Although we love treating our patients preventatively, we know that this isn’t always possible. We offer general dental treatments along with preventative and biocompatible, integrative options to best suit your needs.
Mercury Free Fillings
Cavities form when certain strains of bacteria living in your mouth digest sugar and starch particles and secrete an acidic by-product that eats away at tooth enamel. When you have a cavity, it may be necessary to remove the decay and get a filling to avoid the bacteria from spreading, resulting in a larger filling, a crown, root canal, or losing the tooth altogether. At Wrigleyville Dental, we place biocompatible tooth colored fillings, as opposed to silver-mercury amalgam fillings.
Why no silver fillings? Silver fillings, also known as amalgams or mercury fillings, are comprised of ~50% mercury, ~25% silver, ~14% tin, ~8% copper, and other metals. While dental amalgams have been the cavity-filling material of choice for many years, current research suggests that using mercury can be unsafe for any medical or dental treatment. Many patients have tested sensitive or allergic to mercury. And every time mercury is stimulated by chewing, heat, or even a toothbrush, a small amount of mercury vapor is emitted. With time, many patients with amalgam fillings become mercury toxic (as shown by a blood/urine/hair/fecal test run by a physician). Rather than risk ill health, we choose to place only metal-free composite resin fillings. Our doctors are accredited by the IAOMT and our staff is trained extensively in the SMART protocol to ensure that mercury-amalgam fillings are removed safely.
When a tooth is too badly decayed or more than 50% of the tooth structure is missing/damaged, we may suggest placing a crown. Unlike older generation crowns that are manufactured in a lab, taking 2-3 weeks to make, and the patient wears a plastic or acrylic temporary crown in the meantime, crowns made at our office are metal free, made of high quality ceramic and made right here during your appointment. We use a digital scanner which turns your tooth into a computer generated 3-D model. We then digitally design the crown and print it on our 3-D milling unit. Your crown is ready in minutes! We are able to cement your crown that same day. How amazing is this 21st century technology!
Depending on the situation, instead of a crown, it’s possible to place a large filling layered with a material called Ribbond. Ribbond is made out of a fiber called Kevlar, the same material bullet proof vests are made out of. This can ensure strength in the tooth without removing unnecessary tooth structure. This technique is part of what’s called biomimetic dentistry. If you are interested, please ask your dentist if this can be a possible treatment for your tooth.
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Root Canal Therapy
When extensive decay or damage has exposed the sensitive, nerve-filled tissue in the center of the tooth (called the pulp), the choice that we are left with is either to remove the tooth (an extraction) or removing the nerve of the tooth (a root canal).
For many root canals, we may refer you to a specialist’s office. In some cases we are able to perform them here in our office.
Here’s what happens. First, a small hole is made on the top of tooth. Next, the nerve tissue is removed and the canals are sterilized and dried. We use ozonated water and gas to remove any lingering bacteria in the canals. Then the canals are filled. Finally, the tooth is capped with a dental crown to protect the remaining tooth structure and restore functionality. This part is important because root canaled teeth are more brittle and prone to fracturing.
Root canals can put an end to your discomfort and save your tooth, but a root canal may not be the best choice for everyone.
The holistic dental community has conflicting views about a root canal treatment. This may or may not be a good choice for you, depending on your medical history and other factors. We’ll make sure to talk about your risks, benefits, and other options. We like to provide our patients with all the tools necessary to make an educated decision about their choices in treatment.
Orthodontic therapy does more than straighten teeth. It also resolves:
- Crowded teeth that are difficult to clean properly and are more prone to cavities
- Protruding teeth that are more prone to chipping
- Malocclusion (uneven bite) that causes uneven tooth wear and damage to the enamel, or soft tissues of the inner cheeks and tongue
- TMJ problems
- Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing.
- Open bite that can lead to speech impediments or improper nutrition
We now offer metal braces, clear braces and Invisalign clear retainers.
Invisalign uses clear, BPA-free plastic, customized mouthpieces (called aligners) that fit over your teeth. Invisalign is so subtle that most people will not notice that you’re wearing the trays. Treatment time ranges from 4-24 months, but averages about 12 months.
Advantages of Invisalign:
- Aligners can be removed during mealtime and when you need to brush and floss. This means you maintain better oral hygiene and don’t experience tooth discoloration.
- It is more comfortable.
- They require fewer visits to the dentist for tightening and changing wires.
- Less irritation to the gums, cheeks, and lips.
- It’s more biocompatible.
- They look nicer while you’re in treatment (especially in pictures!)
Advantages of Traditional Braces:
- Work better in more complex cases.
- Close gaps quicker than Invisalign.
- More precise movements.
- You can’t lose them and delay treatment.
Sometimes it’s in a patient’s best interest to have a tooth extracted, or removed. An extraction may be necessary when
- A tooth is loosened by advanced gum disease
- A tooth is infected or injured
- Wisdom teeth trap bacteria causing infection or cause damage to neighboring teeth.
- A root canal tooth is infected and a re-treatment is not recommended.
