Posts for: May, 2015
If you want your dental implants to last you a lifetime, here’s how to take care of them.
You finally decided it was time to get dental implants at the Murphy Dental Group in Milton. Congratulations on the first step to getting a healthy smile. However, in order to maintain it you will need to know how to properly care for your implants. While your Milton dentists will have given you a laundry list of techniques for caring for your implants, it can be easy to forget. Here are some simple but helpful tips for keeping implants healthy.
Brush regularly: Just as you would your natural teeth, you still need to brush your implant(s) regularly. While you might be wondering if there is a certain toothbrush that is best for cleaning your implants, research studies have found that there are no differences between using a manual or electric toothbrush, so choose whichever one is comfortable for you.
You should be brushing twice a day for a minimum of two minutes each. Also use a soft-bristled toothbrush and be sure to change your brush every three to four months, to ensure you always get the proper cleaning from your toothbrush.
Don’t forget to floss: Flossing is a major component of keeping your teeth and gums clean; however, it’s rare for many patients to floss routinely. If you want to keep your implants healthy, then you’ll want to pull out the floss each day.
We recommend cleaning your implants with unwaxed floss or floss that is implant-specific, to protect the health of the gums around the implant. You can also opt for water flossers, which are great for reducing gum inflammation and plaque. They can also be great for reaching difficult spots around implants.
See your dentist routinely: You should always see your Milton dentist every six months for a preventive checkup. During these visits, we will examine the health of your teeth and gums, as well as make sure that your implant is healthy and free of damage. Sometimes we are unaware of the problems that lurk in our mouths. This is why you need to come in every six months for care. Even if your implant feels great, you will want to keep up with your appointments regardless.
Is it time for your six-month checkup? Interested in getting dental implants in Milton? Find out if implants are right for your smile. Contact the Murphy Dental Group today 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.”
From its development and first use over a century ago, radiography — the use of x-rays to view internal images in the body — has revolutionized how dentists diagnose and treat patients. Now, a new technology known as Cone Beam Computing Tomography (CBCT) promises to take us “light years” beyond even today's most modern conventional x-ray devices.
X-rays expose images on special film after passing through a mass, like the human body. Because they pass more easily through soft tissues than through hard structures like teeth or bone, the softer tissues will appear darker. This property can reveal even subtle distinctions in density such as might be the case with a fracture or a tooth cavity.
Standard radiography, though, has its limitations. It takes extensive training and experience for a dentist to interpret exactly what they're seeing in an x-ray. Their two-dimensionality (like a photograph) limits the amount of information we can derive from the physical structures being examined. And due to radiation exposure to patients, we must limit the amount of their use for each individual patient.
CBCT improves on those limitations. The device projects a cone-shaped beam of x-rays as it rotates around a patient's head. During this rotation it records hundreds of images that a computer can later digitally format in a variety of ways. The result: instead of a two-dimensional flat view, we can now three-dimensionally view the mouth from a variety of different angles and in greater detail. Best of all, one scan can provide enough imagery data to view in detail the entire skull or a jaw, or something as minute as a single root canal within a tooth.
CBCT is already improving the accuracy of diagnostics and treatment in a variety of dental specialties, including orthodontics, implantation and oral surgery. And properly set, the radiation exposure is no more or less than a full-mouth series of x-rays, and up to ten times less than CT scanning.
Advances like CBCT increase the range and accuracy of diagnostics and improve treatment for a variety of conditions. As they grow in use, the result will be more successful dental outcomes for you and your family.
If you would like more information on CBCT diagnostics, 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 “Getting the Full Picture With Cone Beam Dental Scans.”