Posts for tag: dental implants
You have a lot of options for replacing missing teeth, from state-of-the-art dental implants to affordable, but effective partial dentures. But if the teeth in question have been missing for a while, you may first have to undergo orthodontic treatment. Here's why.
While they may feel rigid and firm in the jawbone, teeth are actually held in place by periodontal (gum) ligaments. These elastic tissues lie between the teeth and the bone and attach to both with tiny filaments. This mechanism allows the teeth to incrementally move over time in response to biting pressures or other environmental factors.
When a tooth goes missing the teeth on either side of the space naturally move or "drift" into it to help close the gap. This natural occurrence can reduce the space for a restoration if it has gone on for some time. To make room for a new prosthetic (false) tooth, we may have to move the drifted teeth back to where they belong.
If you're thinking metal braces, that is an option—but not the only one. Clear aligners are another way to move teeth if the bite problem (malocclusion) isn't too severe. Aligners are a series of custom-made, clear, plastic trays worn over the teeth. The patient wears each tray, slightly smaller than the previous one in the series, for about two weeks before changing to the next one. The reduction in size gradually moves teeth to their intended target position.
Many adults prefer clear aligners because they're nearly invisible and don't stand out like metal braces. They're removable, so you can take them out for cleaning or for special occasions. And, we can also attach a prosthetic tooth to the tray that temporarily covers the missing tooth space.
Whichever orthodontic treatment you choose, once completed we can then proceed with restoration to permanently replace your missing teeth. While it can be a long process, the end result is a beautiful smile that could last for years to come.
If you would like more information on your dental restoration options, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Straightening a Smile before Replacing Lost Teeth.”
Is a smile gap harmful or just unsightly? Actually, it's both. Missing teeth affect your self-confidence, degrade your gum tissue and jaw bone and weaken teeth adjacent to the empty space. Fix your smile gaps once and for all with innovative dental implants from Dr. Brenna Hamrick-Stotts in Redlands, CA. An expert in a wide range of restorative and cosmetic dental treatments, Dr. Hamrick-Stotts fixes damaged smiles, improving oral health and smile aesthetics.
What is a dental implant?
It's a complete prosthetic tooth, replacing the missing root and entire tooth structure above the gum line. The artificial root is composed of biocompatible titanium, a natural metal which human bone adheres to with amazing tenacity and strength. This bonding process is called osseointegration, and it forms a solid foundation for the rest of the implant: a metal alloy post and custom-made porcelain crown.
Can everyone receive dental implants?
Most people can, but Dr. Hamrick-Stotts will determine your candidacy through complete examination, X-rays, and a CT scan. If you have good oral health and sufficient bone in your jaw, you likely can receive dental implants. Even individuals who have significant tooth loss--are missing an entire arch of teeth, for instance--can undergo dental implant treatment. Also, if a patient has insufficient bone density, the dentist can augment it with specialized procedures which create a solid foundation for the implants.
The implant process
Osseointegration does take time. So, you'll receive your dental implant in stages:
- Insertion of the titanium screw into the jaw (this is an in-office procedure needing just local anesthetic)
- Healing time which encompasses many weeks or even months
- Bonding on a metal extension post and porcelain crown
To ensure a dental implant site stays healthy, Dr. Hamrick-Stotts asks her patients to carefully brush and floss twice a day and to see her every six months for a check-up and cleaning. Also, implant recipients who smoke should see their physicians about a supervised tobacco cessation program.
The research about how long dental implants last may surprise you. The American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) states that if an implant is properly inserted, heals well and is kept free of plaque and tartar, it should last indefinitely--even the rest of your life. Also, the AAID maintains that this reliable tooth replacement steadily grows in popularity in the US--by about half a million implants annually.
Learn more in Redlands
Dr. Hamrick-Stotts and her dedicated team will be happy to show you if dental implants could close your gaps and give you an amazing and long-lasting smile. For a personal consultation at her Redlands, CA, office, please call (909) 793-9711.
Dental implants are by far the best way to replace missing teeth. But they do more than improve your smile: they can restore your ability to eat, chew and talk properly, especially if the teeth replaced are in the back of your mouth. What’s more, they can improve the entire look of your face by restoring facial height and cheek support lost because of the missing teeth.
There is, however, one obstacle to overcome before receiving dental implants — a lack of sufficient bone at the implant site. Bone loss usually occurs when teeth have been missing for some time. This is because when we chew the forces generated by the teeth stimulate continual bone growth to make up for older bone that has dissolved (resorbed). This stimulation doesn’t occur after teeth are lost, which slows the rate of bone growth. Over time the amount of healthy bone diminishes.
Without enough bone for support, implants can’t be placed properly. Fortunately, some of the bone can be regenerated through techniques that place bone grafting material at the site to stimulate and serve as a scaffold for new bone.Â The new bone will eventually replace the graft.
