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General Dentistry

General Dentistry (14)

You’ve probably heard of the mind-body connection. Basically, it states that your psychological well-being and your physical health are closely linked. So, if you’re prone to stress, for example, you can elevate your blood pressure and increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Well scientists are finally beginning to realize that your oral health plays a role in your physical health, as well (dentist have known this for years). Check out these headlines:

  • Gum Disease Linked to Heart Disease and Stroke (AAP)
  • Study Finds a Direct Association between Heart Disease and Periodontal Bacteria (NIDCR)
  • Treatment of Gum Disease May Lower Blood Sugar Levels in Type 2 Diabetes (Science Daily)
  • First Oral Bacteria Found Linking a Mother and Her Stillborn Baby (Science Daily)
  • Presence of Gum Disease May Help Dentists and Physicians Identify Those at Increased Risk for Cardiovascular Disease (Columbia University)

Sounds intense, right? It should. Your oral health is a serious matter, and preventing gum disease may be the key to a healthier you in the future. So, what is gum disease anyway? Gum disease is a chronic infection that typically stems from poor oral hygiene (i.e. not flossing, avoiding dental visits, etc.). It’s hard to imagine that an infection in your gums can have such a dramatic impact on things like the heart, the lungs, bones, blood-sugar levels, and fetal development, but it does. Here’s how: Bacteria from your gums can affect your body in four ways:

  1. Circulatory System – bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the gums and travel to other parts of the body. As it travels, it can cause secondary infections or contribute to diseases already in progress.
  2. Immune System – the body’s inflammatory response to gum disease can trigger other inflammatory diseases (heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure) and cause arteries to swell.
  3. Respiratory System – the bacteria from gum disease adheres to saliva droplets that you inhale. You can actually breathe-in the bacteria every time you inhale. This can cause pulmonary infections and respiratory problems.
  4. Blood Sugar – gum disease increases blood-sugar levels and makes diabetes harder to control. Still not convinced? Watch this video:

The bottom line? You can eat right, work out every day, and visit your doctor regularly, but if you neglect your oral health, you’re essentially shooting yourself in the foot. Visit your dentist regularly and prevent gum disease from sabotaging your efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Together, you, your dentist, and your physician can help prevent systemic illnesses from spiraling out of control.



It's official. Women and men are not created dentally equal. Of course, good dental hygiene habits are the same for all people, regardless of gender. But growing evidence shows women may be significantly more susceptible to serious health consequences from poor oral health. Even oral cancer, which used to affect men six times more than women now affects men only two times as often as women. In fact, in every season of a woman's life, special precautions should be taken to preserve oral health.

Puberty and Oral Health

High hormone levels during puberty can result in sensitive gums. Irritation of the gums by plaque and food particles can cause redness and swelling. When this happens, periodontal therapy may help prevent damage to oral tissues. Brushing and flossing after meals will help reduce the cause of irritation. The sensitivity and resulting irritation will lessen as puberty progresses.

Menstruation and Oral Health

A beautiful, smiling young womanMonthly hormone fluctuations and the resulting increased salivary proteins make women prone to bad breath just prior to their monthly cycles. To combat this, brush more diligently, floss more carefully, use a tongue scraper after each meal, and use a chlorine-stabilized alcohol-free mouth rinse every five hours.

Pregnancy and Oral Health

A mother's dental health impacts not only her oral health but the health of her unborn child's developing teeth as early as six weeks after conception. Increases in gingivitis, plaque, and non-cancerous pregnancy tumors of the mouth are blamed on surging hormones. Good oral health is essential for women of child bearing age because periodontal disease can result in low-birth-weight-babies or pre-term births. The often painless, silent, and undetected disease affects 800,000 Americans annually, and an estimated 18 percent of low-weight births may be brought on by periodontal disease. Dentists encourage pregnant women to have a thorough cleaning during the first trimester and a short check up in each of the following trimesters.

