Family & Cosmetic Care in a Comfortable, Relaxed Environment.

Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

Osteoporosis is a disease of bones that leads to a decreased density of bone and subsequent increase in risk of fracture. Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine.

Osteoporosis affects millions of people all over the world. It affects men and women of all races. Women are 4x more likely to develop osteoporosis. Research has shown that post-menopausal white and Asian women are at highest risk. Medications, healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss and strengthen already weak bones. There is recent research showing that women who drink wine in moderation tend to have higher bone density than those who abstain from alcohol.

How Do I Know If Dental Implants Are An Option?

The first step is to get your osteoporosis under control and limit the further effects of the disease. This includes seeing a physician to prescribe the proper medications, diet, and exercise routine. The next step is to see your implant dentist for a full evaluation. This evaluation will include your overall health, your oral health, as well as the degree of your osteoporosis.

Some considerations before having dental implants placed include:

-State Of Oral Health. A major factor in the failure of dental implants is the presence of periodontal disease. With a patient already being compromised with osteoporosis this becomes doubly important that the patient be periodontal disease free.
-Strength, Density, And Volume Of Bone Tissue. You need to have some good quality bone left to have an implant last, healing will be prolonged, so volume of bone is extremely important.
-Medications. This includes medications you are taking for osteoporosis as well as other medications which could counteract those medications. Bisphosphanates have been long known to keep the body from reabsorbing bone tissue, but they also appear to affect your ability to heal after a dental implant procedure. Biphosphonates can increase the risk of biphosphonate-induced osteonecrosis of the jaw (also called BONJ). When BONJ occurs, the bone tissue actually begins to die due to inadequate blood supply.

-Is The Patient A Smoker? Smoking has long been a failure factor in dental implants as well as bone loss. Nicotine is a vaso constrictor so blood supply to the bones in the jaw can be compromised.
-Presence Of Systemic Disease. This can include a decreased immune system or diabetes. Good health is important for good healing.

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, dental implants may still be an option. If osteoporosis has affected other parts of your body, it might not necessarily have caused decrease in jawbone mass or breakdown of these tissues. Recent research (International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants, Vol 21: 349) has shown a lowered success rate in patients with osteoporosis but the difference was less than 2%. The general success rate for dental implants is about 97% whereas the success rate in this limited study was 95%. The study also showed that bone grafting was successful as well.

Conclusion

Dental implants have long been the treatment of choice for tooth loss. For those who have been told it is not an option the effects can be devastating. The recent research gives hope to those who previously were told that it was not an option. Each individual needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis taking all factors into account before delving into placement of dental implants. If you are missing teeth or about to lose them, contact your dentist for a dental implant evaluation.

Tooth decay, for many, can be a constant battle. There are many reasons why some people are more prone to developing tooth decay. These include poor oral hygiene, neglect, disease, inherited cavity promoting bacteria, weak enamel formation, medications, and poor dietary habits. The oral environment is  continually changing and therefore must be continually aided to fight decay.

Do Teeth Repair Themselves?

Our teeth are in a constant state of unbalance, demineralizing (breaking down) and remineralizing (building back up). With many food and drink items we ingest, the oral cavity changes from a neutral to acidic environment. The savior for us is the special properties of our saliva. Our saliva has the ability to coat the teeth with a slick film containing calcium that makes it hard for bacteria to stick and helps repair damaged enamel. Saliva also protects our teeth by neutralizing acids, and washes away the food particles  that feed the bacteria which constantly attack our teeth.

Factors Of Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the direct result of demineralization by the oral bacteria, mutans streptococci and Lactobacillus. These bacteria are the principal reasons for the breakdown of our teeth. Another little known fact is that tooth decay is considered infectious and transmissable. This generally only affects those with low or compromised immune systems. The classic case is the passing of oral bacteria from mother to child.

The factors of tooth decay include:

-Poor Oral Hygiene.

-Disease. This can include cancer, xerostomia (dry mouth), and diabetes.

-Medications. Medications can cause issues with weakened tooth formation when taken as a child and may cause an acidic, dry, or irritated oral environment in an adult.

-Poor Dietary Habits. This includes frequent snacking. High acid beverages, high carb/sugary foods.

-Anatomy and Genetics.  The way teeth form has a direct effect on how and where plaque will stick. The presence of deep pits and fissures in your teeth cannot be easily cleaned with a toothbrush and so, become the ideal place for plaque bacteria to invade. There are certain genetic codes that allow for missing teeth, malformed teeth, highly irregular enamel or dentin. These teeth are generally more prone to decay.

-Dental Appliances. This includes wearing of partial dentures, braces, space maintainers, or other orthodontic appliances.