Here’s what happens during an extraction:
The tooth and its surrounding area are numbed before the tooth is loosened and then removed entirely. The socket is then thoroughly cleaned with ozonated water. We also want to remove any granulation tissue, infection, and ligament that is left in the tooth. If the tooth had a root canal, it may be very brittle and removed in sections. After the tooth is removed and area is cleaned, we can place a graft material such as bone or PRF (platelet rich fibrin) to help in healing and help in bone formation in that area.
Once you heal from a tooth extraction, replacing the extracted tooth with an implant, partial denture/flipper, Carlson bridge or a traditional bridge is important. Many patients claim that no one can tell the difference between their natural teeth and the prosthetic ones.
A few missing teeth may not seem catastrophic, but their absence can cause the remaining teeth to shift, leading to a misaligned bite and teeth that are harder to clean. A bridge might be the right choice to address one or two missing teeth.
A traditional dental bridge is a series of crowns fused together that we bond to anchoring teeth to replace missing ones. We offer porcelain, gold, and incredibly strong, silica-free zirconia bridges.
Placing a bridge is a simple procedure that can be done in one or two visits. At the first appointment, we numb the area with anesthetic and prepare the anchoring teeth, take impressions with our state-of-the-art digital scanner which displays a computer generated 3-D model of the teeth. We design and print in our 3-D milling unit a ceramic bridge to be bonded onto the prepared teeth. Your smile is once again complete.
Carlson Bridge / Winged Pontic / Maryland Bridge
This type of bridge is very different than a traditional bridge. With a traditional bridge, anchoring teeth need to be prepared or adjusted, removing some healthy tooth structure. With a winged pontic option, the anchoring teeth just need to be slightly roughened and the “fake” tooth, that is typically made out of a composite filling or ceramic material, is attached to the anchoring teeth. With this type of bridge, unnecessary tooth structure is not removed. The biggest down side to this procedure is that the bridge can de-bond and fall out, especially for those that clench, grind, or have a particularly heavy bite. If you’re missing a tooth, ask your dentist if this bridge can work in filling your missing space.
Full and Partial Dentures
A denture is a set of prosthetic teeth that allows you to smile, talk and eat better than you could without functional teeth. Today’s dentures are sleeker and lighter than the ones of the past. For most people, they are virtually indistinguishable from a natural smile. This one little accessory makes wearers smile more and boosts self-esteem when missing a tooth. That’s a simple yet wonderful thing!
Wrigleyville Dental fits patients for full and partial dentures. A partial denture is best if you have lost one or more teeth, whereas a full denture is optimal if you lose all of your teeth. In some cases, we might suggest using dental implants to secure a denture. Every mouth is different, so we like to customize your treatment to your unique situation. And of course, we use the most biocompatible materials to ensure your health. If you would like to know more about this procedure, ask us!
If you have a denture, you should continue to come for your regularly scheduled exams or at least every six months for preventive care exams, oral cancer screenings and to have your denture cleaned.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry encourage parents to establish a dental home for their child no later than 12 months of age.
We prefer to see young patients to ensure their teeth are developing properly and the parents understands how to take care of their child’s teeth. Nursing moms may need special instructions for their little ones. When a baby has their first tooth erupt, that’s a good time to get them in for an appointment.
As holistic dentists, we believe that lifestyle habits greatly influence the health of your child’s teeth and gums. Our practice provides nutritional consultation as part of the appointment to promote cavity healing and cavity prevention. Learning to make wise food choices at a young age will help your child avoid cavities and enjoy improved overall health as they grow up.
On account of growing research, our doctors are educated in assessing your child’s airway, the way the teeth fit together, spacing, and other factors to ensure their mouth is not negatively impacting their growth and cognition. Breathing through the nose, having lips closed and enough spacing between the teeth are all important factors in a healthy child. Not receiving enough oxygen during the day and night can impact a child’s behavior (including increased incidence of ADD/ADHD), trouble sleeping and trouble concentrating in school along with other factors. We will assess your child and make any necessary recommendations.
Going to the dentist should be a positive experience for children. So we make it a rocking good time! For the little ones, we offer explanations of what we’re doing, glove balloons, cartoons in the treatment rooms, a new toothbrush, and a treasure chest full of cool toys. They even get to pick a prize from the treasure chest when they’re done with their appointment.
Oral Cancer Screening
You may be aware that Oral Cancer is one of the fastest growing types of cancer in the US. Oral cancer kills one American every hour, and half of all cases of oral cancer are found among non-smokers and those under 40 years old. New research has conclusively found that oral cancer can develop from HPV, which means one’s risk for oral cancer is currently very high.
At Wrigleyville Dental, we’re all about prevention. That why we use OralID fluorescent technology to screen oral cancer, pre-cancer and abnormal lesions. Unlike conventional tests, OralID can catch oral cancer before it becomes visible to the naked eye. Catching oral cancer early vs. late is the difference between a 93% survival rate and a 52% survival rate.
Ask us about an oral cancer screening at your next visit. An ounce of prevention is always worth more than a pound of cure.