Frequently Asked Questions

What is prosthodontics?
Prosthodontics is a dental specialty recognized by the American Dental Association that deals with cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, crowns, bridges, dentures, and temporomandibular joint disorders.
What is a prosthodontist?
A prosthodontist is a dentist who has specialized in treating and handling dental and facial problems that involve restoring missing tooth and jaw structures. Aprosthodontist is an expert in cosmetics, dental implants, crowns, bridges, dentures, and temporomandibular disorders.
Why choose a prosthodontist?
Choose a prosthodontist because of their extensive experience, advanced knowledge, improved efficiency, and their use of advanced technology.
Prosthodontists are dental specialists in the restoration and replacement of teeth who have completed dental school plus three additional years of advanced training and education in an ADA-accredited prosthodontic graduate program.
Prosthodontists provide an extremely high level of care to patients with missing teeth, or having significant damage to their existing teeth. Prosthodontists work with congenital defects as well as problems arising from trauma and neglect.
Prosthodontists are highly trained in state-of-the-art techniques and procedures for treating many diverse and complex dental conditions and restoring optimum function and esthetics. These include: crowns, bridges, complete and removable partial dentures, dental implants, TMD-jaw joint problems, traumatic injuries to the mouth’s structure and/or teeth, snoring or sleep disorders, and oral cancer reconstruction and continuing care.
What is a dental technician?
A dental laboratory technician is a trained professional that fabricates dental restorations, crowns, bridges, and dentures based on designs and instructions provided by a prosthodontist.
How do prosthodontists select labs?
Prosthodontists work only with laboratories that demand the finest quality and the most precise work available. The attention to detail and the experience of the lab is important for providing the best for prosthodontists' patients.
Are prosthodontists trained to treat TMD, and if so what techniques do they use? By what parameters are they limited to treat extraoral head and neck areas for this condition?
Yes, prosthodontists are trained to treat temporomandibular joint disorders. Several treatment options exist and all of these options are conservative and do not produce permenant damage to the teeth. These treatment options include physical therapy and exercise, pharmacologic treatment, and occlusal devices.

Teeth Whitening

Your smile creates an immediate, subconscious, visual impact on people you meet. A brighter smile gives the impression of youth, vitality, radiant health, happiness, and warmth. A bright smile is perceived as a healthy smile.
Be sure to consult with us to learn which whitening treatment is best for you. Teeth whitening remains one of the most economical ways to enhance your smile.

Smiles are Valuable
Statistics reveal that we place a high value on our smiles. According to an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry survey:
  • Virtually all adults (99.7%) believe a smile is an important social asset. 96% of adults believe an attractive smile makes a person more appealing to members of the opposite sex.
  • Three-quarters (74%) of adults feel an unattractive smile can hurt a person’s chance for career success.
  • And when respondents were asked, “What would you like to improve most about your smile?” The most common response was: Whiter & brighter teeth. If you are not happy with your smile, teeth whitening may be a good first step.
What Are the Causes of Tooth Discoloration?
Deciduous (baby) teeth are typically whiter than the adult teeth that appear later. As we age, our adult teeth often become darker, yellower, or stained. This is partly why white teeth make people appear more youthful.
Just as there are a number of ways to lighten or brighten teeth, there are also several different ways for teeth to become discolored. The main causes of darkened teeth are genetics, antibiotics, and certain foods, plus teeth tend to darken as we age. Internal tooth discoloration is caused by changes in the enamel of the tooth and the dentin. The main causes of internal tooth discoloration are exposure to high levels of fluoride, tetracycline, use of antibiotics as a child, developmental disorders, tooth decay, restorations, root canal issues, and trauma.
External tooth discoloration is caused by factors outside the body, mainly foods and tobacco. The main causes of external tooth yellowing are smoking, foods with tannins, coffee, tea, carrots, oranges, and other foods.
What are the Types of Teeth Whitening?
There are various ways to whiten your teeth, but the two most common are in-office treatment and the do-it-yourself approach, with over the counter products.
In-Office Teeth Withening Professional tooth whitening in a dental office is the preferred whitening method because even though stronger agents are applied, the rest of the mouth, including the gums, is protected from these materials. The best whitening systems feature a buffer in the gel that protects the tooth enamel from damage, are extremely effective,and can transform teeth in a single office visit. Your teeth can literally brighten up to 10 shades in about an hour.
In-office whitening affects only the front eight teeth and is a great jump start for takehome whitening, which is always part of an effective whitening program.
Your dentist is best qualified to handle any issues that may arise from whitening treatments, such as tooth sensitivity. Today most tooth sensitivity cases are easily managed.
Tooth whitening can last for one or more years, depending on how well you take care of your teeth, and if you’re following up regularly with a home whitening product for regular maintenance.
Over-The-Counter or Home Teeth Withening Systems
Commercially available tooth whitening systems have become popular, mainly because they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to use.
There are a few over-the-counter tooth whitening methods that can be purchased without your dentist’s supervision. They include whitening strips, paint-on tooth gel, mouth trays with gel, whitening toothpaste, and even whitening gum. These are typically safe products, but if you have oral concerns, it’s a good idea to ask your Prosthodontist/dentist if these products are safe to use.
While over-the-counter tooth whitening products are available, dentist-supervised tooth whitening remains the safest, most effective method for brightening your smile. Here are some key reasons why you should always consult with your Prosthodontis/dentist. Properly Fitting Mouth Trays. Often, over-the-counter tooth whitening trays do not fit the patient’s mouth properly. Improperly fitting trays may cause the tooth whitening gel to leak, which can result in gum irritation and a less effective treatment.
More Comfortable Solutions. With today’s dentist-supervised systems, even patients with sensitive teeth can undergo teeth whitening treatment.
What is Bruxism/Teeth Grinding?
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, usually happens at night while you sleep. Most people with bruxism are not aware that they are grinding their teeth in their sleep – unless a partner is awakened by the noise. This habit of bruxism is extremely destructive and in time may wear away your teeth, strain your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), or tire the muscles used in chewing.
Studies have shown that bruxism tends to be related to stress, and people generate much greater forces when grinding their teeth than they do during normal jaw function.
The movements of the jaw during bruxism are more exaggerated than the more limited movement of someone’s normal jaw function. Although no cure for bruxism is available, your prosthodontist can produce a device that will protect the teeth, support your TMJ and provide relief from muscle fatigue. This device has many names, but generally is referred to as a splint. A splint helps with bruxism through careful control of the interaction of your teeth and through providing something else to damage rather than your teeth. Splints can easily be adjusted or replaced, making them a better recipient of these destructive forces.

