Tag Archives: dental implants
You may be surprised to hear what the top-cited reason is for avoiding the dentist. For all the talk about the unpleasantness of even routine cleanings, it turns out there’s something that stirs a greater fear than all the scraping and prodding: the cost.
Nearly half of adults ages 35 to 49 surveyed (43.4%, to be exact) in a recent study by the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute said that cost was their main reason for not intending to visit a dentist in the next 12 months. And that was true among all income levels.
Even among those who do find their way to my chair for a consultation, the question that comes up most often is, “Is this covered by insurance?” To which I reply, “It’s not quite that simple.”
Dental insurance rarely covers 100% of major dental procedures. Even more, most have a relatively low maximum yearly benefit. In other words, depending on your plan, your coverage may max out after your insurer pays for $1,000 to $1,500 of your dental care in a year.
Most plans use the PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) model, which offers better rates for dental care providers within a prescribed network. PPO plans are also usually comprised of three tiers of coverage rates that typically follow a 100-80-50 structure. Preventative maintenance makes up the top tier, and all of that cost is covered. Basic restorative procedures, like fillings, make up the next tier. About 80% of their cost is covered. Major restorative procedures, such as root canals and dental implants, make up the last tier. While they’re generally the most expensive procedures, only about half their cost is covered by insurance. (HMO and EPO plans can cover even less.)
Cosmetic procedures—those deemed not medically necessary by the insurance provider—like some types of braces, whitening, and crown lengthening, usually aren’t covered at all by insurance.
It’s easy to understand now why many put off seeing the dentist and specialists like me, even though doing so is likely to increase the cost of treatment. Left unchecked, cavities become bigger and blacker, cracks in the enamel widen, and gingivitis can develop into severe periodontal disease and tooth loss. None of these issues will go away if you try to ignore them. In fact, they’re only going to further to deteriorate your quality of life, as this study concluded. Their treatments will also become more involved and costly.
What, then, can you do about it? Keep reading. I’ll walk you through a few basic steps that will minimize your out-of-pocket costs.
Maximize your coverage
Start by discussing the cost of your dental procedure with your doctor, whether it’s your dentist, a periodontist, or another specialist. They’ll give you an idea of what you’ll be responsible for out-of-pocket.
And, because they have extensive experience in making treatments like yours practical for patients on a limited budget, they’ll also be able to give you some pointed questions for your insurance provider to ensure that you’re maximizing your coverage. There are a number of scenarios, particularly where dental implants are concerned, that influence the parameters of your benefits. For example:
- What’s your plan’s annual limit? Your policy may cover implants, but if the cost exceeds your annual limit, you’ll be responsible for the balance.
- Some plans don’t cover the full procedure, but they will cover the crown attached to the implant’s abutment.
- Increasingly, insurance providers are becoming more willing to cover implants if there are medical complications resulting from tooth loss or one or more teeth were lost through an injury or accident.
Know your options
Once you’ve nailed down a specific amount you’ll be responsible for, there are a few things you could do. Having savings set aside for emergencies, of course, is ideal, and one of the easiest ways to go about it is setting up a monthly, automatic transfer from your checking account to a savings account. You won’t even have a chance to miss it, but knowing that savings account is there will alleviate a lot of the stress that can accompany unexpected medical and dental issues.
If time is of the essence, talk to your doctor about prioritizing your treatments. (It’s also a sound strategy for certain cosmetic procedures.) If it won’t further compromise your condition, resolve the most pressing problems immediately. Then space out the less time-sensitive procedures to spare you from the burden of paying a single, larger amount now.
Aside from flexible treatment planning, many practices also provide some form of dental financing through a third party, which enables you to pay your out-of-pocket expense through monthly installments, as you would a car loan.
Focus on your health
The takeaway: Doing nothing is your worst course of action. Whether you haven’t seen a dentist in the last year or you’re experiencing some level of discomfort in your mouth, looking the other way is all but assuring that you’re going to be faced with a health crisis in the near future. And, if you’ve experienced tooth loss, your need is even more urgent.
I say that not to scare you but to help you see that acting now is in your best interest, even if you’re certain you can’t afford the treatment. Trust in a doctor to help you find a way. It’s what we do every day.
If you’re interested in learning more about dental implants, or your gums are regularly tender, swollen, or bleeding, schedule a consultation with me. I’ll do a Comprehensive Periodontal Evaluation, and then we can discuss treatment—and, of course, cost.
