Posts for category: Dental Procedures
Your smile is a great asset, allowing you to eat, speak and express yourself. If one or more teeth become damaged by decay, infection or injury, you need the best help possible. At Gibberman Dental in Alexandria, VA your dentists, Dr. Paul Gibberman, Dr. Lauren Gibberman and Dr. Maria Hodas provide superb restorative care, including dental crowns. Read some answers to frequently asked questions regarding crowns and how they bring smiles back to life.
FAQs about dental crowns
What is a dental crown, and why would I need one? A dental crown is a tooth-shaped restoration customized to fit over the top of a damaged tooth. Fashioned according to oral impressions (negative imprints of your teeth and surrounding gum tissue), your crown will fit right over your tooth and restore its strength, function, shape and color.
How does the dentist know I need one? By visual examination and X-rays, your Alexandria dentist determines if a dental crown would restore your tooth and avoid unnecessary extraction. They also use crowns to finish dental implant procedures, to cover teeth after root canal therapy and to support bridgework composed of one, two or more adjacent artificial teeth.
Is it hard to care for a crown? No, it's not difficult at all. Just brush twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss between your teeth and at the gum line as the American Dental Association directs. Watch your diet, avoiding hard foods, and never open bottles or packages with your teeth as you could damage or loosen the crown. See your dentist at Gibberman Dental twice yearly for an examination and professional cleaning.
Can a crown be used solely for cosmetic reasons? While dentists use crowns primarily to restore teeth which otherwise would be lost, crowns do serve cosmetic purposes, too. A tooth with a large chip, deep stains, surface irregularities or an odd shape may be a great candidate for a crown, particularly if it is healthy and has the potential for a long life.
Your professional staff at Gibberman Dental loves to answer questions from patients. If you think you need a crown or are concerned about the health of a tooth, please call the office for an appointment at (703) 823-6616.
When die-hard music fans hear that their favorite performer is canceling a gig, it’s a big disappointment—especially if the excuse seems less than earth-shaking. Recently, British pop sensation Dua Lipa needed to drop two dates from her world tour with Bruno Mars. However, she had a very good reason.
“I’ve been performing with an awful pain due to my wisdom teeth,” the singer tweeted, “and as advised by my dentist and oral surgeon I have had to have them imminently removed.”
The dental problem Lipa had to deal with, impacted wisdom teeth, is not uncommon in young adults. Also called third molars, wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums), generally making their appearance between the ages of 18-24. But their debut can cause trouble: Many times, these teeth develop in a way that makes it impossible for them to erupt without negatively affecting the healthy teeth nearby. In this situation, the teeth are called “impacted.”
A number of issues can cause impacted wisdom teeth, including a tooth in an abnormal position, a lack of sufficient space in the jaw, or an obstruction that prevents proper emergence. The most common treatment for impaction is to extract (remove) one or more of the wisdom teeth. This is a routine in-office procedure that may be performed by general dentists or dental specialists.
It’s thought that perhaps 7 out of 10 people ages 20-30 have at least one impacted wisdom tooth. Some cause pain and need to be removed right away; however, this is not always the case. If a wisdom tooth is found to be impacted and is likely to result in future problems, it may be best to have it extracted before symptoms appear. Unfortunately, even with x-rays and other diagnostic tests, it isn’t always possible to predict exactly when—or if—the tooth will actually begin causing trouble. In some situations, the best option may be to carefully monitor the tooth at regular intervals and wait for a clearer sign of whether extraction is necessary.
So if you’re around the age when wisdom teeth are beginning to appear, make sure not to skip your routine dental appointments. That way, you might avoid emergency surgery when you’ve got other plans—like maybe your own world tour!
If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
Untreated tooth decay can destroy your teeth; prompt action as soon as its diagnosed will help prevent that undesirable outcome. And even if decay has advanced into the tooth's pulp and root canals, there's still a good chance we can stop it with a root canal treatment. Using this procedure, we can clean out the infection and refill the tooth's interior space with a special filling to protect it from further infection.
Although root canal treatments have gained an unwarranted reputation for pain, they rarely cause even the mildest discomfort. More importantly, they work, which is why they're the go-to treatment dentists use for advanced decay.
But sometimes a unique dental situation might make performing a root canal extremely difficult—possibly even doing more harm than good. For example, trying to access the interior of a tooth with a crown restoration might require removing the crown, which could further weaken or damage the tooth. In other cases, the root canals might have become calcified due to trauma or aging and become too narrow to access.
