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Dental implants have changed the way both dentists and patients look at tooth loss. One of the major advantages of dental implants is their longevity. The more traditional treatments like dental bridges generally last anywhere between 10-15 years or so. While dentures can last longer but need constant adjustment. Dental implants with proper care can last a lifetime.

How To Care For Dental Implants?

Dental implants can fail for any number of reasons. The usual culprits can include periodontal disease, poor dental hygiene, and smoking. Dental implants are considered to be a failure if they show any movement at all. This movement can occur when the bone and gum tissues surrounding the dental implant break down.

Listed below are a few simple steps you can do to help protect the stability of your dental implants:

-See Your Dentist Regularly For Routine Examinations And Professional Cleanings.

-Maintain Dental Hygiene. This should include brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once per day.

-Use An Antibacterial Moutwash. This will diminish the amount of harmful oral bacteria in the mouth.

Factors That Lead To Dental Implant Failure

-Failed Integration of Dental Implants - This occurs when the bone of the jaws does not grow and fuse between the threads of the dental implant. This fusion between the bone and dental implant is called osseointegration. If osseointegration does not occur, the dental implants will become loose, or come out completely. To reduce this risk, your implant dentist will evaluate the quality and quantity of the jaw bone prior to surgery. This will allow the implant dentist to only place dental implants in areas where there is an increased success rate. If osseointegration does not take place, the dental implants can be removed, and implant surgery can be tried again following complete healing of the area.

-Dental Infection (peri-implantitis) –  While rare, this is the most common complication of dental implant surgery. The surrounding bone and gums can get infected during or after the placement of the dental implants. This can happen due to poor surgical technique, a contaminated implant, poor healing ability (diabetic, smoker, osteoporosis medications). The most likely time for this to occur would be during the surgical placement of the dental implant into the bone. Implant infection is a condition referred to as peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is characterized by inflammation or swelling of the tissues surrounding the dental implant. Peri-implantitis can also show up as a secondary infection later on. It is a form of periodontal disease that can lead to inflammation, bone loss and implant failure if not treated quickly and properly. Although dental implant infections are usually caused by the presence of bacteria during or immediately after the oral surgery for the placement of the dental implants, an implant infection can occur months or even years after the dental implants are placed.

-Damage To Surrounding Tissues - Dental implant complications related with surgical errors affecting adjacent teeth, nerves or sinus are directly connected to the experience and skills of the implant dentist. An implant dentist with the proper skill and experience is able to identify potential problems by examining x-rays or CT scan (computer tomography), design the proper treatment plan (including ideal location and angle), and execute it properly without complications. Even with the most experienced implant dentist there is always a possibility of dental implant complications. It is important to note that with experience comes an understanding of what can happen. This is important because an experienced implant dentist will be able to easily handle any complications that might come up either at time of surgery or afterwards.

What About The Dental Restorations?

Following placement of your dental implants and proper healing your dentist will place a dental restoration on top of them. These restorations can include dental crowns, dental bridges, and dentures. These restorations will eventually wear down from the constant mechanical forces placed on them through biting and chewing. Fortunately, these dental restorations will last years before needing replacement.

Dental Implants Longevity Conclusion

It is important to note dental implants can be a complex procedure requiring the need for an experienced implant dentist.In order to ensure the best possible outcomes, you should always work with a highly skilled and experienced implant dentist who makes dental implants a primary focus of their practice. With regular dental care maintenance, your dental implants could and should last a lifetime.

Root canal therapy is an important tool in a dentist’s arsenal to save and maintain our teeth. For many it is a scary procedure we try to avoid, but with a little knowledge, it can take some of the fear away and put your mind at ease. A root canal should not be avoided due to fear, understanding what to expect and why may help you get the treatment you need when you need it.

Root Canal Therapy Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Root Canal Therapy?

Root Canal Therapy (also referred to as root canal treatment or endodontic treatment)  is a dental procedure in which the diseased, decayed tooth, or damaged nerve of a tooth is removed and the inside areas (the nerve and canals within the roots) are cleaned, filled and sealed permanently to avoid infection. Without treatment, the surrounding tissues of the tooth (including the gums and bone) will become infected and a dental abscess can form.

A tooth’s nerve and blood vessel provide nutrients and hydration to a tooth as well as sense of temperature. It provides the sensation of hot or cold. The absence of a nerve will affect the strength of a tooth and make it become more brittle and susceptible to fracture if not protected by a crown.

How Do I Know If Root Canal Therapy Is Needed?

Common symptoms related to an infected tooth include tooth sensitivity (to hot or cold temperatures or even both), sensitivity to touch, toothache/sharp pain when chewing, swelling in the area of the tooth, or a bad taste in the mouth. These symptoms need to be evaluated by a dentist immediately to prevent further pain or damage.

