Dental implants are widely spread throughout dentistry and have become mainstream for many patients. In the past, patients were presented other options…go without a tooth or teeth, wear a removable denture, or have a cementable bridge made.Dental implants have allowed for a great additional option which does not cut down existing teeth, and is strong and unmovable. Unfortunately, many of us forget that dental implants need to be cared for and maintained just like natural teeth.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an artificial tooth root (usually made of titanium) that a periodontist or oral surgeon places into your jaw to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth. Dental implants can replace a single tooth, support a bridge, or support a denture (making it more comfortable and secure).
Dental implants are an ideal option for people in generally good oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, injury, fracture or decay. Dental implants are actually more tooth saving than traditional crowns and bridges, since dental implants do not cut down healthy teeth or rely on adjacent teeth for support.
Sufficient bone, and good overall health will give you the best prognosis for ideal oseointegration, (the way bone fills in around the implant for strength). Dental implants are intimately connected with the underlying bone and gum tissues in the mouth. So, proper fit, good occlusion, and excellent oral hygiene are necessary for long term success. With technique and material advances, dental bone grafts are now more successful than ever and can be used to augment your natural bone. Periodontal disease, diabetes, bleeding problems, etc. can cause difficulty in placement, healing and longevity of the dental implants. Be upfront with your dentist regarding health issues so that the proper steps can be taken to give you the highest chance of success. There is an increased risk of failure in patients who are smokers. For this reason, dental implants are frequently placed only after a patient has stopped smoking.
Top Tips For Caring For Your Dental Implants
-Toothbrushing. Usual toothbrushing applies. It is recommended that you brush twice a day but it is even more beneficial to brush after every meal if that is possible.
-Flossing. Yes, flossing is important even with dental implants. Flossing is able to clean around the dental implants along the gum line. Just because the dental implants cannot get tooth decay it does not mean you cannot lose them. Bone loss is still possible around the dental implants which can lead to their loss.
-Maintain Regular Dental Visits. Dental implants should be cleaned with different types of dental instruments as not to scratch the surface. They should again not be cleaned with ultrasonic or vibrating dental instruments of any kind. It is important to examine the dental implants at least once per year along with your regular professional cleaning schedule. Your dentist will evaluate the bone levels along with the soft tissues and occlusion. The important takeaway here is to have frequent examinations to catch any issues that might arise early enough so proper corrections can take place.
-Use A WaterPik. A great way to clean around dental implants is to use WaterPik. The WaterPik is a water spray that cleans in between and around the teeth. But keep in mind again too much pressure may cause damage to the pocket so keep it at the lowest level possible. Recent studies have shown the WaterPik to remove up to 145% more debris than regular dental floss alone. Periogen in the waterpik can help remove tartar buildup around implants making it easier to keep them clean.
-Do Not Smoke. Smoking has been known to decrease oxygen flow to the gum tissues. This results in delayed healing, deterioration of the oral tissues, and bone loss. Bone loss and inflammation will cause your implant to loosen and fall out. If you want to protect your investment, do not smoke.
-Avoid Extremely Hot Liquids. Dental implants are made of metal and metal has ability to retain heat more readily than our oral tissues. If you drink extremely hot liquids, the metal of the dental implant may heat up from the liquid and stay hot. The heat may cause a burning of a thin layer of cells around the implant. With repeated small damages this may cause inflammation around the implant. This is not backed by research, but is worth mentioning.
Caring For Dental Implants Conclusion
Just like your natural teeth, dental implants should be maintained if you wish to keep them. With proper maintenance, both at home and in the dental office, dental implants can last a lifetime. Dental implants can strengthen, and enhance your smile for years to come.
The new year is fast approaching and it may be time to start thinking about what your New Year’s resolutions should be. These usually include losing weight,
Have A Healthy, Happy New Year!!
striving for a better job, or maybe even just being a better friend or partner. Many people also set new goals for leading a healthier life going forward. So why not make some New Year’s resolutions regarding your dental health?
