Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Cent

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.

Can dry mouth lead to cavities?

dentist CharlottesvilleDo you have persistent dry mouth? Medically known as xerostomia, persistent dry mouth can increase your risk for oral health conditions like periodontal disease and cavities. This is because saliva is an important part of keeping the oral cavity clean and moist. Soft oral tissue requires moisture and saliva helps rinse away food particles and dilute acid. If saliva production is diminished due to medical conditions or medication, it is especially important that patients see their dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings and alert their oral health care provider of new symptoms as soon as possible. Taking a proactive approach to one’s oral well-being can prevent the progression of negative effects associated with chronic dry mouth.

What could affect saliva production?

A host of common medical conditions can affect saliva production. For instance, diabetes is a common culprit behind dry mouth. Certain medications like antihistamines or antidepressants can also decrease saliva production.

Why is saliva important?

We might associate saliva with spit but the truth is that saliva is more important than we realize. Instead of just associating saliva with spit, we might be better off as thinking of saliva as nature’s first defense against oral bacteria and acid. Since saliva can help rinse food debris away, it prevents bacteria from feeding on sugar particles. Additionally, saliva dilutes acid, which is important for maintaining a healthy oral pH. An acidic oral environment is bad for one’s oral health because bacteria can flourish and acid weakens teeth by eroding tooth enamel.

What can be done about dry mouth?

If you have dry mouth, it is important to discuss this symptom with your dentist as it can coincide with certain medical and oral health issues. To help protect your teeth and gums, your oral health care provider might recommend that you reduce sodium intake, increase water consumption, and maintain a vigilant oral hygiene routine. Sometimes, oral rinses can be used to help hydrate the mouth, too.

For more information, call us today to reserve an appointment.

When is IV sedation recommended?

Charlottesville sedation dentistryIV sedation can be recommended in dental and medical settings. This type of sedation alleviates feelings of nervousness and discomfort while also helping patients in treatment remain still so that a dentist or oral surgeon can perform treatments without obstruction. IV sedation might also be recommended for patients with special needs to help maintain their comfort. Sedation dentistry is advantageous for treating facial trauma, performing surgeries like tooth extractions and corrective jaw surgery, and placing dental implants. When a dental professional recommends IV sedation it is because he or she believes it is beneficial.

What is IV sedation, exactly?

IV sedation involves administering sedating and sometimes pain-relieving medication intravenously. This type of sedation dentistry is helpful to a dentist or surgeon because nothing is standing in the way of the oral cavity. When delivered through an IV, medication works almost instantaneously. The dosage can also be adjusted to achieve the desired result.

How will I feel during IV sedation?

IV sedation will make a person feel very relaxed and comfortable. Patients will drift off into a peaceful sleep while their treatments are performed. During treatment, people are not aware of operatory sounds or smells and they will not feel discomfort or anxiety. After treatment, a person will slowly return to a state of alertness as the medication begins to wear off. Since IV sedation profoundly affects cognitive and motor function, patients must arrange for transportation to and from our practice on the day of treatment. It is best to have a close friend or family member drive you to your appointment.

Is IV sedation safe?

When administering sedation of any kind, dental professionals adhere to very strict protocols set forth by the FDA. Only approved medications are administered. Moreover, a person’s dose is carefully determined by taking a number of factors into consideration including height, weight, health history, and the nature of treatment to be received.

For more information about sedation dentistry, call us at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to reserve an appointment.  

Is chewing ice really bad for your teeth?

Charlottesville dentistDo you chew on ice cubes? Did you know that this seemingly benign habit can be very dangerous for your teeth? Chewing on ice cubes and other inedible objects can greatly affect the health of your teeth by causing worn dentition, damaging tooth enamel, and contributing to chips, cracks, and decay. Since chewing ice is habitual, a dentist will recommend changing one’s behavior to break this habit along with professional treatments like restorations and tooth extractions to protect a person’s overall oral health.

How does chewing ice affect teeth?

