6 Things to Know About Dental Veneers

Person opening their mouth and showing straight white teeth.

Dental veneers are a form of cosmetic dentistry where a very thin, custom-made covering is placed over the tooth to improve one’s appearance. Veneers can change the color and/or the shape of a tooth—think Hollywood perfect smiles. Many people are moving towards veneers to enhance their smile; it’s becoming more and more mainstream. Veneers are not just for Hollywood celebs anymore. If you are considering them, here are six things you should know.

1. Make sure your cosmetic dentist is good. Yes, this is usually a voluntary procedure and mostly used for cosmetic purposes; however, it is still involved and intricate. The better your cosmetic dentist, the better your teeth will look. Bad veneers can be noticeable and look fake, so make sure your dentist is experienced. A good idea is to ask for before and after photos from previous patients. If your family dentist also does cosmetics, talk to him or her.

2. Veneers can take the place of other work. Veneers are an option that can take the place of other dental work. For instance, if you only don’t like the shape or angle of a couple of teeth, you can do veneers instead of braces. If you don’t like the color of your teeth, you can opt for veneers in place of whitening.

3. Your teeth will be shaved. To attach the veneers, your tooth or teeth will have to be shaved down a bit. But depending on the changes you want, it may be very minimal. For instance, if you are happy with the shape of your teeth but just want a brighter, whiter smile, it will require very little shaving. But if you want to change the shape of a crooked tooth, more prep work will have to be done.

Veneer being applied to bottom front tooth.

4. There are some negative after effects. There are some things you should know about how you’ll feel afterward:

  • Your gums will likely be sore
  • You may have some pain right after the veneers are applied and then for a few days after on and off. This is due to bonding sensitivity, which some, but not all, patients get.
  • The harder you are on your teeth, the longer the veneers will take to bond and heal.

This being said, after all of this heals and adjusts which may take about a month, you will be just fine.

5. Veneers are not inexpensive. Porcelain veneers can run upwards of $1,000 per tooth. Composite veneers are about half that price but only last about half as long. Insurance rarely covers veneers.

6. Designs are personalized. A good dentist should work with you on the individuality of your smile and what you are looking for. There is not a one size fits all for veneers, and the final look can make a big difference in your smile.

If you would like to make some improvements on your smile, veneers may be just the thing for you. Our professional dental care experts at Watkin Dental Associates can help you with this and answer any further questions. Please call us for information on veneers or any other dental need. We would love to help you have a healthy, beautiful mouth.

Sedation Dentistry: Helping Patients Face Their Fear of the Dentist

fitchburg family dentalBeing nervous when it’s time to go to the dentist is completely normal. But for some people, their fear of going to the dentist is so bad that they refuse to go altogether. This can be detrimental, as dental health is something that should always be taken very seriously. Oral health becomes continuously important as we age, especially seeing as how 47.2% of adults 30 years old and up currently have some level of periodontal disease. But fortunately, sedation dentistry can make it possible for people with extreme dental fear to have procedures done as necessary. So how could you benefit from sedation dentistry?

It helps patients relax: The biggest benefit of sedation dentistry is the fact that it simply helps patients relax in the dentist chair. Even dental services like routine cleanings can sometimes cause anxiety in patients. But when patients undergo sedation, they can feel completely comfortable and relaxed throughout their procedure. Additionally, if patients are sedated, dentists can usually get through the procedure quicker, further reducing anxiety for the patient.

It allows multiple procedures to be done: Oftentimes, when people avoid the dentist for a long period of time, they may need several procedures done. This, in turn, can make them want to avoid their Fitchburg family dental practice even more. But with sedation dentistry, dentists are able to perform several procedures at once if necessary. So if patients need procedures like dental implants, root canals, or tooth removal, they won’t have to go back several times. This can make patients feel better about going to the dentist knowing they can get everything done at one time.

It can minimize pain: It’s no secret that some dental procedures can be uncomfortable and even painful. But with sedation dentistry, patients will feel little to no pain. Furthermore, after they’ve come out of the procedure they’ll have few memories of the experience. This means patients can go into the procedure knowing it will be pain-free and over before they know it.

