Posts for category: Dental Procedures
Dental implants command attention among patients and oral health care providers. Gaining popularity over the past few decades, these innovative tooth replacements not only look and function as real teeth do, but they exercise and improve the quality and quantity of the jaw bone. In Kalamazoo, Dr. Mark Richardson uses dental implants to restore smiles damaged by tooth loss. Are implants right for you?
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a prosthetic device which helps people who have lost one or more teeth normalize their appearance and oral function. Whether you need one replacement tooth or an entire arch, dental implants are the best option because they feature titanium roots inserted right into the jaw bone. That's right--into the jaw bone. So, when you bite and chew on your new tooth, it keeps the bone strong and dense just as a natural tooth does.
Are dental implants right for you?
Millions of Americans have dental implants. Even if you are missing several or even all your teeth, implant-supported prosthetics, such as bridges or dentures, may restore your smile to full function and excellent aesthetics.
At his Kalamazoo office, Dr. Richardson will evaluate your oral health and your jaw bone density via three-dimensional scanning, X-rays and a visual examination. You need enough bone mass to secure your implant. If you are a good candidate, you will be referred to an oral surgeon to have the dental implant placed.
A dental implant has three parts: a titanium metal screw, a metal abutment and a custom-crafted porcelain crown. The titanium screw resides in the jaw bone, providing the rest of the artificial tooth the stability and durability it needs for day to day function.
Because the implant device is made of titanium, it bonds well with the surrounding bone. The bonding process is called osseointegration, and it practically guarantees the long-term retention of this amazing tooth replacement. The Institute for Dental Implant Awareness reports a 95 percent success rate for implant procedures.
Patience is key to implant success, too. Osseointegration cannot be rushed; so once the implant is inserted, you must wait several weeks to months for the site implant to bond with the jawbone. Once it has bonded, Dr. Richardson will complete your dental implant with a dental crown.
In addition, you increase the chances of implant success if:
- You are a non-smoker
- Brush twice a day and floss once a day at home according to American Dental Association guidelines
- Get semi-annual check-ups and professional cleanings with Dr. Richardson and his team
- Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth by wearing a mouth guard at night and practicing relaxation techniques
Say "So long" to those worrisome and unsightly smile gaps. Say "Hello" to state-of-the-art dental implants and a great smile. For a personal consultation with Dr. Richardson, call his office staff today at (269) 343-6907.
Find out why tooth extractions are sometimes crucial for your oral health.
Once our permanent teeth come in, we often just assume that we will have them for life. Despite this typical line of thinking, tooth extraction remains a common dental procedure that some of us will inevitably have to undergo. Our Kalamazoo, MI, dentist, Dr. Mark Richardson, is here to explain why they are performed.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
This is one of the most prevalent reasons that an extraction is necessary. During our late-teens to early 20s, most of us will develop a third and final set of molars that are often impacted. This means that they won't fully erupt through the gums, which can lead bacteria to become trapped in the socket and subsequently cause an infection.
In other cases, wisdom teeth can cause damage to neighboring teeth or increase your risk for decay. When this happens, our Kalamazoo, MI, general dentist will recommend having the wisdom teeth removed.
When decay is detected during a routine checkup, it must be removed to prevent it from spreading. Depending on the severity, there are multiple ways of handling this issue, though it often necessitates a cleaning followed by either a dental filling or a crown.
However, if you don’t treat the decay early, it will continue to take over the tooth. Decay can even become serious enough to affect the inside of the tooth (known as the pulp), which will then require root canal treatment. At this point, if the infection is still left untreated, it can cause the tooth to become irreversibly damaged. When this happens, the only option is to remove and replace the tooth.
An Extensive Crack or Fracture
Cracked or broken teeth can often be fixed with a variety of restorative treatment options that frequently includes a crown placed over the tooth. However, if the tooth isn’t treated in a timely fashion or if the damage is so extensive that the crack goes below the gum line, your dentist may have to remove it, as the tooth has become inviable.
Contact Us Today!
Are your wisdom teeth starting to come in? Dealing with a cracked tooth? If so, then it’s time you turned to our Kalamazoo, MI, dental team to find out the best way to keep your oral health the best it can be. Whether you need to have a tooth removed or you want to turn to other restorative dentistry measures, let us help you get your smile back on the right track.
The dental crown has been around for generations. Tooth-shaped and custom-fashioned from high-quality porcelain, crowns restore teeth which otherwise would break, fail, and require extraction. Kalamazoo, MI, family dentist Dr. Mark Richardson offers this restorative treatment to his patients.
Why would someone need a crown?
Your dentist uses dental crowns as means to stronger, healthier, more attractive and complete smiles. If a tooth has lost much of its healthy enamel above the gum line, has become infected, or simply has an odd shape, a crown could help it be functional and natural-looking once again
Crafted and fitted to cover remaining healthy enamel a porcelain crown is bonded right onto the tooth. Made according to traditional or digital oral impressions, the crown fits right in with its neighbors and performs the usual functions of biting, chewing, and smiling.
It adds a great measure of strength to a weak tooth, and it keeps bacteria from invading the interior pulp chamber. In fact, your Kalamazoo dentist usually finishes root canal therapy (which removes diseased pulp) with a beautiful porcelain crown.
Could a crown help you?
