What’s a CEREC Dental Crown?

capable dental crownDental crowns, often crafted from dental ceramic because of the material’s ability to mimic natural tooth structure, are a common restorative and cosmetic solution to numerous dental health issues. Before placing a crown over a tooth, Dr. Foster first prepares the tooth by sculpting a minimal amount of its structure from the top. Usually, you’d have to wear a temporary crown while a dental lab crafted your permanent porcelain one. With CEREC, Dr. Foster can prepare your tooth, craft your custom restoration, and place it over the tooth all in the same office, and often during the same visit.

No Middle-Man

CEREC technology, which stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, is a sophisticated method of creating lifelike porcelain dental enhancements in-office. After preparing an afflicted tooth, Dr. Foster will take precise, digital measurements of your mouth and tooth, then send to the specifications digitally to the on-site CEREC milling machine. The computer-based process can also help Dr. Foster create partial crowns (inlays and onlays) for patients who don’t require a complete dental crown.

What Else can CEREC Do?

While partial and complete dental crowns are popular, they aren’t the only ceramic restorations that Dr. Foster can create in-office using CEREC technology. Patients who need to cosmetically enhance their smile due to several teeth blemishes can benefit from CEREC-crafted porcelain veneers. If you’ve lost a tooth, then Dr. Foster can create a durable dental bridge to restore your smile’s beauty and function.

Is Same-Day Ceramics Right for You?

Quicker treatment times, fewer dental visits, and no need for temporaries are among the many benefits of CEREC, but the technology also has certain limits. For instance, the on-site machine is best-suited to small restorations consisting of up to three or four pieces, but may not work as well to create larger restorations. If you require a complete set of veneers or a significantly-sized dental bridge, then Dr. Foster may prefer to call on our trusted dental lab for more durable construction.

About Your Columbia, TN Dentist:

David Foster, DDS is a Columbia, TN native who’s served the dental needs of patients and their families in our community since 1985. If you live in Columbia, Lewisburg, Lawrenceburg, Hohenwald, Centerville, Pulaski, or any of the surrounding communities, then call us today at (931) 388 – 3384 to schedule an appointment.

Should You Upgrade Your Dental Bridge?

all white teethAs one of the oldest forms of prosthetic dentistry, examples of dental bridges have been found among the remains of many ancient civilizations. For instance, the Etruscans fashioned the restorations out of gold almost 2,000 years ago. Today, instead of gold, most dental bridges are made from lifelike dental porcelain that’s modeled after your natural tooth structure. Though virtually indistinguishable from surrounding healthy teeth, dental bridges still have much room for improvement, and Dr. Foster often recommends upgraded bridges that are supported by one or more dental implants.

How Does Your Current Bridge Work?

The basic construct of a dental bridge hasn’t changed much over the last couple of millennia. It consists of one or more replacement teeth (depending on how many teeth you’ve lost) situated between two crowns. The bordering crowns are bonded to the healthy teeth adjacent to the gap, called abutment teeth, and hold the bridge in place as you bite and chew with it. Though designed to mimic your natural smile, conventional bridges lack a crucial component of healthy teeth—roots to support them.

Put One or More Implants Under It

A traditional dental bridge doesn’t possess roots, but yours can with the addition of one or more dental implants, which resemble the roots of your missing teeth. Dental implants are surgically inserted into your jawbone, and are usually crafted from biocompatible titanium, allowing your jawbone to fuse to their surfaces. Once inserted, your implants can support your dental bridge with unmatched stability, and without the need to modify healthy remaining teeth.

What Else Can an Implant-Bridge Do?

Comfort and sturdiness are important for teeth (and replacement teeth) that are responsible for tearing and grinding your food multiple times a day. The strength that implants provide your bridge allow it to remain in place as you bite, chew, and smile, but the implanted root devices do much more for the longevity of your smile. When roots, or dental implants, are stimulated by the pressure of your bite, they help stimulate a healthy flow of nutrient-rich blood through your jawbone. In doing so, implants help stop the deterioration of the jawbone that typically follows the loss of your teeth’s roots.

About Your Columbia, TN Dentist:

David Foster, DDS is a Columbia, TN native who’s served the dental needs of patients and their families in our community since 1985. If you live in Columbia, Lewisburg, Lawrenceburg, Hohenwald, Centerville, Pulaski, or any of the surrounding communities, then call us today at (931) 388 – 3384 to schedule an appointment.

