CLE Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Inc.

Dental Implants: FAQ

Dental Implant FAQDental implants are becoming more and more popular these days, and we can see why. The ability to replace a missing tooth with a brand new one is an attractive concept.

We know that people often have questions about implants, so we have put together this page to answer those common questions:

What is a dental implant?
Implants are artificial teeth that function exactly like your natural teeth. We take a titanium screw, attach it to your jaw, allow the jaw to grow around the screw, and then fit the new tooth in right where the old one used to be. It will feel exactly like your old tooth used to when you had it.

How quick is the procedure?
It depends on just how strong and healthy your jaw is. Your jaw may very well be ready to receive the new tooth quickly, but it may also take time to grow around the screw. If your jaw is weak, we can also transplant bone from other parts of your body first, via another procedure called “bone grafting”, to grow a fresh, strong base where the screw can be inserted. If that is the case, the whole process takes more time, but again, it depends on your case.

Does it hurt?
No. Medications and anesthesia are available to reduce or eliminate pain. You shouldn’t feel a thing.

Since it’s an artificial tooth, do I need to care for it as if it were alive?
You should clean and maintain your implant exactly like you do with your living teeth. Though the implant isn’t going to die, it can still allow bacteria to build up, like your other teeth do. Clean all of your teeth with care, and they should all stay healthy.

How long do they last?
If your implant is taken good care of, it should last a long, long time. Perhaps 40 years and sometimes even a lifetime!

What should I eat after the procedure?
Eat soft food. We will help you decide on a diet that works for you depending on the specifics of your case and treatment.

Have more questions? Call us! We would be glad to set up an evaluation.

Calming Your Nerves Before Dental Procedures

Almost everyone has some feelings of nervousness when thinking about visiting the dentist. We hear it all the time from our patients. But don’t worry (I know, easier said than done). It is totally normal to have a bit of anxiety (or even a lot of anxiety) before you come to our office.

In our office, we have many years of experience in dealing with nervous patients. So to help you out, we’ve compiled this quick yet effective set of tips for dealing with those inevitable nerves before your dental procedure.

  1. Let us know! Sometimes just saying the words, “I’m a little bit nervous” can help by normalizing the nervousness itself a little bit, which instantly releases some of that stress that has the tendency to build up in your system. It also alerts us, which is great! In fact, we might just be able to help by doing procedures a little bit differently than we normally would or even just by offering some words of encouragement and rCalmingYourNerveseassurance.
  2. Music – Ask us to turn up (or down) the music in your exam room if that helps. Or, depending on the procedure, you may even be able to listen to your own MP3 player while we work away. Ask us ahead of time to be sure the procedure will allow for this.
  3. Breathe – Did you know that consciously taking a breath instantly calls to action your parasympathetic nervous system which is the part of the brain responsible for calming you down? The good news is that you always have your breath with you, so don’t forget to use it! Just by paying attention to your breath, for example, how it feels coming in and going out and the other sensations it creates, you can access the calming center of your brain. An easy breathing exercise that can be used anytime, anywhere, including in the dental chair is to breathe in for 4 counts, then out for 4 counts. You will instantly feel better.

We hope you find these tips helpful in dealing with your dental fears. Just remember, you are not alone.

The History of Bone Grafting

The concept of bone grafting is nothing new. In fact it has been an important part of medicine as far back as the early 1600’s and in recent years has become a standard procedure for people who need a dental implant or have had a traumatic jaw injury. Shortly after the invention of the microscope, the Dutch doctor Jacob van Meekeren performed the first bone grafting operation on a soldier with a damaged skull. Unfortunately, back then doctors didn’t have the knowledge or bone grafting materials that we have today and in order to save the soldier, Jacob van Meekeren was forced to use a piece of dog bone as implant material. Van Meekeren was pleased with the surgery’s success, but it wasn’t until the soldier returned asking to have the implant removed that van Meekeren discovered just how successful it really was!

In the 1600’s, the Christian church lookHistory of Bone Graftinged at things a little differently and this poor soldier with a piece of dog bone in his skull was excommunicated after the church considered him to be part dog. What was upsetting for the soldier aided in the discovery of how well bone grafting actually worked. In the process of attempting to remove the bone graft, van Meekeren discovered that the bone had healed too well and was actually irremovable!

