Restorative Dentistry Makes Patients Smile

Even with proper care, you can still face dental issues. Daily wear and tear can result in broken, fractures, or lost teeth. Restorative dentistry focuses on re-establishing a strong, healthy smile. Fillings, dental implants, inlays and onlays, crowns, and dentures can restore damaged teeth and improve oral health.

What options are available for missing teeth?

When you don’t have a complete smile, your oral health and self-confidence suffers. Bridgework, dentures, or dental implants can revive function and appearance. Permanently cemented in place, a dental bridge can close gaps left by missing teeth. Dentures are prosthetic teeth attached to a gum-colored base that replace some or all of your original teeth. Surgically placed in your jaw, dental implants mimic the look and feel of natural teeth.

What’s the difference between a filling and a crown?

For a small area of decay, your dentist will probably remove the damage and restore the area with a filling. Made from composite resin, the filling is hardened with a curing light and buffed to create the desirably look. When you sustain more damage, you may need a crown, a restoration that covers the entire tooth above the gum line.

Why would I need an inlay or onlay?

Sometimes, you need more than a regular filling but not a full crown. Inlays and onlays work in these situations. An inlay is bonded into the center of the tooth, while an onlay reaches one of more of the cusps.

Why is my doctor suggesting a root canal?

Deep decay or severe trauma can affect the soft inner core of a tooth, referred to as pulp. If the pulp dies, an infection and pressure build, causing intense pain. To save the tooth, your dentist may recommend a root canal. During root canal therapy, your dentist will remove the diseased tissue, seal off the tooth, and place a crown to stabilize the tooth.

If you live in the Milford, NJ, contact us today

Dental Symptoms You Need to Watch

When you have regular dental visits, you help keep your teeth and gums in good condition. These appointments enable your dentist to maintain a watchful eye on your oral health. Even with routine checkups, people still develop problems.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, contact your dentist right away:

Changes in gum tissue

Swollen, bleeding gums are generally the first signs of gum disease, or periodontal disease. Caused by bacteria under the gum line, periodontal disease can lead to pain, gum recession, and even tooth loss without proper treatment.

White spots on your teeth

In the early stages, decay can present as white spots on your teeth, a sign that the hard enamel is dissolving because of acid produced by bacteria. With kids, white spots can point out an overexposure to fluoride.

Increased sensitivity in your teeth

Any time you feel sensitivity to hot or cold, you should mention it to your dentist. Often, sensitive teeth are an indication of tooth decay or other issues such as bruxism, or teeth grinding.

Pain from teeth or gums

Persistent pain can indicate a serious issue. Sometimes, your tooth may become sensitive to touch or develop a pocket of pus near the gum line. Even if the pain subsides, you should call the dentist because you could have an infection inside your tooth.

Color or texture changes in the mouth

As you brush, spend a little time looking at your cheeks, tongue and underneath your tongue to see if you notice anything unusual. White or red spots as well as any lumps should be investigated by your dentist. Often, oral cancer starts with these mild symptoms, so don’t ignore potential signs.

We look forward to seeing you in our Bloomsbury, NJ dental office

How Much Pain Does a Root Canal Involve?

Root canal treatment has a bad reputation of being extremely painful, but actually that’s not really true. Modern advancements in the procedure allow patients to have this valuable treatment without all of the pain and anxiety associated with it in the past.

When you need root canal treatment, the dentist or endodontist (a specialist in this type of dental work) removes infected or damaged tissue in the tooth’s pulp. Many patients are experiencing significant pain before the procedure is even performed, so the treatment can serve to actually relieve pain. Since anesthetics are using during the procedure, most patients compare it to getting a regular tooth filling.

Here are some circumstances that might involve discomfort during root canal treatment, and suggestions on how to manage the pain:

  • If you feel discomfort during the procedure, alert the dentist so that your anesthesia may be adjusted. Often additional local anesthesia takes care of the problem right away.
  • Patients who have a history of dental anxiety will likely be more nervous about the treatment than other patients. Your dentist can help calm your nerves by offering sedation dentistry options, such as nitrous oxide or oral medications.
  • If you have jaw problems like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, you may find that your jaw pops, clicks, or locks during root canal treatment. Talk with your dentist about your TMJ if you know you have this issue, so that precautions might be taken to help avoid pain.

After your root canal is completed, expect some minor discomfort or tenderness at first. Over-the-counter pain medications should relieve pain and reduce swelling. If your pain is more severe, ask your dentist for a prescription for a stronger pain medication. Your dentist will provide you with a list things to watch for as you heal that might indicate you need to return for a checkup. Otherwise, you should expect a complete recovery within a few days.

Our dental office is located in Milford, NJ

Teeth Whitening Basics

Each year, people spend millions of dollars to look younger. A stunning, white smile can take years off your appearance and boost self-esteem. Safe and effective, teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments available today. In just a short time, you can achieve lasting radiance.

