Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Cent

How Do I Know if I Am a Suitable Candidate for Dental Implants?

tooth replacement CharlottesvilleIf you have lost teeth, you might be wondering if you should consider dental implants as a tooth replacement option. Dental implants are the most biocompatible method for restoring the loss of the entire tooth. Typically, patients who receive implants have relatively good oral health including adequate bone mass and healthy gums. There are some procedures, however, that can increase a person’s candidacy for dental implants. Grafting procedures can build up bone and gum tissue so that implants can have the support they require for stabilization. The best way to determine if this tooth replacement option is right for you is to schedule an appointment with our oral surgeon, which will entail a questionnaire, a physical examination, and a consultation.

How do dental implants work?

A dental implant is a prosthetic root of a tooth. It is embedded into the jawbone where new bone will generate tissue and fuse to its titanium structure. Dental implants resemble small screws in the sense that they have a ridged texture that widens gradually. After the implant is embedded into the jaw, the process of bone fusing to it will be monitored over the recovery phase of treatment, which can last for a few months. Once the implant is stable in the jaw, its permanent restoration is attached to an abutment. Permanent restorations are custom made crowns or bridges. They are used to replace the visible and biting surfaces of teeth.

How do dental implants compare to dentures and bridges?

Dental implants differ from conventional dentures and bridges because they address the loss of tooth structure below the gums. Since they draw on bone for support, they typically last much longer than a denture or bridge. Implants keep bone active and healthy and therefore help prevent deterioration of the jaw, a common issue that affects those suffering from tooth loss.

To learn more, call our practice today to reserve a tooth replacement consultation!

Do I really need to pay attention to my tongue?

Charlottesville dentistsMany times, our tongues are overlooked when we think about our oral health. Oral healthcare providers like your dentist, however, always take a look at your tongue during checkups. This is because your tongue is an integral part of the oral health system. Beyond the tongue’s role in our oral health, it is a fascinating part of our anatomy. Following are some fun facts about the tongue along with reasons why you should incorporate cleaning your tongue in your oral hygiene routine and check for changes to its color and texture on a monthly basis.

Fun Tongue Trivia

Our tongues are interesting parts of our bodies. The following facts might surprise you:

  • The tongue is the only muscle in the body that isn’t connected to skeletal structure. In a way, a human tongue is similar to an elephant’s trunk.
  • Proper enunciation is impossible without the tongue.
  • The small visible bumps on our tongues that are commonly mistakenly for taste buds are actually papillae.
  • About half of the bacteria in our mouth lie on our tongues.
  • Your tongue assists with removing food particles from your teeth after you eat.

Cleaning Your Tongue

Since about half of the mouth’s bacteria are on our tongue, it is important to clean our tongues during oral hygiene. You can clean your tongue by gently brushing it with the bristles of your toothbrush or by purchasing a tongue scraper. This will help remove bacteria and aid in achieving fresher breath.

Examining Your Tongue for Changes in Appearance

In addition to cleaning your tongue, you should take a look at it from time to time. The color of your tongue can signify fungal infections like thrush and indicate possible cancerous lesions. Oral cancers commonly develop on the tongue. While dentists will perform an annual oral cancer screening, your vigilance is important, too. If you notice changes in the way your tongue feels—especially during oral function—or changes in its color, schedule an appointment with your oral healthcare provider for a checkup.

If cancer is suspected, patients will have a biopsy taken. Like other forms of potentially serious illness, early detection normally increases a person’s chances of recovery.

Contact our team at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center today!

Consequences of a Single Tooth Loss

cosmetic dentistry CharlottesvilleLosing one tooth can throw off the harmony and function of the entire oral health system. Tooth loss has devastating effects on our oral health and general wellness. Not only does losing a tooth put other teeth at risk, having an incomplete smile negatively affects our mood, self-esteem, and outlook on life. Fortunately, the effects of single tooth loss can be remedied by placing dental implants. These replacement teeth are used in oral and maxillofacial surgery as well as cosmetic dentistry to enhance oral function and the appearance of a smile.

How Tooth Loss Affects Oral Health

Tooth loss affects oral health in numerous ways. Losing a tooth affects the stability of other teeth because teeth support each other. When one tooth is lost, there is an empty space in the tooth socket. This means that teeth can shift and slide over time because there is now extra room in the mouth. When teeth lack support, they can also be lost as well.

The roots of teeth keep bone active and stimulated. When a tooth is lost, the bone that used to support its roots is no longer stimulated. If bone lacks stimulation, it can atrophy. Bone loss is a common, serious side effect to tooth loss – even if just one tooth is missing.