Bad Breath/Halitosis

No one wants to experience the awful fear of bad breath, or halitosis, especially in social situations. Although a few medical conditions may cause bad breath, the most common causes are related your teeth, gums, and/or your dental hygiene.
A buildup of plaque and tartar (calculus) may lead to gingivitis and gum disease, a common cause of bad breath.
In addition, broken or badly decayed teeth may collect debris and, in time, bacteria forms and causes a bad taste and smell. Our tongue can also host a myriad of bacteria. Other causes of bad breath include certain foods, tobacco use, and dry mouth.
Improving bad breath starts with an evaluation of your teeth and gums. Removing the bacteria responsible for the malodor is the critical first step in the fight against bad breath. If the source is the gums, treatment can range from a routine cleaning to the deep cleaning (also called scaling and root planning).
When the bad odor comes from the teeth, the solution is often a combination of fillings, crowns, or extractions, depending on the severity of the problem. When decay is removed, the odor goes with it.
It also is important to brush your tongue to remove plaque and bacteria in the deep grooves of the tongue’s surface that can lead to bad breath.
Preventing bad breath entails keeping your teeth, gums, and tongue extremely clean.

What is a Prophylaxis (teeth cleaning)?
A dental prophylaxis is a cleaning procedure performed to thoroughly clean the teeth. Prophylaxis is an important dental treatment for halting the progression of periodontal disease and gingivitis.
Periodontal disease and gingivitis occur when bacteria from plaque colonize on the gingival (gum) tissue, either above or below the gum line. These bacteria colonies cause serious inflammation and irritation which in turn produce a chronic inflammatory response in the body. As a result, the body begins to systematically destroy gum and bone tissue, making the teeth shift, become unstable, or completely fall out. The pockets between the gums and teeth become deeper and house more bacteria which may travel via the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body.
Reasons for prophylaxis/teeth cleaning

Prophylaxis is an excellent procedure to help keep the oral cavity in good health and also halt the progression of gum disease.

Here are some of the benefits of prophylaxis:
  • Tartar removal – Tartar (calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can cause serious periodontal problems if left untreated. Even using the best brushing and flossing homecare techniques, it can be impossible to remove debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets. The experienced eye of a dental hygienist using specialized dental equipment is needed in order to spot and treat problems such as tartar and plaque buildup.
  • Aesthetics – It’s hard to feel confident about a smile marred by yellowing, stained teeth. Prophylaxis can rid the teeth of unsightly stains and return the smile to its former glory.
  • Fresher breath – Periodontal disease is often signified by persistent bad breath (halitosis). Bad breath is generally caused by a combination of rotting food particles below the gum line, possible gangrene stemming from gum infection, and periodontal problems. The removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria noticeably improves breath and alleviates irritation.
  • Identification of health issues – Many health problems first present themselves at a dental visit. Since prophylaxis involves a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity, the hygienist is able to screen for oral cancer, evaluate the risk of periodontitis and often spot signs of medical problems like diabetes and kidney problems. Recommendations can also be provided for altering the home care regimen.
Types of teeth cleaning
  1. Prophylaxis: Dental prophylaxis includes scaling and polishing procedures to remove coronal plaque, calculus and stains. Some patients may require more than one prophylaxis every six months depending on the efficiency of their dental home care.
  2. Full mouth Debridement: It’s a type of cleaning performed to enable comprehensive periodontal evaluation and diagnosis. The removal of subgingival and/or supragingival plaque and calculus that obstructs the ability to perform an oral evaluation. A re-evaluation is necessary after a month to determine if the patient may need deep cleanings or just regular cleanings.
  3. “Deep Cleaning” or periodontal scaling and root planing, per quadrant. This procedure involves instrumentation of the crown and root surfaces of the teeth to remove plaque and calculus from these surfaces. It is indicated for patients with periodontal disease (active bone loss) and is therapeutic, not prophylactic in nature. The placement of localized antiobiotic is recommended after a deep cleaning to ensure best results.
  4. Periodontal maintenance procedures (following deep cleanings). This procedure is for patients who have completed periodontal treatment and includes removal of the bacterial flora form crevicular and pocket areas, scaling and polishing of the teeth, and a review of the patient’s plaque control efficiency. It is recommended every 3-4 months.

