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TheProcessforanImplantMayBeLongorShortbuttheResultIstheSame

How long does it take to get a dental implant? That depends….

Really, it does! There are a number of factors that determine whether you can get a new implant tooth "in one day" or whether you'll need to wait several weeks or months after implant surgery. By far, the top factor will be the health of your implant's supporting bone.

The bone plays an essential role in both the durability and appearance of an implant. Bone cells begin to accumulate on the titanium metal post after its installment to form a solid hold that could last for decades. Positioning the implant just right within the bone also ensures the resulting tooth looks natural and attractive.

If the bone is healthy, you might qualify for the "tooth in one day" procedure in which the dentist places (or loads) a life-like crown onto the implant at the same time that they install the implant. Because the bone and implant still need to fully integrate, this is a temporary crown designed to apply less force while biting. After a few weeks, the dentist will then install the full-sized permanent crown.

Not everyone, though, has enough healthy bone to support the tooth-in-one-day procedure, or even to install an implant in the first place. A patient must have enough bone present to both support the implant and to ensure proper placement. Bone loss, a common malady for people who've lost teeth, could derail the implant process.

It's often possible, however, to reverse this situation. By grafting bone-like material into the site, a person may be able to eventually regain some of the bone they've lost, enough to support an implant. Even so, this adds time to the beginning of the process and the patient may still need to undergo full bone-implant integration before receiving any type of crown.

As you can see, how long the implant process takes can depend a great deal on the condition of the bone your dentist has to work. But regardless of the duration, the end result will be an attractive and durable implant tooth.

If you would like more information on 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 “Implant Timelines for Replacing Missing Teeth.”

DontLetTheseAgingPitfallsRobYouofGoodOralHealthLaterinLife

Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z—we're all different. But regardless of our particular birth generation, we do have one thing in common: we're all getting older. Sooner (Boomers) or later (Gen Z), we're all going to face some challenging realities related to aging—including regarding our teeth and gums.

Even if you've enjoyed optimal oral health throughout your life, aging can still have an impact. As we recognize Older Americans Month this May, here are some potential issues you might face as you get older with your teeth and gums, and how you can start minimizing those issues now.

Wearing. After tens of thousands of meals, you can expect your teeth to show some wear. The question is, how much. Crunching ice or using your teeth as a nutcracker accelerates normal wear, as can an unconscious teeth-grinding habit. It's important, then, to keep an eye on dental wearing and adjust your lifestyle habits (or get help with them from your dentist) to minimize the rate of wear.

Discoloration. Teeth naturally yellow as we get older, but just like dental wearing, there are things that can make it worse: Drinking coffee, tea, or red wine, smoking, or neglecting oral hygiene. Restricting foods that cause staining, quitting smoking, and renewing your brushing and flossing habit (along with regular dental cleanings) can help keep staining to a minimum.

Dental disease. Fifty percent of people over 30 will contend at some point in their lives with gum disease—and that percentage mushrooms to 70 percent after age 65. And, it's not just gum disease—older adults have a higher risk for tooth decay, as well as oral cancer. Besides practicing good oral hygiene habits, it's especially important to visit your dentist regularly for checkups, and to eat a healthy diet of whole foods and less processed, sugar-laden foods.

Disability. Our ability to take care of ourselves can diminish as we get older, which could have an effect on our oral health. Both physical disability and cognitive decline may make it harder to brush and floss, or to keep up with regular dental care. Along the way, you may need to make adjustments to your oral hygiene routine like using larger-handled or power toothbrushes, flossing picks, or water flossers. And if the time comes, seek out help from a caretaker or loved one to help you keep up with your oral care.

A long and happy life isn't challenge-free and your oral health may well be one of those challenges. But with a continuing focus on good personal and dental care, you can meet those challenges with a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile.

If you would like more information about the effects of aging on oral health, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Aging and Dental Health.”

RemovableorFixedChoosingtheRightOrthodonticRetainerforYou

Anyone who's worn braces celebrates that day they finally come off. But while this marks the end of the actual teeth-straightening process, it's just the beginning of the next phase—wearing a retainer to preserve those hard-earned gains.

A retainer is a dental appliance that keeps or "retains" straightened teeth in their new positions. Without it, there's a high chance the teeth would rebound to where they were before through a kind of tissue memory within the gum ligaments. In essence, the same natural mechanism that allows us to move teeth with braces can also work in reverse.

Most people are familiar with the removable retainer and its benefits. Being able to remove the device makes it easier to brush and floss teeth, and it's a convenience if you only need to wear it part of the time. But removable retainers can easily be misplaced and lost, requiring purchase of a replacement. And, there's always the temptation to wear it less than the recommended time.

There's also an alternative appliance that's growing in popularity known as a bonded or non-removable retainer. These are usually a thin wire bonded with a composite dental material to the back of the teeth. Unlike the removable retainer, only a dentist can remove the bonded variety.

