What an exciting time to be involved in the dental profession. Technology has taken us leaps and bounds in just a few short years. Even if a person is so unfortunate to have lost all their teeth, we now have the ability to replicate, not just replace, a person’s full dentition. We have better ways to retain natural teeth, and with sedation protocols, we can even make dentistry painless and anxiety free.
Do you have healthy teeth and you are just not satisfied with your smile? We dentists have the ability to bleach or lighten natural tooth structure by several shades. This is completely non invasive. If you have some deep staining or discolored restorations, then porcelain veneers could be your answer. Today’s restorative materials are far superior in esthetics and durability.
Crooked or malaligned teeth are much more easily handled by today’s orthodontic techniques. Treatment times are roughly half that of what was experienced 30 years ago. Cases routinely take only 18 months to two years. If the thought of having metal showing is keeping you from achieving the smile of your dreams, then clear tray positioners such as Invisalign could be your answer.
Many people have untreated periodontal or gum disease. Often the fear of periodontal surgery will keep a patient safely parked at home. With the advent of Laser Periodontal Therapy (LPT), results equal to that achieved with traditional cut and sew gum surgery can be achieved. Benefits of LPT include greatly reduced discomfort, no change in gingival or gum height and much less postoperative sensitivity. If you are missing gum tissue due to recession, we can replace it with predictable, esthetic gingival or gum grafting. Bone can be regenerated also in certain situations.
Horror of horrors, your dentist has pronounced the need for a root canal or endodontic therapy for your tooth. With modern microscope endodontics, excellent and predictable results can be achieved with minimal discomfort. So take a deep breath. It’s not usually a big deal.
Once upon a time in a land far away, the only device for replacing numbers of missing teeth would have been some sort of removable appliance like a denture or partial denture. Now with the advent of dental implant technology, the sky is the limit. Dental implants are best thought of as artificial titanium tooth roots that can be placed in the patient’s bone in a very untraumatic fashion. They can be used to anchor a large number of teeth or to replace a single tooth. We can use cone beam imagery in the office to accurately depict both bone and soft tissue contours, which can lead to superior fit and finish of the final dental prosthesis.
Some dentists have the ability to treat your sleep apnea as well. This is accomplished with a device that can reposition the lower jaw forward, increasing airflow.
Are you worried about a few wrinkles distracting from your brand new smile? Some dentists are trained in the art of dermal fillers and Botox to produce a more pleasing result.
So many more things are possible for our patients than when I graduated from dental school in 1989 it is almost dizzying. Dentistry has consistently sought not just to replace the dentition as necessary, but to also preserve in health as much as possible. When replacement is necessary, we strive for complete replication of form and function. The American Dental Association and Florida Dental Association are excellent sources to help you find the best dentist or dental specialist to fit your needs.
Jeffrey J. Sevor, DMD, is a Winter Park dentist who specializes in treating periodontal disease and the placement of dental implants. Visit centralfloridaperio.com or call 407-647-2295.