Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Cent

Your Most Common Dental Implant Questions Answered

missing teeth CharlottesvilleDid you know that dental implants are the closest thing to biological teeth that a person can receive? Missing teeth are dangerous for your oral health, and waiting too long to replace lost teeth can leave you with decreased oral function and increased risks for bone atrophy and additional tooth loss. Our oral surgeons are experts at placing dental implants. If this tooth replacement method appeals to you, consider calling our practice to reserve a consultation with our surgeon.

Following are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about dental implants.

What does a dental implant look like?

A dental implant looks similarly to a screw. Implants are made from titanium. They have a raised, ridge-like texture and feature one tapered end. The tapered end is embedded into the jawbone where it will be used to replace the root of a missing tooth.

How do dental implants replace missing teeth?

Dental implants replace lost teeth by first replacing the missing structures of the roots of teeth. Over time, the jawbone will fuse to and around the implant because bone is compatible with titanium – the metal that implants are made from. Once bone stabilizes the implant, a person will receive the second prosthetic needed to complete the tooth replacement process. When it comes to replacing a missing tooth, a dental implant with a crown attached is ideal whereas some people might have multiple dental implants placed to support prosthetics like bridges and dentures.

What is the lifespan of a dental implant?

In cases of successful implantation, dental implants can last an incredibly long time. Stable implants can last for decades, and in some cases, a person can enjoy their replacement teeth for the rest of his or her life.

Dental implants are a great way to address the effects of tooth loss. If you have lost teeth, it is important to seek out your treatment options as quickly as possible. Call us today to reserve a dental implants consultation with our oral surgery team.

3 Reasons People Miss Dental Appointments and Why You Shouldn’t

Has it been a while sincdentist Charlottesvillee you’ve seen the dentist? While there are common reasons that contribute to missed dental appointments, it is important that people understand the need for regular checkups and cleanings. Keeping regular appointments can save you time and money down the road. This is because seeing a dentist frequently increases your odds of enjoying early detection and preventive oral healthcare. Moreover, a dental checkup is a thorough examination that includes screenings for potential issues like gum disease and oral cancer.

Following are three of the most common reasons people miss dental checkups and cleanings.

Dental Anxiety and Phobia

Dental anxiety might be more common than many think. Dental anxiety and phobia can produce such debilitating fear of dental setting that people will forego professional treatment for years. When a person has a dental phobia, he or she experiences intense feelings of worry and fear when it comes to dental treatment, clinical settings, and the sights and sounds of a dental practice.

Our team understands the needs of our patients with dental anxieties. We strive to ensure that our guests receive compassionate and comfortable care. We offer sedation dentistry as one method for combatting dental anxiety. Sedation can increase comfort, ease the mind, and put the body at ease.

Scheduling Conflicts

For many people, missing dental appointments arises due to scheduling conflicts. Even though appointments for checkups and cleanings are made well in advance, it is important to keep up with your calendar. If you believe an upcoming event might affect your ability to make your appointment, call our practice so that we can reschedule. Our team is happy to work with our patients’ schedules. Be sure to give us as much advanced notice as possible so that we can accommodate you.

Oral Health Misinformation

Misinformation is another reason people miss appointments. Some people mistakenly believe that oral healthcare is only necessary when there is an obvious problem such as a toothache or injury. If non-dental professionals relied on only their symptoms as a marker of oral health, millions of people would lose out on the benefits of early detection and conservative treatment.

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

Gingivitis and Your Overall Health

Charlottesville dentistHas your dentist warned you of the dangers of gum disease? Did you know that up to 80% of the adult population of the United States will develop some form of gum (periodontal) disease in their lifetimes? Gingivitis is the early onset of periodontal disease and if one does not take this diagnosis seriously, a person’s entire wellbeing will be affected as the disease progresses. Moreover, there is a wealth of research devoted to gum disease’s effect on the body as a whole. Much of this research supports the concept of oral systemic health – the notion oral disease affects health as a whole and could even contribute to well-known, serious afflictions.

Oral Systemic Health

The notion that oral health affects overall health is not new. This is a topic that has been researched for quite some time. Fortunately, media discussion of health matters, including this specific concept has increased public awareness on the importance of preventing oral disease – especially very destructive conditions like periodontal disease. Television shows like Dr. Oz and The View have discussed how gum disease contributes to health issues like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Some theories suggest that periodontal disease and heart disease are linked by a specific strain of oral bacteria that attaches to the roots of teeth and fatty deposits of plaque in the arteries when it enters the bloodstream. Diabetes and gum disease appear to be interlinked. For example, those who are diabetic are prone to infection because of impaired immunity. Issues with unregulated blood sugar can produce inflammatory responses, which include increased blood flow to the gingiva. Increased blood flow and inflamed gums are incredibly prone to infection.

