When you think of tooth restoration, the first thing that often comes to mind is fillings. It’s the most common restorative procedure we do. But there’s so much more we can do to restore a smile that has become damaged or decayed. Some of the outstanding restorations Dr. Fernandez can perform right here at Highland Dental Clinic are:
- Tooth-colored fillings
- Porcelain inlays/onlays
- Crowns and bridges
- Dentures and partials
- Dental implants
An outstanding feature at our dental office is the techniques we use to preserve your underlying bone structure after tooth extractions. These are called atraumatic extractions, and Dr. Fernandez is a restorative dentist who uses the most up-to-date tools and techniques, such as bone grafting and digital CT scanning, to keep your jaws strong.
Giving Your Smile Function and Stability
If you need dental implants or other restorations to replace a missing tooth, then maintaining strong jaws will help your restoration be that much more secure and permanent. If we neglect this important function, then it’s very possible that the muscles and skin in your face will start to sag and wrinkle, making you look much older than you are.
Ask Dr. Fernandez to show you how important it is to keep blood flowing to the jawbones so they get the nutrients they need to remain strong and healthy.
Gentle, Stress-Free Tooth Removal
When you read about our comprehensive dental restoration treatment, you’ll see that Dr. Fernandez performs many services, such as tooth extractions, that many other dentists refer out to a dental surgeon. Isn’t it a relief that you don’t have to go to a new dentist to have a tooth removed? Dr. Fernandez will make sure you are comfortable during these procedures, including giving you oral sedation if you’re especially anxious. But you already know about her gentle dentistry, and her commitment to her patients’ comfort, so you can face a dental extraction with as little apprehension as possible.
At Highland Dental Clinic, we think old-fashioned metal or amalgam, fillings are unattractive and less healthy than contemporary “white” fillings. Old fashioned metal fillings can contain mercury. We now use color-matched composite resins to repair cavities. Composite fillings look and feel like natural teeth. When you laugh, no one will know you ever had a cavity!
The composite material molds itself to the space in your tooth and creates a permanent bond, which helps the tooth retain its strength. It won’t expand and contract with heat or cold the way metal fillings can, weakening the tooth. The shade or color of the composite fillings are closely matched to the color of existing teeth, so no one will ever know you have a filling.
With white fillings, you’ll look and feel healthier. Laughing will be fun again, not something you have to hide or suppress because you don’t want to reveal metal fillings or broken teeth. If you’ve been hiding your smile for a long time, this might take some getting used to, but what could be easier than smiling and laughing and completely enjoying your time with friends and family, and reacting to happiness and humor freely and naturally?
Porcelain Inlays / Onlays
Minor cavities can be filled with a composite resin or white filling… But if the decay is more severe, there may not have enough of the tooth left to support a filling. In this case, we can restore the tooth with a porcelain dental inlay or onlay.
Inlays and onlays cover more of the tooth’s surface, and it will take two visits to complete them. The difference between an inlay and an onlay is in how much of the tooth each one covers. An inlay covers the top of your tooth up to the cusps, the rounded edges on your tooth. An onlay is used to cover more of the tooth and extends beyond the cusps.
At the first visit, Dr. Fernandez will first clear the tooth of decay, then make impressions of your teeth to send to a dental laboratory. Before you leave your first appointment, she’ll put a temporary inlay or filling in the tooth. When the inlay or onlay is ready, you’ll come back for your second visit where she removes the temporary filling and then cements the inlay/onlay onto your tooth.
Crowns / Bridges
Dental crowns are a well-known solution for restoring a damaged tooth to its correct shape, size, and function.
A crown covers the visible portion of your natural tooth all the way down to the gum line and may be recommended for several reasons. If you have a large filling that needs to be repaired or replaced or if your tooth is weak or fractured, a porcelain crown might be your best option.
Your dental crown is made from porcelain or porcelain fused to metal (PFM) and crafted in our own dental lab. A porcelain crown not only restores your tooth to its appropriate shape and size, but it also provides the added support necessary to distribute the force from chewing placed on your other teeth.
Since the gap left by a missing tooth can cause the remaining teeth to shift, it is important to replace the missing tooth or teeth as soon as possible. Fixed bridges are one of the solutions for doing so.
Bridges consist of an artificial tooth and supporting crowns on adjacent teeth. Traditional bridges are usually made from porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
An alternative to dental bridges are dental implants with crowns.
Dentures / Partials
Dentures and partials replace missing teeth and can be taken in and out of your mouth. They give you the ability to chew your food and give you a natural appearance. Wearing a denture to replace missing teeth provides support for the lips and cheeks and corrects the collapsed appearance that results from the loss of teeth.
Dentures take some getting used to, and will never feel exactly the same as your natural teeth. Another popular option that we offer our patients is an implant-retained denture. An implant-retained denture has special attachments that snap onto attachments on the implants in your bone, holding your denture firmly in place.
Partial dentures are another alternative for our patients who are missing one or more teeth. A partial is a dental prosthesis with an artificial tooth or teeth that can be removed from the mouth. Artificial teeth are placed on a molded base to which clasps are added. The clasps and base stabilize the partial, helping to hold the teeth in place. Over time, dentures and partials may need to be adjusted or replaced as they show signs of age and wear, or become loose.
Endodontics is known mostly by its more common name, root canal therapy. This is a dental treatment for removing an infection from inside a tooth. It can also protect the tooth from future infections. It is carried out in the pulp of the tooth, which is the root. Very often it involves removing the infected root entirely and filling the canal with a special rubber-like substance that will form itself to your root canal.
Dr. Fernandez can perform many root canal surgeries in our office in Lakeland on premolar and molar teeth, the back teeth that are behind your canine teeth. Depending on the nature of the problem and her judgment, she may choose to refer you to an oral surgeon for more complex endodontic work.
You will be given local or general anesthesia, then an incision is made in your gum. Dr. Fernandez (or a surgeon) will remove the tooth and its pulp, and then close the gum with stitches. The incision will be packed with gauze to stop any bleeding.
You’ll want to rest for the remainder of the day of your surgery and can go back to your normal activities the next day. You should wait a few days to let the incisions heal before doing anything strenuous.
Dr. Fernandez will then complete the root canal process by placing a crown in place of the tooth that’s been removed.
In many cases, Dr. Fernandez can perform tooth extractions in our office. These can include wisdom teeth or bony impacted teeth (teeth that haven’t pushed through the gum). If your case is more severe or complex, she may suggest coordinating your care with an oral surgeon.
Dr. Fernandez has refined her oral and maxillofacial surgery technique to prevent as much bone loss and trauma as possible during and after tooth extractions. Bone loss after tooth extraction can be dramatic, especially in the first year. The socket and surrounding bone can start to collapse in on itself. This will make replacing your tooth more difficult and we may not be able to duplicate the original tooth with a crown because it won’t fit into the socket.
Preserving the jaw bone is an important area of concern because of its importance in maintaining facial structure and elasticity. Knowing this, we do extractions in as atraumatic a manner as possible. We use the latest, minimally invasive techniques and tools, such as a soft tissue laser and thin, flat tools separate the tooth from the gum to preserve the bone. Dr. Fernandez can also perform a bone graft to strengthen the affected area.
We also will plan to replace your tooth as soon as possible. It’s the best way to keep your facial structure intact, and avoid preliminary wrinkling and sagging.