Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Cent

Experiencing Tooth Loss? 4 Effects Missing Teeth Can Have on Your Dental Health

dentistry CharlottesvilleLosing teeth is devastating for your emotional wellbeing and your oral health. Oral health structures, when healthy, work together in their various parts to create a harmonious and cohesive system. When one aspect of oral health is affected such as the loss of a tooth, it can throw the rest of the system out of balance. Missing teeth affects dental health profoundly. Fortunately, implant dentistry can remedy many of these issues. Dental implants are a revolutionary tooth replacement method that help support the mouth’s many structures. Following are four effects that losing teeth can have on your dental health.

Additional Tooth Loss

Losing one tooth puts a person at risk for losing more teeth. This is because teeth support one another. If a tooth is missing, the empty space it creates leaves neighboring teeth unsupported. Without proper support, teeth next to empty tooth sockets can collapse into empty spaces with time. After tooth loss, it is very important to find a tooth replacement method like dental implants that keeps biological teeth upright.

Diminished Oral Function

With one or more teeth gone, the rest of the teeth in a person’s mouth will be responsible for taking on the brunt of oral function. Biting and chewing food on a daily basis puts a lot of force and pressure on teeth. When teeth are picking up the slack for one that is missing, they can develop tooth wear much faster than they should.

Bone Atrophy

Bone atrophy is a common side effect of tooth loss. The roots of our teeth are housed in our jawbones. When the bone is not stimulated, the body will resorb it. This is why missing teeth leads to issues with bone health. Fortunately, dental implants will keep bone stimulated because they are embedded in the jaw.

Orofacial Discomfort

Tooth loss affects the way that teeth line up (the occlusion) when making contact during oral function. An unhealthy occlusion contributes to orofacial pain like headaches, TMJ disorder, and facial pain because the joints and muscles are overworked to keep the mouth in a healthier position.

If you have been affected by tooth loss, call us to schedule a dental implant consultation with our oral surgeon.

Is your diet at the root of your dental issue?

Charlottesville dentistsWe all know that what we eat is important for our health and wellbeing but sometimes we overlook the fact that our diet affects our oral health, too. This is why a dentist will ask questions about your dietary and lifestyle habits during dental checkups. Understanding what patients eat and don’t eat is important for managing the risk for certain diseases.

Food for Bacteria

Is what you eat fuel for your body, or is it fuel for bacteria? If you eat a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars, then chances are the food you eat is feeding the bacteria in your mouth. Sugars (of all kinds) serve as a natural food source for bacteria. With a food source, bacteria will colonize beyond control. Excessive bacteria growth can alter oral pH and create an environment that is ideal for damaging teeth.

Dry Mouth

The food you eat can affect saliva production. Saliva is nature’s way of rinsing debris and bacteria from the mouth. It is also important for managing acid levels in the oral cavity. Acid is dangerous to teeth because it softens tooth enamel. When we eat foods heavy in salt and do not drink enough water to stay hydrated, our mouths will be drier than they should. With a lack of saliva to help control acid, dry mouth can contribute to decay and damage of tooth structure.

Exacerbating Health Conditions that Affect the Mouth

A number of health conditions affect oral health. For instance, diabetes is a common culprit behind an increased risk for infections of soft oral tissue since bacteria will grow substantially when diabetes is not managed. Moreover, diabetes can have a drying effect on the mouth. Both of these issues create an unhealthy oral environment. By controlling diabetes with medication and a doctor-approved diet, you can help prevent issues that might affect your teeth and gums.

Uncontrolled dental issues can lead to the need for extensive and specialized care. If you have been referred to our practice by your dentist, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center today to schedule an appointment with our oral surgeon.

What causes eroding of tooth enamel?

dentistry CharlottesvilleTooth enamel is a mineralized coating on the outside of teeth. As the outermost structure of a tooth, it serves as a protective barrier between the soft internal structures of teeth and oral bacteria. When it comes to general dentistry, oral healthcare providers will assess the health of tooth enamel to determine whether a person is at risk for cavities or susceptible to developing broken teeth. While tooth enamel is quite strong, it can become damaged. In fact, erosion of tooth enamel leads to dental caries and chipped or broken teeth. Enamel damage occurs from excessive wear and tear on teeth along with exposure to acid.

Wear and Tear

Over time, our teeth will become worn down as a result of normal oral function. If we compound normal wear and tear with destructive habits like chewing on inedible objects and bruxism, we can severely affect the vitality of tooth enamel. Chewing on items like pen caps and ice cubes along with bruxism (clenching and grinding our teeth) will wear cracks in tooth enamel over time. Small cracks in tooth enamel expose softer structures of our teeth to cavity-causing bacteria. This type of enamel damage also increases the risk for developing chipped or broken teeth.

