Dental Bridges vs. Implants: What’s the Difference?

Dental Bridges vs. Implants: What’s the Difference?

Both dental bridges and implants are methods used for replacing teeth, but they each have specific qualities that could make one or the other a better fit for you. Do you think you need one of these procedures? Let’s look at the differences between dental bridges vs. implants, the pros and cons of each, and how to decide which is a better choice for you.

Dental Bridges vs. Implants

Dental bridges cover a few teeth where implants are used to replace a single tooth. Your dentist might recommend one or the other depending on your specific concerns, how much repair is needed, and your overall dental health. Dental bridges and implants are very different procedures and offer specific advantages over the other. Here’s what you can expect from dental bridges vs. implant procedures.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges use existing teeth to bridge the gap of a missing one. Crowns are placed on either side on top of prepped and shaped teeth, and connected to a structure that holds a false tooth between them. The bridge is then cemented in as a whole unit, with the bridged section supported by each side. 

Dental bridges are permanent prosthetics. You don’t have to take it out to clean it, but you do have to clean around and under it to keep the area free of bacteria.

Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are easy to attach. The simple procedure can generally be completed in one visit. Because it is less invasive, dental bridge procedures are usually more affordable than dental implants, and are covered by most dental insurance plans.

Typically, dental bridges won’t last as long as dental implants. This is because they aren’t as strong and lack the same foundational support. Due to natural wear, bridges put more stress on surrounding teeth. Bridges are also not as natural-looking as an implant, and require more maintenance to keep them clean.

Dental Implants

Implants are a more involved procedure, but offer a longer lasting solution than dental bridges. A dental implant is basically a metal post that anchors to the jaw itself. A crown is attached to the top of the post. 

The procedure itself has three parts, which must all take place separately and allow for proper healing to occur between each stage. (1) The implant is connected to the jaw where it will fuse with the bone, a process called osseointegration; (2) the post is connected to the implant which protrudes above the gum line; and (3) a dental crown is attached and cemented to the post.

Pros and Cons of Dental Implants

Because they are fused directly to the bone, dental implants are very strong and stable. With their own built-in support system, they don’t put stress on surrounding teeth like dental bridges and can last a lifetime. An implant will also look and feel like a real tooth — and since they require such little maintenance beyond your normal dental hygiene routine, you might forget it’s not a natural part of your mouth.

The biggest drawbacks of dental implants are the time and cost. The multi-step procedure can take from 5 to 9 months to complete, depending on each patient’s rate of healing between stages. Because it does involve surgery, each patient must consider associated risks such as infection and nerve or other damage. Implant procedures are generally more expensive than bridges, and not always covered by insurance.

Dental Bridges vs. Implants: Which is Better For You?

Now that we understand the differences between dental bridges vs. implants, how do you know which is the better solution for you? Your choice will depend on —  in addition to your dentist’s recommendations — several personal factors, including your dental insurance, available time you’re willing to commit, and what you’re looking for out of your dental procedure. 

  • Insurance: Are both procedures covered by your dental insurance? Often, bridges are covered under most plans, but not all plans cover implant procedures because they are more involved. Before you commit to a more expensive procedure, you’ll want to be informed about out-of-pocket costs.
  • Time commitment: Implant procedures are more involved. They take more time, more appointments, and more recovery because they require surgery. Bridges are a more simple procedure that can usually be done in a single visit, depending on the amount of work you need done.
  • Cost and Durability: Implants last longer than bridges in most cases; about 15 years or more as opposed to around 7 for bridges. Based on the severity of work needed and your dental health, the costs might be comparable, so you’ll need to decide whether durability will play a role in your decision.

You should talk over all of these factors with your dentist, and they can help you decide whether dental bridges vs. implants will give you the results you’re looking for, and match your situation. 

Are you concerned that you might need either a bridge or an implant? Schedule an appointment with Creason, Weber & Mountford today! We’re happy to take a look, offer a consultation, and even get that procedure scheduled for you. 

Permanent vs Plastic Retainers: What to Know

Permanent vs Plastic Retainers: What to Know

If you’ve spent months or even years working to align your teeth through orthodonture, you know how important it is to maintain your straightened smile. It’s likely your dentist has recommended the use of a permanent or plastic retainer to help keep your teeth in their proper place. Which should you choose? Let’s talk about the advantages of both, as well as some of their drawbacks.

