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Posts for tag: dental implants

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
March 15, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental Implants DiagramIf you're facing tooth replacement, you have a premier option available to you. It's the dental implant from your dentist in Redlands, Dr. Brenna Hamrick-Stotts. Her sharp diagnostic skills and caring attitude have helped scores of patients enjoy the benefits of these state-of-the-art prosthetics. Read answers to some frequently asked questions about dental implants and how they can help you.

What is a dental implant? A dental implant is a titanium cylinder or screw surgically inserted into the jaw bone where a tooth previously resided. This device replaces a natural tooth root and forms the foundation for a metal extension post and porcelain crown above the gum line.

What qualifies me for dental implants? Your Redlands dentist carefully examines a patient's mouth and jaw bone before recommending a dental implant. You should have good systemic health and possess enough bone in your jaw to accept and stabilize the implant device. You will have special three-dimensional scans to evaluate the bone. The European Federation of Periodontology states that patients should be over 18 years old so that their jaw bones have finished growing to sufficient size and density.

Is the surgery complex? No, it's really not. The entire procedure happens at Dr. Hamrick-Stotts' office, usually with simple local anesthetic. Even insertion of multiple implants to support dentures or bridgework involves a few steps and limited suturing.

Why do dental implants last so long? The Institute for Dental Implant Awareness says that dental implants last four or five decades--a lifetime, really. Behind their longevity is osseointegration, whereby bone cells in the jaw bond to the titanium implant device. This bond creates a firm foundation for the implant, and in fact, as you use the implant, the jaw bone actually gets stronger and denser.

My friend received two dental implants, and she said healing took weeks. Why is healing such a long process? Osseointegration does not happen over night. However, the results are excellent if you do not try to rush the process.

How do I care for my new teeth? Most implants require twice a day brushing and once a day flossing to keep plaque and tartar at bay. Also, see Dr. Hamrick-Stotts for six-month examinations and cleanings as usual. Your hygienist will instruct you in any special brushing or flossing techniques your particular case may require.

Can anything threaten the longevity of a dental implant? Dental implants cannot decay as natural teeth can, but implant sites may develop peri-implantitis which resembles advanced gum disease. Peri-implantitis endangers implant retention. Smoking also threatens implants as the toxins in cigarettes actually burn the soft tissues of the mouth and make bone and gums susceptible to infection and degradation.

More questions?

Get all of them answered at a dental implant consultation with dentist, Dr. Brenna Hamrick-Stotts. Call her office staff in Redlands, CA, today to arrange a convenient appointment. We look forward to helping you achieve a strong, beautiful smile. Phone (909) 793-9711.

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
January 30, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
YoumayNeedOrthodonticTreatmentBeforeObtainingImplants

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.”

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
July 13, 2018
Category: Dental Appliances
Tags: dental implants  

Dental ImplantsIs 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:

  1. Insertion of the titanium screw into the jaw (this is an in-office procedure needing just local anesthetic)
  2. Healing time which encompasses many weeks or even months
  3. 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.

Implant longevity

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.

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
March 31, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
SurgicallyAccessingSinusescanHelpGrowNewBoneforImplants

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.  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.”

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
December 23, 2017
Category: Oral Health
CleanYourImplantsJustLikeyouCleanYourNaturalTeeth

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.  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.”