Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Cent

Is flossing really that important?

dentist CharlottesvilleMany people feel like brushing is all that is needed to keep a clean, healthy mouth. This is a dangerous misconception. If a person skips flossing on a regular basis, he or she will develop an increased risk for periodontal (gum) disease and tooth loss. Oral hygiene, in addition to visiting the dentist for routine checkups and cleanings, is necessary for preventing common oral health conditions.

Why is flossing necessary?

While a toothbrush can clean the biting surfaces and front and back sides of teeth, it cannot reach deep within teeth. Flossing is necessary to clean along the gum line and in between teeth. Bits of food and bacteria can easily collect between teeth. Without flossing, the areas between teeth will develop tartar accumulation as well as the gum line. Tartar buildup is a primary contributor to periodontal disease because it causes an inflammatory response in the gums. As tartar accumulates, the gums pull away (recede) from teeth leaving the roots of teeth exposed to debris and harmful bacteria.

Flossing thoroughly and properly can greatly reduce the risk for gum disease by preventing the accumulation of tartar in between teeth. Floss is thin enough to clean gently without cutting into the gingiva.

How often should I floss?

You should floss once every day. Flossing properly takes a couple minutes. Be sure to purchase floss with the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval. As you floss, curve the floss around the base of each tooth and thread it through teeth in back and forth motions to remove debris and bacteria wedged deep within teeth.

What happens if I have blood on my floss or toothbrush?

If you notice bleeding during your oral hygiene routine, you should make an appointment with your dentist for a checkup. Continue brushing and flossing as normal until your appointment. Be sure to floss and brush gently but thoroughly.

Flossing helps prevent periodontal disease, which is a condition that contributes to the majority of tooth loss in adulthood. Untreated gum disease can advance into a progressive condition that may require surgical treatment.

How does sedation dentistry work?

sedation dentist CharlottesvilleSedation dentistry encompasses different methods for producing a calm and relaxing state for dental and medical procedures. Since there are different types and methods for sedation, it is a good idea for patients to have a general understanding of what their upcoming treatment might involve.

There are a number of procedures where our sedation dentist might utilize nitrous oxide, prescription tablets, or intravenous medication to achieve the desired effect. For example, some patients receiving dental implants stay comfortable with local anesthetics and sedatives in tablet form. Patients receiving reconstructive or corrective surgeries to the jaw, for instance, will likely require intravenous medication to maintain comfort.

Why is sedation used?

Sedation is used to increase a person’s physical and emotional comfort. Mild forms of sedation are used for procedures that are not overly invasive but could produce discomfort when dealing with sensitive tissue and nerve endings. Sometimes, a sedation dentist might prescribe tablets to be taken about an hour before one’s appointment to assuage anxiety and nervousness. Since many people suffer from dental anxiety and phobia, oral tablets are beneficial for helping patients achieve and maintain a relaxed, comfortable state.

Invasive procedures that involve surgically altering the position of the jaws, the joints (TMJs) connecting the lower jaw to the skull, require intravenous sedation. IV sedation can be used to produce a medically unconscious state if necessary, but it can also be used for “twilight” sedation, which means that a patient will rest peacefully but is conscious enough to respond to questions or instructions.

Is sedation dentistry safe?

Our practice administers sedatives and analgesics in adherence with FDA guidelines and industry treatment protocols. Medication types and dosages are carefully determined so that those receiving treatment are comfortable and safe. Moreover, our team closely monitors the vitals of those receiving strong medications during treatment. IV sedation is beneficial for producing desired effects without overmedicating. This is because the dosage is adjustable throughout treatment.

If you have questions about our services, call Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center to speak with a friendly member of our team.

How does tooth loss lead to bone resorption?

missing teeth CharlottesvilleJawbone resorption can be a consequence of tooth loss if the absent tooth’s root is not replaced. This occurs because that root structure holds the bone tissue in place. When the tooth’s root is no longer available for this function, the bone tissue slowly erodes. As the jawbone atrophy progresses, it may affect the attachment of nearby biological teeth.

For this reason, missing teeth can put the remaining teeth at risk if they are not replaced or if they are replaced with a prosthetic that doesn’t include a root-like structure. Dental implants help to prevent this outcome. Dental implants are small titanium cylinders that an oral surgeon inserts in the patient’s jaw at the site of missing teeth. Titanium is biocompatible, so the surrounding bone forms a strong bond with the dental implant. Eventually, the dental implant becomes a permanent part of the patient’s jaw and functions quite similarly to the absent biological tooth’s root.

Because the jawbone’s shape remains constant when dental implants are placed by an oral surgeon, an appliance supported by these devices will retain its fit. In contrast, conventional appliances that lack a root-like structure can lose their fit over time as the shape of the jaw changes due to bone loss.

Jawbone preservation is just one benefit of choosing dental implants for missing teeth. The root-like qualities of dental implants allow these prosthetics to chew a wider variety of foods because they can withstand fairly strong chewing forces.

Dental implants also stand alone without support, which means that surrounding teeth don’t need to be compromised for the tooth replacement. When used to support a single crown, dental implants also allow access to the gumline, which can be restricted by appliances like fixed dental bridges.

