Posts for: December, 2017
Dental implants are considered today’s premier method for restoring missing teeth. Obtaining an implant, though, is often a long process and the implants themselves must be surgically placed within the jaw bone. Nothing to worry about, though: implant surgery is a minor to moderate procedure akin to a surgical tooth extraction.
Still like any surgery, this procedure does involve cutting into the soft tissues of the gums and could allow oral bacteria to enter the bloodstream. While most bacteria in the mouth are harmless (and even beneficial) a few strains can cause disease. For some people, especially those with certain heart conditions or joint replacements, this could potentially cause serious issues in other parts of their body that might be highly susceptible to infection.
To guard against this, it’s been a long-standing practice in dentistry to prescribe antibiotics to certain high risk patients before a procedure. Although this departs from the normal use of antibiotics for already occurring infections, due to the circumstances this has been deemed an acceptable measure to prevent disease.
In the past, the categories of patients for which preventive antibiotics were appropriate had been more extensive. In recent years, though, both the American Dental Association and the American Heart Association have adjusted their recommendations. Today, your dental provider may recommend antibiotic pre-treatment if you have a prosthetic (artificial) heart valve, a history of infective endocarditis (inflammation of the inner linings of the heart), a heart transplant or certain congenital heart conditions.
While physicians may still recommend premedication with antibiotics for patients with joint replacements, it’s not as blanket a standard as it might once have been. It’s now only recommended for certain cases, such as patients who’ve received a prosthetic joint within the last two years.
There’s still an ongoing debate about the effectiveness of antibiotic pre-medication. However, there’s evidence medicating before procedures with antibiotics can be beneficial in avoiding infection. If you fall into one of the categories just mentioned or are concerned about infection, feel free to discuss with your dentist if using antibiotics before your implant surgery is wise move for you.
If you would like more information on antibiotic treatment before oral surgery, 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 “Implants & Antibiotics: Lowering Risk of Implant Failure.”
Learn about restorative dentistry offered by your Pittsburgh dentist.
Unhappy with your smile? Restorative dentistry seeks to improve the appearance and function of your damaged teeth and replace lost teeth. There are many different dental treatments which may be classified as restorative. Here are six restorative dentistry treatments offered by Dr. Gary Machiko in Pittsburgh, PA that can improve your smile.
1. Dental Fillings
Need a dental filling? Everyone needs a dental filling at some point in their lives. Dental fillings are used to treat cavities and repair cracked or broken teeth. Today, several cavity-filling materials are available. Teeth can be filled with cosmetic white fillings. Many fillings last 15 years or more, and those that are well taken care of can last a lifetime.
2. Inlays & Onlays
Inlays and onlays are used to restore decayed or damaged teeth. If the tooth damage is not severe enough for a crown, your dentist can treat it with an inlay or onlay. Inlays and onlays can be made of gold, porcelain, or composite resin. Inlays fill the space in between the rounded edges, or cusps, at the center of the tooth's surface. Onlays are similar to inlays but cover one or more cusps or the entire biting surface of each tooth.
3. Root Canals
Root canal therapy is a treatment of the pulp of the tooth that is infected, inflamed, or dead. When root canal therapy is performed, the pulp tissue is removed, relieving the patient of pain. Tooth extraction is not a good alternative to root canal treatment. Tooth removal will leave a gap that can impair the appearance of your smile and reduce the functionality of your bite. Saving your tooth is always the best option.
4. Dental Crowns
A cemented restoration that completely covers the outside of the tooth is referred to as a dental crown. Dental crowns are used to restore broken, decayed, and damaged teeth. Damaged teeth can be saved by covering them with crowns. Besides strengthening damaged teeth, dental crowns can be used to improve their appearance.
5. Dental Bridges
Dental bridges can fill in the gaps in your smile and improve your attractiveness. A traditional dental bridge is created by a crown for the tooth on either side of the gap, and the pontic lies in between. Without a bridge, your natural teeth will eventually shift out of place, leading to future problems with your bite. When a bridge fills in your smile's gaps, your other teeth are supported on all sides and have no place to shift.
6. Dental Veneers
Dental veneers can make your teeth look like new again. Dental veneers are ultra-thin shells of medical-grade ceramic designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These porcelain shells are used to cover teeth which are misaligned, worn down, discolored, or chipped. Dental veneers create a bright, white smile with beautifully aligned, shapely teeth.
Don't settle for an imperfect smile. Call Dr. Machiko at 412-367-1319 now to schedule a dental appointment in Pittsburgh, PA. We have helped thousands of people improve their smiles, boosting their self-confidence and improving the quality of their lives. And we will do the same for you.
We don’t often think about it, but eating is a multi-staged process. It starts, of course, with food that’s hopefully high in nutritional value. But you also need coordinated jaw action to chew and shred your food that when combined with the enzymes in saliva can then be effectively digested in the stomach.
But what if you’re unable to chew some foods because you suffer from chronic jaw pain and dysfunction? This is the situation for millions of people who suffer from problems associated with the jaw joints—temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). It’s not just the chronic pain and discomfort TMD can cause that’s a real issue—it may also be preventing you from eating foods that are healthy for you.
Because TMD can make it difficult to open your jaws wide or causes pain when you bite down, you might especially have trouble with certain fruits and vegetables as well as many meats. Many people opt to skip otherwise healthy foods because they’re too difficult to eat. That, however, could lead to lack of proper nutrition in the long run.
But with a few techniques and modifications, you can still include many of these foods in your diet even when TMD discomfort flares up. For one, be sure to cut all your food portions (including toast) into small, bite-sized pieces. These should be small enough to limit the amount of jaw opening required to comfortably place the bite in your mouth and chew. When preparing your food, be sure to peel fruits and vegetables that have skin, which is often hard to chew.
You should also try cooking crisper fruits and vegetables to a soft, moist texture. Choose meat cuts, poultry or seafood that can be cooked to a tender, moist consistency—you can also use gravies and sauces to further moisten them.
And don’t forget to chew slowly. Not only does slower eating aid in digestion, it will help you avoid overworking your jaw joints.
With a few adjustments you can have a normal, nutritious diet and minimize the discomfort of your TMD symptoms. Continual healthy eating is a must for overall health and quality of life.
If you would like more information on reducing the impact of TMD on your life and health, 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 “What to Eat When TMJ Pain Flares Up.”