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We encourage you to contact us whenever you have an interest or concern about cosmetic dentistry procedures such as pocelain veneers, dental implants, and tooth whitening in Bethel Park.

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Posts for: August, 2015

By John Sartorio, D.M.D.
August 20, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth wear  
KeepanEyeonTheseFourThingstoPreventAbnormalToothWear

Teeth are naturally strong and durable — if we can prevent or control dental disease like tooth decay or gum disease, they can last a lifetime. Still, teeth do wear gradually as we age, a fact we must factor into our dental care as we grow older.

Sometimes, though, the wear rate can accelerate and lead to problems much earlier — even tooth loss. There are generally four ways this abnormal wear can occur.

Tooth to tooth contact. Attrition usually results from habitual teeth grinding or clenching that are well beyond normal tooth contact. Also known as bruxism, these habits may occur unconsciously, often while you sleep. Treatments for bruxism include an occlusal guard worn to prevent tooth to tooth contact, orthodontic treatment, medication, biofeedback or psychological counseling to improve stress coping skills.

Teeth and hard material contact. Bruxism causes abrasion when our teeth regularly bite on hard materials such as pencils, nails, or bobby pins. The constant contact with these and other abrasive surfaces will cause the enamel to erode. Again, learning to cope with stress and breaking the bruxism habit will help preserve the remaining enamel.

Chronic acid. A high level of acid from foods we eat or drink can erode tooth enamel. Saliva naturally neutralizes this acid and restores the mouth to a neutral pH, usually within thirty minutes to an hour after eating. But if you’re constantly snacking on acidic foods and beverages, saliva’s buffering ability can’t keep up. To avoid this situation, refrain from constant snacking and limit acidic beverages like sodas or sports drinks to mealtimes. Extreme cases of gastric reflux disease may also disrupt your mouth’s pH — seek treatment from your medical doctor if you’re having related symptoms.

Enamel loss at the gumline. Also known as abfraction, this enamel loss is often caused by receding gums that expose more of the tooth below the enamel, which can lead to its erosion. Preventing and treating gum disease (the leading cause of receding gums) and proper oral hygiene will lower your risks of receding gums and protect tooth enamel.

If you would like more information on tooth wear, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How and Why Teeth Wear.”


By John Sartorio, D.M.D.
August 05, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Veneers  

Porcelain veneers can correct the color, shape and alignment of your teeth, giving you a perfect smile. 

Regardless of what's affecting your smile, cosmetic dentistry now offers natural-looking and comfortable restorations to make your teethVeneers beautiful and healthy again. For a dramatic change, Dr. John Sartorio, your Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania cosmetic dentist, often suggests veneers. When these wafer-thin porcelain restorations are placed over your existing teeth, a new, flawless look emerges. Here are a few of the ways that veneers from your Pittsburgh cosmetic dentist can upgrade your smile.

Are your teeth discolored?
 
Whitening is another cosmetic dentistry procedure; in fact, it's the most popular. Unfortunately, there are certain situations that the bleaching agents cannot treat. For instance, some adults who took tetracycline antibiotics in childhood may have permanent gray stains on their teeth. These are typically resistant to whitening. Receded gums can leave portions of the tooth's root exposed; this area does not respond to whitening agents. If you have any existing dental work, like crowns or fillings, they will stay the same color after the rest of your teeth have been whitened. These are all common reasons that your Pittsburgh cosmetic dentist uses veneers to give your teeth a realistic and consistent color.

Are your teeth unevenly shaped?
Teeth can wear down over time or sustain chips that change their shape. Permanent teeth may grow in abnormally in length or shape. Veneers from Dr. John Sartorio in Pittsburgh can rectify all of these problems. With veneers layered on top of the existing teeth, each tooth will be symmetrical to its neighbors while still maintaining a natural look.

Are your teeth crooked?

In many cases, veneers can correct alignment problems. Overlapping and small gaps between them can be covered in this way. Orthodontics are typically used for more severe alignment problems; your Pittsburgh cosmetic dentist can evaluate your situation and determine the best treatment.

Veneers can give you a beautiful smile and can last more than a decade with proper maintenance. If you're wondering about this revolutionary smile makeover, contact Dr. John Sartorio, your Pittsburgh cosmetic dentist, to learn more!

 


By John Sartorio, D.M.D.
August 05, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
NewFrontTeethforaTeenagedDavidDuchovny

In real life he was a hard-charging basketball player through high school and college. In TV and the movies, he has gone head-to-head with serial killers, assorted bad guys… even mysterious paranormal forces. So would you believe that David Duchovny, who played Agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files and starred in countless other large and small-screen productions, lost his front teeth… in an elevator accident?

“I was running for the elevator at my high school when the door shut on my arm,” he explained. “The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the hospital. I had fainted, fallen on my face, and knocked out my two front teeth.” Looking at Duchovny now, you’d never know his front teeth weren’t natural. But that’s not “movie magic” — it’s the art and science of modern dentistry.

How do dentists go about replacing lost teeth with natural-looking prosthetics? Today, there are two widely used tooth replacement procedures: dental implants and bridgework. When a natural tooth can’t be saved — due to advanced decay, periodontal disease, or an accident like Duchovny’s — these methods offer good looking, fully functional replacements. So what’s the difference between the two? Essentially, it’s a matter of how the replacement teeth are supported.

With state-of-the-art dental implants, support for the replacement tooth (or teeth) comes from small titanium inserts, which are implanted directly into the bone of the jaw. In time these become fused with the bone itself, providing a solid anchorage. What’s more, they actually help prevent the bone loss that naturally occurs after tooth loss. The crowns — lifelike replacements for the visible part of the tooth — are securely attached to the implants via special connectors called abutments.

In traditional bridgework, the existing natural teeth on either side of a gap are used to support the replacement crowns that “bridge” the gap. Here’s how it works: A one-piece unit is custom-fabricated, consisting of prosthetic crowns to replace missing teeth, plus caps to cover the adjacent (abutment) teeth on each side. Those abutment teeth must be shaped so the caps can fit over them; this is done by carefully removing some of the outer tooth material. Then the whole bridge unit is securely cemented in place.

While both systems have been used successfully for decades, bridgework is now being gradually supplanted by implants. That’s because dental implants don’t have any negative impact on nearby healthy teeth, while bridgework requires that abutment teeth be shaped for crowns, and puts additional stresses on them. Dental implants also generally last far longer than bridges — the rest of your life, if given proper care. However, they are initially more expensive (though they may prove more economical in the long run), and not everyone is a candidate for the minor surgery they require.

Which method is best for you? Don’t try using paranormal powers to find out: Come in and talk to us. If you would like more information about tooth replacement, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework,” and “Dental Implants.”