Exposure to Acid

Acid strips the mineral composition of our teeth. Repeated exposure to acid can lead to permanent tooth damage. Many foods and beverages are acidic. From citrus fruit to preservatives and additives, common foods and drinks contain acidic ingredients that soften tooth enamel. Consuming these foods in moderation can help keep tooth enamel healthy.

Treating Weak and Diseased Teeth

Sometimes teeth with thin or weak tooth enamel can be treated with preventive dentistry. Non-invasive preventive services include the application of dental sealants, which provide an extra layer of protection from bacteria, and fluoride treatments, which replenish lost mineral content in tooth enamel can help reduce the risk for cavities. Other treatment options might include the placement of restorations like fillings and crowns to treat decay and more noticeable damage. When teeth are diseased or damaged beyond repair, an extraction is necessary to protect the health of neighboring oral tissue.

For more information, contact our team at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center.

Toothache: When is it time to visit the dentist?

dentist CharlottesvilleA toothache is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Any time you have tooth pain, you should schedule an appointment for a checkup with your dentist. Sometimes, a toothache might mean that you have a small cavity. In other instances, a toothache can mean that you have a severe infection inside your tooth. Prolonging a visit to your dentist when you have noticeable symptoms can lead to the need for costly and invasive treatments like endodontic (root canal) therapy, the placement of extensive restorations like dental crowns, and tooth extractions.

How is tooth decay treated?

Tooth decay is a common oral health condition that affects up to 99% of the population. When it comes to treating tooth decay, the severity of the cavity and whether it has affected the innermost parts of tooth anatomy is a factor. Small areas of decay can be addressed with same-day restorations like fillings. More advanced stages of tooth decay might require larger, custom restorations such as onlays and dental crowns. If the inside of a tooth has become infected as a result of decay, a patient may need endodontic therapy to prevent the spread of disease.

Determining the appropriate course of action depends on the results of a physical examination, which will include images taken from X-rays.

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a part of a tooth’s anatomy. Comprised of a hollow chamber that holds a tooth’s nerve endings and pulp, the root canal can become infected when a cavity is left untreated or when a tooth is cracked or fractured. Root canal therapy involves removing infected material inside a tooth, flushing it of debris, and sealing it to protect tooth structure from future damage.

Why should a tooth be extracted?

A diseased tooth that cannot be saved will need to be extracted to preserve the health of neighboring tissue. This is because infected teeth can develop abscesses. Many times, dentists refer patients to oral surgeons for tooth extractions.

Call us today to ask questions or reserve an appointment with our team!

 

Follow These Tips for a Healthier Mouth

dental CharlottesvilleMaintaining good dental health is important for preventing disease and enjoying optimal oral function. If we neglect our oral health, we place ourselves at risk for conditions like gum disease, bone atrophy, and dental caries as well as tooth loss. While many conditions can be improved with professional intervention like placing restorations for cavities or embedding dental implants for tooth loss, it is best to prevent oral health problems. Prevention preserves your health and helps you save money on healthcare costs. Following are easy-to-follow tips for improving your oral health.

Brush Thoroughly

Brushing your teeth with an ADA-approved toothpaste twice a day is one of the best defenses you have against developing tooth decay and gum disease. When we brush our teeth thoroughly, we remove most of a day’s plaque deposits. Plaque is a substance that is full of harmful bacteria. It coats our teeth and when exposed to calculus, it hardens into tartar. Brushing helps stave off the accumulation of plaque and tartar. When brushing, patients should make sure to pay attention to each tooth equally. One should brush for a minimum of two minutes and use soft, circular motions when doing so.

Floss Regularly

Like brushing, flossing is another way to protect one’s teeth and gums from common oral disease. Flossing removes debris and substances between teeth and just below the gum line. These are places where a toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is essential to preventing gum disease because it stimulates the gums and impedes tartar accumulation.

Dietary Considerations

What we eat and drink can have a big impact on our oral health. For instance, eating foods high in sodium can dry our mouths or consuming too much sugar leads to bacterial colonization. In most cases, it is best to avoid sugary and acidic foods or drinks. If one does consume acid or sugar, he or she should do so in moderation. Water consumption is very important, too. Drinking water helps rinse our mouths of debris and dilute acids to help maintain a healthy oral pH.

While caring for our oral health at home is important, visiting a professional for checkups and cleanings is still a must.

If you have been referred to our practice, call us today at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to schedule an appointment.

Makeover Your Smile with Dental Implants

cosmetic dentistry CharlottesvilleHas tooth loss ravaged your self-esteem and oral function? Living with missing teeth is incredibly difficult. From having issues with confidence because of the gaps in your smile to having trouble eating your favorite foods, tooth loss will affect your daily life. Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry has a solution for addressing the aesthetic and functional concerns that accompany tooth loss with dental implants. Our oral surgeon has the expertise necessary to restore your smile with these lifelike and durable prosthetics.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are actually titanium components that are used replace the root structure of teeth. An implant resembles a screw in the way that the implant’s diameter becomes gradually wider and it features a ridged texture. They are embedded into the jawbone through minor oral surgery. The implant has an abutment where a restoration is attached. Single dental implants hold crowns and bridges whereas a series of dental implants can hold a total arch of teeth (dentures).

How do they work?

Unlike other prosthetics like bridges and dentures, dental implants address the missing roots of teeth. This is possible because titanium is a metal that is compatible with the body’s structures. Bone will fuse to titanium as if it is natural mineralized tissue. The process of bone fusing to titanium is called osseointegration and this process is what stabilizes an implant so that it can last for decades and support a restoration durably.

Will dental implants look natural?

Since restorations can be made from tooth-colored materials like porcelain or porcelain fused to metal. These materials look just like natural teeth. In fact, they will not be detectable as prosthetics to those around you. Porcelain has been used in cosmetic dentistry for quite some time because it lends a beautiful yet natural looking enhancement to one’s smile.

How do I know if implants are right for me?

If you have missing teeth, it is worth your time to learn more about dental implants. These prosthetics are considered the best alternative to biological teeth. For this reason, we recommend scheduling a consultation with our oral surgeon who can determine if this tooth replacement method is right for you.

Call us today to schedule an appointment!

5 Unexpected Ways Your Teeth Can Get Chipped


dentist near CharlottesvilleOur teeth are meant to last a lifetime but sometimes, life gets in the way. Unexpected circumstances can damage our teeth in surprising ways. The underlying reasons teeth chip or break are due to forceful trauma to the face or because teeth are weak and brittle. Chances are your dentist has heard all kinds of reasons how a tooth became chipped. While your dentist can repair teeth with restorations, he or she may need to refer you to a specialist like an endodontist or oral surgeon for more focused treatment. Following are five unexpected ways your teeth can chip or break.

Bruxism

Bruxism, also known as grinding or clenching one’s teeth habitually, is a common response to stress and tension. Over time, this habit will wear cracks in tooth enamel. As tooth enamel weakens, teeth are very susceptible to chipping. Many times, a dentist will ask patients if they grind their teeth when they come in to have a chip repaired.

Biting Inedible Objects

Biting on pen caps and other inedible objects can easily chip or break a tooth – especially if a person does this habitually. We should only bite down on edible foods, not inanimate objects because it weakens our tooth enamel.

Chewing Ice Cubes

Chewing an ice cube could send you in for an emergency dental appointment easily. Like pen caps, chewing on ice cubes will weaken tooth enamel over time. If a person has a habit of chewing on ice cubes, we recommend drinking beverages without ice or with a straw so that it is easier to avoid temptation.

Shivering when Cold or Sick

Believe it or not, patients have received treatment for chipped teeth caused by shivering. Chattering one’s teeth together can cause damage like cracks and chips. More than likely, teeth were already brittle or weak before one shivered.

Bearing Down from Pain

We tend to bear down and clench/grit our teeth as a response to pain. People have broken their teeth when bearing down during episodes of severe pain.

Call our team at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center today to ask questions or reserve an appointment.

Oral Surgery: When is general anesthesia recommended?

general anesthesia CharlottesvilleAnesthesia of various types is useful in all kinds of medical and dental settings. Anesthetizing patients is done so that people can receive invasive treatment comfortably and so that an oral surgeon or other type of medical professional can perform necessary treatment without obstruction and difficulty. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMS) provide many types of procedures – some of them very complex and invasive. For instance, treating and correcting issues caused by facial trauma or congenital and developmental abnormalities can involve the use of general anesthesia.

The oral cavity is a complex system of hard tissue like bones and soft tissue like nerves, muscles, and ligaments. Procedures where general anesthesia is necessary will require precision and expertise. Common procedures where general anesthesia might be necessary include reconstructive and corrective treatments following facial trauma, placing dental implants, complex wisdom teeth removal, and jaw surgery.