The question I hear most often, by far, from patients right after I tell them they’re a good candidate for dental implants is: Is it going to hurt? A close second: How bad is the recovery? So, with this blog post, I want to offer some insight into both. (Spoiler alert: It’s not nearly as bad as you’re thinking it is.)
Before we drill down on the procedure (pun intended), did you know:
- Most patients are back at work the day after their dental-implant procedure. Some return the same day.
- Over-the-counter medications are generally enough to tamp down any pain.
- The average healing time before the final teeth can be placed is 3 to 6 months.
What the procedure entails
The process is a little different for everyone—which means the recovery is also going to be a little different for everyone—but, to make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s start with a basic overview of what happens during dental implant surgery.
The procedure—which is done by a periodontist, a dental specialist who treats the structures that support the teeth, such as gums and bones—replaces decaying tooth roots with a titanium anchor and a metal, screw-like post and damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function very much like your natural ones. Whereas dentures and bridgework can often feel ill-fitting, implants feel stable and comfortable. You’ll be able to eat whatever you want and smile as often as you used to.
The titanium anchors fuse with your jawbone so the implants won’t slip, make noise, or cause bone damage the way fixed bridgework or dentures might. The bone needs to heal tightly around the implant, a process called osseointegration, which can take several months. Unfortunately, as far as the science has come in recent years, osseointegration can’t be sped up.
If you have a tooth, or teeth, that needs to be removed, that will be done first, and the jawbone will need time to heal before the implant can be placed. Often, a bone graft is placed in the tooth socket to hold the bone open and make it easier to place the implant later on.
In rare situations, an implant can be placed the same day the tooth is removed. Your periodontist will be able to determine if you’re a candidate for immediate implants by looking at a CT scan.
So, are dental implants right for you? If you’ve lost a tooth, or teeth, through an accident, disease, or decay, implants are generally an excellent replacement option. They can also provide a significant improvement in quality of life over dentures.
What to expect during dental implant surgery
The different stages of dental implant surgery are usually performed as outpatient procedures. Pain during those procedures isn’t usually much of a concern because there are a host of anesthesia options available to control it, including local anesthesia, sedation, and general anesthesia. (If you’re having sedation or general anesthesia, plan to have someone take you home after the surgery, and expect to rest for the remainder of the day.)
When your periodontist details your treatment plan at the beginning of this process, talk to them about which option is best for you. My aim is always to make my patients as comfortable as I can. Everyone has a different pain threshold. But, even those who seem to weather it well can feel a little more anxious once they’re sitting in a dentist’s chair with a bright light shining on their face.
It’s my responsibility to alleviate as much of that anxiety as I can. If using general anesthesia would make you more comfortable, I’ll do so, as long as it’s safe. Even before that point, I’ve found that simply talking through the treatment openly and honestly is enough to dispel a lot of the misconceptions that you may be harboring about oral surgery. I get it; all this talk about extracting teeth and drilling into bone is unsettling. But the pain in each of those instances is temporary, and it can be easily controlled.
What to expect during dental implant surgery recovery
Whether you have dental implant surgery in one stage or multiple stages, you’re likely to experience some of the following:
- Swelling of your gums and face
- Bruising of your gums and face
- Mild pain at the implant site
- Minor bleeding
You’ll be prescribed medication to help manage any pain you may experience. That said, most are happy to find that the pain is far less than what they anticipated. It’s called impact bias: The good experiences in life rarely live up to our expectations. But, neither do the bad ones.
So, most are fine with ibuprofen. And, applying a cold compress should help relieve any pressure, as well as minimize the swelling and bruising.
Beyond that, there are a few other basic things you can do to ensure a fast and complete recovery:
- As much as possible for the first week or two, swish a mouth rinse made up of a half-teaspoon of salt, a half-teaspoon of baking soda, and eight ounces of water for a couple of minutes at a time.
- Avoid smoking. No exceptions.
- Stick to food you can cut with a fork for the first week or two. Your gums are likely to be too sensitive to chew anything harder.
If you’d like to know more about dental implant surgery, schedule a consultation with me. We can discuss any concerns you may have. And, if you’re comfortable moving forward, I’ll conduct a comprehensive periodontal evaluation so that I can tailor a treatment plan to your particular needs.
It’s time to feel confident in your smile again.
How much do you know about the various types dental specialists? You see the dentist twice a year for a cleaning, a standard exam, and the occasional filling. That much we know. (Or should know.) It starts to get a little confusing when dental specialists enter the frame. For one, how many are there? And, what’s an endodontist even do?
