Although I love treating my patients preventatively, I know that this isn’t always possible. I offer general dental treatments along with preventative and holistic 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 might be necessary to get a filling to avoid the decay from spreading, resulting in a crown, root canal, or losing the tooth altogether. At Wrigleyville Dental, we place biocompatible tooth colored fillings, as opposed to silver amalgam fillings.
Why no silver fillings? Silver fillings, also known as amalgams, 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 mercury is unsafe for any medical or dental treatment. Many patients have tested sensitive or allergic to mercury. With time, many patients with amalgam fillings become mercury toxic (as shown by a blood/urine/hair/fecal test run by their physician). Rather than risk your health, I choose to place only metal-free composite resin fillings. I’ve also received extensive training from the IAOMT in the protocol for removing old silver amalgam fillings and replacing them with color-matched composite fillings.
When a tooth is too badly decayed or more than 50% of the tooth structure is missing/damaged, we may suggest placing a crown. A crown is manufactured in a lab and “caps” a natural tooth. Dental crowns are a commonplace dental restoration and have been used, in one form or another, for thousands of years. We offer porcelain crowns, gold crowns, and incredibly strong, silica-free zirconia crowns. Metal crowns are made only by request.
A Crown may be used to:
- Restore the tooth’s function and appearance
- Decrease tooth fracturing on weakened teeth and seal them against further infection
- Maintain proper spacing and occlusion (bite)
- Act as auxiliary pieces in other prostheses, such as anchoring a dental bridge
- Mask discolored teeth that resist teeth whitening systems
A crown is usually completed in two appointments. First, the tooth is reshaped. Then we take impressions of the prepared tooth before sealing it with a temporary crown. We send these impressions to a dental lab where highly trained technicians create a custom-fitted crown. Finally, when the crown arrives back from the lab (approximately 2-3 weeks later), we remove the temporary crown and bond the permanent crown into place.
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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), we may recommend a root canal.
Roots canals have the reputation of being scary, but once the area is numbed, you shouldn’t feel any discomfort for the rest of the procedure.
Here’s what happens. First, we make a small hole on the tooth and find the pulp chamber in to remove any decayed tissue. Next, the canals are sterilized and dried. We use ozonated water and gas to kill any lingering bacteria in the canals. We then fill the canals with a rubbery compound called gutta-percha. 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.
Some patients experience post-procedure soreness, but it goes away with over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Ibuprofen. 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 root canal treatment. This may or may not be a good choice for you, so we’ll make sure to talk about your risks, benefits, and other options.
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
- Malocclusions (uneven bites) that cause 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
- Open bites that can lead to speech impediments or improper nutrition
Metal braces take an average of two years to complete. That’s a long time to live with discomfort and a metal-mouth grin. That’s why we offer Invisalign clear aligners.
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 aligners. Treatment time ranges from 4-24 months, but averages about 12 months.
Invisalign is a better alternative to traditional braces because:
- Aligners can be removed during mealtimes 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!)
Sometimes it’s in a patient’s best interest to have a tooth extracted. An extraction may be necessary when
- A tooth is loosened by advanced gum disease
- Teeth are extremely injured or infected
- Wisdom teeth trap bacteria causing infection or cause damage to neighboring teeth.
- Space needs to be made along the dental arch to move remaining teeth during orthodontic therapy, like Invisalign.
The tooth and its surrounding area are anesthetized before the tooth is loosened and then removed entirely. The socket is then thoroughly cleaned with ozonated water and ozone gas. Some patients feel pressure during the removal but no sharp pain should be felt. Of course, the area may be sore, but that should go away after a few days.
Once you heal from a tooth extraction, replacing the extracted tooth with an implant, partial denture, or a 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 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. Metal bridges are made only by request.
Placing a bridge is a simple procedure that can be done in two visits. At the first appointment, we numb the area with anesthetic and prepare the anchoring teeth, take impressions of the teeth, and send those impressions to the lab. We then place a temporary bridge which you’ll wear until your permanent bridge is ready in 2-3 weeks. On the second visit, we fit and cement the custom-made bridge and make sure to match your existing tooth color. Your smile is once again complete.
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. 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. If you would like to know more about this procedure, ask us!
We consult our denture patients about care and products once they receive them. 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 sooner your child sees a dentist, the better it is for their oral health and getting them used to the routine. We prefer to see younger patients by their second birthday to ensure their teeth are developing properly and the parents understands how to take care of their child’s teeth.
As a holistic dentist, I 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 stay away from the dental chair and enjoy improved overall health as they grow up.
After an exam and a gentle, thorough cleaning, we may suggest to place dental sealants to protect against cavities. Since kid’s brushing habits are still developing, dental sealants ensure that food and plaque do not become lodged in those harder to reach places.
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 cartoons in the treatment rooms, coloring books, and a treasure chest full of cool toys.
Oral Cancer Screening *NEW*
You may be aware the 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 goes up from being sexually active.
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 comes 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 your oral cancer screening at your next visit. An ounce of prevention is always worth more than a pound of cure.