Having a hole in your smile is not only embarrassing or unsightly, it also impacts the function of your mouth. It’s much easier to eat and speak with a full set of teeth. In the past, dentures or bridges were the go-to solutions for missing teeth. Not anymore! Dental implants provide a secure and permanent way to restore your smile.
A dental implant is a titanium rod that creates an artificial tooth root in the location that yours is missing. It is surgically implanted into your jaw so that as it heals, it fuses with your jawbone and becomes a permanent part of your body. Once the area has healed, an artificial tooth is placed on top of the titanium rod to give you back a fully functional and attractive tooth.
Dental implants offer many advantages to patients:
No impact to neighboring teeth
Attractive and natural
Feels like a real tooth
Prevents migration of teeth
Implants are installed using local anesthesia, so you will not experience pain during the procedure. Minor swelling may occur afterwards, and any pain can usually be treated with over-the-counter products. Risks are low with dental implants, and long-term results are successful in most cases. Good oral care is important in maintaining your implants, but is no different than your regular brushing and flossing routine. Regular checkups with your dentist will help ensure that your implant remains in your smile forever.
Your family, general, or pediatric dentist or orthodontist may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for some dental treatments that require oral surgery. An oral surgeon is a specialist who has graduated from an accredited dental school and also completed additional education and residency related to surgical procedures needed to treat various oral diseases and conditions. An oral surgeon is trained in treating the following conditions:
Removal of diseased or impacted teeth
Placement of dental implants
Treatment of facial trauma involving gums, jaws, nasal cavities, cheekbones, eye sockets, and forehead
Evaluation of pathologic conditions such as cysts and tumors of the mouth and face or acute infections of the oral cavity, salivary glands, neck, and jaws
Treatment of facial pain including those caused by temporomandibular (TMJ) problems
Cosmetic or reconstructive surgery to correct jaw, facial bone, and facial soft tissue problems
Corrective jaw surgery
Cleft lip and cleft palate repair
Surgical treatment for sleep apnea
There are many different techniques that oral surgeons use to accomplish your treatment goals. The choice of techniques may vary between surgeons and should be discussed between you and your surgeon prior to the procedure.
Many oral surgery procedures can be completed in an outpatient setting. Often you are only in the office for a few hours and can return to your regular routine in a matter of days. A good oral surgeon will be able to perform these procedures with little chance of complications, and will be able to provide you with the information you need to understand the recovery process. Your oral surgeon will often collaborate with other specialists, such as an orthodontist or cosmetic dentist, to achieve your ultimate treatment goals.
Cleaning between your teeth and along your gums with dental floss is just as important as using your toothbrush. Although many people complain about flossing or completely avoid doing it, there should be no excuse for neglecting this part of your dental hygiene routine.
Flossing your teeth allows you to get rid of food particles and plaque that is caught between your teeth. It is able to reach areas that your toothbrush can’t. Therefore, flossing plays a key role in preventing tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.
You should floss your teeth at least once every day, using a gentle touch so you don’t damage your gums. You can use waxed or unwaxed dental floss, depending upon your preference and which one works best for you. Interdental cleaning aids like picks and sticks may also be carefully used, as well as floss holders. These tools are especially helpful for those with arthritis and vision problems.
Another item that may help remove trapped food debris is a water spray tool called an oral irrigator, although it shouldn’t replace flossing. The same is true for mouthwash, which may be used to help rinse away germs and temporarily freshen breath. You can add these items to your hygiene routine, but giving up flossing should not be an option. Using dental floss is the very best way to attack food particles and plaque so that you have the greatest chance for a healthy mouth.
Dr. Jack T. Winchester is a family and cosmetic dentist in Morehead City
Severely damaged, injured or diseased teeth can lead to not only cosmetic problems with your smile, but also functional ones. Your dentist may recommend dental crowns or dental bridges to treat your dental issues.
Dental crowns are a restorative dental therapy that covers the affected tooth completely, serving as the new outer surface of the tooth. A dental crown maintains the natural roots of a tooth and can prevent extraction. A dental bridge fills the gap left by one or more missing teeth and is affixed to bordering teeth with an anchoring crown.
Both dental crowns and dental bridges are made from a variety of materials that can be designed to match the color of your surrounding natural teeth. As opposed to removable prosthodontics such as full or partial dentures, dental crowns and bridges are permanently bonded to existing teeth or dental implants, allowing them to function and appear as natural teeth.
Dental crowns and bridges have a number of advantages and benefits, such as:
Dental crowns protect the natural tooth after a root canal therapy, helping to prevent bacteria re-infecting the tooth that could lead to extraction.
Dental bridges restore gapped or missing teeth, providing support to the surrounding teeth, preventing them from shifting in to fill the empty space and affecting your speech, bite and smile.
Your dentist can typically place dental crowns and bridges in as few as two appointments.
Dental crowns and bridges are both long-lasting, durable therapies, designed to protect your natural tooth for years to come.
Dental crowns prevent bone loss by preserving the natural tooth roots, thereby stimulating the jawbone, preventing resorption, or shrinkage, of the bone following extraction.
If you have questions about what a dental crown or bridge can do to improve the form and function of your smile, talk to your dental professional today. You can restore your healthy smile and preserve it for years to come with a dental crown or dental bridge treatment.
If you need a dentist in Morehead City contact us today