Friday, January 30, 2015

The Importance of Implant Dentistry for Your Overall Health

Implant Dentistry
We perform implant dentistry procedures for patients that have lost one or several teeth.  Losing teeth is an unfortunate reality of adulthood.  It is common for adults to lose at least one tooth in their lifetime, in spite of advances in dental care.  This can be due to poor oral hygiene, a lack of dental care, or an accident.  Regardless of why a tooth has fallen out, replacing it is critical for the health of your jaw and your body.  

Many people make the mistake of thinking that replacing a tooth is about vanity or keeping their smile intact.  This is an important part of it, but there are greater health reasons for undergoing the procedure.  When a tooth falls out, the roots do as well, and the roots are important for the ongoing health of the jaw.  They help to strengthen it, and when a person has lost too many teeth, the jaw can actually become weaker.  With implants surgery, a titanium post is inserted under the gums and screwed into the jawbone. While this may sound uncomfortable, we will provide you with sedation to ensure that you feel well during the procedure.  This aspect of the procedure is critical to helping your jaw to remain strong.  Through the process of osseointegration, the metal post and jawbone will fuse together, similar to how a natural root would.  As a result, your jaw will be strengthened, and the shape of your face preserved. 

The importance of jaw preservation cannot be overstated and if you look at pictures of people that have lost teeth you can see why. Once a tooth has fallen out the alveolar bone will start to decrease in height, width and volume.  In the first year alone, twenty-five percent of this bone can be lost.  As the starts to deteriorate the gums around it will also be compromised, and if left untreated, this can greatly influence your ability to eat and speak clearly.  Over time, more of the bone structure will be lost until the face starts to have a sagging appearance unless you undergo an implant dentistry procedure.  

When the back teeth are lost only, some people don’t see the importance of getting dental implants since this area cannot be seen when smiling.  It is, however, incredibly important because when the back molars are lost the front teeth have the burden of supporting the jaw.  They were not designed to do so and have difficulty supporting the weight.  This can cause the space in between your nose and chin to shrink, further impacting your appearance. 

While bone loss does play a major role in your appearance, it can also be dangerous to your health.  As the jaw becomes weakened, it is more susceptible to breaking. Even a slight bump or something like a basic car wreck can then cause a major break and subsequent surgical procedures to be required. This can be avoided by replacing missing teeth with implant dentistry that can in turn strengthen the jawbone and prevent further damage to your health or appearance. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

What Causes Gum Recession and How it is Treated

Gum Recession
In our office, we treat gum recession on a regular basis and as such, are able to help our patients feel more comfortable and reduce the risk of bone and tooth loss that can come from a receding gum line.  Healthy gums are essential to the overall health of the mouth.  While most people focus their attention on the health of teeth, without the gums, the tooth structure and roots are exposed to bacteria and infection. With this in mind, a receding gum line is more than a cosmetic problem. 

Receding gums are often caused by genetics, something that, unfortunately, cannot be avoided.  There are, however, ways that you can improve the overall health of your gums and prevent them from receding or at least slow down the process.  It starts with what you put into your mouth.  Unhealthy habits like smoking, chewing tobacco or drinking alcohol in excess are bad for the health of your mouth and increase your risk of developing oral cancer and gum disease.  What you eat also plays an important role and by focusing on eating lean protein, green leafy vegetables, dairy products, and nuts, you can improve the health of your teeth and gums whereas foods that are high in sugar or acidic can attack your teeth and promote gum disease.  For this reason, focus on developing healthy habits in order to lower your risk factors. 

We have also treated patients that suffered from gum recession not due to a lack of oral health care, but by going overboard.  As with most things, moderation is the key so avoid brushing your teeth more than three times a day and use a soft or electronic toothbrush when you do.  Over-brushing and aggressive brushing can irritate your gum tissue and cause it to start receding.  You can get just as good of a clean by using a soft brush and brushing in a circular pattern, pushing bacteria away from your gums. 

Treatment Options
If you are suffering from gum recession now, you are likely experiencing some level of discomfort and are at an increased risk for developing infections.  In order to correct the problem and restore your gum tissue, we have several methods for treating it.  The traditional way is to perform a gum graft surgery.  In this scenario, tissue is taken from the roof of your mouth, or from a donor, and grafted to your gums in order to close the pockets and surround the tooth structure as it should be.  This procedure is often necessary for addressing major gum recession, and while you may be sore for a few days, it is extremely effective for protecting your teeth going forward.  

Those that are looking for a less invasive procedure may benefit from pinhole surgical rejuvenation.  To complete this procedure, we will create a small pin-size hole in the gum tissue, insert instruments and wiggle them around to expand the gum tissue.  It can then be secured to the tooth, accomplishing the same goal as a gum graft but without any cutting, sutures, or prolonged recovery time.