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Dental Implants

If you lose or break a tooth, a dental implant may be the best option for restoring your smile. Learn more about dental implants and whether they are right for you.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a post, usually made of titanium, which serves as a substitute for a natural tooth’s root. The implant is placed in the jawbone so that it may fuse with the natural bone to become a sturdy foundation for a replacement tooth. Implants can be used to replace individual teeth or to support a bridge or denture containing multiple teeth.

Who can receive implants?

Dental implants can be provided to most patients who are missing teeth due to decay, disease, injury, or other medical conditions. You also may be a candidate for a dental implant if you can’t wear dentures or find them uncomfortable, or if you don’t want to sacrifice existing tooth structure to support a dental bridge.

Since surgery is required, implant patients must be in good general health, with healthy gums and adequate bone structure. If an implant site lacks the adequate structure, a dentist may be able to perform procedures to improve it.

Implants are not for everyone, however. Chronic conditions like bruxism, diabetes, or leukemia may interfere with healing after implant surgery, so the success rate decreases for patients with these conditions. This also is the case for patients taking bisphosphonates for osteoporosis. Additionally, those who drink alcohol or use tobacco may not be good candidates for implants. Your dentist will take into consideration your medical and dental history when deciding if implants are right for you.

How does implant placement work?

First, your dentist will perform surgery to place the implant in the jaw. Next, the surrounding bone will heal via a process called osseointegration; the bone grows around the implant to hold it firmly in place. Finally, your dentist will complete the process by placing on the post an artificial tooth, or crown, that resembles your natural teeth.

How long does implant placement take?

Once the implant placement surgery is completed—usually in an hour or two— the healing process begins, and that can take as long as six months. Additionally, the fitting of the permanent replacement tooth is usually accomplished in one to three weeks. Your dentist may provide you with a temporary replacement to help you eat and speak normally until the permanent replacement is ready. If your bone structure is strong enough, however, your dentist may be able to place the implant and replacement tooth in one visit.

What can I expect after the procedure?

Most patients will adjust to implants immediately. Some people may feel slight discomfort or notice differences in their chewing or speech, but these symptoms are usually temporary.

How do I care for my implant?

Although an implant’s success rate depends on its purpose and location in the mouth—as well as the patient’s overall health—a major reason some implants fail is poor hygiene. It’s important to brush implants at least twice a day, as well as to floss in between them. Additionally, as many as four dental cleanings per year may be necessary to maintain gum health. Your dentist will give you specific instructions on caring for your implants.

Talk to your general dentist to find out whether dental implants are right for you.

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Extra Stuff You Should Know

We hope this will help

Why is visiting the dentist so important?

Visiting the dentist regularly will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. Dental care is important because it:

  • Helps prevent tooth decay
  • Protects against periodontal (gum)disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss
  • Prevents bad breath – brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly will help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath
  • Gives you a more attractive smile and increase your self-confidence
  • Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks, and tobacco
  • Strengthens your teeth so that you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!

Are dental X-rays safe?

Exposure to all sources of radiation, like the sun, minerals in the soil, appliance in your home, or dental X-rays, can damage the body’s tissues and cells, and can lead to the development of cancer in some instances. Fortunately, the dose of radiation you are exposed to during the taking of X-rays is extremely small.

How often should I brush and floss?

Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease. Plaque is a film of feed debris, bacteria, and saliva that sticks to the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque convert certain food particles into acids that cause tooth decay. Also, if plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). If plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, causing periodontal (gum) disease. Plaque formation and growth is continuous and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids.

Toothbrushing

Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste. Brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, gently using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums. Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth. Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath. Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.

Flossing

Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Glossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone. Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands. Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion. Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth and under the gumline. Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.

Rinsing

It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on it appropriateness for you.

What is assignment and non-assignment of benefits?

As a service to patients, a dental office may accept assignment of benefits whereby they agree to have the patient request that his or her dental plan provider pay the dental office directly for the percentage of the cost covered. The patient is responsible for paying the co-payment when treatment is provided.

In a non-assignment office, the patient is responsible for paying the full cost of treatment at the time it is provided.

Why do I have to pay for treatment when it’s covered by my plan?

Dental offices are entitled to reimbursement for services at the time treatment is provided. A dental plan is a contract between a patient and /or their dental plan carrier. As a service to patients, some offices will accept assignment of benefits whereby they agree to accept payment for the covered portion of treatment directly from the dental plan provider. Dental office are not obligated to do so, and in some cases, are restricted from doing so as the dental plan carrier will only reimburse the patients.

Sweets and Teeth

Everyone knows that sweets are bad for your teeth. But, did you know that the amount of sweet food you eat is not as important as the length of time your teeth are exposed to sweets? Eat sweets at mealtime rather than between meals. The amount of saliva produced at that time will help protect your teeth.

Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth is a pocket of pus, usually caused by some kind of infection and the spread of bacteria from the root of the tooth to the tissue just below or near the tooth. Several treatments, aimed at curing tooth infections, exist: Including gum therapy and root canals.

Brushing Techniques

Since everyone’s teeth are different, see me first before choosing a brushing technique. Not all techniques can benefit everyone!

Bad breath

In most cases, it is caused by food remaining in the mouth – on the teeth, tongue, gums, and other structures, collecting bacteria. Dead and dying bacterial cells release a sulfur compound that gives your breath an unpleasant odor. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is exhaled.

Canker/Cold Sores

In most cases, patience is the best medicine for treating canker sores. A healthy diet and good oral hygiene are usually the best remedy, but some special rinses and anesthetics can help. Cold sores can be treated effectively with some over-the-counter topical creams; sometimes, an antiviral medication will be prescribed by your doctor.

Cavities

If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a cavity:

  • Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold water or foods.
  • A localized pain in your tooth or near the gum line.
  • Teeth that change color.

Diabetes

Infections and other problems such as receding gums and gum disease, or periodontal disease, are common afflictions among diabetics for many reasons; for instance, diabetics often are plagued by diminished saliva production, which can hamper the proper cleansing of cavity-causing debris and bacteria from the mouth. In addition, blood sugar levels that are out of balance could lead to problems that promote cavities and gum disease.

Diabetes

Infections and other problems such as receding gums and gum disease, or periodontal disease, are common afflictions among diabetics for many reasons; for instance, diabetics often are plagued by diminished saliva production, which can hamper the proper cleansing of cavity-causing debris and bacteria from the mouth. In addition, blood sugar levels that are out of balance could lead to problems that promote cavities and gum disease.

Gum Disease

Early warning signs include chronic bad breath, tender or painful swollen gums and minor bleeding after brushing or flossing. In many cases, however, gingivitis can go unnoticed. The infections can eventually cause the gums to separate from the teeth, creating even greater opportunities for infection and decay.

NOTE: If gingivitis goes untreated, more serious problems such as abscesses, bone loss or periodontitis can occur.

Tooth Implants

Archeologists have uncovered attempts at dental implants in mummies found in ancient Egypt. Over the centuries this concept has been attempted in a variety of ways, but has been unsuccessful until recently.

There is now over 40 years of experience with dental implants. The success rates have been measured worldwide. Over 95% of the implants placed into the jaw have a greater than 5 years success rate. Loss of implants after 5 years is extremely rare.

Learn more about dental implants.

Oral Hygiene Tips

There is a growing body of medical evidence that shows that the inflammation that results due to the infection in the mouth may be closely linked to other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and in severe cases can even lead to respiratory infection like pneumonia.

  • Flossing is the foundation for healthy gums, so floss your teeth once a day. Dental floss will get into areas between your teeth and under your gums that your toothbrush cannot. Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it into a “C” shape around the base of the tooth and gently under the gumline. Wipe the tooth from base to tip two or three times. Be sure to floss both sides of every tooth.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day, and make sure to brush your teeth after you floss, as this is a more effective method of cleaning your teeth. Use a soft bristled tooth brush (safer on your gums) and a circular motion that moves the brush bristles ‘away’* from the gums *on the top arch, this would mean you are brushing in a circular direction which is top-down; on the bottom arch, you would be brushing in a bottom-to-top circular motion. Use care to not speed through brushing, taking at least 2-3 minutes to do a thorough job.
  • Eat a well balanced diet, avoiding excessive snacking between meals, especially sticky, sugary foods.
  • Use either a fluoride or antiseptic rinse as directed by the dentist or hygienist.
  • Avoid smoking

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers today and has one of the lowest survival rates, with thousands of new cases being reported each year. Fewer than half of all people diagnosed with oral cancer are ever cured. Here are some additional warning signs:

  • Hoarseness or difficulty swallowing.
  • Unusual bleeding or persistent sores in the mouth that won’t heal.
  • Lumps or growths in other nearby areas, such as the throat or neck.

Tips for Your Children

The first dental appointment for children should be after the child turns 6 months of age and before their first birthday. The reason for such an early appointment is because the primary (first) teeth should have started to erupt and this is the time to detect anything of concern. Some of the issues that could cause problems are thumb sucking and baby bottle tooth decay.

Smoking

Studies also confirm that smokers are twice as likely to develop periodontal (gum) disease than non-smokers and have a higher than average risk for poor oral health. Tobacco kills more than 40,000 Canadians a year – exceeding the number of deaths from illegal drugs.

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Hours Monday – Thursday:  8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Friday:  8:00 AM – 1:00 (hygiene now available)