Preserving the bone in your jaw and face is of utmost importance to your cosmetic dentist, and as such, treatments that preserve bone are preferred over those that lead to bone shrinkage, known as resorption.
Dental implants preserve bone by mimicking the tooth’s natural roots, stimulating and preserving the bone. As part of the healing process following surgical placement, the jawbone fuses directly to the implant. Most often made of titanium, dental implants provide a very stable foundation for a replacement tooth. This foundation is so stable that it can serve as an anchor point for dental bridgework and will feel, look, and function as your natural tooth would.
The process of implant to bone fusion is known as “osseointegration.” Fusion is primarily dependent upon the quality of bone surrounding the implant, and can be achieved in three to nine months following dental implant treatment. Excessive smoking or drinking can stunt the healing process and lead to complications.
Because bone resorption is prevented with dental implants, your facial structure will not collapse and your facial shape will not change. Missing teeth that are replaced by implants avoid other problems commonly associated with tooth loss, including other teeth shifting into the open spaces created by the missing teeth, and functional problems with the jaw joints and bite alignment.
Once a tooth is extracted or falls out, a great deal of the bone in the area will shrink, or resorb over the coming year. Shrinkage occurs in a horizontal as well as vertical dimension. Most resorption occurs within the first two to three months following tooth loss. When a cosmetic dentist replaces that tooth immediately with a titanium dental implant, the bone fuses around the implant, significantly reducing bone shrinkage.
Dental implants are the only restorative treatment that preserves and maintains bone. Dentures and partial dentures can accelerate the process of bone shrinkage as a result of pressure on the underlying mouth structures as you talk or eat.
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If you have chosen dentures to restore the function and appearance of your mouth, you certainly want them to do their job. Typically, if fitted correctly and you follow the instructions for use and care, dentures are a good solution. However, it’s possible for problems to arise so it’s important to recognize issues and how to handle them.
One key thing about dentures is that they must fit properly. If not, problems like gum irritation, difficulty eating and speaking, mouth infections, and denture movement may occur. Also, if you don’t keep your mouth clean and healthy, problems will likely appear.
If you experience any issues with your mouth after getting dentures, see your dentist right away. It’s possible that over time, your bones and gums can change and alter the fit of your dentures. When this happens, your dentist must determine if modification, adjustment, or replacement is needed. Never try to adjust your dentures yourself.
Here are some things you can do at home to keep your dentures in good condition:
- Handle them carefully. When holding your dentures, place a towel on the counter or stand over a water-filled sink. This will protect them if you drop them.
- Keep dentures out of reach of children and pets.
- Do not sleep with your dentures in your mouth.
- Clean them daily according to your dentist’s instructions. This includes soaking them overnight in a denture cleanser, cleaning them well each morning before wearing them, and cleaning your mouth carefully before inserting the dentures. Use a soft brush or one designed for dentures, plain soap or cleanser recommended by your dentist, and warm water. Never use bleach or household cleansers.
- Store your dentures in warm water or denture cleaning solution. Do not use hot water, which can cause them to lose their shape.
- Do not use toothpicks because they can damage dentures.
Wearing dentures may be tricky at first, and it may take some time to grow accustomed to them. However, if you care for them well and see your dentist for routine checkups, you can avoid most of the problems that denture-wearers sometimes encounter.
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Life is full of special events that you will remember forever. When you look back at photographs from your special days, you will want to know that you looked your very best. Weddings, birthdays, reunions, graduations, anniversaries, job interviews, or that very special first date are times you will want to put your best face forward. Everything begins with your smile. Your dentist can help you prepare for these kinds of events by brightening your smile, making you look younger and more vibrant and boosting your self-confidence.
Your teeth naturally discolor with age, and this process is accelerated as you eat various foods and dark beverages. Blueberries, blackberries, and beets can all leave stains on your teeth. Dark sodas, coffee, tea, and red wine can also leave their mark with residual color on your teeth. Don’t find yourself feeling self-conscious about your discolored smile; talk to your dentist about what teeth whitening options are available to you. Not all whitening processes are good for every type of teeth. Your dentist will know what is ideal for you.
Before you whiten, it is important to have a dental exam and cleaning. The results of your whitening depend on the initial condition of your teeth. Cleaning your teeth ensures that the whitening procedure affects all of the areas of your teeth, and doesn’t leave out areas currently hidden by plaque or tartar.
Because some teeth whitening techniques require time to achieve the best results, you need to plan ahead. Begin with a consultation with your dentist several weeks prior to your special day, to allow time for the whitening process to work. Some people experience increased sensitivity to their teeth after whitening. Starting early will allow your teeth to recover from the whitening process.
A brighter smile will always help you look and feel better. It will help you make the most positive first impression. On your special day, when you smile for the camera, your confidence will show. You’ll love what you see in photos for years to come.
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An embarrassing smile can ruin your ability to smile freely, opting to hide your teeth so that others can’t see them. Dental veneers, thin shells often made of porcelain attached to the fronts of your teeth, transform your smile to one you can display with pride. They are customized for each patient to give you the look you desire.
There are numerous dental problems that can be hidden with porcelain veneers. Common reasons that people choose veneers include tooth discoloration, chips, breaks, worn down teeth, gaps, misalignment or misshapen teeth. These restorations cover all of these problems and more, giving you the perfect smile.
The process for getting veneers is not painful and usually requires a few trips to the dentist. First you’ll need a consultation to determine if you are a good candidate. You should tell the dentist exactly what you dislike about your smile and learn if veneers can correct those issues. If so, your next appointment will include preparing your teeth by removing a small amount of your enamel so the veneers can be attached. Your dentist will make an impression of your mouth so that veneers can be crafted in a lab to fit exactly. The last step is a visit to have the final veneers bonded to your teeth, adjusted, and polished for a flawless appearance.
You can count on porcelain veneers to resist stains so that they continue to look just like they did when applied. You can choose the veneer color to get just the shade you desire, and your smile will look very natural. Another benefit is that your gums should adjust very easily to porcelain veneers. Keep in mind, however, that veneers are a permanent solution and if they do become damaged it’s likely you’ll have to completely replace them. The lifespan of veneers is often ten years or more, and they don’t require any special care other than normal dental hygiene.
Veneers provide patients with the ability to turn their smiles around for good. If you’re unhappy with the look of your teeth, consult your dentist to see if veneers will help you regain your confidence.
We look forward to seeing you in our Morehead City dental office