cosmetic dentistry, dental care, dentist, dentistry, dentures, implant dentist, invisalign, perio protect, preventive dentistry, Uncategorized

How a bridge can bring back your smile even with missing teeth

If you’re missing one or more teeth, it probably affects your smile and you may also notice a difference in chewing and speaking.

But there are options available to help you restore your smile and limit other problems.

For example, a bridge – sometimes called a fixed partial denture – replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth.

Bridges help maintain the shape of your face, as well as reducing the stress in your bite by replacing missing teeth.

They literally bridge the gap where one or more teeth may have been previously.

The restoration can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials and it is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.

Bridges can be removable so that you can take them out and clean them or fixed and so can only be removed by a dentist.

An implant bridge attaches artificial teeth directly to the jaw or under the gum tissue.

Your dentist will recommend which approach is best for you.

Whatever type of bridge you choose, its success depends on its foundation. So it’s very important to keep your remaining teeth healthy and strong.

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cosmetic dentistry, dental care, dentist, dentistry, dentures, implant dentist, tooth extractions, Uncategorized

How Osteoporosis medications can affect your dental health

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures.

It affects about 10 million Americans of whom 8 million are women and another 34 million are at risk of developing it.

So this is a disease that affects more women than cancer, heart disease and stroke combined.

But what does it have to do with your dental care?

Well, many people in these categories are treated with a group of prescription drugs called oral bisphosphonates. Studies have reported that these drugs reduce bone loss, increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.

But some people have been alarmed and confused by recent news reports about oral bisphosphonates because of uncommon complications that have been linked to these drugs.

The drugs have been associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), a rare but potentially serious condition that can cause severe destruction of the jawbone.

The true risk posed by oral bisphosphonates remains uncertain, but researchers seem to agree that it appears very small.

Given the risks associated with osteoporosis and the proven benefits of oral bisphosphonate therapy, you should not stop taking these medications before discussing the matter fully with your physician.

If your physician prescribes an oral bisphosphonate, its important to tell your dentist so that your health history form can be updated.

In this case, some dental procedures, such as extractions, may increase your risk of developing ONJ, so your dentist needs to be able to take your full health picture into account.

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Wisdom Teeth

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Wisdom teeth, or third molars, usually appear in adults between the ages of 17 and 25 and are the final set of molars that most people get.  While most will eventually have their wisdom teeth removed, not everyone needs to do so.  Most dental professionals will recommend having your wisdom teeth removed if you experience any of the following scenarios:

1. Your wisdom teeth do not fit in your mouth.  Most people have 28 teeth before wisdom teeth erupt.  Many do not have enough room in their jaw for 32 teeth and this may cause teeth to become impacted.  Impacted means the wisdom teeth cannot fully erupt or they may become misaligned.  Removing the wisdom teeth can prevent impaction and overcrowding in your jaw.

2. You experience chronic pain in your gums around your wisdom teeth.  Pain in your gums can be an indication of infection.  Infections are common around partially erupted wisdom teeth because food and bacteria get trapped in these areas.  Having your wisdom teeth removed can prevent further infection.

3. Your wisdom teeth do not come in straight.  Often, wisdom teeth will not grow in straight and can cause your teeth to shift and move over time.  To prevent your teeth from moving, removing your wisdom teeth is often recommended.

4. Your wisdom teeth are causing tooth decay to adjacent teeth.  Wisdom teeth can be difficult to keep clean because of their location in the mouth.  Flossing and brushing can be challenging and without good oral care, gum disease and tooth decay can develop.  Removing your wisdom teeth can prevent tooth decay issues in surrounding teeth as well as the wisdom teeth.

What happens during surgery?

Prior to the surgery date, your doctor will discuss the procedure with you and let you know what to expect before, during, and after the extraction. On the day of your wisdom tooth extraction, you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area.  You may also be given a general anesthetic especially if all of your wisdom teeth will be removed at one time.  The general anesthetic will prevent pain and will give you the illusion of having slept through the entire procedure.

To remove the wisdom teeth, your doctor will open the gum tissue over the tooth and remove any bone that is over the tooth.  The whole tooth is then either extracted or cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove.  After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches.

There are several factors that will affect how easy it is to remove the wisdom teeth.  If the tooth has fully erupted, it is a similar procedure to a typical tooth extraction.  However, if the tooth is fully impacted or if the teeth have not erupted through the gums the surgery may be more complicated.