Bone grafting developed over the next 150 years and by 1821 the first graft of tissue from one point to another of the same individual’s body, known as an autograft, was performed in Germany. During WWI and WWII, bone grafting continued to develop as more soldiers became crucially wounded and a need for advanced surgeries became necessary. After another fifty years the first synthetic ceramic product was cleared for use in 1991.

As you can see, bone grafting has a much longer history than you might have imagined! To find out if you are a good candidate for bone grafting, give us a call!

Tooth Trauma – Complicated Crown/Root Fracture – What Now?

You tripped, you fell and now you have found yourself with a part of your tooth broken and the root exposed. A complicated crown/root fracture is common in trip and fall injuries. In this form of fracture, the crown is fractured with the fracture extending below the gum line, involving the root of the tooth. This is the kind of fracture we typically see portrayed in movies.   This is a dental emergency and you should see us right away. Since this injury is traumatic, we thought it be best if you had a general overview of what to expect during the investigation and treatment stages.

(2)Tooth-Trauma-ComplicatedComplicated crown/root fracture is the most challenging type of fracture to treat. As traumatic injury responders our priority is you, your health and your safety. We will do our very best to ensure your comfort during a stressful injury such as this.

We will work quickly in order to assess the vitality of the tooth. We will first assess for pulpal necrosis, vestibule swelling, periapical lesions and/or dramatic color change of the crown. There are instances in crown/root fractures where a gingiovectomy may be necessary in order to ensure that the tooth can be properly restored. During a gingiovectomy, we remove gum tissue that is no longer vital and reshape it to accommodate the tooth accordingly. Using the most current technology and techniques, we will treat your injury as the unique situation it truly is, tailoring a treatment plan and follow-up schedule specifically for you.

Remember: chipping your tooth mildly may not always be a dental emergency but you should call or see us right away so we may help you determine this.

Wisdom Teeth FAQs

Wisdom-Tooth-FAQOur patients often wonder why we recommend wisdom tooth extractions, or what the purpose of wisdom teeth even is. We are eager to help you better understand the benefits of removal and the extraction process! Read on for the answers to some frequently asked questions about those tricky third molars.

Why do we have wisdom teeth?
Human ancestors used their wisdom teeth to grind up food that was hard to digest. They had large jaws and powerful teeth with plenty of room for a third set of molars.

Modern humans, however, eat cooked foods and have a more effective digestive system, so we have evolved smaller jaws and teeth. This means less room in our mouths for wisdom teeth.

Why do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed? 
There are several reasons why you may benefit from having your wisdom teeth extracted, as wisdom teeth can cause a variety of short-term and long-term complications.

  • Impaction: If there is not enough room for your wisdom teeth to erupt, they can become impacted, causing them to grow in at an angle. You may experience pain or discomfort while eating due to impaction.
  • Damage to other teeth: Impacted wisdom teeth can push against your second molars, potentially damaging them and making them more susceptible to tooth decay.
  • Disease: Narrowed spaces between molars due to impaction also allows for bacteria to form more easily, putting you at risk of inflammation, cysts, and periodontal (gum) disease.

When should I get my wisdom teeth out? 
Wisdom teeth usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 25, which means that many people get their wisdom teeth extracted before they graduate high school. The longer you wait, the more complications may arise. The roots of your wisdom teeth continue growing as you get older and may eventually come in contact with a nerve. At this point, nerve damage is a possible outcome of wisdom tooth extraction.

When are wisdom teeth okay to keep?
Sometimes, wisdom teeth have room to erupt healthily and do not need to be extracted. If this is the case, your dentist may recommend you keep your third molars.

Make sure you are coming in for regular check ups so our team can keep an eye on your wisdom teeth. Consult with our practice about the right course of action for your wisdom teeth, because everyone’s teeth are different.

 

Preventing Oral Cancer

While we cannot all necessarily prevent cancer from happening, with most cancers, including oral, head and neck cancers, there are things that you can do (or not do!) to reduce your risk.

