Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Cent

What signs and symptoms are associated with an impacted tooth?

impacted tooth CharlottesvilleWisdom teeth tend to become impacted, which means that they do not emerge through the bone and gums properly. An impacted tooth contributes to a number of unpleasant symptoms that could reduce your quality of life and affect your oral health. This is why oral health professionals often recommend the removal of wisdom teeth.

Symptoms associated with an impacted tooth include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Tender gingiva
  • Orofacial pain
  • Aching jaw
  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
  • Halitosis (persistent bad breath)

Why do wisdom teeth become impacted?

Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that arrive during early adulthood. Since the rest of a person’s teeth are well-established, there is normally not enough room for third molars to emerge through the gums properly. Instead they become stuck in the jaw and/or the gums.

An impacted tooth might point at an angle toward other teeth or the back of the mouth. In the rare instance that it is positioned upright, much of its structure is still trapped in the gums and/or the jawbone.

How can an impacted tooth affect my oral health?

There are a few ways that an impacted tooth negatively affects oral health. These teeth are susceptible to becoming abscessed. This is because if they are partially submerged in the gingiva, they are nearly impossible to keep clean. Surface debris and bacteria can become trapped beneath the gums and ultimately infect the tooth.

When an impacted tooth becomes infected, it can produce significant discomfort. The infection can also spread to neighboring teeth and the gingiva.

How do I know when it’s time to have my wisdom teeth removed?

Most people’s wisdom teeth begin to emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. Your dentist will look for signs of wisdom tooth arrival during routine checkups. When your dentist finds that your wisdom teeth have arrived, he or she will often recommend that you see an oral surgeon for their extraction.

If you’ve been referred to our practice for wisdom teeth removal, call our team at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to reserve a consultation.

Insufficient Bone: How Bone Grafting Can Help

bone grafting CharlottesvilleHas your oral surgeon recommended that you receive a bone graft? Bone grafting is a procedure that improves the structure of the jaws and increases the likelihood of a dental implant’s success. This procedure can assist with maintaining healthy bone mass in the jaws after developing tooth loss, periodontal disease, and even osteoporosis.

What is bone grafting exactly?

While our jawbones aren’t as visible as our teeth, they do play a vital role in the oral health system. When our jawbones lose density, its tissue becomes narrow and sparse. Inadequate bone will contribute to future tooth loss and prevent the integration of a dental implant.

A bone graft involves placing bone, normally from a tissue bank or from a patient’s body, into areas where the bone has deteriorated. For instance, bone grafts are placed in the upper jaw below the sinus cavities because bone tends to be thin and narrow in these areas. Over time, the cells within grafted bone will seal themselves into existing bone.

The procedure itself is not too invasive and local anesthetics normally keep patients comfortable for small treatment areas. Under some circumstances, patients may opt for sedation to maintain physical and emotional comfort during treatment.

Why is bone grafting recommended for dental implants?

Bone grafting is recommended to help stabilize dental implants. An implant is a titanium component used to replace the roots of teeth. Implants are embedded directly into the jawbone and bone will ultimately fuse around the implant to hold it in place.

Since bone tissue is the foundation of an implant’s support, there must be enough tissue to hold the dental implant. Inadequate bone could cause dental implants to fail.

Our oral surgeon provides bone grafting services and places dental implants. Those interested in receiving implants should schedule a visit to determine if they are candidates for implant dentistry.

If you have suffered from tooth loss, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to reserve a tooth replacement consultation today.

Dental Implants: A Great Investment into Your Health

missing teeth CharlottesvilleReplacing missing teeth is important for many reasons. Living with an incomplete smile can take a toll on your self-confidence and your wellness. Fortunately, our oral surgeon provides dental implants as a way to restore your appearance, improve your oral function, and safeguard your health.

The Far-Reaching Health Effects of Missing Teeth

Losing teeth can affect far more than your appearance. There are long-lasting ramifications to tooth loss that effect the entire oral health system. Just losing one tooth could lead to additional tooth loss. This is because teeth hold each other in place. Without the support of an adjacent tooth, teeth can move out of position leading to orthodontic issues and future tooth loss.

When a tooth is missing, it affects bone health, too. The jawbone is the foundation for holding teeth in place. Without a tooth to keep the bone stimulated and active, the body will resorb it. As bone deteriorates, it can affect teeth neighboring an empty tooth socket.

Tooth loss affects a person’s ability to eat. Diminished oral function can lead to malnutrition due to a limited diet. Our bodies rely on well-rounded diets from nutrient-dense foods for optimal health.

