Tooth Loss Equals Bone Loss, EXCEPT With Dental Implants!

If you lose a tooth, what occurs BELOW the gum tissue may surprise you! Many people are unaware that natural tooth roots create a type of stimulation to their jaw bone. This stimulation keeps the jaw bone at a healthy height and width. Without it, however, the bone begins to “melt away.” This decline in bone mass is known as resorption.

Over time, resorption can create many problems. For denture wearers, they typically notice that their denture, which fit well when it was first made, begins to slip and seems loose. As resorption continues, the problems become visual by looking in the mirror. Deep wrinkling occurs around the mouth and the corners of the mouth turn downward, even in a smile. Eventually, jowls form and the mouth seems to collapse into the lower face, giving one a “granny look.”

Eating becomes difficult with a denture that slips and moves. Uncomfortable rubbing occurs and many people resort to a diet of soft foods that dissolve easily in the mouth. Denture adhesives and pastes only help for brief periods and have to be reapplied frequently.

Even those who have lost one or several teeth will experience bone loss in the area where they are missing teeth. It is a fact that those who lose a tooth will most likely lose an adjacent tooth next.

Dental Implants are anchored in the jaw bone, recreating the presence of tooth roots. They not only provide a stable foundation for replacement teeth, they help to halt the process of resorption. They also restore your ability to bite and chew all types of foods comfortably.

For those who wear dentures or partials, or are contemplating replacing a crown-&-bridge combination, there are many reasons that Dental Implants are becoming adults’ preferred method of replacing teeth. Because we are experienced in the placement and restoration of all types of implants, we’ll be happy to discuss which would work best for your individual needs. For a free consultation appointment, call (586) 739-2155 to arrange a time convenient to you.

Why Proper Bite Alignment Is Important

For some folks, if their smile looks attractive and nothing hurts, they think their oral health is fine. Yet, a bite that is not aligned properly can cause many problems, such as:

• Headaches – When the upper teeth and lower teeth do not meet properly, it can cause strain on the jaw joints as well as head, neck and shoulder muscles. Eventually, this can cause frequent headaches, sore jaw joints, and lead to migraines.

• Broken & Cracked Teeth – An improper bite causes distorted movements for teeth, particularly when biting and chewing. Teeth that are broken, chipped or fractured can result. Repairing these generally requires crowns or veneers. When a tooth breaks below the gum line, the tooth must be removed and replaced.

• Worn Teeth – Many people with an improper bite become “bruxers.” Bruxing, or grinding, usually occurs during sleep and leads to worn teeth.

• Clenching Teeth – A misaligned bite often leads to clenching teeth at night. While headaches can be the result, this can also cause restless sleep, fractured teeth, headaches and facial pain.

While the list goes on, these are the most common problems that arise from a misaligned bite. This is why we so carefully check your bite alignment after placing crowns, bridges or veneers.

Don’t let an improper bite cause expensive and uncomfortable problems. If you suspect your bite may be “off,” remember that this will not correct itself on its own. We’ll be happy to explain methods of bite realignment, which include tooth reshaping, crowns, oral appliances and Invisalign. Call (586) 739-2155 for a free consultation appointment.

Dental Care & Pain Are NOT Related!

For those who have a fear of dentistry, or anxiety associated with dental visits, most seem to have developed this from an experience as a child. Perhaps a dentist was too rough, or failed to deliver sufficient novocain before a procedure, or began the procedure before allowing the novocain to take effect. When such a traumatic experience occurs in one’s young life, no wonder they EXPECT to have pain when undergoing future dental care.

We treat many patients who have high levels of dental fear, some who can be classified as dental phobics. These are people who literally break into a sweat when just calling a dental office. Many avoid care until an emergency need arises, and then must have costly repairs that could have been prevented had they been able to receive regular check-ups and cleanings.

We begin by inviting fearful patients to visit our office for a conversation. They are seated in a comfortable arm chair in our Consultation Room. During this time, we discuss their fears and explain the comfort options available. We suggest most start with a procedure that includes oral sedation, when they feel ready.

Oral sedation is in pill form and allows the patient to relax even before they arrive to the practice. A companion brings them and the patient is drowsy by the time they get to the office. This helps them avoid the anxious feelings typically associated with dental visits.

Once here, we have a trained staff member escort them to a comfortable treatment chair where they are covered with a warm blanket. They are closely monitored throughout their visit for both safety and comfort. I numb the areas we are working on and ask the patient questions throughout treatment to ensure they are comfortable and pain-free. Even though the patient is totally relaxed, they are able to communicate with me as needed.

When treatment is completed, we help the patient walk to meet their companion to be taken home. Most patients have no memory of their treatment afterwards. Some remember hearing voices, but that’s typically all they can recall. Once home, they may want to nap for a brief time, although most feel refreshed and ready to resume normal activities by that evening. Because oral sedation has a quick recovery (unlike I.V. sedation), the patient does not have a ‘drugged out’ feeling to recover from.

