Smoking – Not Age – A Key Factor In Dental Implant Success

Dental Implants are nothing new, having first ‘formally’ emerged in the 1950’s. Over the past few decades, they have been perfected to provide a dependable tooth replacement system. There are now many types of Dental Implants, designed to accommodate various needs and preferences. While Dental Implants are designed to last a lifetime (having up to a 98% success rate), like anything that’s not a natural part of the body, there is a potential for failure.

Dental Implants are highly beneficial, restoring one’s natural ability to bite and chew comfortably. Because they recreate stimulation to the jaw bone like that of natural tooth roots, they also help to halt bone loss. This bone loss can contribute to the loss of neighboring teeth as well as changes in facial appearance. If you’ve seen someone with a mouth that seems collapsed into the face, this ‘granny look’ is a common result of bone loss due to missing tooth roots.

Any age can have a successful outcome with Dental Implants. Extended studies have shown that age is not a factor in implant success, with an equal success rate in younger and older patients. For example, a study of 133 adults over the age of 80 and having no teeth showed that the elderly patients had treatment results comparable to those achieved in younger age groups. The factors that enhance one’s potential to have a successful outcome, at any age, are having healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. Patients must also be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups.

What is a significant contributor to implant failure is smoking. Studies have shown that smokers have more calculus (tartar) than nonsmokers. Calculus is a cement-like buildup on teeth that is an intense accumulation of oral bacteria. When gum tissues are already battling a bacterial onslaught, their ability to accept Dental Implants and enable successful healing is not good.

In studies, smokers were 3 – 6 times more likely to have gum diseases than nonsmokers. Smoking dries out oral tissues in the mouth and decreases the production of saliva. Likely due to less saliva and constricted blood flow, smokers have less gum bleeding and redness. This can lead to the assumption that they have healthy gums. Smoking also hinders healing in your mouth, making treatment much more difficult.

To illustrate this point, one study found that smokers were twice as likely as nonsmokers to lose teeth in the five years after completing treatment for gum disease. Smokers also don’t respond as well to oral surgery treatments. Dental implants are much more likely to fail in people who smoke, because of poor bone healing.

Researchers who have studies how tobacco smoke affects oral tissues say it appears to interfere with the body’s natural ability to fight disease and promote healing. Apparently, smoking affects the way gum tissue responds to all types of treatment, possibly due to tobacco chemicals that interfere with blood flow to the gums. This slows the healing process and makes treatment results less favorable.

Pipe and cigar smokers and those who use smokeless tobacco are just as likely to have Dental Implant complications than those who smoke cigarettes. According to a study at Temple University, 18% of former cigar or pipe smokers had moderate to severe gum disease, three times the amount found in non-smokers.
Pipe smokers have rates of tooth loss similar to cigarette smokers.

The Surgeon General has good news for those wanting (or trying to) quit smoking. A recent study reported that people who had quit smoking 11 years prior had nearly the same rate of gum disease as those who never smoked.

Can’t quit? Reducing the amount you smoke can also make a difference. One study found that people who smoked over a pack and a half a day were 6 times more likely to develop gum disease than nonsmokers. Those who smoked less than a half pack per day had only 3 times the risk.

While every Dental Implant placed is intended to provide a successful outcome for a lifetime, and for all ages, those who smoke need to accept the risks for failure. The first step is a thorough evaluation of your gums and assessment of bone mass to support Dental Implants. From there, we can help you take the first step towards the ability to eat the foods you love and laugh with confidence! Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for an appointment.

Pay Special Attention To Mouth Sores

Because of the devastating statistics associated with oral cancer, any sore or unusual spot in the mouth should be monitored carefully. However, some sores that occur inside the mouth may be canker sores. (A sore outside the mouth, such as bordering the lips, is typically a ‘cold sore’).

A canker sore is a painful spot that can appear on the tongue, inside of the cheek or on the soft palate (the back portion of the roof of the mouth). Canker sores are white or gray circles outlined in red. You may have a tingling or burning sensation before the sore appears.

