Would Your Mouth Benefit from All-On-4 Implants?

When you are deciding whether you want to replace lost teeth using implants or dentures, there are a few things you should keep in mind.  Implants come in a few varieties, including all-on-4 implants.  Although implants are more expensive than dentures, they do have a number of benefits.

What are All-on-4 Implants?

A dental implant is essentially a synthetic tooth that is anchored to your jawbone through the use of a metal rod that has been surgically grafted to the bone.  The rod acts as the “root” for your new “tooth.”

All-on-4 implants take this concept a step further, replacing a large swathe of teeth by using 4 of the metal rods implanted in your jawbone.  An artificial set of teeth—including a pink gum base—is anchored in place by attaching to these 4 rods.

All-on-4 implants look, feel, and perform exactly like your natural teeth.  In fact, once you have them correctly attached, nobody but you will know that they are not actually your natural teeth.

Advantages of All-on-4 Implants

There are a number of reasons to consider all-on-4 implants.  One major consideration is the preservation of your jawbone.  As you may know, once you lose your teeth, your jawbone begins to shrink as the body absorbs it.

Using all-on-4 implants will prevent this issue, which in turn helps keep your face looking full and healthy.  You’ll avoid the wrinkles that many denture wearers develop as the bone tissue disappears and the facial muscles begin to sag.

Taking care of all-on-4 implants is easy: you simply care for them the way you care for your natural teeth.  Simply brush, floss, and see your dental health professional for regular cleanings.

If you are considering your options to replace lost teeth, contact us about all-on-4 implants.  We’re happy to help you explore your choices.

 

Were You Injured In an Accident? How Your Oral Surgeon Can Help

Accidents involving the teeth happen. It could be that you fractured a tooth as a result of a sporting accident or were involved in a motor vehicle or even bicycle accident, however the accident occurred your oral surgeon can help.

Cracked or chipped teeth account for the majority of tooth injuries resulting from various types of accidents. A tooth becoming dislodged or knocked out is a less frequent injury involving the teeth, but it does happen.

Regardless of the seemingly obvious severity of the injury, any injury involving the oral cavity should be checked out by a dentist, oral surgeon or endodontist as soon as possible after the injury occurs.

Since it is not uncommon for neighboring teeth to also become damaged after an accident, it is therefore important to visit a professional at your earliest convenience following a tooth injury.

Oral surgeons are highly skilled and trained to save and restore teeth that have been injured in an accident. With their advanced technologies, skills and techniques an oral surgeon can help restore your smile to the state it was in prior to your accident, and maybe even fix cosmetic issues that existed before the accident.

Don’t Wait, Call Today
If you have sustained a tooth injury, regardless of the type of accident, it is imperative that you contact your dentist or oral surgeon as soon as humanly possible. Irreversible nerve damage, tooth decay and even tooth and bone loss can result from an injury left untreated.

Since a large portion of what makes up the oral cavity is not visible to the naked eye, it is therefore critical that an exam be administered by a professional immediately following an accident in an effort to prevent future oral health issues.

Please contact us if you have any questions about your oral health.

Things Not to Eat When You Have a TMJ Problem

Your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the hinge at which your upper and lower jaws meet. It allows you to open your mouth wide and move your lower jaw from side to side. It also enables you to eat and speak.

When the joint becomes inflamed and irritated, an issue known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD), these abilities are affected, and eating certain foods can make it worse, so it is best to avoid them to avoid further pain.

Hard/Crunchy Foods

Hard and/or crunchy foods require extra force and chewing to fully breakdown. These foods include:

• Popcorn.
• Chips.
• Hard candies.
• Hard pretzels.
• Crusty breads such as hard rolls or baguettes.
• Carrots.

Chewy Foods

Chewy or sticky foods require a lot more chewing than other foods. All of this extra, unnecessary, motion can further irritate an already irritated and inflamed joint. Stay away from these types of foods:

• Taffy.
• Caramel (including soft caramels and caramel apples).
• Chewing gum.
• Tougher cuts of meats.
• Lobster.

Fatty Foods

Foods high in saturated fats can worsen inflammation and includes:

• Fried foods.
• Creamy sauces.
• Red meats.

Big Foods

Large foods require you to open your mouth wide, which can cause your joint to hurt. This includes foods such as:

• Large sandwiches.
• Burgers.
• Whole fruits.

What Can You Eat?

Instead of eating the above foods, there are plenty of other foods you can enjoy. Choose softer foods, like soft breads, mashed potatoes and cooked vegetables (preferably steamed, grilled or sautéed). Choose lean cuts of white meats, such as turkey, chicken and fish. Make larger foods manageable by cutting them into easy to handle pieces.

Staying away from certain foods can stop your TMD symptoms from getting worse. But you should also contact our office to learn what you can do to fix the problem for good.

Surgery Before Dentures Can Help Them Fit Better

When you lose your teeth, replacing them can keep your life normal, allowing you to maintain your ability to eat and speak properly. Dentures are a common choice for replacing several teeth (a partial denture) or a whole bridge (full dentures).

While they are custom made from impressions of your mouth following tooth extraction, you may still experience problems with fit. Dentures may move around while you eat or even fall out. Oral surgery before getting dentures can help them to fit better.

Pre-prosthetic Surgery

Surgery preparing your mouth prior to dentures is known as pre-prosthetic surgery. The surgery encompasses several procedures, all of which are minor alterations meant to ensure that your jaw is the right shape and size for your dentures to fit properly.

Smoothing and Reshaping

Extracting teeth can leave sharp, uneven edges. Dentures sit upon the bone ridge, and if they move, they can rub against these edges, leading to sore spots. An alveoloplasty, or smoothing and reshaping of the bone, gets rid of the rough edges, helping to ensure a good fit and prevent sore spots from forming.

Tooth loss can also lead to bumps in the bone and the gum tissue, which can affect the fit of your dentures. Surgery to remove them smoothes out the jaw, thus creating a better fit.

Removing Excess Bone

While small pieces of excess bone don’t pose a problem with dentures, large pieces can harm the fit. Excess bone near the lip or cheek, or even on the inner portion of the jaw near your tongue affects the seal, which may lead to the dentures coming loose and even falling out.

Preventing Bone Loss

Without teeth, your jawbone can suffer deterioration. Deterioration leads to your jaw changing shape, which means that you will need to be refitted for a new set of dentures. Bone and soft tissue grafting can help to reduce the amount of bone lost, which means you won’t need a new set of dentures quite so soon.

If you need dentures, contact our office to see if surgery for a better fit is the right choice.

Snoring is Something You Can Talk to Your Oral Surgeon About

Do you snore? Snoring is often made to be funny, but the truth is that snoring could actually point to something more serious: obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which your airway becomes blocked by excess tissue while you sleep.

For many, sleep apnea can be controlled by special devices – a mouth guard or a CPAP machine, but for others, these devices interfere with sleep or are not successful. Another option for dealing with your snoring is surgery.

What’s the Danger?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a dangerous condition. Excess tissue blocking your airway not only causes snoring, it also causes you to momentarily stop breathing, an event which can last up to ninety seconds. You may jolt up, gasping for breath and not even know it.

Undiagnosed, this condition can lead to:

  1. Heart conditions such as an irregular heartbeat, a heart attack or heart disease.
  2. Stroke.
  3. High blood pressure.

Oral Surgery Can Help

Special devices to wear while you sleep, or modifications to the one you currently have, may help, but not always. Surgery, or a combination of surgeries, can solve obstructive sleep apnea and eliminate the need for devices. A uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, a procedure that is often performed along with another, removes excess tissue from your soft palate and uvula and repositions muscles to open your airway.

A genioglossus advancement focuses on the tongue. It tightens the tendon at the front of your tongue, bringing it forward. This helps to prevent your tongue from slipping into your throat.

A maxillomandibular advancement is a procedure that moves your jaw, along with your tongue and soft palate, forward. This helps to prevent your tongue and excess tissue from blocking your breathing.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a dangerous, potentially deadly, condition. Perhaps someone has pointed out that you snore. If you live alone, though, you may not even know you have it, unless you have woken up struggling to breathe or notice that you snore.

If you suspect you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, or you are currently wearing a device to deal with the condition, contact or office today to see if surgery can help.