Treating Gingivitis

If your dentist has diagnosed you with periodontal disease including gingivitis, you need to take his or her treatment recommendations seriously. Treatment might include increased/improved oral hygiene, prescription mouth rinses, specialized cleaning and reattachment procedures, and grafting treatments. Today’s latest technology makes for less invasive and more effective periodontal therapy.

For more information, call us at Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center today.

How Long is the Dental Implant Process?

tooth replacement CharlottesvilleDental implants have become the go-to tooth replacement method in the last decade or so. While the science behind implant dentistry goes back to the 1960s, dental implants are still considered relatively new to the general public. Receiving a dental implant and the restoration that is ultimately attached to it is a process but the length of this process can vary from person to person because everyone’s circumstances are unique. After the initial implantation process, patients then undergo a recovery phase of treatment that is integral to the implant’s stabilization. This period could last six months or so—and in some cases longer. Our oral surgeon is an expert at placing dental implants. If you have questions about the implantation process, feel free to call our office.

Why does a dental implant need to stabilize?

A dental implant needs to stabilize so that it can perform like the root of a tooth does. When the implant is embedded into the jawbone, the body will need time to integrate to the implant. This needs to occur because the dental implant needs support to support a restoration and increase oral function. Over time, the bone surrounding a tooth replacement will fuse to and around it. Bone fusing to metal is what makes an implant have such a long lifespan.

What does a dental implant look like?

In a way, a dental implant looks similar to a screw. This is because the dental implant is a titanium component featuring a ridged texture and a tapered end. The tapered end of the implant is what is first embedded into the jawbone. The opposite end has an abutment, which is used to fasten restorations like dental crowns or prosthetics like bridges tightly to implants.

Will my new tooth look natural?

Once your custom restoration is attached to a dental implant, the tooth replacement process is complete. If you choose a white, tooth-colored material such as porcelain or porcelain fused to metal for your restoration, your new tooth will look very lifelike.

For more information about dental implants, call our office to reserve an appointment with our oral surgeon.

What Causes White Spots on my Teeth?

dentist near CharlottesvilleHave you noticed discoloration on your teeth like white spots? While discussions of tooth discoloration normally center on dark stains, there are lighter forms of discoloration that might be cause for concern for a patient and his or her dentist. White spots can convey a couple different common dental issues. In some cases, white spots are purely a cosmetic issue and not an indication that a tooth is diseased. Sometimes, however, a white spot can indicate early forming tooth decay.

When a white spot is only a cosmetic issue, it means the white spot likely formed after overexposure to fluoride or antibiotics while teeth are still developing during adolescence. If fluoride is the culprit, white spots can appear in the shape of striations, too. When antibiotics contribute to white spots, they can appear in circular and oval shapes.

Unfortunately, a white spot is not always a cosmetic concern. Sometimes teeth can appear whiter in areas when a cavity is forming. During early stage tooth decay, the enamel surface of teeth is permanently damaged and cavity-causing bacteria have begun to reach the dentin layer of teeth beneath enamel. Dentin is considerably softer than tooth enamel. Since it is protected from what the outer surface of teeth is exposed to, dentin tends to look much whiter than tooth structure. A quick oral examination will be able to determine if white spots are a cosmetic issue or one that requires professional intervention.

Treating Tooth Decay

If white spots are the result of forming tooth decay, there are treatment options available. Teeth can be strengthened with services like fluoride treatments and dental sealants. If tooth enamel cannot be strengthened with preventive services, a restoration like a filling might be necessary. A filling is a small restoration that fills in the depression caused by a cavity while helping a tooth stay strong. Placing a filling is a comfortable procedure that is minimally invasive.

When you notice changes in your oral health, it is important to discuss them with your dentist. For additional information, contact us at Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center!

Smile Confidently with Dental Implants

cosmetic dentistry CharlottesvilleIf tooth loss has ravaged your self-esteem and negatively affected your appearance, there is hope. Dental implants are one option you have to reclaim your confidence, quality of life, and oral function. Not only will a dental implant and the permanent restoration attached to it, improve your quality of life and ability to eat food comfortably, your prosthetic tooth will improve your appearance by completing your smile. If you have questions about dental implants and cosmetic dentistry, call our office to reserve a consultation with our oral surgeon.

