1910 Cochran Rd Ste 3, Pittsburgh, PA 15220 | palmerfamilydental@comcast.net
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Routine Dental Procedures in Pittsburgh, PA


 
 
Fillings
Fillings are performed to remove decay and restore the affected tooth structure to its normal shape and function. It is called a filling because new material fills the hole that decay has created. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, with remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area and then fill the cleaned cavity with a filing material. Teeth can be filled with bonded tooth colored composite resin or amalgam. If caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly. If not treated decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth could need root canal treatment or extraction.
 
Woman having teeth examined at dentists — Fillings in Pittsburgh, PA
 
A composite filling is the restoration procedure of choice for treating a tooth with tooth decay. A composite is a tooth-colored filling that is made of ceramic and plastic compounds. These fillings mimic the appearance of natural teeth and are preferred among many patients and dental professionals. Tooth-colored fillings that look natural in your mouth and can replace the metallic look of silver fillings. The unique mixture of materials used in composite fillings provides supreme bonding, requires less preparation and preserves tooth structure.
 
 
Woman smile — Bonding in Pittsburgh, PA
 
Bonding
Bonding is a popular method to enhance the appearance of your smile. Bonding is used to correct cracks or gaps in teeth, as a filling after a cavity has been removed or to cover up stains or discolored teeth.
First the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the bonding and hold it. A gel is applied to micro etch the tooth surface and a primer/bond agent is applied so the material adheres to the surface. Then the material itself is placed on the tooth and hardened with a blue light. The composite resin material is shaped and polished to get a lustrous finish as a last step.
 
With the advancements in dental technology, bonding usually lasts many years. It is a safe, affordable and attractive solution for many dental problems.
 
 
Sealants
Sealants are used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn't brush, but because they're too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. These deep, narrow grooves may develop cavities over time. So the dentist or hygienist will brush on a coating that will fill in the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.
 
Viewed oral hygiene — Sealants in Pittsburgh, PA
 
 
 
Dentist showing x-ray — X-rays in Pittsburgh, PA
 
X-Rays
This is a focused beam of x-ray particles, which produces an image on special sensor and shows the structure through which it passed. This gives the familiar black and white images that doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems. X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnostic process. Not using x-rays could lead to undiagnosed disease. Without an x-ray of the whole tooth and supporting bone and gum tissues there is no real way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention.
 
In our office, we use digital radiography which allows us to take x-rays using 50-70% less radiation than conventional x-rays. Coupled with computer monitoring, digital x-ray technology allows us to enhance the images for better diagnosis of dental concerns and we are often able to find cavities while they are still very small and treated minimally.
 
 
Veneers
Veneers are a dental procedure in which a covering is placed over the outside of the tooth. Veneers are usually only placed on the part of the tooth that is visible when talking or smiling. The procedure can be direct or indirect.
The direct technique usually involves placing composite resin on the outside of the tooth using bonding. This method is usually referred to as bonding. The indirect technique usually involves two appointments because the veneers will be fabricated at a dental laboratory. At the first appointment the teeth are prepared, impressions taken and the teeth given a temporary covering.
 
Shade determination tooth — Veneers in Pittsburgh, PA
 
In two weeks the veneers are back from the laboratory, the temporaries are removed and the veneers are bonded to the teeth. The laboratory fabricated veneers are usually made using porcelain or pressed ceramic and are very aesthetic.
Veneers can correct discolored teeth, hide chips and fractures and straighten misaligned teeth. The results help to create your perfect smile.
 
 
Steel dentures — Crowns in Pittsburgh, PA
 
Crowns
Crowns are full coverage restorations that are used to cover a tooth that is likely to break or is too broken down to be restored with a filling. They are most commonly applied after a root canal treatment or when a large filling wears out. The larger the hole made by a cavity that has to be treated, the more likely a crown will be needed. Even after a filling is put in a large cavity, a tooth is more likely to break.
 
