Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Cent

Tips to Relax During Your Next Dental Procedure

Charlottesville sedation dentistryDoes anxiety keep you from receiving the oral healthcare you need and deserve? Perhaps your anxiety is so powerful that you have trouble keeping your dental appointments for checkups and cleanings. You aren’t alone in your struggle. Millions of people suffer from anxiety disorders and dental phobias are actually one of the most common phobia-based anxiety disorders.

If you have trouble relaxing during oral healthcare treatments – especially those surgical in nature, you might want to discuss sedation dentistry with our oral surgeon. Sedation dentistry can be used in procedures like tooth extractions, dental implants placement, and corrective jaw surgery. Following are some tips for calming your nerves.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a concept that involves focusing on what is stimulating our senses to calm our nerves and overcome emotions. One way that you can practice mindfulness is to take in your surroundings. Ask yourself what you can see, hear, and smell. For example, making a mental list of everything you can see can help you overcome negative or fearful thoughts.

Take Deep Breaths

While the phrase “take deep breaths” might seem cliché to many, it does work. Deep breathing has a calming effect on the body. Moreover, we tend to breathe very shallow during times of emotional duress. Taking deep breaths during difficult times helps saturate our bodies with oxygen and ground us emotionally. Try inhaling for three seconds and exhaling for three seconds.

Ask Questions

Sometimes combatting nerves can be as simple as asking a question. Rather than wonder about what is going on around us (and letting our overactive brains create harrowing scenarios), ask about what’s happening. Our team will be happy to clarify and answer your questions.

Request a Break

If during your procedure you feel overwhelmed, ask our oral surgeon or a member of our staff to take a small break so that you can regroup. A little break can help you focus on your breathing so that you can ease your anxiety.

When it comes to oral surgeries that are invasive, our practice might recommend sedation dentistry, which can help patients with anxiety disorders as well as help those in treatment maintain their level of comfort. Sedation dentistry helps patients rest comfortably during treatment.

For additional tips or to learn more about sedation dentistry, call us today to reserve a visit.

4 Fun Teeth Facts

dentistry CharlottesvilleWe use our teeth everyday for biting and chewing food. Our teeth also aid in the proper enunciation of words. Dentistry is actually a fascinating field of study because oral anatomy is quite unique to other structures in the body. Research has shown that oral health and overall wellness are connected. If you ever wanted to learn more about teeth, here are four fun facts.

Bacteria Cannot Penetrate Healthy Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel is the mineralized structure on the outside of teeth. When tooth enamel is healthy, cavity-causing bacteria are unable to penetrate through its surface. Unfortunately, tooth enamel can be damaged by wear and tear or disease. When tooth enamel is damaged, teeth are vulnerable to becoming brittle or decayed. This is why preventive dentistry is so important. Regular checkups and cleanings along with preventive treatments can help keep teeth healthy for a lifetime.

Teeth Have Dental Stem Cells

When we listen to the news, there is a lot of coverage on the potential medical applications of stem cells. This is because stem cells can be used to regenerate damaged or diseased tissues in some areas of the body. Stem cells come from various parts of the body including teeth. While it is not discussed as much as other stem cell sources, there is promising research for the application of dental stem cells for a myriad of chronic health conditions and diseases.

Teeth Form Before Birth

Teeth form while a child is in the womb. While infants don’t appear to have teeth, their teeth do exist within the jawbone and gums. As babies grow, their teeth will slowly come through the gums.

Wisdom Teeth are Third Molars

Wisdom teeth are actually a third set of molars but because our second molars last for most of our lives due to widely accessible oral healthcare, wisdom teeth are not necessary. Up until modern human history, people’s second molars were normally lost by the time they were in their early adulthood years. Since wisdom teeth are not necessary, most dental professionals recommend their extraction to prevent oral health problems.

Our oral surgeon offers a number of oral health services including wisdom teeth extractions, jaw surgery, and dental implants placement. Call us today at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to reserve an appointment.

Calming Your Nerves Before Dental Procedures

oral sedation CharlottesvilleDo you feel nervous or anxious before dental appointments? If so, you’re not alone. Countless people suffer with anxiety related to clinical and dental treatments. In fact, some dental phobias are so severe that people will avoid visiting a dentist for treatment until it is too late. Foregoing oral healthcare can lead to the need for visiting a specialist like an oral surgeon for focused treatment such as tooth extractions and implant dentistry. When it comes to providing procedures, we offer sedation dentistry to increase patients’ mental and physical comfort. There are different types of sedation, some patients may benefit from taking a prescription tablet from the benzodiazepine class of drugs (oral sedation), while more invasive procedures may require conscious sedation delivered intravenously.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

The type of sedation a person might receive depends on the level of his or her anxiety and the nature of one’s procedure. When it comes to minor anxiety and minimally invasive procedures, a dentist or oral surgeon may administer nitrous oxide. Used in medical and dental procedures, nitrous oxide is a gas that is delivered through a nasal mask. This gas produces calming and pain-relieving effects quickly. As a mild sedative, nitrous oxide can ease one’s fears without the need of long-acting prescription medication so that patients can drive themselves to and from their appointments.