What If I Ignore My Symptoms? Will They Just Go Away?

If the symptoms are ignored and treatment is not begun, the inflammation can progress to infection. Infection will continue to invade the tissues and tooth causing the tooth to become more painful and may become a health threat. Once the tooth “dies”, there are only two choices: extract the damaged tooth or perform root canal therapy.

How Is My Tooth Restored After Root Canal Therapy?

Depending on the extent of the damage to the tooth, your dentist can recommend a dental composite restoration to close the tooth or in most cases recommend a dental crown to protect the tooth against future damage. Over time, the tooth with the root canal therapy will dehydrate. This will make the tooth brittle and more susceptible to fracture/breaking. Most often, a crown is placed after root canal treatment is completed to protect the tooth and restore full function.

Is Root Canal Therapy Painful?

Typically, root canal therapy should cause no more discomfort than a simple dental filling). The pain most people associate with root canal therapy is due to the infection that develops. Root canal therapy actually relieves the pain by removing the dental infection and pressure.

What Are The Advantages Of Root Canal Therapy?

Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:

-Efficient Chewing.

-Maintains Normal Biting Force And Sensation.

-Natural Looking Appearance.

-Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain.

Root Canal Therapy helps you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love and limits the need for ongoing dental work. With proper care, most teeth that have had root canal treatment can last as long as other natural teeth and often for a lifetime.

Are There any Risks Or Complications?

Over 90 % of root canal therapy procedures are successful. However, there is a chance of a failed root canal. Sometimes the root canal therapy needs to be redone due to diseased canal offshoots that went unnoticed, the fracture of a filing instrument, or a fracture or perforation in the root. The signs of a root canal therapy failure are marked by a return of pain, pressure, and sensitivity.

Is There An Alternative To Root Canal Therapy?

There are other options. One includes extracting the infected tooth. Then the question becomes how to replace the tooth. A few options are possible and these include a dental bridge and a dental implant. The success rate of root canal therapy is over 90% so it is an excellent option to save your own natural tooth if at all possible.

What Can You Expect After Root Canal Therapy?

Most patients feel some sensitivity for a few days afterward. For many it is easily relieved with an over the counter pain medication (aleve or ibuprofen).

Can Root Canal Therapy Be Avoided?

Some tips include maintaining good dental hygiene, see your dentist and hygienist regularly, eat a well balanced diet, and wear a custom made sports mouthguards to decrease dental trauma. Root canals, unfortunately, are not entirely unavoidable, and may happen even with good hygiene and care.

Root Canal Therapy Conclusion

Many are fearful of the root canal therapy procedure but in reality it is not the horror that many believe it to be. Root canal therapy is an easy way to save your teeth in the event of dental trauma, decay, or dental infection. Knowing what to expect can go a long way to alleviating any fears you may have. It is important to save your natural teeth whenever possible.

From time to time, we may all experience dental issues that we may not quite understand. Many dental symptoms may seem harmless at first but could develop into something far more serious. Below you will find some of the more common dental symptoms that can arise and what they might mean for your dental health.

Common Dental Symptoms

-Sensitive Teeth. This can start out as a slight twinge of discomfort when eating hot or cold foods (or drink), eating sweets, or while brushing. The sensitivity may subside quickly or become increasingly more painful. Sensitive teeth can be due to tooth decay, worn down enamel, tooth fractures, periodontal disease, or gum recession. Whatever the reason, it is important to have the sensitivity checked by a dentist to assess whether further might be necessary . There are many treatments for sensitive teeth.

-Bleeding Gums. This is a sign of the early stages of gum disease also known as gingivitis. Gums that bleed should not be ignored.  Many often make the mistake that brushing, flossing, or their dental cleaning caused the bleeding, this is rarely the case. Healthy gums do not bleed during hygiene procedures.  If caught early enough, gingivitis can be reversed with proper professional help and good at home dental hygiene.

-Pain In Teeth. Toothaches can occur from a variety of causes. These can include tooth decay, fractured teeth, infected teeth, or even periodontal disease. Any toothache should be examined by a dentist to see why it is happening.

-Halitosis (Bad Breath). This can be a troubling symptom for many as it makes us feel socially embarrassed. Bad breath can be caused by any number of things including poor dental hygiene, periodontal disease, smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, and even due to some medications we may be taking. If the bad breath persists after professional cleanings and improved at home care it is important to see your dentist to further evaluate the root cause of your bad breath.

-Oral Ulcers. These can be quite painful with causes ranging from infection (bacterial, viral, or fungal) to apthous ulcers (canker sores), or irritations from dental appliances. It is recommended that any sore lasting more than 5-7 days should be checked by your dentist to ensure your health.

-Clicking Noises, Jaw Pain, and Dislocation of Jaw. Temperomandibular Joint disorders can be very difficult to diagnose and treat. If you experience any type of jaw pain it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible to figure out the source of the problem.

