Fifth Ave Perio

Improving Smiles

Advantages of Laser Dentistry

It wasn’t that long ago that laser technology seemed to be primarily the province of science fiction films and futuristic devices beyond the reach of the average person. Nowadays, however, lasers are virtually everywhere, influencing nearly every aspect of our lives. From grocery store checkout counters to airport security checkpoints, lasers cannot be avoided.

Thankfully, advanced laser technology has also revolutionized dentistry, making a wide range of procedures more efficient and effective than ever before. At Fifth Avenue Periodontics, the practice of Clifford S. Melnick, DMD, in New York, cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, and implant dentistry can all be performed to the highest standard possible thanks in part to safe, advanced dental lasers.

The CO2 Laser

At our Manhattan laser dentistry practice, we use a highly precise carbon dioxide laser in a variety of soft tissue procedures. This laser uses carbon dioxide gas to safely and accurately target soft tissues without penetrating too deeply, thereby ensuring that surrounding healthy tissues are not affected by treatment. The DEKA UltraSpeed CO2 laser vaporizes diseased tissue and bacteria, sterilizing the area as treatment progresses.

Advantages of Laser Treatment

The dental laser can perform soft tissue procedures with far greater precision than analog dental tools, such as drills and chisels. In particular, periodontal (gum) treatments can be performed with much less bleeding and swelling, sometimes without the need for anesthetics or sutures. There is less risk of post-procedural infection with laser dentistry at our New York practice, and healing times are often dramatically shorter. Our New York laser dentistry professionals have a greater measure of control during procedures, while our patients experience far greater comfort.

Our dental laser can be used on most patients, including those who are pregnant and those who suffer from diabetes. Only patients on oxygen are generally precluded as candidates for laser dentistry.

Laser Dentistry Procedures

Lasers are used in both cosmetic and restorative dental procedures at Fifth Avenue Periodontics. Dr. Melnick uses lasers to perform cosmetic gum surgery, in which he masterfully reshapes periodontal tissues to improve the appearance of “gummy” smiles. Using only a laser, he can lend proportion and aesthetic balance to smiles in which the surfaces of teeth are obscured by excess gum tissue.

Dr. Melnick also uses lasers as part of dental implant procedures, uncovering the dental implant posts after they have healed into place so that custom-crafted crowns, bridges, or dentures can be attached. The CO2 laser is also used in flap surgery, treatment of canker sores and herpes, and even the removal of benign periodontal tumors.

These are just a few of the procedures in which the CO2 laser can be employed. Truly, our dental laser is one of the most versatile and advanced tools ever to be integrated into our state-of-the-art office.

Learn More about Laser Dentistry

We invite you to find out how you, too, could benefit from laser dentistry at our New York practice, serving Manhattan and surrounding communities. Please contact Fifth Avenue Periodontics today to schedule your consultation with experienced laser dentist Clifford S. Melnick, DMD.

Single Dental Implant vs 3-Unit Bridge…Pros and Cons

Before the advent and the long-term success rate of implantology, standard dental treatment planning for a missing tooth would be a 3-unit bridge.  A unit describes a tooth, so a 3-unit bridge denotes a 3 tooth bridge.  The process involves the drilling of the external circumference of the teeth on either side of the missing tooth space and then the cementation of a porcelain fused to metal or PFM bridge.  The underside of this bridge is hollow where the teeth insert and the middle missing tooth site is solid . This is called a pontic and the hollowed sites where the teeth insert are called abutments.The bridge is then cemented into place.  For the success of a 3 unit bridge, the abutment or supporting teeth need to be healthy with good bone surrounding them. Remember, only 2 teeth are supporting a 3 tooth restoration.  If the supporting teeth are periodontally involved (loss of bone due to gum disease), they will not readily support the bridge.  Many times, the decisions we make in terms of implants vs bridge are due to the quality of the surrounding bone at the site.  An implant is a stand-alone restoration that does not require outside support.  It is self supporting.

Many patients do not want a good tooth cut down and feel that a more conservative approach is to place an implant in the missing site.  There are many benefits to this line of thinking:  When a tooth is cut down with dental drills,it can create trauma to the nerve of the tooth.  This may result in the need for root canal treatment either immediately or many years later.  This is not always the case, but even in the best of hands and with every effort to reduce trauma to the tooth utilizing cool water sprays to reduce heat transmission to the nerve of the tooth, tooth preparation may lead to tooth sensitivity or root canal therapy.  In addition, there may be recurrent caries (tooth decay under or around the abutment teeth) following crown fabrication.  In other words, bacteria may seep in around the margins of the crown and undermine or weaken the tooth structure.