Oral sedation involves a person taking prescribed medication from the benzodiazepine family of drugs. This type of medication is stronger than nitrous oxide and is beneficial for those with moderate anxiety. When it comes to dental procedures, oral sedation is beneficial for treatment like the placement of dental implants and oral pathology services.

Invasive procedures like corrective jaw surgery or bone grafts require stronger medications to manage discomfort and help patients stay still during treatment. Conscious IV sedation is delivered intravenously but unlike general anesthesia, patients can respond to instructions and questions during treatment. Conscious sedation allows a surgeon to work without difficulty or obstruction while ensuring that patients enjoy a positive, comfortable experience.

Call us today to learn more about sedation dentistry or to schedule an appointment at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center.

Sugary Drinks and Dental Health

dentists CharlottesvilleYour dental health is precious and preserving vital oral tissue is something that people should keep in mind on a daily basis. Our modern diets, which are prevalent in acid and sugar, can lead to permanently damaged teeth and dental caries (tooth decay). These beverages can also contribute to gum disease. Sugary drinks are especially dangerous to teeth. In fact, dentists strongly discourage the consumption of sugar in its various forms.

Oral Bacteria and Teeth

Our mouths naturally contain oral bacteria. Some bacteria are helpful and some strains are harmful. One strain in particular, s. mutans, is responsible for the development of tooth decay when tooth enamel is damaged. This strain of bacteria is orally transmitted – normally from parents to children during infancy. All bacteria feed on sugar because sugar particles serve as a natural food source for them. When sugar particles coat the structures inside the mouth, bacteria go on a feeding frenzy. As bacteria feed on sugar, they release acid as a by-product, which also contributes to tooth decay by weakening tooth enamel.

Oral Bacteria and Gum Health

Beyond affecting teeth, oral bacteria can contribute to periodontal (gum) disease. When too much sugar is consumed and oral hygiene is inadequate, people can develop an overgrowth of oral bacteria. If irritants like tartar accumulation, alcohol, or cigarette/cigar smoke can inflame the gingiva. Inflamed gingiva are prone to infection and harmful oral bacteria can infect the gums, leading to the onset of gum disease.

Common Beverages to Avoid

Most people know that sodas contain sugar but many other beverages contain excessive amounts of sugar. Sports drinks and even fruit juices contain high amounts of sugar as well. Other drinks like energy drinks worry dentists, too. Many of these beverages are also acidic because acids are used to preserve food and drinks as well as flavor them.

Our oral surgeon provides a variety of oral health treatments such as tissue grafts, tooth extractions, and corrective jaw surgery. If you have been referred to our practice for treatment, call us today to schedule an appointment.


Get a Good Start on Your New Year’s Resolution to Maintain Oral Health

dentistry CharlottesvilleIf you are thinking about your New Year’s resolutions early, you might want to add making your oral health a priority for 2018. Your oral health is precious. The oral health system consists of soft and hard tissue like bones, teeth, gums, and the tongue.

All of the parts of the oral health system work together to facilitate oral function like speaking and eating. When any part of this system breaks down, patients can develop a host of conditions that negatively affect one’s quality of life and wellbeing. The first step to making your oral health a priority is to schedule a checkup with a dentist. Taking care of your mouth doesn’t stop with dental appointments. Following are some tips for making your resolution for good oral health a reality.

Commit to Practicing Good Oral Hygiene

Oral hygiene should be a part of your everyday life. Not only does brushing and flossing keep your teeth clean; it prevents disease. Proper and regular brushing and flossing greatly reduces your risks for developing tooth decay and gum disease.

You should brush your teeth at least twice a day. Be sure to use a toothbrush and toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). The ADA seal of acceptance means that manufacturers must meet certain standards of quality.

When brushing, be sure to brush for a least two minutes in soft, back-and-forth strokes. Make sure that every tooth and all its sides is brushed. Brushing the gums, tongue, and roof of the mouth are important, too. Daily flossing is necessary for cleaning between teeth and along the gums.

Reduce Sugar and Acid Consumption

Sugar and acid are very harmful to your oral health. Many common foods and drinks contain sugar and/or acid. Dental professionals strongly recommend consuming acid or sugar “every now and then” and not daily.

Don’t Miss Dental Appointments

Skipping a visit to your dentist lowers your odds of reaping the benefits of early detection. Detecting conditions like dental caries and periodontal disease early on can save time and money.

How to Determine if Dental Implants are Right for You

missing teeth CharlottesvilleDo you have missing teeth? Do you wonder which tooth replacement method is right for you? Today, patients have more options than ever before and wading through these options can seem overwhelming – especially since new tooth replacement methods like dental implants are not as well known as others. Many people ask our team about dental implants – specifically regarding how they work, and whether these types of prosthetics are the best option for their tooth replacement. Finding out if dental implants are right for you involve researching your options and consulting with a dental health professional like an oral surgeon. Following are some facts on dental implants that you might find useful.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are screw-like metal components that are loaded directly into the jawbone to replace the missing roots of teeth. These prosthetics are made from titanium so that they are compatible with the body’s tissues and won’t be rejected as a foreign object. After an implant is embedded into the jawbone, bone mass will fuse around its titanium structure to secure it in place for decades to come.

How do dental implants work?

Common prosthetics like bridges and dentures only replace the visible structures of teeth and rest on top of the gums. The curved shape of the jawbone supports conventional full dentures while bridges and partial dentures anchor to existing biological teeth. Dental implants, however, are rooted in the jaw and then used to support prosthetics that replace the biting surfaces of teeth. For instance, when it comes to replacing a single tooth, a dental implant will replace its roots while a crown attached to the implant completes the tooth replacement process.

Who is a candidate for implants?

The best candidates for dental implants should have adequate bone tissue to support them along with healthy gums. Patients with conditions like advanced periodontal disease or those who smoke might not be eligible for this procedure. The only way to be certain if dental implants meet your needs is to schedule a consultation with a professional.

If you have missing teeth, call us at Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center to reserve your appointment.

How Your Sedation Dentist Can Help Alleviate Anxiety

sedation dentist CharlottesvilleDo you suffer with nervousness and anxiety when it comes to dental and clinical procedures? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people struggle with medical and dental-related anxiety. Fortunately, a sedation dentist can help. Our oral surgeon, a dentist with advanced training and education to practice as a specialist, provides different levels of sedation so that our quests enjoy positive and comfortable experiences during treatment.

Sedation is useful because it involves administering medication that is formulated to target GABA receptors in the brain. These receptors release chemicals that produce intense feelings of worry, fear, and nervousness. By targeting these receptors, sedative medication will help patients feel relaxed and calm – even if they struggle with debilitating phobias and fears. Following is some helpful information on sedation.

Types of Sedation

There are different types and levels of sedation. For instance, anxious patients receiving less invasive treatments may benefit from receiving nitrous oxide gas. Nitrous oxide is used in dental and medical settings as a mild analgesic and sedative. It is inhaled through a soft nasal mask. This type of sedation’s effects comes on quickly and when the mask is removed, its effects dissipate quite rapidly. A sedation dentist might use nitrous oxide to place a filling.

Oral sedation, another type, involves patients taking prescribed medication in tablet form. This medication normally comes from a specific class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Common brand names of this medication include Valium and Klonopin. Oral sedation can take up to an hour for its full effects to be noticeable. This medication has a relatively long half-life so patients are advised not to drive while on this medication. Oral sedation is useful for receiving dental implants or oral pathology services.

The strongest form of sedation is delivered intravenously. IV sedation is reserved for invasive treatments like wisdom teeth removal, jaw surgery, and dental implants placement. Intravenous sedation normally involves a combination of pain-relieving medication and sedating drugs so that patients are free of discomfort and anxiety. Most patients who receive this type of sedation sleep peacefully during treatment and have limited recollection of their procedures.

For more information about sedation, call us today to reserve a consultation with our oral surgeon.


Why Regular Dental Exams Are So Important

Charlottesville dentalHave you had an oral health checkup lately? Having routine dental examinations is imperative to monitoring your oral health and improving the likelihood of early detection of common issues like periodontal disease and tooth decay. Following are some good reasons why you shouldn’t skip dental appointments.

Oral Diseases are Destructive

Common oral diseases are destructive when they advance untreated. For instance, tooth decay and gum disease have the power to destroy hard and soft oral tissue. If tooth decay is not treated early on, bacteria will eat through a tooth’s structure all the way to the root canal or farther. Advanced tooth decay can lead to teeth breaking or becoming abscessed. Additionally, advanced gum disease destroys the supportive structures – gums and bone – that keep teeth in place. Detecting these issues and treating them as soon as possible helps preserve precious oral tissue.