How Dental Implants Work

Dental implants replace the missing root structure of teeth. This is accomplished by embedding a biocompatible titanium post into the jawbone. The bone will fuse around the implant to hold it in place much like it would a biological tooth’s root. Once the implant is stabilized, patients will receive a permanent restoration – normally a dental crown or bridge. The restoration will replace visible tooth structure.

Wellness Benefits of Dental Implants

Compared to other types of replacement teeth, dental implants offer the most lifelike restoration of appearance and oral function. Dental implants support neighboring teeth and help keep them upright. They also prevent bone atrophy by stimulating the jaw the way a tooth’s root would. Once implants are stable, a person can enjoy a nutritious diet to maintain overall wellness.

Dental implants are a great investment in your oral health and overall wellbeing. To learn more about your options for replacing missing teeth, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to schedule a consultation with our oral surgeon.

Sedation Dentistry: Is it right for you?

Charlottesville sedation dentistryDo you have an upcoming appointment with our oral surgeon for wisdom teeth removal or dental implants placement? If so, you might be wondering about what to expect during treatment and what kinds of methods we have to keep you comfortable. One way we can increase our guests’ comfort is through sedation dentistry – the administration of compounds like nitrous oxide or prescription medications to relax the mind and body.

Sedation dentistry might be beneficial to patients who have moderately invasive procedures coming up as well as for those who suffer with anxiety related to dental and medical settings. Determining if sedation dentistry is right for you involves having a conversation with our oral surgeon about your oral health and medical history, your specific needs or concerns, and previous reactions to certain types of medications.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

The mildest and shortest-lasting form of sedation is nitrous oxide. This gas, which is inhaled through a comfortable nasal mask, quickly produces pain relieving and mild euphoric effects. Nitrous oxide has been used as a drug-free anesthetic by dentists and doctors for over a century.

Since nitrous oxide’s effects wear off within a few minutes after treatment is complete, patients can drive themselves to and from appointments.

Oral Sedation

When it comes to more invasive procedures or for managing dental phobia, oral sedation is a common treatment protocol. This form of sedation dentistry involves a patient taking prescribed tablets prior to his or her appointment.

The medication prescribed is a sedative that promotes a mentally – and physically – relaxed state because it is formulated to slow down the central nervous system and produce chemical reactions that have an overall calming effect on the mind and body.

IV Sedation & General Anesthesia

If a person is receiving a complex or invasive treatment such as the placement of dental implants, wisdom teeth removal, or jaw surgery, stronger medications might be used depending on a patient’s situation. Instead of taking these medications orally, they are administered intravenously so that their effects are easily adjusted in a safe, highly controlled environment.

Our mission is to ensure our guests receive high-quality oral care as comfortably as possible. Call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center today to schedule an appointment.

Dental Implants: What is osseointegration?

implant dentist CharlottesvilleDental implants make for excellent replacement teeth because they are very durable and stable. A dental implant’s unmatched reputation for stability as prosthetic teeth is due to the fact that they are embedded into the jawbone by an implant dentist. After implantation, bone will begin to fuse to the implant through a natural biologic process called osseointegration. This process means that bone will anchor and support a dental implant the same way it would hold the roots of a natural tooth.

The natural process of bone responding to titanium by fusing to it (osseointegration) was discovered in the middle of the 20th century. Throughout history, dental and medical practitioners tried to replace teeth by embedding prosthetics made from various materials. Until titanium was studied, there was nothing available to replace the roots of teeth that would not be rejected by the body as a foreign object.

How do dental implants work?

A dental implant is essentially the replacement for the root of a tooth that will also hold a restoration like a crown or a prosthetic such as a bridge or denture. Implants, since they are metal and have a ridged texture, are sometimes compared to the appearance of screw. Its tapered end is embedded into the bone where a tooth’s root once was.

After our implant dentist embeds an implant, a patient will return to our office for follow-up appointments so that our team can monitor the process of osseointegration. Once the implant is stable, its permanent prosthetic or restoration will be secured to an abutment on the implant to complete the smile restoration process.

How do I take care of implants?

When compared to other types of replacement teeth, dental implants are considered very low maintenance. This is because they are cleaned by brushing and flossing – the same way that a person would clean biological teeth.

If you have suffered with tooth loss, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to schedule a tooth replacement consultation.

