If you’re anticipating getting braces in your future, you’re probably aware that dental impressions are as well. Every year nearly four million people in the United States have braces, and all of them had to have an impression of their teeth taken before they were put on. While this process used to involve having two trays inserted in your mouth containing an unpleasant tasting substance, those days are largely in the past. One of the newest innovations in dental imaging technologies has made these messy, inaccurate, and unpleasant devices unnecessary.

What Are Impressions For?

Braces can do wonderful things for your oral health. By straightening out your teeth, they help to make dental hygiene easier, eliminating nooks and crannies that plaque and tartar can hang out in while also helping to eliminate bite problems. In addition to these practical benefits, they also improve the appearance of your smile. The first step of accomplishing this, however, is the dentist gaining a clear understanding of the condition of your teeth. To achieve this, there’s no better option than impressions.

Digital Impressions – The Imaging of the Future

As we mentioned earlier, impressions used to be taken using an unpleasant substance set in trays that were uncomfortable to wear. Even worse, when these impression were complete, they had a tendency to dry out, warp, and crack. All of this meant that they became more unreliable over time, sometimes requiring them to be taken again. Digital impressions spell an end to all that nonsense. Instead of using a physical medium to get an impression of your teeth, a special scanner is used to create a picture-perfect replica of your mouth in a digital 3D format. They’ll never degrade, they’re painless, and they provide a superior tool for your dentist.

The Digital Impression Procedure

Getting dental impressions is quick and easy. When you see your dentist for a digital impression, they’re going to use a specialized wand that captures the imagery. There’s no anesthetic involved or needed, as the process is completely painless. The wand uses specialized imaging technology to scan the interior of your mouth, flawlessly capturing every curve, bump, and depression on the surface of your teeth. Since they’re stored in a digital format they can be easily shared with specialists in seconds, and you’ll never have to worry about them getting lost in the mail. Even better, when it’s all done your dentist can share them with you and clearly show you what work needs to be done and where.

Want to know more? Contact St. Claire Dental today to arrange a meeting with Dr. Maureen Karl for dental care. Our team of professional and friendly office staff will help answer your questions and prepare you for your visit to our offices in Granbury, TX. Digital impressions bring clarity to your dental care choices that will make you feel confident in your treatment options. Don’t wait to reach out to us; we look forward to adding you to our dental patient family!

Your smile is the first impression that others have of you, so it makes sense that you would want it to be bright, white and healthy. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, more than 99 percent of all American adults believe that a smile is an important asset for social situations. Perhaps that is why so many patients are electing cosmetic dental procedures to improve their smiles and boost self-confidence.

Did you know…

that cosmetic dentistry is more than just teeth whitening? Your cosmetic dentist is also capable of transforming your smile’s shape, color, alignment, as well as filling in gaps and discreetly restoring decayed or damaged teeth with tooth-colored fillings. In fact, modern advancements in cosmetic dentistry have made it possible for patients to achieve nearly perfect teeth with cosmetic enhancements and restorations that are virtually undetectable to friends, family and peers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a candidate for cosmetic dentistry?

You may be a candidate for cosmetic dentistry if your healthy teeth have imperfections that you would prefer to be changed to enhance the appearance of your smile. It is important to recognize that esthetic dental treatments are not meant to alter your overall appearance, but rather to provide a positive change that compliments the health and natural appearance of your teeth. If you think cosmetic dentistry is right for you, contact your cosmetic dentist today to schedule a consultation.

What should I expect from my cosmetic dental visit?

Due to great strides in dentistry, cosmetic, restorative and general dentistry can overlap in a single visit. You can expect your cosmetic dentist to discuss health implications, as well as esthetics at your appointment.

What types of cosmetic treatments are available to me?

There are many types of cosmetic treatments available, from in-office teeth whitening to total smile make-overs. The types of treatments available to you will depend on your overall goals, but may include professional whitening, tooth-colored fillings, bonding, crowns, veneers, or dental implants.

What should I expect after receiving a cosmetic treatment?

You will receive special care instructions following your treatment. For example, if you have your teeth whitened you should avoid highly pigmented beverages and foods for several days to prevent staining. On the other hand, a dental implant make-over may require a significant amount of down time, as well as a temporary, but limited diet.

Provisional restorations are often used during complex restorative dental procedures to serve as temporary prosthetic replacements while patients wait for a permanent restoration. Provisional restorations offer patients to try-out the look and feel of the final prosthetic and make any necessary changes before the final fabrication and fitting. Unlike temporary prosthetics of the past, modern provisional restorations are highly functional and aesthetically pleasing. Today’s temporaries are composed of a quality acrylic resin that mimics the look and feel of permanent metal or ceramic restorations.