Older Women and Oral Health

The presence of periodontal disease in women is closely linked to the incidence of osteoporosis, and vice versa. To make matters worse, after 35 years of age, periodontal disease in women is often a precursor to permanent tooth loss. In fact, studies show that half of post-menopausal women of eleven-plus years have lost at least one tooth. Why? Gum disease leads to gum detachment, which can lead to tooth loss; furthermore, tooth loss is linked to overall bone loss. Thus, in addition to vigilant home hygiene, older women should schedule regular dental and medical checkups.

How to Improve Women's Oral Health

As a woman concerned with her health, how can you reduce the possibility of gingivitis, gum disease, and tooth loss? Regular checkups, daily brushing and flossing, and an extra dental visit whenever you notice a change in your teeth or gums can help. A healthy diet with plenty of vitamin C and B-12, calcium, and vitamin D for calcium absorption will maintain strong oral conditions. As with most diseases and medical conditions, the earlier a problem is detected, the better the chance for successful treatment and full recovery.


Sensitive Teeth

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Damaged Enamel Causes Indecent Exposure

Incredibly hard enamel protects your teeth above the gum line so that you can bite and chew without pain or discomfort. Beneath the enamel, a more porous layer, dentin, extends to below the gum line. A soft interior portion called pulp contains vital nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. The pulp fills the root canals, and it is the source of life to the tooth.

Damage, such as receding gums or chips and cracks in enamel, or heavy-handed brushing, exposes the dentin and can create a condition known as dentin hypersensitivity. Through tiny pores in the dentin, called tubules, temperature fluctuations, air, and pressure can directly affect nerves. This type of sensitivity can cause sudden, acute, and unexpected oral pain. About 45 million Americans suffer from tooth sensitivity, and if you’re one of them, we can help.

In some cases, laser therapy may seal the tiny exposed tubules and solve the problem. Another therapy includes dental sealants or bonding agents, which create a barrier similar to natural enamel. Sometimes treating the symptoms is the best solution. We may suggest a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect your gums from further irritation, an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensitive automatic shut off, or special toothpaste formulated with potassium nitrate or strontium chloride to block or insulate nerves. A fluoride rinse or gel, or an oxalate compound applied to an exposed tooth root may reduce your tooth sensitivity. For a few weeks, as you wait for these measures to take effect, you'll need to monitor what you eat and drink to avoid extreme temperatures.


Intraoral Cameras

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People seldom have a clear idea of the actual status of their dental health. Even with lights and mirrors, a patient can’t see what the dentist can – that is, until now.

We use intraoral cameras, so when you visit the dentist, you can sit comfortably back in the chair and get ready for the show. The dentist or hygienist will insert a pen-sized, camera-tipped wand into your mouth. Covered with a disposable plastic sheath for contamination prevention, the wand simply takes a video of the inside of your mouth and transmits the images via cable to a computing unit. The computing unit enlarges the full-color images and sends them to a TV screen that you can comfortably view from the dental chair. Aha! There it is – your mouth on the screen. The dentist can point out problem areas and explain his recommendations for treatment, so you’ll become an informed partner in your dental care instead of a mere bystander.

Seeing your dental problems may seem overwhelming at first, but consider the experience the first step toward a healthier, fresher smile. The camera may reveal the early stages of potentially serious problems, allowing you the opportunity to prevent small problems before they escalate. This is especially helpful with gum disease and conditions that cause damage without causing pain. The camera's honest survey can also show you how your regular home hygiene routine is paying off. The dental hygienist or dentist can recommend ways to improve your homecare based on their findings.

What We See Is What We Get

We've invested in a new way of looking into your mouth – a procedure that's fast, comfortable, and incredibly precise. Using digital radiography, we can clearly identify all external and internal anatomical structures and accurately diagnose your dental problems. Even more amazing, we can immediately translate that information into a large, clear, accurate image, projected onto a monitor that patient and doctor can study together in the operatory. You won’t even have to leave your chair. Digital radiography’s technology improves and simplifies the way we care for our patients’ teeth, resulting in better dental evaluations and treatment decisions. As the most important member of your dental team, you need to understand the condition of your mouth, as well as our recommendations for treatment. Digital radiographs help us help you.