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Tooth Extraction

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Dental extractions are performed for a variety of reasons including tooth decay, injury, and for orthodontic treatment.  Extractions are a relatively common procedure in most dental offices.  The difficulty of the procedure varies depending on the case and the patient, however anesthesia is used to numb the area and prevent pain during the procedure.

Types of Extractions

There are two forms of extraction: simple and surgical extractions.

Simple extractions are performed on teeth that can be seen in the mouth.  They are removed due to decay or injury and are usually performed under a local anesthetic.  During this procedure, the doctor will grasp the tooth with forceps and loosen it by moving the forceps back and forth.  The loosened tooth will then easily come out.

Surgical extractions are performed on teeth that have broken off at the gum line or that have not yet come in (ie: wisdom teeth).  To remove the tooth, the doctor will have to cut and pull back the gums, which allows access to the area.  This is necessary so that they can see the tooth that needs to be removed.  Surgical extractions are usually done with local anesthesia but a general anesthesia is sometimes preferred.

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TMJ

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Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) occurs as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles that control movement of the jaw. The temporomandibular joint is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw to the bone of the skull. This joint is located immediately in front of the ear on each side of the head. The muscles attached to the jaw allow the jaw an incredible amount of movement: front side to side and up and down. This flexibility allows us to chew, talk, and yawn.

What is TMJ?

Those who suffer from TMJ experience severe pain and discomfort.  This pain can last for as many as several years or a few months.  More women experience TMJ pain than men and the disorder is seen in people between 20-40 years of age.

Some symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or yawn
  • Limited ability to open the mouth wide
  • Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open-or closed-mouth position
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the joint when the mouth is opened or closed
  • Tired feeling in the face or neck
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Sudden uncomfortable feeling when biting
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • Toothaches
  • Headaches or neck aches
  • Dizziness
  • Earaches
  • Hearing problems
  • Upper shoulder pain
  • Ringing in the ears
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Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by interruption of breathing that occurs while a person sleeps. A person with undiagnosed sleep apnea may stop breathing hundreds of times a night. This disorder is very serious due to the threat of oxygen starvation, which can be extremely hazardous if the person does not seek treatment. Sleep apnea dentistry is sometimes employed in situations where the person cannot tolerate continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a common remedy that keeps airways open using mild pressure. At Adriatic Dental in San Marcos, Dr. Valentina Obradovic offers sleep apnea dentistry and can help patients understand what causes sleep apnea.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea affects people of all ages, but several factors can increase your risk, including:

Sex. Males are more prone to develop sleep apnea.
Age. The risk increases for people over the age of 40.
Weight. Overweight people are at a greater risk.
Family history. Genetics play a role in sleep apnea.
Jaw Bone and Tongue/Tonsils Size. People with smaller than average jaw bone or larger than average tongue and/or tonsils are at a greater risk.
Neck Girth. A bulkier neck, measuring 17 or more inches in men and 16 or more inches in women, increases the risk.
Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). People with GERD or more prone to sleep apnea.
Nasal Blockage. People with nasal blockage caused by allergies, sinus problems, or a deviated septum are more likely to develop sleep apnea.

Common Sleep Apnea Dentistry Appliances

Many different sleep apnea dentistry devices are available, and Dr. Obradovic can help you determine the best one for your needs. Two devices commonly used in cases where patients cannot CPAP include:

• Mandibular advancement device (MAD), which resemble a sports mouth guard. This keeps the airways open by pushing the lower jaw forward and slightly downward.

• Tongue retraining device (TRD) is a splint that keeps the airways open by holding the tongue in place.

If you would like to learn more about what causes sleep apnea and sleep apnea dentistry, please call and schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Valentina Obradovic.

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Scaling and Root Planing

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If plaque and tartar is left on the teeth, as we mentioned before, it provides the right conditions for bacteria to thrive. The bacteria irritate the gums which can cause them to bleed more easily. You may notice this if you are brushing your teeth or eating, and your gums bleed a bit. This is the early stage of gum disease called gingivitis.

If you have gingivitis, your dentist or hygienist will clean your teeth by scaling and polishing them. They may also recommend an antiseptic mouthwash containing chlorhexidine and show you how to brush and floss your teeth effectively. Most adults have some degree of gum disease.