We schedule appointments to meet the needs of our patients, with a shared responsibility for honoring time, money and the quality of care commitments. Emergency Service is provided by appointment and Dr. Frank is on call 24 hours for emergencies to his patients.
New Patients are always Welcome! Our regular Office Hours are as follows:
Monday 8:00am ~ 5:00pm
Tuesday 8:00am ~ 5:00pm
Wednesday 8:00am ~ 5:00pm
Thursday 8:00am ~ 3:00pm
Fri - Sun Closed
Please call us at 303-722-2686 to schedule an appointment NOW!
DENTAL SERVICES AVAILABLE
- Invisalign® - The invisible way to straighten your teeth without braces. See this page for more details.
- Preventive Dentistry to insure healthy gums, teeth and jaws - cleaning, necessary x-rays, Head and Neck exam, analysis of occlusal disease and appropriate treatment plan
- Treatment of Occlusal Disease - analysis of how the teeth and jaw bones come together during chewing, and correcting any problems causing TMD, broken teeth, or headache, neckache or backache
- Crowns and Bridges - must be in proper position for esthetics and function
- Dental Implants - replacement of missing teeth with artificial teeth similar in appearance and feel to the natural teeth
- Cosmetic Dentistry - Bleaching, Bonding, Veneers and reshaping of teeth to bring out fullness of your smile
- Treatment of Dental Decay - removal of diseased tooth structure and replacement with tooth colored bonded fillings or one of several other materials of your choice
- Root Canal Therapy - sometimes a tooth dies inside causing pain and/or swelling, but the tooth is still good...instead of extracting the tooth and the cost of replacing the missing tooth, consider a root canal to save the tooth. They are not as bad as all the stories thanks to many new techniques.
- Removal of Wisdom Teeth (Third Molars) - many impactions are removed, but if necessary, referral to caring oral surgeons is made
- Partial and Full Dentures - restoring you to your natural smile and chewing ability is our ultimate goal... sometimes dental implants, precision attachments and/or crowns can contribute to a better result
All the topics below (click to expand) are also available as PDF files on the Patient Education page.
Tooth loss can occur for a variety reasons, of which some are under a person’s control and some are not.
It is not uncommon for a tooth or teeth to be congenitally absent. This is a tooth of teeth that never develop, so they never erupt into their “normal” position. Most commonly, the primary (baby) tooth is present, but there is no successor (permanent tooth) to replace it. Often this baby tooth will remain in place and will function until it fails due primarily to lack of root support.
There are many causes for loss of teeth due to trauma. Teeth can be “knocked out” from a sports or bicycle accident, or it can affect the teeth in ways that do not show up until months or even years later.
The most common cause for tooth loss is gum (periodontal) disease. This is basically a localized infection in the gums and supporting tissues of the teeth leading to bone loss. This can progress to the point that the teeth either fall out or need to be removed. Dental caries (decay) can also progress to the extent that the teeth are non restorable and need to be removed.
Teeth may also crack or fracture in a way that can not be restored and necessitate removal. This can happen as the result of clenching and grinding habits, or for mechanical reasons from a poor bite.
Reasons for Replacing a Missing Tooth or Teeth
The benefits should be weighed against the risks of leaving the space, as well as resulting changes that may take place in the rest of the dentition.
When teeth are removed, the bone that supports the teeth tends to shrink over time. This process is called resorption, and this is a natural consequence of the loss of bone function in the area. The bone will lose both height and width from resorption. This sometimes leads to difficulty wearing a removable denture due to lack of an adequate “ridge” for stability. In the esthetic zone where loss of ridge volume can be visibly apparent, this can lead to a cosmetic defect. As the bone resorbs the gum shrinks away with it creating a defect that can be unsightly and promote food impaction under adjacent teeth.
Drifting of the teeth can also be a complication with the loss of teeth. The adjacent teeth to the area can lean over into the vacant space. Likewise, loss of a tooth or teeth can lead to shifting of the opposing teeth as they drift either up or down into the open space (super-erupt).
In general, teeth have a tendency to move towards the front of our mouths and towards the opposing jaw, unless they are stopped, usually by adjacent or opposing teeth. As teeth drift, they create discrepancies in the height and contours of the gum tissue and predispose adjacent teeth to periodontal disease progression and/or dental decay due to difficulty in cleaning these areas. Drifting teeth can also adversely affect the occlusion (bite), as well as cosmetics of the face and smile.
This is a Tooth Restorative procedure. It is the application of a tooth-colored resin material using adhesives and a high intensity curing light. The procedure is named because materials are bonded to the tooth.
