Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Cent

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.

Dental Implants: Advantages of a Structurally Complete Tooth Replacement

dental implants CharlottesvilleFor the first time in human history, there exist prosthetics that can replace the roots of missing teeth. Although bridges and dentures can complete the appearance of a smile, their inability to replace the roots of missing teeth presents limitations for patients. Dental implants, however, effectively provide a structurally complete prosthetic tooth.

A dental implant is composed of titanium, a metal that is biocompatible with mineralized tissue. This means that bone can fuse to an implant’s structure and hold it in place indefinitely. Dental implants serve as the sturdy foundation for restorations like crowns and bridges, as well as partial and full dentures. Replacing the missing roots of teeth offers patients unique advantages including restored oral function and durable, easy-to-care-for prosthetic teeth.

Dental Implants Promote Optimal Oral Function

Wearing bridges and dentures that aren’t supported by dental implants can limit a person’s oral function. This is because these prosthetics only replace the visible structures of teeth. Some patients experience unwanted movement with their replacement teeth during meals and when speaking.

Anchoring prosthetic teeth to implants prevents unwanted movement and promotes greater stability when eating. A patient with dental implants can enjoy a diverse diet that even includes fibrous and chewy food items.

Implants are Durable and Low Maintenance

Since bone integrates to the structure of a dental implant, a person can enjoy his or her replacement teeth for decades. The durable nature of dental implants can save patients time and money in the long run. Conventional tooth replacement methods such as dentures require replacing every few years, which can drive up healthcare costs.

Caring for implants is regarded as low maintenance, too. Restorations and prosthetics supported by dental implants are cleaned with brushing and flossing. Removal and overnight soaking are not required to keep implants clean. Moreover, patients do not have to rely on cumbersome adhesives to keep their replacement teeth in place.

Dental implants are a wonderful treatment option for many people. We invite you to schedule an implant dentistry consultation with our oral surgeon to find out if dental implants meet your needs. Call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center today to reserve an appointment.

What are the most common teeth to become impacted?

impacted tooth CharlottesvilleAn impacted tooth increases a patient’s risk for common oral health conditions and can negatively affect oral function. The most typical tooth to become impacted is a wisdom tooth. Since these teeth are unnecessary to oral function, they are often removed by an oral surgeon.

A maxillary canine is the second most common type of impacted tooth. These teeth are vital to oral function so dental health providers try to encourage their proper eruption through orthodontic treatments and the removal of baby teeth.

Why do wisdom teeth become impacted?

Wisdom teeth become impacted because they arrive much later in life than other permanent teeth. Before access to modern dentistry was widespread, the arrival of wisdom teeth wasn’t as problematic. This is because people of the past typically lost several teeth by the time wisdom teeth arrived. Since modern adults keep their teeth much longer, there is little room for wisdom teeth to emerge through the gums.

The location of wisdom teeth also contributes to their tendency to become impacted. Located at the back of the mouth, wisdom teeth easily become stuck sideways in the bone.

Why should wisdom teeth be removed?

Most oral health providers recommend the removal of wisdom teeth because retaining them contributes to a number of problems. Impacted wisdom teeth easily become infected, which if left untreated, can lead to painful infections called abscesses. Since wisdom teeth are almost impossible to keep clean, they tend to develop tartar accumulation. Tartar accumulation contributes to gum disease, a serious oral health condition that causes widespread infections, tooth loss, and bone deterioration.

Will I be comfortable during wisdom tooth extraction?

A wisdom tooth extraction is a procedure that surgically removes third molars. Performed by an oral surgeon, this procedure can prevent a number of oral health complications associated with the retention of wisdom teeth. Patients undergoing wisdom teeth extractions can opt for IV medications during their procedure to maintain comfort. Our practice takes great care to ensure that our guests have relaxing and positive experiences.

If you have an impacted tooth, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to schedule a consultation.

How Missing Teeth Can Affect Your Oral Health

missing teeth CharlottesvilleMissing teeth has far-reaching effects on your oral health. This is why it is important to evaluate your treatment options and choose one that meets your needs. For many people, the best treatment for tooth loss is dental implants. These durable prosthetics provide a lifelike tooth replacement that improves both one’s oral function and their appearance.

If dental implants interest you, we recommend scheduling a consultation with our oral surgeon to determine if you’re a candidate for this treatment option.

