Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a Prosthodontist?

A: Prosthodontics is one of the nine specialties of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association. A Prosthodontist is a dentist who has at least two years of additional education after dental school in the specialty of prosthodontics. A Prosthodontist specializes in the restoration of natural teeth, or the replacement of missing teeth and adjacent oral and facial tissues with artificial substitutes. Prosthodontic treatment may include the use of: removable partial or full dentures – caps, crowns, or bridges – implant anchored restorations – or combinations of the above.

Q: Where can I find directions to the office?

A: Please click on the following link for Directions to our office.

Q: What should I bring with me to my first appointment?

A: Please bring your Patient Registration Form, your Medical History Form, your Insurance Information Form, and your insurance card with you to your appointment. To access the patient registration form, the medical history form, and the insurance information form, please follow the link to Patient Paperwork. For a general overview of what your first visit to our office will entail, please follow the link to our Initial Visit page.

Q: What is a denture?

A: A denture is a prosthetic device that is used to replace missing teeth in the mouth. There are three main kinds of dentures: complete, partial, and immediate. Complete dentures replace all of the missing teeth in a jaw. A partial denture is a removable prosthesis and is used to replace some, but not all, of the teeth in a jaw. An immediate denture is a removable prosthesis that is inserted into the mouth the same day that teeth are extracted.

Q: Will I have to modify my diet with my new dentures?

A: There is no way of predicting how well patients will be able to eat with their dentures, but here are some general guidelines. Avoid eating sticky or gummy foods. Cook and/or cut hard and chewy foods into small, bite sized pieces, and add small particle foods, like ground nuts, into baked goods. For example, hard fruits and vegetables can be cooked and cut into bite sized pieces in order to make them easier to eat. Please note that patients should maintain a balanced diet and stay hydrated to ensure good health.  For more dietary suggestions, click here.

Q: What is a dental implant?

A: Dental implants are artificial substitutes for missing natural tooth roots. They are commonly used to replace a single tooth, replace a segment of several teeth, replace all of the teeth in one jaw, or replace portions of the bone of the jaw.

Q: How long will an implant last?

A: Dental implants are now a highly predicable treatment for missing natural teeth. On very rare occasions, dental implants can fail due to a breakdown of the tissue around the implant or a mechanical failure of the implant. Mechanical breakage is rare but possible. The implants are made of strong materials, and the prosthesis is engineered for your particular mouth to withstand normal stresses. The deterioration of the tissue around an implant can be due to infection, poor general health, or mechanical overload.

Q: How long does treatment take for dental implants?

A: Treatment time among patients varies and can take anywhere from 6 weeks to a year, depending on the particular case. In general, the time between the presurgical planning appointment and implementation is usually a few weeks. During this time the prosthesis is being planned, the surgical templates fabricated, the implant fixture selected and any preliminary treatment rendered. Following surgical placement, the implant is allowed to heal from a few weeks to six months depending on location and bone quality. This period allows the bone to fill in around the implant. A provisional appliance or adaptation of the existing denture will provide esthetics and function during the healing period. The fabrication of the final appliance can vary from a few weeks to several months depending on the extent of the reconstruction.
Most treatment is completed in the first six months, and follow up appointments in the second half year verify everything is functioning properly. A yearly follow up examination is necessary to examine the implant and surrounding tissues .

Q: What is a bridge?

A: A bridge is a non-removable prosthesis, or a fixed partial denture, that is used to replace missing teeth in a patient’s mouth.

Q: What is a crown?

A: A crown is a gold alloy or ceramic cap that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape, when there is little tooth structure left behind after decayed areas of the tooth are removed.

Q: What is a temporary crown?

A: Temporary crowns are used between appointments to protect the underlying teeth or implants while your permanent crowns are being fabricated. They are made of plastic and retained with a soft cement. Therefore, caution should be exercised when eating to prevent dislodgement or fracture of this interim restoration. Avoid hard, chewy, and sticky foods.

Q: Can I use my insurance coverage in your office?

A: We accept a variety, but not all, medical and dental insurance plans. Dr. Gulbransen is a Medicare Provider as well as a Delta Dental Premier Provider. In most cases you will be able to use your benefits at our office. If you have questions regarding your specific insurance plan, please ask a member of our staff.

