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How Can Dental Implants Benefit Your Smile?

How Can Dental Implants Benefit Your Smile?

Do you have a missing tooth? Multiple missing teeth? Do you have a partial or even complete denture? Dental implants are the new gold standard for tooth replacement and the best way to get your smile back to tip-top shape. Tooth loss occurs for various reasons, including large cavities, gum disease, trauma, fractures, and even sometimes, a tooth may not erupt.

Gone are the days when a flipper, partial or complete denture is needed to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are all around a better option for function and aesthetics.   

What is a Dental Implant? 

A dental implant is an artificial structure which is screw-like that is placed into the bone to function as a tooth root. A dental crown is later attached to the top of the dental implant to form a fully functioning tooth once the dental crown has fully fused to the bone. The screw is typically made out of titanium, and the crown is made out of porcelain. Dental implants can be used for one tooth or multiple missing teeth. In the case of an entire arch of missing teeth, dental implants can be used to support a fixed denture or implant-supported denture, which means that the denture always stays in place and doesn’t require daily removal. 

For a dental implant to work for you, it is essential to maintain a healthy mouth and healthy body. Dental implants are at risk of failing if there is active gum disease, bone loss, or if they aren’t being taken care of with proper brushing and flossing. In addition, an implant is at a higher risk of failure if there are underlying health conditions that aren’t being maintained, such as diabetes with an uncontrolled blood sugar level. Smoking is also a factor in dental implant failures.

Dental Implant Procedure 

When a tooth has been missing for a long time, a bone graft will likely need to be placed before the implant to allow enough bone support. Bone grafting strengthens and solidifies the bone, and the graft can be taken from another site, synthetic tissue or even donor tissue. After a bone graft is placed, it will take a few months to heal and integrate into place.

When the implant is ready to be placed, the gum will be opened to expose the bone. A small diameter hole will be drilled into the bone to allow the implant to thread through. The implant is placed somewhat deep into the bone where there will be the most support. Usually, dental implants will take several months to heal and integrate into the bone before the crown can be placed on top to allow for chewing pressure. A temporary crown will be placed in the meantime. The length of the procedure from start to finish can range from a few months to almost a year, depending if bone grafting is necessary and how many implants are being done. 

Post Care for Dental Implants 

Just like any other dental surgery, you may have some pain, swelling, bruising and minor bleeding after the procedure. You may be given a prescription for pain medication and an antibiotic. Post-care symptoms will gradually improve within the next week.

If you have any questions about dental implants or believe you may benefit from them, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

What is Gingivitis? What is Periodontitis?

What is Gingivitis? What is Periodontitis?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums that has a variety of causes but is most often a response to plaque accumulation on the teeth at the gum line. The inflammation occurs because the body sends blood (which contains white blood cells) to the gums to fight off the bacteria. If the bacteria are not removed with brushing and flossing, the inflammation will not subside. Gingivitis can range from mild to severe, localized to a certain spot, or generalized throughout the mouth. It can also be chronic (meaning long-lasting) or acute (meaning short-term.)

Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis 

  • Red gums 
  • Sore, irritated gums 
  • Gums that bleed while brushing or flossing 
  • Bad breath 
  • Puffy gums 

Risk Factors for Inflamed Gums 

  • Not enough brushing and flossing 
  • Infrequent visits to the dentist for cleanings 
  • Braces or retainers 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Certain medical conditions 
  • Certain medications 
  • Hormonal changes 

Ways to Help Improve Gingivitis 

  • Regular brushing and flossing 
  • Regular visits to the dentist for cleanings 
  • Daily mouthwash 

If gingivitis is left untreated, it may escalate into periodontitis. Periodontitis occurs from plaque and tartar left on the teeth causing damage over time. Periodontitis affects the health of the surrounding bone and connective tissue. Periodontitis eventually leads to tooth loss when left untreated for a long time. Gingivitis is reversible, but periodontitis is sometimes not, depending on the severity. 

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontitis 

  • Bone loss surrounding the teeth 
  • Pockets between the teeth and the gums 
  • Gum recession 
  • Tooth mobility 
  • Red, puffy gums 
  • Bad breath 

Be sure to see your dentist and dental hygienist at least every six months to assess the health of your teeth and gums, and thoroughly clean your teeth to remove plaque, tartar and staining. At your regular dental visits, your oral hygiene will be assessed, and tips can be given for ways to improve your home care. 

If you believe you may have gingivitis, have any questions about it, or are due for a dental cleaning, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Do You Need A Frenectomy?

Do You Need A Frenectomy?

A frenum is a small attachment of soft tissue that connects two areas of the mouth. The main locations of the frenum are:

  • The tongue to the floor of the mouth.
  • The lower lip to the lower jaw.
  • The upper lip to the upper jaw.

You can view these small tissue patches if you pull your lips out of the way or look underneath your tongue. The frenum under your tongue is called a lingual frenum, and the frenum connecting your lips is called the labial frenum. If these tissues are too large or thick, they can contribute to oral problems and must be addressed. 

Oral conditions associated with large frenum

  • Speech impediment and difficulty pronouncing certain words and sounds 
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • A gap between the upper or lower two front teeth 
  • Recession of the gum tissue near the attachment of the frenum 
  • Thin or inadequate gum tissue near the attachment of the frenum 
  • Snoring and mouth breathing 
  • Inability to extend the tongue 

Frenectomy procedure 

A frenectomy is performed when the frenum tissue needs to be cut to prevent pulling on other tissues. It reduces the adverse effects of a large frenum. Frenectomies are recommended in childhood when a large frenum is detected. Frenectomies are usually performed for the “lingual frenum” to prevent a tongue-tie condition and help with the child’s speech. A frenectomy will also be recommended for adults of any age when ill effects of a frenum are noted.