Another major consequence to tooth loss is the negative effect it has on one’s confidence and mood. People with incomplete smiles have a higher risk for developing depression and tend to socially isolate themselves because they are embarrassed of their appearance.

Replacing Teeth with Dental Implants

Implants have become the go-to method for treating tooth loss. Dental implants have also been used in cosmetic dentistry to replace badly damaged teeth. Our oral surgeon is an expert at placing dental implants among patients who have lost one or more teeth. These prosthetics are unique because they replace all tooth structure, including the roots. Since they are stabilized by bone, they can support restorations like crowns and bridges for decades.

Call us today to reserve a tooth replacement consultation with our oral surgeon.

Caring for Your Teeth While Traveling or On the Go

dentist near CharlottesvilleIf you travel frequently or find yourself away from home for hours at a time, you might want to make adjustments to your oral hygiene regimen. Those of us who live very busy lifestyles can have trouble sticking to a schedule of proper oral hygiene practices. Fortunately, there are ways you can keep your teeth clean when you’re not at home with products designed for travel and by incorporating small changes in your routine. Remember that oral hygiene is not enough to keep your teeth and gums free of disease. You need to receive professional care from your dentist on a regular basis.

Make a Travel-Friendly Oral Hygiene Kit

Do you travel for work? If you find yourself away from home for long periods of time because of your lifestyle, we recommend that you make and keep a travel-friendly oral hygiene kit on you at all times. This kit should contain a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, and mouthwash. All of the items in your kit can be bought in small travel sizes from large supermarkets and pharmacies. Keep all of these oral hygiene items in a dedicated bag so that they are easy to find and use.

Stash an Extra Toothbrush at Work or in Your Vehicle

If you tend to work long hours at the office or have an erratic work/school schedule, you might want to stash an unopened toothbrush or toothbrush in a travel-case in your work desk or vehicle. Having a toothbrush on hand can make it much easier to keep your teeth clean when you are not at home. Be sure to keep a small tube of toothpaste handy, too.

Buy Extra Tubes of Toothpaste and Dental Floss

It never hurts to have extra supplies of essential oral hygiene items. Next time you go grocery shopping, buy a few extra tubes of toothpaste and packages of dental floss. The extra supplies can be left at home and stored in your purse, backpack, briefcase, overnight bag, and vehicle.

Having oral hygiene products on hand will make caring for your teeth while on the go much easier.

Why Oral Health Symptoms Shouldn’t Be Ignored

dentistry CharlottesvilleIgnoring changes in your dental and oral health can lead to the development of serious conditions that require aggressive, invasive, and costly treatments. When potential problems are detected and treated early on, you increase the likelihood of receiving conservative (and cost-effective) treatment that will help preserve structures in the oral health system. Preventive dentistry focuses on early detection and treatments that thwart the onset of common conditions so that patients can enjoy optimal oral health for a lifetime. Following is helpful information on how you can protect your wellbeing with preventive dentistry and a proactive approach to your oral health.

Checkups and Cleanings

Missing routine checkups and cleanings makes detecting changes in your oral health or symptoms much harder. When your dentist cleans your teeth and examines your mouth, any concerns will be discussed. Waiting too long between visits means that you might overlook important symptoms of common conditions. Additionally, missing appointments also means that conditions like tooth decay and gum disease have time to progress into more problematic issues that require treatments that are more extensive.

Preventive Treatments

Preventive treatments help strengthen teeth and stimulate gum tissue. One common treatment is the application of a fluoride gel or varnish. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that replenishes tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the protective outer layer of teeth and when enamel is strong, cavity causing bacteria cannot penetrate it. Dental cleanings also have preventive benefits. A cleaning removes plaque and tartar that accumulate along the gums and in between teeth. These substances are major contributors to periodontal (gum) disease. Regular cleanings help keep gums clean and healthy.

What to Do If You Experience Changes in Your Oral Health

If you experience sensations or symptoms of potential oral health problems, you should call your dental provider as soon as possible. For instance, you might notice that your gums bleed when you floss or brush. Notifying your provider of changes in your health will help determine their cause and present possible solutions.

For additional information, contact our team at Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center.

Keeping Your Toothbrush (and Mouth) Free of Harmful Bacteria

Charlottesville dentalYour toothbrush is a powerful tool for keeping your teeth and mouth clean. However, your toothbrush, like your mouth, can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. When bacteria begin to grow on a toothbrush it can be transferred to one’s mouth and could subsequently affect your dental health. Controlling oral bacteria is important for preventing common dental disease like infections and tooth decay. Following are helpful tips for keeping your toothbrush bacteria-free.

Storing Your Toothbrush

When you’re not using your toothbrush, where and how you store it matters. To help keep the bristles of your brush dry, store your brush upright. A toothbrush holder is perfect for keeping your brush standing up straight so that water can pool away from the bristles. When a toothbrush stays wet, it creates an environment for bacteria to thrive. By storing your brush upright so that it can dry properly, you can eliminate excessive bacterial growth.

If possible, try to store your toothbrush away from your toilet. When we flush, particles can be released into the air that may reach your toothbrush. Either place your brush as far away from the toilet as possible or store it upright in a medicine cabinet or tall drawer. This will help protect the bristles from exposure to bacteria emitted from flushing the toilet after it has been used.

Rinsing Your Toothbrush

After you brush your teeth, be sure to rinse your toothbrush with warm water. As you rinse the bristles, use your thumb to gently work the warm water through them. This will help wash away debris from your mouth and leftover toothpaste that might have accumulated on your toothbrush.

Replacing Toothbrushes

You should replace the brush or brush heads if you use an electronic toothbrush every three months. Sometimes, you might need to replace the brush or brush head sooner than three months if the bristles begin to fray. Replacing your brush is important because an old brush or brush head accumulates bacteria. Moreover, old bristles that have frayed do not clean teeth as well as a new brush.

4 Things You May Not Know About Dental Implants

missing teeth CharlottesvilleWhile dental implants have been used to replace missing teeth for some time now, they are a relatively new concept to many people. To help educate members of our community on this tooth replacement option, we have compiled a list of four things people might not know about dental implants. If this tooth replacement method interests you, we recommend scheduling a consultation with our oral surgeon.

Biocompatibility

The titanium structure of dental implants makes them a biocompatible alternative to the roots of missing teeth. Bone surrounding an implant will literally fuse around its titanium components, thus securing it in place and allowing the implant to function like natural mineralized tissue.

Full Restoration of Missing Teeth

Conventional prosthetics only address the loss of a tooth’s crown (its visible structure). Overlooking the roots of teeth, prosthetics like bridges and dentures increase a patient’s risk for rapid bone atrophy and an aged appearance. Dental implants replace a tooth’s missing root and provide a stable base for securing custom restorations like crowns and bridges.

Long Lasting

When bone integrates and fuses to titanium implants and when patients care for their oral health properly, dental implants can easily last for decades and even the rest of a person’s life. If a person with dental implants takes a proactive approach to oral health by preventing the onset or progression of oral conditions like periodontal disease, dental implants will remain stable.

Low Maintenance 

Caring for dental implants is very easy. This is because the restorations attached to dental implants are treated like biological teeth; meaning, that people will floss and brush as normal. Implants are not removed for overnight soaking as dentures are and do not require special tools like water irrigators to clean beneath them. While the materials used to make dental implants and their restorations are resistant to cavity causing bacteria, a person can still incur damage to soft and hard oral structures if neighboring teeth become diseased or if bone atrophy occurs.

Determining if dental implants are right for your needs involves consulting with an oral surgeon. At your appointment, a physical examination will reveal if you are a candidate for this treatment.

Call us today at Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center to schedule an appointment.

Halitosis: What’s causing my bad breath?

dentist CharlottesvilleHalitosis, the clinical term for bad breath can make a patient very self-conscious and it can signify oral and general health problems. The source(s) of halitosis can vary and can be quite easy to correct while others might require the attention of a physician or dentist. Bad breath can be caused by improper oral hygiene and dehydration or conditions like diseased teeth and infections.

Inadequate Oral Hygiene

Oral hygiene is your first line of defense for controlling oral bacteria and removing debris from leftover food. Both bacteria throughout the mouth and food lodged in the crevices of teeth can lead to bad breath. Not only is practicing proper oral hygiene essential to preventing halitosis, it helps prevent common oral disease. Patients should brush and floss thoroughly every day with products and tools approved by the American Dental Association.

Dehydration

Another common contributor to bad breath is dehydration. The soft tissues throughout the oral cavity should remain moist; however, when patients are dehydrated, their mouths can become dry. Dry mouth can often cause bad breath. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is imperative for staying hydrated and keeping oral tissue moist. People should consume at least 64-ounces of water each day. Monitoring salt intake helps reduce the risk for dehydration as well.

Diseased Teeth and Oral Infections

Severely decayed teeth and oral infections such as abscesses also contribute to halitosis. These conditions will cause bad breath even if a person is practicing proper oral hygiene and not dehydrated. Moreover, bad breath will not improve without treatment from a dentist or oral surgeon for diseased teeth. In some instances, teeth that are severely decayed or infected will need to be surgically removed (extracted) from the mouth.

Health Conditions

Certain health conditions and medications used to control issues like anxiety or allergies can have drying effects on the mouth, which in turn, lead to bad breath. When visiting your oral healthcare professional, be sure to mention conditions that you have been diagnosed with and the medications you take so that we can determine the underlying causes of dry mouth and/or halitosis.

Call us today to reserve an appointment with our team!

Electronic Toothbrush: A Great Weapon Against Plaque Formation

dental CharlottesvilleAn electronic toothbrush is a great weapon against the formation of plaque. The accumulation of plaque is a threat to your oral health because it contributes to common oral disease and bacterial overgrowth. Additionally, when plaque isn’t removed within a couple days, it can harden into tartar after exposed to calculus. When it comes to plaque removal, an electronic toothbrush is great for brushing away daily deposits of colonized bacteria. Following are some reasons why an electronic toothbrush is great for your dental health.

Benefits of Electronic Toothbrushes

While a manual toothbrush can effectively remove plaque buildup when used properly, an electronic brush can streamline the process. When comparing a manual toothbrush versus an electronic one, an electric brush makes hundreds of revolutions within a couple minutes. These revolutions can help increase dental health by making plaque removal easier and more efficient. Moreover, the consistency of an electronic brush’s revolutions means that each tooth is more likely to be cleaned properly. If you want recommendations for oral care products like toothbrushes and toothpaste, speak with a member of our team. We will be happy to help you.

Why Plaque is Dangerous

Plaque is dangerous to your oral health because it is full of bacteria that can eat through the structures of weak teeth and inflame the gums. When plaque accumulates and hardens into tartar, it will inflame and irritate gingival tissue. Inflamed and irritated gingiva put a patient at great risk for developing periodontal (gum) disease. Moreover, hardened plaque cannot be removed by flossing or brushing. Instead, it must be scraped away by handheld tools that oral health professionals use.

Other Tips for Controlling Plaque Accumulation

In addition to using an electronic toothbrush, flossing and reducing your intake of acid and sugar can help control the development of plaque and protect your teeth from harmful bacteria. Flossing helps disrupt colonies of bacteria that form between teeth where a brush can’t reach. Reducing acid intake will help protect tooth enamel while controlling sugar content in your diet will reduce bacteria’s natural food source.

Our practice is dedicated to providing patient education. Call us today for questions or to schedule an appointment with Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center.

5 Reasons You Can’t Afford to Neglect Your Oral Health

Charlottesville dentalForegoing regular dental checkups and cleanings or not practicing proper oral hygiene can take a toll on your overall well-being. Neglecting your oral health can have lasting effects on your daily life and future. From increasing healthcare costs to resulting in costly or time-consuming treatments, neglecting your oral health can have great effects on your wellbeing and your wallet. Following are five reasons why you shouldn’t take your oral health for granted.

Teeth Cannot Self-Heal

Once the enamel surface of your teeth becomes damaged, they cannot heal on their own. This means that after a tooth is chipped or a cavity develops, the tooth cannot regenerate new tissue. Permanent damage to a tooth from a dental injury or disease requires the placement of a restoration to protect its structure and prevent more damage.

Gum Disease Can Destroy Your Health

Untreated gum disease can literally destroy your oral health. This condition is capable of eroding bone and gums due to a systemic infection that kills soft tissue and breaks down the support structures of teeth. Advanced gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. This condition must be managed with professional treatment to control its effects.

Oral Cancer Can Be Fatal

During routine checkups, dentists and oral surgeons will screen patients for oral cancer. This form of cancer can be fatal if not detected early enough. Since cancer can form anywhere in the oral cavity, annual screenings are important for early diagnoses.

Tooth Loss Has Devastating Effects

Neglecting your oral health can lead to the loss of adult teeth. Losing teeth during adulthood will negatively affect every part of your life. By making speaking and eating difficult to affecting your self-esteem, tooth loss has devastating effects on your mind and body.

Prevention Saves Money

Scheduling routine care can literally save you money. Early treatment of oral health problems is usually very conservative and therefore cost effective when compared to treatments used to address advanced damage and disease.

Call us today to reserve an appointment with our oral surgeon.