Did you know…

Provisional restorations are a primary component of smile reconstructions. In addition to serving cosmetic purposes for patients with missing or damaged teeth, dental temporaries provide the following functions:

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I need a provisional restoration during the course of my dental treatment?

You may need a provisional restoration if you are preparing to get a new crown, bridge, veneers, dental implants or some other permanent restoration. Temporaries may be put in place to ensure you are pleased with the aesthetics and fit of your new prosthetic. You may also be fit for a provisional restoration while you wait for a dental lab to finalize your permanent ones.

What should I expect when being fit for a dental temporary?

Temporaries are constructed in a dental laboratory using impressions and digital images of your teeth. The lab will produce a ‘wax-up’ that you will approve before the temporaries are fabricated. Your dentist will prepare your teeth for the provisional restorations and temporarily attach them to your teeth, where they will remain until you are ready for your permanent restorations.

Will I need to follow any special guidelines after receiving my temporary restoration?

You may need to wear your temporaries for just a few days or for several months depending on the type of dental reconstruction you are undergoing. Temporaries formed in place of crowns or veneers may only need to be worn for a few days to a few weeks, whereas dental implant and full-mouth reconstruction patients will need to wear provisional restorations for several months while the gums heal and the implants fuse with surrounding bone. Keep in mind that provisional restorations are less durable than permanent ones and are placed using provisional cement. Because it is possible for them to shift or become damaged, you should be careful to follow your dentist’s guidelines for caring for your temporaries – including using good oral hygiene, abiding by dietary restrictions, and using protective mouth gear during sports or high impact activity.

Initially, dentists in the mid-1800s had begun to use metal fillings such as platinum, lead, and other metals to fill missing areas of the tooth, also known as amalgam fillings. It wasn’t until the early 1960s that composite fillings became a possibility and completely changed dentistry forever. Composite fillings were able to be polished and blended better into the natural tooth than metal, and also had less risk of corrosion and microleakage that occurred from metal fillings. Composite fillings are safe, long-lasting, and reliable, and allow for more conservative methods of restorative treatments.

Did you know…

Composite fillings help preserve the natural tooth structure because it chemically bonds to the surface of the tooth. Its strong adhesive properties, which are made of both composite resin and silica, have more transparency and wear-resistance, and thanks to today’s technology, can be used to fill all teeth. While the process for composite fillings tends to take longer than amalgams, it preserves the natural parts of the tooth through discreet restoration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I qualify for composite tooth-colored fillings?

Any cavities, broken teeth, or deteriorating fillings you may have can qualify you for a tooth-colored filling. They’re typically used for small to moderate-sized restorations, and depending on how much is needing to be restored, it can even be repaired within one visit. If interested, contact Dr. Karl at St. Clair Dental to schedule a consultation.

What should I know about composite filling treatments?

At Dr. Karl’s office, your gums and teeth will be examined and cleaned and then anesthetized near the site of the filling area. After the area becomes completely numb, she will remove any decaying or damaged parts of the teeth to make room for the new filling. The filling will be mixed to closely match the natural color of your tooth, and once prepped, the resin will be placed over the area, and depending on the type of composite, cured with a curing light for at least a minute. Afterward, the composite will be shaped and polished, leaving you with a completely repaired tooth.

How do I take care of my composite fillings?

After the composite filling procedure, you will be able to return to your normal activities. Your teeth may experience some sensitivity due to the treatment, but it should subside within a few days. If any pain continues, then contact St. Clair Dental to report to Dr. Karl.

As dentists, we love understanding the ins and outs of tooth care, and we’re quite selective about the products we choose. One of the biggest questions we most often get asked is what kind of toothbrush should be used. Because preventative dentistry is primarily done at home, many people often use manual brushes for the convenience of price, its ability to remove debris, and its wide variety of tooth bristle textures. Electric brushes have become widely popular as well, but it leads many to wonder if electric brushes have any better benefits over manuals.

Did you know…

That there’s pretty much a neutral opinion all around over which brush is better? The American Dental Association does not choose a preference, because it’s able to see the benefits of both sides; electric toothbrushes can help those disabled with their brushing abilities and lessen the complications that come with manual toothbrushes, while manual toothbrushes can have more variety in bristles, from soft to hard. The gadgets of electric toothbrushes these days make brushing teeth a more engaging, especially when they include timers and different mode settings. Manuals, however, still benefit from reaching out to a wider audience, giving people more control over their brushing movements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which toothbrush should I choose: manual or electric?