 

Reducing Swelling after Oral Surgery

Swelling is a common occurrence following oral surgery. Generally, the more extensive the surgery, the more swelling you will experience. Swelling can be uncomfortable and usually peaks about two to three days following a procedure. You can’t prevent it, but there are things you can do to reduce it after undergoing an oral surgery

Ice

Ice should be used during the first twenty-four hours after surgery. After that point, it can be ineffective. Wrap an ice pack, or a bag of frozen vegetables, in a towel and apply it for fifteen minutes to the side of the mouth where your surgery occurred. Then leave the ice off for fifteen minutes and repeat the process.

Heat

Heat shouldn’t be used until after forty-eight to seventy-two hours after surgery. Moist heat is less irritating to your skin, and allows the blood vessels to expand, letting them carry away the fluids that cause swelling. Similar to using ice, apply heat for twenty minutes, then leave it off for another twenty and repeat.

Elevation

Sitting up, or lying down with your head elevated, can help reduce swelling by preventing blood pressure from building up. If your head is flat or even lower than the rest of your body, blood can pool at the surgical site, making swelling worse. By staying elevated, you allow the blood to continue to flow down, away from the surgical site, thus keeping swelling to a minimum.

Salt Water Rinse

A salt water rinse serves a couple of purposes. First, it helps to keep the area clean. The salt acts as an antibacterial agent, killing any bacteria that might otherwise attack vulnerable wounds and even draws out any infection that may be starting. The rinse is also quite effective at reducing swelling.

Swelling is inevitable following any surgical procedure. But you can help keep it down. Speak with your oral surgeon about other ways to reduce swelling and make the healing process as easy and pain free as possible.

Please contact us if you have any questions about reducing your swelling after an oral surgery.

When Your Jaw Gets Sensitive to Cold or Heat, What Should You Do?

Have you noticed that your jaw and teeth are increasingly more sensitive to cold and hot? Maybe it is that you took a swig of a cold glass of tea and winced as your jaw began throbbing in pain; or perhaps you inhaled deep on a brutally cold winter’s day and winced as it felt like needles jabbing into your jaw.

Whatever the scenario may be, sensitivity to hot and cold means that you may have some oral health concerns that need addressing.

Why Am I Sensitive to Hot and Cold?

The reasons why your mouth may now be sensitive to hot and/or cold are plentiful. One being that the root to one or more teeth may have become exposed. The roots of the teeth are normally protected by the gum tissue.

Under the gum tissue lies hundreds of tiny tubules called dentin that are connected to nerve endings. When the dentin becomes exposed, for whatever reason – be it gum recession or enamel erosion – big problems can arise.

Additional causes for sensitive teeth, gums or jaw can be contributed to aggressive brushing, teeth grinding, and/or high consumption of acidic beverages.

What Should I Do?

If you are experiencing issues with a sensitive jaw, teeth or gums it is important that you talk to your dentist at your earliest convenience. There are things that you can do to proactively attempt to remedy the situation prior to talking to your dentist.

For one, you can begin brushing with a fluoride containing toothpaste to help build up the tooth enamel. You can also do your best to keep the mouth clean and free of harmful bacteria by rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash or warm salt water. You can even use a fluoride containing toothpaste and rub it directly into the gums, almost like an ointment.

The most important thing that you can do if you are struggling with jaw sensitivity to cold and/or hot beverages or foods is to talk to your dentist. He/she can offer you many at-home remedies that can help relieve you of your symptoms.

Please contact us if you have any questions about teeth sensitivity to hot or cold.

 

 

When Should You Start Getting Checked for Oral Cancer?

An oral cancer screening is when your doctor or dentist thoroughly examines the oral cavity for signs of cancerous or precancerous conditions that might be present in the mouth. Oral cancer screenings serve the purpose of identifying oral cancer early enough that is able to be treated and likely cured.

Your dentist most likely preforms minor oral cancer screenings during routine office visits. If he/she notices something strange or abnormal cells, he/she may order additional tests to identify areas of concern.

There is no single organization that claims a specific age in which you should be screened for oral cancer, but most agree that regular routine examinations during cleanings is enough to suffice. However, if your risk factors put you at more of a risk for developing oral cancer you should talk to your doctor or dentist about scheduling additional tests.