Dental implants can prevent the jawbone resorption that typically occurs after tooth loss, along with the other benefits they provide. To learn more about this treatment option and how it can strengthen your smile, schedule a consultation with our team at Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center.

Is oral sedation effective at calming dental fears?

oral sedation CharlottesvilleMany patients are fearful about dental procedures, and such anxiety can be amplified at the prospect of oral surgery. Fortunately, oral sedation can be an effective solution for calming your dental fears and helping you get the treatment that you need.

Oral sedation involves taking an anti-anxiety medication prior to your surgery. This medication will help you to relax deeply during the procedure. Patients remain conscious, although they often feel like they are in a sleep-like state. Because they remain conscious, oral sedation is considered to be safer than other choices, such as general anesthesia. Patients can continue to respond to commands from the oral surgeon, and their airways are not compromised.

Patients who choose oral sedation also benefit from the amnestic effects of the medications. That is, patients will have no recollection of the procedure while under sedation. This also helps to avoid reinforcing dental fear with a negative experience.

At your initial consultation, your oral surgeon will discuss your oral sedation options with you. Some preparation is needed. Your oral surgeon will give you a prescription for the sedative medication, which you will need to have filled before your appointment. You will also be instructed to take the medication a certain amount of time before your appointment. This will give the medication enough time to take effect. However, it also means that you will not be able to drive safely to the appointment. Therefore, you must arrange for a responsible adult to bring you to the office.

The effects of the sedation also may not be completely reversed by the time you leave the office after your procedure. Someone will need to drive you home after the surgery and remain with you until the medication has worn off completely.

Don’t let dental fears stand in the way of oral surgery that could improve your oral health. Ask our team about oral sedation and whether it can be used in your case.

Single Tooth Replacement: What is the best option?

tooth replacement CharlottesvillePatients who are in need of a single tooth replacement should carefully weigh all of their options, because each prosthetic appliance has implications for your long-term oral health and well-being. You need to get as much information as you can about dental implants and fixed dental bridges in order to make your final decision.

Keep in mind that a tooth replacement isn’t intended to merely restore a complete smile, although that is certainly one benefit. Your missing tooth plays an important functional role in your smile, as well. That’s why we encourage patients to think about a tooth replacement that is structurally complete, consisting of an artificial root and a crown, rather than a crown alone.

Dental implants are an optimal treatment approach for patients who want to maximize durability, functionality and longevity in the prosthetic appliance. Through the process of osseointegration, dental implants become fixtures in the patient’s jaw several months after the oral surgeon places them.

Having an oral surgeon place dental implants to fill in for a single missing tooth gives patients a number of benefits. First, the dental implant acts as an anchor to secure the jawbone. When only a crown is replaced, the bone tissue will wither away over time. As that jawbone atrophy unfolds, a conventional fixed dental bridge may not fit as well. Eventually, such an appliance may need to be replaced.

Additionally, dental implants stand alone without support from the abutment teeth. Therefore, no healthy biological teeth need to be altered to accommodate a dental crown, which is an important component of a fixed dental bridge.

Implant-supported crowns are also able to withstand fairly strong chewing forces, so patients can continue to enjoy all of their favorite foods. Alternatives may fall short in this important role.

Are you considering your options to replace an individual missing tooth? Come to our office to learn more about dental implants. Call Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center to schedule your initial consultation.

Dental Myth: White Teeth are Healthy Teeth

cosmetic dentistry CharlottesvilleMany of us desire white teeth because our modern society values a vibrant, bright smile as a measure of attractiveness, friendliness, and vitality. While we might associate a white smile with health and vigor, white teeth can be diseased and damaged. For instance, a person could have received cosmetic dentistry treatments like professional teeth whitening and develop a crack or decay in the future. While the tooth will likely still look white and beautiful, the tooth’s health is still compromised. In cases where a tooth is permanently damaged, a person will need to receive a restoration like a filling or crown to prevent further degradation of an injured/diseased tooth.

Following are more common dental myths dispelled.

Dental Myth: Toothaches Always Accompany Cavities

Quite a few people mistakenly believe that toothaches always accompany tooth decay. While a toothache is often a sign of a badly decayed and/or infected tooth, tooth pain does not always manifest as a symptom of dental caries. In fact, relying on the presence or absence of a toothache to evaluate your oral health could be dangerous. Some people will forego routine checkups and cleanings because they believe that if their oral health were compromised, he or she would notice symptoms like toothaches.

A cavity can form and progress without symptoms. This is why receiving routine checkups is important for protecting your oral health. Dental technology can help detect cavities in their earliest stages.

Dental Myth: Gum Disease is Caused Only by Poor Oral Hygiene

Gum disease is a major threat to people’s oral health. This condition, when left untreated, can advance into a destructive oral health condition that involves a chronic infection and destruction of oral tissue like the gingiva, teeth, and bones. While it’s true that poor oral hygiene is a major driving force behind the development of gum disease, it isn’t the only culprit.

In addition to inadequate oral hygiene, medications and conditions that cause dry mouth can contribute to gingival inflammation. Moreover, natural hormonal fluctuations that accompany pregnancy or puberty can increase the gums’ sensitivity to debris and pathogens.

Protecting your oral health starts with keeping regular appointments for checkups and cleanings along with committing to a proper and thorough oral hygiene routine. Call us today at Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center to schedule an appointment.

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.