Healthcare Cost Reduction

Beyond destroying vital oral tissue, common oral health problems can be costly to fix when they have advanced without treatment. For example, minor tooth decay is rectified by placing a small restoration called a filling. When decay advances, however, a filling is not sufficient to protect the tooth. Normally, extensive decay is treated with larger restorations like dental crowns or inlays. Larger restorations are custom made and more costly than fillings.

Oral Cancer Screenings

In addition to looking for signs of common issues like dental caries or gum disease, dental checkups include oral cancer screenings. An oral cancer screening could literally save your life. Oral cancers can develop anywhere in the mouth such as the lips, linings of the cheeks, the tongue, and at the back of the mouth near the opening of the airway. People who smoke and drink alcohol as well as those with a family history of these cancers have an increased risk for developing this condition. As with other potentially fatal illnesses, patients can increase the likelihood of securing a good prognosis with early detection and timely treatment.

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

Preventing Facial Injuries on the Field and on the Court

dental CharlottesvilleMany sports-related activities can contribute to tooth loss and dental trauma. Did you know that it is possible to prevent facial and oral injuries by taking precautionary measures? You can also mitigate their effects by seeking the appropriate medical or dental treatment in a timely manner. Our dentist is a specialist who provides diagnoses and treatment for a number of oral health conditions and issues. One area of an oral surgeon’s expertise is treating the effects of facial trauma with reconstructive procedures and prosthetics like dental implants. Following is some important information for preventing and responding to oral health emergencies caused by sports.

Invest in Proper Protective Gear

Many sports recommend the use of protective gear. For instance, chin straps and mouth guards are common ways to protect the lower half of the face and the inside of the mouth. Helmets are useful for protecting parts of the face and head as well.  In addition to preventing traumatic injuries, this protective gear could save a person time and money on treatments related to the effects of facial trauma. When it comes to protective gear, it is important to focus on quality and customizability. Not all mouthguards are created equal. For instance, custom mouthguards will fit over the teeth and gums perfectly to minimize the impact blunt force can have on the wellbeing of teeth. Custom mouthguards will also fit properly in the mouth so that soft tissue like the linings of cheeks and lips isn’t affected by ill-fitting oral appliances. If mouthguards are comfortable, a person will likely wear it more often than they would an ill-fitting one.

See a Specialist for Facial Trauma

The face and the oral health system is very complex. When performing treatments that affect hard and soft tissue, oral and maxillofacial surgeons take great care to minimize the impact of treatment on tissue that contains nerve endings or blood vessels. Moreover, this type of oral health care specialist can use techniques to minimize scarring and other signs of trauma.

Call us today at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to reserve a consultation with our experienced team.

Do I really need to replace a tooth that’s not visible in the smile?

dentistry CharlottesvilleWhen we first lose a tooth in adulthood, one of our primary concerns is how a lost tooth will affect our appearance. Sometimes, when a tooth at the back of one’s mouth goes missing, patients might be tempted to forego receiving a replacement tooth because it is not as much as an aesthetic issue as a tooth that is in a more obvious location. Unfortunately, not replacing a missing tooth can have negative effects on your oral health and well-being. One of the best ways to replace a single missing tooth is with a dental implant. A dental implant is a titanium prosthetic that functions like a tooth’s root. Our dentist is well acquainted with implant dentistry and has the expertise and technology to embed dental implants so that oral function and one’s appearance is restored.

Why is it important to replace a less visible tooth?

While a less visible tooth does not have as big an impact on your smile as one of your anterior teeth, having an empty tooth socket can put your other teeth in danger. Our teeth support each other. When one is missing, teeth can shift into empty tooth sockets because they lack adequate support. Additionally, the absence of one tooth will only put excessive force and pressure on other teeth during oral function – increasing the risk for developing worn dentition. Lastly, without teeth, the bone that once surrounded a tooth’s root can become atrophied due to lack of stimulation.

How can a dental implant help?

A dental implant can potentially solve all the negative effects associated with tooth loss. First, a dental implant will become the durable base that holds a prosthetic crown. The implant and the crown will keep neighboring teeth in their proper positions with enough support. A dental implant and its restoration (the crown) will also evenly distribute the force associated with chewing and tearing food. Lastly, dental implants function like the roots of teeth, which means that the bone where a lost tooth was will remain active and stimulated so that patients are less likely to experience bone atrophy.

If you have questions about implant dentistry, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to reserve a consultation.