Stress or an injury to oral tissue is often suspected to be the reason canker sores emerge, however, their exact cause is unknown. Tissue can be damaged from wearing braces, biting the inside of the cheek or a tooth that cuts into tender oral tissue, for example. Citrus or acidic foods can also be a possible trigger for canker sores. A compromised immune system, B vitamin or iron deficiency, or diseases such as Crohn’s disease can be causes.

Typically, a canker sore doesn’t last long with discomfort subsiding in just a few days. They generally heal completely in less than two weeks. To speed healing, a prescription mouth rinse or ointment can be provided. Discomfort can also be eased by some over-the-counter medications.

When canker sores are reoccurring, citrus, spicy or acidic foods should be avoided. Using a soft-bristled tooth brush is also advised to avoid worsening any existing tissue damage. A dentist should be contacted when canker sores seem unusually large, are multiplying or last longer than two weeks. Also, see a dentist when canker sore pain becomes extreme or is accompanied by a high fever. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles promptly.

Complete Dental Care For Every Smile!

People often first come to know us by hearing of our advanced technology and offering advanced treatments such as dental implants, cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry. However, the foundation of our practice is general dentistry, or what some refer to as ‘family dentistry.’

The way most think about general dentistry is for routine care, such as  6-month cleanings and exams. General dentistry also covers sealants, filling cavities and extractions.

We are proud to provide a comprehensive array of dental services, including:

• General Dentistry – Regular and preventive care for all ages

• Cosmetic Dentistry – Improving the appearance of smiles through crowns, veneers, bonding, tooth whitening, and gum recontouring

• Restorative Dentistry – Protecting or replacing teeth with crowns, crown & bridge, partials, dentures

• Implant Dentistry – All phases of dental implants including diagnosis, placement and attachment of the final teeth.

• Orthodontics including Invisalign – Tooth straightening for a healthy, natural smile.

• TMJ Therapy – Adjustments to correct most problems caused by bite misaligment.

• Sleep Apnea/Snoring Therapy – Custom-designed, comfortable mouth appliances are created to restore sound, restful sleep without the need for CPAP.

• Gum Recontouring & Gum Disease Therapy – Our technology can reshape gum tissue to provide a more natural smile line as well as combat many stages of periodontal disease.

• Oral & IV Sedation – We are highly experienced helping fearful patients and feature many comfort options, including these sedation types.

We pride ourselves on our complete care environment and ability to fulfill virtually every dental need for all ages. We are committed to exceptional comfort and optimal outcomes at every appointment.

Whenever you (or someone you know) have a dental need, of any type, we are happy to help. It is our goal to be the only dental office you’ll ever need!

Study Shows Sugar Is America’s Smile Downfall

Here’s a question for you: Globally, what is one of the most common diseases?

You may be surprised to know that tooth decay is the answer. When researchers from the University College London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine studied public health records from around the world, they found that the United States is far too sugary.

Almost 90% of school age children in America have had tooth decay with 92% of adults having experienced cavities. Compare this to Nigeria, where their diet contains almost no sugar. The study found that only 2% of the population had tooth decay.

Although fingers point at sugar as the villain, it’s actually how sugar reacts in the mouth that sets the destructive process into motion. When we consume sugar, it combines with saliva and bacteria in the mouth. Although all foods and beverages activate an acid attack in the mouth, sugar is the ‘perfect food’ for oral bacteria. These acids cause decay to teeth to begin.

Yet, the destruction doesn’t stop with your teeth. As oral bacteria reproduce and accumulate, the gums become inflamed. This is the initial stage of gum disease, which is the nation’s leading cause of tooth loss.

American diets are saturated in sugar. Foods and beverages are laden with it and sugary consumables are typically easy to access. Everywhere you turn, from vending machines to fast food establishments to nearly every check-out line, candy bars, gum and sodas are within arm’s reach.

