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Reconstructive Dentistry

Reconstructive dentistry is a specialty that focuses on restoring and repairing the function and aesthetic appearance of teeth. A reconstructive dentist has additional extensive training in complex prosthetic solutions. The type of treatment needed depends on what has been damaged or lost. Each situation is unique not only pertaining to the actual dental needs, but to the outcome desired by the individual patient themselves.

Who needs reconstructive dentistry

Generally speaking, any patient with complex dental needs should be treated by a reconstructive dentist. Most general procedures such as fillings or single crowns can be cared for by a general dentist. However complex situations such as those listed below may be beyond the scope of a general practitioner. Examples may include:

  • Multiple missing teeth
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Severely worn teeth
  • Traumatic tooth loss
  • TMJ Pain
  • Post procedural pain
  • Post-Cancer treatment
  • Organ transplant candidates
  • Accident/Injury
  • High anxiety, fear, or dental phobia

Pre-Procedure Exam

A comprehensive pre-procedure exam is taken prior to reconstructive dentistry in order to determine particular needs and develop a comprehensive plan uniquely designed for the individual patient. This exam includes not only a comprehensive exam by the dentist, but usually involves a complete set of x-rays as well. Based on the needs and findings of the initial exam, additional diagnostic images such 3D Cone Beam imaging, photographs, and diagnostic models may be needed. These are used to evaluate the 3-dimensional structure of the teeth, the jaw joint (TMJ) as well as the bone and supporting structures of the mouth.

The process

Once a thorough examination is completed the dentist goes over solutions and discusses with the patient options, including the pros and cons of each. At Canyon Vista Dental Care we believe the patient always has the autonomy to determine their own treatment.

 

Treatments Used in Reconstructive Dentistry.

The Reconstructive Dentist may use a number of treatments to restore a person’s mouth to ideal esthetics and Normal function. Some of the treatments may include the following.

Dental Implants

The development of dental implants is one of the most important developments in dental medicine since the invention of anesthetic. Dental implants have enabled specially trained dentists to be able to replace the root structure of a tooth with a titanium prosthetic. This in turn allows the dentist to replace one or more missing teeth without damaging adjacent teeth. Dental implants are also used to replace the entire dentition such as hybrid and all-on-four, and “teeth in a day” procedures.

What are dental implants made of?

Dental implants are typically made of medical grade titanium, which is the same titanium used in  medicine to repair bones and replace joints. Medical grade titanium is accepted by the body and actually promotes bone growth as it becomes a permanent platform for natural looking and acting tooth replacement.

metal that has been used in the dental field for years. Titanium is not rejected by the body and it also stimulates bone to grow around it. The implant is designed to replace a single tooth or several teeth and then serve as a platform on which natural-looking replacement teeth can be created.

What are “all on 4” implants referring to?

The term “all on 4”, refers to a treatment in which all of the teeth in a jaw are replaced using just four (4) dental implants. This technique has drastically reduced the cost of restoring teeth by allowing the entire arch to be replaced using 4 implants rather than an individual implant per tooth. Most often this modality also refers to creating a prosthesis (prosthetic teeth) that are permanently attached. Having teeth actually attached to the mouth enables the patient to chew and function much like having their natural teeth back. This not only includes being able to chew normally, but to even be able to bite using front teeth again!

A technique commonly used with the “all-on-four” technique is the “Teeth in a day” technique.

“Teeth-in-a-day”

“Teeth in a day” “Teeth in a day” refers to the process of the restoring of a person’s dentition all in the same day. By proper planning and the use of 3 D imaging, an implantologist can restore a person’s teeth by placing dental implants and the new teeth all in the same day. This provides a great service to patients who do not want to be without teeth for any length of time. All planning is done prior to the procedure date. On the day of the procedure a patient is usually sedated using oral conscious sedation, or full IV sedation techniques. The individual’s mouth is then restored by removing all remaining terminal teeth, preparing the gums and bone, and then placing the implant-retained teeth. Thus the patient wakes up from sedation with teeth that are esthetic and functional!

When is the best time to get a dental implant.

The best time to get a dental implant is literally as soon as you can. There are two scenarios that one usually encounters. One situation is where a tooth has been missing for some time due to prior removal. The other is where due to trama, decay, or periodontal disease a tooth is unable to be saved or restored to mormal function.

When a tooth is removed the supporting bone begins to resorb away. In fact it not only resorbs in height but in thickness as well. Although with modern bone grafting techniques it is possible to replace lost bone, it is always best when an individual’s original bone can be used for support. It is therefore ideal to place an implant as soon as it becomes necessary to replace a tooth. In fact, often a dental implant can be placed at the same time that a terminal tooth is removed. This not only helps preserve the bone but also eliminates the need for subsequent surgeries.
If a tooth has been missing for some time, the placement of a dental implant will stop any further bone deterioration and loss. Therefore the sooner an implant can be placed, the sooner the bone is stabilized.
If a tooth has been missing for some time, the placement of a dental implant will stop any further bone deterioration and loss. Therefore the sooner an implant can be placed, the sooner the bone is stabilized.