Self-Examinations for Oral Cancer

Though your dentist or doctor will evaluate the condition of your oral cavity during regular, routine office visits it is important that you also monitor your mouth for any changes that could indicate oral cancer.

When doing a self-examination of the mouth you want to take care to examine all areas of the mouth. This includes all areas of the tongue (underneath, back, front and sides), the inside walls of the cheeks, the gums and the lips. You are looking for any red, peach or white spots that appear abnormal.

You should also keep an eye out for sores that do not appear to be healing properly or that bleed excessively. Additionally, if you notice any pain while swallowing or chewing, or if you notice a strange numbness, you should contact your doctor or dentist immediately.

Oral cancer is nothing to mess around with. Having regular checkups and doing at-home self-examinations frequently could ultimately prevent you from developing a life threatening case of oral cancer.

Please contact us if you have any questions about oral cancer.

Having Paraffin Wax On-Hand Is Good For Dental Emergencies

Chances are that you have a few basic medical supplies on hand in case of an emergency, such as anti-bacterial ointment and bandages.  But did you know that dental emergencies are relatively common as well?

You may have some supplies in your medicine cabinet, such as cotton balls, cotton swabs, floss and small tweezers.  One tool that may be missing from your arsenal though, that can prove quite critical, is paraffin wax.

What Is Paraffin Wax?

Paraffin wax is most commonly used in candles.  It is a soft and pliable material that can be easily torn into small pieces.  It can be picked up at most local drug stores.

Chipped or Broken Teeth

If you chip or break a tooth, you should get to the dentist immediately.  If you cannot be seen right away, however, there are a few things you can do to prevent further issues.  First, rinse out your mouth with warm water to remove any debris.  Then, cover sharp edges with paraffin wax.  The wax will prevent your broken tooth from tearing the sensitive skin inside your mouth, thus preventing potential irritation or infections.  You can replace the paraffin wax as often as needed until you can finally get to your dentist’s office.

Problems With Braces

If you or your child has braces, you know that there are a multitude of potential problems that may arise.  One big problem that can occur is that the wires can break, poking the skin inside the mouth, causing irritation or lesions.

While a broken wire should be addressed as soon as possible, it may not always be possible to get to the office right away.  In order to prevent potential skin issues, you could attempt to bend the wire.  If this proves difficult or impossible, paraffin wax can then be used.  You can place a small piece over the broken parts of the wire to stop it from poking through the flesh.

A fully stocked medicine cabinet can help in the event of a variety of medical emergencies.  Potential dental issues should be accounted for.  While you may have gauze, cotton balls and floss, be sure to be fully prepared and stock up on some paraffin wax.

Please contact us if you have had a dental emergency.

After Dinner Mint or Gum?

You just finished a delicious meal on a first date and now you are afraid to open your mouth. Maybe fajitas weren’t such a good choice. The Pico de Gallo has now got your breath smelling like you brushed your teeth with an onion peel.

Help! Quick, reach for a breath mint or maybe a piece of gum. Which one is better, though? Do you know which of the two is the better choice to freshen your breath and for your oral health? The answer is gum. But do you know why? Let’s review.

Why Gum is Better than an After Dinner Mint

It may seem complicated, why you should choose gum over a mint, but really the answer is relatively simple. First off, mints tend to sit in one place in your mouth, generally right on your teeth. This means that the sugars present in the mint have more of an opportunity to contribute to decay. Additionally, mints do not last all that long, which means that you will need more than just one to get the job done. That means even more sugar sitting on your teeth. Not good.

Gum on the other hand, is not only more effective at hiding bad breath or after dinner breath, but it also can be good for your teeth. Imagine that! Xylitol gums have major dental benefits that extend from killing bad breath germs to protecting against tooth decay.

Xylitol gums are sugar-free and so you do not have to worry about the harmful effects of sugar on your oral health. The best part is that Xylitol chewing gums have less calories than regular gum and breath mints.

The bottom line is that if ever faced with the seemingly difficult situation where you have to choose gum or a breath mint, go with gum every time!

Please contact us if you have any questions about your oral health.