Are Dental Implants Right for You?

Having a missing tooth, whether due to injury (not a baby tooth) or from an extraction, can be very upsetting and have a negative impact on your smile and self-esteem. Fortunately, thanks to dental implants, you don’t have to live toothless forever.

The dental implant procedure is surgery, so not everyone is a candidate and there are numerous things to consider and prepare for.

Are You a Candidate for Dental Implant Surgery?

Before you can be considered for any surgery, you must be in good general health. For dental implant surgery, you must also be in good oral health. If you’re a smoker, your oral surgeon will most likely strongly advise that you quit before the procedure. In addition, those who have compromised immune systems, such as those with poorly controlled diabetes, may not be candidates due to the fact that they may not be able to heal properly after the procedure.

Since a dental implant requires a minimum amount of bone to secure it properly in the jaw, those with bone density problems also may not be candidates. It is possible, however, to have a bone graft prior to the surgery to build up the bone needed.

Your age is not a detriment as long as you are in good general health.

What Should You Expect from Dental Implant Surgery?

After your consultation appointment, your dentist will request X-rays and perhaps a CT scan in order to effectively plan your surgery. The procedure itself is often faster than a wisdom teeth extraction. The dentist will make a small incision in your gums and insert a titanium post into your jawbone.

The post must adhere and graft to your jaw, which often takes a couple of months. Once your dentist has confirmed that the post has successfully integrated with your bone, you will have another appointment to attach an abutment to the post, which is the anchor for the crown or bridge that will be attached.

As a result, the titanium posts acts as a tooth root for the crown, which helps preserve the jawbone as well as securely hold the crown. Implants can even be used to hold down dentures if needed.

Recovery time will vary from patient to patient and depends on how many implants are needed. For example, a patient needing to replace only one tooth will have a greater recovery speed than one who needs several teeth replaced. Your overall health and whether you are a smoker also affects recovery time.

And of course, if you have any questions about whether you are a candidate for dental implants or about the surgery itself, never hesitate to talk to your dentist about it. Before committing to any surgery, you should always go in as informed as possible!

Biomaterial Stimulates Healing Post-Dental Implants

Dental ImplantNot long ago, we discussed a new filling composite that can stimulate new tissue growth and boost healing.New research is taking this even further with stimulating growth and healing after a dental procedure far more invasive—dental implants.

In this study, the researchers used a biomaterial of leukocyte- and platelet-rich fibrins with the dental implant. Two days after surgery, the team noticed far more improved healing of the mouth tissue than what is normally observed post-implant. They found that the biomaterial acts as a membrane that protects the implant from the rest of the mouth during healing. It also seems to stimulate the growth of gum tissue, further speeding up the healing rate. After seven days, the team found that the gum profile was well defined and was already accepting the implant. At six months post-surgery, the implant was completely stable, and it remained stable after two years (and still is).[..Read More]

5 Dental Tips for Thanksgiving

Our favorite food-based holiday is here! Relax and lower your hackles; we aren’t going to tell you to cut down on how much you eat. We just want to offer a few tips for dental-safe holiday.

Open nuts with a nutcracker, not your teeth. Many men, women, AND children crack a tooth over the holiday doing just that. Rodents have the teeth cracking nuts; this is why we invented nutcrackers. Also, remember this: cracking your teeth not only creates an unattractive result, it also creates quite a painful one. In addition, cracking a tooth requires pricey dental fixes, including a root canal and a dental crown.

Don’t open beer bottles with your teeth. Go on ahead and laugh; just remember that more people try this than you think, especially once the alcohol starts to flow. And yes, the results are always the same–cracked teeth that need dental implants, root canals, and/or dental crowns.

Caramel popcorn balls can also crack your teeth. No really, it’s true. All it takes is biting down on a single, unpopped kernal of popcorn a little too hard or the wrong way and you will crack a tooth. This can lead to–you guessed it–needing root canals, dental implants, and dental crowns. We know they’re tasty, but it’s worth the risk to your wallet to skip them.

Brush and floss your teeth after dessert. Before you lie down on the couch for that guaranteed post-Thanksgiving dinner coma, brush and floss your teeth. The number one cause of tooth decay is food left on or around the teeth, and the number one food to cause decay the fastest is sugar. After your last slice of pumpkin or pecan pie, hit the bathroom for a quick brushing and flossing.

Don’t bite candy canes. While it’s highly unlikely candy canes will be around on Thanksgiving Day, it is highly likely that they will make an appearance the day after Thanksgiving, as this is the most popular day to start decorating for Christmas. If you have a pension for candy canes, don’t bite down on them. Hard candy like peppermint can be literal murder to your teeth.

 See, that wasn’t so scary! We hope everyone has a safe and very happy Thanksgiving!

Smoking Reduces the Success Rates of Dental Implants

Dental implants are a great way to treat lost teeth, especially if you do not want to deal with the hassles associated with dentures. Implants are often more comfortable while also being more aesthetically appealing. However this treatment comes at a high cost that deters many, and smokers may face a double whammy when it comes to this high priced procedure.

The procedure for dental implants is not overly complicated, but it does require a bit of surgery. A screw, usually made of titanium, is inserted into the patient’s jaw bone. The screw will serve as an anchor point to support an artificial tooth. Over time the screw will fuse to the jaw bone, thus making this setup a permanent solution for lost teeth.

Surgically installing an artificial tooth does come with a few risks, of which the most common is the body rejecting the implant. The possibility of the body rejecting the fake tooth is rare, but it is known to happen in people with poor blood flow in the gums. This is why the best candidates for this procedure is those who visit their dentist regularly to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

This is where the smoking part comes into play. Smoking has a considerable affect on the ability for the body to heal itself, mainly because of the reduced blood flow that this activity causes. Without good blood flow, the body cannot fight infection, properly heal from surgery, or adjust to items like screws being inserted into bone.

Implants are not the only dental procedure to suffer the consequences of smoking. Healing from tooth extractions and fillings are affected due to the reduced effectiveness of antibiotics. In other words, smoking is not only dangerous to your lungs, but your mouth suffers as well.

If you are a smoker, the best thing you can do is quit outright. Be sure to consult your dentist before any major procedure, and let them know your habits so proper measures may be taken. Your dentist really does not want to replace a dental implant because of smoking related complications.

Dental Implant Procedure

When you lose one of your permanent, adult teeth, you have two choices: either live with the missing tooth or get a dental implant. The latest technology for dental implants has made them virtually impossible to tell apart from the other teeth, which has also made them a far more appealing choice than before. Since the implants are meticulously connected with the patient’s living bone, it not only ensures that the implant is fully functional, but all enhances its natural appearance.

If you are considering a dental implant, the following is what you can expect from the procedure.

The dental implant screw is typically composed of titanium. The dentist will create a small hole in the jaw where the tooth should be, all while carefully ensuring that the hole will cause no jaw damage as well as ensuring that the placement will allow for the implant to integrate with the bone. Once the dentist finishes the hole, he must then expand it for the screw and place a protective cover over the screw to allow it to heal and properly anchor to the bone.

Implants can be placed in one dental visit, but it does take some time for the dental implant to fully integrate with the bone (process called “osseointegration”). As it sounds, this process involves the root of the dental implant successfully integrating with the jawbone. This often takes three to six months, and once the implant is fully incorporated with the bone tissue, the next step is the dental crown to cover the implant.

However, there is always the risk that osseointegration will fail, and the dentist will have to take plan B measures to repair the dental implant or even replace it.

Be sure to go over all the dental implant information, procedure and recovery details with your dentist before agreeing to the implant. If you are considering one (or more!), do not hesitate to contact our Frisco office to make an appointment today!