I’ve been told in the past that I don’t have enough bone for a dental implant… has anything changed recently that may allow me to be a candidate?

As with all aspects of medicine there have been advances in techniques and materials that enable virtually every patient to be able to restore their mouth with implant restorations.
Several innovations that have improved our ability to place implants that were otherwise not possible.

First, With the advent of Cone Beam 3-D imaging the doctor is able to see all the supporting structures. This enables precise planning for the surgical placement of the dental implants. It also allows for the safe navigation around vital structures and assurance of long-term stability.

The “all-on-4” implants are the latest reconstructive dentistry technique for reconstructing a broken or missing jawbone. The implants are made of titanium and are positioned to reconstruct the missing bone by bridging the gap with four dental implants. This new reconstructive dentistry technique is not only reconstructive dentistry but also a treatment for those who have problems with their ability to eat, speak, and swallow.

One of the main advantages of this reconstructive dentist is that it preserves healthy teeth and bones around them so that they can be saved.

Pre-Procedure Exam

A pre-procedure exam is taken prior to reconstructive dentistry and can help determine if reconstructive dentistry is needed or not. This exam will include a full mouth analysis where the dentist reviews x-rays of the jawbone, teeth, gum tissue, and bite to see if reconstructive dentistry is needed.

Dental Implant Procedure

The dental implants procedure can be a long and complicated reconstructive dentistry operation. It starts with the placement of the titanium implant, which will act as the tooth’s foundation. The surgeon will then remove some bone around it to create space for the implant.

Post Procedure Check-Ups

Post reconstructive dentistry check-ups are typically scheduled every 6 months. These reconstructive dentistry checkups are important to help monitor the success of reconstructive dentistry procedures and to ensure that the implants are not being rejected by the body.

Receive Your New Teeth

This is the last step. When your mouth has healed and your new dental implants have stabilized, we can replace the teeth that were temporary with your new teeth.

Dentures

Dentures are an option when a person has lost all of their teeth. They work by replacing the natural teeth with a custom-made prosthetic device that not only provides chewing and food support but also improves speech and appearance which is important for your overall health. Dentures should be considered as an option if you’ve lost all of your natural teeth or if you’re experiencing tooth decay, gum disease, or other oral health issues. The cost of dentures can be much less when compared to full-mouth dental implants.

Crowns

A dental crown is a cap that is placed over a tooth to restore integrity and function to the tooth. Dental crowns are used to reconstruct teeth after more extensive damage due to decay or trama. If greater than 50% (½) of the tooth structure is compromised, a full coverage crown is indicated.  The dental crown can cover the full surface of the tooth or just a portion of it ( ¾ crown)Covering the tooth with a crown also provides structural support to prevent further damage to the tooth and to protect the tooth nerves.

Improve its appearance, function, and prevent further damage. The dental crown can cover the full surface of the tooth or just a portion of it ( ¾ crown). In addition to using dental crowns for cosmetic reasons, they are also used in reconstructing teeth following trauma or teeth that have been damaged.

Bridges

A dental bridge is a tooth replacement prosthetic that is cemented into place and becomes a permanent fixture in the mouth. The space left by a missing tooth is replaced by an artificial tooth called a “pontic” that is permanently anchored to two adjacent teeth called known as “abutment teeth”. Prior to the development of dental implants a bridge was traditionally the best permanent way to replace missing teeth. Even with the advent of dental implants, it is still a very predictable and reliable permanent option and in some cases still the best option for replacing missing teeth.

A dental bridge is a prosthetic device that replaces one tooth by reconstructing the missing tooth with another. The empty space where the tooth is missing is filled in with artificial teeth, commonly known as pontics. These artificial teeth are anchored on either side of the gap between two natural teeth (known as abutments).

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers can be used to reconstruct the appearance of your teeth by changing their color, shape, size, or position. A porcelain veneer is a thin layer of tooth-colored material that is bonded to the front surface of an individual tooth in order to improve its appearance. The dentist will remove any decay from the tooth before applying a bonding agent and then trim it down so that it’s level with the other teeth on either side. This process may take more than one visit depending on how many porcelain veneers need to be applied.

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and Onlays are reconstructive dentistry procedures that can save your teeth from a root canal or a dental crown. Inlays and Onlays are stronger and more durable than regular dental fillings. They are typically used in restoring teeth that need structural support due to damage from more extensive decay or fractures, but do not need to be fully covered by a traditional crown. Inlays and Onlays are a great reconstructive dentistry option if you’re looking for a more permanent solution than a filling. In summary, dental inlays, and onlays are more durable than traditional fillings and are more conservative than full coverage crowns.

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is a reconstructive dentistry procedure that reconstructs lost or decayed bone. This reconstructive dentistry procedure can be done in many ways, but the most common are autologous (from one’s own body), allograft (from a cadaver), and xenograft (from an animal).