Options For Preventive Care

Instead of waiting for a problem to occur which will require repair with dental restorations, (fillings) try to prevent it instead. If  tooth decay has taken hold , know that there are a few tricks in the arsenal to combat future decay. Preventive solutions include:

-Nutritional Counseling. After creating a log of your dietary intake for 1-2 weeks, your dentist may be able to help you find the food items that are putting you at greater risk for tooth decay.

-Fluoride Treatments. Fluoride rinses, toothpastes, gels worn in custom trays, and varnishes placed by your dentist allow the enamel surface to harden and protect itself against bacterial invasion.

-Chlorhexidine Gluconate. This oral rinse has the ability to disrupt bacterial metabolism. The downside is chlorhexidine cannot be combined with fluoride, it tends to cause staining, and it does not do well vs Lactobacillus.

-Nutraceutical Phenols. These include herbal lollipops which contain a specific herbal formula extracted from licorice root. This has been shown to selectively kill gram-positive bacteria as well as all oral yeasts.

-Xylitol. This cannot be metabolized into acid by bacteria. Because it cannot be metabolized it helps reduce the population of tooth decay causing bacteria. It can also increase saliva formation which in turn can help by building our teeth back up (remineralization).

-Probiotic Therapy. This involves replenishing the good bacteria in the mouth to crowd out the tooth decay causing bacteria.

-Oil pulling. Rinsing with oil helps reduce toxins, bacterial count, and coat the teeth making them too slick for bacteria to stick.

Tooth Decay Conclusion

Tooth decay can be controlled with proper habits and being aware of your limitations. Once you have a good understanding of what issues are promoting your tooth decay, you can begin to battle it more effectively. There are many options for prevention. Discuss possible treatments with your dentist and begin your new journey towards a cavity free oral environment.

As we get go down the inevitable path of aging, health problems arise that we never expected. This includes oral health changes that can be kept at bay with proper care. Below you will find a list of some of the common dental health issues seniors face.

Common Dental Health Issues For Seniors

-Xerostomia (Dry Mouth). This occurs when salivary flow is reduced. This can occur from many factors such as medications, Sjogren’s syndrome, or even from radiation therapy to the head and neck area. Saliva is the body’s natural defense against the bacteria and food debris that can build up in our mouths. Without proper flow, tooth decay and periodontal disease has an increased chance of developing creating problems for your oral health.

-Darker Smile. This is a  cumulative effect of thinning enamel (exposing more of the underneath layer, the dentin) and a lifetime of eating and drinking stain causing food and drink. For many a simple teeth whitening can bring back the bright, white shine for others it may require more extensive cosmetic dentistry.

-Decay Along The Roots Of Teeth. As we age and are not as diligent over time with our dental hygiene, the gum tissue surrounding our teeth can recede as we lose bone. This recession will expose portions of the tooth known as the root. These areas are much less protected and more vulnerable to developing tooth decay. Simce this area is thinner, this tooth decay can progress rapidly leading to tooth sensitivity and possibly the need for root canal therapy.

-Changes In Taste. We have all heard the sayings how our tastes change as we get older. We make different choices in our nutrition as we get older. Other items that can contribute changes to our taste sensation include disease, medications, and even dentures.

-Periodontal Disease. This is not just a disease for young or old. It affects both equally but tends to rear itself more in the older population. This is due to usually slow progression of the disease. It is important to note keeping periodontal disease at bay will stave off tooth loss as we age. A full smile is a youthful looking one.

-Tooth Loss. This can occur for many reasons including periodontal disease, trauma, or untreated tooth decay. It is important to replace lost teeth whenever possible as it prevents your bite from shifting creating issues with your Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ).

-Temperomandibular Joint Disorder. This is generally a slow developing disorder. Hence, it seems to be more likely in an older person than a younger one. The bones and the disc in this joint will break down over time from bad habits like teeth grinding or even chewing hard candy over a long period of time.

-Denture Induced Stomatitis. This is simply an inflammation of the tissues beneath a denture. This is caused by dentures that do not fit properly, poor oral hygiene, or can even be caused by a fungus (Candida Albicans, also known as thrush).

What Can Be Done To Combat These Issues For Seniors?

The main thing is to maintain dental hygiene throughout life. This includes brushing at least 2x per day, flossing at least 1x per day, and using an antibacterial rinse. Dental hygiene tends to become more difficult for many as they age due to arthritis. This makes hands dexterity and strength an issue. Luckily, there are many wonderful products on the market to help with these situations. And it is also important to keep up with your scheduled dental visits for examinations (including oral cancer screenings) and professional cleanings. Doing the right things can be hard sometimes but doing them will pay off over the long run leading to a happy, healthy more youthful looking smile as we age.