Understanding Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges


Dental crowns and tooth bridges are what’s known as fixed prosthetic devices. They are, unlike dentures, cemented onto existing teeth or other implants and can only be placed, as well as removed by a licensed dental practitioner.

How Dental Crowns Work

Crowns are used to cover damaged teeth to help strengthen it, as well as to improve its shape, appearance and alignment. Crowns can also be used and place on top of implants to make them look like normal teeth and to help them function as so.

Typically, crowns are made out of gold and metal alloys. But, porcelain and ceramic crowns also exist and can be used to match the color of the rest of your natural teeth.

Of the said materials, alloys are much stronger, as well as much more durable and are recommended to be used for back teeth. Porcelain may also be bonded to a metal shell for durable, yet attractive finish.

Generally, crowns are recommended for cases such as:

  • Replacing fillings so large that there just isn’t enough tooth remaining.
  • Protecting a weak tooth from further damage or fractures.
  • Restoration of a fractured tooth.
  • Attaching a dental bridge.
  • Covering a dental implant.
  • Covering a misshapen or discolored tooth.
  • Covering a tooth that had just recently undergone root canal treatment.

How Tooth Bridges Work

Missing teeth can cause an imbalance which may lead to a variety of dental problems, such as a bad bite, gum disease and even TMJ disorders. As such, those missing one or a couple of teeth may opt to get a dental bridge.

Dental bridges work by spanning the space left over by the missing teeth. They are cemented either to the natural teeth or to the implants, which are referred to as abutments now that they serve as anchors for the ridge.

Like with crowns, there are plenty of materials to choose from when it comes to dental bridges. Though, it is best that you let your dentist decide and discuss with you which material is best for your particular case.

Manufacturing and Fitting

Before a crown or bridge is manufactured or made, your tooth or teeth have to be prepared first. This is usually done by reducing it in size to make sure that the crown or bridge is a perfect fit. Once prepared, an impression will be taken that will be used as molding for the crown or bridge.

The said impression is then sent to a dental lab where your crown or bridge is made. Meanwhile, a temporary crown or bridge is placed to cover the prepared area. Once the permanent crown or bridge is ready, the temporary ones are then removed and the new, permanent ones are cemented in place.

Proper Care and Maintenance

Crowns and bridges are built to last for decades, but that does not mean that they’re not prone to breaking, becoming loose or even falling out.

The best way to make sure that your crown or bridge lasts long is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day, learning how to use a dental floss and even rinsing with mouthwash. Of course, you shouldn’t forget to visit your dentist regularly as well, for regular checkups and cleaning.

The Main Benefits of Laser Dentistry

laser dentistry

The use of the traditional drill is often cited as one of the reasons why plenty of patients tend to skip out on going to the dentist. The sound that the drill makes and the fact that you have to be strapped onto the dentist’s chair throughout much of the procedure simply makes some people feel uncomfortable.

Fortunately, we no longer live in a time and age where dentists have to rely on their drills and other conventional tools to perform most, if not all, of their procedures.

All thanks to laser dentistry, patients can now choose to go for virtually pain-free dental procedures.

That aside, there are plenty of other benefits of laser dentistry, including:

  • Better accuracy and precision. Using lasers, dentists can easily remove tooth enamel decay, which can prove to be quite difficult to do through conventional means. Procedures done on the bone and gum tissues are also more precise using lasers, which leaves the surrounding areas unaffected and helping you maintain your natural set of teeth for a longer time.
  • Greatly reduced trauma. Physically, the use of high speed drills can, in many cases, cause fractures in the teeth. Such fractures, although reversible, will eventually lead to further dental problems that will incur even more costs down the line. With lasers, trauma is significantly minimized.
  • Faster and more efficient procedures. Since dentists don’t have to rely on shots or anesthesia, the use of lasers can make it easier for them to perform certain procedures that would usually require multiple trips in one visit. Also, certain procedures that often required the referral to specialists can now be performed by a single dentist, saving you and your family much needed time, money and hassle as you no longer have to make multiple trips.
  • Less bleeding and swelling. For many years, bleeding and post-op swelling were common in dental procedures. Patients simply had no choice but to deal with them, especially since no other options existed. Well, not yet, anyway. With lasers, dentists can perform procedures such as soft tissue with little to no bleeding and post-op swelling involved!
  • Versatility. Lasers can be used on a wide range of both hard and soft tissue procedures. Those that required the extensive use of drills and scalpels, such as decay removal, cavity preparation, root canals, and many others will be far easier to do all thanks to lasers.