It’s important to understand that oral sedation is an aid in helping patients overcome their dental fears. Our goal is for the patient to feel they no longer need to be sedated for their dental care, which is what we’ve accomplished with most of our once-fearful patients. After their initial treatment, many realize their comfort here is a priority and we want them to feel they are always in control.

Your dental visits are important for your oral health and appearance as well as your overall health. Getting the proper treatment and feeling good about coming for preventive care can make you feel good from the inside out! Never let fear control YOU! Call (586) 739-2155 and our friendly staff will arrange a free consultation for you. Remember, this is just a chat — you’ll never see a treatment chair! But, it is your first step toward confident smiles!

 

Crown Lengthening – What It Is & Why It’s Needed

Crown lengthening, also known as a gum lift, is primarily a cosmetic dental procedure that enhances the appearance of your smile by exposing more of the tooth. When the gum line is uneven, crown lengthening can also recontour the gum line.

In crown lengthening, excess gum tissue is removed around the upper tooth or teeth to make them appear longer when teeth look too short. This is a popular procedure for people who have a gummy smile. This smile (like Katie Couric’s) is when the person has too much gum showing above their upper teeth when they smile. Removing excess gum tissue can give a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Additionally, crown lengthening may be advised for dental health and medical reasons. For example, if decay or a fracture exist under the gum line, this procedure exposes more of the tooth in order to support a tooth-colored filling or porcelain crown.

In the procedure, the selected area of the gums is reduced and carefully contoured through the removal of small amounts of tissue. When necessary, the bone supporting the tooth can be shaped so it follows the regular bone outline. We typically perform crown lengthening while the patient is under a local anesthetic. We use a laser specifically designed for gum procedures, which enables precision recontouring while sealing the tissue simultaneously. This enhances patient comfort and speeds healing time greatly.

Typically, our patients can return to their normal routines in a day or two.  Depending on the patient, complete healing may take one to two weeks.

Sleep Apnea Can Harm Your Brain & Heart

Sleep apnea means more than just snoring and sleep disruption. It has the potential to have life-threatening effects on the brain and cardiovascular system.

During periods of apnea, there are intervals that cause interruptions in sleep without completely awakening you. This means some people are unaware that they have sleep apnea. Typically, people with sleep apnea snore and partially awaken gasping and choking in order to inhale sufficient oxygen. This vicious cycle of sleeping-gasping-waking could be occurring up to hundreds of times per night.

These decreases in oxygen levels cause increased blood pressure and stress on the cardiovascular system. About half of those with sleep apnea develop hypertension, which increases the risk of stroke and heart failure.

For people with more than 20 episodes of apnea per night, they have a higher risk of death from abnormal heart rhythms, strokes, and heart attacks. For those who have pre-existing heart disease, recurrent episodes of decreased blood oxygen can cause sudden death.
Because of the tremendous risks of sleep apnea, we offer sleep appliances that are small and comfortable, unlike the cumbersome CPAP. These are customized to each person’s unique structural makeup and enable people with mild to moderate sleep apnea to get a good night’s sleep without the effects of sleep apnea.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, call our office for a free consultation so your options can be discussed.

The Facts About White, Whiter & Whitest Teeth

For many reasons, an increasing number of adults are having their teeth whitened.  White teeth provide a more youthful appearance to one’s face as teeth tend to become stained yellow or brown as we age. Discoloration occurs most often from coffee, tea, red wine, colas, and tobacco, but can also result from trauma or antibiotics.

When you lighten the color of your teeth, it tends to brighten your face overall. This results in a more youthful appearance. Our patients who have had their teeth whitened claim they smile more often, too!

Over the counter selections of whitening aids now include toothpaste, floss, strips, and home bleaching systems. All give some degree of whitening; however, whitening is still recommended under a dentist’s supervision. Areas we take into consideration for those seeking a gleaming smile include:

• Age: A naturally-white smile at age 30 and age 60 vary. Because it is normal for teeth to become duller and discolored as we age, bleaching too light creates a “fake” look.

• Complexion: Your natural skin color and your teeth should have similar undertones. For instance, for those with pink skin undertones, the teeth should retain some blue or gray for a flattering match. Someone with olive skin would be better with ivory undertones.

• Current Shade: Making teeth whiter and whitest doesn’t mean your smile will look better and best. When whitening occurs gradually during the bleaching process, the extent of change may not seem as dramatic as what has actually occurred.

After bleaching, teeth can retain their new luster even longer by swishing with water after drinking colored beverages, such as tea or coffee. Plus, drink colas and dark juices through a straw whenever possible.

