People have depended on dentures for generations—and they still do. That's because they work, both in restoring dental function and a smile marred by missing teeth.
But they have one major drawback related to bone health. That's because living bone has a life cycle: as older cells die, new ones form to take their place. The pressure generated when we chew stimulates this growth. But when this stimulus goes missing along with the teeth, the cell replacement rate slows and bone volume and density gradually diminishes.
Traditional dentures can't transmit this chewing pressure stimulus. And because they rest directly on the gum ridges, they can adversely affect the underlying bone and actually accelerate bone loss.
But implant technology potentially solves this bone loss problem with dentures by using implants rather than the gums to support them. It's a two-fold benefit: first, the implants relieve much of the irritation to the gums and bone caused by traditional dentures. Primarily, though, the implants themselves can slow or even stop continuing bone loss.
Most implants are made of titanium, not only because it's compatible with the body, but also because it has an affinity with bone. Over time bone cells grow on the titanium post imbedded in the jawbone. This process not only creates stability and durability, it can improve bone health.
In recent years dentists have incorporated implants with dentures to create two exciting treatment options. With one option, the dentist installs two or more implants in the jaw, to which a specially fitted removable denture can be attached. You would still have the ease of removing the denture for cleaning, while gaining greater stability and a reduced risk of bone loss.
The other option is a fixed denture (or bridge) attached permanently to implants. For this option, a patient's jawbone must be adequate and healthy enough to support at least four to six implants. A fixed denture is also often costlier and more complex than a removable denture, but it can feel more like real teeth. It also promotes better bone health too.
Although both options are more expensive than traditional dentures, they can pay dividends for long-term dental health. Implants could help you enjoy your new dentures and resulting smile for a long time to come.
If you would like more information on dental implant-supported restorations, 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 “Overdentures & Fixed Dentures.”
Find out how sedation dentistry could make your next dental visit stress-free.
Does the idea of visiting the dentist leave you feeling anxious? Not sure when you last visited the dentist because you were scared or nervous? There are many people out there not getting the dental care they need because they are scared of even a simple dental cleaning. Luckily, our San Jose dentist, Dr. Nidhi Sikka, can make your next trip to the dentist’s office a breeze with the help of sedation dentistry.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry offers our patients in San Jose, CA, a way to alleviate their anxieties surrounding their upcoming dental visit. By administering sedation, we can promote a calmer and more relaxing experience for our patients. It’s also a good option for those who have difficulty sitting still, have a sensitive gag reflex, or are prone to jaw pain. Sedation dentistry is also safe for patients of all ages, from children to older adults.
What Types of Sedation Dentistry Are Available?
The two most common types of sedation dentistry are oral and inhalation sedation,
Oral sedation is administered by our San Jose, CA, sedation dentist as a prescription-strength anti-anxiety pill that you will take up to one hour prior to your procedure.
- Pros: The level of sedation can be increased based on the severity of your anxiety, as well as the dental procedure you are undergoing, so this medication can be tailored to your experience; doesn’t require needles; you may have little or no memory of the procedure.
- Cons: Takes up to one hour to kick in; effects will linger for hours after your procedure or cleaning, which means that someone will need to drive or escort you home; taking medication can come with certain side effects.
Better known as “laughing gas”, nitrous oxide provides patients with a breathable form of sedation to help ease their symptoms. This will be administered right before your procedure and may be a great option for those with severe dental phobias or those who can’t take oral sedation.
- Pros: Effects appear almost immediately and wear off once the mask is removed, which means that there are no lingering effects; you may be able to drive yourself home; virtually no side effects.
- Cons: Effects can wear off quicker than with oral sedation.
Interested? Give Us a Call!
Are you interested in learning more about sedation dentistry and whether it could be beneficial for your next trip to the dentist? If so, call Sikka Dental's San Jose office today at (408) 259-1280 to let us know that you are interested in what sedation can do for you!
There’s one sure thing about tooth decay: you can’t ignore it. In fact, the best outcomes result from finding it early and treating it before it enters the pulp in the center of the tooth, often a filling or similar treatment.
If it does advance to the pulp, you may need a root canal treatment to save the tooth. This is a moderately invasive procedure where we access the pulp and root canals, tiny passageways leading to the root and supporting bone. We then remove all the diseased tissue and fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals with a special filling. Later we’ll crown the tooth for added protection against future infection or fracture of the tooth.
But there’s also another less-invasive method than a root canal called pulp capping. It’s only appropriate to use, however, if the pulp has become exposed or almost exposed by decay, but hasn’t yet shown signs of disease.
