew better and improve your clarity of speech.
5. It can prevent complications. Don't put off root canal treatment if you need it. Left untreated, bacteria from the infected pulp can travel through the roots of the tooth and into the tissue of the gums and jaw. That can cause a painful abscess to form, which will require urgent treatment.
Healthy smiles are the happiest smiles! Call Western Slope Dental Center at 970-241-3483 right now to schedule an appointment for root canal treatment in Grand Junction, CO. We want all our patients to have healthy, beautiful smiles. You will experience exemplary service and state-of-the-art care at Western Slope Dental Center!
Accidents can happen to your mouth, especially if you have an active lifestyle. For example, a sudden blow to the jaw while playing sports or exercising could result in a chipped tooth. And, while the internal tooth structure may be fine, the effect on your appearance can be disheartening.
Fortunately, we have techniques and materials to restore your smile after an injury. Bonding with composite resin is one such procedure: it’s ideal for mild to moderate chipping, especially in highly visible front teeth.
Composite resin is a dental material made of various substances mixed to match the color and texture of natural teeth. The composite is usually made of inorganic glass filler blended with a plastic-based matrix and joined together with a chemical “coupling” agent. The ratio of filler to matrix will depend on the type of tooth and damage — for example, back teeth, which encounter higher biting forces, require a composite with more filler for added strength.
To begin the procedure, we first prepare the damaged tooth by applying microscopic etchings (often with a chemical solution) that create tiny depressions or “undercuts”: these help create a seamless bond between the composite and the natural tooth. We then apply the composite in layers with a bonding agent, building up layer upon layer until we’ve achieved the desired shape for the tooth involved.
Bonding with composite resins doesn’t require much tooth preparation, can be placed quickly and is relatively inexpensive. Because of the wide spectrum of color possibilities, composite resins are superior to traditional amalgam (metal) restorations in creating a more life-like appearance. Its application, however, can be limited by the amount of tooth structure needing to be replaced: because it isn’t as strong as the tooth structure it replaces, the more tooth structure the bonded composite resin attempts to replace the less likely it can stand up over time to normal bite forces.
Still, composite resins are ideal for mild to moderate damage or disfigurement. If you’ve suffered such an injury, be sure to visit us to see if bonding with life-like composites is the right solution for restoring your smile.
If you would like more information on bonding with composite resins, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Repairing Chipped Teeth.”
A beautiful smile is a balanced smile, especially in regard to your gums. A normal smile usually shows 4 mm or less of gum tissue along with about 10 mm of tooth length. But if your gums show more than that, your smile may seem too gummy. In terms of perceived balance, this could detract from your smile's attractiveness.
Fortunately, you don't have to live with a gummy smile—there are various ways to correct or minimize its effect. First, though, we'll need to determine the underlying cause before deciding on the best treatment. And, there are several possible causes, the obvious being too much gum tissue present. Teeth that appear shorter due to wear or incomplete eruption could also make the gums appear larger.
We may be able to correct these size problems by surgically removing and reshaping excess gum tissues and possibly the underlying bone to reveal more of the teeth. We can also bond composite resins or porcelain veneers to shorter teeth to make them appear larger.
But not all gummy smile problems pertain directly to the teeth and gums; instead, it could be your upper lip moves too far up as you smile (hypermobility). Or, your upper jaw may be too long for your face, which can also cause too much of the gums to show during smiling.
With upper lip hypermobility, we may be able to inhibit the lip muscles' movement temporarily with Botox injections that partially paralyze the muscles (the effect eventually wears off, so this treatment will need to be repeated). A periodontist, an oral surgeon, or a plastic surgeon could also permanently alter the upper lip movement through a surgical procedure. Surgery may also be necessary for an abnormally long upper jaw: orthognathic surgery re-positions the jaw to the skull, which can lessen the amount of gums showing.
If your smile is too gummy, we can transform it. But first, let's find out what the real cause is with a comprehensive dental examination. Once we know, we can better advise you on the best way to bring beautiful balance to your smile.
If you would like more information on improving a gummy smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Gummy Smiles.”
The healthiest tooth restoration method available, dental implants feel, look, and act just like real teeth. At Western Slope Dental Center in Grand Junction, CO, Dr. Brandon Berguin, Dr. Kira Funderburk and Dr. William Berguin complete gapped smiles with innovative implants to replace one, two, or all of a patient's teeth. Get the details here!
Your best smile
No decay, no gum disease, no gaps. However, problems can crop up from time to time—even tooth loss, no matter how hard we work to avoid it. Along with tooth loss comes gum and bone degradation which changes how your face looks and how healthy your remaining teeth are as time goes by.
Dental implants from your dentist in Grand Junction imitate what those lost teeth used to do for you, allowing you to bite, chew, and speak without worry or the need for messy denture adhesives.
How can a titanium screw, metal post, and porcelain crown do all that? The key is titanium metal. Human bone loves it and readily bonds to it through osseointegration. As an implant site heals, the surgically-placed device and the jaw bone meld securely and permanently, acting just as a natural tooth root does.
While osseointegration does take time, the results are fantastic and reliable. Dental implants can last for 40 to 50 years, and few things threaten their reliability. Just keep up with your good at-home hygiene, and come to Western Slope Dental Center for check-ups and cleanings twice a year. Additionally, avoid grinding your teeth and smoking, and your implants will stay safe, secure, and totally functional!
Is the treatment difficult?
Not at all! It simply takes a consultation, an operation, and a followup.
Your dentist will tell you if you are a good candidate for this inventive tooth replacement. Expect a complete oral examination, digital X-ray imaging, and a thorough assessment of your jaw bone, for you must have enough bone to accept the implant. If your bone is thin, you may need to undergo a simple augmentation procedure to strengthen the jaw bone before your implant treatment.
For a single-tooth implant, your dentist will numb the site and insert the titanium device directly into the jaw bone. You will then wait several weeks before returning to the office for placement of the post and crown. At that time, your implant will be fully integrated and usable.
Interested? Give us a call!
For additional information and to arrange your appointment with us, call our Grand Junction office at (970) 241-3483. You can have a great smile again with dental implants!
Sometimes it seems that appearances count for everything—especially in Hollywood. But just recently, Lonnie Chaviz, the 10-year-old actor who plays young Randall on the hit TV show This Is Us, delivered a powerful message about accepting differences in body image. And the whole issue was triggered by negative social media comments about his smile.
Lonnie has a noticeable diastema—that is, a gap between his two front teeth; this condition is commonly seen in children, but is less common in adults. There are plenty of celebrities who aren’t bothered by the excess space between their front teeth, such as Michael Strahan, Lauren Hutton and Vanessa Paradis. However, there are also many people who choose to close the gap for cosmetic or functional reasons.
Unfortunately, Lonnie had been on the receiving end of unkind comments about the appearance of his smile. But instead of getting angry, the young actor posted a thoughtful reply via Instagram video, in which he said: “I could get my gap fixed. Braces can fix this, but like, can you fix your heart, though?”
Lonnie is raising an important point: Making fun of how someone looks shows a terrible lack of compassion. Besides, each person’s smile is uniquely their own, and getting it “fixed” is a matter of personal choice. It’s true that in most circumstances, if the gap between the front teeth doesn’t shrink as you age and you decide you want to close it, orthodontic appliances like braces can do the job. Sometimes, a too-big gap can make it more difficult to eat and to pronounce some words. In other situations, it’s simply a question of aesthetics—some like it; others would prefer to live without it.
There’s a flip side to this issue as well. When teeth need to be replaced, many people opt to have their smile restored just the way it was, rather than in some “ideal” manner. That could mean that their dentures are specially fabricated with a space between the front teeth, or the crowns of their dental implants are spaced farther apart than they normally would be. For these folks, the “imperfection” is so much a part of their unique identity that changing it just seems wrong.
So if you’re satisfied with the way your smile looks, all you need to do is keep up with daily brushing and flossing, and come in for regular checkups and cleanings to keep it healthy and bright. If you’re unsatisfied, ask us how we could help make it better. And if you need tooth replacement, be sure to talk to us about all of your options—teeth that are regular and “Hollywood white;” teeth that are natural-looking, with minor variations in color and spacing; and teeth that look just like the smile you’ve always had.
Because when it comes to your smile, we couldn’t agree more with what Lonnie Chaviz said at the end of his video: “Be who you want to be. Do what you want to do. Do you. Be you. Believe in yourself.”
If you have questions about cosmetic dentistry, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Magic of Orthodontics.”