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My periodontist says that he is “board certified.” What does that mean?

All periodontists must complete an additional three years of specialized training in surgery following dental school. Some choose to take the board-certification examination which is offered by the American Board of Periodontology, who is responsible for elevating the quality of care in their specialty. Board certification denotes someone who has made significant achievements beyond the mandatory educational requirements of the specialty, and is part of an exclusive group approved by their peers. To be qualified for Board certification:

• Certification as a dentist, including a college degree and completion of dental school to earn D.M.D. degree.

• Certification as a periodontist after postdoctoral study in an ADA approved program. This period of study is concentrated on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of periodontal disease.

In addition to the educational requirements, Board certification requires:

• Comprehensive ABP Qualifying and Oral Examinations covering all phases of periodontal disease and its treatment, including dental implants.

• Presentation of detailed reports on a broad range of actual treatment personally provided by the periodontist.

• Recertification every three years.
I have space from a missing tooth. What are my options?

A missing tooth is not just an aesthetic issue, but if left untreated, several serious issues may result. As the jaw bone that supported the tooth begins to resorb or degenerate, the teeth on either side of the gap will begin to tilt toward that space. The tooth above or below the gap will also be affected by super-erupting or shifting into that space without having a counter tooth to support it. All of this movement may cause unusual or excessive wear on the teeth around the gap, flaring of the front teeth, and causing spaces in other parts of the mouth that weren’t there before. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options available:

Dental Implants are the most natural-looking and naturally functioning tooth replacement option available. It is an artificial tooth root that a periodontist places directly into the jaw bone. An artificial tooth is then placed over the implant, resulting in a very natural looking, feeling and functioning artificial tooth. Unlike bridgework, an implant does not require compromising adjacent teeth to function properly. In fact, dental implants may be used to help support bridgework or dentures. Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants, however, as you must have sufficient bone to support the implant. The sooner you seek treatment for a missing tooth, the better.

Fixed dental bridges, also known as fixed partial dentures, are permanently cemented by fabricating an artificial tooth between the natural adjacent teeth. This type of bridge is quite durable and looks more natural than a removable dental bridge. The disadvantage is that the natural, healthy teeth that are on either side of the gap have to be prepped and crowned to support the bridgework.

Removable dental bridges, also known as removable partial dentures, are artificial teeth that are held in place using metal clasps that hook onto adjacent teeth. Removable bridges are usually the most economical option to replace a missing tooth. One downside of removable dental bridges is that since natural teeth are used as support, some wear and damage may occur to those teeth in the long term. The other disadvantage is aesthetic, as the metal clasps are difficult to completely conceal.

Full Dentures, also known as false teeth, are removable artificial teeth that are used when most or all of the natural teeth are missing in a dental arch. Some dentures are supported by the gums or the palate, but many modern denture designs are supported using dental implants. Implant-supported dentures are usually more comfortable, slip less and can result in clearer speech for the wearer.

What is a cone beam CT scan and why do I need one?

CT imaging (or Cat Scan) can provide views of soft tissue, bone, muscle, and blood vessels without sacrificing clarity. A cone beam CT is a compact, faster and safer version of the regular CT. The time needed for a full scan is typically under one minute and the radiation dosage is up to a hundred times less than that of a regular CT scanner. When placing dental implants, various structures must be taken into account to ensure their success. The location of blood vessels, nerves, and sinus cavities are critical so that no damage or injury takes place. In addition, a CT scan will provide accurate information regarding a patient’s bone quality and quantity to come up with a comprehensive treatment plant that will eliminate any surprises during surgery. While various X-rays can have some diagnostic value, to ensure your complete safety and assurance we utilize this technology to provide you the best treatment possible.
My teeth are crooked, but I don't want braces. What are my options?

There are two main alternatives to traditional braces for correcting crooked teeth:

Invisalign® involves a series of removable clear, custom-fitted plastic trays that fit over your teeth to slowly straighten them over time. For most patients, treatment takes about one year to complete. The major advantage of Invisalign® is that it is virtually undetectable. This is a great advantage to adults and professionals who want to straighten their teeth, but do not want the look of traditional metal braces.

Veneers do not actually correct the alignment of your teeth as traditional braces or Invisalign® do, but rather are thin porcelain “masks” that are cemented to the front of the natural teeth to give the appearance of straight teeth. The advantage of veneers is that treatment can usually be completed in one or two visits with immediate results. However, they may need to be replaced over time, and a commitment to regular brushing and flossing is essential.
I want to whiten my teeth. What are my options?

There are several options available to brighten your smile:

In-home tooth whitening kits are the most economical choice. There are a variety of over-the-counter options including whitening strips, gels and tray-based bleaching kits. While these at-home kits will whiten your teeth to some degree, they contain much less powerful whitening agents than the options provided by your dentist. It should also be noted that not everybody is a good candidate for tooth whitening. Those with gum disease, certain tooth restorations and fillings, sensitivities and/or allergies may cause harm by using over-the-counter whitening products. There may also be an underlying issue that is causing the tooth discoloration. It's best to have a dental check-up and discuss possible tooth whitening options with your dentist first, even if you ultimately choose to use an at-home method.

Custom-fitted bleaching trays can be obtained from your dentist. The dentist will take a custom impression of your teeth, and will provide you with a custom-fitted tray and bleaching gel that you can use at home over the course of several weeks. The bleaching gel your dentist provides is much more powerful than the ones found in over-the-counter whitening kits, and the custom-fitting tray reduces contact between the gel and the gums, which may irritate them. You also have the advantage of having a knowledgeable dentist overseeing your treatment and making sure the process is going as expected. Cost-wise, this is a better option for those who want better results than over-the-counter treatments, and are willing to wait a bit longer than the speedy results an in-office treatment would provide.

ZOOM whitening is the fastest tooth whitening procedure available. A special lamp is used to activate and accelerate the bleaching agent that has been applied to the teeth. The treatment is done at your dentist’s office and usually takes less than an hour. This is a great option for those who want their teeth whitened quickly without having to fuss with trays and bleaching kits at home.
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