Even so, we may still be able to save a tooth through a minor surgical procedure called an apicoectomy. Rather than access the diseased area through the tooth crown as with a root canal treatment, an apicoectomy makes access to the infected tissue at the root end.
An apicoectomy also differs from a root canal treatment in that we'll need to surgically go through the gum tissue. After numbing the area with a local anesthetic, we'll make a small incision through the gums at the level of the infection. After removing any infected tissue, we would then fill the space with a small filling to prevent re-infection. We then close the incised gum tissues with sutures and allow them to heal.
With the help of fiber optic lighting and surgical microscopes, endodontists (specialists in interior tooth problems) can perform an apicoectomy quickly and with very little trauma at the surgical sight. If you undergo an apicoectomy, you should be back to normal activity in a day or two at the most. And like its sister procedure the root canal, an apicoectomy could help preserve your teeth for many years to come.
If you would like more information on this and other treatments for tooth decay, 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 “Apicoectomy: A Surgical Option When Root Canal Treatment Fails.”
Did you see the move Cast Away starring Tom Hanks? If so, you probably remember the scene where Hanks, stranded on a remote island, knocks out his own abscessed tooth — with an ice skate, no less — to stop the pain. Recently, Dear Doctor TV interviewed Gary Archer, the dental technician who created that special effect and many others.
“They wanted to have an abscess above the tooth with all sorts of gunk and pus and stuff coming out of it,” Archer explained. “I met with Tom and I took impressions [of his mouth] and we came up with this wonderful little piece. It just slipped over his own natural teeth.” The actor could flick it out with his lower tooth when the time was right during the scene. It ended up looking so real that, as Archer said, “it was not for the easily squeamish!”
That’s for sure. But neither is a real abscess, which is an infection that becomes sealed off beneath the gum line. An abscess may result from a trapped piece of food, uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease, or even an infection deep inside a tooth that has spread to adjacent periodontal tissues. In any case, the condition can cause intense pain due to the pressure that builds up in the pus-filled sac. Prompt treatment is required to relieve the pain, keep the infection from spreading to other areas of the face (or even elsewhere in the body), and prevent tooth loss.
Treatment involves draining the abscess, which usually stops the pain immediately, and then controlling the infection and removing its cause. This may require antibiotics and any of several in-office dental procedures, including gum surgery, a root canal, or a tooth extraction. But if you do have a tooth that can’t be saved, we promise we won’t remove it with an ice skate!
The best way to prevent an abscess from forming in the first place is to practice conscientious oral hygiene. By brushing your teeth twice each day for two minutes, and flossing at least once a day, you will go a long way towards keeping harmful oral bacteria from thriving in your mouth.
If you have any questions about gum disease or abscesses, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Periodontal (Gum) Abscesses” and “Confusing Tooth Pain.”
Are you interested in finding out what dental implants can do for you?
Replacing missing teeth in this day and age just gets easier and easier—thanks in large part to amazing restorations like dental implants, the most stable and natural feeling restoration available today. If you are a healthy adult who is missing one or more teeth, dental implants could be right for you! From our Alexandria, VA, office, dentists Dr. Paul Gibberman, Dr. Lauren Gibberman, and Dr. Maria Hodas provide these state-of-the-art restorations to patients just like you—read below to learn more about implants and the benefits that they have to offer.
What are dental implants?
An implant is a small metal post or screw that is made from titanium, a durable and biocompatible metal. The post is placed within the jawbone where it will functionally replace the old tooth roots and provide the wearer with a long-term foundation from which to hold a false tooth (or false teeth) securely in place.
What are the benefits of getting dental implants?
Since dental implants truly function like real teeth, they offer a host of unique advantages over other tooth replacement options such as dentures. Some of these advantages include,
- A restored smile and improved appearance
- An increase in confidence
- A lifelong restoration with a very high success rate
- A durable restoration with incredible bite strength
- A preserved jawbone (bone loss is a complication of tooth loss)
- Chewing, biting, and speaking are all fully restored
In order to get dental implants, our Alexandria, VA, general dentist will need to perform a minor placement surgery. It’s important to note that getting dental implants can take several months and even up to one year or longer, depending on how many implants you are getting and which teeth you need to replace.
Interested? Give us a call!
At Gibberman Dental in Alexandria, VA, we believe that everyone should have smiles that they are proud of. If you are dealing with tooth loss, damaged teeth, or other issues that are keeping you from the smile you deserve, call our office today at (703) 823-6616 to schedule a consultation with us!