Archive for dental implants

Are dental implants prone to cavities or gum disease?

dental implants Round RockDental implants are used to provide a base for a restoration to replace one or more teeth lost due to dental trauma, infection, gum disease, or to replace teeth that never emerged properly.

The implant is made from titanium, a metal that is known for its ability to fuse with bone. In addition, titanium is generally well accepted by body tissue to decrease the chance of rejection.

The restoration itself is usually porcelain, a material that is strong and stain resistant. Since it is not a living organism, it cannot develop decay. The entire natural tooth is either removed or has been lost so concerns for cavities are for surrounding biological teeth, not the restoration.

Your dentist will have thoroughly investigated your dental and overall health before going ahead with the dental implant procedure. This is a critical step in determining the outcome of this process.

Placing an implant demands certain requirements … sufficient bone to fuse with the implant (lack of bone does not necessarily negate the procedure, but may require an initial step to supplant bone with either a natural or synthetic bone material to promote bone growth where needed). This is where concerns regarding gum disease may play a role in qualifying for a dental implant.

Gum disease can deplete the bone in gum tissue which can lead to implant failure. If your dentist has determined your candidacy for dental implants, you will need to carefully follow all the instructions given to aid in a successful outcome.

Healthy patient … if the patient is healthy enough for teeth to be extracted without concern, that is generally sufficient enough to move forward. Any chronic diseases or illnesses that might impact the outcome will be thoroughly vetted.

Patient commitment … The patient must understand that a dental implant can take months from start to finish. They must be vigilant in keeping the implant area clean; infection can result in implant failure. Tobacco use is highly discouraged as smoking is another leading cause of implant failure.

While gum disease and dental decay can impact surrounding natural teeth, once the implant is healed and the restoration has been placed, the patient can control what happens going forward. Daily brushing and flossing coupled with dental visits every six months will help keep teeth, gums, and dental implants healthy for life.

To learn more about dental implants or other tooth replacement solutions, contact Balcones Family Dental at 512-200-7422 today.

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How Closely Do Dental Implants Mimic a Natural Tooth?

dental implants North AustinLosing one or more teeth can be a devastating experience. For patients who wish to return to the most natural condition they can, dental implants are the logical choice.

One or more teeth secured with dental implants afford the patient many advantages:

Permanent – Your new teeth are cemented in place during the final phase of treatment. At this time, these teeth are so close to looking and acting like your biological teeth, you may forget about your prior tooth loss.

Speaking clearly – Whether you are supplanting teeth recently lost or have experienced some time since your natural teeth were in place, you will enjoy the luxury of speaking clearly without concerns about anything impeding your ability to talk clearly. When we speak, the tongue and teeth work in tandem to make certain sounds. When teeth are missing, it is harder to pronounce some sounds. This is no longer an issue with dental implants.

Food Enjoyment – Chewing when teeth are missing takes a lot of joy out of eating. The ability to eat all the foods you love is restored with dental implants.

Confidence Boost – When you are missing teeth, you may hesitate to smile or laugh in public. Or you might always cover your mouth. You will smile broadly once your dental implants are in place. You will no longer have those embarrassing gaps to cover.

A consultation with your dentist will determine whether you are a candidate for the implant procedure. A discussion about overall health coupled with a thorough oral exam will be completed. Dental x-rays are often taken to determine bone strength where the implants are to be placed. If insufficient bone is indicated in the area to be implanted, you may require an additional procedure to boost the bone strength for a successful outcome.

Your dentist will schedule appointments to check on your progress throughout the treatment period. Once surgically placed, the implant area usually requires several months to heal. During this time you will be charged with keeping the area as clean as possible to prevent infection.

When ready, the final restoration will be cemented in place that matches surrounding teeth so perfectly it will be difficult to tell which teeth are implants.

To learn more about your tooth replacement options, contact our skilled team at Balcones Family Dental. Call 512-200-7422 today to schedule your visit.

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Do Certain Health Conditions Reduce Implant Success?

dental implants north AustinThe success of dental implants relies heavily on the patient’s overall and oral health before and after implantation, and the patient’s oral health, and to some extent their overall health, rely on good oral hygiene habits. Patients that are healthy, floss daily, and brush their teeth at least twice daily, with no signs of gum disease or other oral health concerns are generally considered good candidates for successful implant treatment. Patients with chronic health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes may require additional care to improve potential for success with dental implants.