What Dental Implants Are

Dental implants are small, screw-shaped prosthetics made of titanium. They are used to replace the roots of teeth. A dental implant is embedded into the jawbone through a surgical procedure. Once the implant is stable, its permanent, custom restoration will be attached. Bridges and dental crowns are the most common types of restorations attached to dental implants.

How Dental Implants Work

Dental implants replace the structures of teeth that we cannot see, their roots. Once an implant is stabilized by bone through a process called “osseointegration”, a custom crown or bridge is attached to complete the tooth replacement process. A dental implant is very durable and has quite a long lifespan. The reason implants work so well for replacing the roots of teeth is the fact that the metal an implant is made from (titanium) is biocompatible with the body. This means the implant won’t be rejected as a foreign object. Instead, the implant will literally become a part of the body once bone fuses to its titanium structure.

When it comes to improving the appearance of one’s smile, lifelike restorations can be attached to dental implants. Porcelain and porcelain fused to metal make for wonderful restoration materials because they look virtually identical to healthy teeth.

Candidates for Implant Dentistry

The best candidates for dental implants have good oral health with no signs of periodontal disease. It is important that those receiving dental implants have healthy bones and gums because these structures support dental implants. The only way to be certain if implants are right for you is by scheduling a tooth replacement consultation.

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

Tips to Relax During Your Next Dental Procedure

Charlottesville sedation dentistryDoes anxiety keep you from receiving the oral healthcare you need and deserve? Perhaps your anxiety is so powerful that you have trouble keeping your dental appointments for checkups and cleanings. You aren’t alone in your struggle. Millions of people suffer from anxiety disorders and dental phobias are actually one of the most common phobia-based anxiety disorders.

If you have trouble relaxing during oral healthcare treatments – especially those surgical in nature, you might want to discuss sedation dentistry with our oral surgeon. Sedation dentistry can be used in procedures like tooth extractions, dental implants placement, and corrective jaw surgery. Following are some tips for calming your nerves.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a concept that involves focusing on what is stimulating our senses to calm our nerves and overcome emotions. One way that you can practice mindfulness is to take in your surroundings. Ask yourself what you can see, hear, and smell. For example, making a mental list of everything you can see can help you overcome negative or fearful thoughts.

Take Deep Breaths

While the phrase “take deep breaths” might seem cliché to many, it does work. Deep breathing has a calming effect on the body. Moreover, we tend to breathe very shallow during times of emotional duress. Taking deep breaths during difficult times helps saturate our bodies with oxygen and ground us emotionally. Try inhaling for three seconds and exhaling for three seconds.

Ask Questions

Sometimes combatting nerves can be as simple as asking a question. Rather than wonder about what is going on around us (and letting our overactive brains create harrowing scenarios), ask about what’s happening. Our team will be happy to clarify and answer your questions.

Request a Break

If during your procedure you feel overwhelmed, ask our oral surgeon or a member of our staff to take a small break so that you can regroup. A little break can help you focus on your breathing so that you can ease your anxiety.

When it comes to oral surgeries that are invasive, our practice might recommend sedation dentistry, which can help patients with anxiety disorders as well as help those in treatment maintain their level of comfort. Sedation dentistry helps patients rest comfortably during treatment.

For additional tips or to learn more about sedation dentistry, call us today to reserve a visit.

4 Fun Teeth Facts

dentistry CharlottesvilleWe use our teeth everyday for biting and chewing food. Our teeth also aid in the proper enunciation of words. Dentistry is actually a fascinating field of study because oral anatomy is quite unique to other structures in the body. Research has shown that oral health and overall wellness are connected. If you ever wanted to learn more about teeth, here are four fun facts.

Bacteria Cannot Penetrate Healthy Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel is the mineralized structure on the outside of teeth. When tooth enamel is healthy, cavity-causing bacteria are unable to penetrate through its surface. Unfortunately, tooth enamel can be damaged by wear and tear or disease. When tooth enamel is damaged, teeth are vulnerable to becoming brittle or decayed. This is why preventive dentistry is so important. Regular checkups and cleanings along with preventive treatments can help keep teeth healthy for a lifetime.

Teeth Have Dental Stem Cells

When we listen to the news, there is a lot of coverage on the potential medical applications of stem cells. This is because stem cells can be used to regenerate damaged or diseased tissues in some areas of the body. Stem cells come from various parts of the body including teeth. While it is not discussed as much as other stem cell sources, there is promising research for the application of dental stem cells for a myriad of chronic health conditions and diseases.