Pulp capping can be either direct or indirect. We use direct pulp capping if the healthy pulp has been exposed by the disease process. We first isolate the tooth from the rest of the mouth to prevent contamination and then proceed to remove all of the tooth’s decayed dentin structure. We then apply a biocompatible material directly over the pulp to protect it from further decay and to facilitate healing. We then restore the tooth, usually with a filling, to its proper function and life-like appearance.
When the pulp is threatened by decay but not yet exposed, we may then use the indirect method. In this approach we first remove most of the decayed dentin, but leave a small amount next to the pulp to keep it covered. We then treat this remaining dentin with a material to help it heal and re-mineralize, followed by a temporary filling of the tooth. A few months later we’ll remove this filling and inspect the treated dentin. If it has regenerated sufficiently, we remove any remaining decay and permanently restore the tooth.
As we said, pulp capping is only used with patients with deep decay whose pulp tissue is healthy. But when we can use it we can avoid some of the permanent alterations that often come with a root canal treatment and still save the tooth.
If you would like more information on 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 “Pulp Capping: A Procedure that May Save a Decayed Tooth.”
Whether she’s singing, dancing or acting, Jennifer Lopez is a performer who is known for giving it all she’s got. But during one show, Lopez recently admitted, she gave a bit more then she had planned.
“I chipped my tooth on stage,” she told interviewers from Entertainment Tonight, “and had to finish the show….I went back thinking ‘Can I finish the show like this?’”
With that unlucky break, J-Lo joins a growing list of superstar singers—including Taylor Swift and Michael Buble—who have something in common: All have chipped their teeth on microphones while giving a performance.
But it’s not just celebs who have accidental dental trouble. Chips are among the most common dental injuries—and the front teeth, due to their position, are particularly susceptible. Unfortunately, they are also the most visible. But there are also a number of good ways to repair chipped, cracked or broken teeth short of replacing them.
For minor to moderate chips, cosmetic bonding might be recommended. In this method, special high-tech resins, in shades that match your natural teeth, are applied to the tooth’s surface. Layers of resin, cured with a special light, will often restore the tooth to good appearance. Best of all, the whole process can often be done in just one visit to the dental office, and the results can last for several years.
For a more permanent repair—or if the damage is more extensive—dental veneers may be another option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells that cover the entire front surface of one or more teeth. Strong, durable and natural-looking, they can be used to repair moderate chips, cracks or irregularities. They can also help you get a “red-carpet” smile: brilliant white teeth with perfectly even spacing. That’s why veneers are so popular among Hollywood celebs—even those who haven’t chipped their teeth!
Fortunately, even if the tooth is extensively damaged, it’s usually possible to restore it with a crown (cap), a bridge—or a dental implant, today’s gold standard for whole-tooth replacement. But in many cases, a less complex type of restoration will do the trick.
Which tooth restoration method did J-Lo choose? She didn’t say—but luckily for her adoring fans, after the microphone mishap she went right back up on stage and finished the show.
If you have a chipped tooth but you need to make the show go on, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin” and “Porcelain Veneers.”
What can your San Jose, CA, dentist offer people with special needs
Special needs dentistry provides both child and adult patients who have medical, physical, or mental conditions with the care they need. Your San Jose, CA, dentist accommodates the treatment rooms and preventative special dental care.
Special Needs Disorders
Special needs dentistry addresses problems affecting patients with disabilities. Some conditions that require special needs dentistry include:
- Autism and autism spectrum disorders: A developmental disorder affecting general communication and behavior.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD): A brain disorder that interferes with an individuals attention through increased hyperactivity and impulsivity.
- Mental Challenges: This is any condition or mental disease that affects the brain and influences an individual's thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and how one relates to others.
- Seizer Disorders (Epilepsy): Seizures are when unusual electrical activity in the brain causes abnormal movements or behavior.
- Cerebral Palsy (CP): A neurological disorder that affects body movement and muscle coordination.
- Down Syndrome: A genetic disorder that causes characteristic facial features, physical growth delays, and mild to moderate intellectual disability.
- Asthma: A common inflammatory disease characterized by airflow obstruction, wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
- Muscular Dystrophy: A group of diseases that cause loss of muscle mass.
If you are taking care of any individuals with special needs, make sure you provide them with a proper hygienic regimen.
- Make sure they brush twice a day with fluoride-containing toothpaste and floss once daily
- Make sure you take them to the dentist's office for checkups
- Change their toothbrush when bristles are frayed, and/or after they've recovered from a cold
Dentists specializing in special needs have experience providing patients with the care they need. If you would like more information about special needs dentistry, call your San Jose, CA, dentist at (408) 259-1280 today!
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