Only your dentist can answer that question with a complete exam and X-rays in his office. He can use a crown to replace most of the hard tissue, or enamel, above the gum line, or in the case of tooth replacement, Dr. Richardson may recommend two or more crowns to support a multi-tooth bridge.
Crowns also top off today's premiere tooth replacement option, lifelike dental implants. When you see Dr. Richardson, you'll discuss your concerns, goals and treatment options so you arrive at a care plan just right for your oral health.
Maintaining dental crowns
It's as easy as brush, floss and be gentle. Yes, as with your completely natural teeth, crowned teeth require regular at-home and in-office hygiene. Keeping the margins of crowns clean stops gum disease.
Also, avoid the stresses of teeth clenching with a nighttime mouth guard. Bruxism places severe pressure on natural enamel and porcelain restorations. However, if you are careful with your crowns and other restorations, they should last at least a decade or more.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry praises dental crowns because of how well they replicate natural tooth appearance and function. Plus, crowns preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible, avoiding smile gaps and reduced gum tissue and jaw bone. For more details on crowns and the other restorative, preventive, and cosmetic treatments Dr. Richardson offers, please call his office in Kalamazoo, MI, at (269) 343-6907.
If you have missing teeth, you may feel you have few to no options for a great smile. Actually, the opposite is true. Your Kalamazoo, MI, dentist, Dr. Mark Richardson, offers individualized denture options. Whatever condition your teeth are in, he can give you a smile that's renewed in appearance and function, too.
When you lose teeth
Not only are your speech, chewing and biting compromised, but your appearance is, too. Tooth loss precipitates deterioration of gum tissue and jaw bone size and density, too. These changes impact the shape of your face and how smooth your skin is. In short, tooth loss without tooth replacement can make you look, feel and act much older than you really are.
Your denture options in Kalamazoo
There are two basic kinds of dentures: complete and partial. Complete dentures replace an entire arch of missing teeth. They may be secured by dental implants surgically inserted into the jaw, or the natural suction of the mouth may hold them in place with little to no adhesive needed.
Partial dentures have one, two, or more pontic, or artificial, teeth mounted on a metal framework. These prosthetics fill smile gaps, and usually, they attach to remaining teeth with clips. As with complete dentures, you and your dentist may choose to secure your prosthetic with one or more dental implants, or more typically, your "partial" may be removable.
Additionally, some patients decide to wear something called immediate dentures. Avoiding the embarrassment of being without teeth, immediate dentures are placed over sutured extraction sites right after teeth are extracted. The denture actually helps speed healing as it puts pressure on the gums and bone. An unfortunate downside to immediate dentures is their changing fit. As bone and gums heal and shrink, immediate dentures should be replaced or relined.
During a consultation with Dr. Richardson, he'll examine your mouth and take digital X-rays. A series of oral impressions will help him and the dental lab arrive at your best denture option, and of course, you'll be consulted on your preference for tooth shape and color.
Expect your adjustment to the new dentures to take a few weeks. You'll likely return to Dr. Richardson's office once or twice to achieve optimal fit.
Find out more
Dr. Richardson and his caring staff in Kalamazoo, MI, will help you every step of the way as you transition to life with dentures. To arrange your consultation, please call the office at (269) 343-6907.
Dentists have restored teeth with fillings literally for generations, and while the incidence of cavities is lessening in the US, your dentist in Kalamazoo, MI, still restores decayed teeth every day. Dr. Mark Richardson's preferred material is composite resin, a durable and natural-looking blend of plastic polymers and glass particles. Instead of dark amalgam, both patients and Dr. Richardson and his staff prefer tooth-colored resin because of its many cosmetic and restorative benefits.
What is a cavity?
A dental cavity is a hole in the tooth enamel caused by oral bacteria. This microorganism grows in sticky plaque and hard tartar formed from the carbohydrates we eat. Left unchecked, the bacteria give off harmful acids which eat holes in teeth. Some of these holes, or cavities, go right through the enamel to the dentin (second tooth layer) and interior pulp.
Repairing with composite resin
When you see your Kalamazoo, MI, dentist for a routine exam, he carefully inspects all your teeth for decay. X-ray imaging may uncover hidden decay in between teeth and beneath restorations. If you have decay, Dr. Richardson probably will recommend repair with modern composite resin, rather than amalgam, a long-used blend of various metals.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry praises composite resin for its many benefits. They include:
- Durability (chip and stain resistance)
- Longevity (5-7 years or more with good oral hygiene and avoidance of hard foods such as peanut brittle)
- Natural appearance
- Far less site preparation than amalgam fillings
- Flexes with the forces of biting and chewing
When Dr. Richardson removes the decayed portions of your tooth, he then layers the resin into the site, hardening each application with a special curing light. He carefully shapes the chewing surface of the tooth so it bites appropriately the teeth on the opposite arch. After a final polishing, the restoration is complete and seamless looking. In fact, it's nearly impossible to detect the borders between the tooth enamel and white filling.
Other uses of composite resin
Besides cavity restoration, your Kalamazoo, MI, dentist uses composite resin to repair small dental flaws such as hairline cracks, surface pits, gaps and more. This economical cosmetic service strengthens tooth enamel and improves smile aesthetics in a single appointment.
If you suspect you have a cavity, contact Dr. Mark Richardson for a consultation. Strong, attractive teeth are his specialty! Please call (268) 343-6907.