A dental implant is composed of pure surgical grade Titanium.  It is a similar material utilized in hip and knee replacements.  The titanium forms both a physical and biologic bond to the surrounding bone.  This bond is extremely powerful and much stronger than the connection between natural teeth and bone; because the implant is made of metal, it will never decay and it will never need a root canal!

The time constraints may influence a patient in making the decision of implant vs bridge.  A bridge is done in a relatively short period of time.  First the teeth are prepared and then a temporary acrylic (plastic) restoration is placed. An impression is taken and the bridge is returned from the laboratory approximately 2-3 weeks later.  It is then cemented in place.  An implant takes much longer:  After surgical placement in the bone, it takes 3-6 months for osseointegration (bone to implant fusion), then an abutment is screwed into the implant and the general dentist takes impressions for the crown or cap cementation to the implant.  In certain instances, immediate implants can be placed which shortens the treatment time, but in general, implant dentistry requires a longer treatment time.

I hope this helps clarify some decision making points in the implant vs 3 unit bridge  treatment plan.

If you have any questions about the above, please contact Dr. Melnick at 212 355-1266.  We are conveniently located in midtown NYC at 800A Fifth Avenue (at 61st Street)

Crown Lengthening Treatment

When you’re suffering from a tooth that has broken or decayed below the gum line, a crown lengthening treatment can allow your dentist to repair the damage and save the tooth from extraction. Crown lengthening surgically eliminates excess gum tissue from around one or more teeth, and can also perfect the appearance of your smile by reducing and sculpting the gums. At our New York cosmetic dentistry center, Dr. Clifford S. Melnick combines specialized experience in periodontics and oral surgery with attention to aesthetic detail to achieve superior results.

What is Crown Lengthening?

Crown lengthening is a common surgical procedure that removes the gum tissue and bone surrounding a tooth to expose more of the healthy tooth beneath, providing aesthetic benefits and allowing the tooth to be repaired. After a crown lengthening, more decay-free tooth surface will be accessible, and a dental crown or filling can successfully be placed without the risk of infection or irritation. Crown lengthening is ideal when patients have extra gum visible in their smiles, and can quickly contour the gum tissue. Patients may require crown lengthening if a tooth has broken near or below the gum line, or if a dental crown or filling requires repair and decay has formed below the gum line. Crown lengthening treatment also helps patients to retain teeth that might have otherwise required extraction, and is often used after a root canal so that enough healthy tooth surface is available above the gum line for a dental restoration.

About the Crown Lengthening Treatment Process

When you visit Dr. Melnick at Fifth Avenue Periodontics for crown lengthening, you’ll be pleased by the technologically advanced treatment options we offer. Whether patients want to reduce the appearance of a “gummy” smile or restore a damaged tooth, our state-of-the-art laser dentistry treatments are an advanced way to enhance the appearance and function of your mouth. We have successfully enhanced the smiles and oral health of our New York laser dentistry patients using the DEKA UltraSpeed CO2 Dental Laser. Laser dentistry offers many advantages, including minimized post-operative discomfort and a reduced need for anesthetics and sutures. Treatments utilizing the CO2 dental laser are incredibly safe, and can be used for patients with common health restrictions such as pregnancy, organ transplants, and pacemakers.

During your crown lengthening procedure, local anesthetics will be used to ensure your comfort. Dr. Melnick carefully removes any excess gum tissue and small incisions are made so that surrounding bone may also be reduced. If necessary, sutures may be placed to assist in the healing process. Patients who undergo crown lengthening procedures assisted with our soft-tissue lasers will have a shorter healing process and experience little to no pain during recovery. Traditional crown lengthening treatments require a few weeks to fully heal, and pain medication will be prescribed for your comfort.

Contact Fifth Ave. Periodontics Today

If you’d like to beautify your smile or eliminate tooth pain, our crown lengthening treatments are just one of the many procedures offered by Dr. Melnick.For more information on the cosmetic and restorative dental treatments we offer, please contact our New York dental surgery center.