Chewing ice can affect teeth profoundly. Ice is very hard and requires quite a bit of force to break apart. When we use our teeth to chew ice, we exert unnecessary force and pressure on our teeth. This will lead to wearing small cracks in tooth enamel over time. As people continue to chew ice, tooth enamel becomes increasingly damaged – leaving dentin (the soft structure under tooth enamel) exposed. Without tooth enamel, our teeth have little to no protection against cavity-causing bacteria. It also weakens our teeth from a structural perspective. Without enamel, teeth will develop brittle edges that can form into cracks and chips. Repairing this kind of damage can involve extensive restorations like receiving multiple dental crowns and oral surgery like tooth extractions for teeth that are so damaged that they cannot be repaired.

Can chewing ice harm other oral structures?

Absolutely. Chewing ice and other inedible, hard objects can affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the muscles and ligaments surrounding the joint. We have two TMJs, each one located at the side of the face just beneath the ears. TMJs are create all mouth movement. When we chew on hard, inedible objects as a habit, we will place unnecessary stress and strain on the TMJ and its supportive tissue. A strained TMJ can be very painful. Repeated stress to these joints can cause them to dysfunction, thus greatly affecting oral function.

If your dentist has referred you to our practice for treatment, call us today to reserve an appointment with our oral surgeon!

How Dental Implants can Restore Your Mouth’s Maximum Function

cosmetic dentistry CharlottesvilleHas your smile been negatively affected by tooth loss? Have you been looking into cosmetic dentistry treatments to see if there is a procedure that can restore your appearance? If you have lost teeth, we recommend looking into dental implants. These durable replacement teeth can improve both your appearance and your oral function. Our oral surgeon offers dental implants as both a cosmetic dentistry service as well as a method to improve the overall health and quality of life of people in our community.

Restored Oral Function

Life without teeth is very difficult. When a tooth is missing, the rest of our teeth have to take on all the pressure and force associated with eating. If multiple teeth are missing, the rest of a person’s biological teeth will wear down faster. It is also common for biological teeth next to empty spaces to slide or collapse into empty tooth sockets because they no longer have the support that keeps them upright. Since a dental implant restores both the roots and crowns of teeth, patients can enjoy replacement teeth that protects the health of existing natural teeth while increasing oral function.

A dental implant is made of titanium. It is embedded into the jawbone so that it can ultimately replace a tooth’s missing root. Once an implant is embedded and stabilized by bone, it will be used to anchor a restoration like a dental crown. This restoration will fill in the gap caused by tooth loss and provide a biting surface for tearing and chewing food. Since a dental implant is anchored by bone and the materials used to construct its restoration are durable, patients can enjoy a full, balanced diet without any restrictions.

Renewed Appearance

On top of restoring oral function, dental implants can greatly improve the appearance of a smile. This is because restorations attached to dental implants can look very lifelike when the right materials are chosen. For instance, dental crowns or bridges made of porcelain or porcelain fused to metal are virtually indistinguishable from biological teeth.

For more information about dental implants, call our practice to reserve a tooth replacement consultation with our oral surgeon at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center.

Is a bone graft required for dental implants?

bone grafting CharlottesvilleBone grafting treatments commonly precede the placement of dental implants but grafts are not always necessary. While bone grafting is common, some patients’ dental implants will stabilize without extra tissue. On the other hand, bone grafting can increase the likelihood of a dental implant’s success – especially if the site of implantation is located in an area prone to having thin or narrow bone mass. Determining whether a patient needs a bone graft is a careful process because every person’s needs and anatomy vary.

Why is bone mass important?

Our jawbones are incredibly important to our general oral health, the health of our biological teeth, and our implantable prosthetics. Bone is the foundation for teeth and since dental implants replace the roots of teeth, the density and thickness of our jawbones matters. In fact, dental implants cannot function properly unless bone fuses to its titanium structure. These are a few of the reasons bone grafting is common place among people receiving dental implants.

Why do we lose bone tissue?

Sometimes, bone is lost to age and disease. Osteoporosis, for instance, can affect bone density. For the most part, however, people lose bone when/if they lose a biological tooth. This is because the roots of teeth no longer keep that particular area of bone stimulated. Without stimulation, the body will resorb tissue.