Reduced Radiation, Radical Results

Traditionally, dentists used X-rays to see what the naked eye could not; X-rays were developed in a darkroom with hazardous chemicals, and then viewed on a special light board. The developed X-rays had to be stored, which required large filing systems. By far, the worst part of traditional X-rays was the radiation exposure to patients. Digital radiography has completely transformed this process.

Now, when you come into the office for X-rays, a tiny sensor is placed in your mouth to emit a small amount of radiation – up to 90-percent less than traditional X-rays required. This creates a detailed image of your internal oral structures that is immediately viewable on a chairside monitor, carrying with it all the conveniences of other digitized images. We can rotate and magnify it, adjust it for contrast, and even color-code it for educational purposes. The digital images store easily and efficiently in our computer files, safe and sound. For insurance purposes, referrals, or patient education, digital X-rays can be easily, inexpensively, and accurately reproduced indefinitely.

Digital X-rays offer unparalleled benefits over traditional radiographs: they’re convenient, safe for the environment, provide a great opportunity for patient education, can be transferred and copied accurately, and best of all, they’re safer for our patients.

A woman with emergency dental painDo you have…

a lost crown?
a terrible toothache?
a cracked or knocked out tooth?
dentures that require an emergency repair?

One out of every four people in the United States suffers from an oral injury in their lifetime, and handling these dental emergencies can make the difference between saving or loosing a tooth.

Dental emergencies don’t always happen during regular business hours; in fact, they tend to occur at the most inconvenient times possible. That's why Dr. Darryl Azouz and our team are on-call and accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

If you’ve experienced a dental emergency, contact The Serenity Dental Team at (916) 630-1084 or at (916) 708-2363. Remember, pain is a signal that something is wrong, and even though it may temporarily disappear, it doesn't mean the problem is gone!

How to prevent dental injuries and dental emergencies:

  • Child-proof your home
  • Make sure your children are belted safely in their stroller and car seat.
  • Wear a helmet when roller blading, cycling or skateboarding.
  • Always use seat belts.
  • Have a custom made mouth guard made by The Serenity Dental Team to wear while playing sports and during activities that have physical contact.

If you are away from work or home, be sure to carry Dr. Darryl Azouz's office information (6661 Stanford Ranch Road, Suite D, Rocklin, CA 95677 (916) 630-1084), so you can reach him for a consultation and decide if immediate dental care is needed.

To give you the best emergency dental service, be prepared to The Serenity Team:

  • Any recent treatments, surgeries, adjustments, or appointments
  • The location of the tooth and/or pain
  • Your symptoms (fever, pain, swelling)
  • Your level of pain
  • Any pain medication taken

Emergency dental careHow should emergencies be dealt with? Here's a list temporary solutions to support dental emergencies:

Lost Crown and need Emergency Dental Care

  • Call Dr. Darryl Azouz as soon as possible at (916) 630-1084 to make an appointment to re-cement the crown.
  • Attempt to snap the crown back into place.
  • Use denture adhesive paste on the crown and place it back on your tooth (do NOT use ordinary household glue!).

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Orthodontic Issues (Braces)

  • Wire irritation: cover the end of the wire with a piece of gauze or with some dental wax.
  • Embedded wire in the gum or cheek: DO NOT remove it. Call Dr. Darryl Azouz immediately at (916) 630-1084.

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Broken Dentures, Bridges, or Plates

  • Keep all of the parts and pieces of your broken bridge, dentures, or plates.
  • Call Dr. Darryl Azouz as soon as possible at (916) 630-1084 to schedule an appointment for repair or replacement.