The Most Common Forms of Malocclusion

pretty woman with bracesThe goal of orthodontic braces is to correct issues involving the alignment of your teeth. The purpose of straightening teeth is to avoid subsequent dental issues, such as damaged or broken teeth and problems with the jaw’s joints, that result from an imbalanced bite. Since malocclusion (the clinical name for crooked teeth) is often detected in early childhood, braces are frequently prescribed to help guide the growth of children’s teeth and jaws into proper alignment.

Classifying Crooked Teeth

Occlusion refers to the relationship between your upper and lower teeth, and how they’re aligned along your dental ridge. Ideally, teeth should grow straight up and down to meet their opposites evenly when you bite down. Malocclusion is an umbrella term that describes a number of different conditions involving teeth misalignment, the most common of which include;

  • Spacing/Crowding problems—Too much or too little room can create spacing or crowding problems that make it difficult for permanent teeth to grow in properly. Severe crowding can block growing teeth from erupting properly, causing the tooth to become impacted.
  • Overbite/Overjet—Typically, the upper front teeth should extend slightly in front of the lower teeth. An overject, or buck teeth, occurs when the upper front teeth protrude outward. If they extend too far over the lower teeth, the condition is known as an overbite.
  • Underbite—As the name suggests, an underbite is the opposite of an overbite, and describes when the lower front teeth extend in front of their upper counterparts.
  • Rotation—Even if a tooth is straight up and down and your jawbones are perfectly aligned, one or more of them can rotate or tip out of its normal position. Undue pressure, such as from habitual teeth grinding, can force teeth to rotate even if they were previously straight.
  • Cross bite—A cross bite occurs when any or all of your upper or lower teeth are angled towards the cheek (buccal) or tongue (lingual), rather than positioned vertically.

About Your Columbia, TN Orthodontist:

If your or your children’s teeth are crooked and you want to learn more about options for straightening them, then visit us as soon as possible for a consultation. David Foster, DDS is a Columbia, TN native who’s served the dental needs of patients and their families in our community since 1985. If you live in Columbia, Lewisburg, Lawrenceburg, Hohenwald, Centerville, Pulaski, or any of the surrounding communities, then call us today at (931) 388 – 3384 to schedule an appointment.

How Crooked are Your Teeth?

straight white teethDo your teeth fit together comfortably when your jaw is closed? The word “occlusion” refers to the relationship between the alignment of your upper and lower teeth. Proper occlusion means that your upper teeth meet your lower teeth comfortably and evenly, allowing them to absorb their fair share of the pressure when you bite down. Malocclusion describes the condition of crooked teeth, and depending on how out of alignment they are, improving them can range from cosmetic treatment to orthodontic braces.

Cosmetic Resolutions

Although misaligned teeth have consequences far beyond the cosmetic appeal of your smile, its appearance isn’t a minor concern. In fact, despite the risks to their dental health, many patients are motivated to straighten crooked teeth by the desire to improve their self-image and confidence. If your teeth are visually crooked, but not enough to require braces, then Dr. Foster may be able to improve their symmetry with porcelain veneers. Each wafer-thin veneer is custom-designed to the shape and color of your tooth, and can be bonded to your tooth’s front surface to conform to the curve of your smile.

The Need for Braces

If malocclusion is severe enough, it can affect the balance of your bite, which can lead to damage to some teeth, as well your jaw’s joints and muscles. Usually detected in early childhood, significant malocclusion is typically addressed with orthodontic braces while the child’s teeth and jaws are still developing. Intervention can help the child’s oral structures develop evenly, with the proper balance. Even older teens and adult patients may develop occlusal problems later in life and require corrective treatment. If left untreated, crooked teeth can increase your risk for dental disease by harboring bacteria in hard-to-reach places. The disturbance to your bite’s balance can expose some teeth to excessive pressure, and your jaw joints and muscles can grow exhausted trying to compensate for the discrepancy (TMJ disorder).

About Your Columbia, TN Dentist:

If your teeth are crooked and you want to learn more about your options for straightening them, then visit us as soon as possible for a consultation. David Foster, DDS is a Columbia, TN native who’s served the dental needs of patients and their families in our community since 1985. If you live in Columbia, Lewisburg, Lawrenceburg, Hohenwald, Centerville, Pulaski, or any of the surrounding communities, then call us today at (931) 388 – 3384 to schedule an appointment.

How Do Dental Implants Work?

older man eating an appleAlthough they’ve only been around for less than a century (small time in the history of dentistry), dental implants are among the most important inventions in dental technology. A dental implant is a small titanium device that can be surgically inserted into your jawbone after you’ve lost one or more teeth. The device replaces the root(s) of missing teeth, and Dr. Foster can use them to secure your dental crown, bridge, or denture. The right number of dental implants can improve the comfort and stability of your replacement teeth, as well as their longevity and the long-term health of your smile.

Don’t Forget Your Teeth’s Roots

Comprised of a complete row of replacement teeth set on a gum-colored plastic base, dentures are custom-designed to restore a patient’s smile after suffering total tooth loss on the upper and/or lower dental ridge. After a while, however, dentures that originally fit snugly can become loose due to the changing shape of the patient’s dental ridge. Denture slippage underscores a process that frequently occurs after losing your teeth’s roots, called jawbone deterioration. Without supportive teeth roots embedded in your jawbone, it can suffer from a diminished flow of nutrient-rich blood, causing it to recede, or shrink, over time.

The Science of Osseointegration

Titanium implants are biocompatible, meaning your jawbone will accept them as biologically compatible and fuse to their surfaces as it heals. Known as osseointegration, this healing process is the reason why dental implants offer the most lifelike prosthetic results. By mimicking the intricate root-and-crown structure of your natural teeth, implants help restore stimulation within your jawbone to preserve its supply of nutrients. In the case of a dental bridge, which requires the support of dental crowns attached to remaining healthy teeth, implants can help restore your smile without having to disturb healthy tooth structure.

About Your Columbia, TN Dentist:

If you’ve lost one, several, or all of your teeth and want to learn how to restore your confident smile, then visit us as soon as possible to learn if dental implants are right for you. David Foster, DDS is a Columbia, TN native who’s served the dental needs of patients and their families in our community since 1985. If you live in Columbia, Lewisburg, Lewisburg, Hohenwald, Centerville, Pulaski, or any of the surrounding communities, then call us today at (931) 388 – 3384 to schedule an appointment.

Questions About Dental Bridgework

dental bridge macroA dental bridge, as you might have guessed by the name, is a dental device designed to span the gap left in your smile by missing teeth. The bridge consists of an appropriate number of replacement teeth (usually one or two) with a dental crown attached to either side. When the bridge is secured to the teeth that border the gap, it can help restore your smile’s beauty, as well as your ability to bite and chew comfortably.

What does a dental bridge look like?

Like most dental prostheses (replacement teeth), dental bridges are usually crafted from lifelike dental porcelain that’s tinted to match a patient’s specific natural tooth color. The porcelain is also layered to mimic how tooth enamel reflects light, making the dental bridge virtually undetectable.

Can I remove my dental bridge?

Before placing a dental bridge, Dr. Foster will prepare the adjacent teeth, or abutment teeth, to receive the bridge’s supportive crowns. Preparation involves sculpting a small amount of tooth structure to accommodate the crowns, and once situated, the bridge cannot be moved without the help of your professional dentist.

How do I keep by dental bridge clean?

Cleaning your dental bridge is similar to cleaning the rest of your teeth; carefully brush and floss at least twice a day, especially before going to bed, and attend a checkup and cleaning every six months or sooner. Fortunately, porcelain isn’t subject to cavity development, but the abutment teeth are. The gums and jawbone underneath the bridge will still be subject to bacterial gum disease, as well.

Are there different kinds of bridges?

Instead of supporting your dental bridge on adjacent teeth, Dr. Foster may recommend replacing your lost tooth with a dental implant-supported prosthesis. A dental implant is a prosthetic tooth root that’s implanted into your jawbone, and can support your replacement teeth without the need to disturb your other natural teeth.

About Your Columbia Dentist:

If you’ve lost a tooth, or a couple of adjacent teeth, and want to learn how to restore your confident smile, then visit us as soon as possible to learn if a dental bridge is right for you. David Foster, DDS is a Columbia, TN native who’s served the dental needs of patients and their families in our community since 1985. If you live in Columbia, Lewisburg, Lewisburg, Hohenwald, Centerville, Pulaski, or any of the surrounding communities, then call us today at (931) 388 – 3384 to schedule an appointment.

Orthodontics at Any Age

curly red hair girl with bracesThough braces are more often prescribed for younger children, malocclusion (crooked teeth) can affect patients of all ages. When your teeth are crooked, your smile pays the price in more than just its appearance. Misaligned teeth significantly increase your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, issues with your jaw, and problems with biting and chewing properly. The most effective way to correct a crooked smile is with the use of orthodontic braces, which Dr. David Foster has extensive experience placing on children, teens, and adults who suffer from malocclusion.

