Archive for the ‘Minimally Invasive CEREC Restorations’ Category

Detriments of Invasive Dentistry (Pt. III)

The title for this post doesn’t exactly seem appropriate, even though it is along the same lines as the previous couple. Oh, well. We’ve listed some detriments of invasive dentistry; today I’ll give a brief explanation about the benefits of minimally invasive holistic dentistry — precisely what we strive for in this office.

If dental work needs to be done, minimally invasive procedures are what will be best for the patient’s dental health in the long run. When all measures are taken to preserve the natural tooth, the need for dental work in the future is greatly reduced. This is pretty valuable; you don’t want to be the patient who seems to be in the dentist’s chair all the time, but sees that either nothing improves or new problems keep coming up. Good dentistry (and diligent daily care on your part) means you don’t have to keep going back!

Minimally invasive dentistry also allows the least amount of dental work to be performed. The high quality of work and genuine care for each patient’s best treatment saves the quantity of materials needed, saves time in the chair, saves money in the short and long run, and brings more comfort to the patients who want to know that the best is being done for them.

To explain minimally invasive dentistry, I’ll use the cavity filling again as an example. Also being a holistic practice, it is important to us that we evaluate the patient’s overall physical health and immune strength. Extra care must be exercised with patients whose ability to fight infection is compromised (we may offer advice and refer the patient to sources for improving nutrition and rebuilding immunity).

Once the green light is given, tooth restoration begins. As opposed to the filling itself, how the tooth is prepared for the filling is in the spotlight this time. The tooth is “sick” and infected. It must be remineralized to restore the nutrients that keep it healthy. With our combination of ozone and dental lasers, the infected tissue is easily and quickly removed, and the tooth is completely sterilized. Sealant is then applied to preserve the healthy tissue and protect the tooth from further decay. Bacteria and acid can easily continue rotting the tooth over time if it is not sealed well.

Then, finally, the restoration is installed, which may range from a small, laser-cured filling, or an inlay/onlay formed by our CEREC unit. The type of restoration depends on the amount of lost tooth. All of our materials are metal-free and aesthetic, meaning we will ensure that the restoration looks and functions as naturally as possible. Unsightly metal? No, thanks! Sometimes, if decay has gone beyond a certain point, a crown is needed. Crowns traditionally require quite a bit of unnecessary sanding down of the tooth, but minimally invasive dentistry sees crowns as a last resort if the natural tooth is not restorable with partial reconstruction. And even then, using our CEREC unit will ensure that no natural tissue is removed unnecessarily. The results will be both strong and functional, ensuring secure dentistry for years to come.

If needed, bite splints may be fitted and supplied to the patient to eliminate the effects of bruxing (teeth grinding). Bruxing can quickly damage both healthy tooth structure and dental repairs, so it is important to protect against it.

Ta-da! Now, with proper hygiene, nutrition, and mindful monitoring by his dentist at regular cleanings/checkups, a patient shouldn’t expect to need another restoration for a good, long while, if ever.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles


Zirconium Dental Implants: The What

In years past, and actually still most commonly today, dental implants were composed of several different pieces to fit together in the restoration area, and they were made out of titanium. Titanium is a metal, and, therefore, BAD (in a holistic sense, of course) inside a human body. The titanium implants also presented other drawbacks, such as aesthetics (metallic coloring would show through the crown) and complications with assimilation into the maxilla or mandible — the facial bones that shape your mouth/jaw and anchor your teeth down.

Zirconium implants are made entirely from a special ceramic that has a chemistry similar to our bones and, specifically, teeth. Not unlike what the CEREC machine spits out, this material is entirely biocompatible and ideal for its similar strength, durability, and beauty of a natural tooth. There has been great success with its conforming to surrounding facial bones as well. Because of its biocompatibility, our bones do not reject its chemical makeup, therefore preventing infection and weak implants.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

Occlusal Correction: Restorative Dental Work

The focus here is on occlusal (bite) correction, but this is where my CEREC unit comes in handy: restorations! Completely decayed, damaged, or missing teeth might be one of the most obvious problems contributing to a malocclusion… we cannot chew properly without all our teeth.

Like selective reshaping of teeth, restorative dental work is focused on the teeth and, well, restoring them, as opposed to reshaping the jaw or working with the surrounding muscles and cartilage. Crowns, inlays, onlays, dentures, or implants can be formed to bring back a mouth full of fully functional teeth.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

How Does My Dentist Do A Bite Analysis?

How is an occlusal analysis performed, exactly, and what is involved in the process?

Well, first, a mold of your teeth is taken so an accurate plaster or stone model of your bite can be examined. Using what’s called a facebow transfer, the dentist will find the center of your jaw joint’s rotation, and then take measurements to see how it relates to your upper jaw.

Imprints of your teeth are then taken for a bite registration. A bite registration shows the dentist how your teeth come together when you are biting down completely. Also, the pattern of your jaw’s movement when chewing is unique to every individual. This pattern is also recorded.

There is a device called an articulator that a dentist uses to view your exact bite without having to use your head (which translates into countless hours in a dentist’s chair for you, the patient). It looks like this. The models previously made of your teeth are installed into the articulator, along with all the measurements of your jaw’s exact movements and how your teeth come together when you bite down.

After some examination (and long after your appointment is finished and you’ve driven home in time for dinner, don’t worry), the dentist will do some analyzing and will determine what is causing problems with your bite. Is it a TMJ disorder? Are crowns that were formed years ago getting in the way of proper chewing? What needs to be done in order to make the next procedure(s) successful?

Your dentist will be able to tinker with the articulator and find the ideal form of chewing system for you. A wax model will be made, and your dentist will move towards making these changes before moving on to the aforesaid procedure(s).

And, voila! Not only will you have some super treatment coming your way, but you’ll be comfortable knowing that your entire chewing system will be working the way it is supposed to.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

When Should An Occlusal Analysis Be Done?

The occlusal analysis, when getting ready to perform any kind of orthodontic surgery, is crucial for a dentist or orthodontist to make the best possible choices for your oral health; a substantial number of problems are avoided when we know to not move a tooth in a certain direction, or design a mouthguard that will tire the jaw in an unhealthy manner. This is comprehensive dentistry; everything works together, and everything is related! An occlusal analysis is absolutely necessary before any of the following procedures:

  • Crown, bridge, denture, or implant treatment
  • Fabrication of a bite guard
  • Orthodontic treatment (an occlusal analysis should be performed after this as well)
  • Any other time a poor bite is suspected. Pay attention to symptoms like worn, chipped, or broken teeth; gum sensitivity and/or recession; pain in facial muscles; and other symptoms similar to prolonged gum disease, such as loose teeth, bone loss, and even tooth loss.

As a small side note, gum disease can, in fact, be evidence of a poor bite. But that’s a topic for another day.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles