One of the most important parts of both your mental and physical well-being is your dental wellness. Having an attractive and healthy smile is not only a boost to your attitude and self-confidence, it is instrumental to your overall physical health.
At Napa Dental, we treat patients of all ages. Whether you are 2 or 92, we always strive to give the healthy smile that you deserve. From twice-yearly cleanings to standard tooth extractions, we promise a comfortable and positive experience for you and your family. Napa Dental is accepting new patients from Woodbridge and beyond.
Cosmetic dentistry is concerned with the appearance of teeth and the enhancement of a person’s smile. On the surface, creating white teeth, or even whole new teeth in general, may not appear to be that complicated. Yet cosmetic dentistry requires a good eye, a thorough understanding of dental anatomy, and a mastery of dental materials. All cosmetic dentistry treatments improve the appearance of an individual’s teeth. Some can also restore function and/or improve oral health as well.
Both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.
A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth. Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used because it is both strong and attractive.
Your dentist may recommend a crown to:
- Replace a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Attach a bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
Why are Teeth Removed?
Teeth are extracted for a variety of reasons:
- Decay has reached deep into the tooth
- Infection has destroyed a large portion of the tooth or surrounding bone
- There is not enough room for all the teeth in your mouth
Many dentists recommend extracting impacted teeth that are only partially erupted. Bacteria can enter around a partially erupted tooth and cause an infection, which can extend into the surrounding bone and become extremely serious. Impacted teeth continue trying to break through the gum tissue even if there is not enough room to accommodate them. The continued pressure caused by this attempted eruption can eventually damage the roots of nearby teeth. Removing a tooth that is impacted can often prevent infection, damage to adjacent teeth and bone, and save pain in the years to come.
Gum disease can be painless, so it is important to be aware of any of the following symptoms:
- Gums that easily bleed when brushing or flossing
- Swollen, red or tender gums
- Gums that recede or move away from the tooth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way your teeth come together
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
- Visible pus surrounding the teeth and gums
- Sharp or dull pains when chewing foods
- Teeth that are overly sensitive to cold or hot temperatures
If not removed through daily brushing and flossing, plaque turns into tartar, which becomes a rough and retentive surface encouraging further build up plaque. The plaque bacteria can infect your gums and teeth, and eventually, the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth will be impacted. There are three stages of gum disease:
- Gingivitis – This is the earliest stage of gum disease. It is the inflammation of the gums, caused by dental plaque buildup at the gum line. You may notice some redness or swelling of the gums or some bleeding during brushing and flossing. At this early stage gum disease can be reversed since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected.
- Periodontitis – At this stage, the supporting bone and fibers that hold the teeth in place are irreversibly damaged. The gums begin to form a pocket below the gum line, which encourages penetration and growth of plaque below the gum line. Professional periodontal therapy and improved personal oral hygiene can usually help prevent further damage to the gum tissue and supporting tissue and bone.
- Advanced Periodontitis – In this more advanced stage of gum disease, the fibers and bone of your teeth are being destroyed, which can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. This can affect your bite and how you eat and communicate. If aggressive periodontal therapy can’t save them, teeth may need to be removed by a dental specialist. Your dentist will provide restorative options if teeth are removed due to periodontal disease.
A dental implant is a titanium post (like a tooth root) that is surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gum line that allows your dentist to mount replacement teeth or bridge into that area. An implant doesn’t come loose like a denture can. Dental implants also benefit general oral health because they do not have to be anchored to other teeth, like bridges.
A dental implant can do wonders for self-esteem because it feels and looks like a normal tooth. Many people who were shy about smiling because of a space from a lost tooth feel more comfortable after a dental implant. Beyond the aesthetics, a dental implant also makes it easier to eat and speak, because a titanium post secured directly in the jaw holds the implant in place.
There are two types of dental implants to be safe for use. They are:
- Endosteal Implants
These are the most common type of implant and are surgically placed directly into the jawbone, they are also called root-form implants. These are typically shaped like small screws, cylinders or plates. In order for an endosteal implant to be successful, the bone needs to be deep and wide enough to provide a secure foundation. Once the surrounding gum tissue has healed, a second surgery is needed to connect a post to the original implant. Finally, an artificial tooth (or teeth) is attached to the post individually or grouped on a bridge or denture.
- Subperiosteal Implant
This type of implant consists of a metal frame that is fitted onto the jawbone just under the gum tissue. As the gums heal, the frame becomes fixed to the jawbone. Posts, which are attached to the frame, protrude through the gums. As with endosteal implants, artificial teeth are then mounted to the posts.
A root canal is a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth. The procedure involves removing the damaged area of the tooth (the pulp), cleaning and disinfecting it and then filling and sealing it. The common causes affecting the pulp are a cracked tooth, a deep cavity, repeated dental treatment to the tooth or trauma. The term “root canal” comes from cleaning of the canals inside the tooth’s root.
Dental hygienists provide specialized health care in the dynamic field of dentistry. Dental hygiene blends the arts of health advocacy, technology, science, psychology and direct patient care.
Professional teeth whitening can be customized for each person. Your dentist can adjust the treatment by changing the level of the bleaching agent used. If he uses a higher level your teeth will be much whiter. If you are looking for just a small change he can use a lower level. Deep stains can be removed with a professional procedure. Home treatments cannot penetrate enough to address those deep stains so you may have an uneven or blotchy finish. Many people feel more confident after having their teeth whitened. They tend to smile wider and more often. You achieve that white smile much quicker with a professional whitening. There are take home kits your dentist can give you that will take several weeks to meet your goal level of whiteness.