Teeth Form Before Birth

Teeth form while a child is in the womb. While infants don’t appear to have teeth, their teeth do exist within the jawbone and gums. As babies grow, their teeth will slowly come through the gums.

Wisdom Teeth are Third Molars

Wisdom teeth are actually a third set of molars but because our second molars last for most of our lives due to widely accessible oral healthcare, wisdom teeth are not necessary. Up until modern human history, people’s second molars were normally lost by the time they were in their early adulthood years. Since wisdom teeth are not necessary, most dental professionals recommend their extraction to prevent oral health problems.

Our oral surgeon offers a number of oral health services including wisdom teeth extractions, jaw surgery, and dental implants placement. Call us today at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center to reserve an appointment.

Calming Your Nerves Before Dental Procedures

oral sedation CharlottesvilleDo you feel nervous or anxious before dental appointments? If so, you’re not alone. Countless people suffer with anxiety related to clinical and dental treatments. In fact, some dental phobias are so severe that people will avoid visiting a dentist for treatment until it is too late. Foregoing oral healthcare can lead to the need for visiting a specialist like an oral surgeon for focused treatment such as tooth extractions and implant dentistry. When it comes to providing procedures, we offer sedation dentistry to increase patients’ mental and physical comfort. There are different types of sedation, some patients may benefit from taking a prescription tablet from the benzodiazepine class of drugs (oral sedation), while more invasive procedures may require conscious sedation delivered intravenously.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

The type of sedation a person might receive depends on the level of his or her anxiety and the nature of one’s procedure. When it comes to minor anxiety and minimally invasive procedures, a dentist or oral surgeon may administer nitrous oxide. Used in medical and dental procedures, nitrous oxide is a gas that is delivered through a nasal mask. This gas produces calming and pain-relieving effects quickly. As a mild sedative, nitrous oxide can ease one’s fears without the need of long-acting prescription medication so that patients can drive themselves to and from their appointments.

Oral sedation involves a person taking prescribed medication from the benzodiazepine family of drugs. This type of medication is stronger than nitrous oxide and is beneficial for those with moderate anxiety. When it comes to dental procedures, oral sedation is beneficial for treatment like the placement of dental implants and oral pathology services.

Invasive procedures like corrective jaw surgery or bone grafts require stronger medications to manage discomfort and help patients stay still during treatment. Conscious IV sedation is delivered intravenously but unlike general anesthesia, patients can respond to instructions and questions during treatment. Conscious sedation allows a surgeon to work without difficulty or obstruction while ensuring that patients enjoy a positive, comfortable experience.

Call us today to learn more about sedation dentistry or to schedule an appointment at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center.

Sugary Drinks and Dental Health

dentists CharlottesvilleYour dental health is precious and preserving vital oral tissue is something that people should keep in mind on a daily basis. Our modern diets, which are prevalent in acid and sugar, can lead to permanently damaged teeth and dental caries (tooth decay). These beverages can also contribute to gum disease. Sugary drinks are especially dangerous to teeth. In fact, dentists strongly discourage the consumption of sugar in its various forms.

Oral Bacteria and Teeth

Our mouths naturally contain oral bacteria. Some bacteria are helpful and some strains are harmful. One strain in particular, s. mutans, is responsible for the development of tooth decay when tooth enamel is damaged. This strain of bacteria is orally transmitted – normally from parents to children during infancy. All bacteria feed on sugar because sugar particles serve as a natural food source for them. When sugar particles coat the structures inside the mouth, bacteria go on a feeding frenzy. As bacteria feed on sugar, they release acid as a by-product, which also contributes to tooth decay by weakening tooth enamel.

Oral Bacteria and Gum Health

Beyond affecting teeth, oral bacteria can contribute to periodontal (gum) disease. When too much sugar is consumed and oral hygiene is inadequate, people can develop an overgrowth of oral bacteria. If irritants like tartar accumulation, alcohol, or cigarette/cigar smoke can inflame the gingiva. Inflamed gingiva are prone to infection and harmful oral bacteria can infect the gums, leading to the onset of gum disease.

Common Beverages to Avoid

Most people know that sodas contain sugar but many other beverages contain excessive amounts of sugar. Sports drinks and even fruit juices contain high amounts of sugar as well. Other drinks like energy drinks worry dentists, too. Many of these beverages are also acidic because acids are used to preserve food and drinks as well as flavor them.

Our oral surgeon provides a variety of oral health treatments such as tissue grafts, tooth extractions, and corrective jaw surgery. If you have been referred to our practice for treatment, call us today to schedule an appointment.