Following is helpful information on how tooth loss affects your oral health and wellbeing.

Lesser-Known Effects of Tooth Loss

While it might be obvious that missing teeth can affect your self-esteem and your ability to eat, there are number of lesser-known consequences to tooth loss.

One common concern with tooth loss is an increased risk for losing other teeth. Each tooth supports the tooth adjacent to it. Having an empty tooth socket can cause neighboring teeth to migrate out of position. Without proper support, teeth can collapse and even break.

Bone atrophy is another serious concern associated with missing teeth. Our jawbones are the foundation for our oral health system and provide substantial support to teeth. When the roots of teeth no longer keep bone active, the body will resorb it. Bone loss can affect the health of other teeth and contribute to improper bites (malocclusions).

The oral health system is intricate. One missing tooth can throw everything out of balance. Missing teeth means that the teeth that are still intact endure more force than they should during oral function. Excessive strain on existing teeth can cause accelerated tooth wear, which increases the risks for dental injuries and tooth decay.

Scheduling a Dental Implant Consultation

Choosing a tooth replacement method that suits your needs involves careful consideration. Since dental implants are the only treatment option that provides a structurally complete artificial tooth, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our oral surgeon. Our team can determine if you are a candidate for implant dentistry and develop a treatment plan that meets your needs.

Call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center today to reserve an appointment.

The Advantages for Choosing Sedation Dentistry for Oral Surgery

Charlottesville sedation dentistryDo you have an upcoming appointment for dental implant placement or wisdom teeth extraction? If so, you might be wondering how our oral surgeon will keep you comfortable during your procedure. Our practice offers sedation dentistry to increase our guests’ physical and emotional comfort during treatment. Following are some advantages patients enjoy when they choose sedation dentistry.

Improved Comfort

Sedation dentistry is a comfort amenity. This amenity is great for controlling anxiety and fear so patients with dental phobias can rest peacefully during treatment. The medications used in sedation dentistry also relieve physical discomfort, which is advantageous for more invasive treatments like wisdom teeth extractions.

Reduced Gag Reflex

Since medications used in sedation relax the body and its muscles, the urge to gag is significantly reduced.

More Efficient Care

Sedation dentistry helps a patient relax – and even sleep during their procedures. This helps people stay still during their care and allows a surgeon to work without obstruction. Without obstructions, a surgeon can work much more efficiently.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

There are three types of sedation dentistry. Mild forms of sedation, such as the administration of nitrous oxide or taking prescription sedatives orally are ideal for less invasive treatments.

Nitrous oxide is a gas compound that is inhaled through a nasal mask. It produces mild sedating and pain-relieving effects but wears off as soon as the mask is removed. This allows patients to drive themselves to and from their appointments. Sedation dentistry involving prescription medication taken orally or intravenously requires that a friend or family member transport the patient to and from their appointments.

Those receiving complex or invasive surgical care may need intravenous sedation. IV sedation delivers powerful but safe medication quickly. Since stronger medications are used, patients typically have no recollection of their procedures and enjoy maximum comfort during their treatments.

If you have questions about sedation dentistry or would like to schedule an appointment, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to speak with a member of our team.

Oral Healthcare for Seniors: Common Concerns

dentistry CharlottesvilleSeniors have unique oral health concerns. Advanced age and one’s health history contribute to the development of many common conditions including tooth loss, cavities, and oral cancer. Fortunately, modern dentistry can treat a number of potential conditions including tooth loss and bone atrophy.

Tooth Loss

While aging itself does not cause tooth loss, advanced age does increase the risk of losing teeth. As we age, our teeth become worn down. Tooth wear can leave teeth weak and prone to decay and cracking. Severe decay might require tooth extraction. The primary contributor to tooth loss is gum disease, which commonly affects the aging population.

Today’s treatments for tooth loss are more comfortable and durable than those in the past. A popular option for replacing lost teeth is implant dentistry. Dental implants can hold various types of restorations and prosthetics for single- and multi-tooth replacement.

Dry Mouth

Many seniors experience dry mouth. This is often a side of effect of health conditions and common medications. Conditions like diabetes produce symptoms of dry mouth. Antihistamines and sedatives, for example, contribute to dry mouth by affecting saliva production.

Seniors who experience dry mouth should practice proper oral hygiene, eat a balanced diet, and drink plenty of water to stave off the effects of dry mouth.

