If you are considering replacing missing teeth or badly damaged teeth, the first option should be dental implants at our Encinitas practice. Implant crowns no longer require unsightly dark metal edges or clasps. With the advances in implant dentistry, an artificial root (implant) can be placed into the bone where the tooth has been lost and place a crown over that root. The implant is made of a biocompatible metal that actually integrates with the bone anchoring it down permanently.
Conventional bridgework, as opposed to dental implants, requires the dentist to cut down adjacent teeth to place crowns which would replace a missing tooth or teeth. Implants provide tooth replacement without the need to cut down adjacent teeth and also replace the missing root within the bone. In addition to preserving the adjacent teeth, the implant also prevents the loss of bone in the area of the missing tooth. The bone starts to melt away as soon as a tooth is lost; it loses its purpose to be there if it is not supporting a tooth. (The longer the teeth are missing from the bone, the more bone loss occurs.) Placing a dental implant preserves the bone in the area by restoring its function to provide better stability and aesthetic value.
Implants act as an anchor in the bone to which a new crown is attached. After the implant has been placed it typically takes an integration period of three to six months before the final restoration can be placed. Dental implants are considered a permanent solution to tooth loss. The team at Dr. Trang T. Chesler will determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants during your dental consultation by taking radiographs of the existing bone, studying models where the tooth is missing, and performing a thorough exam.
There are three types of dental crowns offered to our patients with the first two being used most often:
- Porcelain crown, meaning that there is no metal used in the crown and it appears very natural looking.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal, which is a metal substructure with a porcelain covering that is also very natural appearing.
- Full gold crowns, which are only used in very limited and special circumstances.
The tooth is shaped by our doctors prior to placing a crown. This process completely covers the weakened or damaged tooth structure remaining above the gum line. Then, porcelain crowns are shaped and color-matched to the surrounding teeth in the patient’s mouth.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and Onlays at our Encinitas practice are lab-cured resins or ceramics that are not only stronger for the teeth, but they are more life-like than any other restoration in dentistry today. Dr. Trang T. Chesler can place these restorations by bonding them to the remaining tooth structure after an old filling or a cavity is removed. This allows Dr. Chesler to be more conservative while strengthening the tooth at the same time.
Before the age of cosmetic dentistry, when a portion of the tooth was lost the only solution was to eliminate the majority of the healthy tooth structure remaining and place a crown. Now inlay and onlay restorations are being placed in teeth where crowns would have been placed in the past. This allows your cosmetic dentist to save all the remaining healthy tooth structure that would have previously been lost with placement of a crown.
A bridge is another alternative to replace a tooth or teeth that have been lost. When one or two teeth are lost and there are teeth on either side of the space, a dental bridge of artificial teeth can typically be placed for our patients. Teeth on either side of the space thus serve as links for the potential artificial tooth or teeth in between.
At the practice of Dr. Trang T. Chesler, it is essential to our mission that patients be proud of their smile. The dental bridge placement procedure is a restorative dentistry solution that aims to instill confidence by improving the look and function of the smile with prosthetic teeth elements. Does this seem to fit your needs? Never again would you as the patient have to feel self conscious about the significant space that once existed among your teeth thanks to the natural-appearing restoration.
It usually takes two visits to complete the process of placing a dental bridge at our practice, serving Encinitas, North County San Diego, Carlsbad, Del Mar, La Jolla, and all of San Diego:
- Visit 1: During the first visit, the teeth surrounding the gap will each be prepared to receive a dental crown. Then, an impression will be taken and sent off to the lab where the customized crowns and artificial tooth will be made to match your smile characteristics identically. A local anesthetic may be used to ensure maximum patient comfort during treatment. Before leaving, you will be fitted with temporary crowns and a bridge for convenience in terms of look and function between visits.
- Visit 2: During the second visit, which will likely occur about a week later, your team at Dr. Trang T. Chesler will remove the temporary restorations and replace them with the permanent restorations that have returned from the lab. Crowns will be fitted to the adjoining teeth, simultaneously installing the attached artificial tooth comprising the bridge. Once the restorations are fitted to the doctor’s satisfaction and adjusted as necessary, the gap in your smile will be bridged!
Bridges can be used to replace a span of one to three missing teeth. If your dentist determines that you are not the right candidate for a dental bridge, dentures, partial dentures or dental implants may be better options for you.