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By James L. Schumacher, DMD
April 25, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Cracking a tooth means losing it, right? No, you likely can keep it when you get a dental crown from Jacksonville dentist, Dr. Jamesdental crowns Schumacher. He creates lifelike crowns using beautiful dental grade porcelain and a same-visit process called CEREC--Ceramic Economical Restoration of Esthetic Crowns. It's a superior way to give your damaged tooth a second chance, and you'll be absolutely delighted with the results.

When you need a crown

Dr. Schumacher will examine your damaged tooth carefully and X-ray it to determine its long-term viability. Many teeth qualify for restoration with crowns, including those with:

  • Multiple fillings
  • Weak enamel
  • Congenital malformation (such as a peg-shaped incisor)
  • Deep cracks
  • Extensive decay
  • A dental abscess (root canal therapy would precede the crown procedure)

Your dentist also may use a crown to finish modern dentistry's best tooth replacement--the dental implant-- or to anchor fixed bridgework composed of one, two or more adjoining teeth.

The crown process

Traditionally, crowns were fabricated from gold, porcelain fused to metal or all-porcelain. Because of today's modern materials and same-day design and milling processes, most all crowns are porcelain which is known for its realistic coloring, durability and longevity.

If Dr. Schumacher says a crown would save your tooth, expect a beautiful restoration in a single visit. From digital impressions to shaping and removing failing tooth structure to designing, fabricating and placing the crown, Dr. Schumacher does the whole process in the treatment room.

How's that possible? Dr. Schumacher uses the information garnered from a digital impression (no gooey putty or uncomfortable trays are needed) and uses computer-aided design software to create the specifications for a crown with the right size, shape and bite. Then, the CEREC machine uses computer-aided manufacturing to mill the restoration chairside. In about 15 minutes, the crown is ready to place.

Talk to Dr. Schumacher

He and his professional team can give you all the details on porcelain crowns in Jacksonville, FL. Call the office today for a consultation: (904) 388-3559.

By James L. Schumacher, DMD
April 20, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Dental implants are best known as restorations for single missing teeth. But there’s more to them than that—they can also be used to support and secure removable dentures or fixed bridges.

That’s because a dental implant is actually a root replacement. A threaded titanium post is inserted directly into the jawbone where, over time, bone cells grow and adhere to it. This accumulated bone growth gives the implant its signature durability and contributes to its long-term success rate (95%-plus after ten years). It can support a single attached crown, or serve as an attachment point for a dental bridge or a connector for a removable denture.

The method and design of implants differentiates it from other restoration options. And there’s one other difference—implants require a minor surgical procedure to insert them into the jawbone.

While this might give you pause, implant surgery is no more complicated than a surgical tooth extraction. In most cases we can perform the procedure using local anesthesia (you’ll be awake the entire time) coupled with sedatives (if you have bouts of anxiety) to help you relax.

We first access the bone through small incisions in the gums and then create a small channel or hole in it. A surgical guide that fits over the teeth may be used to help pinpoint the exact location for the implant.

We then use a drilling sequence to progressively increase the size of the channel until it matches the implant size and shape. We’re then ready to insert the implant, which we remove at this time from its sterile packaging. We may then take a few x-rays to ensure the implant is in the right position, followed by closing the gums with sutures.

There may be a little discomfort for that day, but most patients can manage it with over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen. It’s what goes on over the next few weeks that’s of prime importance as the bone grows and adheres to the implant. Once they’re fully integrated, we’re ready to move to the next step of affixing your crown, bridge or denture to gain what you’ve waited so long for—your new implant-supported smile.

If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 Implant Surgery: What to Expect Before, During and After.”

By James L. Schumacher, DMD
April 10, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: pediatric dentistry   x-ray  

Your child’s dental care wouldn’t be the same without x-ray imaging. It’s one of our best tools for finding and treating tooth decay.

But since x-rays emit radiation, is your child in any danger when they’re exposed?

X-rays, an invisible form of electromagnetic energy, will form images on exposed film after passing through the body. Because it takes longer for x-rays to pass through dense tissue like teeth and bones, the corresponding areas appear lighter on the film than less dense tissue like the gums. We can detect decay because the diseased tooth structure is less dense and thus appears darker against healthier tooth structure.

The downside of x-rays, though, is the radiation they emit could potentially alter cell structure and increase the risk of future cancer, especially with children. That’s why we follow a principle known as ALARA when using x-ray imaging. ALARA is an acronym for “as low as reasonably achievable,” meaning the doses for an x-ray session will be as low as possible while still gaining the most benefit.

Advances in technology, particularly the development of digital processing, has helped reduce the amount of radiation exposure. We’re also careful with what types of x-rays we use. The most common type is the bitewing, a device with the film attached to a long piece of plastic that the child holds in their mouth while biting down.