Risk of infection is at the top of the list concerning implant patients. Gum disease can increase the likelihood of an infection developing and disrupting the healing process after implant surgery. It can also spread to the bloodstream and affect overall health, especially in patients with heart conditions. The healing process requires the jawbone to heal with the implant in place, and if this is interrupted the dental implant may not hold successfully. Dentists work with patients to improve overall conditions before performing the implant surgery, helping to ensure greater success.

Patients with diabetes and some heart conditions may struggle with repeated gum infections, gum disease, or related periodontal disease. These conditions must be improved prior to dental implant surgery. Part of the treatment process is helping the patient learn better brushing, flossing, and at-home oral health techniques, establishing consistent oral hygiene habits, and, when necessary, treating the periodontal conditions prior to implant surgery. If the jawbone is affected by underlying conditions, there may be insufficient bone to support the dental implant. In such a case, a bone graft is usually combined with the implant procedure for greater success.

The dentist works with patients on an individual basis to ensure the best chance of successful healing and long-term satisfaction from dental implant surgery. This may involve additional treatment factors to prepare for the implant, or it may involve more frequent follow-up care to ensure healing is sufficient after the procedure.

For more detailed information on dental implants and options that suit different needs, contact Balcones Family Dental at 512-200-7422 today!

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Tooth Loss Can Have Far-Reaching Effects on Your Dental Health

dental implants north AustinThe loss of a tooth from damage or injury, dental caries (cavities), or for any other reason, leaves a space in the jaw that creates a vulnerable point for the other natural teeth. The roots of teeth help support the structure of the jaw as well as the other teeth, similar to the way the roots of trees extend through and support the earth. Depending on the location, replacing a missing or extracted tooth with a dental implant can have a profound impact on the ability to retain other natural teeth.

Depending on the cause of the missing tooth, other aspects of oral health may be affected if left untreated. The dentist can assess current overall health, with regard to oral health and individual self-care dental habits, then counsel patients for their specific needs. If the tooth loss is due to periodontal disease or severe dental caries, the disease or bacteria could spread beyond the loss of the tooth and affect overall periodontal health and adjacent teeth. Treating at the first signs of trouble will boost likelihood of full recovery from the problem. 

The loss of a tooth from damage or injury, dental caries (cavities), or for any other reason, leaves a space in the jaw that creates a vulnerable point for the other natural teeth.

Tooth loss due to injury or other damage may have caused additional trauma to the adjacent teeth, jawbone, facial nerves, or other tissues in the region. Establishing the cause of the damage or loss of the tooth can help the dentist better treat the individual case for the best success possible. If the tooth loss stems from a non-dental condition or medication that adversely affected the teeth, bones, or tissues, this also must be established to provide opportunity for the dentist to treat and/or counter the adverse effects.

Patients with good overall health and oral health, sufficient jawbone, and healthy gums, are typically good candidates for dental implants. The implant is surgically placed within the jaw then a dental crown is attached to provide the look, feel, and function of a natural tooth. The use of the implant helps to stabilize the remaining teeth, preserve jawbone by reducing the body’s natural tendency to erode jawbone over time, and provide support for the facial muscles and nerve structure to help maintain health. Options are available for those with bone or tissue loss, depending on circumstances.

For more information regarding dental implants, missing teeth, and overall dental health, contact our caring dental specialists at 512-200-7422 today!

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When Can I Return to Work After Dental Implant Surgery?

dental implants north AustinFollowing surgery for dental implants, the patient may need anywhere from one or two days to a week off of work, depending on the type of work they do. A physically demanding job will require more time off after dental implant surgery, whereas a patient with a more sedentary job may be up to working the day after surgery. The implant dentist will make a recommendation that may vary between patients based on individual differences in health, physical capacity, surgery procedures, and work environment.

For the average patient, three or four days of rest will suffice after dental implant surgery. Tenderness and some swelling are normal and will subside within the first few days. Many dentists recommend having the implant surgery mid-week, allowing for a day or two off from work plus the weekend to recover. It is important to avoid strenuous activity for the first few days, to reduce the risk of bleeding, and if sutures or stitches were needed for the implant procedure, they will usually dissolve or fall out during the first week.