The Nature of Malocclusion

When misalignment is detected in a child’s growing teeth and/or jaws, then straightening the inconsistency is vital to ensuring that the child’s oral structures grow correctly. Otherwise, the condition can worsen and require complex treatment later on in life. As an adult, your teeth and jaws should have finished growing, but if crooked teeth can still interrupt the functions of your mouths. When perfectly aligned, upper and lower teeth should rest comfortably together when your mouth is closed, allowing your jaw to operate smoothly. Crooked teeth complicate this balance and can make you more susceptible to tooth damage and TMJ disorder.

How Braces Work

Orthodontics is the specific science of straightening crooked teeth, usually through the use of brackets and wires. The brackets are bonded to a patient’s teeth and connected with arch wires, which Dr. Foster periodically tightens to maintain the pressure needed for moving your permanent teeth. Braces are designed to move your teeth into a more desirable position slowly enough for your jawbone to successfully reform around their roots, and typically between one and three years to accomplish their goals. Children should attend an orthodontic evaluation by the age of ten to detect occlusal problems early and prescribe an appropriate form of early orthodontic treatment.

About Your Columbia Dentist:

If you’re battling chronic bad breath, you might not have to go to great lengths to defeat it. Instead, visit Dr. Foster for a thorough examination to determine the cause and an appropriate cure. David Foster, DDS is a Columbia, TN native who’s served the dental needs of patients and their families in our community since 1985. If you live in Columbia, Lewisburg, Lewisburg, Hohenwald, Centerville, Pulaski, or any of the surrounding communities, then call us today at (931) 388 – 3384 to schedule an appointment.

A Close Look at Cavity Development

cavity detectionYou’ve probably heard a lot about cavities throughout your lifetime. If you’ve ever had one, then you’ve experienced the destruction they can cause, and your dentist likely restored it with a dental filling or root canal treatment (depending on how serious it was). As children, most of us were warned about the biggest instigator of cavities—sugar—although not all of us completely understood the connection. As it turns out, understanding how cavities develop, and the proper way to treat them, may help you avoid the extensive damage that aggressive decay can wreak on your teeth.

Uncovering Tooth Decay

How they develop

Though sugar isn’t directly responsible for cavities, it plays a major role in the processes that lead to tooth decay. Certain oral bacteria, which form dental plaque and stick to your teeth, produce erosive acids that destroy the layer of enamel surrounding your teeth. Sugar, starch, and other fermentable carbohydrates fuel these bacteria into producing acid, and the more you eat, the more your teeth are exposed to acid erosion. When enamel is weakened enough to develop holes, bacteria can slip past it and infect the tooth, causing holes (cavities) to form and grow until they’re treated.

How to treat them

If decay is caught at the tooth’s dentin, the main part of your tooth that lies directly underneath enamel, then Dr. Foster can restore the tooth by cleaning the cavity and filling it with tooth-colored composite resin. The resin fortifies the weakened tooth’s structure while sealing its interior from further bacterial infection. Extreme cavities often require root canal treatment to remove infected blood vessels and nerves, and then seal the roots to prevent the spread of infection. Dr. Foster may recommend a dental crown, especially after a root canal, to provide enhanced protection from the pressures of biting and chewing.

How to prevent them

A tooth becomes infected when the rate at which acid attacks it outpaces the rate at which enamel can recover. One of the most effective ways to prevent cavity formation is to limit your tooth enamel’s exposure to acid. Refrain from frequent snacking throughout the day, and save sugary candy, cookies, cake, and other treats for after larger meals, like lunch and dinner. Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day will inhibit bacteria’s ability to multiply and form plaque, significantly reducing your risk for cavities, gum disease, and other bacteria-induced dental troubles. If your teeth are sensitive, or if Dr. Foster notices weak or damaged enamel during your checkup, then immediate treatment might save your tooth before a cavity forms.

About Your Spring Hill Dentist:

If you’re battling chronic bad breath, you might not have to go to great lengths to defeat it. Instead, visit Dr. Foster for a thorough examination to determine the cause and an appropriate cure. David Foster, DDS is a Columbia, TN native who’s served the dental needs of patients and their families in our community since 1985. If you live in Columbia, Lewisburg, Lawrenceburg, Hohenwald, Centerville, Pulaski, or any of the surrounding communities, call us today at (931) 388 – 3384 to schedule an appointment.