-Discolored Teeth. A tooth discoloration could be the sign of a tooth that is dying due to trauma or infection. If the discoloration is more widespread it could be caused by ingestion of staining foods like coffee or teas. The discoloration needs to be assessed and possibly radiographed to determine the cause and decide upon treatment.

-Dry Mouth. Salivary flow is extremely important to maintain dental health. Our saliva acts to wash over our teeth and gums constantly cleaning and maintaining the proper pH balance in the mouth. Dry mouth (xerostomia) can be a symptom of many different health issues and medications. Your dentist can help you find a solution to dry mouth issues.

-Loose Teeth. Noticeable movement of teeth is a sign of attachment loss of connective tissues. Whether due to trauma, infection, or periodontal disease, mobility of a tooth needs to be checked by your dentist.

-Swelling. Infections of the mouth can and usually will exhibit swelling as the bacteria multiplies in the mouth. Dental swelling can be life threatening and should be evaluated immediately as to the cause.

-Cracked or Fractured Teeth. Damaged teeth can be caused by trauma or brittle tooth decay. Some cracks are so small they cannot be detected even with X-rays, but it is important to have cracked teeth checked by a dentist to ensure that no additional damage or decay will occur.

Dental Symptoms Conclusion

Being informed and educated regarding possible dental symptoms will give you an advantage in knowing when to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Generally, the earlier you receive dental treatment for dental symptoms, the better off you will be. Maintaining a healthy oral environment requires your attention to dental symptoms, and proper treatment in a timely fashion. It is best to consult with a dentist even if you feel the symptom might be minor.

Many believe that once teeth are replaced with dental implants, they are there for good, and do not need to be cared for. Implants need to be maintained just like regular teeth.  While dental implants are not susceptible to decay, they can break down down due to force, chronic inflammation, or infection, and begin to fail. Failure for a dental implant is one that begins to have movement. It is important to care for your dental implants and to continue to see your dentist for regular dental examinations. Below you will find some of the top facts about maintenance of dental implants.

Maintenance Of Dental Implants Facts

-Dental Implants Can Last A Lifetime. Once a dental implant integrates into the bone, proper care should allow it to remain with you for your entire lifetime. It is a highly successful procedure with success rates above 98%.

-Dental Implants Attach In The Mouth Just Like Natural Teeth. This is a common misunderstanding. Dental implants actually fuse to the bone in a process called osseointegration. Dental implants are the only dental restoration choice that preserves and stimulates natural bone. Our natural teeth are not fused to the bone and instead are attached via a periodontal ligament. This ligament is made up of tiny fibers that act as a buffer (like a shock absorber) in between the tooth and bone. In fact a natural tooth has some movement even in a healthy state. It is undetectable to most people unless there is disease present.

-Get Teeth Clenching Or Teeth Grinding Under Control. Habits such as clenching or grinding, chewing ice, and contact sports can weaken the union between the dental implant and the bone, which could end up with premature loss of the implant.

-Infection and inflammation Can Spell Failure For Dental Implants. A dental infection or chronic inflammation is a concern for both dental implants and natural teeth. Regular professional cleanings along with diligent at home care can keep bacteria at bay. If the oral bacteria and plaque is not removed on a regular basis the gums and bone surrounding the implant will become diseased. An oral infection can develop. In natural teeth, this can present itself as tooth decay, periodontal disease, and loss of supporting bone surrounding the tooth. While dental implants are immune to tooth decay they can be threatened by dental bacteria breaking down bone and gum support. When an infection strikes around a dental implant it is called peri-implantitis. If this infection is not treated immediately, it can lead to bone loss surrounding the dental implant which will cause the dental implant to loosen. Remember a loose dental implant is a failed one.

-Maintain Your Overall Health. General health conditions that are not controlled properly, such as diabetes and heart disease can slow and decrease healing after the dental implant has been placed and increase the risk for periodontal disease. It will also play a role after the dental implant has osseointegrated making it harder to fight off infection down the road.

-Diligent At Home Dental Hygiene Regimen Is A Must. This should include proper brushing (at least twice a day), flossing (at least once per day), and waterpik with use of an antibacterial mouth rinse. This will not only help maintain your dental implant but the rest of your teeth as well.

-Maintain Regularly Scheduled Professional Cleanings. These visits to the hygienist are vital to reach areas that you are unable to at home. If these areas are left alone, it can lead to loss of your dental implant.

Dental Implant Maintenance Conclusion

Dental implants have been a modern marvel in the replacement of lost teeth. However, it is important to note that they need to be cared for in much the same way our natural teeth do. Excellent hygiene includes brushing, flossing and regular trips to your dentist will go a long way to keeping your teeth and implants healthy.