4 Things You May Not Know About Your Toothbrush

dental CharlottesvilleA toothbrush is a person’s best weapon against the development of common dental diseases. Brushing our teeth is a twice-daily occurrence but many people have misconceptions about how to choose a toothbrush, how to keep it “sanitary”, and last but not least – how to use it properly.

Empowering yourself with accurate information will help you make wise health decisions. Following are four things about toothbrushes you might not know.

What to Buy

The toothbrush that ends up in your shopping cart should have the American Dental Association’s seal of approval. To earn this seal, toothbrush manufacturers must adhere to strict standards set forth by the association.

In addition to earning the ADA’s seal of approval, it is best to choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. Toothbrushes marked as “medium” or “hard” can affect the health of tooth enamel – especially if a person tends to brush vigorously.

How To Store It

Do you leave your toothbrush laying horizontally near your sink? Doing this can increase the amount of bacteria that live on your toothbrush. It’s best to store your toothbrush upright so that its bristles can dry out between uses.

Know the 2-Minute Rule

If you brush your teeth for less than two minutes, you’re not cleaning your mouth thoroughly. It takes about two minutes (on average) to clean all the surfaces of your teeth, your tongue, your gums, and the roof of your mouth.

For those who have difficulty keeping track of time, a person can set a cooking timer or an alert on his or her phone for two minutes. Or most electric toothbrushes have a built-in timer to help keep you on track.

When to Say Goodbye

A toothbrush isn’t meant to last forever. In fact, we should go through four toothbrushes (or four brush heads for electric toothbrushes) each year. Tossing out and replacing your toothbrush will help prevent you from using one that’s bristles are worn or have accumulated bacteria and debris.

Wisdom Teeth Removal: Optimize Whole Body Health

wisdom teeth CharlottesvilleCould your wisdom teeth be contributing to issues like orofacial discomfort, headaches, and the misalignment of your teeth? Some people experience quality of life issues when their wisdom teeth emerge and others can develop serious oral health concerns like tooth decay and gum disease when wisdom teeth are retained.

Having your wisdom teeth extracted by an oral surgeon can optimize your health and wellbeing. It can also prevent a host of oral health complications.

The Problems Associated with Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are associated with many oral health problems among modern humans. This is because wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are no longer necessary from an evolutionary perspective. Due to advances in oral hygiene practices and increased accessibility to oral healthcare providers, people keep their first and second molars much longer and therefore make third molars unnecessary for optimal oral function.

Since we retain the first and second molars much longer than our ancestors, the arrival of wisdom teeth during teenage years or early adulthood is problematic. Without proper space to erupt, third molars often become impacted (stuck in the gums and/or jaw) and cannot emerge upright through the gums the way that other teeth do. This means that the arrival of wisdom teeth can cause orofacial pain, headaches, and orthodontic problems.

Impacted teeth are susceptible to developing dental caries and abscesses, too. This is because partially erupted or impacted teeth are difficult to keep clean. Debris and bacteria tend to pool beneath the gums on the surfaces of teeth, which can lead to the development of severe cavities and painful infections (abscesses).

Comfortable Wisdom Tooth Removal

For most people, the pros of wisdom tooth removal heavily outweigh the cons. In addition to preventing and improving oral health problems, having one’s wisdom teeth removed is more comfortable than people’s experiences in previous generations.

Our practice utilizes the latest technology and surgical techniques to minimize the invasiveness of procedures. We also administer anesthetics and prescription medication during wisdom teeth removal to ensure that our guests are relaxed and comfortable.

Call us today at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to reserve an appointment with our oral surgeon.

Beware of These 4 Dental Fads

Charlottesville dentalIt seems that there’s a new article on the web each day detailing some easy, do-it-yourself method for improving health or hygiene. Similarly, our culture is inundated with fads from the entertainment industry – many of them impractical and dated. Not all fads are worth trying, especially fads that can negatively affect oral health.

Dental Fads to Avoid


The “grills” to which we are referring are not the kind used for cooking out in the summer. In this instance, the term “grill” refers to removable appliances or permanent alterations to teeth with compounds made of metals like gold and even platinum. Grills cover the outer surface of teeth to produce the appearance of a gold or platinum smile and sometimes teeth are adorned with diamonds.

While grills have cultural significance to some, they can be bad for one’s oral health. Bacteria and debris can easily become trapped behind grills. People who wear grills have increased risks for tooth decay, periodontal disease, and abscesses.

Toothpaste Without Fluoride

In recent years, we have seen an increase in fluoride-free toothpaste available to consumers. The general public, unless otherwise directed by a health professional, should not avoid fluoridated toothpaste.

Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that is scientifically proven to strengthen tooth enamel. Be sure to choose fluoridated toothpaste that has the American Dental Association’s seal of approval and use it exactly as directed.

DIY Whitening Products

The ads section of any website and even most social media sites circulate recipes for do-it-yourself (DIY) teeth whitening products. Many of these DIY “dental hacks” contain ingredients such as activated charcoal, vinegar, and lemon juice that are harmful to teeth because they can permanently damage tooth enamel.

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient practice where a person swishes around a small amount of food-grade oil like olive or coconut oil to clean one’s mouth and whiten one’s teeth. If this practice seems too good to be true, it is. There is no scientific evidence to back up claims that oil pulling is beneficial to a person’s oral health or the long-term appearance of their teeth.

When it comes to health fads of any kind, it’s important to consult with professionals as there is an abundance of bad advice circulating on the internet and in the media.

Take the Edge Off With Oral Sedation

oral sedation CharlottesvilleDo you suffer with anxiety when it comes to receiving dental or medical care? You’re not alone; estimates indicate that up to 50% of the adult population can suffer with situational anxiety related to dental and/or medical treatments. One way that dental professionals combat dental anxiety and phobia is through oral sedation. This treatment option helps patients maintain a relaxed state of mind and body, even in situations where one would normally be very nervous or panicked.

Oral sedation is also beneficial for increasing comfort during procedures like dental implant placement and wisdom teeth removal. The medications used for oral sedation help control discomfort and increase the efficacy of anesthetics or analgesics.

How Oral Sedation Works

Oral sedation involves taking prescription medication. This medication is a mild sedative and normally comes from the benzodiazepine class of drugs.

Patients receiving oral sedation are not permitted to drive themselves to and from their appointments. This is because this medication can impair motor and cognitive function. Benzodiazepines are formulated specifically to control feelings of anxiety, panic, and intense worry. While these medications relieve anxiety, they can make patients feel sleepy and groggy as well.

Those receiving oral sedation will normally take their prescription one hour before their appointments. By the time a person arrives, his or her medication will have already taken effect. As the medication continues to work, patients can relax in our comfortable treatment chairs without oppressive feelings of panic and worry.

For those with severe dental phobia and anxiety, a tablet may be taken then night before one’s treatment to ensure that a person receives a good night’s rest. Dosages are carefully determined by our oral surgeon so that medication is effective but not too strong.

If you have questions about procedures like dental implants placement, wisdom teeth extractions, or jaw surgery, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to schedule a consultation with our oral surgeon.

Don’t Let Missing Teeth Affect Your Ability to Eat

missing teeth CharlottesvilleLife with missing teeth is cumbersome. If you have lost teeth, you can attest to the difficulties you face eating meals comfortably. Many people with tooth loss develop malnutrition as a result of dietary limitations caused by losing teeth. Fortunately, dental implants can restore oral function and improve the appearance of your smile.

Dental implants are long-lasting, durable replacements for teeth. An implant is used to replace the missing roots of a tooth and hold a restoration to restore biting surfaces above the gums. These prosthetics can treat single tooth loss or multiple implants can be used to support a large prosthetic such as a full denture. Our oral surgeon has expert education and training to administer implant dentistry services.

Tooth Loss and Your Emotional Wellbeing

Tooth loss has profound effects on our emotional wellbeing. Sometimes, patients liken losing a tooth to losing a limb. Tooth loss often leaves us feeling incomplete, self-conscious, and helpless. Many people who have missing teeth develop depression and social anxiety out of embarrassment of their smiles and fear of social rejection.

Oral Health Effects of Tooth Loss

Beyond the obvious issues presented by tooth loss – aesthetic concerns and diminished oral function – losing teeth can drastically impact your oral health. One major issue tooth loss sufferers need to be aware of is bone atrophy.

When the roots of our teeth are no longer present in the jaw, inactive bone will be resorbed by the body. Losing bone contributes to additional tooth loss as bone deterioration can affect the security of other teeth. Bone deterioration also changes the shape of one’s face, normally causing a person to look older because their faces appear “sunken in”.

Hope with Dental Implants

While those suffering with tooth loss might feel hopeless, dental implants will likely give you something to be excited for. Implants are easy to maintain, long lasting, and very lifelike. With dental implants, a person can enjoy a wide range of foods, including items that are tough or chewy.

If dental implants interest you, we invite you to schedule a tooth replacement consultation with our oral surgery team at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center.