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Dental implants have revolutionized dentistry and patient’s lives for over 60 years. In the old days, patients with lost teeth had limited options that came with drawbacks. Dental implants have given patients the ability to restore a natural looking and comfortable feeling smile. Implants can replace single teeth, multiple teeth, or your full dentition with great long term success and stability.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are an artificial tooth root ( 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 multiple teeth as 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 Reasons For Dental Implants

-Cosmetics. Dental implant restorations, (crowns and bridges) are matched to your existing teeth. The only two people in the world who should know you have dental implants should be you and your dentist.

-Stability. Traditionally, many patients opted for removable dentures when missing multiple teeth. This led to compromises in esthetics and function. Dental implants can replace individual teeth but can also be used as support for a removable denture. This makes them as stable as your own natural teeth.

-Maintain Dental Health. Dental implants help to maintain bone levels of the jaws. This will allow your face to maintain its natural structure as long as possible.

-No Worries. Dental implants are stable so you won’t have to worry about them falling out, rocking, or not feeling stable enough to eat what you want. Although dental implants can have complications, they are few and far between. You will never need a root canal on a dental implant nor will you ever get tooth decay.

-Longevity. Dental implants have an over 98% success rate and should (with proper care) last a lifetime.

-Cost. Initially, many think that an implant is way too expensive. Think about these facts, replacing 1 tooth with an implant is only slightly more expensive than a cemented bridge. Bridges generally last 10-20 years if you are diligent with your oral hygiene. The implant will not decay, and usually will last a lifetime with care. In the long run, it is less expensive and does not further damage surrounding teeth.

Dental Implants Conclusion

Dental implants should always be considered as an option  when a missing tooth or teeth are involved. There are great ways to have the smile you want, an implant may be the perfect way to give you back what you’ve lost. An informed, educated patient will make the best choice for his/her dental care.

In the past, orthodontics was routinely an early teen event that began once all of the baby teeth were gone and permanent teeth were in. Recent advances in the understanding of a child development as well as modern materials have re-evaluated the time for orthodontic treatment to an earlier age. It is now recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that every child should receive an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. But Why?

Common Orthodontic Problems Found At Age 7

1. Buck Teeth. Do the upper front teeth stick way out of line?

2. Deep Bite. Do the upper teeth cover the lower teeth?

3. Underbite. Do the upper teeth fit inside the arch of the lower teeth?

4. Open Bite. Do only the back teeth touch when biting down?

5. Crowded or overlapped teeth. Do the teeth have too much or too little space in certain areas?

6. Misaligned front teeth. Do the spaces between the upper two front teeth and lower two front teeth not line up?

7. Crossbite. Do the lower teeth fit properly inside the upper teeth?

8 .Missing teeth. If there are baby teeth that never developed, there will not be a permanent tooth to follow. Jaw x-rays may also find that certain permanent teeth are not  presently formed or are unable to come down on their own.

9. Extra teeth. When there are double teeth, extra teeth or malformed teeth.

Generally, orthodontic treatment does not begin at age 7 but it is good to get a head start to avoid any complications down the road. However, early orthodontic treatment may be necessary before age 7 if the following appear:

-Problems Speaking

-Proper Chewing Is Difficult

-Abnormal bite development

-Clicking or popping in the jaw

-Permanent teeth that are erutping into the mouth crowded or overlapped

-A thumb sucking problem

-A teeth grinding problem

-Issues biting cheeks or biting into the roof of the mouth

Benefits Of Early Orthodontic Treatment

Early orthodontic evaluation provides both timely diagnosis of problems and increased opportunity for more effective treatment. Early intervention gives the ability to guide growth and development, preventing more serious issues later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

Early orthodontic treatment is also referred to as interceptive treatment or Phase I treatment. Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment include the following:

-Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth

-Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth

-Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth

-Preserving space for teeth that are coming in

-Reducing the need for tooth removal

-Reducing Phase II treatment time with braces

Phase II orthodontic treatment begins when all of the permanent teeth erupt and usually involves a full set of braces and not just a localized treatment plan.

Orthodontic Conclusion

While not every child will need early orthodontic treatment, it is best to know in advance what the options will be going forward. It is important to remember, orthodontics is not strictly a cosmetic endeavor, bite alignment is the ultimate goal. The issues presented above can all be corrected fairly easily if done in a phased approach. However, allowing this early intervention time to pass can complicate treatment requiring more extreme measures (i.e. teeth removal or surgery) to fulfill the same goal.