For missing upper back teeth with bone loss, we can take advantage of facial anatomy to grow the bone needed for implants. This area of the face is where the maxillary sinuses, air spaces lined with a tissue membrane, are located on either side just above the upper jaw. After determining their exact size and location through detailed x-ray imaging, we can surgically access the area inside the mouth just above the missing teeth.
The sinus cavity is an area where bone growth can occur by placing a bone graft between the floor of the sinus and the sinus membrane. Sometimes bone growth enhancers are used to stimulate and speed up regeneration. The procedure can usually be performed with local anesthesia (much like a routine tooth filling), with only mild discomfort afterward for a few days managed by an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen and a decongestant for sinus swelling.
After six to seven months, we re-evaluate the area to see if sufficient bone has returned for implant surgery. If so, you will be well on your way to achieving a new look and better function through dental implants.
If you would like more information on building new bone through sinus surgery, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sinus Surgery.”
Dental implants to replace teeth are a popular choice as much for their durability as their life-likeness. Most implants last for decades, which can result in lower long-term maintenance costs than other replacement options.
But to achieve this longevity, you must take care of your implants. You should brush and floss them daily right along with your remaining natural teeth — and continue regular semi-annual dental visits for cleanings and checkups.
You may be wondering, though: if they're made of inorganic materials, why worry with brushing them? It's true that bacterial plaque, the thin film of food particles most responsible for dental disease, doesn't affect them.
Your implants, though, don't exist in a bubble: they're imbedded in real bone, surrounded by real gum tissue and placed next to real teeth. All these other living tissues are susceptible to infection caused by plaque, even from plaque on non-organic implants.
The bone and tissues around an implant can even have a higher susceptibility to infection. This is because an implant's attachment in the jaw differs from that of natural teeth. An implant is imbedded directly into the bone; a natural tooth, on the other hand, maintains its hold through an elastic gum tissue between it and the bone called the periodontal ligament. Tiny fibers from the ligament attach to the tooth on one side and to the bone on the other.
Besides holding the tooth in place, the ligament also contains blood vessels that supply the tooth and surrounding tissues not only with nutrients but also antibodies that help fight infection. Due to the absence of a ligament connection, an implant doesn't enjoy the same level of protection from infection. Â It's much easier for tissues and teeth around an implant to become infected, and harder to stop it.
That's why prevention through daily hygiene is so important. So, be sure to brush and floss all your teeth — including implants — every day, and keep up your regular dental visits. And at the first sign of a possible infection — swollen, red or bleeding gums — see us as soon as possible for an examination.
Consider your implants a long-term investment in both your smile and dental health. Taking care of them will pay dividends for many years to come.
If you would like more information on taking care of your dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implant Maintenance.”
Whether you wish to replace a missing tooth or conceal cosmetic imperfections, various options are available for improving your smile. Dental implants and veneers are both options for improving the appearance of your smile. Dental implants serve as replacements for missing teeth, while veneers conceal and correct a variety of imperfections. Dr. Brenna Hamrick-Stotts is your Redlands, CA dentist for installation of dental implants and veneers.
Dental implants permanently replace missing teeth. Installation involves anchoring a portion of the implant to the jaw bone, which prevents the implant from ever coming loose or falling out. Dental implants are comprised of a metal implant, an abutment and a porcelain crown. The metal implant is the portion anchored to the jaw bone and serves as the tooth root. The crown sits above the gum line and functions as the replacement tooth, while the abutment connects the crown to the implant.
In addition to replacing missing teeth, dental implants offer several other benefits. Since installation is permanent, messy dental adhesives are not needed to hold the implants in place. They also look and function like natural teeth and can perform normal functions, such as biting and chewing. Additionally, dental implants can improve speech. When the gaps from missing teeth are eliminated upon installation of dental implants, tongue placement when speaking can return to normal. Your Redlands dentist can help you decide if dental implants are right for you.
Veneers are extremely thin covers for less than perfect teeth. They can conceal various cosmetic imperfections, such as stains, discolorations, cracks or chips on teeth. Veneers are often made from porcelain, which is similar in appearance to natural tooth enamel. Veneers can also be color matched to the surrounding teeth so they blend right in. To install veneers, a small bit of enamel is first shaved off the front of the tooth. Then a dental cement is used to permanently adhere the veneer to the front of the problem tooth. Benefits of veneers include:
- Concealing cracks and chips.
- Covering discolorations and stains.
- Correcting the shape of teeth that are oddly shaped.
- Smoothing out uneven surfaces on tooth.
- Closing extra space between teeth.
- Having the appearance of natural teeth.
Dental implants and veneers are excellent options for replacing missing teeth and improving the appearance of teeth with cosmetic imperfections. To find out if dental implants or veneers can benefit your smile, schedule an appointment with Dr. Hamrick-Stotts, your Redlands, CA dentist, by calling (909) 793-9711.