Depending on the number of our patient’s teeth, we can usually get a comprehensive view with two to four bitewings.  A typical bitewing session exposes them to less radiation than what they’re receiving from natural environmental background sources each day.

Keeping the exposure as low and as less frequent as possible greatly reduces health risks while still getting the full benefit of early decay detection. Still, if you have concerns about your child’s x-ray exposure, we’ll be happy to discuss our approach and all the precautions we take using x-ray imaging.

If you would like more information on x-ray diagnostics and your child, 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 “X-Ray Safety for Children.”

By James L. Schumacher, DMD
March 28, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Find out why so many people are turning to dental implants to replace missing implants

Choosing the right way to replace one or more permanent teeth can feel quite time-consuming and a little confusing, at times. After all, how do you know which treatment is the best one for you? This is where our Jacksonville, FL, restorative dentist, Dr. James Schumacher, comes in. We can sit down with you and talk to you about your different options so that you know which one will give you the results you want. If you’ve been considering dental implants here’s why most patients opt for this tooth replacement treatment over others.

Second Only to Natural Teeth

While there are different ways to replace missing teeth, if you want a restoration that truly looks and functions just like a real tooth then no other option will be able to match a dental implant. This little metal post, often made from titanium, is an artificial tooth root that is placed within the jawbone where your missing tooth used to be. A custom dental crown is then cemented in place over the implant, ensuring that the only person who knows you have a false tooth is you!

Longevity is Key

We know you want to have a new tooth that lasts as long as possible. While dentures and bridges might be inexpensive and offer a significantly faster length of treatment they don’t last nearly as long as implants. Since implants naturally fuse together with the jawbone it becomes a permanent foundation within your mouth. This means that with the proper care and maintenance you could have your new tooth for the rest of your life (just don’t forget to visit your Jacksonville dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings).

Prevent Bone Loss

Jawbone loss is a complication of untreated tooth loss. As the jawbone loses density it will also change shape. The jawbone will no longer be strong enough to support certain facial muscles, which will cause cheeks to sink in, and premature lines and wrinkles to form. No other tooth replacement option will actually be able to prevent bone loss except dental implants. Since implants take the place of missing tooth roots they can provide the stimulation your jawbone needs to produce new bone cells and remain strong.

Restored Chewing and Speaking

Tooth loss can make it challenging to enjoy your favorite foods. Sometimes tooth loss can even cause you to develop a speech impediment (e.g. a lisp). By restoring your smile with the next best thing to a real tooth you will never have to worry about your restoration moving or shifting around in your mouth (like you often might experience with dentures). This way you can truly restore these habits and feel more confident in your new smile.

As you can see, dental implants offer quite a host of unique benefits for getting your smile back. If you want to learn more about getting dental implants in Jacksonville, FL, and whether you are an ideal candidate for treatment then call Dr. James Schumacher today.

By James L. Schumacher, DMD
March 26, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: bone loss   missing teeth  

Losing teeth will certainly disrupt your otherwise beautiful smile. It could also potentially affect your food choices and whether or not you receive proper nutrition.

But something else just as consequential could be happening beneath the surface of your gums—you could be losing bone. Significant bone loss in the jaw could adversely affect remaining teeth and facial structure, as well as limit your future restoration choices.

To understand why this occurs we must first consider what bone is: living, cellular tissue. Like the body's other cells, bone has a life cycle: cells form, live and eventually dissolve (or resorb), and are then replaced by new cells. Stimulation from forces generated during chewing traveling up through the tooth roots to the jawbone keep this cycle going at a healthy pace.

But when a tooth is missing, so is this stimulation. This could slow the replacement rate and cause bone volume to gradually decrease. The jawbone width could decrease by as much as 25% the first year alone and several millimeters in height after just a few years.

Although dentures (a popular and affordable choice) can restore lost function and appearance, they can't duplicate this needed stimulation. They even accelerate bone loss by irritating and creating compressive forces on the bony ridges and the gums they rest upon.

One restoration, however, can actually help stop bone loss and may even reverse it: dental implants. This happens because an implant's metal titanium post imbedded in the jawbone attracts bone cells to grow and adhere to its surface. This could actually increase bone density at the site.

To gain this advantage, it's best to obtain implants as soon as possible after tooth loss. If you allow bone loss to occur by waiting too long, there may not be enough to properly support an implant. Even then it might be possible to build up the diminished bone through grafting. But if that's not possible, we'll have to consider a different restoration.

To determine the condition of your bone after losing teeth, visit us for a complete examination. Afterward, we'll be able to discuss with you the best way to address both your overall dental health and your smile.

If you would like more information on treating missing teeth, 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 “The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”

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