 

Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers are bonded to the back of your teeth and are a great idea if you don’t want to have to think about your retainer again. If you are one of those people who have a hard time remembering to do certain daily tasks like take vitamins or find your keys, remembering to put your retainer in every day might prove a challenge. 

Advantages of Permanent Retainers

The biggest advantage of permanent retainers is that you’ll never forget to put it in your mouth because it’s already there. Permanent retainers give better long term results for this reason. It’s always working behind the scenes to keep your teeth from roaming around. You might even forget it’s there. 

 

Drawbacks of Permanent Retainers

The main drawback with a permanent retainer from a dentist’s perspective is that they are more difficult for the patient to clean around when brushing at home. This can lead to plaque buildup and long term consequences if you aren’t diligent about flossing and attending regularly scheduled dental cleanings. 

If you have a permanent retainer, your dentist might recommend flossing “threads” that help you get the floss to those easily neglected areas, or that you start using a Waterpik — a machine that shoots a small, lightly pressurized stream of water around teeth to reach areas flossing can’t. 

If you decide a permanent retainer is the right choice for you, discuss with your dentist some cleaning options that will help you keep your teeth healthy as well as straight.

 

Plastic Retainers

If you’re not ready to commit to a permanent retainer, it’s possible that a plastic and removable retainer would be a better option. Plastic retainers are shaped to fit over your teeth or against the roof of your mouth with wires that hold the retainer and your teeth in place. It might be uncomfortable at first, but with regular use you can build the habit of wearing it. 

 

Advantages of Plastic Retainers

Plastic retainers usually don’t have to be worn all the time. Some just have to be worn overnight or during the day except when eating or exercising. Retainers that are clear are very subtle and practically unnoticeable when worn. Eventually, the plastic will wear out and can age and discolor, so plastic retainers need to be replaced every so often. 

 

Drawbacks of Plastic Retainers

The biggest problem with removable retainers is that patients will forget to use them frequently, or misplace them altogether. If you don’t establish a regular habit of putting in your retainer, your teeth may start to move. If they move enough your retainer may no longer fit comfortably and you will have to be fitted for a new one by your dentist. 

Fortunately, if lost or ill-fitting, they can be replaced. Unlike permanent retainers, plastic ones don’t prohibit brushing and flossing so it’s easier to keep teeth clean. Retainers can also be freshened with a thorough soak and scrub. 

 

Permanent vs. Plastic Retainers

The choice between permanent or plastic depends on you. Will you remember to wear your retainer on a regular basis? Or would it be easier to have it attached and not worry about it? Are you committed to keeping your teeth clean and flossing around a wire or would you rather be able to remove a retainer to brush your teeth? 

Some dentists may recommend a combination of a plastic and a permanent retainer. Permanent retainers are often attached behind the bottom front teeth because they are the most likely to move. At the same time, an upper removable retainer might be used overnight, to help make sure teeth stay in alignment.

Whichever option you and your dentist choose, you will likely need to change some habits to keep your smile clean and healthy. After you worked so hard to achieve a beautiful smile, you need to protect it. 

If you have concerns that your retainer isn’t working for you, stop into Creason, Weber & Mountford to make sure your teeth get the proper care you need, and to ask the dentists if it’s time to update or replace your retainer. Request an appointment or call 616-842-0822 today.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Children?

Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Children?

Nowadays we are much more aware of the effects of chemicals and radiation on our bodies, we can have some warranted skepticism about the way we expose ourselves to these things, and the hazards to which we expose our kids. X-rays are one of these things that may cause concern. Are dental x-rays safe for children? Here’s what you should know:

Radiation

X-rays are a form of radiation that is passed through the body in order to create an image of the bones. When x-ray technology was first discovered, the level of radiation used was high, and in some cases toxic.

That is not the case today. The level of radiation in dental x-rays is low enough to be considered very safe, and is, in fact, comparable to the level of environmental radiation that we are exposed to on an everyday basis. Even though dental x-rays occur near the brain, they don’t put your children at increased danger.

Dental issues

The risk of x-rays is not only mitigated by the fact that they’re no more significant than the radiation in our environment, it’s overwhelmingly overruled but the risk incurred by not getting dental x-rays. Teeth are the only exposed bone surfaces in the human body, and as such, they are very susceptible to damage and very important to protect.

