Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Cent

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.

The Facts About Gum Disease

dentist CharlottesvilleGum disease is a major threat to your oral health and wellbeing. Many people underestimate how powerful an effect gum (periodontal) disease can have on oral tissue. Periodontal disease is incredibly common and when it advances, it can destroy a person’s health.

Scheduling routine checkups and cleanings with a dentist along with practicing thorough oral hygiene are imperative to preventing this disease. Once periodontal disease advances to its later stages, more specialized treatment from a periodontist or oral surgeon might be necessary.

How Gum Disease Develops

Gum disease begins when the gingiva become inflamed by irritants. The most common irritant is the formation of tartar. Daily plaque deposits harden into to tartar when left unremoved by brushing and flossing. Once exposed to calculus, plaque will harden and accumulate along the gum line. As tartar builds up, the gums will become inflamed and pull away as a result. As the gums recede, tartar will continue to develop along the gums as they progressively become lower.

Eventually, without treatment, the roots of teeth will become exposed and tartar will accumulate along the roots. Heavy tartar accumulation will lead to bone and gums unable to support teeth. With time, advanced gum disease will cause teeth to become loose.

Causes of Gum Disease

Gum disease is most often caused by neglecting one’s oral health by not brushing and flossing on a regular basis. Poor oral hygiene causes plaque accumulation. This will lead to the gums becoming inflamed and infected. Other lifestyle factors and biochemistry changes can lead to the development of gum disease, including smoking cigarettes, hormonal fluctuations, and medication changes.

Treatment Options for Periodontal Disease

There are a few treatment options for the management of periodontal disease including specialized prophylaxis called scaling and root planing, reattaching gum tissue surgically, and tissue grafts. Sometimes patients might need tooth extractions as well.

If you have been referred to our oral surgeon for treatment, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center today to reserve a consultation.

Experiencing Tooth Loss? 4 Effects Missing Teeth Can Have on Your Dental Health

dentistry CharlottesvilleLosing teeth is devastating for your emotional wellbeing and your oral health. Oral health structures, when healthy, work together in their various parts to create a harmonious and cohesive system. When one aspect of oral health is affected such as the loss of a tooth, it can throw the rest of the system out of balance. Missing teeth affects dental health profoundly. Fortunately, implant dentistry can remedy many of these issues. Dental implants are a revolutionary tooth replacement method that help support the mouth’s many structures. Following are four effects that losing teeth can have on your dental health.

Additional Tooth Loss

Losing one tooth puts a person at risk for losing more teeth. This is because teeth support one another. If a tooth is missing, the empty space it creates leaves neighboring teeth unsupported. Without proper support, teeth next to empty tooth sockets can collapse into empty spaces with time. After tooth loss, it is very important to find a tooth replacement method like dental implants that keeps biological teeth upright.

Diminished Oral Function

With one or more teeth gone, the rest of the teeth in a person’s mouth will be responsible for taking on the brunt of oral function. Biting and chewing food on a daily basis puts a lot of force and pressure on teeth. When teeth are picking up the slack for one that is missing, they can develop tooth wear much faster than they should.

Bone Atrophy

Bone atrophy is a common side effect of tooth loss. The roots of our teeth are housed in our jawbones. When the bone is not stimulated, the body will resorb it. This is why missing teeth leads to issues with bone health. Fortunately, dental implants will keep bone stimulated because they are embedded in the jaw.

Orofacial Discomfort

Tooth loss affects the way that teeth line up (the occlusion) when making contact during oral function. An unhealthy occlusion contributes to orofacial pain like headaches, TMJ disorder, and facial pain because the joints and muscles are overworked to keep the mouth in a healthier position.

If you have been affected by tooth loss, call us to schedule a dental implant consultation with our oral surgeon.

Is your diet at the root of your dental issue?

Charlottesville dentistsWe all know that what we eat is important for our health and wellbeing but sometimes we overlook the fact that our diet affects our oral health, too. This is why a dentist will ask questions about your dietary and lifestyle habits during dental checkups. Understanding what patients eat and don’t eat is important for managing the risk for certain diseases.

Food for Bacteria

Is what you eat fuel for your body, or is it fuel for bacteria? If you eat a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars, then chances are the food you eat is feeding the bacteria in your mouth. Sugars (of all kinds) serve as a natural food source for bacteria. With a food source, bacteria will colonize beyond control. Excessive bacteria growth can alter oral pH and create an environment that is ideal for damaging teeth.

Dry Mouth

The food you eat can affect saliva production. Saliva is nature’s way of rinsing debris and bacteria from the mouth. It is also important for managing acid levels in the oral cavity. Acid is dangerous to teeth because it softens tooth enamel. When we eat foods heavy in salt and do not drink enough water to stay hydrated, our mouths will be drier than they should. With a lack of saliva to help control acid, dry mouth can contribute to decay and damage of tooth structure.

Exacerbating Health Conditions that Affect the Mouth

A number of health conditions affect oral health. For instance, diabetes is a common culprit behind an increased risk for infections of soft oral tissue since bacteria will grow substantially when diabetes is not managed. Moreover, diabetes can have a drying effect on the mouth. Both of these issues create an unhealthy oral environment. By controlling diabetes with medication and a doctor-approved diet, you can help prevent issues that might affect your teeth and gums.

Uncontrolled dental issues can lead to the need for extensive and specialized care. If you have been referred to our practice by your dentist, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center today to schedule an appointment with our oral surgeon.

What causes eroding of tooth enamel?

dentistry CharlottesvilleTooth enamel is a mineralized coating on the outside of teeth. As the outermost structure of a tooth, it serves as a protective barrier between the soft internal structures of teeth and oral bacteria. When it comes to general dentistry, oral healthcare providers will assess the health of tooth enamel to determine whether a person is at risk for cavities or susceptible to developing broken teeth. While tooth enamel is quite strong, it can become damaged. In fact, erosion of tooth enamel leads to dental caries and chipped or broken teeth. Enamel damage occurs from excessive wear and tear on teeth along with exposure to acid.

Wear and Tear

Over time, our teeth will become worn down as a result of normal oral function. If we compound normal wear and tear with destructive habits like chewing on inedible objects and bruxism, we can severely affect the vitality of tooth enamel. Chewing on items like pen caps and ice cubes along with bruxism (clenching and grinding our teeth) will wear cracks in tooth enamel over time. Small cracks in tooth enamel expose softer structures of our teeth to cavity-causing bacteria. This type of enamel damage also increases the risk for developing chipped or broken teeth.

Exposure to Acid

Acid strips the mineral composition of our teeth. Repeated exposure to acid can lead to permanent tooth damage. Many foods and beverages are acidic. From citrus fruit to preservatives and additives, common foods and drinks contain acidic ingredients that soften tooth enamel. Consuming these foods in moderation can help keep tooth enamel healthy.

Treating Weak and Diseased Teeth

Sometimes teeth with thin or weak tooth enamel can be treated with preventive dentistry. Non-invasive preventive services include the application of dental sealants, which provide an extra layer of protection from bacteria, and fluoride treatments, which replenish lost mineral content in tooth enamel can help reduce the risk for cavities. Other treatment options might include the placement of restorations like fillings and crowns to treat decay and more noticeable damage. When teeth are diseased or damaged beyond repair, an extraction is necessary to protect the health of neighboring oral tissue.

For more information, contact our team at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center.

Toothache: When is it time to visit the dentist?

dentist CharlottesvilleA toothache is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Any time you have tooth pain, you should schedule an appointment for a checkup with your dentist. Sometimes, a toothache might mean that you have a small cavity. In other instances, a toothache can mean that you have a severe infection inside your tooth. Prolonging a visit to your dentist when you have noticeable symptoms can lead to the need for costly and invasive treatments like endodontic (root canal) therapy, the placement of extensive restorations like dental crowns, and tooth extractions.

How is tooth decay treated?

Tooth decay is a common oral health condition that affects up to 99% of the population. When it comes to treating tooth decay, the severity of the cavity and whether it has affected the innermost parts of tooth anatomy is a factor. Small areas of decay can be addressed with same-day restorations like fillings. More advanced stages of tooth decay might require larger, custom restorations such as onlays and dental crowns. If the inside of a tooth has become infected as a result of decay, a patient may need endodontic therapy to prevent the spread of disease.

Determining the appropriate course of action depends on the results of a physical examination, which will include images taken from X-rays.

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a part of a tooth’s anatomy. Comprised of a hollow chamber that holds a tooth’s nerve endings and pulp, the root canal can become infected when a cavity is left untreated or when a tooth is cracked or fractured. Root canal therapy involves removing infected material inside a tooth, flushing it of debris, and sealing it to protect tooth structure from future damage.

Why should a tooth be extracted?

A diseased tooth that cannot be saved will need to be extracted to preserve the health of neighboring tissue. This is because infected teeth can develop abscesses. Many times, dentists refer patients to oral surgeons for tooth extractions.

Call us today to ask questions or reserve an appointment with our team!