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Broken, Fractured, or Chipped Tooth or Filling

  • Call Dr. Darryl Azouz at (916) 630-1084 within two to three hours if the broken/chipped/fractured tooth doesn't require hospital care. Quickly contacting The Serenity Dental Team can prevent infection, reduce the possibility of extensive dental care, and may save the tooth.
  • Apply direct and gentle pressure to the gums to stop bleeding. Do not apply pressure directly on a broken tooth (If tooth is in the upper part of the mouth, apply pressure to the gums above the tooth, lower tooth should have pressure applied directly below the tooth).
  • Rinse the mouth with warm water.
  • A cold compress can be externally applied to reduce swelling.
  • Find the broken tooth fragments and bring the pieces with you – they may be able to be "cemented" back together.
  • If needed, put some soft wax in the area around the chipped or damaged tooth.
  • To avoid further discomfort, avoid using the injured side of the mouth while eating. Consume only soft foods, as well as lukewarm beverages and food.
  • If pain medication is needed, take 400-800 mg of ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or 200-400 mg of naproxen sodium (Aleve). Do not take aspirin or aspirin-substitutes as they can slow clotting. Be sure to follow the directions from your physician and on the medication bottle.

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Gum Injury

  • A gum injury to the soft tissue in your mouth includes puncture wounds, lacerations, or tears to the cheek, tongue, or lips.
  • Clean and rinse the area immediately with a warm salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon or salt and eight ounces of warm water).
  • If your tongue is bleeding, pull your tongue forward and use a piece of gauze to apply pressure to the injury site.
  • For severe injuries, go to hospital for evaluation and treatment.

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Sore Gums

  • If pain is extreme, call Dr. Darryl Azouz as soon as possible at (916) 630-1084 to schedule an appointment.
  • For minor pain, purchase a rinse such as Peroxyl.
  • Gently brush your teeth and gums.
  • For minor but continuing discomfort, schedule an appointment with Dr. Darryl Azouz in his Rocklin office at (916) 630-1084.

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Fractured Jaw

  • Immobilize your jaw with a towel or tie, especially if there is pain when it is moved or the mouth cannot be closed in a normal manner.
  • Go to the doctor/hospital immediately. Remember, a blow to the head (especially to a child) can be especially life threatening. Treatment may include seing a dentist, but a physician will subscribe this option as needed.

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Swollen Jaw

  • Contact Dr. Darryl Azouz by calling (916) 630-1084 immediately. There may be an infection that requires antibiotics.
  • A cold compress can be externally applied to reduce swelling.

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Small Black Legion

  • A small black legion that appears in the mouth may be what's called an “amalgam tattoo.” This happens when some of the silver from an amalgam filling has rubbed onto the cheek.
  • To remove the legion, gently brush and rinse the area.

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Small White Legion

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  • Floss thoroughly.
  • Rinse the mouth out with warm water. This may remove lodged debris.
  • Apply a cold compress on the area of the face outside of the tooth pain site – especially if there is swelling.
  • Take a pain reliever such as aspirin, Tylenol, or ibuprofen. Also, an over-the-counter topical anesthetic with 5% to 20% benzocaine applied every two hours may help.
  • Make an appointment to see Dr. Darryl Azouz as soon as possible.

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Tooth Knocked Out

  • If at any point in time the person was unconscious or requires stitches, go to the hospital immediately for a full assessment.
  • A missing tooth that has been knocked out may mean that it was inhaled. In this case, go to the hospital immediately.
  • A knocked out tooth should not be handled by the root, only by the crown (this is the chewing surface). Never touch the root; touching the root may prevent re-attachment of the tooth to the bone.
  • Remove dirt by gently rinsing the tooth with cool water. (DO NOT scrub off the tooth, wrap the tooth in a cloth or tissue or dry the tooth.)
  • If possible, replace the tooth back into the socket. Firmly and carefully push the tooth back into the socket with your fingers; bite down on a clean washcloth to hold the tooth in place.
  • If the tooth can't be placed back into the socket, it can be stored in a variety of liquids. A tooth can be stored in water for up to 15 minutes, in saliva for 30 minutes and in milk for up to one hour. If all else fails, place the tooth directly between the gums and the cheek.
  • It is imperative to keep the tooth moist at all times.
  • A tooth that is implanted within 30 minutes has an excellent chance of re-attachment. Call Dr. Darryl Azouz as soon as possible at (916) 630-1084to schedule an appointment.