The aging process naturally darkens our teeth, but other factors can impact our smiles as well. Dark beverages, certain foods, and lifestyle choices can produce extrinsic stains, which change the surface color of teeth. Intrinsic stains, the discolorations found on the inside of the tooth, usually come from trauma to the tooth, excessive fluoride, or specific medications. Typically, extrinsic stains respond well to teeth whitening, but intrinsic flaws may need a more permanent solution like crowns or porcelain veneers.

To transform your smile from blah to brilliant, consider these teeth whitening options:

Drugstore Kits

Although you can try to brighten your teeth with over-the-counter whitening kits and toothpastes, these products may not produce the desired results. Often, the concentration levels aren’t high enough to make a big difference in your smile.

In-Office Whitening

When you choose in-office whitening, the process takes about an hour. Your dentist will usually apply a bleaching agent and may use a special light to activate the gel. In-office whitening penetrates deep discolorations so that you leave the appointment with a stunning, whiter smile.

Whitening at Home

Some people choose to lighten teeth gradually on their own timetables. For this option, the dentist can take impressions for custom whitening trays and then supply professional-strength whitening gel. You apply a thin layer of gel, and wear the trays as directed each day. Most people notice a difference right away, but the full effect of your smile transformation will be visible after you stop the whitening treatments.

If you live in the Hunderton County, contact us today

What is TMJ Dysfunction?

Do you suffer with chronic headaches or migraines? Do you hear your jaws click or pop? If you answered yes, you could be one of the millions living with TMJ dysfunction (temporomandibular joint dysfunction). Problems with TMJ dysfunction can generate a host of painful symptoms and negatively impact your wellbeing.

The TMJ joints hold the lower jaw to the temporal bone and allow routine jaw motion. When these joints are misaligned, associated muscles are strained and discomfort can occur. Stress, heredity, certain habits, and a number of other factors can contribute to TMJ dysfunction.

If you think TMJ dysfunction is a problem for you, contact your dentist. The doctor will complete a thorough exam and then make treatment recommendations.  Dr. Yolonda Cruz offers Joint Vibration Analysis (JVA), which records the vibrations that occur during jaw movement.  This gives Dr. Cruz a better understanding of the TMJ function before and during the creation of a dental appliance or oral splint.  Other treatments include physical therapy, stress reduction, rebuilding damaged teeth with restorations, or habit changes to relieve TMJ symptoms.

These tips may help you deal with your TMJ dysfunction:

  • Apply warm compresses to the area, which may reduce inflammation and soothe discomfort.
  • Consider meditation to slow breathing, help you relax, and alleviate uncomfortable symptoms.
  • Find an effective way to handle stress. A calming bath, long walk, or yoga class may ease your anxiety and reduce triggers for flare ups.
  • Talk with your dentist about a mouth guard. An oral splint can keep your jaw in the proper position so that the chewing system doesn’t become strained.
  • Join a support group. Talking with others who have similar experiences can give you a safe place to share your feelings and find comfort.

Schedule your appointment at our Phillipsburg dental office

Implant-Supported Dentures: Stability You Can Trust

Estimates suggest that about 45 million Americans wear full or partial dentures. These prosthetic devices restore function and appearance for people who are missing teeth. Dentures, however, are not without their drawbacks. The adhesive creams are messy and don’t always create a secure fit, which can cause slippage and discomfort. Speaking and eating can become difficult with ill-fitting dentures, causing problems with socialization and self-confidence.

To improve the look and feel of your prosthetics, consider implant-supported dentures. With implant-supported dentures, the replacement teeth attach to dental implants, which keep the devices more secure. Implant-supported dentures are a great alternative for patients who can’t withstand the process for a full set of dental implants.

Benefits of Implant-Supported Dentures:

  • Gives patients more confidence
  • Increases stability
  • Less likely to fall out or come loose
  • Look and feel more natural
  • Makes eating and speaking easier

If you choose implant-supported dentures, the process is relatively simple. Usually, implant-supported dentures are created for the lower jaw because more movement occurs with these appliances. First, the posts are surgically positioned into your jawbone. Your denture will have corresponding sockets placed in the bottom of the device.

After the procedure, you simply snap the denture in place and enjoy the freedom of a solid, attractive smile. Ideally, patients would decide on implant-supported dentures before the fabrication of the prosthetic teeth. In most cases, your dentist can work with you to re-fit your dentures to work as implant-supported dentures.

If you live in the Bloomsbury, NJ, contact us today

The Scoop on Wisdom Teeth

Usually in your late teens and early twenties, your final set of molars, or wisdom teeth, erupt. Some people never have any issues with their wisdom teeth, but usually these molars are misaligned and require removal. Wisdom teeth that come in crooked can crowd other teeth and make you more vulnerable to tooth decay. When wisdom teeth only partially break through the soft tissue, they are considered impacted, which can result in pain, swelling, and susceptibility to illness.

Often, a dentist or oral surgeon will recommend removal of wisdom teeth before any problems arise. Extracting wisdom teeth is easier on young people because the roots are not fully developed and the bone is less dense. Older patients can have a more difficult time with the healing and recovery process.

