Posts for: February, 2018
Dental implants offer people an alternative to the traditional ways of replacing missing teeth. The actual implant is an artificial root [anchor] made from synthetic material, usually titanium metal. There are three phases to the implant process.
First, the dental implant is surgically placed into the jawbone. It takes 3-6 months to fuse with the bone [called osseointegration]. An abutment [post] is attached to the implant and protrudes above the gum tissue. A replacement restoration is cemented or screwed to the implant abutment. Depending on the situation, dental implants can support a fixed crown or bridge or act as a stabilizing base for a full denture. The procedure can take up to 9-12 months for completion and has a high degree of success.
Some individuals have had so much bone resorption [loss] that the remaining bony ridge is too thin to hold an implant. In many cases, synthetic or natural bone can be grafted [added] or grown to allow for dental implants as an alternative treatment.
Implants have a great advantage for people already wearing full dentures since they can support and stabilize the denture while minimizing further bone loss of the denture ridge.
Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. There are certain risk factors that may limit success including smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, chronic bruxism [grinding teeth], systemic problems such as diabetes and individuals with poor oral hygiene.
Dental implants offer a "second chance" to those who have lost all of their teeth. For people missing only one or several teeth, dental implants provide benefits as an alternative way to restore your mouth. To determine if implants are for you, a clinical examination, x-rays, study casts and other appropriate records and measurements will be necessary. Call our office if you have questions or would like to schedule an implant exam.
Chronic symptoms of the head and neck can often be attributed to:
• Headache -- the temporalis muscle (it closes and clenches the jaw)
• Sinus pressure and pain -- the lateral pterygoid muscles (it moves the jaw side to side and/or forward)
• Neck stiffness and pain -- trapezius muscle (it stabilizes the skull during jaw clenching and grinding)
Dental offices have treated and helped more and more people with their headache problems. For years, we assigned all of these names to headaches, like muscle tension headaches, neuralgia, migraine and so on, and it seems that many headache patients share one very common trait- They clench or grind their teeth at night!
Most medical research has shown that headaches, even people with classical migraine headaches, have no physical reason, no vascular problems and no neurological problems; in fact their physician's exam will give no physical reason for the pain. Many patients have had CAT scans and MRI's that were negative, and find that drugs really don't help their problem; instead the medication makes them groggy and "drugged out."
What we have discovered is that people who can control their nighttime clenching and grinding will get tremendous relief for their headaches and neck aches. Many people do so much unconscious clenching of their jaw muscles that when they wake up, their teeth are sore, their muscles are already tired, and they are set up for the beginning of a headache from the start of the day, if they don't wake up with one.
One effective treatment utilizes an NTI appliance (short for nocioceptive trigeminal inhibition), a dental device that fits between the upper and lower front teeth. (Detailed information can be gotten from the website at http://www.headacheprevention.com/ ) The simple fact is that this device reduces the intensity of nighttime parafunction by 70 percent immediately, which can explain why so many patients wake up feeling better very quickly.
A traditional dental mouthpiece, or splint, reduces the resistance to side-to-side movement, thereby, reducing the effort and resultant strain to the jaw joint and sinuses (so long as clenching intensity isn't too intense). However, the same splint also provides an ideal clenching surface, where maximum clenching intensity may increase and/or allow jaw joint problems to perpetuate.
Many patients run the gamut of the medical world's attempts to control their headaches- with multiple drugs, injections and so on, without ever thinking that the pain might be muscular in origin. But just like back pain is often muscle spasm, the pain we call TMJ, as well as headaches of many sorts are very much caused by overuse of the muscles of closing the jaws.
We would recommend that if you or a loved one has chronic headache problems, that you go to the web site, or give us a call and let us take a look. It can do no harm, and it might very well make a huge difference in your lives!
