Dr. Tuan A Vu provides a full range of specialty dentistry services beyond the more routine fillings and preventive care.
Orthodontists have devised many different types of dental braces over the years to effectively treat misaligned teeth.
- Metal Braces:
- Metal braces are the most widely used and the least expensive variety of dental braces. These conventional braces are made out of high-grade stainless steel and contain a small bracket that is bonded to each tooth. Attached to the brackets are arch brace wires using elastic ligatures that come in a variety of colors. Over the years, metal braces have become smaller, more comfortable to wear, and more attractive.
- Ceramic Braces:
- Ceramic braces are made of translucent (clear) material and are more popular among teenagers. These braces take on the look of natural tooth color, thus making them very visually appealing. The only drawbacks to ceramic braces are that the brackets are fragile and the elastic ligatures can easily discolor. Over the years, manufacturers have made the brackets thicker to reduce the risk of breakage.
- Hidden Braces:
- Hidden or lingual braces are placed behind the teeth, making them not visible during casual interactions. However, the disadvantages of lingual braces include: being more costly, being difficult to adjust, and obstructing the movement of the tongue which can cause sores and cuts on the tongue.
- Gold-plated, stainless steel braces are designed to treat people who are allergic to nickel. These braces blend well with teeth and have a softer appearance compared to metal braces.
- Clear Aligners:
- A series of clear overlay aligners fabricated using computer generated images to gradually move your teeth into the desired position. However, it is only designed to correct certain teeth movements. Since these aligners are removable, it does allow for better oral hygiene.
Dentures, commonly referred to as false teeth, are removable prosthetic devices designed to replace missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures, “complete” and “partial”. Complete dentures are used when all of your teeth are missing and partial dentures are used when there are some teeth remaining.
- Complete Dentures
- Conventional dentures are made after all teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal. This process takes place prior to installation of the conventional denture about 8 to 12 weeks after the removal of your teeth.
- Immediate dentures, unlike the conventional dentures, are made in advance so they can be installed shortly after the removal of your teeth. As a result, you have teeth during the healing period. However, a disadvantage to immediate dentures is the constant need to readjust the dentures due to your bones and gums shrinking during the healing process. Therefore, immediate dentures are usually considered as a temporary solution until conventional dentures are made.
- Partial Dentures
- Partial dentures are mainly used when multiple teeth are missing. Partial dentures consist of a metal or acrylic framework that holds a gum-colored plastic base with replacement teeth attached. This configuration allows the partial denture to not only fill in the space of the missing teeth but also prevent the surrounding natural teeth from shifting.
- Are There Alternatives to Dentures?
- A fixed (permanent) bridge is an alternative to partial dentures. A bridge replaces one missing tooth by placing crowns on the surrounding teeth to support the replacement tooth. However, unlike partial dentures, the bridge is not removable.
- Dental implants are another alternative to dentures. While the procedure is more expensive, the results are incomparable. The implants will look and feel like natural teeth. This is why dental implants are becoming the preferred treatment over dentures. However not everyone is a candidate for implants. If you would like more information or see if you are a good candidate, contact us today.
- An extraction is required when a tooth is:
- Damaged by decay
- Damaged by periodontal disease
- Broken in a way that cannot be restored
- Poorly positioned in the mouth
However, an extraction is only performed in the most extreme and necessary cases. It is our goal to do everything that we can to save your natural tooth.
If an extraction is performed, the result is a hole in the jaw bone where the tooth once was. The healing process will take anywhere from weeks to months for the hole to fill in. When a tooth is extracted, you may experience:
- Problems with chewing
- Jaw joint problems
- Teeth shifting
Dr. Vu will provide all the necessary information to overcome these problems.
- Different ways of extracting a tooth:
- Standard: An instrument is used to rock the tooth to widen the tooth socket, which will allow the easy release of the tooth.
- Sectioning: When a tooth is firmly anchored to the jaw bone and the socket cannot be expanded, the tooth will be cut into multiple sections and removed in pieces.
- Home Care after an extraction:
- Treatment of Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease)Treatment of gum disease depends on the stage of the disease which is determined by the amount of plaque, calculus accumulation, tooth movement, and bone loss.
At early stages, the treatment includes the removal of all calculus (tartar), infected tissue and bacteria. A number of hand instruments and ultrasonic scalers are used to perform the deep cleaning. Certain areas of the mouth might require localized antibiotics to treat deep pockets. A special mouth rinse is provided for continual home care.
Treatments for Advanced Stages
- Involves grafting tissue to stimulate bone re-growth, or soft tissue grafts to thicken or heighten gums
- Guided tissue regeneration (GTR) involves inserting membrane to stimulate bone regeneration
- Periodontal flap surgery reduces the pocket depth between the bone and gum height
- Bone re-contoured to eliminate the bacteria damage
Also known as Laser Dentistry, uses a controlled laser to reduce the periodontal pocket and to kill bacteria between the bone crest and gum line.