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Baby Tooth Knocked Out

  • If at any point in time the person was unconscious or requires stitches, go to the hospital immediately for a full assessment.
  • Deciduous (baby) teeth are generally not re-attached. Cosmetic deformities may be caused by ankylosis, which could interfere with the irruption of a child's permanent teeth.
  • A cold compress can be externally applied to reduce swelling as needed.
  • Give the child a pain reliever such as Tylenol – be sure to follow the medication directions for dosage.
  • Contact Dr. Darryl Azouz to set an evaluation appointment to determine if a space maintainer is necessary for smooth integration of adult teeth.

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Loose Baby Tooth

  • Having loose teeth is normal for children. As long as there isn't any decay or swelling, remind children that this right of passage is part of getting "adult" (permanent) teeth.
  • If the child is experiencing discomfort, use a warm salt water rinse (1/2 teaspoon or salt and eight ounces of warm water) three to four times daily.
  • Give the child a pain reliever such as Tylenol--be sure to follow the medication directions for dosage.
  • Wiggling the tooth gently may help it come out sooner.
  • Questions? Concerns? Call Dr. Darryl Azouz at (916) 630-1084 to schedule an appointment.

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Oral Sedation

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Sedation Dental Education VideoOral Sedation/Sleep Dentistry PillMillions of Americans avoid the dentist because of fear or negative past experiences. The trouble is, when you avoid the dentist, you end up needing more advanced treatment in the future when a tooth falls out or severe gum disease sets in. Dr. Azouz and our team at Serenity Dental understand dental fear, and we welcome those who haven’t see a dentist in a while, as well as those who struggle to relax in the dental chair. The good news is, dental fear can be overcome, and sedation dentistry is making this possible.

Today’s dentistry shouldn’t be a painful or traumatic experience. We have wonderful new tools and techniques that have made dentistry and comfort virtually synonymous. For example, did you know that we can now create crowns in our office, in a single visit? We can also perform root canals in just one visit and actually alleviate your tooth pain. In conjunction with sedation dentistry, modern treatments are changing the way people view the dentist.

Sedation dentistry has been proven safe and effective for patients with mild to moderate dental fear. It involves a medication taken orally prior to your visit. The medication encourages relaxation and makes most patients feel drowsy. Oral sedation also has an amnesic effect, so you won’t recall specific details of your treatment. Whether you need a deep cleaning or replacement teeth, sedation dentistry can give you the peace of mind you need to face the dentist and receive ongoing care.

Our number priority is always to relieve your pain, not to cause more. Our team is sensitive to your needs, and we offer many comfort amenities to help create a soothing experience, these include:

  • Neck pillows – When you’re tense, your neck muscles tend to tighten. A neck pillow will help you feel more relaxed in the dental chair.
  • Warm blankets – We want you to feel warm and cozy throughout your dental treatment.
  • Refreshments – As our guest, we invite you to help yourself to freshly brewed coffee or bottled water.

If you’ve been avoiding the dentist due to fear, or you’re just interested in a soothing, relaxing dental visit, contact Serenity Dental in Rocklin. Your comfort and peace of mind will always come first at our practice.


Sports Guards

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Getting the Bite on Mouthguards

If you or your child is an athlete, you know how important it is to have the right protective gear. Typically that means having a helmet, knee pads, and shin guards. But did you know nearly 40 percent of all sports injuries involve the face? That’s where a mouthguard comes in. With a custom-made mouthguard from The Serenity Dental Team’s Rocklin, CA office, you can protect your smile and your mouth, dramatically reducing the chance for sports-related oral injuries.

What is a Mouthguard?

A mouthguard fits comfortably over your teeth and protects your smile, lips, tongue, face, and jaw. What’s more, research has shown that mouthguards can even help reduce the potential for concussions.

The benefits of wearing a mouthguard are obvious for certain athletes, including hockey players, boxers, and football players, but other kinds of athletes can benefit too, like bicyclists, gymnasts, and weightlifters. All this might sound unnecessary, but research shows that 13 to 39 percent of all dental injuries are sports related, and, because the face is so important for self-confidence and sometimes success, it’s better to be safe than…toothless!