As you can see, there is more than ONE type of cleaning. Only a complete dental evaluation can determine the type of cleaning you need. Your daily oral hygiene, habits and techniques are key to improve and maintain your periodontal condition

Bleeding Gums

Some serious medical conditions may cause bleeding gums, but the most frequent cause of bleeding gums is poor oral hygiene, which leads to gingivitis. Gingivitis means that the gums are inflamed, red, and bleed easily when touched as a result of plaque building up on the teeth. Proper cleaning of the teeth prevents gingivitis and the subsequent symptom of bleeding gums.
Sometimes the problem progresses beyond the superficial inflammation of gingivitis. The bacteria is deeper down between the teeth and the gums. When this is the case, the bacteria are more difficult to reach. This makes it harder for patients to clean out the bacteria alone. These bacteria can cause inflammation that leads to breakdown of the connection of the gums to your teeth and in severe cases, bone loss around the teeth.
Your prosthodontist can teach you how to properly clean your teeth using a manual or electric toothbrush and by using tools such as dental floss to clean between your teeth. When the bacteria is deeper, these tools are less effective. At this point, it is important to have your hygienist work with you to eliminate the bacteria and follow up with you on the response of your gums.
Bleeding gums are a sign of poor oral care and can easily be resolved by improving your dental hygiene habits and/or visiting your Dental Hygienist at least twice per year.

Broken/Chipped Tooth
A broken tooth may occur as a result of chewing hard foods, trauma, or by grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism. Sometimes the broken teeth are already full strength and at risk of breaking. This risk is higher when the tooth already has extensive restorations (large filling or crown). Teeth with notable cracks in them are also at a higher risk of breaking.
When the break in the tooth is minor, the treatment is as simple as a direct restoration, or filling. This is indicated when the broken portion does not involve the cusp of the tooth. When the cusp is broken on a tooth, the ideal solution more often involves an onlay or crown.
Sometimes the break in the tooth is so extensive, that the tooth is not able to be repaired. In these cases, the tooth is likely extracted and efforts are focused on replacing the missing tooth.
When a tooth breaks, discuss options with your prosthodontist. They will help assess the extent of the break and recommend the ideal treatment for your specific tooth.
What is Gum Disease/Periodontitis?
Gum disease is a term that refers to both gingivitis and the more serious condition of periodontitis. Most often gum disease refers to the chronic infection of periodontitis that can destroy the soft tissue in your mouth and the bone that supports the teeth.
If left untreated, gum disease, or periodontitis, may result in tooth loss and in some cases it is associated with coronary artery disease.
The most obvious cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene, but several risk factors may increase your chances of developing gum disease. These risk factors include: smoking and tobacco use, family history, diabetes, stress, and in women, hormone changes associated with pregnancy and/or menopause.
Proper cleaning of the teeth prevents gum disease and the subsequent symptom of bleeding gums. When the problem has progressed to periodontitis, you will likely need a deeper cleaning to eliminate the bacteria deep within your gums. After treatment and proper follow-up, your provider will be able to assess your progress.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is when, because of a temporary pause in breathing while sleeping, your lungs are unable to get the oxygen your body needs. The pause may last a few seconds to a several minutes. Often, sleep apnea occurs when an individual’s airway is blocked, which interrupts the airflow and snoring may occur.
Typically an individual with sleep apnea is unaware that he or she is having difficulty breathing during the night. Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, restless sleep, or tiredness during the day.
Different treatments for sleep apnea are available.
The gold standard for treatment of sleep apnea is a CPAP (continuous positive airflow pressure) machine. This requires the user to wear a mask over the nose and/or mouth.
A constant flow of air inflates the airway and delivers oxygen to the lungs. Sometimes people cannot tolerate this treatment or their apnea is so mild that they could investigate other options. A great alternative to a CPAP is an oral appliance. These work by repositioning the lower jaw or tongue forward to help improve the airflow during sleeping.
Research supports the use of an oral appliance in the treatment of sleep apnea in cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea and cannot tolerate other treatment options, consider talking with a Prosthodontist about this option.