Its fixed nature is its biggest advantage—since it's in to stay, there's no need to keep up with it. And because it's positioned behind the teeth, no one need know about save the wearer and their orthodontist. The bonded retainer can, however, take a little getting used to the fixed wire against the teeth, and it can make flossing more difficult.

Although more rigid than the removable type, a bonded retainer could still break while biting and chewing. Wearers need to exercise caution biting into hard foods like apples to avoid damage—and the added expense of repairing or replacing it.

As you or a family member approaches the day the braces come off, you'll surely be discussing with your orthodontist which type of retainer is best in your situation. Either way, wearing a retainer is an absolute must if you're going to protect that new smile you've endured so much to achieve.

If you would like more information on straightening teeth through orthodontics, 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 “Bonded Retainers.”

HeresWhatThese3CelebritiesDidtoAmpUpTheirSmile

It's easy to assume our favorite performers were born with perfect looks. And, while that may be mostly true, many of them still put in a lot of time and expense to make themselves more attractive. One area in particular that gets a lot of focus from celebrities is their smile.

That's because even the most endearing famous smile may still have a few dental flaws. You'll often find a celebrity addressing those flaws to improve their physical appeal—and in ways not necessarily exclusive to the rich and famous. In fact, anyone could benefit from many of the same procedures the stars use to make their smiles more attractive.

Here, then, are 3 celebrities who addressed specific issues with their smile in ways that could benefit you.

Hugh Jackman. Best known as X-Men's Wolverine, Jackman says he once had a dentist look at his teeth and exclaim, "My God, you've got gray teeth." Fortunately, the dentist followed up his outburst with a viable solution: professional teeth whitening. Depending on the exact nature of a discoloration, having your teeth whitened by a dentist with a bleaching solution can turn up the brightness on a dingy smile. Jackman chose a professional application because it offered better control on the degree of whiteness.

Zac Efron. The famous actor who got his start in the movie High School Musical had a defect common among celebrities—a gap between his front teeth. While many celebs like Michael Strahan or Madonna choose to keep their trademark gap, others like Efron opt to lose it. He had his gap "closed" with porcelain veneers, thin shells of dental material that are bonded to teeth. If you have a slight gap that you'd like to close, veneers might be a great solution.

Celine Dion. This beautiful Canadian singing sensation has been going strong for three decades. Although she now looks stunning, she once had a smile only Dracula could love—elongated eye teeth that looked like fangs and overly large front teeth. Unlike our first two stars, though, Dion's experience was truly a "smile makeover" that included oral surgery, orthodontics and veneers. Even so, such a comprehensive smile upgrade is still within the realm of possibility for the average person.

These are just three of the many celebrities who've turned to cosmetic dentistry to improve their smiles. So can you! Visit us for a complete assessment of your smile needs, and we'll provide you options for making your wonderful smile even better.

If you would like more information about cosmetic dental options, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry: Fix Your Smile With Veneers, Whitening and More.”

SedationCanAlleviateAnxietyandOpentheWayforNeededDentalCare

Discovering how pain and anxiety complicated disease care, many ancient civilizations turned to natural substances like root herbs or alcohol to ease their effect. Today, we've developed more effective agents, which enable patients to undergo many treatments they would otherwise be unable to endure.

There's been immense progress in particular in methods for reducing patient anxiety during dental treatment. In contrast to physical pain, anxiety is more aptly defined as mental discomfort. Dental anxiety, the apprehension a person feels at the prospect of dental care, can be serious enough that a person avoids dental care altogether, even with serious teeth or gum issues.

Adages like "Just suck it up and get through it" can be hollow words to someone with serious dental anxiety. Today's dentist understands that anxiety is very real and a serious impediment to care. Fortunately, modern dentistry has effective measures to alleviate it.

This commonly involves an approach with two phases. In the first, the patient takes an oral sedative an hour or so before the appointment to produce an initial calming effect. In the second phase at the appointment, the dentist initiates intravenous or IV sedation, a deeper application that continues throughout the treatment session.

With IV sedation, we deliver the sedative medication through a small needle inserted into a patient's vein, placing the patient in a highly relaxed state. Unlike general anesthesia, which renders a patient unconscious, sedated individuals remain somewhat awake, often able to respond to verbal commands or physical stimuli.

In further contrast to general anesthesia, IV sedation doesn't require assisting patients with breathing or circulation. Even so, one of the treatment staff will continue to monitor vital signs while the patient is sedated.

Since the introduction of Pentothal in the 1930s, the first sedative used for medical and dental procedures, we've developed other safe and effective sedatives that flush from the body quickly and have few after-effects. Many have an amnesiac effect, so that the patient remembers little or nothing at all about the procedure.

Sedation therapy can accomplish two things. First, an anxious patient can have a more positive experience during dental treatment. And, as these positive experiences accumulate, a patient prone to anxiety may develop a readiness to receive treatment before a problem goes too far.

If you would like more information on dental sedation techniques, 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 “IV Sedation in Dentistry.”





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