Types of Mouthguards

A mouthguard

Ready-Made Mouthguards

Ready-made mouthguards are inexpensive and can be readily found at sporting goods stores. Unfortunately, they’re not custom-fitted. They’re secured by closed jaws, which can make speaking and breathing difficult, and they may seem bulky and uncomfortable in your mouth.

Mouth-Formed Mouthguards

For a solution that’s a better fit for your smile, consider mouth-formed mouthguards. One type made of acrylic fits securely over your teeth, but unfortunately, many have reported that these have an unpleasant taste or smell and can lose their flexibility over time. Another type, thermoplastic mouthguards, can easily be customized by heating them in hot water and then biting them, creating a custom fit. But even though thermoplastic mouthguards maintain their flexibility, they can feel bulky.

Custom-Made Mouthguards

The best solution is a custom-made mouthguard. They’re made by a dentist or lab technician from an impression of your teeth and are comfortable, practical, and provide excellent protection from injury.

Mouthguard Care

Before wearing your mouthguard, keep a few of these care tips in mind:

  • Always wear your mouthguard during practices and games.
  • Never chew on your mouthguard.
  • Check your mouthguard for damage before use, and wash with cold water or mouthwash after use.
  • Regularly clean your mouthguard with a toothpaste and toothbrush or soap and water.
  • Store in a dry, perforated container.
  • Do not place in direct sunlight or high temperatures.

ADA & ASD Advice

The American Dental Association and the Academy of Sports Dentistry recommend mouthguards for athletes who participate in:

Acrobatics Field Hockey Racquetball Squash
Bandy Football Rugby Surfing
Baseball Gymnastics Shot Put Volleyball
Basketball Handball Skateboarding Water Polo
Bicycling Ice Hockey Skiing Weightlifting
Boxing Inline Skating Skydiving Wrestling
Equestrian Events Lacrosse Soccer  
Field Events Martial Arts Softball  


Painful Pulp

Teeth are comprised of multiple layers: a layer of protective enamel, a layer of sensitive dentin, and a layer of pulp commonly considered the tooth’s “nerve.” Each pulp chamber forms canals leading toward the tooth root tip. These infamous root canals use your bloodstream to absorb what your tooth need and get rid of toxins. But a deep cavity or tooth fracture can open the door for bacterial infection, which can kill the pulp, stimulate blood flow, and cause increased pressure within the tooth. This can result in severe pain and may even lead to bone loss, tooth loss, and even more severe pain. By seeing Dr. Azouz in the earliest stages of this condition, it may be possible for a root canal to save the tooth.

A model of a root canal

Easy Does It

But don’t root canals hurt? Not with today’s advances in technology and pain relief. The entire procedure can be performed comfortably and often in a single visit. We simply clean the infected canal, fill it with a biologically-inert substance, seal it, and you’re done. Some patients may experience some soreness or slight inflammation afterwards, but these can be easily controlled with over-the-counter pain reliever. As part of your follow-up care, work on maintaining a regular brushing and flossing routine and visit our Rocklin, CA office for regular cleanings and checkups.

Missing teeth can cause trouble for your smile, from difficulty speaking and eating to low self-esteem and even jawbone deterioration. But even if you're missing one or more teeth, you shouldn't give up on your smile. Advances in dentistry have made it possible to create partial and full dentures that are more comfortable and natural-looking than even before.

What is a Partial?

A partial denture, which is commonly called just a partial, is made up of multiple teeth spread out across a gum colored base and fits around your existing teeth like a puzzle piece. And unlike a bridge, a partial is removable and normally secured with clips or brackets.

What is a Denture?

DenturesA full denture is made up of a complete row of top or bottom teeth on a gum-colored base and can be closed or open palate. A denture adhesive may be necessary to secure them.

Implant-Supported Dentures and Partials

If you’d prefer a full or partial denture that doesn’t require an adhesive or clips, consider dentures supported by Dental Implants. Dental implants are made of titanium and can be secured in just a brief surgery. With implant-supported dentures, your new smile will be strong, secure, and natural.