The first and most important component of the process to create a customized dental treatment plan involves the initial evaluation. Our examination includes the muscles and joints involved with the movement of the lower jaw, the soft tissues of the head and neck as well as the teeth and supporting structures. Clinical photos are made with intention to assist in the diagnosis and to communicate our findings to each patient.
Patients enter our practice with a variety of expectations and we work with each of you to identify what you are looking for in the process.
Creating a healthy environment for the supporting structures is a critical component of the dental treatment plan. Impressions are an important part of the process to capture the supporting structures in effort to create a working model of the upper and lower jaw. The landmarks present, similar to a fingerprint, serve as reference points for tooth position in the final result. Measurements are made to begin the process of finalizing tooth position and allow for the opportunity for feedback in the evaluation stage of the process.
We are interested in what YOU are looking for from your Dental Office Experience.
Our philosophy is to help each patient achieve the highest level of dental health that is appropriate for them, recognizing that not all patients have the same dental needs or desires.
With that in mind, we would ask you to identify how YOU would like to be seen in our office by checking which of the 3 levels of care seem appropriate for you at this time. Please understand that it is not uncommon for patients to choose a different path after they have experienced our office as this serves as a starting point.
Patients at this level are generally interested in solving more urgent problems and not in a comprehensive examination or long term treatment planning. In addition, they typically want the treatment preformed to be as inexpensive and efficiently as possible.
Patients who choose this level of care generally want a thorough examination and want to be involved in the prevention of present and future dental problems. Typically, the dental treatment goal involves solutions that help to repair immediate concerns and are not as involved and therefore not as long-term in nature.
Patients at this level have a high value for their dental health and appearance. They desire a complete dental examination and have a desired to be informed of all findings and the potential consequences of each problem. Ultimately, they want to be involved in creating a long-term master plan for their dental health, which includes choosing the longest lasting solutions to their problems.
We hope the spirit of the different levels of care make sense to you. It is important to understand that it is not uncommon for patients to change their desires in terms of which level meets their specific needs after experiencing our office. We look forward to seeing you and helping you achieve the level of dental care most appropriate for you.
Douglas G. Benting, DDS, MS, FACP
At what point is the decision made to restore the tooth or simply remove the tooth and work with an alternative treatment plan?
Several factors that contribute to the decision:
The natural tooth along with the surrounding support structure is extremely valuable where the decision to remove a tooth is not taken lightly. At this point in time there is no way to duplicate a natural tooth with all of the currently available modern technology.
The question of whether or not to restore a tooth becomes a real and very important decision immediately following a traumatic fracture of a front tooth. The goal of the examination appointment is to evaluate for the desired position of the biting edge of the upper front tooth, and even more important is the movement of the upper lip during spontaneous laughter. If the upper lip moves in a way where 100% of the natural tooth and some of the pink gum tissue is displayed when smiling or laughing, then more information is required to help make a decision.
It is all about attention to seemingly minor details.
The fractured upper front tooth in the photo is a scenario of an overall plan that requires careful consideration. The tooth has fractured near the level of the pink soft tissue. It has a significant history of dental treatment that includes trauma, root canal treatment, and crowns. The tooth is certainly visible both at a normal conversational distance and the entire tooth along with some of the pink gum tissue is displayed on spontaneous laughter.
Look closely at the pink gum tissue above the fractured tooth relative to the pink gum tissue for the other middle front tooth to the left. The tissue is slightly higher on the right relative to the left as pictured in the photo.
Removing this tooth at this point will make the gum tissue much higher on the right side especially if we place a dental implant in that area in preparation of a dental implant supported crown.
This is where the decision comes in as to whether or not to restore a tooth. It appears easy to simply remove the tooth and move on, however that decision can lead to a significant compromise for decades to come. This is where a little creative thinking and attention to detail can provide an optimal outcome that will set the stage for years to come. In a situation like this, it is possible to move the fractured tooth down. It is possible to do this slowly so that the supporting structures of the upper jaw and pink soft tissue come down as well. Once the foundation is accounted for and the pink tissue is re-positioned, a decision can be made on whether or not to proceed with either restoring this tooth or removal and placement of a dental implant. An individual tooth or a dental implant supported tooth provides several advantages over a fixed bridge that connects teeth together. A fixed bridge, however, would provide an option to decrease the overall treatment time involved.
The appearance of the front teeth can by influenced by many factors. Certainly, color first comes to mind as many people would like whiter, brighter & clean looking teeth. Teeth have a layered, three-dimensional character where creating an esthetic result requires attention to light reflection, surface texture, tooth size and proportion as well as tooth position. Many times the gum tissues adjacent to the teeth play a critical role in the overall cosmetic result.