Adults suffer tooth decay and cavities, and children are even more susceptible to these issues since they are less skilled in taking care of their dental hygiene and often actively avoid brushing and flossing their teeth. They also might not notice when something is wrong with their teeth. For these reasons, it’s absolutely crucial children get dental x-rays on a regular schedule, along with dental cleanings.

Is it time your kids got their x-rays or six-month checkup? Set up an appointment today with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry!

Is the Zoom! teeth whitening treatment right for you?

Is the Zoom! teeth whitening treatment right for you?

What’s the first thing people notice about you? Oftentimes, it’s your smile! Which is why it’s so important to keep your teeth healthy and pearly white. Having a bright white smile is a big confidence boost, but unfortunately, it can also be difficult to maintain. Coffee, red wine, and other foods can stain your teeth; over time, those stains that are just on the outside layer of your teeth, the enamel, can sink into the second layer, the dentin. Once stains reach the dentin, they are difficult to remove, since no amount of brushing or cleaning will get rid of them.

So how can you get rid of these deep stains?

The best way to clean up these deep stains is with a professional whitening product. There are many on the market today, from whitening mouthwashes to toothpastes and whitening strips, but the most efficient way to get rid of stains, and keep them away, is to have them professionally whitened by your dentist. One of the most popular ways to have your teeth whitened these days is with Zoom! Whitening. A safe, quick procedure monitored by your dentist, Zoom! could be the whitening choice for you.

What is Zoom! Whitening?

The Zoom! teeth whitening procedure is a professional treatment, authorized and supervised by a dentist, that whitens teeth by up to 8 shades in one 90 minute appointment. Zoom! uses a hydrogen peroxide solution that is activated by a Zoom! light to remove stains. As the light and the solution work together, the hydrogen peroxide solution can sink into the dentin, and break the carbon bonds that hold stains together, protecting the integrity of your teeth, and ridding them of all yellow stains!

What should I expect during my Zoom! Whitening appointment?

When you come in for your appointment, the dentist will probably ask you a few questions, and then prepare your mouth for the whitening treatment. After ensuring that your lips and gums are kept clear of the whitener, the whitening solution will be placed on your teeth, and the Zoom! whitening light will be placed over your mouth for three intervals of 15 minutes. You’ll be able to watch TV or listen to music while your teeth are quickly whitened!

How to know if Zoom! is right for you.

While a whiter smile is possible for everyone, you should talk to your dentist to see if you’re a good candidate for Zoom!. There are many factors that can determine your eligibility for Zoom! including your oral hygiene habits, what kind of dental work you’ve had done in the past, and what condition your teeth are in right now. Certain medications can also preclude you from the Zoom! In-Office treatment, but in these cases you would still be eligible for the Zoom! Take-Home treatment. This treatment provides you with custom-fit whitening trays that you can take home with you to whiten your teeth safely and at your own convenience.

Visit our page on Zoom! Whitening for more information and pricing on the treatment. If you think Zoom! is right for you, feel free to give our office a call at (616) 842-0822, and we’ll set you up with an appointment time that is convenient for you.

Step-by-Step Guide to a Root Canal Procedure

Step-by-Step Guide to a Root Canal Procedure

Hearing from your dentist that you may need a root canal can be both shocking and slightly terrifying – but it’s important to remember that this procedure is done to alleviate pain, not cause more. There are many instances that will result in this required treatment including tooth decay, damage such as a chip or crack, gum disease and even repeated procedures on the same tooth.

How Do I Know if I need a Root Canal?

You may know it’s time for a root canal treatment if you are experiencing acute tooth pain that continues to spread to the surrounding area. What is happening is that the pulp chamber inside of the tooth that houses the living tissue, nerves, and blood tissue may have become inflamed or infected and a root canal will need to be performed to save the tooth.

What is a Root Canal?

Essentially, a root canal (also known as an endodontic treatment) is the process of taking out damaged or infected pulp within your tooth, and stabilizing the tooth. As we discussed before, when the pulp in the interior of your tooth becomes infected or damaged, bacteria can spread from that infection to your gums and even the bone of your jaw. Without treatment, the tooth will die, and you could end up with cavities, or even more damage to surrounding teeth.

A root canal stops these negative repercussions in their tracks by taking out the bad pulp, and saving your natural tooth. Essentially what happens is the dentist will gently go into the tooth, and take out the nerve and pulp that’s gone bad. Then, they will clean the remaining cavity, and seal the tooth back up temporarily until a permanent crown or filling can be made to finish the job.

The whole process is done to save you from losing a tooth, and actually, it’s not as bad as it sounds! Here’s an in-depth look:

The Root Canal Procedure

Here is a step-by-step guide to a root canal procedure so you will know exactly what needs to happen and why:

Step 1: Local Anesthesia

Local anesthesia is administered to the site to numb the tooth and surrounding area. The doctor will wait to begin treatment until the area is completely numbed.

Step 2: Dental Dam

This is when the doctor and dental assistant will apply a dental dam – a thin sheet of rubber or vinyl that allows the dentist to concentrate on the specific tooth receiving treatment and block all other surrounding teeth. It also provides a sterile environment to reduce the risk of infection by bacteria found in the rest of the mouth.

Step 3: Drilling

In order to access the dead pulp chamber, a small hole is drilled into the affected tooth. Depending on the location of the tooth, this hole may be along the biting surface or into the back of the tooth.

Step 4: Remove Tissue & Nerves

Special root canal tools are used to remove the dead pulp tissue and nerves. At this point, the affected tooth will no longer be able to feel pain.

Step 5: Disinfecting

Perhaps one of the most important steps of the procedure is disinfecting the inside, or canals, of the affected tooth.

Step 6: Insert Flexible Root Canal Tools

Flexible root canal tools are inserted into the canals of the tooth to help shape an area for the filling and sealer. One more thorough cleaning is performed to remove any remaining debris.

Step 7: Apply Filling

A rubber-like, thermoplastic filling material called gutta-percha is applied into the root canals and is set in place by an adhesive cement sealer. The sealer is very important to keep the tooth from becoming reinfected later.

Step 8: If Needed, Post May Be Inserted

Depending on the structure of the affected tooth, a post may be inserted into the root canal during the filling process to help hold the temporary or permanent filling in place. If you receive a temporary filling, it is very important to come back for a permanent filling or crown to reduce the risk of infection down the road.

In most cases, an antibiotic will be prescribed to treat any remaining infection. It is common to feel some minor pain and discomfort after the procedure, but it should only last a couple of days.

 

At Creason & Weber Family Dentistry, we use state-of-the-art technology with precision accuracy to diagnose root canal problems. If you are experiencing acute tooth pain, you should call your dentist immediately to determine if a root canal procedure is necessary. To schedule an appointment, call us directly at (616) 842-0822 so we can help you right away.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Any exposure to radiation can be very harmful. Unfortunately, there are many sources all around us that emit radiation including the sun, appliances in our homes, and even minerals found in the ground. The main concern with radiation exposure is that it can damage the tissue and cells found in our bodies and, in some cases, lead to cancer.

Dental x-rays are often taken if you are a new patient in an office, during a regularly scheduled x-ray visit (typically every 6, 12 or 24 months, depending on the situation), or if any gum disease or issues have been detected. It’s an important step in the dental health schedule and can help prevent major problems before they occur.

So, are dental x-rays safe? Although there is a small dose of radiation found in dental x-rays, they are safe if taking the proper precautions. The good news is that there have been many improvements in the dental field including low radiation machines, digital machines that focus radiation to a small point, and the development of high-speed x-ray film for shorter exposure time.

At Creason & Weber Family Dentistry, it’s important to keep all of our patients healthy and safe. That is why we use state-of-the-art, digital x-rays and photographs that use very little radiation with very accurate focus, as well as a lead shield with a thyroid collar to protect the rest of your body. In fact, our digital radiographs use 5x less radiation than a standard film x-ray! They also provide extremely clear images that appear larger than life on our monitors so you will be able to see any dental problems right in front of you in an instant. We also are very lucky to offer our patients crystal clear pictures of their teeth using NO radiation with our new Digital Intraoral Cameras!

If you have any questions or concerns regarding our digital x-ray technology and Digital Intraoral Cameras, or if you would like to set up an appointment at Creason & Weber Family Dentistry, please request an appointment online or call us at (616) 842-0822.