Q: What should I do when I get home after my appointment?

A: Please familiarize yourself with proper maintenance of your new prosthesis by following this link to Patient Info.

Q: How do I apply my facial prosthesis?

A: Repeatedly practice positioning your prosthesis without adhesive to ensure accurate placement. Wash and thoroughly dry your hands and skin where your prosthesis is to be placed. If adhesive is used, it should be applied with a cotton-tipped swab or the brush attached to the cap, by evenly spreading a thin layer of the adhesive along the outer edges of the back side of your prosthesis. Allow your skin to dry & using a mirror, carefully position and press your prosthesis onto your skin to ensure good contact.

Q: How do I remove and clean my facial prosthesis?

A: Remove your prosthesis from your skin on a daily basis to keep your tissues healthy and maintain hygiene. Grasp the thickest edge of your prosthesis and gently remove it very slowly, so as not to tear the edges and irritate your skin. If necessary, use a moist washcloth over the surface of the prosthesis to loosen adhesive from your skin. If adhesive was used, remove it gently by rolling the adhesive off the prosthesis (starting from the center to the outer edge) with your fingertips, using gauze or textured cloth. Soaking the prosthesis in a cup of warm water helps to soften adhesive and makes it easier to remove. Clean the prosthesis with a soft, bristled toothbrush, mild soap (i.e., Ivory soap) and warm water. Store the prosthesis in a safe, dry place. If your prosthesis has an ocular component, remove and clean it with soap and water. Place a drop of mineral oil on the eye and shine it once a week. Replace the eye carefully and adjust the location by squeezing the prosthetic eyelids together. If you have an orbital prosthesis, store it in an upright position. Wash your face with soap and water after removing the prosthesis and remove any residue of adhesive from the skin. Apply a moisturizing lotion on a nightly basis to restore natural body oils. Report any areas of inflammation or irritation to our office.

Q: What are some helpful hints for managing dryness in my mouth after undergoing radiation therapy?

A: If you carry a water bottle to sip liquids, make sure they do not contain sugar which accelerate tooth decay. Allow ice chips to melt in your mouth. Sugarless gum or candy may be of some help to stimulate saliva. Artificial salivas purchased at a drug store such as Moi-Stir, Salivart, Orex, Xero-Lube and others may help. You can make your own lubricant by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of glycerine in 8 ounces of water. Keeping your lips lubricated with petrolatum may help. Avoid mouthwashes containing alcohol, coffee, tea, colas, alcohol drinks and tobacco as they tend to irritate and dry the mouth.

Q: After radiation therapy, how do I take care of my teeth and gums?

A: Brush after eating with a soft toothbrush and a bland fluoride toothpaste e.g., Aim, Crest, Colgate. Don’t use “tartar control” or “whitening” toothpastes. An extra-soft toothbrush, cotton-tip swabs, a wet gauze pad, or foam sticks (Toothette) may be less irritating and can provide mechanical cleaning. A pulsating water device, e.e., Water-Pik, will remove some debris. Use warm water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda with the lowest pressure to prevent damage to tissue. This same solution can be used in a suspended enema bag for less discomfort. Floss after meals being careful not to cut the gums. Use your fluoride trays and gel daily until told to discontinue by your doctor. See your dentist for an exam and cleaning every 3 months after therapy.

Q: What are the sterilization and disinfection procedures employed in your office?

A: Some of our patients have questions regarding the protocol followed during disinfection and sterilization of instruments, handpieces and treatment rooms. You will find that our office follows the “universal precautions” as outlined be the American Dental Association and the Center for Disease Control.

All instruments are thoroughly pre-cleaned ultrasonically before they are put into a steam autoclave. The steam autoclave uses heated, pressure and vaporized water to sterilize instruments in a closed chamber. Each instrument is then hand dried.

Dental assistants are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in each operatory. We use disinfection procedures on surfaces and equipment that cannot be removed for cleaning and sterilization, such as countertops, drawer handles, x-ray heads and light handles. A sterile disinfectant cleaning solution, Birex, is used to wipe down all counters, suction hoses and hand piece connectors before and after each patient. You will also notice that we use disposable barriers on surfaces such as light handles that are touched during treatment.

Comments are closed.