I’ll answer both questions in this blog post. To start, you’d need to see a dental specialist if you developed an oral health issue that can’t be adequately resolved by your dentist. It could be the result of an accident, heredity, your overall health, or some other reason entirely.
It may help to think of your dentist as your primary care dental provider, just like your family doctor is your primary care medical provider. Your dentist will diagnose and treat most of your oral health care concerns. Should something come up that requires another degree of expertise, your dentist will refer you to a specialist but continue to monitor and manage your oral health care.
Dental specialists are basically dentists who receive additional, specialized training after dental school. Every practicing dentist has earned either a DDS or DMD degree. (There’s no difference between them. Some schools just award one, while others award the other.) Dental school is four years—on top of an undergraduate degree. The amount of post-graduate training to become a specialist varies from specialty to specialty.
Currently, there are 10 dental specialties recognized by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards. Each has its own national certifying board that ensures its specialists adhere to certain standards, just as cardiologists, gastroenterologists, and every other kind of medical doctor does.
Here’s a closer look at the dental specialists you’re most likely to see over the course of your lifetime.
Orthodontists correct alignment issues, or malocclusions: overbites, underbites, crossbites. Malocclusions can result from crowded, missing, or extra teeth or jaws that are out of alignment. Typically, patients are referred to an orthodontist by their pediatric dentist. The condition may be treated using braces, clear aligners, palatal expanders, or headgear, each of which straightens the teeth by moving them through the underlying bone.
While our teeth may appear to be solid, they’re actually laced with countless, tiny passages called canals that contain sensitive living tissue (pulp), blood vessels, and nerves. Endodontists specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries of the dental pulp or the nerves of the teeth. They do simple to complex root canals and other types of surgical root procedures.
Hopefully, a smile comes effortlessly for you. But there’s a lot that goes into it. Prosthodontists, who restore and replace lost or damaged teeth, have a unique understanding of both the aesthetics and dynamics of a natural-looking smile. Their treatments include crowns, bridges, and dentures. Prosthodontists, along with periodontists, also perform reconstruction following oral cancer treatment and traumatic mouth injuries. And they can correct jaw joint problems and snoring and sleep disorders.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon performs a spectrum of surgeries the can include the mouth, jaw, and the entire face. They range from simple tooth extractions, to the removal of impacted teeth (especially wisdom teeth), to fractured cheek or jaw repair, to the removal of tumors and cysts from the jaw. Generally, however, oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform the most complex surgical procedures or the ones that require the deepest levels of sedation. They receive anywhere from four to eight years of additional training following dental school.
Periodontists specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease (which affects half of adult population in the United States) and oral inflammation. With a range of surgical procedures within their ability, periodontists often treat patients with the most severe gum problems. Though, they also offer a wide range of treatments for common issues, including scaling and root planing, in which the infected surface of a tooth root is cleaned, and root surface debridement, where damaged gum tissue is removed.
That’s who we are in broad strokes. As for me, I opened my practice here in Princeton in 1989. I’ve performed over 8,000 dental implant procedures during the last 30 years. I’m certified with the American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant Dentistry. And, recently, I was awarded a Fellowship by the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.
More important than the credentials, however, is how I treat my patients. I don’t know anyone who isn’t at least a little anxious sitting in a dentist’s chair. I’m responsible for dispelling those fears. To that end, familiarity is the foundation of every treatment I perform, no matter how straightforward or involved. After all, familiarity breeds comfort.
If you’re looking for a periodontist, or it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, schedule an appointment with me. At our consultation, I’ll conduct a Comprehensive Periodontal Evaluation so that we can get you back to smiling with confidence as soon as you’re ready.
Let’s look at home whitening kits and why you should avoid them. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we, as a society, value a good-looking smile. In a recent survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 99.7 percent agreed that a smile is an important social asset. The flipside of that is that an unattractive smile can be seen as a handicap. And in fact, 74 percent of those surveyed felt an unattractive smile could hurt a person’s chances for career success.
And one of the most common qualities they cited among those with unattractive smiles? “Discolored, yellow, or stained teeth.”
Again, not exactly breaking news. If you’ve spent any time in a CVS, Walmart, or the like over the last few years, you already know how important white teeth are. In that span, home whitening kits have gone from existing on the periphery to taking over entire aisles. Americans are spending more than a billion dollars a year on teeth whitening products.
But, while most home whitening kits are comprised of the same components (strips or trays, bleach), not all teeth staining is the same. If you’ve ever looked closely at your teeth in a mirror, you may have noticed that the discoloration varies subtly. Which could be one reason why, if you’ve ever tried whitening your teeth at home, it had little, if any, effect.
