Posts for: December, 2018
Dental implants are high functioning “fake” teeth used to replace any areas with missing teeth. There are several reasons a tooth could be missing- extraction, trauma or congenitally missing teeth are the most common. An implant mimics the natural structure of a tooth, consisting of a titanium root that sits snugly in the jaw bone and a crown that sits on top. If properly cared for, an implant can last a lifetime.
Dental Implants Act as Natural Teeth
When there is a missing tooth or teeth, eating, talking and even smiling can be affected. Once a dental implant is placed, the natural function and aesthetic is returned to normal. Most patients can’t tell the difference between the implant and natural tooth.
Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss
When a tooth or teeth are lost, the natural effect of the bone is to resorb away as there is nothing there for it to support. In the first year after tooth loss, there can be as much as 25% loss of bone in the area. If a dental implant is placed, the bone will integrate around the titanium root and stay in place. Dentures (partial or full) which are the alternative to implants, can accelerate the loss of bone structure.
Dental Implants Can Prevent Facial Sagging
The cheeks and lips naturally sag into any gap that is created from missing teeth. A full set of teeth aid in maintaining the shape of the face and this can change when teeth are lost. Dental implants help to preserve the natural shape of the cheeks, jaw and face.
Dental Implants Keep Adjacent Teeth Stable
Teeth will naturally drift and move when they are left without opposing teeth. If a tooth is lost on the top, often the lower opposing tooth will over erupt as there is nothing to bite down against. Also, if a neighbouring tooth is lost there can be drifting, forward or backward. When dental implants are placed, they allow the rest of the teeth to maintain the correct positions.
Dental Implants can be used in Full Mouth Cases
Just as a dental implant can help to restore a single tooth, they can also be used to restore an entire arch of teeth. Traditional dentures rest directly on the gums and put pressure on the bone. Implant supported dentures disperse the pressure from the surface of the bone to the entire bone structure, preventing bone resorption and irritation from occurring.
Your risk for periodontal (gum) disease increases if you’re not brushing or flossing effectively. You can also have a higher risk if you’ve inherited thinner gum tissues from your parents. But there’s one other risk factor for gum disease that’s just as significant: if you have a smoking habit.
According to research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a little more than sixty percent of smokers develop gum disease in their lifetime at double the risk of non-smokers. And it’s not just cigarettes—any form of tobacco use (including smokeless) or even e-cigarettes increases the risk for gum disease.
Smoking alters the oral environment to make it friendlier for disease-causing bacteria. Some chemicals released in tobacco can damage gum tissues, which can cause them to gradually detach from the teeth. This can lead to tooth loss, which smokers are three times more likely to experience than non-smokers.
Smoking may also hide the early signs of gum disease like red, swollen or bleeding gums. But because the nicotine in tobacco restricts the blood supply to gum tissue, the gums of a smoker with gum disease may look healthy. But it’s a camouflage, which could delay prompt treatment that could prevent further damage.
Finally because tobacco can inhibit the body’s production of antibodies to fight infection, smoking may slow the healing process after gum disease treatment. This also means tobacco users have a higher risk of a repeat infection, something known as refractory periodontitis. This can create a cycle of treatment and re-infection that can significantly increase dental care costs.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can substantially lower your risk of gum disease and its complications by quitting any kind of tobacco habit. As it leaves your system, your body will respond much quicker to heal itself. And quitting will definitely increase your chances of preventing gum disease in the first place.
Quitting, though, can be difficult, so it’s best not to go it alone. Talk with your doctor about ways to kick the habit; you may also benefit from the encouragement of family and friends, as well as support groups of others trying to quit too. To learn more about quitting tobacco visit www.smokefree.gov or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
If you would like more information on how smoking can affect your oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Smoking and Gum Disease.”
For anyone else, having a tooth accidentally knocked out while practicing a dance routine would be a very big deal. But not for Dancing With The Stars contestant Noah Galloway. Galloway, an Iraq War veteran and a double amputee, took a kick to the face from his partner during a recent practice session, which knocked out a front tooth. As his horrified partner looked on, Galloway picked the missing tooth up from the floor, rinsed out his mouth, and quickly assessed his injury. “No big deal,” he told a cameraman capturing the scene.
Of course, not everyone would have the training — or the presence of mind — to do what Galloway did in that situation. But if you’re facing a serious dental trauma, such as a knocked out tooth, minutes count. Would you know what to do under those circumstances? Here’s a basic guide.
If a permanent tooth is completely knocked out of its socket, you need to act quickly. Once the injured person is stable, recover the tooth and gently clean it with water — but avoid grasping it by its roots! Next, if possible, place the tooth back in its socket in the jaw, making sure it is facing the correct way. Hold it in place with a damp cloth or gauze, and rush to the dental office, or to the emergency room if it’s after hours or if there appear to be other injuries.
If it isn’t possible to put the tooth back, you can place it between the cheek and gum, or in a plastic bag with the patient’s saliva, or in the special tooth-preserving liquid found in some first-aid kits. Either way, the sooner medical attention is received, the better the chances that the tooth can be saved.
When a tooth is loosened or displaced but not knocked out, you should receive dental attention within six hours of the accident. In the meantime, you can rinse the mouth with water and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) to ease pain. A cold pack temporarily applied to the outside of the face can also help relieve discomfort.
When teeth are broken or chipped, you have up to 12 hours to get dental treatment.Â Follow the guidelines above for pain relief, but don’t forget to come in to the office even if the pain isn’t severe. Of course, if you experience bleeding that can’t be controlled after five minutes, dizziness, loss of consciousness or intense pain, seek emergency medical help right away.
And as for Noah Galloway:Â In an interview a few days later, he showed off his new smile, with the temporary bridge his dentist provided… and he even continued to dance with the same partner!
If you would like more information about dental trauma, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma & Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries.”