If you have an extreme fear of the dentist, you’re not alone. But dental care is extremely important — so talk to your Fitchburg family dental practice about sedation dentistry. With the right dentist, you’ll feel comfortable and confident in having necessary dental procedures done.

All About Adult Orthodontics

Woman smiling with Invisaligns on.

When we think of braces, we tend to think of middle schoolers, but more and more adults are working on straightening their teeth, too. Some adults never had the opportunity when they were younger and are taking advantage of adult orthodontics to fix their smiles. Others may have had braces, but for whatever reason, need some more work done.

According to Colgate.com, orthodontics entails the use of braces and removable dental appliances, like retainers, to straighten teeth, correct a bite that is irregular, close gaps and move teeth into proper alignment. With development over the past years, more adults are looking into orthodontic treatment. In fact, about 50% of orthodontic patients are now adults.


Is Adult Orthodontics Different than Children’s Orthodontics?

There are some key differences between adult orthodontics and children’s. For one, adults usually want a less visible appliance to their braces. Many opt for invisible braces, or appliances like Invisalign, that are removable. Your family dentist or orthodontist can help you determine what is the best treatment for you depending on your expectations, end goals and the overall condition of your teeth and mouth.

Most adults look for these things:

  • Short treatment
  • Little discomfort
  • Less invasive appearance of orthodontics

There are also some obvious physical differences between kids and adults, which have implications for orthodontics. Colgate.com shares things like issues from previous tooth extractions or vulnerability with root resorption. The practitioner must be aware of these things for the most successful outcomes.

When it comes to previous tooth extractions, the patient may want to consider a dental implant along with orthodontics to keep the teeth from continuing to shift. Adults are also more vulnerable to tooth resorption where the root is absorbed and loses its hold on the tooth. Again, dental practitioners can assess your vulnerability and provide recommendations for the best possible course of action for you.


Benefits of Adult Orthodontics

Woman looking at her teeth in a mirror.

Adult orthodontics can do wonders for self-confidence. The initial time wearing braces or an appliance can be well worth the confidence you gain from a straight smile. For those who are self-conscious due to crooked or misaligned teeth, braces can enhance self-confidence which can affect all aspects of life.

Adult braces can also help some structural and physical issues within the mouth as well. From fixing a bad bite (malocclusion) to helping TMJ, orthodontic procedures repair problems within the mouth as well as prevent problems that may later develop.


Know Your Commitment

When you commit to adult orthodontics, it’s best to be aware of what you need to do to get the best results. These are things like:

  • Schedule regular appointments
  • Adhere to your orthodontist’s recommendations
  • Stay away from hard and sticky foods that could cause problems with braces
  • Wear your retainer!

If you don’t feel good about your current smile, or you are experiencing some discomfort in your mouth or jaw, speak to your dentist about adult orthodontics. You can always contact us at Watkin Dental Associates for an expert consultation and recommendations on how we can help. Before you know it, you can have a stunning smile!

Key Dental Implant Terms You Need to Know

Blue sign with the words Dental Care on it.

When your dentist tells you that you need a dental implant and begins to describe the procedure, you may start hearing some terms thrown around that you don’t know. However, the more you know about dental implants and what the terms mean, the better prepared you will be for your procedure.

To help you out, here is a list of some of the most common terminology related to dental implants. And remember, if you are unsure of something that your family dentist is discussing, just ask.

Dental Implant – The dental implant is the actual device that is surgically inserted into the jawbone. It fuses to the jawbone and holds the artificial tooth in place with the help of the abutment.

Abutment – This is the piece that is connected to the dental implant itself after the healing process is complete. The artificial tooth is attached to the abutment, holding the tooth to the implant.

First Surgery – A dental implant procedure is typically done in two stages. The first step is when the implant is placed in the jaw. This procedure can take anywhere from one to three hours and takes a few months to heal completely.

Second Surgery – Once the implant has fused with the jawbone (usually three to four months), a second procedure is performed to place the abutment in the implant.

Osseointegration – This is the process of the implant fusing with your jawbone. The bone attaches itself to the implant and grows around it, and then it is able to hold the implant in place, just like a natural tooth root.

