My Blog

Posts for: July, 2017

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
July 22, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?

Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?

Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.

Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.

But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?

In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.

Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.

What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.

If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”

Unhappy with your smile? With options like porcelain crowns and bridges, Dr. Gary Machiko can help you love your smile again. His dental restorative dentistrypractice is located in Pittsburgh, PA. He offers a full range of dental services, including crowns and bridges. Read on to find out how porcelain crowns and bridges can improve your smile.

Porcelain Crowns Overview

Porcelain crowns are caps that a dentist can put on teeth. A crown, when cemented into place, fully encases the visible portion of a tooth. Porcelain crowns are routinely used to restore broken, weakened, and badly decayed teeth. They are also used to protect teeth following root canal treatment. Porcelain crowns are fabricated using porcelain or "engineered" dental ceramic. 

Benefits of Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain crowns are the most popular type of crowns because they resemble natural teeth. Porcelain dental crowns are a great choice for front teeth. Nothing gives the same translucency, depth, and luster like a porcelain crown. Porcelain crowns are not just beautiful, they are also very durable. They can be expected to withstand biting and chewing forces well.

Dental Bridge Overview

A bridge is a fixed dental prosthesis that is used to replace one or more missing teeth. Dental crowns are made to fit on either side of your dental gap with a fabricated tooth in between them. A fixed dental bridge is shaped and colored to look like your natural teeth. Unlike a partial denture, a fixed dental bridge can only be removed by your Pittsburgh, PA, dentist because it's attached to your mouth.

Benefits of Dental Bridges

Missing teeth can ruin a beautiful smile. Dental bridges can fill in your smile's gaps and improve your appearance. When people lose a tooth, the surrounding teeth begin to shift out of place. Dental implants can prevent your remaining teeth from moving out of place. Tooth loss can also make it difficult for people to chew food. With a dental bridge, you will experience a dramatic improvement in chewing ability.

Unhappy with your smile or your current crowns and bridges? Custom fabricated crowns and bridges by the finest labs in California and New York ensure a completely natural and brilliant smile. Start your journey today! Call Dr. Gary Machiko at 412-367-1319 right now to schedule an appointment in Pittsburgh, PA. A smile makeover will give you the confidence to smile again and enjoy the things you used to love doing. Remember, it's never too late to improve your smile.

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
July 07, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Since their introduction over thirty years ago, dental implants have become the most popular choice for dental restoration. Their large variety of shapes and sizes — a far cry from the limited choices of the 1980s — has only served to increase their popularity.

In recent years there's also been an expansion in their applicability. Most people recognize them as replacements for individual teeth — but they can do much more. They're now playing a pivotal role in other dental restorations or situations.

Here are 3 of those “cutting edge” ways implants could change your dental health and smile for the better.

Fixed bridgework. In a traditional bridge, prosthetic (false) teeth use the natural teeth on either side of the empty space for support. In this updated version, implants become the support base for the bridge. For example, a bridge as small as three crowns can be supported by two implants attached to the outside crowns of the bridge. Four to eight implants can support a bridge as large as an entire arch of teeth.

Over-dentures. In cases of significant bone loss, a full or partial denture may be a better option than a fixed bridge. Traditional dentures, though, can contribute to even more bone loss, which can cause the dentures to eventually lose their fit. Implants not only can help stop further bone loss but can also stimulate increased bone density. Two or more standard or mini-sized-sized implants can support a full or partial denture.

Orthodontics anchorage. People with missing teeth aren't the only ones who can benefit from implants. While most bite repairs only require the back teeth to provide anchorage for braces, certain complex bites may need a different point of anchorage. Orthodontists can create a more feasible anchorage point with an implant or a temporary anchorage device (TAD) imbedded in the jaw. This can help isolate teeth that need to be moved from those on the arch that don't.

If you would like more information about how dental implants could improve your dental health and appearance, 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 “Dental Implants: Your Best Option for Replacing Teeth.”