Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Cent

Missing Teeth: More Than Just a Gap in Your Smile

missing teeth CharlottesvilleAre you struggling with missing teeth? While this is a terrible blow to your self-esteem and confidence, there are lesser known risks related to tooth loss that can affect your oral health, too.  Missing teeth can make it difficult to get the nutrition you need to thrive while also affecting the health of your jawbones. Our oral surgeon treats tooth loss with dental implants, a long-lasting and lifelike tooth replacement option.

Tooth Loss and Your Oral Health

Losing teeth affects far more than your appearance. Our teeth play an integral role in our daily lives. Without them, eating and speaking is very difficult. Without all our teeth to disperse the force of daily oral function, remaining teeth can wear down faster than they should.

Since all our teeth work as a harmonious system, the loss of just a few teeth could seriously affect your ability to eat comfortably. It is not uncommon for those with missing teeth to develop malnutrition. Moreover, tooth loss will lead to the atrophy of the jaws. Without the roots of teeth, the jawbones will deteriorate, which can cause malocclusions, uncomfortable oral function, and accelerated aging.

How Dental Implants Protect Your Oral Health

Replacing missing teeth with dental implants is a great way to safeguard your oral function and your wellbeing. What makes dental implants unique is the fact that they replace the lost roots of teeth, which helps protect bone.

Dental implants are placed into the jawbone through a minor surgical procedure. Once bone stabilizes around implants, they can support permanent restorations (crowns and bridges) or prosthetics (full and partial dentures). This makes implants incredibly sturdy so that they can withstand the forces associated with daily oral function. Eating food with dental implants is easy and comfortable.

Since implants are located in the jaw, they keep the bone stimulated and prevent its deterioration. This helps patients maintain a healthy occlusion. Preserving bone will also help protect remaining teeth.

If you have questions about replacing missing teeth with dental implants, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to schedule a consultation with our oral surgeon.

What can I expect with oral sedation?

oral sedation CharlottesvilleDo you have an upcoming appointment to have dental implants placed or wisdom teeth extracted? If so, our oral surgeon might prescribe medication to enhance your comfort during treatment. Called “oral sedation” this medication will help alleviate anxiety and discomfort. It will also make it easier to remain still during your procedure.

How will oral sedation make me feel?

The tablets used in oral sedation come from an anxiolytic class of medications that work with GABA receptors to slow down the central nervous system. They produce a calming, mildly sedating effect. Those who have phobias and anxiety related to dental or medical settings respond very well to this type of medication.

Most patients will feel a noticeable sense of calm and peacefulness. Many will feel groggy, too, and some may even sleep through their appointments.

How long does oral sedation last?

These tablets are to be taken about one hour before your appointment so that by the time you arrive the effects have kicked in. Patients can expect oral sedation’s effects to last about four to six hours. Since oral sedation will impair cognitive and motor function, people will need to arrange for transportation to and from their procedures.

Who should receive oral sedation?

A number of people could benefit from oral sedation. It is especially helpful for controlling anxiety, which benefits people who have phobias with medical and dental environments. Oral sedation can also help keep fidgety patients still during long treatments that require precision and limited movement.

Determining if oral sedation is right for you involves having a conversation with our oral surgeon. Some people with certain conditions or those on certain prescription regimens may not respond well to this type of medication. Our team will need to review your health history to determine the specific medication to prescribe and its dose.

If you have questions about oral sedation or common treatments like wisdom teeth extractions or dental implant placement, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to schedule a consultation.

How Bone Grafting Makes Dental Implants Possible

bone grafting CharlottesvilleDental implants make excellent replacement teeth.  Dental implants and their restorations can function, look, and feel like biological teeth. Since implants draw on bone for support, patients must have adequate bone mass in their jaws to support their prosthetics. Those with sparse bone may need bone grafting procedures to ensure successful implantation procedures.

In the past, patients with inadequate bone weren’t considered good candidates for dental implants. This is because the risk of implant failure was high. Fortunately, bone grafting procedures makes dental implants possible for a greater number of people.

Bone Health and Dental Implants

For implants to function properly, they must have enough support from the bone surrounding them. A number of conditions can contribute to sparse bone including tooth loss, facial trauma and advanced gum disease. Certain parts of the jaw tend to have less bone than others, particularly the upper jaw where it is sometimes too thin to support implants.

How Bone Grafting Works

Bone grafting is a procedure that transplants bone tissue to the jaw. For many patients, tissue used in bone grafting treatments comes from a tissue bank.