There’s an even greater concern at hand, though: Those kits may actually be destroying your teeth.
What causes the discoloration in the first place?
There are basically two ways your teeth can become discolored: from the outside in and the inside out. The former is the more common and the easier to correct. Coffee, wine, and countless other foods and drinks we consume on a regular basis (chocolate!) leave behind particles that lodge in the teeth’s protective enamel and gradually stain our teeth.
When the staining originates inside the tooth, it’s because the dentin, the bony tissue beneath the enamel, becomes damaged. It can occur as the result of injury, the use of some medications, and bad oral hygiene.
Hard as the enamel is, it’s also thin. Dentin actually makes up most of the tooth’s structure. And it’s already darker than enamel. So, if your enamel wears down—which occurs naturally as we age, though not brushing and flossing enough or consuming too much soda and juice can speed up the process—the dentin can begin to show through.
A blow to the tooth could damage the nerves and tissues at its core, cutting off the blood supply. The nerves and tissues can also become infected as a result of an untreated cavity, which could interfere with the blood supply. In both cases, the tooth could turn gray as the damage worsens.
Tetracycline, a type of antibiotic, can also cause teeth to gray if it’s used during childhood, when teeth are still developing. It can also affect developing babies’ teeth if it’s taken during pregnancy. But that effect is much more widely known today, so doctors generally won’t prescribe it in those cases. There are, however, certain high blood pressure medications and antihistamines that can have the same effect.
In those cases where the discoloration begins within the tooth, not even a professional whitening is going to do much to improve the appearance because there are deeper dental issues at play. The appropriate treatments, while not directly addressing the discoloration, will ultimately improve the tooth’s appearance.
Also worth noting, whitening of any kind is typically not effective on restorations—tooth-colored fillings, dental crowns, porcelain veneers, dental implants. At the very least, using a home whitening kit if you have restorations will result in uneven whitening. (The teeth without restorations will appear lighter than those with them.) But new research is indicating that it may also cause the restorations to break down.
Whitening is also less likely to work if you have other oral health concerns, like tooth decay or periodontal disease. The whitening solutions penetrate any existing decay and the inner areas of the tooth, which can cause a painful sensitivity.
Ineffectiveness is the least of the concerns
For all their popularity, there’s little evidence supporting that home whitening kits do what they say they do. A study published late last year found “low to very low-certainty evidence over short time periods” that home whitening kits were any more effective than a placebo.
But the even-greater cause for concern comes from research that was presented this spring at the annual meeting for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Orlando. In three new studies, undergrad students working under Kelly Keenan, PhD, an associate professor of chemistry at Stockton University here in New Jersey, found that hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient in over-the-counter whitening strips can damage dentin, that bony tissue beneath the enamel.
It was already established that hydrogen peroxide can penetrate the enamel and dentin. But Dr. Keenan and her students were able to show that the collagen in the dentin layer—which makes up most of the tooth—decreased after the teeth were treated with whitening strips.
Whitening strips, in other words, are capable of eating away at our teeth.
The safe way to prevent staining
What to do, then? Get in front of it. Even if you’re already experiencing some discoloration, you can prevent it from worsening by following a few basic steps:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes at a time and floss at least once a day. (Check out our oral hygiene primer to make sure you’re doing both correctly.) Flossing’s the only way to clean between teeth and under the gums, which is where most cavities, stains, infections, and other kinds of dental damage begin.
- Try to avoid sugar, starches, and highly acidic foods and drinks as much as possible. If you do partake, brush afterward, but not immediately afterward. Wait about an hour because acid can temporarily soften your enamel.
- And get a professional examination and cleaning twice a year. A hygienist can scrub those hard-to-reach spots. A dentist or periodontist can also treat any issues before they worsen and offer advice tailored to your lifestyle on how to stave off further staining.
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, or if you have other dental concerns that need to be treated before addressing your teeth discoloration, contact my office and schedule an appointment. The earlier the intervention, the sooner you can get back to smiling with confidence. and remember to avoid home whitening kits!
Let’s look at some unexpected ways your’re ruining your teeth. You have been told to steer clear of sugar. Brush and floss regularly. And see your dentist every six months. That much, at least, we all know about preventing tooth decay. It was hammered into our heads from the time we could start holding a toothbrush on our own. But there are a lot of other threats to our teeth out there, and many of them are lurking in places we’d never think to look. This is a rundown of the 10 that tend to feature most prominently in our lives.
Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth #1: Sucking on throat lozenges
We’re entering the thick of cold and flu season, which means that most of us are walking around with a handful of throat lozenges within easy reach. As soon as a scratchy, sore throat sets in, they’re our first line of defense. And though they’re considered medicinal, some are closer to candy because they’re loaded with sugar. So for all the short-term relief they provide, lozenges may be doing more harm than good. Before you buy your next batch, check the list of ingredients and make sure that sugar’s near the bottom.
Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth #2: Prying stuff open with your teeth
We’ve all done it. The scissors are all the way across the kitchen and your mouth’s right here, so why not pry open that bag of chips with your teeth? Because our teeth are a lot more fragile than they seem, and the tips are the thinnest and weakest part. But even the back teeth are susceptible. You could damage a filling or a crown. Slight as they may seem, chips, cracks, and fractures create openings for tooth decay. And in serious cases, a broken tooth may need to be removed and replaced with a dental implant. Let’s lump chewing fingernails and ice in here, too. Basically, anything that isn’t food is a hazard to your teeth.
Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth #3: Over-bleaching you teeth
The American Dental Association endorses bleaching, either in the dentist’s office or at home, as a safe and effective means to whiten your teeth. But the long-term effects of bleaching have yet to be fully understood. Doing it too often is believed to cause tooth pitting and nerve damage, but more research is needed to confirm that. To be on the safe side, stick to the instructions. Some tooth sensitivity and gum tissue irritation afterward is normal. But if they don’t subside, it’s time to stop and see your dentist or a periodontist.
Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth #4: Drinking white wine
If you’ve ever opted for a glass of chardonnay over pinot noir because you were concerned about the red wine’s potential to stain your teeth—and it will—you weren’t doing yourself much of a favor, after all. The acid in white wine eats away at tooth enamel, which leaves your teeth more vulnerable to staining by everything else you eat and drink. But it’s not all bad news. You can flush much of that acidity by simply swishing some water after you finish your chardonnay (like you use a mouthwash). Or, you can offset it by munching on some cheese. It’s rich in protein, calcium, and phosphorous, all of which can buffer the acid.
Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth 5: Brushing right after eating or drinking
To clarify, avoid brushing right after you eat or drink something acidic. I know; it seems counterintuitive. If the acid eats up your enamel, then why wouldn’t you want to clean your teeth right away? Because that acid is softening the enamel. And adding an abrasive toothbrush to the fold is a recipe for deeper damage. Instead, wait about a half-hour before brushing. That should be ample time for the saliva in your mouth to naturally wash away the acid and any morsels that may have stuck behind.
Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth #6: Drinking juice (Yup, even cold-pressed)
This one’s likely going to be a sucker punch to the gut for everyone who thought they were doing themselves a favor by drinking a freshly cold-pressed juice for an afternoon pick-me-up instead of another cup of coffee. But consider how much fruit and veggies were used to make that one bottle of juice. And now consider the high sugar content of each. That’s how juice often ends up with even more sugar than soda. There is a way around that, however. It’s not foolproof, but using a straw will keep most of the juice away from the surfaces of your teeth.
Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth #7: Eating dried fruit
You probably already noticed that dried fruit has a way of relentlessly sticking to your teeth. That’s cause for concern even beyond the inevitable embarrassment of having a coworker point out an overlooked morsel hours after lunch. Dried fruit is full of non-cellulose fiber, which traps sugar on and around teeth the same way gummy candies (and vitamins) do. Here, contrary to my advice with acidic food and drinks, you’ll want to brush and floss right away.
Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth #8: Grinding or clenching your teeth
Plot twist: The enemy’s in the house. I’m kidding. Kind of. When it comes to tooth decay, sometimes we’re our own worst enemies. We’re living in a culture where the pace can feel, at times, relentless, and the harder we try to keep up, the more stressed we become. Grinding or clenching our teeth in our sleep are a couple of the ways we can express that stress. You may not even realize you’re doing it. But if you’re waking up with a sore face or jaw, talk to your dentist or a periodontist. Both can really wear down enamel and, in time, lead to teeth chipping or cracking.
Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth #9: Brushing and flossing too aggressively
Yes, there is such a thing. If you prefer a stiff brush because you believe it’s all that more effective at cleaning your teeth, think again. You may be wearing down your enamel and even spurring some gum recession. Likewise, constantly flossing to the point that your gums start bleeding is too aggressive. Stop at the gum line and don’t be so forceful with your pulls. While you’re at it, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, hold it at a 45-degree angle and move it in small strokes.
Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth #10: Ignoring small dental problems
Every one of us could stand to be a little more vigilant about our oral health. We may brush and floss regularly, but then we’ll use that as an excuse to skip our next dentist appointment. Our ability to adapt is incredible. That’s how it becomes so easy to live with a sensitive tooth or explain away a swollen gum. The problem is, as easily as issues like those are rectified at their onset, they become much more difficult to treat the longer they go unchecked. Check out one of our other posts on how periodontal disease develops for added incentive.
Tooth decay may sound like a foreign concept—It’ll never happen to me—until, one day, you find yourself seated in one of my exam rooms and we’re discussing extraction and dental implants. It can feel like it happened just that fast. And now that you know the threats are all around us, it’s easy to see how. So if you’re experiencing anything abnormal, or it’s been a while since your last dental exam, schedule an appointment with me. There’s never going to be a better time to make your dental health a priority than this very moment.
Let’s delve into treating periodontal disease. We’ve been looking at periodontal disease from a few different angles this summer. Some favor crime dramas for their beach reading. We’re into wellbeing.
In our last post, we discussed a few factors that may be putting you at greater risk of developing periodontal disease, like stress and smoking. Prior to that, we underlined some mounting research that’s indicating periodontal disease may put you at greater risk for developing heart disease and experiencing complications from diabetes.
We also highlighted the early warning signs and prevention tips for parents. Periodontal disease is rare in kids and only sometimes found in adolescents, but it still needs to be on your radar because it’s so easily preventable. And we kicked this short series off with a simple, straightforward explanation of what periodontal disease is.
Here, we’ll delve into treating periodontal disease. If you have it, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Half of all adults in the United States have some form of periodontal disease. But it is something you’re going to want to treat as soon as you can because it’s going to progress and lead to bigger issues in your mouth and beyond.
Treating Periodontal Disease – No surgery required
For starters, you’re looking in the right place. Periodontists are dentistry’s experts in treating periodontal disease. We receive up to three years of specialized training in both non-surgical treatments and periodontal plastic surgery procedures. We’re also experts in replacing missing teeth with dental implants.
Let’s get into the non-surgical treatments first because they no doubt sound the least daunting, right? In fact, the early stages of periodontal disease are usually best treated with non-surgical therapy. We prefer to limit surgery to cases of absolute necessity, and even then, we’ll often start with a non-surgical treatment to limit the invasiveness of the surgical procedure.
Scaling and root planing is a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and tartar from deep pockets in the gums around the tooth. The tooth root is smoothed and bacteria are removed, allowing the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. Occasionally, the treatment will be supplemented with another therapy, like antibiotics, but, in the majority of cases, scaling and root planing is the full extent of the treatment, aside from ongoing checkups.
Treating Periodontal Disease- Reviving receding gums
Surgical treatments for periodontal disease come in a few different forms. A sudden sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks is often a good indication of significant gum recession—if you haven’t already noticed it in the mirror. If it’s left unattended, it’ll progress to root decay and erosion.
Gum recession is usually remedied with a gum graft, which entails taking a thin piece of tissue, either from the roof of your mouth or a synthetic material, or gently moving it from adjacent areas, and creating a new stable, healthy seal around the affected tooth, or teeth.
More severe recession may be treated with a bone graft. As pockets deepen, they collect even more bacteria, which results in further bone and tissue loss. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted. But, if treated in time, a bone graft will not only save the teeth, it’ll also encourage the affected jawbone to regrow.
With either procedure, coupled with a daily oral hygiene routine and regular checkups, you can reverse much of the damage caused by periodontal disease and improve your chances of keeping your natural teeth.
When a bone graft isn’t an option, osseous surgery is the next most effective means of halting moderate to severe periodontal disease. A local anesthetic is applied and then the infection is removed and the gum and jawbone are reshaped to create a more effective seal around the tooth.
Crown lengthening is a common cosmetic procedure where excessive gum and bone tissue are reshaped to expose more of the teeth, but it can also serve as a precursor to a restorative dental treatment. When a tooth is decayed, broken below the gum line, or there’s an insufficient amount of it to perform a crown or a bridge, a crown lengthening may be done first.
Treating Periodontal Disease – Get back to smiling more
If you’ve had a tooth or teeth extracted as a result of periodontal disease, a dental implant may be an option.
Dental implants, increasingly, are becoming the more popular choice for teeth replacement because they look and feel like natural teeth. They’re stable enough to let you eat pretty much whatever you want. And, just as importantly, no one will ever notice the difference—including you.
