My Dentistry Blog
Posts for: January, 2016
Does your missing tooth or teeth make your life more difficult than it should be? Are gaps in your teeth affecting how you eat, drink or speak? If so, dental implants can restore your smile and fill in those gaps. With help from your Glenview, IL dentist at Colonial Dental Group missing teeth are no longer a permanent condition. Dental implants allow you to take your smile to the next level, restore your confidence and get back to a normal, gap-free life.
What are dental implants?
Missing teeth do more damage than leaving behind a gap. The bone below the gum tissue where the tooth used to be is no longer stimulated, causing bone loss. Bone loss, in turn, causes facial muscles to sag. The teeth around a missing tooth move to compensate for the gap, affecting the bite and making chewing difficult. Dental implants stop bone loss and tooth movement by replacing your missing tooth’s root and the tooth itself. The implant sits in your jawbone where your tooth’s root once was, providing a solid foundation for your replacement tooth.
The Parts of a Dental Implant
To understand how dental implants work, it is important to understand what functions the different parts of the implant have. The implant is made up of three pieces, including:
- Implant fixture: The fixture is a small post which is implanted into the jawbone and sits below the gum line, replacing the tooth’s root.
- Implant abutment: The abutment connects the fixture to the dental crown and holds it in place.
- Dental Crown: The crown replaces the visible portion of your tooth. This provides a functional chewing surface and restores your bite. This allows you to eat, speak and chew normally.
How It Works
The procedure for dental implants takes part during two phases. The first phase involves a consultation with your dentist, making molds of your mouth and implantation of the implant fixture. The fixture integrates into the jawbone over the course of several months. During this time, a dental laboratory creates your dental crown. When integration is successful, phase two of the procedure begins. The abutment is attached to the fixture, which is then attached to the dental crown. After this appointment, the dental implant process is complete and your new teeth are ready to use.
For more information on dental implants, please contact your dentist at Colonial Dental Group in Glenview, IL. Call (847) 729-2233 to schedule your consultation for dental implants today!
A survey found approximately 48 percent of denture patients were unhappy with their denture appliances. They complain that their dentures are uncomfortable and inconvenient. Patients who aren’t happy with their dentures might benefit from consulting with Dr. James Vito about mini implants at his Wayne, PA dentist office. Learn about mini implants and how this dental solution can benefit your smile.
What Are Mini Implants?
Mini implants are devices that are smaller than traditional implants (about 2 to 3 mm compared to 3.75 mm), but serve a similar purpose. They are designed to help anchor denture devices to give the patient more security and comfort when eating and talking. Your Wayne dentist will typically install about four mini implants in the front of the mouth (top and bottom as needed), then updates the denture with metal housings that will fit securely over the implants. Mini implants can also be used with crowns and bridges.
Who Needs Mini Implants?
Mini implants are a viable choice for patients who have a row of missing teeth, but not enough bone tissue to support traditional dental implants. When they’re used with partial or complete dentures, it saves the patient the expense of having to install an individual implant in each opening. Mini implants are also a less invasive option compared to traditional implants and the procedure can often be completed in just one visit.
Are They Right for You?
Your dentist must take a close look at your current dental health to determine if you are a good candidate for mini implants. While less bone tissue is necessary for mini implants compared to traditional ones, you still need enough healthy tissue to ensure that they will stay in place.
Call for an Appointment
Mini implants could be the tooth replacement option that will best fit your smile and give you more confidence when eating and communicating with others. Call Dr. Vito's Wayne, PA office at (610)971-2590 to learn more about this innovative dental treatment for patients with dentures.
A recent episode of “America’s Got Talent” featured an engaging 93-year-old strongman called The Mighty Atom Jr. The mature muscleman’s stunt: moving a full-sized car (laden with his octogenarian “kid brother,” his brother’s wife, plus Atom’s “lady friend”) using just his teeth. Grinning for host Howie Mandel, Atom proudly told the TV audience that his teeth were all his own; then he grasped a leather strap in his mouth, and successfully pulled the car from a standstill.
We’re pleased to see that the Atom has kept his natural teeth in good shape: He must have found time for brushing and flossing in between stunts. Needless to say, his “talent” isn’t one we’d recommend trying at home. But aside from pulling vehicles, teeth can also be chipped or fractured by more mundane (yet still risky) activities — playing sports, nibbling on pencils, or biting too hard on ice. What can you do if that happens to your teeth?
Fortunately, we have a number of ways to repair cracked or chipped teeth. One of the easiest and fastest is cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored resins. Bonding can be used to fill in small chips, cracks and discolorations in the teeth. The bonding material is a high-tech mixture of plastic and glass components that’s extremely lifelike, and can last for several years. Plus, it’s a procedure that can be done right in the office, with minimal preparation or discomfort. However, it may not be suitable for larger chips, and it isn’t the longest-lasting type of restoration.
When more of the tooth structure is missing, a crown (or cap) might be needed to restore the tooth’s appearance and function. This involves creating a replacement for the entire visible part of the tooth in a dental lab — or in some cases, right in the office. It typically involves making a model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors, then fabricating a replica, which will fit perfectly into the bite. Finally, the replacement crown is permanently cemented to the damaged tooth. A crown replacement can last for many years if the tooth’s roots are in good shape. But what if the roots have been dislodged?
In some cases it’s possible to re-implant a tooth that has been knocked out — especially if it has been carefully preserved, and receives immediate professional attention. But if a tooth can’t be saved (due to a deeply fractured root, for example) a dental implant offers today’s best option for tooth replacement. This procedure has a success rate of over 95 percent, and gives you a natural looking replacement tooth that can last for the rest of your life.
So what have we learned? If you take care of your teeth, like strongman Atom, they can last a long time — but if you need to move your car, go get the keys.
If you would like more information about tooth restoration, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Crowns & Bridgework.”
Even though a child’s primary (“baby”) teeth eventually give way, it’s still important to treat them if they become decayed. Primary teeth serve as guides for the emerging permanent teeth — if they’re lost prematurely, the permanent tooth may come in misaligned.
If the decay, however, affects the tooth’s inner pulp, it poses complications. A similarly decayed adult tooth would be treated with a root canal in which all the pulp tissue, including nerve fibers and blood vessels, are removed before filling and sealing. Primary teeth, however, are more dependent on these nerves and blood vessels, and conventional filling materials can impede the tooth’s natural loss process. It’s better to use more conservative treatments with primary teeth depending on the degree of decay and how much of the pulp may be affected.
If the decay is near or just at the pulp, it’s possible to use an indirect pulp treatment to remove as much of the softer decay as possible while leaving harder remnants in place: this will help keep the pulp from exposure. This is then followed with an antibacterial agent and a filling to seal the tooth.
If the pulp is partially exposed but doesn’t appear infected, a technique called direct pulp capping could be used to cover or “cap” the exposed pulp with filling material, which creates a protective barrier against decay. If decay in a portion of the pulp is present, a pulpotomy can be performed to remove the infected pulp portion. It’s important with a pulpotomy to minimize the spread of further infection by appropriately dressing the wound and sealing the tooth during and after the procedure.
A pulpectomy to completely remove pulp tissue may be necessary if in the worst case scenario the pulp is completely infected. While this closely resembles a traditional root canal treatment, we must use sealant material that can be absorbed by the body. Using other sealants could inhibit the natural process when the primary tooth’s roots begin to dissolve (resorb) to allow it to eventually give way.
These all may seem like extraordinary efforts to save a tooth with such a short lifespan. But by giving primary teeth a second chance, their permanent successors will have a better chance of future good health.
If you would like more information on treating decay in primary teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Treatment for Children’s Teeth.”