  • Quit Smoking: After five years of quitting smoking, your risk of oral cancer is cut down to just half of that of a smoker.
  • Limit Alcohol: Excessive alcohol use is the second largest risk factor for oral cancer. Limit drinks to one per day for women and two per day for men.
  • HPV Vaccine: HPV is the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancer (the back of the mouth and throat). HPV is also responsible for a small number of oral cavity cancers (the mouth).
  • Self-Exams: Be an advocate for your own health by regularly examining your mouth with a mirror and flashlight. Don’t forget to look under the tongue! Watch for unusual bumps, patches, differenPreventing-Oral-Cancert coloring, and report any to us that don’t heal within 14 days. Feel your lips, cheeks, throat and neck for unusual bumps and masses. There are a number of online guides for performing a thorough at home oral cancer self-exam.
  • Have Regular Checkups: Oral health professionals such as dentists and oral surgeons are the second line of defense (after you) in terms of screening for oral cancers. Be sure to ask us any questions that come up during your exam.
  • Eat Well: A healthy diet includes plentiful vegetables and fruits, is low in sugar and saturated fats, and includes lean sources of protein and whole grains. Incorporate new foods into your diet slowly for long lasting results.
  • Exercise: Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day or more!
  • Get Adequate Sleep and Minimize Stress: A lack of sleep and stress both contribute to inflammation which has long been recognized as a player in the cancer game.

 

Dental Implants: What’s All The Hype?

These days, we all know someone who has a dental implant, and you have probably heard us champion these teeth substitutes, as they become more and more the common cure for missing teeth!

But why?

We think that’s a valid question and it deserves a good answer!

Bone Loss
Any oral health professional will tell you that living with a missing tooth can have negative consequences that go well below the gum line. The problem doesn’t stop at the single tooth that goes missing. The jawbone also suffers. When there is not a tooth set in tDental Implants What's all the Hypehe jawbone offering regular stimulation, you lose bone mass in that area. That loss of jawbone contributes to a decline in facial aesthetics as the jaw shrinks away. The loss of jawbone also means that when you do have an implant later in life, you will likely require extensive bone grafting prior to the implant procedure. Traditional tooth “replacement” methods such as dentures and bridges do not solve the problem of bone loss.

In contrast, dental implants eliminate these problems and encourage a healthy, strong and adequate jaw by integrating with it (also known as: osseointegration). The implant then provides regular stimulation (as you chew food), and keeps the jawbone in proper health.

Lifestyle and Diet
Most people with dentures report that in addition to living in fear of their dentures falling out in social settings, they also must live with a restricted diet, unable to enjoy the foods that they previously ate. This same restricted diet goes for those with wobbly bridges and crowns as well. More often than not, those restricted foods are some of the healthiest ones, such as crunchy, fibrous fruits and vegetables.

Dental implants look and feel nearly identical to your regular teeth, and are second only to your natural teeth when it comes to form and function. Dental implants allow you to eat and live freely with a healthy diet and without fear. In addition to that, dental implants have a 98% success rate and can often last you for a lifetime!

 

Tooth Trauma – Uncomplicated Crown Fracture – What Now?

Tooth trauma can happen at any time. It could happen during a sports game, a car accident or as a result of something as simple and unexpected as a fall. The more information you have about correctly handling these situations the better. This knowledge could very well mean the difference between life and death for the tooth. The goal in treating a tooth trauma case is always to maintain or regain pulpal vitality in the affected tooth/teeth. In the previous tooth trauma entry we covered: avulsion (when a tooth is out of the socket). In this entry we will investigate a different kind of tooth trauma: an uncomplicated crown fracture. In this tooth fracture, the damage is limited to the crown of the tooth. There will be dentin exposed, but no pulp exposure.

In the instance of an uncomplicated crown fracture the first step an individual should try to accomplish is finding the piece of broken tooth. If a saline solution or distilled water is readily available, place the broken piece of tooth in this solution. Once you reach the dental professional, the rehydrated piece of tooth will be easier to bond, as the hydration increases its bonding strength.(1)Tooth Trauma Uncomplicated

What to expect during your visit, following an uncomplicated crown fracture:

  • X-Rays will be taken
  • Mouth will be checked for soft tissue lacerations and the presence of any other foreign bodies
  • A sensitivity analysis will be performed
  • The doctor or staff member will collect the tooth segment from you if you were able to find and preserve it
  • We will assess the prognosis for the tooth

If the tooth is still vital, the process of reattaching the segment of tooth and the subsequent bonding will occur. Filling the dentin wound and applying calcium hydroxide to the vicinity of the pulp is the second to last step. Finally, smoothing and fluoridating small enamel defects.

Stay tuned in the upcoming months for the conclusion of the “What Now?” blog series!