Your smile can be as flattering to your appearance as your hair color. The key is to work toward a degree of whiteness that complements you as an individual. Ask about whitening with our Zoom II Whitening system for dramatic, and beautiful, results! Call us at (586) 739-2155.

Your Smile Has A Positive Affect On Your Life!

Think the appearance of your smile impacts just facial features?

A study published in Psychological Science reveals that people with big smiles live an average of seven years longer than those with stoic faces. Another study in The American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics shows that people with attractive smiles of straight, white teeth are perceived to be more fit than those with less flattering smiles.

Another study by the American Association of Orthodontists showed that bright, happy smiles make a person more attractive even when they are make-up free. Females with great smiles but sans make-up were rated against women who were not smiling but wore make-up. Wrigley gum, who conducted the study, showed the smiling gals as clear winners when it came to being more attractive.

When it comes to your mood, your smile is a major factor as well. The American Psychological Association’s study asked a certain segment of participants smile sincerely while watching a video. Those who were smiling claimed they felt happier after the video ended than those who watched without smiling.

Your smile is more than teeth and gums. It has a positive effect on your life, everyday! If your smile needs attention, call (586) 739-2155 and ask for a free consultation. We’ll discuss ways to enhance the health and appearance of your smile for the many physical and psychological benefits you’ll experience!

Smoking Bans On Beaches? Another reason to quit!

If passed, a smoking ban on North Carolina’s Wrightsville Beach will make it the first North Carolina beach with such a ban and joining South Carolina neighbors Atlantic Beach and Surfside Beach.

Chances of passing seem favorable and may be signs of a trend to come. The first beach smoking ban was in Hanauma Bay Beach, Hawaii, in 1993, followed by Solana Beach, California in 2003. The entire state of Maine now prohibits smoking on beaches.

For beachgoers who smoke, this presents another reason to just drop the habit altogether. In addition to the well-known health hazards of cigarette smoking, those who smoke have a higher risk of periodontal (gum) disease. Additionally, they can expect a longer healing time for dental procedures that involve gum tissue, which creates a higher risk for complications afterwards.

Want to quit? The Centers For Disease Control lists a wide selection of online government sources to help you kick the habit. (http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/how_to_quit/index.htm) Make your time on the beach a time of smiling and without interference of this addictive urge.

How To Look Forward To Hygiene Visits!

When we hear a patient say, “I hate going to the dentist,” we assume it’s because, for some people, dental visits can include an element of discomfort, the most frequent of these being  six-month check-ups and cleanings. If these are uncomfortable for you, it’s likely due to gums that are tender and plaque that must be scraped from tooth surfaces. Although your Hygienist takes every measure to ensure you are comfortable throughout your appointment, plaque removal when gums are tender or inflamed is not an easy process.

Want to make these visits more comfortable? Would you like to avoid the cost and time in treatment for repairs? Care to be among the patients who say, “I love getting my teeth cleaned because it makes my mouth feel so great!”? Here are tips from our Hygienists so you’ll be among our patients who truly enjoy their dental visits.

– Make sure you have a dental check-up and cleaning at least every six months. When your teeth are cleaned and all plaque is removed, you have a clean slate from which to work. This means that proper home care should keep your teeth and gums in good shape until your next visit. Thus, plaque removal around sore, tender gums is not necessary. When you miss these visits or come only once a year, gum inflammation and plaque removal is likely.

– Be committed to your home care regimen. Our hygiene team will advise you on steps to take between visits. This will include brushing a minimum of twice a day, flossing daily, and added measures such as tongue scraping or using an oral rinse.  They’ll point out particular areas that require special attention so you can avoid problems before they begin or require treatment.

– Ask questions for a thorough understanding of your role. If you don’t know how to floss or would like advice on how to make it more comfortable, ask. If you aren’t sure your brushing technique is effective, ask how to make this better. If you want advice on reaching awkward angles in the mouth, ask how to get to them. Your Hygienist is trained to work WITH you so you’ll be able to do a good job between visits. Don’t be shy about asking for help so your home care routine is truly effective.

– Watch what and how often you eat. Keep in mind that every time you eat or drink something, an acid attack begins in the mouth. This acid is harmful to teeth and gums. If you sip sodas or suck on candy or mints during the day, these sugary and/or sticky substances, create a continual battleground of bacteria for your teeth and gums. Be conscious of what occurs from these treats and either brush or swish with water after consuming between-meals.

– Have treatment while problems are small. A cracked tooth that needs crowning (to prevent further damage or tooth loss) won’t repair itself. Plaque on teeth won’t go away without professional removal. A cavity won’t ever heal on its own. When problems are small, they can be repaired with the least amount of cost and time. When they are postponed, the problems become more costly and time-consuming to treat.

We want every visit to have you smiling from the time you walk in until the time you leave. Please know that we are always “in your corner” to help make your dental visits a positive and welcome part of your overall health commitment!