Posts for tag: Dental Implants
Losing teeth to tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease is never easy. But with implant-supported bridgework, you can regain lost function and appearance with a restoration that could last for many years.
Don’t think, though, that dental disease woes are a thing of the past with your new implants. Although your restoration itself can’t be infected, the supporting gums and underlying bone can, often through bacterial plaque accumulating around the implants. The bone that supports the implants could deteriorate, dramatically increasing your chances of losing your restoration.
It’s essential, then, that you keep the area between the bridge and gums clean of plaque through daily hygiene. This definitely includes flossing around the implants.
Flossing with an implant-supported bridge will be different than with natural teeth: instead of flossing between teeth you’ll need to thread the floss between the bridge and gums. Although this is a bit more difficult, it can be done with the help of a floss threader, a device with a loop on one end and a long, thin plastic point on the other—similar to a sewing needle.
To use it, thread about 18” of floss through the loop and then pass the threader’s thin end first through the space between the bridge and gums toward the tongue until the floss threader pulls through. You can then take hold of one end of the floss and then pull the threader completely out from beneath the bridge. Then, you wrap the ends around your fingers as you would normally and thoroughly floss the implant surfaces you’re accessing. You then release one end of the floss, pull out the remainder, rethread it in the threader and repeat the process in the next space between implants.
You also have other hygiene tool options: prefabricated floss with stiffened ends that thread through the bridge-gum space that you can use very easily; or you can purchase an interproximal brush that resembles a pipe cleaner with thin plastic bristles to access the space and brush around the implants.
Some patients also find an oral irrigator, a handheld device that sprays a pressurized stream of water to loosen and flush away plaque, to be an effective way of keeping this important area clean. But that said, oral irrigators generally aren’t as effective removing dental plaque as are floss or interproximal brushes.
Whatever flossing method you choose, the important thing is to choose one and practice it every day. By keeping bacterial plaque from building up around your implants, you’ll help ensure you won’t lose your restoration to disease, so it can continue to serve you for many years to come.
If you’re in the initial planning stages for a dental implant, you may already be encountering a number of options to consider. One that may come up is how the visible crown will attach to the metal implant imbedded in the bone.
Generally speaking, implants are composed of two parts: a metal post most often made of titanium placed into the bone that serves as the “root” for the new tooth; and a visible, life-like crown made of dental porcelain that attaches to an abutment on the titanium post. The crown can be attached in one of two ways: either with a small screw through the biting surface of the crown into a receiving hole in the abutment or cemented to it.
The major advantage of a screwed crown is that it allows for easy removal of the crown if needed. While the titanium post can often last a lifetime, porcelain crowns more often need repair or replacement since they receive the brunt of the biting forces in the mouth. A screw-attached crown is much easier to remove than a cemented one.
On the other hand, screwed crowns have a small access hole that must be restored with a tooth-colored filling to help the crown appear natural. This isn’t too great an issue with back teeth but does make achieving a natural appearance in the front more difficult. Cemented crowns look more like a natural tooth and are thus more flexible in achieving the desired appearance.
Besides the possibility the cement may cause gum inflammation or bone loss, the chief detraction from cemented crowns is the difficulty in removing them. Crowns are often damaged in this process so it’s highly likely it will have to be replaced rather than repaired. It’s possible to use weaker cement, but this raises the risk of the crown coming loose at some point from the abutment.
As we plan for your implant, we’ll discuss which type of attachment will work best for you, depending on the tooth to be replaced and other conditions with your oral health. The end result, though, should be the same — a new, natural-looking tooth that serves you well for many years to come.
If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “How Crowns Attach to Implants.”
There are plenty of good reasons to quit smoking. Here's one more if you're considering replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant: smoking increases your risk of implant failure.
By and large, dental implants are the most reliable and durable tooth replacement option, with more than a 95% success rate after ten years. But that still leaves a small percentage that fail — and twice as many of those failures are in smokers than in non-smokers.
To understand why, we need to look at how smoking affects oral health. Besides burning and thickening the surface skin cells inside the mouth, inhaled smoke can also damage salivary glands and lead to dry mouth. Reduced saliva creates an environment friendly to bacteria, which increases the risk of infection and disease.
The nicotine in tobacco also restricts the myriad of blood vessels that course through the teeth and gums. The resulting reduced blood flow deprives teeth and gums not only of nutrients but disease-fighting antibodies. The mouth takes longer to heal and can't fight infection as well.
The key to an implant's success lies with its titanium post imbedded in the jaw bone to take the place of the tooth root. Titanium attracts bone cells, which grow and adhere to the post over a period of time and create a stronger hold. But the health effects of smoking inhibit this process. Furthermore, slower healing caused by smoking increases the risk of infection, the number one cause of early implant loss.
If you want to improve your chances for a successful implant — not to mention improve your overall health — you should quit smoking. The prospect of a dental implant could be a useful incentive to enroll in a smoking cessation program.
At the very least we suggest you stop smoking a week before implant surgery and then for at least two weeks after to help promote good healing. And you should pay close attention to your daily oral hygiene — brushing and flossing at least once — and regular, semi-annual dental visits for cleanings and checkups.
Smoking can harm your health. If you're considering an implant, it could also harm your chances of a successful outcome.
If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “Dental Implants & Smoking.”
Learn everything you could possibly ever need to know about getting dental implants in Conway.
You want to replace your missing tooth but you aren’t sure of the best way to do it. That’s where our Conway, AR family dentist, Dr. William Higgs, comes in. We are here to provide you with all the information you could possibly need to help make a decision about whether dental implants are right for you.
Q. What are dental implants?
A. Dental implants are small metal posts that are placed into the jawbone to act as tooth roots. Once the implant is placed, it will take a couple months for the bone and tissue to grow and meld around the implant. Since implants are the only restoration to actually fuse together with bone and tissue, it makes them the most realistic and strong tooth replacement you can choose.
Q. What does it take to get dental implants?
A. Getting dental implants can take several months and up to one year or more to complete your full treatment. A lot will depend on the extent of your tooth loss. During your first procedure, our Conway general dentist will place the implant into a pre-drilled hole in the jawbone. Your mouth will be given time to heal and for the implant and bone to fuse together.
The next procedure involves placing an attachment known as an abutment over top of the implant. We will have to open up the gums again in order to reveal the implant and place this connector on top. An abutment will attach the implant to the artificial tooth. Finally, the false tooth or teeth are placed over the abutment.
Q. Are dental implants right for me?
A. If you are an adult who is in good health then dental implants might be a great option for you. Children, women who are pregnant, smokers, those with suppressed immune systems and those who have uncontrolled health problems may not be ideal candidates. You can find out more about your candidacy by turning to our Conway, AR, cosmetic dentist.
Q. How long do they last?
A. Since implants and the jawbone become one, you will have a restoration that ideally is meant to last a lifetime. How you care for your implant is vitally important for the longevity of your restoration.
Q. Will getting dental implants hurt?
A. These surgeries might sound invasive, but everything is performed under local anesthesia so the area will be completely numb prior to your treatment. While there is usually some soreness and discomfort after surgery, we can also provide medication to help ease any pain you may have afterwards.
Q. Do dental implants ever fail?
A. Dental implants have an amazing success rate but there are some rare instances when an implant may fail. Those who are smokers are significantly more likely to deal with implant failure than someone who doesn’t smoke. Also, those who have a significant amount of jawbone deterioration may also experience implant failure.
Ready to find out if you are an ideal candidate for dental implants? Then call Higgs Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Conway, AR to schedule your no-risk consultation today.