Making dental health resolutions can keep your teeth healthy, and studies have shown it can keep your entire body healthy as well.
Dental Health New Year’s Resolutions
Eat A Well Balanced Diet including Fruits and Vegetables
Eating a well balanced diet is important for yourdental health. If your body is not getting its propernutrition it can affect your entire immune system. Poor nutrition, increases susceptibility to many common oral disorders, including periodontal disease and tooth decay. Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation. Healthy eating helps to protect your teeth and gum tissues. In addition, crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery can actually help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath as well.
Quit Smoking or Using Other Tobacco Products
-Increased risk for cancer. This includes oral cancer as well throat, lung, and other systemic cancers.
People who smoke are almost twice as likely to lose their teeth as non smokers. It is not just smoking tobacco that has negative effects on your oral health: use of smokeless tobacco can be just as damaging to your dental health. The good news is, that the risk of tooth loss decreases after you quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco.
Use Alcohol in Moderation
You may already know that excessive alcohol intake can have an effect on your overall health, but did you know that it may also affect your dental health? According to the Academy of General Dentistry, those who use tobacco products, are more likely to maintain poor nutrition. Drinking excessive alcohol also increases gum recession (periodontal pocketing). Studies show that smokers who regularly drink alcohol are less likely to brush and floss their teeth regularly and are less concerned about their basic health than non smokers.
Improve Dental Hygiene: Brush and Floss Regularly
Brushing and flossing protect your teeth from tooth decay and periodontal disease. These are caused by your teeth’s most persistent enemy, plaque. Both brushing and flossing are equally important for good oral health. Studies have shown that only flossing can remove plaque from between teeth and below the gum line,areas where tooth decay and periodontal diseasebegins.
Without proper brushing and flossing, you may develop bleeding gums and gingivitis. Gingivitis is the earliest form of periodontal disease and is reversible. If untreated it will worsen to severely swollen, red, bleeding gums and, eventually, advanced periodontal disease. Periodontal disease has been linked to your general health, therefore, it is doubly important to maintain good dental health at all times.
See Your Dentist for Regular Examinations and Cleanings
By seeing your dentist at least twice a year for dental examinations and cleanings, you can help prevent any dental health issues before they cause pain or require more comprehensive or expensive treatment. Regular visits allow your dentist to keep track of your oral health and recommend an individualized dental hygiene maintenance regimen to address areas of concern.
Happy New Year!!
For the new year and for years to come you should resolve to improve your health, dental hygiene habits, quit smoking, drink in moderation, and improve your overall diet. Your teeth and body, and loved ones will thank you for it for many years to come! Bring in the new year with a smile!
Periodontal disease, comes in two forms gingivitis (reversible) and periodontitis (treatable but non reversible), is an infection of the gums caused by bacteria found in plaque. Recent studies have shown between 50-75% of people have some form of periodontal disease. More statistics show that approximately 30% of Americans are at an increased risk of developing periodontal disease due to genetic factors. These statistics show how much a health concern periodontal disease can be especially when you add in even more research showing periodontal disease links with systemic diseases.
Factors in Development of Periodontal Disease
-Poor Oral Hygiene.
-Teeth Grinding or Bruxism.
-Poor Immune System
The earliest and mildest stage of gum disease is gingivitis, where the gums redden and bleed easily. If not treated, inflammation of the tissue occurs, resulting in progression of the disease to periodontitis. Gingivitis is characterized by receding gums, loose teeth, sores, sensitive gums, swollen gums, red or discolored gums, chronic bad breath, change in teeth alignment and teeth movement. The ultimate consequence of advanced periodontal disease is loss of teeth, which occurs when the tissue and bone supporting the tooth breaks down.