At St Clair Dental, we believe that both have the same capabilities of removing plaque and debris and aid in giving people better oral care options. It depends on your specific needs. Electric brushes tend to be superior in terms of plaque removal, but also have a higher chance of damaging the gum line. Manual toothbrushes can be gentle on the teeth, but may not remove as much plaque sufficiently. At Dr. Karl’s office, she’ll recommend you the best toothbrush for your oral health.

What should I look for in toothbrush results?

All that matters is your ability to move the toothbrush in the mouth and behind the back teeth. If the head begins to interfere with your ability to reach your back molars, it may not benefit you and your oral care. The toothbrush may lack the ability to remove plaque more effectively. You should be able to see shiny, smooth surfaces along with your teeth and not any residue of plaque left.

How often should I change my electric toothbrush head?

Like manual toothbrushes, the heads of your electric toothbrush should be replaced once every three to four months. If you have any more questions about brushing habits, contact Dr. Karl today to learn more about oral health care.

Flossing is an important part of an oral hygiene routine, but research suggests that fewer than half of Americans do so daily. Flossing is simple and only takes an extra couple of minutes per day. Developing a healthy habit of flossing can prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and it may allow you to keep more of your natural teeth as you age. So what is the most effective means of flossing?

  1. Pull the floss taught and slide it between two teeth.
  2. Pull against the side of one tooth, creating a “C-shape” and sliding upwards to remove plaque build-up.
  3. Pull against the opposite tooth edge using the same technique.
  4. Repeat this process for each tooth until all inner surfaces have been flossed.
  5. Don’t forget to floss the backs of your molars!

Need some extra tips?

The American Dental Association recommends using a strand of floss approximately 18 inches in length. It is important to only use clean floss as you move between the teeth. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by looping each end of the floss around your fingers and beginning to floss with the area closest to one end. If you have never flossed, be sure to ask your dentist for a quick in-person tutorial at your next check-up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I be flossing?

Yes. The ADA recommends that everyone floss in order to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Even if you have restorations, such as crowns or veneers, good oral hygiene is essential for prolonging their use and maintaining your oral health.

What types of results should I get from flossing?

You may not experience immediate results from flossing, but over time, your habit will pay off. Flossing can prevent tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss – all of which can be highly inconvenient and expensive to treat. A piece of floss that costs just pennies could save you thousands of dollars later on.

Is there anything else I should be doing in addition to flossing?

Yes. In addition to flossing, you should be adopting proper brushing techniques and visiting your dentist at least twice per year for examinations and professional dental cleanings.

Fluoride can repair teeth at the microscopic stages of cavity development. As a naturally occurring element, fluoride can help strengthen teeth in children and prevent decay. Our dental practice endorses the use of fluoride alongside the American Dental Association and other associations. Fluoride works to rebuild enamel by rebuilding lost calcium and phosphate, both of which are mineral naturally present in saliva. At St. Clair Dental, Dr. Karl can provide fluoride treatments for both children and adults, and by proxy, provide good oral health checkups for new and reoccurring dentists.

Did you know…

Fluoride is an essential mineral present in public water supplies, water bottles, and toothpaste. Many towns and cities add fluoride to public water to promote better dental health. Fluoride can be seen as one of the main minerals found under the label’s ingredients section for water manufacturers and bottled water companies. You can find out if you’ve been receiving fluoride by contacting your local water utility station and your bottled water company.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to get fluoride treatments?

Because fluoride is an essential part of oral health, if you have not been receiving fluoride from your water supplies, then getting fluoride treatment can benefit you overall. A lack of fluoride can cause gum recession and increase the risk of tooth decay. Still, fluoride treatments can completely restore your fluoride needs and give you the oral support necessary for healthy teeth and gums. If you have more concerns about fluoride treatments, contact Dr. Karl to schedule a consultation.

What happens during a fluoride treatment?

During a fluoride treatment, Dr. Karl will distribute a fluoridated gel, foam, or varnish that’s placed into a tray and then placed upon your teeth. For children, they can receive fluoride treatments with tasty flavors to help ease the process. After sitting from 5 to 10 minutes, your treatment is done. These treatments are painless and can be done between one and four times per year during biannual checkups.

How can I supplement my fluoride treatments?

Supplement your fluoride treatments by drinking water with fluoride in it, or receiving fluoride from your toothpaste when you brush your teeth.

If you are undergoing a dental procedure or operation, you will be given a set of post-operative instructions to abide by in the hours, days, and weeks after your treatment. Following these instructions is essential to preventing infections in surgical sites, protecting restorations, and minimizing the possibility of experiencing complications. Post-operative instructions vary from procedure to procedure, but you are still sure to have some questions regarding care. Your [city] dentist will be available to answer those questions and respond to any concerns you may have.

