What is Tooth Decay?

Our dentist and staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Dental Implants

In the past, losing teeth meant your appearance and your ability to eat normal foods would be greatly impacted. Today with dental implants, you can maintain a natural appearance and the ability to eat the foods you enjoy with teeth that feel like your own.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a safe, medically proven alternative to traditional bridgework and removable prosthetics. Made of titanium, implants are screw like anchors placed in the jaw bone to take the place of your missing tooth root. After the bone has healed around it, a process called “integration,” you are ready for restoration. This could be a single tooth replacement with a crown or multiple teeth replacement with a bridge.

Sometimes the implant can be used as a connection to securely add precision attachments to a partial or denture. The increase in stability and retention is then many times greater than the conventional appliance.

About The Implant Process

The implant process involves several steps that take place over a 4-9 month time period. First is a consultation with your dentist to evaluate if you are a good candidate for dental implants.

Next is the placement of the implant into the bone by a dental surgeon while you are under either local or general anesthesia. Over the next few months, the bone will heal to the surface of the implant.

After this healing period is over, an impression is taken and the type of restoration you need will be fabricated.

The Benefits of Dental Implants

  • Maintain Anatomy: If you have missing teeth, the bone begins to shrink over time. This bone loss can make you jaw line recede and change your facial structure. Dental implants can help prevent this from happening by holding the bone.
  • Keep Your Teeth Healthy: Your own natural teeth are not compromised because there is no need to grind down healthy teeth to attach a bridge. Also, no metal clasps are needed to hold your removable partial.
  • Security: Dental implants do not slip or move while you are talking or eating. This eliminates some of the problems of dentures and partials, including poor fit, gum irritation and trauma to the teeth with clasps.

Are There Any Limitations?

  • Chronic illnesses such as diabetes or leukemia may interfere with the healing after surgery.
  • Another contraindication is for patients who are taking a category of drugs called “bisphosphonates,” especially the IV form which is taken for metastatic cancer. However, the milder oral form of the drug, which is taken for osteoporosis, is also raising some concerns.
  • If you have lost too much bone it could be a problem; a consultation with an oral surgeon will help you to know if you are a good candidate.
  • The use of tobacco is believed to cause a higher failure rate.

Improve Your Appearance, Self-Confidence and Peace of Mind

Home care is very important to the success of your implant but it is basically the same as caring for a natural tooth. Dental implants can improve your appearance, self-confidence and give you greater peace of mind. They look and feel similar to natural teeth and give you confidence while eating and speaking. Today, your best option for tooth replacement is a dental implant.

Plaque is an insidious substance—a colorless, sticky film—that blankets your teeth and creates an environment in which bacteria erode tooth enamel, cause gum irritation, infection in inner structures such as pulp and the roots, and in extreme cases, tooth loss.

Some of the biggest culprits causing plaque are foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates, including soda beverages, some juices, candy and many kinds of pasta, breads and cereals.

Plaque also can attack fillings and other restorations in your mouth, which can lead to more costly treatment down the road.

Plaque is the main cause of tooth decay.  It can also cause your gums to become irritated, inflamed, and bleed. Over time, the plaque underneath your gums may cause periodontal disease, which can lead to bone loss and eventual tooth loss.

Inside your teeth, decay can gradually destroy the inner layer, or dentin.  It can also destroy the pulp, which contains blood vessels, nerves and other tissues, as well as the root. 

Periodontal disease is advanced gum disease. This serious condition occurs when the structures that support your teeth—the gums and bone—break down from the infection.  Pain, hypersensitivity and bleeding are some of the signs of periodontal disease.

Simple Preventative Measures

The two best defenses against tooth decay and gum disease are a healthy, well-balanced diet and good oral hygiene, including daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing and rinsing. Most public drinking water contains fluoride, but if you are unsure of your water supply, then use a good quality mouth rinse containing fluoride.

A good way to help your oral health between brushing is chewing sugarless gum; this stimulates your body's production of saliva, a powerful chemical that actually neutralizes plaque formation and rinses decay-causing food particles and debris from your mouth.

In some cases, our office can prescribe anti-cavity rinses or apply special anti-cavity varnishes or sealants to help fight decay.


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