Look for a Certified Dentist Near You!

Not all dentists are trained and certified to perform laser procedures as a substitute to conventional measures.

It is important that you do your research and if possible, set up a meeting with the dentist to ask him or her questions about the extent of education and training they’ve received in regards to laser dentistry.

Also, you should know that even though lasers are a very useful and powerful dental instrument, they’re not always the most appropriate option.

Hopefully, now that there’s the option of there being less pain involved in dental procedures, you’ll no longer dread each visit like before and maybe even make it a habit to visit the dentist much more often.

For more information on laser dentistry call the office of Larry Lieberman DDS at 727-785-8017. His helpful staff will answer your questions and help you get an appointment scheduled. Also, visit the website at www.dentist-lieberman.com.

The Link Between Soda & Tooth Decay | Palm Harbor Dentist

girl with hair pulled back up closeIt’s no secret there exists a strong link between soda consumption and tooth decay. Americans love soda. They’re fizzy, refreshing, bubbly, they’re delicious…they’re ruining your teeth! Drinking soda is one of the main decayer of teeth in your diet. Of course, in moderation it poses very little threat, but a steady consumption of soft drinks is one of the leading causes of tooth decay. Heavy soda consumption has also been linked to other health complications including diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.

Sugar in soda combines with bacteria in your mouth to form acid, which attacks the teeth. Diet or “sugar-free” soda contains its own acid, which also can damage teeth. When sipping on soda all day the sugar and the acidity is sitting on your teeth, eating away at your enamel, staining your teeth, and setting off bacteria bombs.

Sugar in soda combines with bacteria in your mouth to form acid, which attacks the teeth. Diet or “sugar-free” soda contains its own acid, which also can damage teeth. Each attack lasts about 20 minutes and starts over with every sip of soda you take. These ongoing acid attacks weaken tooth enamel. Kids and teens are most susceptible to tooth decay because their tooth enamel is not fully developed(Source: WDA.org).

Some guidelines to avoiding tooth decay:

  • Consuming two or more servings of dairy foods
  • Drink water – Water is beneficial in more ways than one in this instance
  • Restricting other sugared beverages to occasional use

Watch this entertaining and informative video on soda being a detriment to your oral health: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-nPxBF24wM

We’ve all probably heard the term, ‘Sip All Day, Get Decay!’ It’s so true! You can avoid tooth decay and other health problems that arise from drinking too many soft drinks, other carbonated beverages, sports drinks, iced and sweet teas and other sweetened liquids (like fruit juices).

Brushing, rinsing and flossing twice daily and visiting your dentist regularly will reduce your risk of tooth decay improve and/or maintain your oral health.

To find out more about healthy foods & tooth decay contact Dr. Larry Lieberman and make an appointment 727-785-8017 or visit our website at www.dentist-lieberman.com.

Accepting patients from Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and all surrounding areas.

Avoiding Gingivitis | Palm Harbor Dentist

girl with hair pulled back up closeGingivitis is one of those ailments one dreads hearing they have. Though it usually develops when oral care falls by the wayside and of course can easily be be prevented. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, usually caused by a bacterial infection. If left untreated, it can become a more serious infection known as periodontitis and can cause tooth loss.

Your gums actually attach to the teeth at a lower point than the gum edges. Food can get trapped in this space and cause a gum infection or gingivitis. Plaque is a thin film of bacteria. It constantly forms on the surface of your teeth. As plaque advances, it hardens and becomes tartar. You can develop an infection when plaque extends below the gum line. Left unchecked, gingivitis can cause the gums to separate from the teeth. This can cause injury to the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth. The tooth may become loose and unstable. If infection progresses, you may ultimately lose your tooth or need a dentist to remove it.