Dental Bonding can be used, but is not limited to, the following dental conditions:
- to repair decayed teeth (Composite resins used to fill cavities)
- to repair chipped or cracked teeth
- to improve the appearance of discolored teeth
- to close spaces between teeth
- to make teeth look longer
- to change the shape of teeth
- as a cosmetic restorative material
- to protect a portion of the tooth's root and/or biting surface
Pros and Cons of Dental Bonding
Pros- Dental bonding is one of the most common and least expensive of all procedures. It can usually be done in one office visit unless multiple teeth are involved. One of the largest advantages to bonding is that compared to veneers and crowns, it requires little to no removal of tooth enamel unless it is decayed.
Cons- The material used in dental bonding is not as strong as your real teeth, so biting fingernails or chewing on hard objects can actually chip the material. Bonding may only last a few years before needing repair from chipping or staining compared to porcelain veneers and crowns.
Caring for Bonded Teeth
Bonded teeth are really no different than your natural teeth in your home care. Following good oral health care with daily brushing and flossing will assist in maintaining clean teeth and a healthy smile. Because the material used in bonding can chip, it is best to avoid biting hard objects that may cause damage.
Proper care of the gums is an important factor in oral and Overall health. Gum disease, also know as Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition affecting the tissues that surround and support the teeth. Periodontal disease is the number 1 cause of tooth loss in the United States. The disease process begins with bacteria in the plaque, which is the sticky film that constantly forms on the teeth. If this is not mechanically removed daily with brushing and flossing, the plaque can build up and become mineralized on the teeth, and this is called tartar or calculus. This build up process can lead to infection of the gums and teeth and can progress to loss of gum tissues and bone supporting the teeth and eventually lead to tooth loss.
Signs of Gum Disease:
When plaque builds up around teeth without proper daily cleaning, gums become infected and the bone recedes. Teeth can become sensitive as the root of the tooth becomes exposed, and pus may be produced and pockets may form around the tooth. These processes and effects on the teeth and supporting tissues are not always visible when looking at the teeth and if left undetected may contribute to tooth loss. For this reason, it is important to visit the dentist regularly so they can look for the following signs of gum disease:
– bleeding gums during brushing or flossing
– sensitive, red and/or swollen gums
– measuring for pocketing around the teeth
– bad breath
– teeth that are loose or appear to have shifted
Stages of Gum Disease:
This is the earliest stage of gum disease, and is limited to the inflammation of the gums caused by plaque build up. When the plaque is not removed daily with proper brushing and flossing, it produces toxins that can irritate the gum tissue. This is an early stage in gum disease and can be reversed with proper treatment and home-care.
This is the stage that is characterized by loss of supporting bone and fibers that hold the teeth and this damage is Irreversible. Periodontitis involves pocketing around the affected teeth, and only proper dental treatment and improved home-care can stabilize and prevent further damage.
This is the final stage of gum disease in which the fibers and bone supporting your teeth are destroyed, which leads to loosened and shifting teeth. If aggressive therapy can not save the teeth, then the severely affected teeth may need to be removed
Gum disease can be potentially bad and it is an avoidable occurrence that can be treated with routine dental care.
Risks of Gum Disease:
Research has found that there are links from gum disease to heart disease and stroke
There are several theories for this association.
– Inflammation caused by periodontal disease increases plaque build up, which can contribute to swelling of the arteries. People with periodontal disease are nearly two times as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as compared to those people without the condition.
– Theories suggest that oral bacteria affect the heart when they enter the blood stream, by attaching to fatty plaque deposits in the arteries and contributing to clot formation. Coronary artery disease is caused by the thickening of the walls of the artery due to the build up of fatty acids. Blood clots obstruct the normal flow of blood and lead to insufficient nutrients and oxygen to the heart leading to heart attacks.
Research has also found that oral disease is a risk factor for stroke, as people with periodontal disease were more likely to be victims of stroke.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, pregnant women with Periodontal disease may be up to seven times more likely to have a baby that is born prematurely and small. Additionally, women whose periodontal disease worsens during pregnancy have an even higher risk of having a premature baby. The current recommendations are that women considering pregnancy have a periodontal evaluation as a precaution because of the link between periodontal disease and the health of the baby.
Treatment for Gum Disease
Depending on the stage of the disease will determine the level of treatment necessary. Often times, the dentist after preliminary evaluation, will refer the patient to a Periodontist, who is a dentist specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal diseases.
Treatments available are non-surgical and/or surgical :
Non-surgical treatment stresses that periodontal health should be achieved in the least invasive and most cost effective manner possible. This may be accomplished through scaling and root planning, which is a cleaning, with anesthetic, of the root surfaces to remove plaque and tartar from deep periodontal pockets and smooth the surfaces free of bacterial toxins. This may be followed by antimicrobials and cleaning aids to help the patient on a case by case basis. In the event that non surgical therapy does not achieve the desired results, surgical treatments may be necessary to restore the gums.