Do you have a missing tooth (or teeth) that need to be replaced? Throughout our lives, teeth can be lost for a variety reasons. They can be lost from tooth decay, periodontal disease, nutritional neglect, and accidents. Missing teeth can compromise your eating habits, speech, health, and appearance. The loss of a front tooth can negatively affect the appearance of your smile, your speech, and your self confidence. Losing a tooth in the back of your mouth can lead to a number of issues affecting your ability to chew, your ability to properly clean your teeth, jaw collapse, teeth shifting, and the health of your remaining teeth. Replacing a lost tooth will prevent further destruction and help save your remaining teeth. Replacing lost teeth can save you time, money, keep you healthier,and prevent many other oral difficulties in the future.

The loss of a single tooth can start a devastating chain reaction of events. After a back molar tooth is lost, a series of destructive events occurs including the displacement and tilting of other teeth around it including a supra eruption (when a tooth continues to grow into the mouth because it is not being kept in place by it’s opposing tooth) of the tooth above it, decay, drifting and formation of periodontal pockets. Eventually, bone loss and periodontal disease, to the teeth surrounding the lost tooth, tend to cause further destruction. If you fail to replace a lost back tooth, you may cause the loss of other teeth.

What Can Happen If Lost Teeth Are Not Replaced?

-Shifting of Teeth - When a tooth is lost, for whatever reason, the surrounding teeth will begin to drift into the open space. This includes both adjacent teeth as well as teeth in the other arch. A once straight smile can quickly turn into a crooked one. Replacing a lost tooth sooner, rather than later, can prevent this from happening As the number of lost teeth increases, the further the damage to the overall eveness of the bite  and, making it harder to replace later on. The altered position of teeth causes the forces to be applied incorrectly while chewing, making fractures and bone loss much more likely. The incorrect forces also cause wear which can result in loss of tooth height and subsequent facial changes.

-Temperomandibular Joint Issues (TMJ Disorder) - As your teeth shift out of their normal alignment, bite issues usually develop. When the upper and lower teeth do not meet properly, it can strain and eventually damge the TMJ. This can lead to head, jaw, and ear pain, headaches, dislocations, clicking and popping, as well as permanent damage to the joint.

-Periodontal Disease - When teeth begin to shift, it makes it that much harder to keep your teeth clean. It will be harder to brush and floss certain areas which have, essentially, created a trap for plaque and food debris to build up. When plaque and bacteria are not removed and allowed to build up the result can be tooth decay and periodontal disease. When teeth shift and drift, they oftentimes create a root exposure problem, and allow forces to move them in unnatural ways. This can loosen teeth, and make them very sensitive. Periodontal disease can lead to further tooth loss.

Options For Replacing Missing Teeth

Patients have multiple options when teeth are lost. They can include fixed ( permanent and not removable) or removable options. These procedures can include:

-Removable Dentures - This option has been the longstanding traditional option when multiple teeth are missing. Removable dentures are often the fastest and least expensive alternative in the short term. There are some disadvantages to removable dentures. Removable dentures work by attaching to exisiting teeth. This often leads to these “anchor” teeth becoming loose, worn, decayed, or broken. There can also be bone loss under the denture, which over time will make the denture more and more mobile and uncomfortable. Removable dentures can also be inconvenient to clean after eating especially if out at a restaurant. Lastly, removable dentures have about 1/3 the chewing power and efficiency of natural teeth. This can lead to poor chewing and lack of good nutrition in one’s diet.

-Fixed Bridge - This entails cutting down surrounding teeth, and fitting them with fused crowns to replace any missing teeth. The most popular type of fixed bridge is called a 3 unit bridge. This means that the two natural teeth adjacent to the missing tooth serve as anchors. This is a very stable option but does also have disadvantages. Disadvantages include:

-Removal of good tooth structure from adjacent teeth.

-Difficulty maintaining good dental hygiene under bridges as normal flossing is not possible

-Long term prognosis of most dental bridges in between 8-10 years before it needs replacing. This is an average. Some bridges can and will last longer.

