Powell Family Dentistry
Gina Pittenger DDS
Call: (865) 938-6465

Restorations

What is Restorative Dentistry

Restorative dental solutions consist of tried-and-true and modern methods to correct damaged or lost teeth for optimal oral health. The team at Powell Family Dentistry, led by Gina Pittenger DDS offer advanced technology with a gentle approach to treat patients with tooth and gum problems and help them maintain a healthy, functional smile for years to come.

If you are experiencing tooth pain or would like to know more about options to replace missing teeth, contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Our restorative dental services will help you:

  • Correct tooth damage or decay
  • Replace missing teeth
  • Repair or replace failing existing restorations
  • Revitalize chewing ability
  • Rehabilitate bite alignment
  • Restore gum health 

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Does My Tooth Need A Restoration?

If you are experiencing tooth pain, have a visible abscess, or feel your teeth loosening in your gums, then you are a prime candidate for restorative services. It is our goal to save as much healthy tooth as possible while treating your mouth for disease, damage, and decay. We perform the least intrusive procedure possible to recapture the natural beauty and function of your teeth and gums.

During your routine check-ups, we look to detect brewing problems and suggest treatment to repair damage at the earliest signs of trouble. We also take the time to examine existing restorations for signs of damage or excessive wear. The examination allows us to treat or retreat teeth and stop the advancement of more advanced dental concerns.

We also examine the health of your gums to eradicate disease early on with gum disease treatment before bacteria and infection have time to cause irreparable gum damage or tooth loss.

We understand that many of you have dental anxieties or fears that keep them from seeing a dentist, and our caring staff is prepared to help you experience a more relaxing, comfortable visit at the dentist. Talk to us about your apprehensions for dental care, and we will be happy to help you overcome them.


Are Restorations Affordable?

Dr. Pittenger encourages patients to consider how not treating dental problems can be affordable. The smaller the problem, the smaller the out-of-pocket cost is for treatment. This is why we encourage patients to keep up with routine checkups and cleanings twice a year.

Preventive medicine is covered by most insurance benefit plans, and a good dental plan is no different. This makes routine visits affordable as they are often fully covered by insurances or require a small co-pay for a visit. These routine visits promote early detection and minimally invasive procedures to correct dental or gum problems.

If you need treatment, we will help you obtain the most benefit from your insurance. Prolonging or avoiding treatment will only create larger problems for more involved treatment in the future that will end up costing more than prevention. 


Can I Treat My Cavity at Home?

Your mouth is naturally armed with minerals from saliva, and when fluoride from water and toothpaste is added, you can  help fight bacteria from creating problems for your teeth and gums.

Unfortunately, once bacteria begin eating away at your enamel and create a permanent cavity, you will need professional dental services to protect the remaining tooth.

Early detection during routine exams will help us spot cavities before they enter the pulp that contains the nerves of your tooth. Once the cavity reaches the nerves, you will know you have decay because you will feel discomfort when eating or drinking. Temperature sensitivity is a good sign to call us and schedule an appointment.

We treat cavities with composite fillings to give you a natural look to your restored tooth. If the damage is too big for a traditional filling, we will use an inlay or onlay to preserve as much natural tooth possible and repair the tooth’s function when biting and chewing.


When Are Crowns Used?

A crown is a tried-and-true method to preserve the undamaged roots and nerves of a tooth. If there is healthy enamel, Dr. Pittenger prefers to use inlays or onlays to resolve the problem conservatively. She will suggest a crown if there is excessive damage from:

  • Cracks
  • Chips
  • Decay
  • Infection

Using A Crown to Cap A Tooth After Root Canal Therapy

Crowns are also used to protect the remaining tooth structure after root canal therapy is complete. Treating the root canal of a tooth helps salvage the integrity of the tooth structure and to maintain proper bite function which also protects the jaw bone. 

How Long Does It Take to Get A Crown?

Crown placement is typically completed in two dental appointments. The first visit is used to take an impression and prepare your tooth. A temporary is placed to protect your tooth while the lab creates the final restoration. In about two weeks, you will return for crown placement and for Dr. Pittenger to make final bite adjustments.


When Is Extraction Used?

If Dr. Pettinger cannot save the tooth, she will recommend having it remove and suggest options to replace it. Tooth extraction is a last-resort treatment for:

  • Excessively damaged teeth
  • Orthodontic progression
  • Preparation for dentures or implants
  • Wisdom teeth that don’t fit or are impacted


What Are My Options for Missing Teeth?

Depending on how many teeth you have missing or need to be extracted, we will discuss all of your replacement options so you can make an informed decision about completing your bite with artificial teeth. We replace teeth with dental implant-supported crowns, bridges, and full and partial dentures. We also offer traditional methods for each.

Do I Qualify for Dental Implants?