The recovery process following dental implant surgery extends beyond simply feeling better. For several weeks, most patients are required to adhere to a soft-food diet. Taking time to ensure the diet contains sufficient calories, protein, and nutrients will improve recovery and overall health.

Patients with smoking habits are required to abstain from smoking during the healing process. Smoking after dental implant surgery can increase risk of infection or lead to dental implant failure. This risk is higher when a bone graft is involved in the surgery process.

The dental implant process takes time. Following the implant surgery, depending on the location of the dental implant, there may be a wait period averaging three to six months before a tooth or crown is permanently placed. The dentist will explain the specific details for each procedure or process as they vary with factors unique to each patient. The dental implant is a customized procedure, designed to specifically fit and support each individual patient.

Contact our experienced dental implant team today and ask about dental implant procedures and options available and tailored for you!

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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.

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Dental Implants: Enjoy the health benefits of a complete smile

Prosthetic appliances like bridges and dentures may appear to be adequate replacements for missing teeth, but in reality, they fall far short of replicating the structure of a tooth. Dental implants, in comparison, replicate a complete tooth, including the root, which offers a number of benefits for your oral health and your overall well-being.

Many patients take the teeth’s roots for granted because we cannot see them. However, that structure plays an important role in the health and function of your teeth and jaw. Not only does the root anchor the tooth’s crown, it also anchors the jawbone material. 

Dental implants, in comparison, replicate a complete tooth, including the root, which offers a number of benefits for your oral health and your overall well-being.

Your dentist will surgically place the implant into your jaw, and over the course of the next few months, the implant will bond with the bone material. Structurally, the implant is quite similar to a biological tooth’s root.

By serving as artificial teeth roots, dental implants help to stabilize the jaw, which will erode in the absence of a tooth’s root. When the root structure is not replaced, this jawbone atrophy can compromise the attachment of other neighboring teeth.

Dental implants also are self-supporting, which means that they require no structural support from surrounding teeth. This also reduces the patient’s chances of experiencing additional tooth loss, as healthy tooth enamel doesn’t need to be sacrificed to place a crown to secure the prosthetic.

Because dental implants are secured into the jaw, they are able to tolerate chewing forces similar to those that biological teeth can withstand. This characteristic allows dental implant patients to enjoy a wider variety of foods, even crunchy ones!

Convenience is another advantage of dental implants, which require no special oral hygiene care beyond the good, thorough brushing and flossing that you’re (hopefully) already doing on a daily basis.

Patients gain a number of benefits when they choose dental implants for tooth replacement. Discuss this treatment option with our dentists at Balcones Family Dental to learn more about how dental implants can have a long-term positive impact on your oral health. Call 512-200-7422 for an appointment today.

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The Origin of Dental Implants

In the 1950’s a Swedish physician, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, was experimenting with different materials. He placed a piece of titanium in the leg of a rabbit to see how this metal responded to live bone and surrounding tissue. Although he did not know it at the time, this experiment would lead to the procedure we know today as dental implants.

How could this innocuous action lead to such a discovery? When Dr. Branemark attempted to retrieve the titanium from the rabbit’s leg, he discovered that the metal had so completely fused to bone and surrounding tissue, it was impossible to extricate. He coined this process of metal fusing to bone osseointegration.

Realizing he was on to something, the professor decided it was best to try using this technique in a more contained, controlled area of a body. Today it is highly discouraged to perform any experiments on animals, but the first dental implant was actually performed on a canine.

The first human recipient of a dental implant in the 1960’s passed some forty years later, but the dental implant remained healthy and functional until the end. Of course, there have been many experiments with different metals. Some implants were crude in their appearance and there were many failures.

Research and studies have continued over the past half century making great strides in this procedure. The implant itself is a small apparatus that resembles a screw. The dentist will surgically place the implant in gum tissue where tooth loss has occurred.

As in the research with the rabbit, the titanium implant will fuse to surrounding bone within the gum tissue. The implant will provide strength and support much like the root of a tooth performs for a biological tooth. Titanium is very compatible with human tissue decreasing inflammation and rejection concerns.

