Posts for: September, 2017
Are you currently mulling over your tooth replacement options? Our Albuquerque, NM, periodontist, Dr. Petra Mayer, discusses a few reasons you may want to consider dental implants.
How implants can help
Dental implants are an excellent choice if you're looking for a long-lasting solution to tooth loss. Titanium implants act as replacement tooth roots and bond to your jawbone. As long as you take proper care of your implants, you can expect them to last your entire life.
Implants are placed in openings made in your jawbone during a minor procedure in our Albuquerque office. After bonding occurs in a few months, a crown will be added to your implant, completing the restoration of your lost tooth.
Are dental implants the right choice for me?
Dental implants are a good option if you want a new tooth that feels and looks natural. Your new crown is made from an impression of your mouth and is designed to fit the opening in your smile perfectly. Because dental implants are firmly attached to your jawbone, your new tooth won't slip or slide when you bite into food.
Dental implants are easier to clean than bridges or dentures. If you're committed to regular brushing and flossing, you already have the skills needed to care for implants. Flossing under the crown is particularly important. If you don't floss this area thoroughly, bacteria-laden plaque can collect and cause an infection.
Whether you've lost a tooth to an injury, abscess, decay or gum infection, dental implants can improve your smile. Although implants are most commonly used to replace a single tooth, they also offer an excellent alternative to bridges and dentures.
Implants also help you avoid bone loss in your jaw, in addition to filling the gap in your teeth. The problem occurs when your teeth roots no longer stimulate the bone. Eventually, the bone begins to recede, which may lead to tooth loss and changes in the appearance of your face. Dental implants prevent these changes from occurring because they exert continuous pressure on your jawbone.
Dental implants offer an effective way to restore lost teeth. If you're interested in beginning the dental implant process, call Albuquerque, NM, periodontist, Dr. Mayer, at (505) 881-2400 to schedule an appointment.
There’s a lot to like about replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant. This state-of-the-art restoration is by far the most durable and life-like option available. And unlike other replacement options implants stimulate bone growth, a major concern after tooth loss.
For that reason we encourage getting an implant as soon as possible — for adults, that is. We don’t recommend implants for younger patients because even a teenager’s jaws haven’t yet reached full maturity. Because it attaches to the jaw differently, an implant can’t move with the growing jaw as real teeth do. It would eventually look as if it were sinking into the jaw below the gum line or being left behind as the rest of the jaw grows.
It’s best, then, to postpone placing an implant until the jaw fully matures, usually in a patient’s early twenties. In the meantime, there are some things we can do to prepare for a future implant while also restoring the tooth with a temporary replacement.
As previously mentioned, our biggest concern is bone health. Like other living tissue, bone has a growth cycle of older cells dissolving and newer ones forming in their place. The teeth transmit the pressure produced when we chew to the bone to stimulate this growth. With the absence of a tooth, the adjacent bone no longer receives this stimulation — the growth cycle slows and may eventually lead to bone loss.
We can help this situation by placing a bone graft in the missing tooth socket at the time of extraction. The graft serves as a scaffold that’s eventually taken over and replaced by new bone growth. We can also try to control how fast the graft is replaced by using grafting material that’s slowly removed and lasts longer — often a preferable situation if an implant is years away.
As for appearance, we can create a custom partial denture or even a type of bridge that bonds a prosthetic tooth to neighboring teeth without significantly altering them. If the patient undergoes orthodontic treatment it’s also possible to add prosthetic teeth to an orthodontic appliance.
Eventually, we’ll be able to provide the permanent solution of a dental implant. With careful planning and measures to preserve bone health, there’s a good chance the outcome will be worth the wait.
If you would like more information on treatments for lost teeth in children and teenagers, 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 Implants for Teenagers.”
Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates knows how important it is to present your best face to the world — and one of the most important features of that face is a beaming smile. But there came a point when she noticed something was a little off. “I've always had good teeth, but it seemed to me as I was getting older that they weren't looking as good,” Kathy explained in a recent interview with Dear Doctor magazine.
That's when she decided it was time to take action. Kathy had orthodontic treatment when she was in her fifties, and she keeps her smile bright with tooth whitening treatments. She uses a kit provided by her dentist with a safe, effective whitening solution.
Of course, a bright, healthy smile looks great anywhere — whether you're on the red carpet or “off the grid.” And you don't have to be a Hollywood star to have professional whitening treatments. In fact, teeth whitening is one of the most popular and affordable cosmetic treatments modern dentistry offers.
The basic options for professional teeth whitening include in-office bleaching or take-home kits. Both types of dentist-supervised treatments offer a safe and effective means of getting a brighter smile; the main difference is how long they take to produce results. A single one-hour treatment in the office can make your teeth up to ten shades lighter — a big difference! To get that same lightening with at-home trays, it would take several days. On the plus side, the take-home kit is less expensive, and can achieve the same results in a bit more time.
It's important to note that not all teeth can be whitened with these treatments. Some teeth have intrinsic (internal) stains that aren't affected by external agents like bleaches. Also, teeth that have been restored (with bonding or veneers, for example) generally won't change color. And you can't necessarily whiten your teeth to any degree: Every tooth has a maximum whiteness, and adding more bleach won't lighten it beyond that level. Most people, however, find that teeth whitening treatments produce noticeable and pleasing results.
What about those off-the-shelf kits or in-the-mall kiosks? They might work… or they might not. But one thing's for sure: Without a dentist's supervision, you're on your own. That's the main reason why you should go with a pro if you're considering teeth whitening. We not only ensure that your treatment is safe — we can also give you a realistic idea of what results to expect, and we will make sure that other dental problems aren't keeping you from having a great-looking smile.
How often does Kathy Bates see her dentist for a checkup and cleaning? “I go about every four months,” she noted. “I'm pretty careful about it.” And if you've seen her smile, you can tell that it pays off. If you would like more information about teeth whitening, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Important Teeth Whitening Questions Answered” and “Teeth Whitening.”