Before scheduling the extraction, your dentist will take X-rays and examine your mouth to assess the situation with your wisdom teeth. If the wisdom teeth have broken completely through the gum line, the extraction is as simple as any tooth removal. Impacted wisdom teeth will need an incision in the gum and will likely require removal of the tooth structure in pieces.

To remove your wisdom teeth, the dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the teeth and surrounding tissue. Often, patients having wisdom teeth extracted also choose sedation options like nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation, which will lessen any anxiety about the procedure. After the appointment, your recovery will depend on the difficulty of the extraction. Usually, patients experience some bleeding and facial swelling. You can take over-the-counter pain medication for discomfort, or your dentist may prescribe something stronger if necessary.

We look forward to seeing you in our Hunderton County dental office

How to Prepare Your Teen for Invisalign

Being a teenager can be difficult, and being a teen whose smile could use some improvement can be even more difficult. If your teen suffers from gapped, crooked, crowded, or misaligned teeth, you may be looking into Invisalign with your teen’s orthodontist as a smile solution.

In the past, metal braces were the standard for teens, leading to “metal mouth” smiles and the worry that food is caught there during lunch or after snacks. Metal braces can lead to even more self-consciousness for your teen. Using Invisalign will lead to the same results as traditional metal braces. While metal braces use wires and brackets to straighten teeth, Invisalign uses clear plastic trays, allowing your teen’s process of tooth straightening to be less obvious.

The Invisalign process begins with impressions and x-rays, providing valuable information regarding the current condition of your teen’s teeth. The mold made from the impressions serves as the reference for creating the custom-made Invisalign trays. A series of trays are used, gradually altering the teeth, leading to a more comfortable straightening process.

Invisalign trays are removed before eating, eliminating the trepidation associated with eating in public with traditional metal braces. Because there is no hardware to dislodge, there are no food restrictions, and your teen may continue to enjoy whatever foods desired.

Your teen will need to have good oral hygiene habits. Flossing once a day and brushing after mealtimes or at least twice a day is best. Invisalign trays are removed prior to these activities, allowing for an ease of oral care not provided by traditional braces.

Be sure your teen wears the Invisalign trays as recommend by his or her orthodontist. In order to maximize Invisalign effectiveness, your teen must wear the trays at all times, except during mealtimes or when brushing or flossing.

If you live in the Milford, NJ, contact us today

Cosmetic Dentistry

Recreate Your Smile with a Makeover

It has been reported that nearly eighty percent of Americans are dissatisfied with their smiles. This is a surprisingly high number, given the fact that there are so many effective and safe cosmetic dentistry options available today. Many dentists are skilled and experienced at performing smile makeovers, which can transform a smile that makes you cringe into one that you proudly show off.

The first thing you should do is make a list of the things you dislike about your smile. Take this list with you to your dental appointment, because it is very likely that solutions are available to most of your dental problems.

Some common issues that patients often desire changing include:

  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Crooked or overlapping teeth
  • Overly prominent gums
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Discolored or stained teeth

After you and your dentist discuss your goals, an examination of your mouth will be performed to see if your mouth is healthy. Your dentist will identify which characteristics can be altered or improved. Photos will be taken to use as a guide, as will measurements to determine the ideal size and shape of features that will complement your appearance. Your dentist will explain techniques and procedures that will help you achieve the goals of your smile makeover. Some of them may include bonding, crowns, teeth whitening, gum recontouring, orthodontics, veneers, implants, or dentures. With all of these types of techniques available, there is no reason to be discontent with your teeth and gums. Now is the time to discover how to get out of that category of people unhappy with their smile.

Schedule your appointment at our Phillipsburg dental office

Special Needs Dentist

Dental Care for Special Needs Patients

If you or a loved one have physical limitations, medical problems, or behavioral issues, you may need dental care that is sensitive to these special needs. Aging patients, individuals with limited mobility, those with mental challenges, and people who are immunocompromised may need extra help to maintain good oral health. Finding the right dentist to work with a special needs patient will make all the difference.

Do individuals with special needs have special dental issues?

In many cases, these patients have difficulty maintaining home routines. Others take medication or have dietary restrictions that impact oral health. Sometimes, these individuals have higher rates of problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.

Will preventive care help a special needs patient?

Absolutely. Taking good care of teeth and gums will stop problems before they start. Depending on the situation, the dentist may recommend additional treatments such as fluoride and sealants to promote a healthy mouth.

What will happen during appointments?

To accommodate a special needs patient, the dentist will likely make modifications to standard practices. Keeping appointments short, having additional assistants available, and recommending sedation can result in a more successful experience.

How do I find a dentist to care for a special needs patient?

With a special needs patient, it is important to find a provider willing to learn everything about the patient’s situation and come up with a dental treatment plan to fit that individual case. As you consider dentists, look at whether the provider seems willing to develop a relationship with you as the caregiver, as well as the patient. Make sure the dentist and staff are willing to accommodate the situation and partner with you to achieve positive results.

Schedule your appointment at our Milford, NJ dental office