What types of medication is used during general anesthesia?

The types of medication used in general anesthesia for oral surgery typically include a combination of pain relieving medication and sedatives. The combination of medication used in general anesthesia for oral surgery as opposed to general anesthesia in other medical specialties normally does not involve the use of paralytic drugs. This method of anesthetizing normally doesn’t require intubation either. Instead, a strong combination of sedatives and pain medication will keep a patient perfectly comfortable and asleep during treatment. Since intubation isn’t required, the oral cavity isn’t obstructed for treatment.

Is general anesthesia safe?

Anytime anesthetizing medication is used, very strict protocols are followed to ensure patient safety. All medication is carefully administered and its effects are closely monitored. Our OMS and our staff possess training to respond to emergencies if they arise. Since medication is fed intravenously, we can adjust its dosage quickly and easily.

If you have been referred to our practice for dental implants, treatment for facial trauma, jaw surgery, or wisdom teeth removal, call us today to reserve a consultation.

Steps to Prevent Injuries to the Teeth and Gums

dentist CharlottesvilleThe oral health system, including your teeth and gums, is precious. We use our teeth every single day. Without our teeth, eating is very difficult. It is important to guard your oral health with a proactive approach to preventing injuries. There are things we can do to reduce damage from life’s unfortunate accidents as well as keep our teeth strong. From receiving regular checkups with your dentist to taking appropriate precautions when it comes to potential accidents, you can lower the risks for causing permanent damage to your teeth and gums.  Following are some easy tips for oral health safety when it comes to dental injuries.

Schedule Regular Checkups and Cleanings

To some, scheduling regular checkups and cleanings might seem like just another to-do on your list. Nevertheless, the truth is that dental checkups and cleanings are very important for protecting your teeth and gums and monitoring your oral health. During checkups, your dentist will look for signs of enamel loss. When our tooth enamel is damaged, it can make our teeth susceptible to cracking and decay because our teeth become brittle. If you have lost tooth enamel, it is wise to receive treatments that will strengthen your teeth or restorations to protect them. You might be encouraged to carefully check your food for hard objects like pits or be advised from eating very tough and chewy foods.

Use Protective Gear During Sports

If you play sports or participate in activities that have a high risk for injury like cycling or horseback riding, you should wear all appropriate protective gear including mouthguards, chinstraps, and helmets. This gear can greatly mitigate the damage caused by facial and head trauma. Be sure to wear this gear whenever you can to protect your face and mouth.

Wear Your Seatbelt and Drive with Caution

It may seem redundant to be told to drive carefully and wear a seatbelt but the truth is that we can never be too careful. Car accidents are a common contributor to facial trauma. We know that wearing a seatbelt, no matter where you are sitting in a vehicle can save your life and your body’s structures.

If you require the expertise of an oral surgeon, call us today at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to reserve an appointment.

Wisdom Teeth Removal: What can I eat after the procedure?

wisdom teeth CharlottesvilleIf you have an upcoming oral surgery scheduled to have your wisdom teeth extracted, you probably have some questions about what to expect after your treatment and how you should adjust your daily life the days following treatment so that you enjoy an optimal and comfortable recovery. The most important thing to note after treatment is that you will need to alter your diet for a few days. A liquid diet is recommended the day of and the first couple of days after your wisdom teeth have been removed. Liquids that are ideal to consume include broths, smoothies, and fruit juice. One or two days after your procedure, you can start to incorporate soft foods into your diet. Soft foods you can eat include mashed potatoes, pureed soups, and ice cream.

What is dry socket and why should I avoid it?

Dry socket is when the blood clot that forms over a tooth extraction site comes loose and falls off. Maintaining a blood clot over the extraction site is very important to the healing process. If we eat sharp foods or touch the extraction site with our fingers, we can dislodge the blood clot and ultimately affect our comfort level and ability to heal after our wisdom teeth are removed. When a person develops dry socket, he or she will need to return to our practice so that our oral surgeon can gently open the extraction site for the formation of a new clot.

How can I manage discomfort?

There are a few ways that a person can manage his or her discomfort after a tooth extraction. First, it is important to take prescription and/or over the counter medication exactly as directed. Taking this type of medicine when recommended will help control swelling and discomfort. It is important to start this medication as soon as recommended so that symptoms are controlled from the start. The day of and the day after your procedure, you can apply cold compresses to the outside of your face to manage swelling.

What if I have more questions?

If at any time you have questions about your treatment, call our practice. We will be happy to help you.