The final restoration will be fabricated to match the natural tooth it is replacing in size, shape and color. The surgical area will take four to six months to heal, with the entire process taking up to a year from start to finish. Since infection is the leading cause of implant failure, daily brushing, flossing and following the dentist’s instructions are critical to success.

So today we owe great thanks to Dr. Branemark and all the researchers and scientists that have worked to create a process to successfully restore aesthetics and functionality following tooth loss.

Experiencing frustrating tooth loss? Contact the office of Dr. Paul Lounsberry at 512-200-7422 for more information on dental implant technology.

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Tooth Loss: Causes and Treatment Options

Tooth loss can have devastating consequences. The aesthetic ones are obvious. A gap in the smile is noticeable and unattractive. More importantly, though, tooth loss has ramifications for your ongoing oral health, too. This issue can lead to bone loss and jeopardize the stability of the remaining natural teeth.

Dental implants can be helpful in cases of tooth loss, but first it’s important to understand the circumstances that may lead to this condition.

A tooth may be lost to advanced decay or gum disease that progresses to affect the underlying hard tissues of the mouth. Tooth loss may also occur as the result of a traumatic injury to the mouth or face. 

The best strategy for dealing with tooth loss is to prevent it in the first place.

The best strategy for dealing with tooth loss is to prevent it in the first place. Take precautions while engaging in activities that may result in facial injuries, like wearing a mouthguard during contact sports. Brush at least twice a day and floss every day, and visit your dentist twice a year to protect your oral health.

However, if you are unable to avoid tooth loss, dental implants represent an effective treatment option.

Implant dentistry offers patients a complete tooth replacement solution, rather than one that just replaces the crown. Obscured from view, the tooth’s root may seem to be insignificant to the smile’s appearance, but it actually plays an integral role.

Most importantly, the tooth’s root acts as an anchor that holds the jawbone in place. As a fill-in for the absent tooth root, the dental implant plays the same role. In the absence of such a structure, the jawbone will erode, possibly compromising the stability of surrounding teeth.

Compare this to a dental bridge, which is another possible remedy for tooth loss. A dental bridge consists of a pontic, or prosthetic crown, that is held in place by crowns placed on adjacent teeth. No part of the bridge replaces the root, so bone loss will occur. The adjacent teeth may be further weakened by the need to place crowns on them.

When tooth loss occurs, you have many treatment options. Patients should consider the long-term ramifications of whichever method they choose, and dental implants do well in this area.

To learn more about more about your options, contact Balcones Family Dental and schedule your professional consultation today.

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What is the lifespan of a dental implant?

Dental implants offer lifelike tooth replacement devices to patients who have suffered from tooth loss. The titanium structures serve as fill-ins for absent tooth roots, and they fuse with the bone after the surgical procedure in which they are placed.

Because of their structural integrity and their biocompatibility, dental implants typically offer a permanent solution to tooth loss. That is, dental implants can be expected to last for decades and often the rest of the patient’s lifetime.

Of course, in order to get the most out of their dental implants, patients must take steps to care for the appliances. Your dentist can give you guidelines for maintaining your dental implant, but in many ways, the recommendations differ little from care for a natural tooth. 

If you choose dental implants and take good care of them, you may have a tooth loss solution that will last for the rest of your lifetime.

Patients with dental implants should be sure to brush twice a day and floss daily to keep harmful oral bacteria at bay. Regular dental appointments for cleanings and exams are also essential, and be sure to let your hygienist know that you have an implant and the site of that implant.

This aspect of dental implants is one of the treatment’s many appealing characteristics. Compare this longevity to other appliances often used to treat tooth replacement. A bridge likely will have to be replaced after 10 years, while a conventional denture (one that is not supported by implants) will at least need to be relined every few years, and eventually may need to be replaced altogether.

Certain conditions may shorten the lifespan of your dental implant. For example, untreated gum disease can lead to bone loss that would compromise the implant. Similarly, bruxism (teeth grinding) can place undue stress on the implant, causing it to fail. Your dentist should thoroughly review your oral health history so that any conditions that may affect the implant can be treated in advance.

If you choose dental implants and take good care of them, you may have a tooth loss solution that will last for the rest of your lifetime. Talk to our team at Balcones Family Dental to learn what you can do to maximize the lifespan of your dental implants.

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