Family & Cosmetic Care in a Comfortable, Relaxed Environment.

Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

If you have a damaged or traumatized tooth, extraction is not the only option as there is a chance that you can save your natural tooth. Whenever possible, it is always better to save your teeth rather than lose them, as missing teeth have negative effects on confidence, ability to chew, general health and the alignment of the remaining teeth. Here are the alternative procedures to tooth extraction if you would like to keep a beautiful, natural smile.

Save Your Teeth with Root Canal Procedures

Root canal treatment is the most popular alternative to teeth extraction. Endodontic treatment or a root canal treats the living parts found inside the teeth known as the pulp. The pulp consists of the soft tissue inside the teeth made up of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues that nourish the root during the development stage. When the teeth develop fully, it is possible to remove the pulp without affecting the teeth since the supporting tissues provide nourishment.

Tooth decay, repeat dental procedures, cracks, chips, trauma caused by accidents and faulty crowns can trigger infections and inflammation of the pulp. Root canal therapy treats the damaged pulp preventing major pain and abscess. Root canal treatment involves the non-surgical removal of the infected or inflamed pulp. The resulting hollow is cleaned, disinfected, shaped, filled and sealed to prevent further infections. A tooth restoration procedure using a crown or filling follows to restore the tooth to its normal function and structure. After root canal treatment, teeth can last for a lifetime without requiring another root canal treatment or dental procedure.

Save Your Teeth with Endodontic Surgery

Another alternative to losing teeth through extraction is to undergo endodontic surgery. One of the most popular surgeries is apicoectomy or root-end resection done when the inflammation or infection continues spreading to the bony tissue even after root canal treatment. An endodontist removes the infected area and sometimes part of the root and then seals the area. This is a safe procedure made comfortable by the use of local anesthesia. There are no serious complications and the bone heals within a few months.

Another sophisticated endodontic surgery procedure to save the teeth is intentional replantation. This involves the removal of the infected teeth for treatment outside the mouth. After treatment, an endodontist plants the tooth back in its socket and it resumes normal operation without the infection. Other surgery options to save the teeth include separating the tooth into two halves, or surgery to fix or remove an injured root.

Endodontic surgery is beneficial in the following situations:

  • For diagnosis and treatment of root infections, minor fractures and tiny canals that do not show on the x-rays; yet there are symptoms of infection.
  • For cleaning, treatment and sealing of too narrow canals that root canal treatment instruments cannot penetrate to reach the roots.
  • For treatment of teeth that fail to heal after a root canal treatment or develop infections after a root canal procedure.
  • For treatment of damaged roots and supporting bone structure of the teeth.

Other Ways to Save Your Damaged or Dying Teeth

Medication

Some people take painkillers to eliminate toothache and other symptoms instead of undergoing a tooth extraction immediately. However, this does not deal with the root problem but only eliminates the symptoms. It is possible to treat some infections using antibiotics, however. Still, it’s best to consult your dentist to find out the best solution for your specific needs.

Early Periodontal Disease Treatment

For people with mild gum disease, tooth loss is inevitable if the mild gum disease goes untreated and develops into chronic periodontal inflammation. Early diagnosis and treatment of gum disease is the best way to prevent tooth loss associated with periodontal disease.

Apart from endodontic procedures, maintaining proper dental hygiene is the best way to save your teeth from extraction or any other restorative dental procedure. Proper dental care involves brushing teeth properly at least twice a day, flossing daily, following a healthy diet and visiting the dentist regularly. This prevents damage to the teeth in the first place, thereby eliminating the need to undergo root canal treatment or teeth extraction. This is also the best way to ensure your teeth stay healthy for a long time and delay tooth loss.

If it is too late or impossible to save the teeth and extraction is inevitable, replacing the extracted teeth with dental implants and other structures is the best way to avoid the negative effects of physically visible tooth loss.

Conclusion

It is important to see your dentist regularly for routine dental care and examinations. This will help prevent the issues listed above. Maintaining good dental health will lead to a lifetime of smiles.

As we age many changes occur in our bodies including our teeth. Our teeth shift and move over time due to many forces that we control and ones we do not. These forces include tongue movements, lips pushing against our teeth, and how our teeth come together. Below we will review some of these forces in greater detail.

Forces Attempting To Move Our Teeth

-Tongue Habits. The most common is an abnormal tongue thrust. Our tongue places pressure on our teeth through eating, swallowing, and talking. We do not even realize how often our tongue presses against our teeth. If you swallow, you will realize that your tongue presses against your upper teeth. For most of us, this is not an issue but for others with a powerful tongue thrust, this can cause tooth movement over time.

-Lip Habits. The forces that your lips apply to your teeth can actually cause your teeth to move.  A good example is tucking your lower lip behind your upper teeth.  This is especially common in younger children and people who bite their lips when they get nervous. The forces over time can cause those teeth to shift outward.

-Frenum Issues. The frena is the attachment between your lips and tongue to the gum tissues attached to the teeth. The one on the inside by your tongue is called a lingual frenum. The other two are on the inside of your lips and called a labial frenum. The lingual frenum generally does not affect the teeth but can affect eating, speech, and swallowing as it can constrict tongue movement. The labial frenum can play a part in moving the front two teeth apart. To alleviate this your dentist or oral surgeon can remove the labial frenum surgically.

-Forces From Our Teeth. Our teeth are in a constant state of pressure from each other.  Normally when you bite together, your teeth touch and rest in a certain position.  This position is known as centric occlusion.  Normally, the top teeth oppose the bottom teeth and keep them in line. However, if you lose a tooth or a tooth becomes badly damaged from trauma or tooth decay space opens up. The teeth on either side of the lost tooth move, as will the tooth that opposes it. For example, if you lost a lower tooth, the tooth on the upper jaw that normally hits it would start to grow down slightly to fill in the space and the adjacent teeth to the lost tooth would start to lean in towards the empty gap.

-Genetics. Our body is hardwired with a set of instructions and our genetics determine if our teeth will be straight or not.

-Tooth Decay. If left untreated, your tooth will eventually break down changing its shape and size. This will open space up causing our teeth to shift into that space. Also, a tooth restored improperly can also change the tooth’s relationship to the other teeth causing changes as well.

-Age. As we age, the area between the teeth starts to wear away. When this happens, the enamel begins to thin out. And, because the lower teeth are inherently thinner, they wear out faster. The more wear and tear on the lower teeth, the less able they are to withstand the force of the top teeth when biting down, resulting in shifting.

-Teeth Grinding (Bruxism). Teeth grinding forces the lower jaw forward and puts tension on the upper teeth. The continual thrusting affects the position of the upper arch, pushing it out of alignment.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many different forces that are constantly acting on your teeth that could cause them to move. It is important to treat those forces that you can control. See your dentist if you feel your teeth are shifting to avoid future issues.

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.

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.