There are different types of bone grafts, too. One common type of bone graft is a “socket graft”, which is placed into an empty tooth socket after losing a tooth. This type of graft helps prevent rapid bone atrophy associated with tooth loss.

Other types of common grafting techniques include “lateral ridge preservation graft” and “sinus lift” grafts. Lateral ridge preservation grafts widen the jawbone to accommodate a dental implant while sinus lifts concentrate on the bone in the upper jaw just below the sinus cavities.

Although the words “bone grafting” can sound intimidating, it’s important to know that these procedures are outpatient treatments that produce minimal discomfort. If you have questions about bone grafting and dental implants, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to reserve a consultation with our oral surgeon.

Good Oral Hygiene Benefits You May Not Know About

dental CharlottesvilleMost people are aware that they are expected to take good care of their teeth and gums in order to enjoy fresh breath and prevent tooth decay. What many people don’t realize, however, is that practicing good dental hygiene could literally prevent chronic illness. Our oral surgery practice explains.

Periodontal Disease and Your Overall Health

While it’s true that clean teeth and gums help lower the risks of developing tooth decay, proper oral hygiene – especially daily flossing – prevents gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is a serious oral health concern with links to systemic conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer.

Advanced forms of gum disease can destroy teeth, gums, and your jawbones. Many patients with advanced periodontal disease require oral surgery such as tissue grafts and gum surgery. The best way to prevent periodontal disease and its effects on your health is to perform vigilant oral hygiene.

Beyond lowering your risks for gum disease and tooth decay, proper oral hygiene can also:

  • Reduce discomfort associated with tooth sensitivity.
  • Stimulate the gingiva for optimal gum health.
  • Prevent halitosis (bad breath).
  • Lessen the chance of losing teeth to dental injuries or infections.
  • Protect tooth enamel, which cannot rejuvenate once damaged.
  • Save money by reducing the need for dental restorations.

Dental Hygiene Tips

The first step to improving your oral hygiene is to make a commitment to brushing and flossing every day with proper techniques. You should brush your teeth two times per day and floss every night before bed.

Take your time when brushing and flossing. Vigorous and careless motions could irritate soft oral tissue and damage your tooth enamel. Be sure to use oral hygiene products with the ADA’s seal of acceptance, too. Some patients enjoy using water irrigators to help keep their teeth and gums free of debris. If you have questions about which products meet your needs, feel free to ask your dentist or our oral surgeon for recommendations.

Our oral surgery practice provides a number of oral health services including implant dentistry, tooth extractions, jaw surgery, and oral pathology. Call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center today to reserve a consultation with our skilled oral surgeon.

4 Most Common Problems Created by Impacted Teeth

impacted teeth CharlottesvilleThe ways that impacted teeth could affect your oral health might surprise you. Not only are impacted teeth more likely to become infected, they can be quite painful. Our oral surgeon provides extractions for impacted teeth and wisdom teeth.

Following are five common problems associated with impacted teeth.

Bad breath

Impacted teeth contribute to halitosis (bad breath). This is because they are at a higher risk for infections and because food can easily become trapped in the gums around impacted teeth. In addition to bad breath, infected teeth and trapped food can leave unpleasant tastes in people’s mouths.

Facial and Gingival Swelling

Painful infections can form throughout tissues in the oral cavity because of impacted teeth. These infections can lead to significant swelling along the face – especially near jaws and on the gums.

Bleeding gums

When the gingiva becomes irritated and/or infected, the gums may bleed. Those with impacted teeth may experience bleeding gums when performing oral hygiene or eating meals. This side effect of impacted teeth could also increase a person’s risks for developing periodontal disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults.

Jaw pain

Discomfort in the jaw often accompanies impacted wisdom teeth. When wisdom teeth push into adjacent teeth at the back of the mouth, it can create soreness. Patients may feel jaw pain throughout the day and during meals. Some people with impacted wisdom teeth may experience stiffness and discomfort when opening their mouths to speak, laugh, or yawn.

Removing impacted teeth can greatly improve your oral function and quality of life. Extractions also eliminate many of the oral health threats associated with teeth that have failed to erupt properly. Our oral surgeons use advanced surgical techniques and state-of-the-art technology to remove problematic teeth with minimal invasiveness. We also administer local anesthetics and offer sedation dentistry to ensure comfort throughout our guests’ procedures.

We are accepting new patients. If your dentist has referred you to our practice to remove impacted teeth, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center today to reserve a consultation.

Will I be comfortable during my dental implant placement?

