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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By JOHN LEITNER DDS
August 10, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: extractions  

There are many restorative dental procedures available for strengthening severely damaged and infected teeth. In some cases, though, it extractionsjust is not possible to restore a damaged or infected tooth and extraction is the best option. Extraction can also be necessary when you have impacted wisdom teeth or overcrowding. A dentist can examine your teeth and determine if extraction is necessary in your case. Dr. John Leitner is your Grand Haven, MI, dentist for tooth extraction.

Reasons for Extracting Teeth

Pulling out damaged or infected teeth that cannot be restored is important for preventing the spread of infection to other areas of the mouth. If other teeth become infected, they might ultimately require extraction too. Your Grand Haven dentist can determine whether or not you have any teeth in need of extraction. Extraction is recommended in the following situations:

  • Impacted wisdom teeth that will not erupt completely
  • Teeth with an extensive amount of infection
  • Teeth that have been severely damaged due to trauma or injury
  • Teeth that are overcrowded and do not have sufficient space
  • Baby teeth that have not fallen out on their own by an appropriate age

Procedure for Extracting Teeth

Prior to the extraction procedure, an x-ray is usually taken so your Grand Haven dentist can view the tooth’s root. It is important to see how the root is positioned prior to the beginning extraction process. If the root is positioned in an unusual manner, extraction can potentially be more difficult. The x-ray allows the dentist to anticipate potential problems and make the appropriate adjustments.

During the extraction procedure, local anesthesia is used to numb the area where the tooth is being extracted and minimize discomfort. A sedative can also be administered to help you relax during the procedure. Once the problem tooth has been extracted, it generally takes between one and two weeks for the extraction site to completely heal.

After the Extraction

One thing most people don’t realize about having a tooth extracted is that as the area heals some of the surrounding jawbone ends up deteriorating. As a result, the gums also lose volume and shape. This issue is often more severe when a tooth in the front of the mouth has to be extracted.

So, how does our Grand Haven, MI, general dentist prevent these negative changes from impacting your smile permanently? Through bone grafting and socket preservation procedures, of course. Once the tooth has been extracted, we will place a unique grafting material into the socket where the extraction took place.

This grafting material is similar to natural bone and will help to support bone growth while also preserving the shape and appearance of the gum tissue. Once the graft is in place, collagen will then be placed over the grafting material to protect the graft and the new bone that is forming. From there, a temporary tooth replacement will be set in place until the area has fully healed and is ready for a permanent prosthetic. 

Extraction of a tooth can be required in several situations, including infection, damage, and overcrowding. Impacted wisdom teeth that have not fully erupted can also require extraction. To find out if extraction is necessary in your case, schedule an appointment with Dr. Leitner, your Grand Haven, MI, dentist, by calling the office at (616) 842-2850.

By JOHN LEITNER DDS
May 09, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Do you need crowns from your Grand Haven dentist?dental crowns

Crowns are vital for your dental health, as well as being economically-friendly. Often confused with veneers, crowns are quite different. Veneers adhere to small areas, but crowns cover the whole tooth.

More About Crowns

They improve your smile and protect your teeth. They are synthetic caps placed over teeth and usually made of porcelain. Crowns help reinforce weakened teeth and hide aesthetically unflattering teeth. Often referred to as caps, crowns are used to cover unappealing teeth after undergoing restorative procedures, like root canals and dental implants.

Unsightly teeth can also result from:

  • Serious traumas that result in cracks, chips, fractures, or dents
  • Poor dental hygiene leading to cavities and severe decay
  • Yellowed or stained teeth because of smoking, chewing tobacco, or aging

Crowns are used for several procedures, such as attaching bridges, covering implants, and protecting loose fillings that may completely dislodge.

Crown-installation Procedure

Your Grand Haven doctor files your tooth, reducing its size, so that it may fit under your crown. An impression of your tooth is taken and sent to a lab where a custom-designed crown is manufactured. Your doctor can provide you with a temporary crown until your permanent crown arrives from the lab.

Caring for Crowns

There are several things you can do to maintain a healthy oral regiment and prolong your crowns, which may last up to eight years or longer.

  • Maintain a hygienic oral regimen to avoid plaque buildup and cavities will help crowns last. Make sure your regimen consists of brushing your teeth twice a day, perhaps a third time after lunch, and flossing at least once before bed.
  • See your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings, eating healthy and using fluoride-containing products improve chances of your crowns lasting longer.
  • Wear a nightguard if you suffer from bruxism, teeth grinding, as well, so make sure you discuss this with your dentist.

For more information on dental crowns, call Dr. John Leitner in Grand Haven, MI, at (616) 842-2850 today!

By John Leitner DDS
May 02, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   veneers  
VivicasVeneerstheMakingofaHollywoodSmile

What's an actor's most important feature? According to Vivica A. Fox, whose most recent big-screen role was in Independence Day: Resurgence, it's what you see right up front.

"On screen, your smile and your eyes are the most inviting things that bring the audience in" she said. "Especially if you play the hot chick."

But like lots of people, Vivica reached a point where she felt her smile needed a little help in order to look its best. That's when she turned to a popular cosmetic dental treatment.

"I got veneers years ago," Ms. Fox told Dear Doctor magazine in a recent interview, "just because I had some gapping that probably only I noticed."

What exactly are dental veneers? Essentially, they are thin shells of lustrous porcelain that are permanently attached to the front surfaces of the teeth. Tough, lifelike and stain-resistant, they can cover up a number of defects in your smile — including stains, chips, cracks, and even minor spacing irregularities like the ones Vivica had.

Veneers have become the treatment of choice for Hollywood celebs — and lots of regular folks too — for many reasons. Unlike some treatments that can take many months, it takes just a few appointments to have veneers placed on your teeth. Because they are custom made just for you, they allow you to decide how bright you want your smile to be: anywhere from a natural pearly hue to a brilliant "Hollywood white." Best of all, they are easy to maintain, and can last for many years with only routine care.

To place traditional veneers, it's necessary to prepare the tooth by removing a small amount (a millimeter or two) of its enamel surface. This keeps it from feeling too big — but it also means the treatment can't be reversed, so once you get veneers, you'll always have them. In certain situations, "no-prep" or minimal-prep veneers, which require little or no removal of tooth enamel, may be an option for some people.

Veneers aren't the only way to create a better smile: Teeth whitening, crowns or orthodontic work may also be an alternative. But for many, veneers are the preferred option. What does Vivica think of hers?

"I love my veneers!" she declared, noting that they have held up well for over a decade.

For more information about veneers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

CrownLengtheningHelpsusTreatHardtoReachCavities

While we often associate tooth decay with cavities forming in a tooth’s visible or biting surfaces, the occurrence of this all too common disease isn’t limited to those areas. Cavities can develop in any part of a tooth exposed to bacteria.

Gum recession, the shrinking back of the gums from the teeth, can cause such exposure in areas normally covered by the gums. Because these areas are usually more vulnerable to infection when exposed, cavities can develop at or right below the gum line. Because of their location it can be difficult to fill them or perform other treatments.

One way to make it less difficult is to perform a crown lengthening procedure. While the term sounds like we’re increasing the size of the tooth, we’re actually surgically altering the gums to access more of the affected tooth surface for treatment. It’s typically performed in a dental office with local anesthesia by a general dentist or a periodontist, a specialist in the gums.

During the procedure, the dentist starts by making small incisions in the gums to create a tissue “flap” that can be lifted out of the way. This exposes the underlying bone, which they then reshape to support the gum tissue once it’s re-situated in its new position. The dentist then sutures the gums back in place. Once the gums heal, the decayed area is ready for treatment.

Crown lengthening is also useful for other situations besides treating cavities. If a tooth has broken off at the gum line, for example, there may not be enough remaining structure to support a crown. Crown lengthening can make more of the underlying tooth available for the crown to “grab” onto. It’s also useful in some cases of “gummy smiles,” in which too much of the gum tissue is visible in proportion to the tooth size.

Because crown lengthening often involves removing some of the bone and is thus irreversible, you should discuss this procedure with your dentist in depth beforehand. It could be, though, this minor procedure might make it easier to preserve your teeth and even make them look more attractive.

If you would like more information on crown lengthening, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

RemovingTeethCouldImprovetheOutcomeforaCrowdedBite

The primary goal of dental care is to preserve teeth. But there are circumstances in which removing a tooth, even a relatively healthy one, could prove best in the long run.

A malocclusion (poor bite) related to crowding might fit such a circumstance. Crowding occurs when the size of the jaw is too small for the teeth coming in. With not enough space, some teeth could erupt out of their proper positions. Removing certain teeth frees up space to eventually allow braces or other orthodontic devices to re-align the teeth.

The teeth most frequently removed are the first bicuspids, located between the cuspid (the "eyeteeth" directly under the eyes) and the back teeth, and the second premolar. Removing these won't normally affect appearance or functionality once orthodontic or cosmetic treatments are complete.

Because of the mechanics of jaw development it might be necessary to perform these extractions several years before orthodontic treatment. This could create another potential problem: the time lag could adversely affect bone health.

This is because bone, as living tissue, has a life cycle with cells forming, functioning and then dissolving, and new cells taking their place. When teeth are chewing or in contact with each other they generate force that travels through the tooth roots to the bone and stimulates cell growth at a healthy replacement rate.

But when a tooth is missing, so is this stimulation. This slows the replacement rate and eventually leads to decreased bone volume. Too much bone loss could create obstacles for orthodontic treatment or a future dental implant.

To avoid this, the dentist will often place a bone graft with processed bone mineral within the empty tooth socket right after extraction. The graft serves as a scaffold for bone cells to grow upon. The graft (plus any other added growth boosters) can help maintain a healthy level of bone volume to facilitate future orthodontic or restorative treatments.

Since targeted extraction for orthodontics is time-sensitive, you should have your child's bite evaluated by an orthodontist by age 7 to see if any action is necessary. The earlier a malocclusion is detected, the more likely a more attractive and healthy smile will be the ultimate outcome.

If you would like more information on correcting poor bites, 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 “Tooth Removal for Orthodontic Reasons.”