Recovery – This is the time after each procedure when your mouth needs to heal to prepare for the next step. You will have to take special care of the surgical site during recovery.

Sinus Lift – This is a procedure where the sinus is moved upward by the dental specialist so that bone can be added in order to support a dental implant.

Bone Graft –  A piece of bone is implanted into the jaw to help make it stronger to support the dental implant. Bone may be taken from your own body (like your hip) or a special bone grafting material may be used.

Mini Dental Implant – Very similar to traditional dental implants, mini dental implants are used where the space for the tooth is smaller. These are usually about half the size of traditional dental implants.

Word cloud with the main word dentistry.

Dental work can be stressful but the more you understand, the better it can be. Ask questions and educate yourself, and the process will go much smoother for you.

If you have any questions regarding dental implants, please contact us at Watkin Dental Associates. We have a staff of caring, expert professionals who are here to help with any of your dental needs.

My Child Lost a Tooth Playing Sports! What Are My Options for Replacement?

Oh no! Your child was playing sports and knocked out a permanent tooth. Can you save it? And if it can’t be saved, what are your options? This can be a scary event, but your child does not have to live with a missing tooth for long.


Try to Save the Tooth

If possible, try to save the tooth. That means locating it and attempting to reinsert the tooth. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it in milk, according to Colgate.com. You should also avoid touching the root of the tooth. To help with bleeding, your child can bite down on or hold some sterile gauze in place.

If you can’t reinsert the tooth, place it in a clean container with milk, saltwater or even saliva. If it dries out, the chances of it reattaching are reduced. Get to a dentist as soon as possible.

Group of young men playing soccer.

Permanent teeth will often reattach after a few weeks. The dentist will usually splint it to a neighboring tooth and check in a few weeks to see that the ligaments have regrown.

Even if the lost tooth is a baby tooth, try to save it and get to your dentist as soon as you can, unless it was already loose and ready to come out. Some complications can occur if a baby tooth is lost too early.


When the Tooth Cannot Be Saved

If the tooth cannot be saved, you’ll have to consider some options depending on the age of your child. Unfortunately, your child cannot have a dental implant until later in his or her teen years. Children younger than 15 cannot have dental implants because their jawbones have not developed completely. Girls can be considered for dental implants at around 15 years old, though boys need to wait until around age 17. Your family dentist can determine if your child is developmentally ready for a dental implant.

You are probably wondering what to do in the meantime. Partial dentures are one option. If your child has braces, the orthodontist may be able to affix an artificial tooth to the orthodontic wear for the time being. This is a more stable option than partial dentures.

Young child having dental work.

It is important to do something until your child can have a dental implant. If there is a missing tooth leaving an open space, long-term problems in your child’s mouth can arise; for instance, teeth may shift and hinder the growth of your child’s mouth and oral health. Besides the physical problems, a missing tooth can also impact your child’s self-esteem.

A dental accident can be difficult o deal with, but with good dental care, your child can still have a beautiful, healthy smile.

If your child has a missing tooth for whatever reason, please contact us at Watkin Dental Associates. We are happy to discuss options with you, determine when your child can have a dental implant, and figure out what your current best choice is. Our expert, caring staff is also here for any other dental needs.

Statistics, Facts and Figures on Dental Implants

Wooden blocks with the words Facts and Figures.For those of you that love to see facts and figures, here is a breakdown of some interesting statistics on dental implants. These numbers and facts will show not only the quality of dental implants but also how common they are becoming. Above all, dental hygiene and regular trips to the dentist’s office are important for a lifetime of good oral health and a confident smile.


Statistics Related to Dental Implants (from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry):

  • The success rate of dental implants has been reported in scientific literature as 98%.
  • Over three million people in the US have dental implants and the numbers continue to grow.
  • The dental implant and prosthetic market in the U.S. is projected to reach $6.4 billion by the end of 2018.
  • 69% of people between the ages of 35-40 have lost at least one tooth.