Periodontal [gum] disease will afflict 3 out of 4 adults after age 35, and it’s their major cause of tooth loss. Periodontal disease is the inflammation and infection of the supporting soft and hard tissue surrounding the teeth. In the early stages, it’s called gingivitis which is characterized by redness, swelling, tenderness and bleeding. At this point the symptoms can be alleviate and the tissue returned to normal by daily flossing and brushing. If the process is allowed to continue, it advances to periodontitis, which is characterized by the loss of the tissue attachment to the teeth, a downward migration of the tissue and bone loss [pocketing]. With the loss of its supporting structure, the teeth will become loose and fall out or have to be removed by the dentist. There are various factors that contribute to gum disease. Allowing plaque [sticky mixture of bacteria, food & debris] accumulate on the teeth is the primary factor. The bacteria will produce toxins [poisons] that attack and destroy the tissue fibers that attach the gums to the teeth [gingival attachment]. Eventually, the plaque will calcify and harden. When this happens, it can only be removed by a professional prophylaxis [cleaning]. The periodontal infection becomes worse and progresses more rapidly in people who have other risk factors - who smoke, are under great stress, have uncontrolled diabetes, consume excess alcohol, have a systemic disease like leukemia that interferes with their immune system and/or have untreated tooth related dental problems.
Warning signs and systems include bleeding gums when you brush or floss, pus between the tooth and gum, gums that pull away from the teeth, chronic bad breath, tenderness, swelling and loose teeth. If you are experiencing any number of these symptoms, call it to our attention. Found and treated early enough, it can be totally reversible. Prevention Having a professional prophylaxis twice a year and flossing and brushing daily will minimize your risk. Eating a balanced diet, especially foods rich in vitamin C, B12, folic acid and calcium, will help strengthen your gums and bone against breakdown. Limit the frequency of eating foods loaded with refined sugar [sucrose]. Other risk factors such as smoking should be eliminated, and related dental problems such as crowded teeth, spaces and cavities should be restored. Treatment If caught early, a professional scaling and root planning [scraping] to remove plaque and calculus is performed. This may be supplemented with chemotherapeutic agents and/or antibiotics. Daily maintenance of flossing and brushing is critical. The more advanced periodontitis usually requires surgery where the gum tissue is cut and the bony pockets are reduced and contoured. Soft and hard tissue grafting procedures may be used to add or grow new tissue. Although there are some inherited tendencies to developing periodontal disease, it can be easily prevented in most individuals with a little time and effort. It’s in your hands.
Almost every day we get a call from a patient who has broken a tooth, and generally it means that to save the tooth, we have to place a crown or permanent restoration over it to keep it from breaking further. Sometimes the tooth can't be saved and that is a real bummer!
What causes teeth to break? Well, there are several factors, one of which we see in almost all tooth fractures. The most common contributing factor is Silver amalgam fillings- these fillings have the unique property of enlarging as they age. So, there seems to be some outward pressure on the tooth and if someone bites just the right (or wrong) way, you hear that crack!
Now this tooth broke in several planes at once, and had to be removed; there wasn't enough sound tooth structure to save it! So an implant or bridge needed to be done.
This is a more common sort of fracture. The inside aspect of the tooth just shears away. Luckily, this tooth can be saved with a crown, after first making sure there is no decay present.
The second common factor is bruxism- the habit of grinding or clenching the teeth. Many bruxers break teeth that don't even have fillings in them, but they always have a higher percentage of broken teeth than people who don't brux or clench.
If you or someone you know does grind their teeth and are worried about a tooth or some teeth, don't hesitate to give us a call and we will be glad to check it out for you! Don't wait until it hurts!
Dental emergencies may be categorized as toothaches, injuries or broken appliances.
• Toothache If a toothache develops, using a brush and floss, clean the suspected area. Rinse with warm salt water. Do not place an aspirin on the gums or tooth [this may cause a burn]. Apply a cold compress to any facial swelling. Take acetaminophen [Tylenol] and call us as soon as possible.
• Extruded Teeth If a tooth is pushed either inward or outward, try to reposition the tooth using light finger pressure. Do not force the tooth into its socket. Try to get the injured person to us as soon as possible. The tooth may be stabilized and held in place with a moist tissue or gauze on the way over.
• Fractured Teeth First rinse your mouth with warm water to keep it clean. Immediate dental care is necessary. The treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture and could range from smoothing out the chip to bonding with a resin [tooth colored] material to placing a crown [cap]. If there has been pulp [nerve] injury, root canal may be necessary at once or at a later date.
• Soft Tissue Injury The tongue, lips or cheeks may be bitten, lacerated [cut] or punctured. If there is bleeding, apply firm pressure with a gauze or clean cloth. If bleeding doesn’t stop within 15 minutes, bring the person to our office or a hospital emergency room. Sutures [stitches] may be necessary. Otherwise, clean the area with warm water on a gauze or clean cloth. Apply an ice compress to the bruised or swollen area. Contact us for further instructions.