Patients who have missing teeth or major tooth and gum problems often have questions about dental implants. Implants are the modern solution for replacing teeth and are now often preferred over other solutions like dentures and bridges. Here are a few of the most common frequently asked questions about dental implants, answered. Having more knowledge of this dental treatment may inspire you to take action and call your Gaithersburg, MD dentist to see if you’re a candidate for this procedure.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Dental implants are designed to serve the same purpose as the root of a tooth. They are small titanium devices that resemble screws that are inserted into the bone tissue below the gumline. When the implant heals into the bone, which may take several months, an abutment and permanent crown are placed on the top. With a porcelain or ceramic crown, the implanted tooth is indistinguishable from your other teeth.
Why Are Dental Implants the Best Solution?
The main reason why dental implants are the ideal solution is that they are permanent. Once they’re installed, they’re no different than any of your other teeth in terms of function and appearance. They also help keep the bone tissue healthy and strong. When you get dentures or bridges, the bone tissue can degrade over time.
Who Can Get Dental Implants?
Only patients who have generally good dental health can get dental implants. Viable bone tissue is needed to ensure that the implants will stay rooted. That’s why it’s important to see a dentist for a tooth implant as early as possible. In some cases, a bone grafting procedure can help improve a patient’s chances of having a dental implant integrate successfully.
How Long Will Dental Implants Last?
For patients of a certain age, a dental implant has a good chance of lasting for a lifetime. The crown part of the implant can last for up to 15 years before it may need to be replaced. Seeing your dentist at least two times every year for professional cleanings and becoming meticulous about at-home dental care will ensure that the implant (and your other teeth) stays strong and healthy.
Contact your Gaithersburg, MD Dentist
Dental implantation is a straightforward and effective procedure that can help improve your dental health and the appearance of your smile. Call your Gaithersburg, MD dentist to schedule an appointment.
Since the introduction of fluoride in 1955, there has not been too many revolutionary "jumps" in the prevention of dental decay. Until now.
A plant-derived, natural sugar called Xylitol changed all that a few years ago, and will be a more household word soon. As the best of the sugar alcohols, xylitol barely raises your blood sugar (glycemic index is only 7 compared to 76 for fructose household sugar), it decreases the plaque levels in the mouth by 50%, and a cavity reduction of around 50-75%!!!!!
Ideally, you should aim to have 3-5 servings of xylitol per day. Too much may result in a laxative effect. There have been over 1500 studies showing the effectiveness of xylitol and it can be used by any age group!
Xylitol can be found in high quality mints, gums, breath sprays, dry mouth gels, candies, and even as a crystalline form as a baking substitue. Other "cousins" of xylitol are sorbitol, mannitol, erythritol, and currently you may find it in the grocery store baking section as a crystalline form sold as Truvia. While the other sugar alcohols are beneficial, xylitol is the most desireable and should be at the top of your list since it has the most anti-cavity effect and affects your blood sugar levels the least.
Ask us about our selection of Xylitol products at discount prices at your next visit!
Since osteoporosis can result in bone loss throughout the body, it should not be a surprise that a link has been shown between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. Teeth are supported and anchored in the part of the jaw bone known as the alveolar process. Studies have shown that when the bone in the alveoular process becomes less dense, there is an increase in tooth mobility and tooth loss. It has been shown that women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss as those without the disease. Low bone density in the jaw can also contribute to poorly fitting dentures and may compromise the results of dental surgery.
Bisphosphonates are a group of drugs that kill or disable cells called osteoclasts which resorb bone. Bisphosphonates are used to treat diseases in which osteoclasts cause the body harm. Osteoporosis is one of the most common of these diseases. They are also used to treat metastatic cancers and Paget's Disease. Bisphosphantes block the resorption of old bone, while still allowing new bone to be built. While this is beneficial in the treatment of osteoporosis, it can have detrimental effects in a person with periodontal disease or those who have had a tooth extracted. In these situations bone requires remodeling through the work of osteoclasts to enable healing to occur.
When you begin using bisphophonates the drug becomes highly concentrated in the oral cavity because the oral cavity has a very high turnover rate of bone. The high concentration of the drug kills so many osteoclasts that the bone cannot renew itself properly. As a result, when bone is exposed to trauma it may not be able to heal properly resulting in bone necrosis or bone death. This finding is called osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). This complication was first observed in 2003 by oral surgeons treating patients for hypercalcemia related to multiple myeloma or metastatic breast cancer. All but one of the patients were given the injectable bisphophonates. The typical presentation of ONJ was in a non-healing tooth extraction socket with pain at the site or exposed jawbone.
The risk of ONJ from oral bisphosphonates is approximately 0.1%. The risk of ONJ from the IV form of bisphosphonates can range from 1-15% depending on the research. It is also important to know that the half-life of bisphosphonate medications is 10 years.
To reduce the risk of ONJ in patients taking bisphophonate medications it is recommended to treat all oral problems before it leads to tooth extraction. Infections of the gums, advanced periodontal disease and tooth decay should be addressed immediately. Patients on bisphosphonates are recommended to have frequent cleanings and examinations to evaluate for sharp areas on fillings, teeth and dentures.
Some of the most common bisphosphonate medications are pamidronate (Aredia), zoledronic acid (Zometa), ibandronate (Boniva), risedronate (Actonel) and alendronate (Fosamax),
Have you been down the toothpaste/brush aisle in the grocery store or CVS lately? It's overwhelming and very confusing, thanks to all of the constantly changing names and labels available. One of our favorites is currently going to its FOURTH name change in the last seven years, for example. That would be the new "Complete care" by Arm and Hammer, formerly Age Defying, formerly Enamel Care, and formerly Enamelon. Wow. Why do we like it? Because it uniquely builds new enamel on your teeth and smooths the surface layer, giving your teeth added protection from acids, and cold liquids among other things. Most of our patients say that it works as well as the "desensitizing" toothpastes, and that is by a totally different mechanism. That brings us to.....
Sensitivity toothpastes, like Sensodyne, or others that say "for sensitivity reduction", will all use 5% KNO3, or potassium nitrate. How's that work?
The 5% KNO3 actually lowers the threshold at which the tooth nerve acts, so it sort of "turns down the volume" on your tooth nerves. I suppose you could say that it numbs the nerve a bit.
Beyond these toothpastes, others claim to be "whitening." Do they work? Not really, unless you haven't been to the dentist lately and have a surface layer of stained yuck on your teeth. These whitening toothpastes, in general, have extra abrasives in them to polish your stains away, which removes the top layer of tooth (where your protection from sensitivity and cavities is located). Guess what? These will increase your sensitivity in most all people! Not good at all. Avoid these as a general rule.
Not covered here are other pastes and rub-on remineralizing pastes we use. We are happy to go over these with you in the office to keep you comfortable and CAVITY FREE!
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