Try to anticipate some of the questions you may have about your post-operative care and ask them prior to your treatment.

Some of the most common post-op questions include:

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I talk with my dentist about the questions I have regarding my post-operative care?

Yes. Your post-operative care is contingent on you understanding everything about the recovery process and your responsibilities in caring for your surgical site.

What should I expect when I speak with my dentist?

Your dentist should allocate enough time in your consultation and pre-operative exam to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have. You should also be provided a phone number that you can call following your procedure to discuss any questions that may come up at that time.

Is there anything I can do to make the process easier?

Yes. Begin thinking of any questions you may have about your post-operative care, and begin writing them down. You’ll be ready to ask all of your questions when the opportunity arises without missing any important details.

Crowns and bridges make a perfect combination for restorations – they provide support for surrounding healthy teeth, help replace damaged teeth, and restore the structure of the gums and jawbone. Crowns and bridges can help restore underlying oral conditions, such as periodontal disease and severe tooth decay, and help patients regain the beauty and function of their smile.

Did you know…
These custom-fitted prosthetic devices have their purpose; the crown, or cap, is affixed over a tooth structure or implant frame to replace single or multiple missing teeth, and the bridge helps fill in numerous gaps by using an anchor and is then supported by the surrounding teeth or crowns. Originally, crowns were used by the Etruscan civilizations to restore teeth, using materials such as ivory, gold, and bones. These methods of restoration were continued to be used up until the 20th century when porcelain crowns were invented.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I qualified for crowns or bridges?

Crowns and bridges are customized explicitly for a person’s bite – if you have decaying and damaged teeth, then either of these procedures could help you. These procedures all depend on the condition of your teeth. If you only have decaying teeth, then crowns could help restore the tooth entirely, while bridges can help replace the former positions of the surrounding teeth as well as replace your damaged teeth. If you’re still wondering if you qualify, then contact Dr. Karl today to schedule a consultation.

What should I understand about crown and bridge placements?

Before beginning any procedures involving crowns or bridges, Dr. Karl will need to take alginate or digital impression of your teeth to fabricate the new prosthetic devices. While those impressions will be sent to the dental lab, Dr. Karl will prep the teeth by removing portions of the enamel before placing a temporary crown with removable glue. Patients will need to wait two weeks before receiving their permanent restorations, and during this time, any issues with the temporary crowns can be addressed. Afterward, the permanent restorations will be placed onto the tooth structures, and patients will receive their new smiles as a result!

What post-treatment instructions do I need to follow?

During this time, your mouth will need to heal and adjust to the new crown or bridge placement so that you could experience some hot and cold sensitivity. You may also experience some soreness around the gums, as it will take a few days to heal. After a few days, you’ll be able to speak, eat, and sleep without any feelings of discomfort. If you have any more concerns about crowns and bridges, then schedule an appointment with St. Clair Dental today to meet with Dr. Karl for a consultation.

Dentures are removable tooth prosthetics designed to look and function like natural teeth. For thousands of years, some form of denture has been used to fill in the gaps left by missing teeth, although today’s dentures are much more advanced and easier to care for. Most dentures are composed of replacement teeth attached to plastic bases that take on the appearance of the gums. They are used to compensate for one or more missing teeth, and are available as partials and complete sets of teeth. Many dental patients elect dentures for tooth replacement if they are not candidates for dental implants or are otherwise looking for a tooth replacement option that is more affordable and budget-friendly.

Did you know…

Your dentures are custom designed to fit your smile, but did you know that improperly caring for them can cause them to become distorted? Most removable dentures must maintain moisture to retain their shape. Be sure to wash them after eating, gently clean them once daily, and allow them to soak overnight in a denture soaking solution. This will keep your dentures clean and free of stains, which ultimately helps your smile look its best.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I am a candidate for removable dentures?

If you are missing one or more teeth and thinking of getting dentures, you will first need a professional consultation with a dentist experienced in denture placement. During this time, you can explore your tooth prosthetic options, ask questions, and make a decision as to whether dentures are right for you.

What should I expect when being fitted for dentures?

Your gums must first be prepared before you can begin wearing dentures. If you need one or more teeth removed, the process could take several months while you wait for your gums to heal from the extractions. An impression will then be taken of your gums and the supporting bones beneath the gum, which will be used to fabricate a complete or partial denture in a dental lab.

Will I need to follow any special after-care instructions?

Once your dentures are ready, you can begin wearing them on a daily basis. Expect the first few weeks to be an adjustment period, during which time you will adapt to the feel of your new dentures, as well as learn how to manipulate your tongue and cheek muscles to keep them in place. You may also experience slight irritation or soreness from the initial denture wear although this should subside after a few days or weeks.

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