September 2013 Archives

When You Loose a Tooth What is the best way to Replace it?

When You Loose a Tooth What is the best way to Replace it?

When a patient looses a tooth there are 4 options:

1. Do nothing and simply live without the tooth.
2. Replace the tooth with a removable partial denture.
3. Replace the tooth with a fixed bridge (as long as there are strong teeth on either side of the empty space)
4. Replace the tooth with an implant supported crown.

A dental implant replaces the root of the missing tooth and allows the dentist to attach a crown (or cap) to an area where there is a missing tooth. Implant supported crowns are widely regarded as a long lasting solution that is the most like your own tooth. You can floss it, you can chew whatever you want, it looks very realistic, and it won't ever decay.
In the past-and even in many practices today-a typical implant procedure goes like this. The gums are cut open and peeled back, exposing the jaw bone. The implant is then placed into the bone and the gums are sutured closed. After several months of healing, the gums are opened again, exposing the top of the implant so that the dentist can attach a crown, and more sutures are placed. The problem with this approach is it involves 2 surgical procedures instead of 1, there are sutures to remove after the procedures, and there is more post op discomfort than is really necessary-as you will soon discover.

With the advent of low-dose digital CT technology, the jaw bone can be accurately visualized on the computer in 3 dimensions, just as if you are holding the person's jaw bone in your hand. The CT is to proper scale for accurate measurements. The data from the CT is integrated into implant design software that allows the dentist to drag and drop-on the computer-the implant of choice into the exact location in the jaw bone that works. Vital structures, such as the trigeminal nerve and the maxillary sinus, can be accurately identified, located-and avoided-prior to surgery. With this information, a surgical guide can be made, that allows the surgeon to place the implant exactly as pre-determined in the design software. This is called Guided Implant Surgery.

An added advantage to Guided Implant Surgery is that only a small hole the width of the actual implant needs to be made to secure the implant into place. There is usually no need to make a large cut into the gums or to peel them back, or to suture them at all. (The exception is when bone grafting needs to be done.) Since there is so much less trauma to the patient during this procedure, there is much less post operative discomfort. The implant is placed in one easy-pre-planned-procedure.

To summarize the advantages of Guided Implant Surgery:
1. Less surgical trauma
2. Less painful procedure
3. More comfortable recovery
4. More accurate implant placement
5. More ideal placement of implant supported crown
6. Fewer procedures
7. Less time spent at the dentist or surgeon
8. Safer 

If you are interested in replacing a tooth and you have thought about getting an implant, please call our office at 702-463-8600

Dental lasers and how they benefit the patient

Dental lasers and how they benefit the patient

Laser Dentistry has been a part of my practice for a long time. Using my laser is as common as picking up my high speed and I don't think I could practice without either. After attending a laser course recently, I thought I should bring to everyone's attention some of the things that we do with lasers to help our patients. First of all, we have two lasers in our office so that both myself and my hygienist, Shauna, can help our patients with lasers.

Here are some ways lasers can help you:

1.     Avoiding gum surgery. In some cases, gum surgery is necessary, but oftentimes gum surgery can be avoided by treating gum disease conservatively with a laser. Many research articles have shown lasers to decrease the deep, infected pockets of gum tissue around a tooth that often lead to losing the tooth. By painlessly removing diseased gum tissue inside the pockets, bone has also been reported in the literature to grow back where it has previously been lost, helping to tighten up loose teeth.

2.     Uncovering dental implants without surgery. After a dental implant has integrated into the jaw for several months, it has to be uncovered so that a tooth can be attached for chewing. In the past, this was a surgical procedure involving stitches. With a laser, a small opening is created in the gums to expose the implant painlessly and without stitches.

3.      Better fitting crowns and fillings. Sometimes, a tooth will decay (rot) below the gumline. In order to make a restoration that fits the tooth precisely, it is important to expose strong healthy tooth structure. This is successfully accomplished by using the laser to painlessly create a small trough of space between the gums and the tooth. Research articles show that this method creates better fitting/more successful crowns and fillings.

4.     Treatment for cold sores and canker sores. In the past, treatment options were limited for cold sores and canker sores. Lasers can significantly improve the uncomfortable symptoms and speed healing. No injections are needed for this treatment.

5.      De-sensitize exposed roots at the gumline. Patients who use Sensodyne may appreciate that their sensitive roots can be successfully treated with lasers. No injections are needed for this. The tip of the laser does not even touch the sensitive area. A warm laser beam is shined on the area like a flashlight and gently de-sensitizes the tooth.

6.     Treatment for "gummy" smiles. Lasers work nicely for painlessly sculpting excess gum tissue for a more esthetically pleasing smile. We routinely use a laser on almost every smile makeover case we do to turn a good case into a great case.

7.     Treatment for Oral Lichen Planus.  Oral Lichen Planus is an auto immune disease, which tends to present bilaterally as mostly white lesions on the inner cheek and sides on the tongue, although any mucosal site in the mouth may be involved.  In severe cases Oral Lichen Planus can cause the affected areas to be very sore and painful.  Though there is no cure for Lichen Planus we can use out lasers to significantly reduce the inflammation and discomfort associated with the disease. 

For more information on how we can help you with our lasers, just call us or ask at your next visit.

That Ringing in Your Ears Maybe Your Jaw Trying to Tell You Something

Every once in a while, I am reminded how random the symptoms of TMJ can be. As you know, I am a neuromuscular dentist and I treat Tempromandibular Joint Disorder. Is this always characterized by straight up jaw joint pain. Absolutely not.

It takes a neuroumuscular dentist to recognize that Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is another symptom of TMJ that is commonly misdiagnosed and often goes untreated or is treated ineffectively. In many cases ringing in the ears is one of the results of having a strained bite in which the jaw is not aligned. The jaw area of the face is a complex network of muscles and nerves, and when the bite is misaligned muscles and nerves throughout the head, including the ears, can be affected.

Tinnitus can also be one of the most alarming and hard to live with conditions a person can have. If you are experiencing a ringing in your ears, please make an appointment with me for a TMJ screening.

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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