Many people aren’t aware that they have gingivitis. It’s possible to have gum disease without any symptoms.

However, the following can be symptoms of gingivitis:

  • gums that are red, tender, or swollen
  • gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth
  • gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • loose teeth
  • a change in how your teeth fit together when you bite (malocclusion)
  • pus between teeth and gums
  • pain when chewing
  • sensitive teeth
  • partial dentures that no longer fit
  • foul-smelling breath that does not go away after you brush your teeth(Source: healthline.com) 

If the patient is diagnosed early on, and treatment is prompt and proper, gingivitis can be successfully reversed. Treatment involves care by a dental professional, and follow-up procedures carried out by the patient at home.mIn the vast majority of cases, if gingivitis is treated and the patient follows the dental health professional’s instructions, there are no complications. However, if the condition is left untreated, gum disease can spread and affect tissue, teeth and bones, leading to periodontitis. Other treatments include deep cleaning your teeth, antibiotic medications, and surgery.

Remember, practicing good oral hygiene is essential to your oral health. Preventative care starts at home, not in your dentists chair every six months.

To find out more about gingivitis contact Dr. Larry Lieberman and make an appointment 727-785-8017 or visit our website at www.dentist-lieberman.com.

Accepting patients from Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and all surrounding areas.

Veneers | Palm Harbor Dentist

186932212Obtaining the ‘perfect smile’ seems to be on the mind of a lot of patients now a days. Which so many cosmetic procedures, how do you know which one is for you? Lets talk about what veneers can do for you. Porcelain veneers are fabricated from a solid piece of porcelain. They fit over the front and underside of your tooth covering the entire surface of visible tooth. Veneers can be fitted to lengthen or widen teeth to close gaps or fill in chips.

How can veneers help you? Veneers can enhance the color and or shape of your tooth or teeth. Veneers are capable of providing a natural tooth appearance, but outside of the cosmetic benefits, veneers do the following:

-Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well.

-Porcelain veneers are resistant to stains.

-The color of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that it makes dark teeth appear whiter.

-Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color and shape-veneers generally don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative to bonding.

Modern porcelain veneers tend to last many years, are easy to care for, provide a very natural appearance, and offer a stronger alternative to other cosmetic options.

Veneers won’t erase preexisting issues, therefore an exam is needed to determine if you are a good candidate for veneers. Only a Dr. Lieberman can determine whether or not porcelain veneers are the best option for you. If you are unhappy with your smile and would like more information on porcelain veneers contact Dr. Lieberman today for more information.

To find out more about veneers contact Dr. Larry Lieberman and make an appointment 727-785-8017 or visit our website at www.dentist-lieberman.com.

Accepting patients from Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and all surrounding areas.


Foods that Aid in Oral Health | Palm Harbor Dentist

dental implantsMany people recognize that a healthy diet is important for a healthy body, but it’s important to realize that diet is important for oral health as well. What a person eats or drinks may contribute to tooth decay or gum disease, and in some cases, certain foods can actually help prevent tooth decay. Understanding oral health can help you make healthy decisions to keep your teeth safe.

Foods and drinks high in sugar and acid are typically bad for your teeth. The sugar provides food for bacteria that contributes to both tooth decay and periodontal disease, and foods high in acid wear down tooth enamel, making them weaker, more likely to crack, and more vulnerable to tooth decay. Some drinks – such as sugary sodas – are both acidic and sugary, and stay on your teeth long after you finish drinking them. These should be avoided if possible.

Foods that are low in sugar and acid, and high in fiber and water content tend to be good for teeth. Drinking plain water can help cleanse food, acid, and sugar from your teeth, minimizing tooth decay. Foods like celery can help brush food particles off of teeth, and they also encourage the production of saliva to cleanse the teeth. Foods high in calcium and protein (such as cheese, milk, meats, and nuts) tend to be low in sugar, but help contribute to stronger teeth by protecting tooth enamel.

