1/7/2016 12:00:00 PM | Harry Penner

Most people understand that losing a permanent tooth is a significant dental issue, but many believe that replacing a tooth is a relatively easy fix. The truth is: losing a tooth does more than affect the way your smile looks. Lost teeth can have a far-reaching effect, including:

Diminishing Oral Function

You need your teeth to bite and chew. Depending on how many teeth are missing from your smile and where the gaps are located, patients with missing teeth will find that their ability to bite into or chew hard and crunchy foods is more difficult than it was before.

Bone Loss

Roots of teeth do more than keep them in place -- they are lodged in bone and, during natural chewing motion, help to stimulate bone and allow it to remain dense. With all of your natural teeth in place, your smile looks and feels healthy. However, when teeth have been lost for extended periods of time, bone in your jaw goes un-stimulated and can begin to shrink. The result is a prematurely aged or sunken appearance.

Further Tooth Loss and Shifting Alignment

The loss of bone density can, unfortunately, cause other teeth to loosen in the long run. In addition, large gaps in your smile caused by missing teeth can mean that surrounding teeth begin to tilt toward the open spaces.

Choosing Dental Prosthetics

In order to maintain biting and chewing force, as well as appearance, missing teeth need to be replaced. While this can be done with dental bridges or implants, these restorative procedures come with an additional cost and need to be maintained with careful oral health regimens throughout the time they are a part of your smile.

Keep Your Own Teeth with Root Canal Therapy

It’s possible to prevent these issues by seeking immediate dental attention for a damaged or diseased teeth. With root canal therapy, infected material  is removed from the inner canals of teeth and the outer structure of your tooth is preserved, so it doesn’t need to be extracted. Root canals save your smile and your oral health from the big-picture drawbacks of tooth loss.

We help save patients’ smiles with root canal therapy in Lethbridge. If you have questions about root canals, please call our office for more information.

12/29/2015 12:00:00 PM | Harry Penner

Damage to teeth is a common and unfortunate part of everyday life and or aging, which can make teeth weaker or more susceptible to decay. While there are many ways to restore damaged teeth, knowing which treatment method to choose can help preserve your oral health and prove to be more cost-effective in the long run.

Finding the right dental restoration depends on the oral health problems you’re currently facing.

Severely Decayed Teeth – If your tooth has suffered an infection from deep decay, it may be necessary to first perform a root canal to remove infection-causing bacteria and then add a restoration, such as a dental crown. A crown covers the top part of your tooth and takes the place of damaged dental enamel above the gum line. Dental crowns can also be used to restore teeth that are not infected, but have withstood considerable decay and have diminished overall oral function. Whenever possible, it’s best to avoid extraction and restore natural teeth using these treatment methods.

Missing Teeth – Missing a tooth opens the door to even more questions about your choice for a restoration. Your new tooth or teeth should be strong enough to support full biting and chewing power, look natural, and feel comfortable. If you have just one missing tooth, choosing a dental bridge will allow you to access a more permanent and comfortable restoration, compared to a partial denture. For patients who are good candidates for oral surgery, replacing teeth with dental implants provides an even longer lasting solution for lost teeth.

Cosmetically Damaged Teeth – Tooth decay and missing teeth are serious oral health issues, but sometimes your dental problems may have more to do with mild to moderate aesthetic issues, such as small gaps between teeth, chipped teeth, staining on enamel, or irregularly shaped teeth. In these instances, a veneer can be used to cover the front of teeth and allow your smile to look more aesthetically pleasing. While crowns can also be used to restore aesthetics, veneers are a more conservative approach that helps perverse tooth structure when possible.

Considering Cost and Longevity

When selecting your restoration, be sure to weigh the overall expected life of your restoration against cost for care. Some restorations that are more affordable up-front may not last as long as you’d like, while investing in a life-like and more permanent restoration can provide years and years of function and aesthetic improvements.

Drs. Penner and Low offer a variety of restorations to help you pick the treatment that fits best with your goals and needs. Our treatment options include tooth colored crowns and bridges, porcelain veneer, and implant prosthetics. If you have a damaged or missing tooth and would like to know more about which restoration will work for you, contact our Lethbridge dentists today to learn more.

12/7/2015 12:00:00 PM | Harry Penner

Cosmetic dental care often involves restoring decayed and broken teeth with prosthetics like crowns, bridges, and veneers. Many of these restorations were historically made with a metal base, with tooth-colored materials layered on top to help prosthetics look more like natural teeth. Over time, however, these treatments prove to look unnatural and may need to be replaced.

Dentistry is an ever-changing field, with new materials and methods being utilized to ensure that patients’ treated teeth look more natural and stand up to wear and tear in the long run.

The Latest Materials for Cosmetically Improving Teeth
Dr. Penner and Dr. Low have begun using more natural-looking and durable materials in their cosmetic treatments, which do away with metal sub structure and help treated teeth closely mimic the qualities of organic teeth. Some of the newer and more life-like materials in use at our office are:

Opalite® – Restorations made from this ultra- strong zirconia prove to be exceptionally durable. Because of their strength, Opalite® crowns can be made thinner than porcelain crowns, so less tooth preparation is needed and greater amounts of healthy tooth structure are preserved. Zirconia is unique in its ability to reflect light and matches the way in which real teeth do the same.

e.max® - An e.max® restoration, such as a dental crown or bridge, is made from lithium disilicate (a blend of glass and ceramic). These dental prosthetics are fabricated in a special way that promotes improved strength and durability. Like Opalite® prosthetics, e.max® restorations can be made thinner and still provide dependable quality and long-term results.

All-Porcelain – Porcelain crowns are known their ability to be color-matched to blend with existing teeth in your smile, providing the right translucency as well.  Crowns with a base and overlay of tooth-colored porcelain do not show a black line at the gums, as metal-based restorations might, making them ideal for treating front teeth.

While all porcelain or ceramic crowns were traditionally not recommended for patients who grind their teeth, or for treating back teeth, the incorporation of zirconia and glass-ceramic mixtures have provided for cosmetically appealing restorations that can be used on any tooth in your smile and take the full load of biting and chewing force. The way that these restorations are also baked or cured in laboratory environments has provided improvements in durability.

Learn Which Materials are Best for Your Treatment

To learn more about which materials will help you meet your goals, our Lethbrigde dentists can help. Contact our office to learn more about available treatments.

9/2/2015 11:33:00 AM | Harry Penner

We're excited to announce the official launch of our Dr. Harry Penner & Dr. Bradley Low, Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.

We'll be posting helpful dental tips, news from the dental industry, news from our practice, and more about the latest in dentistry.

We built our practice on the notion that we're there for our patients when they need us and we want our online presence to be a reflection of that principle. We hope this blog provides an extra level of service to our current and future patients.

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Here's to your best oral health ever!