My Blog

Posts for: March, 2018

By Peter Elton DMD, PLLC
March 29, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Have you heard a bit about crowns and bridges, but feel uninformed on the details? Well, simply put, a dental crown replaces weak tooth restorative dentistrystructure above the gums. Fixed bridgework replaces one or more teeth lost to injury, decay or abscess. Both restorations strengthen your smile and keep it attractive. That's why your dentists in Gig Harbor, WA Dr. Peter Elton and Dr. Douglas Clarke, offer them at Cedarbrook Dental. They want you to have the healthiest and best-looking teeth and gums possible.

Reasons for a dental crown

It's been around a long time, says the American Dental Association--actually, more than 100 years. However, today's dental crown is incredibly strong, custom-crafted according to oral impressions from lifelike dental-grade porcelain.

What does a dental crown do? It provides an alternative to extraction. Extensive decay, abscess (infection), multiple restorations or oral trauma may weaken a tooth to the point where it cannot survive without intervention. In fact, a patient may consider just "pulling it" and starting fresh.

In some cases, extraction is best. However, many times your Gig Harbor dentist can avoid it and the resulting:

  • Smile gap
  • Weakened and drifting adjoining teeth
  • Compromised speech, appearance chewing and biting

When you come to Cedarbrook Dental, Dr. Elton or Dr. Clarke will examine your tooth and take X-rays and impressions. If your tooth is viable, he'll remove the damaged portions and shape it to receive a crown. He'll place a temporary crown to support your tooth as you wait for the new restoration.

At the dental lab, a highly trained technician uses your dentist's instructions to craft your crown to match your bite and tooth color perfectly. Modern dental labs use durable and realistic porcelain which is not simply tooth-colored. Rather, its coloration closely mimics what Nature gives our smiles, varying the hue to blend in with the rest of your teeth.

Additionally, a dental crown can cover a tooth restored by endodontics, or root canal therapy. Your Gig Harbor dentist places crowns to restore dental implants, too.

Reasons to consider a bridge

Say you've lost one or more teeth in a row. You need to span that gap with replacement teeth, and that's what fixed bridgework is.

Constructed according to X-ray imaging and oral impressions, your bridgework will have pontic, or artificial teeth, supported in one of two ways:

  1. By dental crowns attached to neighboring teeth on opposite ends of the replacement bridge
  2. By dental implants affixed to the jaw bone

Either method fills the unsightly and embarrassing empty space and also normalizes oral function and speech. With an implant-supported bridge, patients have an additional advantage. Dental implants are rock-solid secure, and they improve the underlying gums and jaw bone, preventing a detrimental recession.

What's your need?

Whether it's a single crown, a three-tooth bridge or something else, the skilled team at Cedarbrook Dental can help. Don't delay, call the office team today for a personal consultation with Dr. Elton or Dr. Clarke: (253) 851-1190.

By Peter Elton DMD, PLLC
March 16, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Magician Michel Grandinetti can levitate a 500-pound motorcycle, melt into a 7-foot-tall wall of solid steel, and make borrowed rings vanish and reappear baked inside bread. Yet the master illusionist admits to being in awe of the magic that dentists perform when it comes to transforming smiles. In fact, he told an interviewer that it’s “way more important magic than walking through a steel wall because you’re affecting people’s health… people’s confidence, and you’re really allowing people to… feel good about themselves.”

Michael speaks from experience. As a teenager, his own smile was enhanced through orthodontic treatment. Considering the career path he chose for himself — performing for multitudes both live and on TV — he calls wearing an orthodontic device (braces) to align his crooked teeth “life-changing.” He relies on his welcoming, slightly mischievous smile to welcome audiences and make the initial human connection.

A beautiful smile is definitely an asset regardless of whether you’re performing for thousands, passing another individual on a sidewalk or even, research suggests, interviewing for a job. Like Michael, however, some of us need a little help creating ours. If something about your teeth or gums is making you self-conscious and preventing you from smiling as broadly as you could be, we have plenty of solutions up our sleeve. Some of the most popular include:

  • Tooth Whitening. Professional whitening in the dental office achieves faster results than doing it yourself at home, but either approach can noticeably brighten your smile.
  • Bonding. A tooth-colored composite resin can be bonded to a tooth to replace missing tooth structure, such a chip.
  • Veneers. This is a hard, thin shell of tooth-colored material bonded to the front surface of a tooth to change its color, shape, size and/or length; mask dental imperfections like stains, cracks, or chips, and compensating for excessive gum tissue.
  • Crowns. Sometimes too much of a tooth is lost due to decay or trauma to support a veneer. Instead, capping it with a natural-looking porcelain crown can achieve the same types of improvements. A crown covers the entire tooth replacing more of its natural structure than a veneer does.

If you would like more information about ways in which you can transform your smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the techniques mentioned above by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Whitening,” “Repairing Chipped Teeth,” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”


Due to financial circumstances, people often have a lost tooth restored with a removable partial denture, an effective appliance that restores function and a degree of aesthetic appearance. Later, though, they may want to improve both function and appearance with a dental implant.

If this describes you, you’re making a great choice. Dental implants are the closest technology we have to a natural tooth. But there may be a roadblock to your implant, especially if a long time has passed since your tooth loss—there may not be enough bone at the site to place an implant.

The heart of an implant is a titanium metal post surgically imbedded in the jawbone. The titanium naturally attracts bone cells, which grow and adhere to it to form a solid hold that can support a porcelain crown or other restorations like bridges or dentures. But to achieve a natural appearance it’s important that the implant is placed in the right location. To achieve that requires adequate bone.

But there may not be adequate bone if the tooth has been missing for a while. The forces generated when we chew travel through the teeth to the jawbone, which stimulates bone growth. If that stimulus is absent because of a missing tooth, new bone cells may not replace older ones at a healthy rate and the total bone volume begins to diminish. A denture can’t compensate and, in fact, accelerates bone loss.

But there may be a solution: bone grafting. With this procedure we place a donor bone graft into the area of bone deficiency some time before implant surgery. The graft serves as a scaffold for new bone cells to grow upon. Hopefully, this will produce enough healthy bone to support an implant. If the bone deficiency is minor, we may place the implant and the bone graft at the same time.

If you have experienced bone loss, we must first determine the amount of bone at the missing tooth site and whether grafting is a viable option. Bone grafting postpones your implant, but the delay will be worth the wait if we’re successful. With increased bone volume you’ll be able to obtain a new tooth that’s superior to your current restoration.

If you would like more information on dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.