The World Health Organization recommends that a person’s total calories in a day should consist of no more than 5% from sugar. For most, sugar is not an easy substance to delete or reduce in daily diets. Why? Because sugar is addictive. MRI scans have shown that sugar activates the same brain regions as are activated during cocaine use. It’s also been found that the more sugar you consume, the more you need since you build up a tolerance. This is a symptom of substance dependence.

Want to kick the sugar habit? There are numerous books and online sources that guide you through weaning yourself off of sugar. And, going cold turkey isn’t always the best way. Switching to honey, an actual food that the body processes without creating a ‘high,’ is a good way to begin.

While fluoride has helped, on its own, it is insufficient to overcome the continual bacterial onslaught from American sugar consumption. Your smile is more important than sugary indulgences. As a matter of fact, your entire body would operate better without sugar.

Take a stance NOW that sugar will not ruin your smile (or the precious smiles of your family members)! Every habit takes time to break so allow 2-3 months to ease off of sugar altogether. Until then (and always), floss daily, brush twice a day (for 2 mins. each time), drink lots of water and be committed to your 6-month dental cleanings and check-ups.

Past due for your cleaning? Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles and let’s get your smile in shape!

Have A Heart-Healthy Smile!

There are a number of studies that suggest that oral health and gum disease are related to serious conditions like heart disease.

Although the precise link between periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease hasn’t been pinpointed, there is strong evidence that the two have a connection. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with periodontal disease are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease. One study found that the presence of common oral problems such as gingivitis, cavities and missing teeth were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.

The culprit seems to lie in the way oral bacteria can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. It begins when the bacteria of gum disease enters the bloodstream through gum tissues weakened by gum disease.

Inflammation in the body is a normal, healthy reaction, to an extent. For example, when you cut yourself, pro-inflammatory hormones in the body recruit white blood cells to battle infection and damaged tissue. Normal inflammation of pain, redness, and swelling are indications that your immune system is acting appropriately. As healing progresses, the inflammation subsides.

However, when inflammation is turned on and remains that way, it is like being on fire from the inside out. Symptoms of inflammation that don’t recede mean your immune system is in continual fighting mode. What began as a healthy reaction to protect your body is now stuck in the ‘on’ position with the inflammation going from a healthy reaction to a damaging presence.

Precisely how oral bacteria triggers an inflammatory response is still under the microscope. Until more is known, take every measure to ensure your oral health is excellent. Brush and floss, eat a healthy diet, drink lots of water, have dental check-ups and cleanings every six months, and tend to oral problems promptly, such as crowning cracked teeth or repairing cavities.

Think of your mouth as the opening to your entire body, because it is! Make a healthy smile a priority to reduce your risk of chronic inflammation in the body so your smile goes all the way to your heart!

To begin, let’s create a ‘clean slate’ for lasting oral wellness. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a free consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss your current needs and ways to achieve a healthy smile that’s easy to maintain.

All Teeth Needed To Avoid Chipped, Worn Teeth & More

Imagine a two-lane bridge that extends over water. Let’s say a boat comes along and destroys one of the pillars supporting the bridge. You may assume, “So? There are plenty of remaining pillars.” The loss of one, at first, may not seem to create risk. Yet, over time, the weight redistribution to adjacent pillars, coupled with the weakened support of the road above, will result in problems. As each pillar is affected by the one next to it, it will also have a like effect on its neighboring pillar.

Now, think of your upper and lower teeth. Proper alignment helps jaw joints and facial muscles move harmoniously during chewing, speaking and even yawning. When just one tooth is missing, a domino effect is set in motion. The tooth above or below grows out of alignment. Teeth on both sides of the missing tooth tilt out of their proper positions. The jaw bone that held the now-missing tooth root begins to ‘resorb,’ or melt away.

Every action creates another action, and none of them are good. The reason so many children and adults have orthodontic treatment is not merely to have an attractive smile (although that’s a nice bonus). Orthodontic treatment ensures the natural balanced structure in your mouth positively affects all other structures.

