Posts for: March, 2016
Losing teeth is always a traumatic experience. Whether through an accident or sports related injury or by way of an extraction due to tooth decay and gum disease, there really is never a good time to lose a tooth (except in childhood of course, in which case it is just the cutest thing ever). In the past, there weren't many options for adults in need of replacement teeth, besides dentures or crowns and bridges, depending on the condition of the gums and the stability of the surrounding teeth.
While the biggest concern for most people after losing teeth tends to be what their smile and face will look like (and rightfully so - we do live in an "image is everything" society, after all), tooth loss also affects what happens above the gum line, and impacts the health and stability of the remaining teeth.
Implant Dentistry in McCandless, PA
Luckily, revolutionary modern inventions have not been limited to smartphones and wearable technology that can tell us how little physical activity we're getting at the touch of a button. The tools of implant dentistry allow Dr. Gary W. Machiko, a dentist in McCandless, PA, to replace the root of a missing tooth, as well as the crown.
A dental implant is surgically placed in the gums, where it fuses to the surrounding bone tissue, and serves as an anchor to the crown, the shiny, pretty portion of the tooth that is visible to the world via our Facebook and Instagram feeds. In addition to providing greater stability and a more permanent replacement to the tooth itself, replacing the root also helps to prevent further bone loss in the gums, as well as shifting of the other teeth. An implant is the closest thing to the design of a natural tooth, and a good alternative to dentures for patients in good health with enough remaining healthy bone tissue in the gums.
Dentist in McCandless, PA
Dental implants are the next best thing to a natural tooth. For more information on how implant dentistry can fix your smile and maintain the health of your gums and the rest of your teeth, contact Dr. Gary W. Machiko at (412) 367-1319 to schedule a consultation today.
Dental implants are known for their durability as well as life-like beauty. Thanks to their unique construction and ability to integrate with bone, they have a very high success rate and can last for decades.
But while they’re less problematic than other restorations, we still can’t “set them and forget them.” While the implants themselves aren’t susceptible to disease, the supporting gums, bone and adjacent teeth are. If you want them to last as long as possible, you’ll need to care for them and the rest of your mouth through daily oral hygiene and semi-annual office cleanings.
With that said, there are a few differences in how we perform hygiene tasks with implants. This is due to the way in which they attach to the jaw, as the titanium post is inserted directly into the bone. Natural teeth, on the other hand, are held in place by the periodontal ligament, a strong connective tissue that lies between the teeth and bone. The ligament holds the teeth firmly in place while also allowing minute tooth movement in response to changes in the mouth.
The ligament also has an ample blood supply that assists with fighting infection that may arise in the tooth and its supporting gums. Without this extra source of defense, infections that arise around an implant can grow quickly into a condition known as peri-implantitis and lead to rapid bone loss that could cause the implant to fail.
That’s why you and your hygienist must be ever vigilant to the buildup of plaque, the bacterial film that gives rise to dental disease, around implants and adjacent teeth. This includes removing plaque buildup from implant surfaces, although your hygienist will use tools (scalers or curettes) made of plastic or resin rather than traditional metal to avoid scratching the implant’s dental material. They’ll likewise use nylon or plastic tips with ultrasonic equipment (which uses high vibration to loosen plaque) and lower power settings with water irrigation devices.
Keeping infection at bay with effective hygiene is the number one maintenance goal with dental implants. Doing your part along with your hygienist will help you get the most of this investment in your smile.
If you would like more information on oral hygiene with dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implant Maintenance.”
Magician Michael Grandinetti mystifies and astonishes audiences with his sleight of hand and mastery of illusion. But when he initially steps onto the stage, it’s his smile that grabs the attention. “The first thing… that an audience notices is your smile; it’s what really connects you as a person to them,” Michael told an interviewer.
He attributes his audience-pleasing smile to several years of orthodontic treatment as a teenager to straighten misaligned teeth, plus a lifetime of good oral care. “I’m so thankful that I did it,” he said about wearing orthodontic braces. “It was so beneficial. And… looking at the path I’ve chosen, it was life-changing.”
Orthodontics — the dental subspecialty focused on treating malocclusions (literally “bad bites”) — can indeed make life-changing improvements. Properly positioned teeth are integral to the aesthetics of any smile, and a smile that’s pleasing to look at boosts confidence and self-esteem and makes a terrific first impression. Studies have even linked having an attractive smile with greater professional success.
There can also be functional benefits such as improved biting/chewing and speech, and reduced strain on jaw muscles and joints. Additionally, well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and less likely to trap food particles that can lead to decay.
The Science Behind the Magic
There are more options than ever for correcting bites, but all capitalize on the fact that teeth are suspended in individual jawbone sockets by elastic periodontal ligaments that enable them to move. Orthodontic appliances (commonly called braces or clear aligners) place light, controlled forces on teeth in a calculated fashion to move them into their new desired alignment.
The “gold standard” in orthodontic treatment remains the orthodontic band for posterior (back) teeth and the bonded bracket for front teeth. Thin, flexible wires threaded through the brackets create the light forces needed for repositioning. Traditionally the brackets have been made of metal, but for those concerned about the aesthetics, they can also be made out of a clear material. Lingual braces, which are bonded to the back of teeth instead of the front, are another less visible option. The most discrete appliance is the removable clear aligner, which consists of a progression of custom-made clear trays that reposition teeth incrementally.
How’s that for a disappearing act?!
If you would like more information about orthodontic treatment please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”