-Dental Implants – Dental implants are the largest initial investment, but most cost effective long term solution for replacement of missing teeth available today. The main disadvantage to dental implants is the time it takes to be completed. Following placement of the dental implant a 4-6 month healing time is generally needed before the tooth can be restored. Dental implants are the ideal solution for many tooth replacements in dentistry today.

-All on Four Dentures - When many or all  teeth are lost, or if you are rapidly progressing to full mouth breakdown, This dental implant/denture option is an excellent choice. The best thing about this procedure is that you have your entire procedure done and walk out with teeth the same day. There are usually 4 dental implants placed and a titanium bar supported denture placed. It is screwed down, but can be removed if needed. The biggest negatives here are price, and post operative possibility of bruising and discomfort while healing.

Tooth Replacement Conclusion

Tooth loss can happen at any time to anyone. Losing a tooth due to a trauma, disease, habits, etc. can be a big problem for a variety of reasons. If not replaced, they can cause issues for you including bone loss, periodontal disease, and more tooth loss. Replacing lost teeth as soon as possible will save you discomfort and greater expense in the future. Knowing your options, and being informed can help you and your dentist come up with the best treatment options for you. Remember, sooner is better than later, but know that whenever you are ready to move forward with tooth replacements there will always be options!

Most of us have had the occasional headache or neck ache. It comes with the stresses of the world we live in. We often overlook our teeth as a possible cause of headaches, but it should not be ruled out. The forces we each use, all day long, day after day, when eating, chewing, and talking can wreak havoc on us for many reasons. The alignment of teeth, the anatomy of the TMJ, tooth decay, bad habits such as clenching and grinding, etc. can all be causes of dental related headaches. Millions of people suffer from head and neck pain, and migraines due to issues with their teeth.

Where Does The Dentist Come In?

Your teeth, joints, muscles, and nerves all work together in the proper alignment and functioning of your jaw. When any part of this delicate balance is abused or neglected, painful conditions such as TMD, occlusal problems, and other serious dental health issues can develop. When our muscles are overworked or overstretched due to bite issues the muscles become sore and irritated. Studies have shown that about 3/4′s of all headaches are due to our bite. The pain and discomfort will vary from person to person but in many it can be life changing. Not only do the teeth need to be properly aligned but so do the surrounding muscles of the head and neck.

Head and Neck pain (as well as migraine headaches) can lead to the following symptoms:

-Poor sleep.

-Depression.

-Fatigue.

-Pain and discomfort.

-Sleep Apnea and Snoring.

Many of these issues can be avoided with a proper diagnosis of dental issues. In many cases, your dentist can make simple adjustments to dramatically improve your situation. In others, more extensive treatment may be needed.

Common Dental Treatment For Headaches

-Adjustment Of Teeth. Changing the direction, size, and position of slopes in the teeth will help correct and balance the bite. This is the simplest way to relieve the pressure on our muscles and can be achieved in a short dental visit.

-Replacing Lost Teeth. Missing teeth may be one reason for causing imbalances in the muscles and teeth. If this happens, dental crowns, dental implants, and removable dentures will help maintain proper balance.

-Opening the Bite. Loss of vertical height due to grinding, can cause TMJ misalignment and painful headaches. Restoring teeth to their proper height with crowns can give the relief needed.

-Occlusal guards. These can be fabricated out of many combinations of materials to relieve many different dental issues. Grinding, clenching, TMJ decompression, etc. These can remove and dissipate painful forces which result in chronic headaches.

-Medication. While certain drugs can be prescribed to bring about temporary relief, it is necessary to discover and address the root cause of the headaches. Muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory medications can help break the cycle of pain, hormone replacement therapy also provides relief in some women. Unfortunately, use of pharmaceuticals is a temporary measure and will not be a long term cure.

-Alternative Therapy. This can include acupuncture, chiropractics, change in diet, meditation, and exercise. Putting less strain on the TMJ can help relieve joint pain, just like with any other joint. Adopting a soft diet for a short time may be helpful for some patients. Corrective exercises and applying external heat can also bring relief from the pain.

Headaches Conclusion

The dental component of headaches is often overlooked. Many people often ignore dental issues when having headache issues but it can be a big mistake. If your dental condition is assessed and treated early enough, it can prevent further issues from developing. TMJ disorders, tooth damage, and even bone and gum recession need to be addressed early to avoid pain and headaches. Be smart about your health and do not ignore the warning signs. A simple problem can develop into a far more complex one over time.