Surprisingly Normal Cures for Bad Breath

curly hair woman with bad breathTo put it bluntly, chronic bad breath isn’t normal. That is to say, it shouldn’t occur, and if it does, there’s a tangible reason for it. That reason is usually an overabundance of oral bacteria that release foul-smelling sulfur compounds, and eliminating bad breath can be as simple as restoring the balance of microbes in your mouth. Fortunately, that’s not as difficult as it might sound. Your mouth hosts over 600 different kinds of bacteria, all of which can be controlled with good hygiene, regular professional care, and few small considerations throughout your day.

Brush Your Tongue

Experts compare your mouth to an ecological forest. Certain oral bacteria claim certain regions of your mouth as their own, and those responsible for bad breath tend to cling to your tongue’s surface. The American Dental Association (ADA) strongly recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once to effectively control mouth germs. Be sure to brush your tongue, too, to clear its surface of sulfur-releasing bacteria that can persistently overwhelm your breath.

Drink Water

Saliva is an important factor in food digestion, helping you break down food before it’s swallowed. It’s also one of your mouth’s primary defenses against harmful mouth germs, which are largely anaerobic (they thrive without oxygen). Saliva consists of over 99% water, and helps periodically rinse your mouth and neutralize malicious bacteria. You can give your saliva a boost by drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated, and rinsing your mouth with water after meals when you can’t brush your teeth.

Eat Breakfast

Ever wonder why your breath tends to stink most often when you wake up? Morning breath results because your saliva production is significantly reduced when you sleep, allowing bacteria to gather almost uninterrupted during the night. Brushing your teeth and tongue in the morning is essential, but Dr. Foster advises eating breakfast first to jumpstart your saliva production.

About Your Spring Hill Dentist:

If you’re battling chronic bad breath, you might not have to go to great lengths to defeat it. Instead, visit Dr. Foster for a thorough examination to determine the cause and an appropriate cure. David Foster, DDS is a Columbia, TN native who’s served the dental needs of patients and their families in our community since 1985. If you live in Columbia, Lewisburg, Lawrenceburg, Hohenwald, Centerville, Pulaski, or any of the surrounding communities, call us today at (931) 388 – 3384 to schedule an appointment.

Learning to Biologically Grow Our Own Replacement Teeth

tooth on blueEven if you haven’t experienced tooth loss, you’re probably aware of the importance of maintaining your natural permanent teeth–especially since you only grow one set. At our Maury County dentist’s office, Dr. David Foster can help restore your smile’s beauty and function by supporting expertly-fabricated replacement teeth on one or more dental implants. Nevertheless, Dr. Foster warns that preventing lost teeth is preferable to replacing them, since even the best restorations don’t compare to your natural tooth structure. Some researchers, however, are hoping to change that and the lives of tooth loss patients by studying how to direct stem cells to become human teeth.

Understanding a Stem Cell

Stem cells are described as undifferentiated cells that have the potential to become specialized cell types. This potential creates a wide array of opportunities for the scientific and medical community, possibly allowing for the regeneration of damaged or diseased cells that may not otherwise be healed. For the stem cells to differentiate into specified cell types, such as dental cells, they require a set of instructions. In the quest to grow permanent human teeth, scientists believe they may have taken an important step by discovering a dental cell marker known to dictate the continuous growth of teeth.

Teach a Stem Cell to Become a Tooth

The mechanisms and patterns involved in human tooth growth are similar in mice, who possess incisors that continuously grow throughout their lives. Researchers at the Institute of Biotechnology in Helsinki, Finland, have decided to study this phenomenon, and have discovered that the incisors’ growth is dictated by a group of stem cells located at the base of the tooth. These dental stem cells possess a specific transcription factor that acts as a marker for dental cell growth, and researchers believe they may provide important insight into directing stem cells to grow human tooth structure.

About Your Maury County Dentist:

If you’ve lost one or more teeth already, you don’t have to wait until stem cell therapy is perfected before enjoying a mouth full of teeth again. Instead, speak with Dr. Foster about your options for effective tooth replacement, including dental implants the replace the roots of your lost teeth. David Foster, DDS is a Columbia, TN native who’s served the dental needs of patients and their families in our community since 1985. If you live in Columbia, Lewisburg, Lawrenceburg, Hohenwald, Centerville, Pulaski, or any of the surrounding communities, call us today at (931) 388 – 3384 to schedule an appointment.