In addition to the sugar and acid contents of food, patients should pay attention to how long the food is in contact with their teeth. Very soft foods (such as peanut butter) are more likely to be stuck between teeth, and drinks that are sipped throughout the day tend to stay in contact with teeth all day. If you do eat foods high in sugar or acid, try to eat them in a single sitting, and then brush your teeth immediately afterward, removing the food from your mouth. If you’re unable to brush your teeth, chew sugar free gum – sugar free gum encourages saliva to help cleanse your teeth, and also tends to contain Xylitol, which can help discourage bacteria growth in your mouth.

To find out more about oral health contact Dr. Larry Lieberman and make an appointment 727-785-8017 or visit our website at www.dentist-lieberman.com.

Accepting patients from Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and all surrounding areas.

Tooth Crowding | Palm Harbor Dentist

162713815While many children and adults have orthodontics (braces) to treat alignment and spacing issues, many more people have – or believe they have – problems with tooth crowding that goes untreated. Crowding can be caused by a number of different factors, and knowing the actual cause may impact the treatment options.

One of the common causes of tooth crowding is natural occurrence – so called mesial drift phenomenon, where your front teeth drift slowly to the center of the mouth. In the past, some dentists believed this was caused by the presence of wisdom teeth, crowding the front teeth from the rear of the mouth, though in reality many of the problems are due to simple insufficient space for the number of teeth as adults grow. Beyond mesial drift, other potential causes – such as weakened support due to periodontal disease, thumb sucking, and tongue thrusting – can also influence teeth to move in directions that are undesirable, leading to misalignment and crowding issues.

While many patients see crowding as a cosmetic problem, the reality is that poorly aligned teeth are at an increased risk for periodontal disease, decay, and the patient is more likely to suffer from TMJ (jaw-joint) problems, as their irregular bite may cause strain on their jaw over time. For these reasons, fixing alignment should be considered more than simply a cosmetic procedure – correcting the alignment allows the patient to have better access to brush and floss, and their bite will be more level.

If you notice crowding in your front teeth, make a point of asking your dentist about options in your next regular checkup. There are a number of treatments available, and treating the crowding early can help prevent more serious problems from developing in the future.

To find out more about tooth crowding contact Dr. Larry Lieberman and make an appointment 727-785-8017 or visit our website at www.dentist-lieberman.com.

Accepting patients from Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and all surrounding areas.


Halloween Candy | Palm Harbor Dentist

Halloween will soon be over, but the Halloween candy may live on for a few days or weeks. While dentists typically agree that sugar increases tooth decay, many also appreciate that Halloween candy is typically OK for kids, as long as it’s eaten in moderation and parents follow some basic guidelines.

First, sugar does contribute to decay by providing food for bacteria that damages teeth. Most Halloween candy is high in sugar, but simply eating candy isn’t necessarily going to cause decay. Rather, the sugar remaining on the teeth long term contributes to decay. Therefore, eating sugary candy isn’t necessarily damaging, as long as the time spent eating candy is limited, and immediately followed by rinsing the teeth with water, and brushing as soon as possible.

ThinkstockPhotos-178564205Not all Halloween candy is created equally, either. Sour candies tend to have far more acid than sweeter candies. The acid is more damaging to tooth enamel than plain sugar, and should be avoided if possible. Candies that are sticky – such as caramels, gummies, and popcorn balls – are more likely to stick to teeth, and therefore more likely to resist brushing. Because they may get stuck on teeth, they are more likely to cause tooth decay.

If possible, try to moderate candy consumption by limiting hungry and cravings with other healthier food sources – rather than allowing candy binges, allow minimal candy intake immediately following another meal, so that the child is less likely to be hungry, and normal post-meal brushing is imminent.

While Halloween can be fun, and candy is typically OK, be sure to ensure that candy is enjoyed in moderation, and try to avoid the overly acidic/sour and sticky/gummy candies.

To find out more about the effects of sour candy contact Dr. Larry Lieberman and make an appointment 727-785-8017 or visit our website at www.dentist-lieberman.com.

Accepting patients from Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and all surrounding areas.

Wisdom Teeth | Palm Harbor Dentist

177406608Wisdom teeth – the third and final set of molars in the rear of your mouth – are one of the least predictable teeth. Unlike other teeth, it’s not uncommon for wisdom teeth to be absent. Even more unusual, while some people have all four wisdom teeth, other people have only one, two, or three – and there seems to be no reliable predictor to determine how many wisdom teeth any given patient has prior to being X-rayed by a dentist.

For many people, the presence or absence of wisdom teeth is irrelevant – you can certainly live a full life with or without wisdom teeth – unless they’re present and problematic.

In many cases, wisdom teeth crowd other molars, grown in misaligned, or only partially erupt from the gum. Crowding can cause pain, tenderness, and further alignment issues with other teeth. In extreme cases, the wisdom teeth can grow in horizontally. In other cases, they can remain impacted – partially erupted through the gum, leaving the gum tissue broken. This condition allows bacteria to enter the gum tissue, surrounding the tooth where it can not be brushed or flossed, and can lead to significant decay of the tooth itself, as well as periodontal disease as the infection spreads to the surrounding gum tissue.

For these reasons, it’s common for many patients to first learn about their wisdom teeth when their dentist recommends they be removed. While not all wisdom teeth need to be removed, their potential for problems makes them likely candidates for extraction in many patients. The difficulty of extraction depends on many factors, such as number of wisdom teeth, their general alignment, and whether or not they’re compacting other teeth. If the wisdom teeth are fully erupted and visible, extraction may be simple; if the wisdom teeth are underneath the gums, the dentist or oral surgeon will need to cut into the gum to get to the teeth, which tends to be more invasive. In many cases, dentists will recommend removal of multiple wisdom teeth in one procedure, allowing for a single sedation and a single recovery period, so the patient does not need to repeat the healing process multiple times.

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort near the back of your mouth, or if you’ve been told you have wisdom teeth that may be problematic, speak to your dentist about the various options available to you. Extraction may not be necessary, but it’s also possible that extraction could be a simple way to relieve pain and pressure caused by wisdom teeth.

To find out more about your wisdom teeth contact Dr. Larry Lieberman and make an appointment 727-785-8017 or visit our website at www.dentist-lieberman.com.

Accepting patients from Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and all surrounding areas.

What to Expect with Teeth Whitening | Palm Harbor Dentist

close up smile red lipstickEvery day you see commercials for teeth whitening products, toothpastes, kits, whitening rinses. So have you finally decided to have your teeth whitened? The first step is to be sure that your expectations are realistic. We all want those bright white teeth we see on celebrities but it’s important not to expect a celebrity-bright smile, as everyone’s teeth react differently to treatment.

You may expect quicker whitening results if you opt for an in-office whitening procedure. These procedures are considered safe, though you can expect some sensitivity in your teeth and gums, which usually resolves after the whitening procedure is complete.  It is not uncommon for the tooth color to dull a bit a week or two following this type of treatment, so using an at-home product  may help maintain the results following the treatment.

Your dentist, however, can typically offer two different whitening options. The first is take-home tray based, using chemicals stronger than over-the-counter trays, but working on the same basic principle. Often times dentist provided trays are custom-molded to the patients teeth, providing a smooth, comfortable fit suitable for wearing for multiple hours each day – often even overnight.  Beyond the trays, dentists can often perform whitening in the office, using light and heat activated bleaching chemicals, providing a significant whitening in as little as 60 minutes. Because the procedure is supervised by a dentist, much stronger chemicals can be used, and much more dramatic results can be seen almost immediately.

You can expect to see some results after one treatment, but you may choose to have more than one treatment to get the effect that you want. An in-office bleaching treatment usually takes 30 to 60 minutes.

How long can you expect the benefits to last? That depends in part on your habits. If you smoke, or if you drink large amounts of coffee or tea, you may need another procedure after a few years.

To find out more about whitening contact Dr. Larry Lieberman and make an appointment 727-785-8017 or visit our website at www.dentist-lieberman.com.

Accepting patients from Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and all surrounding areas.