Interesting Facts About Dental Implants:

  • Dental implants can preserve bone and stimulate growth.
  • Around 600 AD, the Mayans attempted to replace the tooth of a woman by hammering a piece of shell into her jaw.
  • A dental implant isn’t susceptible to tooth decay.
  • You must practice the same dental hygiene on an implant as your natural teeth.
  • Implant posts are often made from titanium, which is both non-toxic and non-corrosive.
  • The U.S. is the leader in dental implant surgery and procedures.
  • Dental implants may cost less in the long run than other tooth replacement methods as they do not need to be replaced or have special care.
  • Dental implants can last a lifetime if they are cared for properly.

Digitally created tooth.

Dental implants are not only a viable option for tooth replacement, but they are a successful measure to maintain the integrity of your mouth and overall oral health. Because they act just like a natural tooth and can last a lifetime, there is no extra maintenance required. You can simply practice good oral hygiene and go about your life just as you would like.

Dental implants can give you back your confidence if you lost a tooth or are faced with losing one in the future. Many Americans have damaged or missing teeth, and a dental implant is an excellent option for replacement.

Remember, it is important to practice good oral hygiene no matter the condition of your teeth, whether you have a mouthful of healthy teeth or some implants. Regular trips to your dentist office for cleanings and checkups are important, as is good daily oral care, including flossing and brushing.

At Watkin Dental Associates, we have a staff of caring, experienced dental professionals. We would love to discuss any of your dental needs with you, from regular care to dental implants. Please contact us to speak with any of our staff and see how we can help you have the beautiful, healthy smile you deserve.

What to Know Before Getting Your First Root Canal

fitchburg dentistThere are a few dreaded words you never want to hear when you go to the dentist — and the words “root canal” are probably at the top of the list for a lot of people. But if your Fitchburg dentist has said you need a root canal, don’t worry. Root canals are common procedures and it’s an easy way to avoid a tooth extraction. Let’s look a little deeper into a few important things you should know before undergoing a root canal treatment.

So, what exactly is a root canal? A root canal is a procedure that removes the infected pulp within a tooth by drilling into the said tooth. Yes, that sounds scary — but you’ll be numb the whole time so you won’t feel a thing. Once the infected pulp is removed, your dentist will clean out the tooth and fill it in in order to avoid additional problems down the line. While root canals can take time, they make it so the tooth can remain intact. Otherwise, dental implants would need to be considered to replace the affected tooth. So in the long run, a root canal allows the patient to keep their tooth and save money on cosmetic dentistry.

Fortunately, root canals are pretty straight-forward procedures. But why are they needed? Most of the time, root canals are needed when there is an infection or inflammation within the roots of a tooth. This often causes extreme pain, warranting the need to remove the affected pulp. Before performing the procedure, dentists will take x-rays to get a good look at what needs to be done. This can help ensure all other options are exhausted and that the procedure is done right.

After your procedure, you need to make sure you’re taking care of your teeth. You’ll need to follow your Fitchburg dentist‘s aftercare instructions carefully to avoid cracking the treated tooth or causing further pain. Root canals often have few side effects, with minor soreness or sensitivity. But if any of the following symptoms are experienced, it’s important to contact your dentist:

  • Extreme swelling
  • Rash
  • Excessive pain
  • Fever
  • Bleeding
  • Itching
  • Infection

All in all, root canal procedures aren’t as bad as they seem. If you’re one of the 99.7% of adults who responded to an AACD survey saying a healthy smile is important for their social life, then it’s important to listen to your dentist. If your Fitchburg dentist recommends a root canal, getting it done sooner than later will save your teeth and alleviate pain quicker.

What Do Our Patients Want to Know About Dental Implants?

Illustration of a dental implant.

You just returned from a visit to your family dentist, and he told you what you already knew: “You need a tooth replacement.” But what does that mean? If you’re considering a dental implant procedure, you probably have some questions, so let’s take a look! Here are some questions that patients often have before, during and after a dental implant procedure.


First and Foremost, What Is a Dental Implant?

Some people may think the dental implant is the artificial tooth, but technically, a dental implant is the metal, screw-like post that takes the place of the missing or damaged tooth’s root. The implant fuses with the jawbone, providing support and structure to hold the artificial tooth that is later attached to the implant.


Why Should I Have a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are the most natural like and long-lasting type of tooth replacement. They maintain the integrity of the jaw and mouth structure. Implants are much more comfortable than other forms of tooth replacement, like dentures or bridges.