Surgical treatments may involve Pocket elimination surgery to reduce the depth of the pocket to aid in daily maintenance of the teeth. This may be done in conjunction with regenerative therapy which involves grafting bone to potentially induce bone re-growth. Laser therapy may also be used in conjunction with scale and root planning to enhance the effectiveness of the procedure in detoxifying the tooth surfaces for healing and maintenance.
Depending on circumstances, Implants are becoming the treatment of choice. Most significant among these is the expected longevity, strength and stability offered by implant treatment. There are other common treatment options for missing teeth.
Dental implants are made from surgical grade Titanium, and in most cases offer a permanent solution for one or more missing teeth. This serves then as a stable base for one or more custom replacement teeth called dental crowns. Dental implants are frequently the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth because unlike dentures that rest on the gingival tissues or the use of adjacent teeth as anchors, dental implants are long-term replacements that recreate the natural anatomy, apply the biting forces directly to the bone like natural teeth, and allow us to leave the adjacent teeth untouched.
Teeth can also be replaced with a fixed bridge. This requires adjacent teeth that are adequate in number and in good health to support the artificial teeth. In order to fabricate a bridge, the adjacent teeth are prepared by reducing their size to make room for the prosthetic tooth restoration. A prosthetic tooth can then be suspended between the two adjacent teeth in a functional and cosmetic way. The limitation of this form of treatment has to do with the irreversible preparation of the adjacent teeth for supporting the bridge. Long-term, fixed bridges between teeth have an average life expectancy of 10-12 years before they require replacement, and then this usually requires further reduction of the tooth depending on decay and periodontal status of the teeth.
Removable partial dentures can replace a missing tooth or several teeth. They can also be a complete denture replacing an entire arch either upper or lower teeth. Partial dentures rely on support by the other teeth and from mechanical support from the remaining ridge of underlying bone and gum tissues. Partial dentures will typically have some type of retentive clasp on teeth to assist in holding the denture in place as well.
Modern dentistry focuses on the principles of minimally invasive dentistry which serves to preserve as much of the natural tooth structure as possible when restoring damaged or worn teeth. Once natural tooth structure is lost from decay, gum disease, or by drilling by a dentist, it can not simply grow back. It is forever gone, and the maintenance of the remaining tooth becomes an issue as no restoration will last forever.
Dentistry at its basic level is preventative, but the need to restore teeth to their natural condition is often needed as decayed, damaged or otherwise compromised dentition can result in more severe and costly treatments if left untreated. Dentists use digital x-rays and other clinical signs to locate tooth decay in the earliest stages. Tooth sensitivity is the most common early sign of enamel loss due to tooth decay. While there could be a number of reasons for this sensation, it is our responsibility as dentists to diagnose the underlying cause. If this damaged tooth surface is not treated early, the discomfort will increase
A filling repairs and restores the the surface of a tooth damaged by decay, fracture or wear. A dental filling can strengthen the tooth. Then, with proper homecare and routine cleaning and exam appointments, a filling has a lifespan on the average or 5 to 12 years, depending upon the type of filling material used.
Occlusal equilibration is the mechanical adjustment of the teeth to bring the teeth, jaws, joints and muscles into harmony with one another. The adjustment can be done on teeth, dentures, crowns, bridges, fillings and other oral appliances to a position that allows your lower jaw to function in a natural hinge in relation to your upper jaw without interferences from the teeth.
Is it harmful to your teeth?
Your mouth is being equilibrated because a problem exists. This can be manifested in the mouth or jaws as pain, abnormal wear, breaking of restorations or teeth, head ache, neck ache, back pain, or joint discomfort to mention a few. The problem is usually present due to the fact that the teeth and/or restorations do not work in harmony with lower jaw at the proper position. The teeth and fillings have not been worn in properly. Occlusal equilibration wears some ares on the surfaces of the teeth mechanically and allows the teeth to meet in proper occlusion with one another. It is not harmful and is beneficial.
Outcome and future
A simple occlusal equilibration can be accomplished in a short time. Only slight future changes in your bite occur over a period of time because of small movements of the teeth in the jaw bones or new restorations. More complicated equilibrations may require several appointments, and the teeth may shift a little more between appointments. When your symptoms are gone and your occlusion is relatively stable, your equilibration is complete. Placement of any new restorations or appliances in your mouth will change the way the teeth contact. The dentist accomplishing this treatment should be advised of any past occlusion/bite/joint problems.
How will your teeth feel?
After occlusal equilibration your bite will feel different to you, but it should be comfortable. This is to be expected. You will gradually accommodate to this new location as your new chewing position, and this will feel very good.