Let’s say you ignore that missing tooth, deciding you don’t need to replace it since it’s not visible in a smile. Here are some repercussions you can expect:

•  When a tooth is lost and not replaced, an adjacent tooth is the next one you’ll lose.

•  When teeth move out of alignment, typical results are worn, chipped or broken teeth.

•  The jaw joint is strained when teeth are misaligned. This contributes to night-time clenching and grinding, frequent headaches, migraines, jaw popping and tenderness, ear ringing, vertigo and facial pain.

When you consider the many problems that can be avoided when you replace a tooth, replacement makes perfect sense. Ideally, teeth are replaced with dental implants, since crowning of neighboring teeth is not necessary (as with crown-&-bridge combinations). The implanted post also prevents resorption of the jaw bone since it recreates the presence of a natural tooth root. Crown-&-bridge and partials can also replace teeth, filling the empty space so adjoining teeth maintain their proper positions.

There’s a good reason why bridges are closed to traffic when pillars are damaged. Until they are repaired, the bridge is unsafe even though the risk may not be obvious. With your smile, risks can be greatly minimized by being proactive. Because it’s not a matter of IF a problem will occur, but a matter of WHEN.

If you have lost teeth or have teeth that are misaligned, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a free Consultation. We’ll be happy to discuss tooth replacement options as well as orthodontic treatment, including  Invisalign.


Taking A Monthly Calcium Supplement? Beware This Side Effect!

As we age, our bone strength and density naturally declines. If you’ve ever seen an adult who is permanently hunched over when they stand or walk, that’s commonly due to severe osteoporosis. Avoiding such health issues has motivated millions of adults to take bisphosphonates to minimize, prevent or counteract further bone loss. An unfortunate side effect of bisphosphonates, however, is bone necrosis.

Bone necrosis is a condition that occurs when there is loss of blood to the bone. Because bone is living tissue that requires blood, an interruption to the blood supply causes the bone to die and eventually collapse. Osteo-necrosis of the jaw develops when the jaw bone fails to heal after a minor injury or disruption to the bone that requires healing — for example, having a tooth pulled or an implant placed.

Although the risk level for those who take oral bisphosphonates (such as Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva) is low, a higher risk exists for those taken as part of cancer therapy.  These are given intravenously (such as Aredia, Bonefos, Didronel, Zometa) to reduce bone pain and abnormally high calcium levels in the blood.

The precise cause-and-effect relationship between bisphosphonate use and jaw osteo-necrosis is still unknown. The Mayo Clinic estimates the risk is 0.1 percent, meaning the condition occurs in 1 out of every 1,000 taking bisphosphonates over the period of a year or more. Although the risk is low, it still exists.

Taking bisphosphonates does not prevent one from having dental implants or other dental procedures. For example, we have our dental implant patients stop taking the medication six months prior to the placement procedure. Once their implant treatment is complete, they can resume bisphosphonate medication.

Other medications can also have adverse effects when your dentist is not informed of all you are taking. For example, Coumadin, a blood thinner, can cause a greater degree of bleeding during extractions and other procedures. This is why it is important to provide your dentist with a list of all medications you take and the dosage of each. This includes herbal supplements.

Our goal is to create an ideal outcome for every procedure you have in our office. If you have questions, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to learn more or to request a no-cost consultation.

Flossing Teeth Easier With These Tips

As a dentist, I’ve heard every reason in the book why people don’t floss. And, for every reason, there is an even better one why they should!

Flossing removes food particles that become wedged between teeth. It also helps remove the sticky buildup of bacteria that forms plaque. Keeping oral bacteria at a minimum helps to prevent bad breath, cavities, gingivitis and gum disease.

Everyone can floss easily with some basic pointers and a little practice. For easy flossing instructions, check out our Flossing Made Simple video:

Once you get into the habit of daily flossing, like most of our ‘flossing patients,’ you’ll likely find that going a day without flossing makes you uncomfortable.

Our Hygienists are terrific instructors. Their goal is to help you avoid problems in the first place! And, flossing is an effective means of doing so. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a dental cleaning and exam.