Am I a Good Candidate for a Dental Implant?

Most patients are good candidates for dental implants, though some may need a bone graft to make their jaw strong enough to support the implant. Some other considerations are:

  • Do you have healthy gums and teeth?
  • Are you in good overall health?
  • Do your dentures or bridges need to be replaced or do they affect your quality of life in a negative way?
  • Do you have one or more missing teeth or a tooth that needs to be pulled?
  • Have your jaws reached full growth? The American Academy of Implant Dentistry states that this occurs around 16 years of age for girls and around 18 years of age for boys.

Woman smiling.


What Is the Procedure Like?

This is a fairly intense procedure and can take a few months, especially if a bone graft is necessary. If you do need a bone graft, that is the first procedure, and it takes a few months to heal afterward. After that, the dental implant is placed in the jawbone and is given time to fuse with the jaw. The next step is attaching the abutment and the new tooth to the implant and letting it heal.


Will It Be Done in a Hospital?

No, this is all done in the dentist or implant specialist’s office. You may be sedated and will need to take it easy for the rest of the day, but it is not a long appointment.


How Long Will My Dental Implant Last? Will I Have to Have It Redone Periodically?

The beauty of a dental implant is that if done right, it should last a lifetime. You will not need to have it touched up or redone. Your dentist will explain the care immediately following and if any special care needs to be taken afterward. Basically, your implant and the artificial tooth will be just like your natural teeth.

If you would like to learn about dental implants, our experienced, caring staff and dentists at Watkin Dental Associates would be happy to speak with you. Please call us to schedule a visit or talk to us about implants or any other dental needs. We are here to help.

Can Missing Teeth Lead to TMJ Disorder and Can a Dental Implant Help?

Woman sitting in a chair holding the right side of her jaw appearing in pain.

Maybe you have noticed a lingering pain in your jaw, or perhaps it goes up into your ear or down into your throat. Do you have headaches or pain above your eye? Have you noticed neck or shoulder pain? Any of these symptoms could be indicators of temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, more commonly known as TMJ disorder or syndrome.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, some estimates report that TMJ disorders affect over 10 million Americans, more commonly affecting women than men. While this disorder can have a variety of causes, poor bite alignment from a missing tooth is one of them.


What Is the Temporomandibular Joint and What Is a TMJ Disorder?

As Medical News Today explains, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a joint located at the base of the skull and is essential to talking and chewing. It controls the movement of the jaw not only up and down, but also side to side, therefore making it a very complicated joint. In fact, the TMJ is one of the most complex joints in the entire body.

Many factors can affect the TMJ and how it works, from grinding the teeth to poor posture to a missing tooth. Anything that throws alignment off can affect the TMJ.

A TMJ disorder usually involves pain around the jaw, uncomfortable jaw movement or a wide range of symptoms from headaches to sore throats or eye pain. Some people will hear clicking or popping within their jaw, and some will only experience a few symptoms.


How Does a Missing Tooth Affect TMJ?

Because a missing tooth can drastically affect bite alignment, your TMJ can be compromised. Your jaw will compensate by working in a misaligned way, and this can swell and irritate the TMJ, causing an onslaught of symptoms.

Think about if you were to walk around in one flat shoe and one heeled shoe all day. Your body would hurt by the end of the day because you would be out of alignment. That is essentially what you are doing to your jaw with a missing tooth, and it affects much more than your bite.

Man smiling at a dentist's office looking in the mirror at his results.

How Can This Be Addressed?

If you are experiencing TMJ disorder symptoms and you have a missing tooth, speak to your family dentist. You may be able to resolve this issue with a dental implant in the comfort of your dentist’s office. A dental implant is placed in your jaw, and then an artificial tooth is attached to the implant. This type of replacement tooth looks and acts just like a regular tooth, maintaining the integrity of the jaw and facial structure.

Because a dental implant can fix a compromised bite, it can improve your TMJ disorder and the symptoms that go along with it.

If you would like more information on dental implants, please contact us at Watkin Dental Associates. We would be happy to share information on how we can help with any of your dental needs.