Dr. Pettinger will examine your remaining teeth, gum tissue and bone structure to qualify you for dental implants. Three important factors must be addressed before implant placement can begin, thus prolonging the treatment time.
  1. Gum disease must be treated and your mouth infection free
  2. Bone grafts are needed for those with low bone quality
  3. Extraction of any remaining teeth to prepare for dentures

If your oral health does not qualify you for dental implants, Dr. Pettinger will suggest a traditional bridge or denture to replace your teeth.

What Are the Pros and Cons to Dental Implants?

Because of the durability, longevity, and high success rate, dental implants are a great option to support your artificial teeth. Implants are an innovative dental solution that resolves many of the problems people with missing teeth experience, even if they wear dentures.

Advantages of Dental Implants

With a 95-98% success rate, implants are a lifetime solution for missing teeth. They can be used to replace a single, multiple or a full arch of teeth. Additional advantages include:

  • They do not compromise neighboring teeth
  • They stop other teeth from shifting into gaps
  • They prevent early facial aging by supporting jaw bone structure
  • They supply force to the bone stopping bone regression
  • They return full speech and chewing ability without diet limitations

Disadvantages of Dental Implants

Unfortunately, most dental insurances do not cover the cost of implants. We will help you understand your benefits and itemize any out-of-pocket expenses you may have for the treatment.

Dr. Pettinger will talk to you about the value of getting dental implants to help you better understand the overall investment into your oral health. Dental implants are lifetime solutions that help to minimize the future costs of restoring and repairing problems not addressed by other traditional solutions or living with missing teeth.

The length of treatment is also a concern for many. Depending on your treatment plan, you may have several visits interrupted by months of healing if additional work is necessary to prep your mouth for successful implant placement.

How Do Dental Implants Work?

Once the implant is placed, healing must occur before we place the final restoration. During this healing time, the implant post will fuse to the bone in a process called osseointegration, creating a solid, stand-alone anchor for artificial teeth.

We attach an abutment to the post which is used to secure a single crown, a bridge, or denture. If you qualify, you can have a full denture attach to as few as four implant posts.

Single tooth replacement - We use implant-supported crowns to replace a single tooth. These are especially popular for people replacing a tooth in their smile zone as it fills the gap seamlessly.

Multiple teeth replacement - Depending on how many teeth you have missing and where they are located, you may qualify for an implant-supported bridge or partial denture. Using two implants, Dr. Pettinger will permanently anchor your artificial teeth to complete your bite and give your smile a natural finished look.

Full arch replacement - We use implant-supported dentures on the upper and lower arches to give patients a stable arch of artificial teeth that do not move or limit their diet choices. These are especially recommended to patients who need their lower arch replaced because their stability is often difficult as the tongue moves during speech and eating. Depending on the integrity of bone and gum health, we may be able to secure dentures to each arch with four to six implants.


How Long Does It Take to Get a Traditional Bridge?

A standard bridge consists of the artificial teeth and two crowns at the ends used to anchor the bridge in place. We will use neighboring teeth for crown placement and will need two dental visits to complete the procedure. There will be about a two-week interval between appointments to wait for the lab to create the final bridge.

Are Dental Bridges Affordable?

The bridge is an affordable option to replace a few adjacent artificial teeth as the cost (or a portion of) is often part of insurance benefit coverage.


Are Dentures Right for Me?

Dentures are a popular option for patients who have experienced advanced gum disease or are not able to invest in implants. Dental advancements have improved on the look and feel of the denture to make them more comfortable and natural looking. We offer both full and partial immediate (same day) dentures.

After your evaluation, we talk about what types of dentures would work best for your situation and go over the treatment plan to achieve your goals. Depending on your oral health, we may need to treat gum disease or schedule tooth extraction before you can receive your final denture. Creating a foundation of healthy gums is important to you wearing your new denture comfortably and maintaining a healthy environment for long-term success.

Depending on the health of any remaining teeth, your budget, and long-term oral health goals, your dentures options are:

  • Complete dentures that cover a full arch, lower, upper, or both. We offer traditional, same-day, or implant-supported.
  • Partial dentures will cover a portion of the upper or lower arch. Options for partials include traditional, implant-supported, flexible partials, or flippers.
  • Overdentures are permanent, supported by implants, but can only be removed by your dentist for cleaning.

What Are Same-Day Dentures?

We offer same day dentures for patients who need extraction services. When you come in for tooth extraction, we will have a temporary denture ready so that you can wear it out the door. This method gives you the peace of mind to comfortably transition from natural to artificial teeth.


Are You Ready for Healthy Teeth and Gums?

If you are in pain or would like to talk about improving your bite or long-term smile goals, contact Powell Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment with Dr. Pettinger. We look forward to helping you achieve and maintain great oral health for life.

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