There are many tooth replacement options, but most patients prefer to have a restoration that is permanent and non-removable when replacing a tooth or teeth. A fixed bridge is a restoration that fills the space where one or more teeth have been lost. These are highly esthetic due to advances in porcelain and typically are made with no metal. Bridges can be cemented in place on the patient’s natural teeth after the teeth are prepared. Bridges can also be placed on dental implants where more than one tooth needs to be replaced. Fixed bridges look, feel, and function like natural teeth. These don’t require removal for cleaning and can be fabricated to replace many teeth. If you want a durable, natural feeling restoration to replace missing teeth, ask Dr. Barnes if a fixed bridge is right for you.
Many patients lose teeth and want to replace missing teeth with something that looks like natural teeth. Partials are removable and traditionally were made with metal and wires that were unsightly. Partials are typically more affordable than cemented restorations. Due to advancements in dental materials, Dr. Barnes can fabricate partials that do not have metal clasps and can easily blend in with the patient’s smile. Patients also like the fact that partials can be made that are flexible, comfortable, and reliable. If you have several missing teeth or an old heavy metal partial, ask Dr. Barnes about the new, flexible, lightweight partial restorations.
Many people have a habit of grinding or clenching their teeth. This is called bruxism and can cause many of the following symptoms: headaches, sore jaw, inflamed TMJ, ear pain, cracked teeth, loose teeth, or sensitive teeth. To help with these symptoms and the premature wear of the natural tooth enamel, a guard, typically worn at night, may be recommended. A night guard, or bite guard, is clear, removable, and has a custom fit to help protect tooth enamel. In addition, a night guard helps relieve head pain, jaw pain, and TMJ pain. If you wake up with a sore jaw or have worn teeth, ask Dr. Barnes if a night guard is right for you.
It has been estimated that over 80 million Americans snore. Snoring is a sign of restricted airflow and impeded breathing during sleep. CPAP machines have helped but some patients can not tolerate them. In these cases, a snoring appliance may be indicated. These appliances fit entirely in the mouth, are portable, do not need electricity, and do not make noise. The appliance works by opening the bite and gently advances the lower jaw forward to increase airway space. The lower jaw advancement can be adjusted for comfort to achieve the desired results. If you snore or your partner snores, and you do not want to use a CPAP, ask Dr. Barnes if an oral snoring appliance is right for you.
Do your gums bleed? Are your gums red, swollen, and tender? You many have periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria found in plaque that adheres to the teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can cause premature tooth loss, bad breath, and bone loss. Our office will check your gums for bone loss and gum disease by using X-rays and periodontal probes. Removal of plaque and tartar above and below the gum line is key to treating this disease. Dr. Barnes may recommend a “deep” cleaning to remove bacteria below the gum line, as well as medicated rinses. If it has been a while since you had your teeth cleaned and checked, please call Dr. Barnes’ office and schedule a hygiene appointment. The earlier this disease is treated, the better the outcome is.