Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Cent

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.

 

The Effects of Tobacco and Nicotine On Your Dental Health

Charlottesville dentistMost of us know that nicotine and tobacco have a strong negative impact on our overall wellbeing but many of us forget or might be unaware of the risks using tobacco has on our oral health. From smoking cigars and cigarettes to using chewing tobacco, common nicotine products can greatly increase your risk for conditions such as periodontal disease and oral cancer. If you smoke or use nicotine in any form, be sure to let your dentist know so that your annual checkups can accommodate your lifestyle choices.

Periodontal Disease and Tobacco

Tobacco products are notorious for creating gingival irritation – especially when patients smoke cigars and cigarettes or use chewing tobacco. The reason the gingiva become inflamed is because tobacco products contain an array of ingredients that irritate soft tissue. For example, when smoking, the pulmonary system will become inflamed by the irritants in tobacco and the smoke produced by lit cigars and cigarettes. The same thing happens with our gums. Tobacco does contain carcinogens that do cause irritation and even contribute to malignancies.

Irritated gingiva, like lungs irritated by smoke, is more easily infected. Inflamed and infected gingiva lead to the development of periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease is a major threat to one’s health and wellbeing – especially if it advances to an aggressive stage. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and it is capable of destroying bones, gingiva, and teeth. By quitting smoking or using chewing tobacco, one can greatly reduce the risk of developing this condition.

Oral Cancer and Nicotine Use

Tobacco use increases a person’s risk for developing many types of malignancies – especially oral cancer. Like other varieties of cancer, oral cancer can be fatal if it metastasizes to other areas of the body. Annual oral examinations do involve oral cancer screenings but if you use tobacco, it is important to bring this up with your oral healthcare provider so that you can be screened very closely. If suspicious lesions are detected, you will be sent to an oral surgeon for biopsies and surgery, if necessary.

Call us today for questions or to reserve an appointment at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center.

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.