The frenectomy procedure is relatively easy, quick and straightforward. The process is performed under local anesthetic and the recovery time is just a day or two. The procedure may be slightly more complicated if the patient is young and it is to correct the lingual frenum. Some stitches may or may not need to be placed at the frenectomy site. 

If you believe you or your child may have a large or tight frenum and may benefit from a frenectomy, or if you have any questions about the procedure, we encourage you to contact us to book an appointment

How Can You Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

How Can You Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

​The alternative name for baby bottle tooth decay is “early childhood caries,” which means cavities that form on baby teeth at a young age.

We know that healthy baby teeth lead to healthy adult teeth. They are space holders for the adult teeth and provide a healthy environment for the future adult teeth. Tooth decay in baby teeth can lead to pain, infections, missing teeth, difficulty chewing and speech and unnecessary stress.

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay? 

This condition occurs when your child’s baby teeth are exposed to sugars, usually in the form of milk from a bottle or sweet drinks, and start to decay. The decay will typically present on the upper front teeth but can extend to any tooth in the mouth. This condition is most common when a bottle is used as a pacifier or when a baby is left with a bottle of milk overnight.

This is because their teeth will be bathed in sugary liquid for an extended time, increasing the risk for decay. Pediatricians recommend that the only liquid given at night in a bottle is water. Inadequate intake of fluoride can also lead to baby bottle tooth decay. Fluoride helps protect the baby teeth from decay and should be ingested by drinking tap water and using a small amount of toothpaste containing fluoride by the age of 3.

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria and, therefore, can also be passed from mother/father to baby by passing bacteria contacting saliva. This means that sharing a spoon or utensil should be avoided.

Signs & Symptoms of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay 

Tooth decay may occur in its early stages without presenting any signs or symptoms. Small cavities between teeth may not show at all. They may show minor white or brown-stained patches between teeth as they progress and get larger. More advanced decay will look like chips or fractures between teeth and may be yellow, brown or black.

Your baby may also be experiencing pain or discomfort due to the decay. They may show this by being fussy, crying, or presenting with swelling and a fever. Taking your toddler to the dentist at an early age is vital at the onset of the first teeth. Your dentist can check areas of your toddlers’ teeth that you can’t access. If baby bottle tooth decay is left untreated, it can lead to pain, infection, loss of teeth, problems with the adult teeth and very costly dental treatment.

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay 

Reducing the amount of sugar your baby consumes plays a vital role in reducing their risk. Try not to give your baby anything else to drink but water or milk. Make sure you do not leave them to sleep at night with a milk bottle, and do not use a bottle of milk as a pacifier.

Be sure to avoid sharing your own saliva with your baby. After feeding, clean your baby’s teeth and gums with a gauze and a small toothbrush. When your baby sleeps, their mouth must be clear from any sugars. Also, be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay.

Treatment of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay 

If the decay is still tiny and in the early stages, your dentist can use fluoride treatment to remineralize the areas and prevent the decay from growing. Stronger fluoride such as silver diamine fluoride may be applied to areas of decay. Filling and dental crowns are possible solutions if the decay is more extensive and cannot be treated with fluoride. The decay will be removed and filled, and a crown will protect the tooth until it is ready to fall out.

The last resort is to have a severely decayed tooth extracted when there is no other option. In this case, a space maintainer may be used to hold the proper space for the future adult tooth. Treatment of decay on baby teeth, as mentioned earlier, is vital to the health of the future adult teeth and your child’s overall wellbeing.

Please contact us if you have any questions about baby bottle tooth decay. 

How to Pick the Right Toothbrush for You

How to Pick the Right Toothbrush for You

There are many factors involved in choosing the right toothbrush for your needs, and the toothbrush aisle can sometimes be overwhelming with all the options. Let us break down all the functions of a toothbrush to help you choose the one that will work best for you. 

Electric 

If used correctly, electric toothbrushes generally do a superior job over manual toothbrushes. Electric toothbrushes do the work for you by either an oscillating or using a sweeping motion back and forth. Electric toothbrushes come in either circular or oval heads and can be adult or kids-sized. 

  • If you have gum recession, try an electric toothbrush with a pressure indicator to let you know when you’re brushing too hard. 
  • For children, you can buy an electric toothbrush with a timer to let them know when they’ve reached two minutes
  • For adults and children, you can buy an electric toothbrush with a beep indicator that indicates when to move on to the next quadrant. 

Manual 

Manual toothbrushes can work well if used correctly with a proper brushing technique. There are several brushing techniques, and the technique should be selected based on needs. Manual toothbrushes come in super-soft, soft, medium and hard. A super-soft toothbrush should be chosen when there is a history of aggressive tooth brushing and recession. Medium and hard toothbrushes should never be used, as they are too abrasive for the gum tissue. 

  • To clean your tongue, select a toothbrush with a tongue cleaner on the backside 
  • If you have recession, select a super soft or soft toothbrush with just bristles and no rubber 
  • If you have problems with hand dexterity, select a toothbrush with a more oversized handle 
  • Toothbrushes made from bamboo are better for the environment 
  • Make sure to change your toothbrush every three months, or when the bristles begin to wear and the colour changes 
  • If your bristles are splaying, it is an indication you are brushing too aggressively 

If you have any questions about toothbrushes and which toothbrushes will work best for you, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment