Dental Tips Blog


Dental Implants – The Modern Missing Tooth Replacement

Posted in Dental Implants

Dental implants are artificial teeth that replace teeth that are missing. Dental implants are placed into the jaw to hold the replacement(s) in place. Dental implants are used when people have lost teeth due to an injury, periodontal disease, or other reasons for a tooth to be missing. Not all dentists are capable of doing dental implants – either their offices do not provide the necessary equipment, or they have not received the specialized training to do dental implants. Most people will be sent to a periodontist for the procedure.

The ideal candidate for dental implants is a person who is in good general health and has no major oral health issues. Adequate bone material is needed to support the implants, and the most ideal candidates have healthy gums that are free of any gum disease. Dental implants inserted into the jaw bone and the gum tissue will grow around it. Periodontists are dental experts who specialize in these areas, and they have the training and knowledge needed to make dental implants look, function, and feel like natural teeth.

Dental implants require multiple appointments to the dentist and periodontist to determine where and how they should be placed. Many people who are missing just a single tooth can have it replaced with a single implant. However, for people who have surrounding gum issues of the missing tooth, replacing the teeth on either side of the actual missing tooth is common. As stated before, the dental implant is placed in the bone and will attach to the gum line. Therefore, optimal health of surrounding areas is essential to the success of dental implants.

Your dentist and periodontist will be able to determine the best route to take in order to replace any missing teeth within your mouth.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Virginia Kirkland, North Point Periodontics



“All on 4” Implant Supported Dentures

Posted in Dental Implants

How would you like it if you could have a low-profile denture that took up less space, and was permanently set in place in your mouth? With All on 4 Dentures, you can have just that!

The unique design of implant-supported dentures completely eliminates the large base or plate to which dentures are traditionally mounted. An implant-supported denture is horseshoe shaped, and is mounted directly onto 4 implants placed into the jawbone. Like other types of implant supported prosthesis, an All on 4 denture is permanently fixed to the dental implants and stays into place for the life of the appliance.

Eating and talking is much easier with an All on 4 dentures, because so much of your mouth is freed up. There’s no need to re-learn how to talk or chew with a large prosthesis in your mouth. The roof of your mouth is now free to experience the taste and texture of your food.

Your treatment process begins with an initial consultation to evaluate the health and quantity of existing bone structure in your jaws. If not enough bone is in place, a bone graft may be recommended. Your 4 titanium implants are then placed into the jaw as if they were the actual roots of teeth. Made of titanium, an implant root is very biocompatible and encourages your bone to naturally fuse to the prosthesis. It is very important to allow for enough healing time to take place prior to permanently mounting your All on 4 Denture into place. Up to 6 months may be necessary, but an interim denture can be worn during this time. Once healing is finished, your All on 4 Denture is cemented into place and you can enjoy your completely new, permanent smile!

Posted on behalf of North Point Periodontics



Meth Mouth

Posted in Dental Implants

Methamphetamine use can cause extremely advanced forms of tooth decay, so much so that it needed its own name: “meth mouth.” Because meth mouth is so severe, it is typically impossible to restore these teeth back to normal function. The only option left is to extract all remaining broken and decayed teeth, and replace them with dentures or dental implants.

Why is Meth Mouth so aggressive?

Meth users typically have a combination of factors that cause the drug use to amplify tooth decay.

Sugar cravings. When methamphetamine is taken, a severe craving for sugar develops. Most of the time the meth user then binges on soda or candy during a 12 hour period. The result is an extensive amount of time that acid is exposed to the teeth, increasing the rate of enamel demineralization, bacteria and decay.

Dry mouth. Xerostomia is a side effect of meth use. When saliva glands shut down, the mouth becomes dry and cannot naturally cleanse itself. Acid and bacteria in the mouth are more aggressive in people with dry mouth.

Acid content of Meth. The acidic levels of meth are enough to damage teeth on their own. Some ingredients of meth include dangerous substances like battery acid and household cleaners.

Excess wear of teeth. Most meth users will have increased tension in their jaws, resulting in aggressive clenching or grinding of the teeth. Combined with weakened tooth enamel, this grinding can cause excess wear to the teeth, breaking them or wearing them flat.

Meth mouth becomes aggressive very easily. Most of the time treatment does not occur until the patient is off of meth, due to negligence. Typically meth users do not practice adequate oral hygiene, further amplifying the destruction that the dangerous drug has on their teeth.

Posted on behalf of Dan Myers



Getting a Dental Implant: What to Expect

Posted in Dental Implants

So your dentist has advised you that you need dental implants and you’re wondering what to expect. The first thing you should know is that getting a dental implant is a minimally invasive surgical procedure; it involves surgical cutting of the gums but only a small incision is made. There is minimal operative trauma and short recovery time (3 to 4 months).

The day of the procedure, after you have filled out any necessary forms, you will be taken to an operating room and given a local anesthesia in injection form. Some dental practices provide sedation for eligible patients. Working as a coordinated group, the dental team will cut away some of your gum tissue to expose the jawbone. If you are getting a subperiosteal implant, a metal framework will be fitted on top of the jawbone.

If you are getting an endosteal implant, a hole (or several holes depending on the type of restoration you are getting) will be drilled in your jawbone and the implant (a metal or ceramic screw, cylinder, or blade) will be inserted into the hole. Finally, the gum will be stitched up and you will be free to go home. After the surgery, it is normal to experience soreness, minor pain, and some bleeding for a few days. Follow the post-operative care instructions given to you by your dentist to minimize discomfort and avoid infection.

After about 3 to 4 months, your gums will have healed. During that time, the implant would have become firmly grafted into your jawbone. During your follow-up visit, if you are doing two-stage surgery, a second surgery will be performed to expose the implant head from under the gum. If you are doing single-stage surgery, the implant head will already be exposed above the gum line. An abutment (small connecting post) will be attached to each implant head.

At this time, the dentist will also take a mold of your mouth which will be sent to a laboratory. The mold will be used to design your customized restoration (crowns or bridges). A temporary crown may be fitted. Finally, there will be a third visit during which the custom-fitted restoration (artificial teeth) will be mounted onto the abutments. You will then have artificial teeth that look and function just like natural ones.


Full Mouth Reconstruction Explained

Posted in Dental Implants

Full mouth reconstruction is an intensive dental restoration process which involves repairing or rebuilding all or most of a person’s teeth. Full mouth reconstruction may be done as an alternative to getting dentures when most or all of the teeth have been lost due to injury, decay, congenital factors, or gum disease. Sometimes, full mouth reconstruction is required in cases where a severely misaligned bite (malocclusion) is causing maxillofacial (facial muscle and joint) problems.

Full mouth reconstruction is achieved through a series of general, cosmetic, orthodontic, endodontic, periodontal, and restorative dental procedures.  These procedures are done over the course of multiple visits to different dental specialists and the entire process can take up to a year or more to complete.

Restorative procedures

Restorative procedures are done to reestablish the integrity of the teeth structure and may include fillings, crows, bridges, implants, veneers, inlays, and onlays.

Orthodontic procedures

People doing full mouth reconstruction may also be required to receive orthodontic treatment such as braces to reposition teeth and orthodontic exposure to fix impacted teeth.

Surgical procedures

Endodontic, periodontal, or jaw surgery may be necessary, such as: bone or tissue grafting to restore lost bone or gum tissue; gingivectomy to remove diseased gum tissue; or orthognathic surgery to reposition the jaws.

Cosmetic procedures

Cosmetic dental work is also carried out on the teeth for both functional and aesthetic reasons and may include: gum contouring to remove surplus gum tissue; dental contouring to correct tooth shape defects; dental bonding to correct tooth surface defects like fractures and chips; and crown lengthening to enhance tooth structure. In the last stage of full mouth reconstruction, teeth cleaning and whitening put the finishing touches on the fully restored teeth.

Full mouth reconstruction can be distinguished from a simple smile makeover by the fact that full mouth reconstruction is more intensive and complicated. Also, people get smile makeovers for aesthetic reasons, but full mouth reconstruction is always done as a medical requirement when the patient’s oral functioning and general health are at risk.


How to Handle Knocked Out Teeth

In many cases, a knocked out permanent tooth (called “avulsed” by dentists) can be successfully reimplanted if you act quickly and seek dental treatment.  Permanent teeth can be knocked out by all sorts of trauma including car accidents, a fall, fighting, a sports injury, or even by accidently biting into something hard like a bone or pit.

Time is of the essence for replacing a knocked out tooth.  It is imperative to get to the dentist with the tooth as quickly as possible.  The longer it takes to get to the dentist, the lower the chances that the tooth can be successfully reimplanted.  If possible, it would be a good idea to call your dentist and tell them that you are on your way with a knocked out tooth.  If they can’t treat you immediately, find a dentist that offers emergency dental care.

The tooth must be handled carefully to avoid further damage.  Handle the tooth by the crown only.  Avoid touching the root.  If the tooth is dirty, rinse it with milk or water.  Don’t dry the tooth or rub it with a cloth.

The tooth should be kept moist.  The best alternative is to put the tooth back into it’s socket if possible.  It should slide in easily.  Hold it in place by biting down gently on a gauze pad.

Don’t try to force it into the socket if it does not go in easily.  Instead, put it into a container with milk or saliva.  You can even transport the tooth by putting it between your lower lip and gum or under your tongue.  Be very careful not to swallow the tooth.

In many cases your dentist will be able to successfully reimplant the tooth.  The tooth will be held in place by splitting it to neighboring teeth and will often heal in three to four weeks.   If the tooth cannot be reimplanted, your dentist may recommend a dental implant or bridge.

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