Charlottesville sedation dentistrySome of our patients’ biggest concerns regarding oral health procedures involve their comfort. If you have an upcoming procedure for dental implant placement, you might be wondering what your experience will be like at our practice. Our oral surgeons take our guests’ comfort very seriously; we utilize local anesthetics and sedation dentistry to ensure a gentle and relaxing treatment experience.

Receiving dental implants is not an overly invasive procedure. Our patients report comfortable treatment experiences, most of the time to their surprise. Some receiving dental implants tolerate their procedures with just local anesthetic while others may opt for sedation dentistry, which involves administering prescription medication.

If you’re curious about what comfort amenities are best for you, we recommend discussing your concerns with our team at your consultation. We will help you determine the best treatment options for your individualized needs.

What can I expect during my recovery?

Recovering from receiving dental implants can involve some temporary lifestyle adjustments. You will likely need to adopt a soft diet as your body heals from your procedure. Your surgeon will provide precise instructions on what to eat following your treatment. It is important to follow these instructions for an optimal recovery.

You will experience some swelling and tenderness near surgical sites the days following your procedure. Some patients may take prescription pain medications and antibiotics after treatment to ease discomfort and prevent infections. Others, however, might prefer over the counter pain medications. Like dietary restrictions, it’s important to follow your surgeon’s recommendations very closely.

Not every patient’s dental implant experience is the same. Some people might receive a single dental implant and require no preliminary procedures. Others may be receiving multiple implants and/or need treatments like bone grafts. If you have questions about what to expect during your procedure or through your recovery, give our office a call. Our team is happy to empower our patients with helpful information.

If you’re interested in dental implants or have questions about sedation dentistry, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to speak with a helpful member of our team.

Missing Teeth? Issues that Might Surprise You

missing teeth CharlottesvilleLosing teeth can have a profound impact on your way of life. From losing the density of bone in your jaws to an increased risk for mental health concerns, missing teeth has far-reaching effects that might surprise you. Treatment options for tooth loss include dental implants, dentures, and bridges. We recommend researching your treatment options and consulting with your dentist to determine the best treatment option for your needs.

Bone Loss

Bone deterioration is a common side effect and consequence of tooth loss. Once the roots of teeth are no longer present, the jaw will atrophy from a lack of stimulation. Over time, this bone loss can contribute to additional tooth loss and an aged appearance.

One way to combat bone deterioration associated with tooth loss is to receive dental implants. Dental implants replace the roots of teeth and keep the jaw stimulated.

Depression and Anxiety

After tooth loss, it might seem like a stretch to have to worry about increased risks for depression and anxiety. Research shows, however, that mood concerns such as depression and anxiety tend to disproportionately affect those who’ve suffered with missing teeth. Losing teeth can make people feel incomplete and significantly diminish self-esteem.

If you have lost teeth, be sure to take time to check in with your mental health and if you notice symptoms such as feelings of despair, loneliness, or lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy, talk with your physician as soon as possible.

Malnutrition

Eating a balanced diet after tooth loss isn’t easy. Without your teeth, some foods like steak or celery are practically impossible to consume. These dietary restrictions can affect your overall health.

If you’re malnourished, you might suffer with compromised immunity, decreased energy, and anemia. Fortunately, finding the right replacement teeth for your needs can make it possible to enjoy a diverse range of foods that will nourish your body.

If you’re suffering with missing teeth, it’s important to discuss your treatment options with an oral health professional. Our oral surgeons treat tooth loss with dental implants. Call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center today to reserve a consultation.

Dental Implants: A Permanent Tooth Replacement Solution

tooth replacement CharlottesvilleLosing a tooth is a drag. Not only does it affect your self-esteem, it can present some concerning oral health issues including additional tooth loss and jawbone deterioration. Fortunately, dental implants make for excellent replacement teeth. These permanent prosthetics are the only structurally complete tooth replacement option available.

The Problem with Conventional Tooth Replacement Methods

Traditional tooth replacement methods like bridges and dentures only replace the visible structures of teeth, not the roots. When we lose the roots of our teeth, our jawbones atrophy. Bone atrophy does more than contribute to an aged, “sunken in” appearance – it changes the landscape of our oral anatomy. With bone loss comes higher risks for additional tooth loss.

Bone deterioration can also make existing dentures and bridges uncomfortable and ill-fitting. It’s common for patients to experience their prosthetics moving during meals or when speaking. Bone loss also means that prosthetics may need to be repaired and replaced every few years.

Why Dental Implants are Ideal Replacement Teeth

A dental implant is a small, screw-like component that is constructed from a biocompatible metal (titanium) and is embedded into the jawbone. As patients heal from their initial implantation procedure, the bone surrounding the implant will fuse to its titanium structure. This process locks the dental implant in place, permanently.

