1. I’m missing a tooth. How to replace it?
A missing tooth can easily be replaced with a conventional, cemented (fixed) dental bridge or with a dental implant. Each tooth replacement option has its own advantages and challenges. In specific cases where one tooth is missing whereas the tooth tissue and bone structures are healthy, we highly recommend dental implants. Dental implants are recommended due to the fact that this procedure does not cause any damage to the healthy neighbouring teeth. In order to make a bridge, the dentist must reshape the two neighbouring teeth, which, then, become the abutment teeth of the dental bridge. We can recommend dental bridges in specific cases where it is not possible to place dental implants or in patients, who do not want to undergo the dental implant placement procedure.
2. I’m 56 years old and I would like to get a dental implant. Is there an age limit for dental implants?
There is no upper age limit for placing dental implants. A more important question that we have to concentrate on is whether there is sufficient bone structure for placing the dental implants successfully. In cases where there is a significant bone loss, one’s bone can easily be replaced by using bone grafting techniques or by implanting synthetic bone substitute, in order to augment the jaw bone. However, there is a minimum age requirement for dental implants surgery and it is usually set around the age of 14.
3. Are there any other advantages of white fillings as opposed to the black ones besides the aesthetic component of the white fillings?
For years, the amalgam dental fillings (also known as the “silver fillings”) were the only dental filling option available and were used regularly to fill the cavities caused by tooth decays, which were left after the cleaning procedures performed by the dentists. Due to the fact that the amalgam dental fillings contain mercury substances and the poor aesthetics of these dental restorations, the amalgam use has been phased out almost totally. The composite resin fillings (also known as the “white fillings”), which are used instead of the amalgam ones have many benefits and can offer a substitute to the amalgam dental fillings. Besides consisting different chemical components, the composite resin fillings also have unquestionable aesthetic benefits, while simultaneously proving to be extremely firm and durable as a dental filling material. However, the most important benefit of the composite resin fillings lies in the fact that, in order to place them, the doctor of dental medicine can minimize cavity preparation as much as possible, removing only the diseased part of the infected tooth. This helps preserving the tooth tissue to the maximum extent, by allowing the dentist to remove the infected part of the tooth only. On the other hand, an amalgam dental filling requires a specific form and the defined dimensions of a cavity preparation.
4. Is it better to use fixed or mobile (removable) orthodontic appliances?
Each of these two types of orthodontic appliances is used for a specific purpose. The decision on the type of an orthodontic appliance one should use will depend on the diagnosis of the malocclusion in question as well as on the patient’s age. The removable orthodontic appliances are usually used with younger children during their intensive growth period and they are placed to bring positive effects not only to the proper fit and alignment of the teeth and but also to influence the proper growth and development of the child’s jaw bones. This is extremely important in children with hereditary malocclusions caused by the fact that one’s teeth may be either too big or too small for the jaw. Once the intensive growth period is finished as well as to our adult patients, we can recommend using fixed orthodontic appliances in their orthodontic treatments, due to the fact that the process of growth and development of one’s jaws had already finished.
5. Why is it necessary to have a dental nerve removed from the tooth?
After developing severe tooth decays or after the traumatic dental injuries, the bacteria usually found in saliva enter the dental pulp (also known as the soft tissue of the tooth or a dental nerve tissue).This causes the usually sterile dental pulp to become infected. When the dental pulp becomes infected it needs to be treated and cured from the infection. Ones the infection had already caused severe damage to the dental pulp, it begins to die and, therefore, it needs to be removed to stop the bacteria from spreading from the pulp and the root canal to all of the surrounding tissues. An inflammation of the pulp, also known as pulpitis, can be recognised as a severe toothache of the infected tooth. This pain may be a result of an injury or of an inflammation of the dental pulp, all of which speeds up the blood flow through the pulp and therefore, increases the cellular activities. As this process prevents the pressure inside the tooth from going down, this pressure causes toothache.
6. How does tooth decay develop?
Tooth decay is the destruction of the hard tooth tissues, which is caused by a combination of bacteria found in one’s oral cavity and the foods high in carbohydrates (starches). The salivary bacteria digest the foods by turning them into acids, which, therefore, decrease the natural pH of one’s saliva. If the pH level continuously decreases to the point below the so called “critical pH” (the critical pH is normally in the range of pH 5.2-5.5), this will result in mineral dissolution of the enamel. The process in question will lead to the formation of carious lesions on the tooth surface. At the beginning of the process the mineral loss can be seen visibly as a white spot lesion on the enamel, but as the disease progresses the lesion becomes darker. This occurs due to the demineralization process which allows the bacteria to penetrate deeply into the inner layers of the tooth. Then, the white spot lesion develops into a small caries cavity, which results in bigger loss of the dental tissue. Left untreated, tooth decay will cause a severe toothache and may eventually cause the fracture of the decayed tooth.
7. Can a tartar removal treatment cause any damage to the tooth enamel?
Removing both hard (tartar) and soft (dental plague) food debris from your teeth by providing good oral hygiene is an essential part of preventing periodontal disease and stopping the disease from progressing, if periodontitis has already occurred. The patients, who tend to develop tartar fast, will need to make sure that they undergo the professional dental cleaning treatment at their dentist’s office often. However, this treatment will not damage the enamel in any way, due to the fact that the professional dental cleaning treatment is done only by using the ultrasonic cleaner device. This device uses vibration rather than filling to clean your teeth from tartar deposits fast. The duration of the treatment depends on the quantity of the deposits. After your teeth are professionally cleaned from tartar deposits, they undergo a polishing procedure by using a controlled jet of fine sodium bicarbonate particles mixed with a jet of water and compressed air for cooling effect.