Posts for: December, 2016
Unlike other tooth replacement options, dental implants require a surgical procedure. But don't let your imagination run wild — the procedure is relatively minor and easy for most people to undergo.
Implants are unique among restorations because they replace a tooth's root. A metal titanium post, substituting for the root, must be surgically placed into the jawbone. While the procedure itself is simple and no more involved than a tooth extraction, it does require careful attention to detail before, during and afterward.
Our first step is to examine the target site with x-rays (often CT scanning) to pinpoint the best location for placement. This is critical because where we place the implant will have a huge bearing on how attractive and natural the implant finally appears. From this evaluation we frequently create a surgical guide.
Surgery begins with a local anesthesia to completely numb the site. You will feel no pain during the procedure and only minimal discomfort for a few days afterward. We then make small incisions in the gums to access the bone and create a small channel or hole.
Using the surgical guide, we then initiate a drilling sequence that gradually increases the size of the channel until it's the size and shape of the implant post. One thing we must do at this point is take our time: we use gentle pressure and water-cooling to avoid overheating and damaging the bone.
Once we're finished with drilling we remove the implant from its sterile packaging and imbed it directly into the prepared channel. It's then a matter of verifying the location with x-rays and then closing the gum tissue with self-absorbing sutures if necessary.
Most patients only need mild pain medication like aspirin or ibuprofen to manage discomfort afterwards. You won't even notice it in a week or less. After several weeks in which the bone grows and adheres to the implant (a process called osseointegration), you'll be ready for the final step, attaching the life-like porcelain crown to the implant.
Although the process can take several weeks to months, your discomfort should be minimal at any stage. In the end, your patience will be rewarded with a new, more attractive smile.
If you would like more information on the process of obtaining 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 Surgery.”
Are your teeth crooked or crowded? Orthodontic treatment will not only improve the alignment but also the health of your smile. Dr. Paul Gibberman, Dr. Lauren Gibberman and Dr. Maria Hodas practice family dentistry at Gibberman Dental in Alexandria, VA. Learn how orthodontic treatment from their practice could help you.
Crooked Teeth Aren't Just a Cosmetic Issue
Crooked teeth can make you reluctant to smile, but they cause issues that are more than cosmetic. Often, misaligned teeth affect your bite--the way your teeth fit together. When your bite is off, you may experience abnormal wear on your teeth, headaches and jaw pain and you may even develop temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). A severe bite problem can also affect your speech and ability to speak clearly or cause your teeth to cut the inside of your mouth when you try to chew.
Braces Correct a Variety of Problems in Alexandria
Your dentist may recommend braces if you have:
- Crowding: When your mouth is too small to accommodate all of your teeth, they begin to grow in at odd angles.
- Over and Underbites: If you have an overbite, your upper teeth protrude too far over your lower teeth. An underbite is the exact opposite problem.
- Gaps: Gaps between teeth can make you feel self-conscious, and food tends to get stuck in those spaces. This increases your risk of tooth decay.
- Open Bites and Crossbites: If all of your top teeth don't touch your bottom teeth, you have an open bite. Crossbites occur when there are alignment issues with both your top and bottom teeth.
With all of these issues, braces can be used to gradually shift your teeth into their correct positions.
Metal Braces Aren't the Only Option
Although metal braces are still very popular, they're not the only way to straighten your smile. Ceramic brackets are a little less noticeable than metal ones, and lingual braces are even less obvious because they attach to the backs of your teeth. If you don't like the idea of wires and brackets in your mouth, you'll want to consider Invisalign. The innovative brace system uses clear, removable aligner trays to straighten teeth.
Improve your smile with orthodontic treatment! Call your Alexandria, VA family dentistry experts-- Dr. Paul Gibberman, Dr. Lauren Gibberman and Dr. Maria Hodas--at (703) 823-6616 to schedule an appointment.
Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?
Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?
Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.
Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.
But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?
In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.
Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.
What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.
If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”