Bone Health

Bone health, including the health of the jawbones, is a concern for many mature patients – especially women. The jawbones can deteriorate and atrophy from oral conditions like gum disease. Patients with osteoporosis can also experience bone loss in their jaws.

Frequent checkups are necessary to monitor the health of the jaws. If bone is deteriorating, treatments such as bone grafting procedures can help.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancers can develop at any age but do affect mature patients more than younger ones. Since oral cancer can form anywhere in the oral cavity, dentists screen for potential cancers during every checkup. Diagnosing oral cancer as early as possible can help save lives.

Seniors should practice vigilant oral hygiene and visit their dentist for routine checkups and cleanings. Our oral surgeon provides treatments for tooth loss, bone loss, and oral cancer. Call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to schedule a consultation.

When is oral sedation helpful?

oral sedation CharlottesvilleIf you have an upcoming surgery for procedures such as dental implant placement, bone grafting or wisdom teeth removal, your oral surgeon might administer oral sedation to keep you comfortable during your treatment. Oral sedation is beneficial for maintaining emotional and mental comfort.

Following is helpful information about oral sedation.

What is oral sedation?

Oral sedation involves a patient taking a prescribed dose of medication in tablet form prior to his or her procedure. This medication helps relax the mind and body for increased comfort during treatment. In some cases, a dose of medication is also taken the night before a procedure to help a patient sleep. This is beneficial for people who struggle with anxiety before and during medical or dental appointments.

What types of medications are used?

The types of medications used for oral sedation are mild sedatives, normally from the benzodiazepine family of medications.

How will oral sedation make me feel?

Benzodiazepine medications help control feelings of panic and worry. They also have a relaxing effect on the body because they slow down the central nervous system. These medications also have sedating properties for many people so patients might feel groggy and have some loss of motor coordination.

Can I drive after receiving oral sedation?

No. Medications used for oral sedation can impair motor function and cognition. Those who are prescribed oral sedation will need to arrange for transportation to and from their appointments.

How do I know if I would benefit from oral sedation?

The best way to determine if you need oral sedation during your procedure is to speak with our oral surgeon. Our team might recommend this comfort amenity if you have a history of anxiety during medical and dental treatments or if you are receiving certain treatments such as dental implant placement or a bone graft.

Call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center if you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation.

Common Procedures Offered by an Oral Surgeon

oral surgeon CharlottesvilleAn oral surgeon is a specialist who provides focused care to treat tooth loss, abscessed and impacted teeth, and facial trauma. They also provide corrective treatments for TMJ disorder, malocclusions, and congenital or developmental abnormalities.

If your dentist has recommended that you see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS), you might have questions about the types of procedures they perform and the health conditions they treat. Following are common procedures performed by an OMS and why they might be necessary.

Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth (third molars) are often removed because they rarely erupt the gums properly. Many times, the arrival of a third molar leads to the development of an impacted tooth. When a tooth is impacted, it’s roots and crown become “stuck” in the jaw and/or the gingiva. Removing wisdom teeth reduces a patient’s risk for developing decay, gum disease, and abscesses. It also relieves discomfort associated with wisdom tooth arrival.

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is a common procedure performed before dental implants are placed. A bone graft might also be necessary to treat osteoporosis of the jaw. Bone grafts thicken and widen the jaw by grafting tissue where bone is sparse or atrophied. Receiving tissue grafts are beneficial for protecting dental implants and the health of biological teeth.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are prosthetics used to treat tooth loss. These prosthetics replace the roots of teeth and hold dental crowns, bridges, and dentures. Implants provide a lifelike and durable alternative to biological teeth that support oral health structures and restore one’s ability to eat and speak comfortably.

Jaw Surgery

Jaw surgery is necessary to treat complex TMJ disorder, malocclusions, congenital or developmental abnormalities, and facial trauma. This type of surgical procedure can involve repositioning the jaws or altering their structure to enhance oral function and one’s appearance.

Oral Pathology

Cancers can develop anywhere inside the oral cavity. Malignant lesions typically form on the lips, insides of cheeks, and the tongue. If a dentist suspects oral cancer, he or she may refer a patient to an OMS for oral pathology. Oral pathology involves taking samples of tissue (biopsies) and evaluating them for malignancy.

We’re accepting new patients. Call Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to schedule an appointment with our oral surgeon.

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.