My Blog

Posts for: January, 2017

By Michael J. Tisdelle DDS
January 26, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

A dental crown can easily turn a damaged tooth into a durable tooth once again.

While tooth enamel is actually the hardest surface in the body, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be damaged. From diseases to decay to dental crownstrauma, there are many reasons why even the strongest natural material can weaken. Fortunately, our Charlottesville, VA dentist, Dr. Michael Tisdelle, believes that nothing is as important as preserving a natural tooth and we are able to do so time and time again with dental crowns.

There are many reasons why our Charlottesville general dentist will recommend getting a dental crown: if you have a weak tooth that needs support; if your tooth is severely discolored or malformed; if you need to support a dental bridge to replace a missing tooth; or if you need to cover a dental implant. There are many restorative and cosmetic reasons why someone might get a dental crown.

If your tooth has been so severely damaged by decay that a dental filling could not possibly support the tooth, then a dental crown may be the best restoration for reviving the health of your tooth. A tooth that has problems with its structural integrity due to decay, trauma or infection will often require a crown to cover it. A crown is designed to look just like the rest of your teeth but it will provide the coverage and protection your tooth needs to prevent further damage.

It usually takes about two visits to get a dental crown in Charlottesville, VA. During your first visit, we will examine your tooth to make sure that you are a good candidate for this restoration. Since a crown can’t fit over a tooth as it normally is, we will need to file down the tooth to reshape it and make it ready to receive a crown. If the tooth is severely fractured or damaged, we may even need to fill parts of the tooth so that it is strong enough to support the crown.

Then we will take impressions of your tooth and the surrounding area for a lab to create your custom-fitted permanent crown. Since it can take about a week for a crown to be made, we will place a temporary crown over your tooth until the permanent one is ready. Once the permanent crown is made, you will come back in so that we can fit it and cement it over the tooth.

If you want to learn more about getting dental crowns in Charlottesville, VA and whether you are the ideal candidate for this restoration, give us a call today and schedule a consultation.

By Michael J. Tisdelle DDS
January 20, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.

First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.

How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of all  Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.

What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.

Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.”  If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.

By Michael J. Tisdelle DDS
January 05, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dentures   dental implants  

Not long ago, the most affordable option for total tooth loss was a removable denture. Dentures, prosthetic (false) teeth set in gum-colored acrylic plastic bases, can effectively restore function and appearance. But the appliance continues to have one major drawback: it can accelerate bone loss in the jaw.

Like other living tissues, older bone cells die and become absorbed into the body (resorption). Normally they're replaced by newer cells. The forces generated when we chew our food travel through the teeth to stimulate this new growth. This stimulus ends when we lose our teeth, and so cell replacement can slow to an abnormal rate. Eventually, this causes bone loss.

Removable dentures can't provide this stimulation. In fact, the pressure generated as they compress the gums' bony ridges can even accelerate bone loss. That's why over time a denture's fit can become loose and uncomfortable — the bone has shrunk and no longer matches the contours of the dentures.

In recent years, though, a new development has been able to provide greater support to dentures while at the same time slowing or even stopping bone loss. We can now support dentures with dental implants.

Implants are best known as individual tooth replacements: a titanium metal post replaces the root, while a life-like porcelain crown attaches to the post to replace the visible tooth. In addition to providing a longer-lasting alternative to removable dentures, implants provide a very important health benefit: they improve bone density because they mimic the function of natural teeth. Bone cells are naturally attracted to the titanium; they adhere to the titanium post and are stimulated to grow through the action of chewing, increasing bone density and securing the implant's hold in the jaw.

Using the same technology we can support removable dentures, or even full fixed bridges. Rather than rest directly on the bony ridges, a denture can make a secure connection through a coupling system with just a few strategically placed implants. We can also permanently attach a full bridge by fastening it to a few implants with screws.

Not only do we eliminate the pressure from dentures compressing the gums and bone tissue, we can actually stimulate bone growth with the implants. Although more costly upfront than traditional dentures, unlike traditional dentures which must be replaced every five to seven years, long-lasting implants may be more cost-effective over the long-run.

If you would like more information on implant-supported tooth replacement, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “New Teeth in One Day.”