Archive for January, 2014

What Factors Contribute to the Long-Term Success of Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the perfect option as a permanent teeth replacement for one, several, or many teeth lost due to trauma, decay or disease. The process is a lengthy one, and the patient must be committed to following instructions issued by the dentist to ensure the implants’ success.

If gum disease was the basis for tooth loss, the underlying cause of the periodontal condition must be resolved before entering into the implant process. If bone loss has been sustained, the bone must be built up before dental implants are placed. Any infection must be resolved before treatment can be initiated.

Traumatic tooth loss or teeth that must be extracted due to decay may not require any additional preparation before implants can be placed.

The patient must understand the commitment needed for successful treatment. Since this process can take about a year to complete, the patient will be expected to observe the following:

  1. Daily oral hygiene must be maintained to prevent infection (the leading cause of implant failure). Once the implant has been placed, it can take four to six months for healing to be completed. During this time bone is building around the implant incorporating the implant as part of the dental anatomy to act much like the root of a natural tooth providing support to the restoration.
  2. Tobacco use should be ceased. Whether smoked or chewed, tobacco is another leading reason why implants fail so its use is highly discouraged.
  3. Follow all guidelines issued by the dentist from the foods you eat to brushing and flossing instructions.

Once the implant itself has healed, the permanent restoration can be placed. This could be in the form of one tooth like a crown or an implant supported bridge. Once tried in for accuracy in fit and appearance, the restoration is cemented in place. At this time, the patient is free to eat the foods most loved, speak with confidence, and smile freely as tooth loss is no longer an issue.

Caring for the implant is much like caring for biological teeth. Brushing daily along with flossing will keep plaque from building up on teeth at the gum line. Visits to the dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and exam will keep the implant healthy for a lifetime. Call 512-200-7422 to reserve your appointment today.

Posted in: dental implants

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Am I Still a Candidate for Invisalign if I’ve Had Braces?

Many patients that undergo teeth straightening may experience teeth shifting back closer to where they were positioned before treatment. This often happens when the teeth didn’t have sufficient time to form a “memory” of their new location and start to drift back to where they started. If this occurs, teeth can be repositioned again, and Invisalign aligners may be the perfect option to restore the correct occlusion.

This shifting of teeth can occur for any number of reasons. The patient may not have worn their retainer as instructed preventing the teeth from remembering their new location. Or the patient may have worn braces as a youngster; if additional permanent teeth erupted like third molars (wisdom teeth), they may have forced teeth to reposition to make room for them to come in.

Invisalign is a method of orthodontic treatment where teeth are gently shifted to their correct position by the use of clear aligners. A series of aligners are fabricated by the Invisalign lab using digital 3-D imaging from x-rays, photographs, and dental impressions taken of the patient.

The aligners are replaced approximately every two weeks throughout treatment to keep the movement process on track. With each new aligner, the patient is a step closer to resuming their correct occlusion.

As with traditional braces, the patient will still see the dentist for periodic exams to ensure they are progressing as designed. However, it is important that the patient realize these exams do not take the place of the appointments needed to have their teeth cleaned and exams performed to monitor potential problems like dental decay or gum disease.

Invisalign aligners are very popular for several reasons:

  1. They are clear making this form of treatment virtually undetectable.
  2. There are no metal bands, brackets, or wires to cause irritation to soft mouth tissues.
  3. They are removable … this means you can resume eating all the foods you love with no restrictions. Daily oral hygiene is easier to maintain as the aligners are removed for brushing and flossing.

The aligners must be worn 20-22 hours every day to complete treatment in the prescribed amount of time. Wearing the retainer as directed should allow the process to be maintained, but it is important to remember this is an extremely important part of the treatment plan and needs to be observed.

Call our experienced orthodontic team at Balcones Family Dental for more information about Invisalign today.

Posted in: Invisalign

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