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A Toothless Tiger?

0110683001568062088.jpgLet’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?

Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?

Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.

Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.

But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?

In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.

Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.

What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.

If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”

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    Dr Shukla and staff provide excellent dental and dental hygiene services. Have been coming to this office for over 25 years. Recommended to all."
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  • "Excellent dentist.
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    Linda F.
  • "Everyone in Dr. Sukla’s office received me with cheerful and friendly attitude. Though it was my first visit, I felt very much at home with her great staff. Dr. Sukla had also talked to me with politeness and did a very good job in attending to my dental requirements."
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  • "Dr Shukla, Donna, Diane, Joy and Priscilla are terrific. Professional, knowledgeable, thorough, clean, on time, and very friendly. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m actually at the dentist. There can’t be a better dental office anywhere."
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    Very grateful a appointment was arranged immediately as I was in pain, even though I was a new patient. The office and appointment rooms clean and comfortable. I was very impressed with the kind professional attention given and how Quickly my problem was addressed. Great experience! I have been searching for a good dentist in the area and am happy to have found one."
    Shirley W.
  • "High quality, professional dental care.
    Doctor Shukla is a great, highly skilled and very thorough dentist. A few months ago Dr Shukla placed a new crown on a tooth (recommended by Dr Swingle) , which went extremely well. Also it is always a pleasure to have the teeth cleaned by Donna, a very professional and friendly dental hygienist."
    Elizabeth S.
  • "High quality of service, professional.
    Dr Shukla provided excellent service and comfort during the procedure."
    Gary F.
  • "High quality service.
    Dr Shukla and staff are very friendly and personable. I’ve had several tooth emergencies and Dr Shukla and staff have helped me out even on their off days. Dr Shukla is very focused on patient satisfaction. I would definitely recommend Great Smiles to anyone in need of a dentist."
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  • "Professional and friendly.
    Dr Shukla and her team are very caring and accommodating. I actually look forward to my dental appointments!"
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  • "Dental Work.
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  • "Always high quality care.
    I have gone to this practice for years and have come to know the staff well. They are all great! Dr. Shukla provides excellent examinations and kind, careful treatment. Donna is a wonderful hygienist; not only does she do expert teeth cleaning, but she answers all questions thoroughly. She clearly takes pride in her profession and is up to date on current standards of care. I highly recommend 'Great Smiles.'"
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  • "Great service by wonderful people.
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  • "Dental work? No big deal.
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    Pat G.
  • "Very professional. Dr. AND STAFF are excellent."
    Patti S.
  • "Excellent dentist and staff
    Our family has been going to this office for at least 25 years. The staff there are more than wonderful. When Dr. Swingle retired we were hoping the new dentist would be good so we could continue our relationships there. Well, we are delighted with Dr. Shukla’s care! Always thorough, gentle, very competent and just personally lovely. Office immaculately clean too. Some nice added amenities like beverages and TVs which frankly are pleasant but not necessary when the professional services (from cleanings to crowns) are first rate!"
    Liz F.
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    Stan K K.
  • "Very professional and friendly.
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    Peter G.
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  • "Crown prep.
    Dr . Shukla is an excellent doctor . Very caring and gentle during the procedure for my crown ....dental hygienist Priscilla was very good and easy to work with ."
    Bob F.
  • "I love the warm and caring personality of Dr Shukla. This warmth is carried over to her staff who are both professional and caring."
    Florence D.
  • "I love the warm and caring personality of Dr Shukla. This warmth is carried over to her staff who are both professional and caring."
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    L P.
  • "I just went for my 6 month cleaning and checkup . It’s always a great experience ( the best you could have at a dentist!!) the whole office staff are so friendly and yet professional. Dr. Shukla is very thorough, gentle , professional and nice !! Couldn’t be better :) I highly recommend them!"
    Joanne C.
  • "Professional & friendly service.
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  • "High quality dentistry.
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  • "Very friendly and professional staff.
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    Marcie M.
  • "Because you should want to go to your dentist
    Another good visit to Dr Shukla at Great Smiles. Always a pleasure checking in to the office and the waiting room is now equipped with cold drinks and Nespresso coffee maker, although I actually didn't have to wait. Came in for teeth cleaning with Donna, followed by a dental exam. Dr Shukla is thorough, gentle and caring, clearly taking a long-term view toward maintaining heathy teeth and gums. Many thanks, see you in six months!"
    Malcolm W.
  • "Dr. Shukla is the best!!!
    I have been a patient of Dr. Shukla for several years. I called the office with a dental issue this afternoon and saw her within an hour. Dr. Shukla is empathetic and reassuring, and she always takes the time to answer any questions you may have. I am very happy with this dental practice and highly recommend Dr. Shukla!"
    Jackie B.
  • "Dr. Shukla and all support staff at Great Smiles are highly competent, caring and efficient! My family of 6 has been receiving wonderful dental care from them for years."
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