Periodontal disease was previously thought to affect only the teeth and gums, but researchers have discovered that periodontal disease influences the overall health and well-being of an individual. Research has shown that gum disease is a risk factor for many health conditions throughout the body. The gum disease causing bacteria that normally resides around the teeth can enter the blood stream and reach other organs and tissues in the body. Once there, the bacteria release disease-causing agents that can lead to chronic inflammatory conditions that can include:
Diabetes Mellitus (or simply Diabetes)
Periodontal disease impairs the body’s ability to maintain blood sugar levels making you more prone to diabetes or making diabetic symptoms worse. On the other hand, diabetic patients are more likely to suffer from periodontal disease due to a weakened immune system, making it easier for them to catch infections, viruses, and exhibit delayed wound healing.
According to scientific studies, gum disease increases the risk of stroke and coronary artery disease. A chronic infection of the gums can be directly related to an increased risk of reduced blood flow to the brain. Stroke and gum disease have similar risk factors and severe inflammation from periodontal disease increases the risks of having a stroke.
Having periodontal disease puts you at higher risks of heart disease. Just like periodontal disease, heart disease is a chronic inflammatory disease which can be greatly impacted by periodontal disease. The more severe the periodontal infection, the higher the risk of developing heart conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and acute coronary syndrome.
When the bacteria in the plaque that causes gum disease goes to the lungs, it can cause respiratory diseases such as pneumonia. This explains the increased cases of pneumonia and other respiratory conditions in people with periodontal disease. This also is in conjunction with patients with lowered immune systems which makes it easier for them to be susceptible to these bacterial attacks.
After considering risk factors for cancer including age, diabetes, smoking, BMI and more, experts found periodontal disease as a risk factor for lung, kidney, pancreatic, head, neck and hematologic cancers. Inflammation caused by periodontal disease is a major contributing factor to these cancers.
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Periodontal disease can result in chronic bad breath which is more of a social issue than a medical one. Bacteria deposits on the tongue can also cause bad breath. This is one of the few conditions caused by periodontal disease that can be treated at home by practicing proper dental care to control halitosis (brushing, flossing, mouthrinses, tongue scraping).
Complications with Birth and Pregnancy
Periodontal disease in pregnant mothers has been shown to increase the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight. The periodontal bacteria involved cause inflammation of the uterus and cervix. Periodontal disease also increases the risk of developing preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure and excess protein.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints. The relationship between rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease goes both ways as each increases inflammation in the other. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are faced with increased risks and severity of periodontal disease and treating periodontal disease can relieve some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
The best and easiest way to prevent and control periodontal disease is by maintaining a good oral hygiene program which includes regular dental visits as well as diligent at home care. This includes brushing, flossing, use of mouth rinse, and tongue scraping. Your health is important, taking care of your dental health is a great way to start taking care of your overall health.
At Thanksgiving we have a lot to be thankful for…great family and friends to share the holiday with, good health, and good food. Our Thanksgiving traditions center around a bountiful, hearty meal. This Thanksgiving we will all sit down to a bountiful feast but did you know not only can it be delicious but also healthy for your teeth and gums? A delicious Thanksgiving feast can include various vitamins and nutrients that are important to our oral health. These include Vitamins A, C, D, phosphorous, and calcium. Eating a nutritious meal will benefit not only your oral health but your entire health as a whole.
Best Thanksgiving Foods to Eat for Good Oral Health
-Turkey is high in phosphorous. The phosphorous is not only healthy for developing teeth but can actually help rebuild and re mineralize teeth and bones of the jaw.
-Sweet potatoes are filled with nutrients including vitamins A, C, and B6. Sweet potatoes are thought to be much healthier and nutritious than regular white potatoes as they are digested faster by the body.
-Cranberries contain flavonoids. These can prevent bacteria from sticking to teeth and forming plaque. Bacteria (and their acid byproducts) are responsible tooth decay and periodontal disease. Most cranberry side dishes contain high amounts of sugar. Try sweetening with agave, stevia, or splenda.
-Pumpkin pies are loaded with vitamin C and Calcium. Vitamins that are important for gum health and developing teeth and maintenance of bones. Remember, pies have high sugar, so make sure to brush after!
Health for your entire body including your smile starts with good nutrition and prevention. We all have so much to be thankful for, so let’s hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving!!