My Blog

Posts for: July, 2017

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
July 18, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns  

So, you're about to have a tooth capped with a crown. Do you know what you need to know before you undergo this common dental procedure?

Here's a short true or false quiz to test your knowledge of dental crowns.

All crowns are the same. False — while all crowns have the same basic design — a life-like prosthetic tooth fitted over and bonded or cemented to a natural tooth — their compositions can vary greatly. Early metal crowns consisted mainly of gold or silver and are still used today. Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns — a metal interior for strength overlaid by a porcelain exterior for appearance — became popular in the latter 20th Century. Although still widely used, PFMs have been largely surpassed by newer all-ceramic materials that are stronger than past versions.

Crowns can differ in their artistic quality. True — all crowns are designed to replicate a natural tooth's function — in other words, enable the tooth to effectively chew again. But a crown's appearance can be a different story, depending on how much attention to detail and artistry goes into it. The higher the individual craftsmanship, the more lifelike it will appear — and the more expensive it can be.

With digital milling equipment, dental labs are obsolete. False — although technology exists that allows dentists to produce their own crowns, the equipment is not yet in widespread use.  The vast majority of crowns are still produced by a trained technician in a dental laboratory. And just as you base your choice of a dentist on your confidence in and respect for them, dentists look for the same thing in a dental lab — good, reliable and consistent results.

Your insurance may not cover what your dentist recommends. True — dental insurance will typically pay for a basic, functional crown. Aesthetics — how it will look — is a secondary consideration. As a result, your policy may not cover the crown your dentist recommends to function properly and look attractive. A new crown, however, is a long-term investment in both your dental function and your smile. It may be well worth supplementing out of pocket your insurance benefit to get the crown that suits you on both counts.

If you would like more information on crown restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc
July 13, 2017
Category: Dental Appliances
Tags: Untagged

Even with all of the advancements in dentistry over the last few decades, an alarming number of American adults over the age of 30 (closedental implants to half, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) are missing at least one tooth. Millions of adults are living with complete tooth loss. Even the loss of a single tooth can affect your appearance, ability to eat and speak clearly, and have a negative impact on your self esteem and quality of life. Tooth loss may be an inevitable part of life in some cases, but living without teeth is optional. Dr. Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, a dentist in Redlands, CA, recommends dental implants for adults looking for the closest restoration to a natural tooth.

Dental Implants in Redlands, CA

Implants are the only dental restoration that replaces the entire structure of a lost tooth (root and crown). The roots may not be visible when we chew our food or smile, but they play an important part in the stability and overall health of our teeth and gums. When a tooth falls out, the bone tissue that surrounds it begins to erode. Implants help to prevent bone loss and promote growth of healthy new bone tissue. They also help to securely anchor the crown in place for a stable, comfortable fit.

How Dental Implants Work

In order to qualify, you must be an adult in good health, and with enough remaining bone density in the gums to support an implant. In the first step, Dr. Hamrick-Stotts will surgically place the implant, which is shaped like a small screw and made of biocompatible titanium. As the implant heals, it fuses with the surrounding bone tissue. After it has healed, the cosmetic crown is attached. Implants can be used to replace just one tooth or several. They can even be used to secure a set of dentures, with just a few implants. With good oral hygiene and regular follow-up care with your dentist, implants have a very high success rate.

Find a Dentist in Redlands, CA

Tooth loss does not have to be the end of a beautiful, healthy smile. To learn more about dental implants and to find out if they are the right option for you, contact our office by calling (909) 793-9711 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hamrick-Stotts today.

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
July 03, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

During his former career as a professional footballer (that's a soccer star to U.S. sports fans) David Beckham was known for his skill at “bending” a soccer ball. His ability to make the ball curve in mid-flight — to avoid a defender or score a goal — led scores of kids to try to “bend it like Beckham.” But just recently, while enjoying a vacation in Canada with his family, “Becks” tried snowboarding for the first time — and in the process, broke one of his front teeth.

Some fans worried that the missing tooth could be a “red card” for Beckham's current modeling career… but fortunately, he headed straight to the dental office as soon as he arrived back in England. Exactly what kind of treatment is needed for a broken tooth? It all depends where the break is and how badly the tooth is damaged.

For a minor crack or chip, cosmetic bonding may offer a quick and effective solution. In this procedure, a composite resin, in a color custom-made to match the tooth, is applied in liquid form and cured (hardened) with a special light. Several layers of bonding material can be applied to re-construct a larger area of missing tooth, and chips that have been saved can sometimes be reattached as well.

When more tooth structure is missing, dental veneers may be the preferred restorative option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells that are bonded to the front surface of the teeth. They can not only correct small chips or cracks, but can also improve the color, spacing, and shape of your teeth.

But if the damage exposes the soft inner pulp of the tooth, root canal treatment will be needed to save the tooth. In this procedure, the inflamed or infected pulp tissue is removed and the tooth sealed against re-infection; if a root canal is not done when needed, the tooth will have an increased risk for extraction in the future. Following a root canal, a tooth is often restored with a crown (cap), which can look good and function well for many years.

Sometimes, a tooth may be knocked completely out of its socket; or, a severely damaged tooth may need to be extracted (removed). In either situation, the best option for restoration is a dental implant. Here, a tiny screw-like device made of titanium metal is inserted into the jaw bone in a minor surgical procedure. Over time, it fuses with the living bone to form a solid anchorage. A lifelike crown is attached, which provides aesthetic appeal and full function for the replacement tooth.

So how's Beckham holding up? According to sources, “David is a trooper and didn't make a fuss. He took it all in his stride." Maybe next time he hits the slopes, he'll heed the advice of dental experts and wear a custom-made mouthguard…

If you have questions about restoring damaged teeth, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma and Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “Children's Dental Concerns and Injuries.”