They’re also a permanent solution. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that’s placed into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. That intimate connection with the underlying bone and the surrounding gum tissue helps keep them healthy and intact.
Periodontists are best positioned to place implants, not only because we have special knowledge of the areas involved and the facilities to ensure that your implants look and feel just like your own teeth, but also because we have extensive experience working with other dental professionals. I’ve performed over 8,000 dental implant procedures, and I’ve witnessed my patients’ quality of life improve dramatically with each one.
We launched this little awareness campaign because periodontal disease is inching toward epidemic status at a time when it’s so easily preventable and dental care has never been more accessible. The takeaway we’ve tried to emphasize throughout is this: See a professional, whether for a regular checkup or an evaluation. Any reservations you may have pale in comparison to the threats periodontal disease poses when it’s left unchecked.
Do you remember the first time you spotted your grandmother’s dentures soaking in a glass of Efferdent? Or the last time you spotted her discreetly slipping them out of her purse before dinner?
Say “dentures” and our minds dart to one of those two memories—even if we didn’t have a grandmother who wore dentures. Unfortunately, they’re also the thoughts we archived under “teeth replacement.”
But, a lot’s changed since Grandma was fit for her last pair of dentures. Dental implants, increasingly, are becoming the more popular choice for teeth replacement because they look and feel like natural teeth. They’re stable enough to let you eat pretty much whatever you want. And, just as importantly, no one will ever notice the difference—including you.
Better still, dental implants are a permanent solution. With dentures, the bone that previously surrounded the tooth starts to recede, which requires a vigilant maintenance regimen. Implants, on the other hand, integrate with the jawbone, helping to keep it healthy and intact.
I’ve performed over 8,000 implant procedures, and, over that period, I’ve watched my patients’ quality of life grow in direct correlation to the constant evolution of dental implants. These aren’t your grandmother’s dentures. But they’re also not even your parents’ implants.
What is a dental implant?
By now, you’re probably wondering what a dental implant is, exactly. Basically, it’s an artificial tooth root that’s placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. They can be used to replace anywhere from a single tooth to all of your teeth.
The most common kind of dental implants take the form of screws, cylinders, or blades that are surgically placed into the jawbone, and each holds one or more prosthetic teeth.
Are you a candidate for dental implants?
Implants can be used to replace teeth as a result of almost any instance—injury, periodontal disease. But the ideal candidate is in good general and oral health. You have sufficient bone in your jaw to support the implant and healthy gum tissues.
Dental implants are intimately connected with the gum tissues and underlying bone in the mouth, which make them critical components. But there are ways to remedy shortcomings with both. (Keep reading.) A periodontist specializes in these areas and also has the unique education and training to ensure that your dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. So, while your dentist may recommend the implants, they’ll ultimately refer you to a periodontist for a Comprehensive Periodontal Evaluation and the procedure.
What’s the procedure like?
Prior to your initial consultation with your periodontist, your periodontist and dentist will consult to determine where and how the implant should be placed. Depending on your condition and the kind of implant, your periodontist will then tailor a treatment plan to your needs.
Whether you’re replacing a single tooth, several teeth, or all of your teeth, the procedure largely follows the same steps:
The implant, which looks like a screw or cylinder, is placed into your jaw. Today’s implants are predominantly made of titanium, a metal that’s bio-compatible and especially strong and durable. It also has the unique ability to fuse directly to the bone. It’s then given two to six months to bond with the bone, during which time a temporary tooth replacement can be worn over the implant site. After that time, it’s usually necessary to uncover the implant and attach an extension. Your gums will be given a couple weeks to heal before the final step, when the permanent replacement tooth, called a crown, is attached to a small metal post called an abutment.
I mentioned that sufficient bone in your jaw is a critical component. The upper back jaw has traditionally been one of the most difficult areas to successfully place dental implants because of a lack of quality jawbone and the close proximity of the sinus. A procedure called a sinus lift can be performed ahead of the implant procedure to raise the sinus floor—the sinus gradually enlarges with age—creating more space to place a bone graft and form a new foundation for the implants.
With a ridge augmentation, the gum is lifted away from the jaw ridge to expose a deformity in the upper or lower jaw that’s left you with too little bone to place the dental implants. The defect’s then filled with bone or a graft material to build up the ridge and create a suitable foundation.
What can I expect after the dental implants are placed?
Your periodontist will work with both you and your dentist to develop a care plan. Periodic follow-ups will be scheduled to monitor your implant, teeth, and gums to ensure everything remains healthy.