Once an implant is stabilized in the jaw, the tooth replacement process is completed. If a patient is only having one tooth replaced, he or she will receive a permanent dental crown that attaches to a dental implant. The crown will replace the visible portions of teeth. If numerous teeth are being replaced, multiple dental implants are placed throughout the jaw and can be used to hold bridges or dentures.

Dental implants keep bone stimulated, which prevents jawbone atrophy. They also substantially improve oral function when compared to conventional prosthetic teeth. The restorations and prosthetics attached to dental implants are custom made from tooth-colored materials for optimal aesthetics.

If you have questions about implant dentistry, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to schedule a consultation with our oral surgeon.

Travel Tips for Your Teeth

dentist CharlottesvilleTraveling and living a busy lifestyle could wreak havoc on your oral health. Deviating from normal routines can make it easy to neglect your teeth and gums and skip important appointments with your dentist. There are steps you can take, however, to keep your teeth in tip-top shape. If you’re traveling for work or vacation, consider the following tips to safeguard your oral health.

Keep Contact Information for Your Dentist Handy

Always have your dentist’s number stored in your mobile phone. We also recommend keeping our business cards in your work desk, wallet, or purse. You never know when you will need to ask questions, reschedule existing appointments, or schedule a visit for a dental emergency.

Pack a Travel Oral Hygiene Kit

Always remember to pack oral hygiene supplies – even if you’re just taking a day trip. Your travel kit should include dental floss, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and optional items such as mouthwash or sugar-free chewing gum.

Store Your Toothbrush Properly

While you’re traveling, storing your toothbrush in a travel case can protect its bristles from making contact with dirty surfaces. Once you get to your destination, though, be sure to store your toothbrush in open air and in an upright position so that it can dry between uses. A wet toothbrush can harbor bacteria, which can affect your oral health.

Stay Hydrated

Traveling can make it difficult to remember to drink adequate water. It’s important to make a point to drink at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water each day. Inadequate water intake directly affects oral health as it can contribute to gingival irritation and bacterial growth.

Avoid Sugary and Acidic Foods

Many times, people indulge when traveling and deviate from their normal dietary choices. While some sugary and high-calorie food is ok from time-to-time, it’s not wise to eat an abundance of sugary or acidic foods. Sugar and acid increase your risks for tooth decay, enamel loss, and bacterial growth.

Even if you’re traveling, we encourage you to eat lean proteins, leafy greens, and vibrant-colored vegetables as often as possible for optimal oral health and energy levels.

Call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center if you have questions about your oral health or would like to schedule an appointment.

Sedation Dentistry: Will I feel anything during treatment?

sedation dentist CharlottesvilleA sedation dentist can make your oral surgery far more relaxing and comfortable. This comfort amenity can benefit patients with severe dental anxiety as well as those receiving common treatments such as wisdom teeth removal and dental implant placement.

There are different types of sedation dentistry, including oral sedation and intravenous sedation. Our team can help you determine the best type for your needs.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation involves taking prescription medications prior to one’s appointment. This medication normally comes from the benzodiazepine family of drugs. Benzodiazepines are formulated to prevent feelings of excessive worry. Since these medications do impair motor and cognitive function, you will need to arrange for transportation to and from your appointment.

Patients who utilize oral sedation will experience a calm and relaxed demeanor during their care. They might also be able to sleep through treatment.

This type of sedation can benefit those with:

  • Severe dental phobia and anxiety
  • Strong gag reflexes
  • Fear of needles
  • Anxiety associated with sounds and smells in dental/medical settings

IV Sedation

Intravenous (IV) sedation is commonly used during oral surgery. This type of sedation is the strongest used in dental settings. IV sedation involves administering anesthetic (pain relieving) and sedating medication, which is helpful to those receiving complex, lengthy, or invasive care.

Types of procedures where IV sedation might be used:

  • Tooth extractions including wisdom teeth removal
  • Dental implant placement
  • Bone grafting

Those who receive IV sedation typically do not remember their procedures. This is because the medication is strong enough that they can sleep through treatment in a relaxed state. Patients receiving IV sedation must have a family member bring them to and from their procedures.

Discussing Sedation with Your Dental Healthcare Provider

If you have an upcoming oral surgery or experience anxiety related to dental settings, we recommend discussing sedation dentistry with our team. Our dentist will take your unique needs and your medical history into account when determining if sedation dentistry is right for you.

We are accepting new patients. Call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center today to reserve a consultation with our skilled sedation dentist.