Does bone tend to be less dense in particular areas?

Yes, there are certain areas of the jaw that are more likely to need extra bone than other areas. This is particularly true for the upper jaw because of the sinus cavities and along the curved areas of both jawbones. Sometimes, a person receiving a bone graft may not have sparse tissue caused by bone loss; they just might need extra bone to support an implant because of its intended placement.

If you have questions about dental implants or bone grafting, call our office to reserve a consultation with our oral surgeon.

Tips to Prevent Tooth Decay

dentistry CharlottesvillePreventing oral disease is a big aspect of dentistry services. Tooth decay is one of the most common ailments that affects people’s oral health. In fact, dental caries (cavities) are the second most common infectious disease in the United States. There is a specific strain of bacteria that eats through tooth structure and these bacteria is orally transmitted.

Since tooth decay is so common, most people will need restorative dentistry services such as having fillings or crowns placed at some point in their lifetimes. Even though a specific strain of bacteria eats through teeth to form cavities, prevention is possible. Following are some easy tips for preventing tooth decay.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Taking your oral hygiene routine seriously is one of the best things you can do for your oral health. Not only will brushing and flossing help prevent tooth decay, it will keep your gums stimulated and clean. People should brush their teeth at least twice a day but not more than three times. One should brush is soft, circular motions with ADA-approved toothbrushes and toothpaste. In addition to through brushing, flossing is a must. Flossing is important for cleaning deep between teeth and along the gum line. Those physically able should floss once per day, every day.

Avoid Sugar

Sugar is a threat to your oral health because it feeds bacteria. Eating or drinking items with too much sugar can throw off your oral pH and create an environment where bacteria can thrive. Our practice strongly encourages abstinence from sugary foods and beverages. Candy, sodas, and flavored drinks are common items that should be avoided as much as possible.

Drink Plenty of Water

We all know how important water consumption is for preventing dehydration but many of us might not know how water can benefit our oral health. Sipping water throughout the day dilutes acid and rinses away debris from food. Like saliva, water helps keep one’s mouth clean.

Visit Your Oral Healthcare Provider Regularly

Sometimes we neglect our oral health by skipping routine checkups and cleanings. Skipping routine care and checkups puts us at a higher risk for developing oral disease that cannot be detected in its earliest stages.

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

Your Comfort Is A Priority In Our Office

oral sedation CharlottesvilleOur oral and maxillofacial surgery practice places a high priority on our patients’ comfort during treatment. From placing dental implants and extracting wisdom teeth to performing jaw surgery or grafting treatments, our doctor utilizes effective and properly-dosed sedatives and anesthetics to promote a relaxing experience during treatment.

Oral sedation is one method that helps increase a patient’s comfort during procedures like wisdom teeth extractions and placing dental implants. This type of sedation involves the administration of prescription pills or tablets. Since sedating medication impairs motor function, any patient receiving this type of sedation should arrange for transportation to and from his or her appointments. Following is some help information on oral sedation and how it can benefit our guests.

Oral Sedation Facts

Orally-administered sedatives have been used in dental and medical settings for thousands of years. This is because sedation can greatly increase a person’s comfort during treatment. Fortunately, modern science and safety protocols mean that receiving sedation of any type is safer than ever before. When we prescribe oral sedation, the medication is normally from the benzodiazepine class of medications. Common brand names of medicine in this class include Valium and Ativan. This type of medication slows the central nervous system by working with GABA receptors in the brain. Simply put, benzodiazepines are specifically formulated to calm one’s mind and body.

Who Benefits from Oral Sedation

There are a couple reasons why a person might benefit from sedation. The first reason is to alleviate discomfort associated with a procedure like jaw surgery or placing dental implants. The second is to ease a patient’s mind if they have phobias regarding medical or dental settings. When determining if a patient should receive sedation, our oral surgeon will carefully review one’s medical records and mediation history. The dosage administered is carefully determined as well—normally by taking a patient’s height and weight into account.

For more information about oral sedation, call us today to speak with a friendly member of our team.