Keep in mind that the jaw muscles are the strongest in the human body. Teeth are subjected to tremendous pressures. Crowns ride over the weakened tooth, providing strength and protecting the tooth against breakage. A broken or cracked tooth is a far more serious matter and much more difficult to treat. Crowns prevent this, as well as making for a nice smile.
It takes two appointments to restore a tooth with a crown. In the first appointment, any decay is removed from the tooth and it is shaped to accept the crown. Then an impression is made of the tooth for use in fabricating a crown. Between the two visits the crown is made, usually of high-strength porcelain over noble metal, or all ceramic material. During this time a temporary crown is worn. In the second visit this temporary is removed. Then the permanent crown is adjusted as needed and then cemented in place.
 
 
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are often referred to as partial crowns. They use the existing tooth as a base and fit the inlay or onlay onto the tooth. This is done to strengthen the tooth, restore its shape and prevent further damage.
 
Dental concept — Fillings in Pittsburgh, PA
 
 
 
Clasp prosthesis with and latch ceramic crowns — Bridges in Pittsburgh, PA
 
Bridges
This is an option for filling the space created by one or more missing teeth. It is formed to look like the missing tooth or teeth and it takes its place in the mouth. The sides of a bridge use the two surrounding teeth for support, hence the name. A bridge replaces the missing tooth or teeth both functionally and cosmetically. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. The materials used may be alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy or all ceramic material. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear and/or aesthetics.
 
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated, the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward, creating a whole chain reaction of bad things. Teeth use their neighbors for support, and, with one missing, they start to fall. This worsens the bite changes in response to the pressure and can eventually result in problems with the entire jaw, e.g. TMJ. The surrounding teeth deteriorate and it is just a matter of time before they, too, are lost.
 
 
Dentures
Dentures are a replacement for missing teeth that can be removed and put back into your mouth. Depending on each individual case, you may receive full or partial dentures. Full dentures are used when all of the natural teeth are removed from the mouth and replaced with a full set of dentures. Partial dentures are used to replace a missing tooth or teeth. With a well-made set of partials or dentures, you will still be able eat and talk regularly.
 
Senior woman teeth — dentures in Pittsburgh, PA
 
The entire mouth is examined and a determination is made as to which teeth will have to be removed and which will remain. The loose or severely decayed teeth are then extracted. Dentures are fitted to go over or around whatever teeth remain in the mouth, depending on the type. There is an adjustment period after dentures are placed in the mouth, but once accustomed to the dentures, all the normal functionality and appearance return and one just carries on as usual. Often implants can used to further stabilize the dentures.
 
 
How long do dentures last?
Throughout your lifetime, your denture will need to be relined, remade, or rebased due to wear that occurs each day. Relining or rebasing is the process of reshaping the denture to make sure it is comfortable and functional for your needs. As you age, your mouth naturally changes and reshapes which may cause your dentures to loosen. Loose dentures may irritate your gums and wiggle when you are chewing. This is why it's so important to see your dentist for your recommended checkups when you have dentures!
 
Tips to care for your dentures
  • Brush your dentures twice a day to remove food, plaque and bacteria from the surface of them. This will also help prevent them from staining.
  • When cleaning your dentures, stand over a full sink of water or a towel to prevent dentures from breaking if dropped.
  • Brush your gums, roof of your mouth and tongue to prevent any bacteria from building up in your mouth. Fungal infections are common with denture wearers due to not keeping the mouth clean.
  • Always keep the dentures in a soaking solution or plain water. If the dentures dry out or hot water is used, they can warp and change shape.
  • See your dentist on your recommended recall to make sure your dentures don't break, chip, crack, become loose or cause irritations.
 
 
 
Dental implant — Implants in Pittsburgh, PA
 
Implants
A dental implant is an option to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, a small titanium shaft is surgically implanted into the bone and allowed to set. The bone grows around it forming a tight connection, which additionally slows or stops the bone loss that occurs when the root of a natural tooth is missing.
Once the implant is firmly set in the mouth, then works to attach the replacement tooth onto the top of the shaft. This permanent solution has the advantages over bridge work that it does not stress the surrounding teeth for support, and, should the tooth wear out, another can simply be replaced on the shaft.
 
Implants can also be used as support for a bridge. This is an alternative to partial dentures and has several advantages. First, there is no adjustment period to acclimatize the patient who, once the work is done, only feels teeth, not metal supports intruding into the mouth. Second, this slows the bone loss occasioned by missing teeth. Third, there is no discomfort or difficulty in eating. And, best of all, they don't have to be taken out all the time.