The implants may take a couple days to get used to, but after a few meals and enough smiling in front of mirror, you’ll forget they’re even there. They’re not an excuse, however, to start skimping on your oral healthcare routine. Just like your natural teeth, your implants need to be kept clean and plaque-free, so brushing and flossing is still imperative.
You won’t, however, need to keep a box of Efferdent in medicine cabinet. And, with any luck, your kids and grandkids will never see you trying to discreetly pop a set of dentures into your mouth before a holiday dinner.
Dental implants are permanent replacements for missing teeth. Tooth loss can occur due to many different factors including tooth decay, gingivitis (gum disease), or from injury. One of our many dental treatments we offer to patients are dental implants in Princeton. Some of the many advantages of dental implants include improved appearance, improved speech, improved comfort, durability and improved oral health. Dental implants have a success rate of up to 98% and can last a lifetime.
Our Princeton implants are predominantly made of titanium, a metal that is bio-compatible and offers strength and durability as well as a unique property of fusing directly to bone. After a moderate healing period, bone “bonds” with the titanium creating a strong foundation for directly attaching crowns and bridges.
Our Princeton dentist, Dr. Staller, gives individualized care to all of his patients when dealing with any dental treatment. He is an expert in dental implants and puts the comfort and oral health of the patient as his number one priority. Dr. Staller was one of the first dental implant surgeons in Princeton to receive advanced training in dental implants and provide this service to patients.
Dr. Staller has successfully placed over 5,000 dental implants, and will coordinate your dental implant treatment plan with your general dentist or prosthodontist. Through continuing education and as an educator himself, Dr. Staller is abreast of the most current information on implant dentistry and has been placing dental implants for 25 years.
601 Ewing Street, Suite B10
Princeton, NJ 08540
Are you suffering from gaps in your smile due to missing teeth? Lost teeth are far more common today than many of us realize. While physical trauma is one cause of this serious dental problem, missing teeth are more often the result of severe tooth decay and cavities. However, no matter what the cause of your missing teeth, your smile must be cared for as soon as possible. These gaps between your teeth are more than just a cosmetic problem, they can also cause the spread of tooth decay and gum disease without proper care. Fortunately, you can always find the care your smile needs with dental implants in Princeton at the state of the art practice of Princeton Periodontics & Implants LLC.
Dental implants are the number one recommended method of smile restorations by patients and doctors alike. Unlike other modes of care, dental implants offer patients a permanent solution that does not harm their remaining teeth. This is due to the unique method which dental implants provide a reliable and natural bond. Dental implants are based around a titanium post which is placed directly into the bone of the jaw at the site of your missing tooth. Exact placement of this post is carefully planned with digital imaging technology that also provides a computer rendering, so you can love the look of your dental implants in Princeton before you commit to them for life.
Once placed, your dental implant will require at least four to six months of healing time in order for the bone of the jaw to grow around the post just as it would the roots of your own teeth. As soon as your smile is fully healed, your doctor can begin the final steps of your dental implants in Princeton by fitting the post with a metal abutment which is topped with a dental crown. Each crown is custom made for your unique needs with fine porcelain, crafted to mimic the shape of your missing tooth all while matching the exact shade of your natural smile. Porcelain is the strongest tooth-colored material in use today, and can even work to prevent staining better than your own teeth for a beautiful smile that you can enjoy without worry of harm.
For the very best in dental implants in Princeton, be sure to visit the experts at the esteemed practice of the Princeton Periodontics & Implants LLC. Our fully licensed and professionally trained staff proudly serve your local community with the latest advancements in dental technology and procedure to care for smiles of all ages and levels of need with gentle and effective procedures. With dental implants from the Princeton Periodontics & Implants LLC, you can enjoy a beautiful and healthy smile once more.
At Princeton Periodontics and Implants, we provide the best dental care in Princeton, NJ. At our dental practice, our staff is committed to giving our patients the best personalized care. Our Princeton periodontist, Dr. Richard Staller attended the Boston University School of Graduate Dentistry and proceeded to complete a post graduate residency in periodontology and dental implants.
At our Princeton dental practice, our expert periodontist provides treatment for various dental conditions. Some of the services we provide include scaling and root planing, bacteria culturing, laser procedures, sleep apnea appliance therapy, crown lengthening, soft tissue grafting, osseous surgery and dental implants. Visit our dental office in Princeton, New Jersey or call our office today for help at 609-534-7796.
601 Ewing Street, Suite B10
Princeton, NJ 08540