Among dental restorations, implants are the closest prosthetic we have to real teeth. They not only replace the visible crown, but the titanium post imbedded in the jawbone adequately substitutes for the tooth root. Because of their unique design, implants are not only life-like, they’re highly durable and could potentially last for decades.
But while their success rate is remarkably high (more than 95% exceed the ten-year mark), they can fail. Ironically, one possible cause for implant failure is periodontal (gum) disease. Although an implant’s materials are themselves impervious to disease, the tissues and underlying bone that support the implant aren’t. If these natural tissues become infected, the secure hold the implant has can weaken and fail.
A gum infection usually begins with dental plaque, a thin biofilm of bacteria and food particles that builds up on tooth surfaces. Certain strains of bacteria within plaque can infect the gums. One particular form of the disease known as peri-implantitis starts as an initial infection and ensuing inflammation of gum tissues around an implant. The disease can quickly spread down to the bone and destroy the integration between the bone and the implant that helps keep the implant in place.
That’s why it’s important for you to keep the implant and the tissues around it clean of plaque, just as you would the rest of your natural teeth. This requires daily brushing and flossing around the implant and other teeth, and visiting your dentist regularly for more thorough dental cleanings.
You should also be alert to any signs of disease, especially around implants: gum redness, swelling, bleeding or pus formation. Because of the rapidity with which peri-implantitis can spread, you should see your dentist as soon as possible if you notice any of these signs.
Preventing gum disease, and treating it promptly if it occurs, is a key part of implant longevity. Preserving your overall dental health will help make sure your implant doesn’t become a loss statistic.
Pain is the body’s warning system: It tells us something is wrong. And depending on the location and intensity of the pain, it can give us vital clues about the problem.
Sometimes, though, it’s not so clear and direct—the pain could arise from any number of sources. Toothaches often fall into this category: Although it’s likely indicating a tooth or gum problem, it could be something else — or even somewhere else.
This is known as referred pain, in which you may feel pain in one location, like your mouth, but the actual source of the problem is somewhere else, like an infected and congested sinus passage. If we’re able to identify the true source and location of the pain, the better the chances of a successful treatment outcome.
Besides sinus infections, there are other conditions like trigeminal neuralgia that can refer pain to the mouth. This painful condition involves the trigeminal nerve, a large nerve running on either side of the face that can become inflamed. Depending on where the inflammation occurs, you might feel the pain at various points along the jaw, feeling much like a toothache.
There’s also the case of an earache mimicking a toothache, and vice-versa. Because of the proximity of the ears to the jaws, there is some nerve interconnectedness between them. For example, an infected or abscessed back tooth could feel a lot like an earache.
These and other possible problems (including jaw joint disorders or teeth grinding) can generate pain as if it were coming from the mouth or a single tooth. To be sure you’ll need to undergo a complete dental examination. If your dentist doesn’t find anything wrong with your mouth, he or she may refer you to a medical doctor to explore other possible causes.
Getting to the root cause of pain can help determine which treatment strategy to pursue to relieve it. Finding the actual source is the most efficient way to understand what a pain sensation is trying to tell us.
Know the signs of gum disease and when you should visit your dentist for care.
Millions of adults in the US are dealing with gum disease and unfortunately many don’t know it. If left untreated gum disease can lead to infection, tooth loss, and bone loss. Therefore, the sooner you seek treatment the better. From the office of our Wake Forest, NC, dentist Dr. Shanean Anderson, here are the warning signs and symptoms of gum disease,
If you find blood in the sink when rinsing your mouth after brushing or flossing this is a telltale sign of gum disease. Since gum disease progresses quickly even the smallest and seemingly insignificant symptoms such as bleeding gums can turn into infected teeth and tooth loss if left untreated. Gums should never bleed when you brush and floss.
If you don’t floss regularly bacteria can easily buildup below the gums, which is responsible for the bleeding. Are you noticing bleeding gums? If so, it’s time to see our Wake Forest, NC, general dentist.
You may also notice other changes in the appearance of your gums. They may appear puffy, inflamed, or be tender to the touch. Along with these changes you may also notice that suddenly your teeth look a bit longer than usual. No, your teeth haven’t grown. Instead, the gums have started to pull away from the teeth.
Receding gums is a sign that gum disease is progressing. If receding gums aren’t treated this can lead to deeper pockets of infection within the gums, which will pull the gums further from the teeth until they can no longer support the teeth. As a result, teeth become loose or fall out.
While there are several things that can cause tooth sensitivity it’s possible that the cause is gum disease. After all, persistent inflamed gum tissue can end up exposing the roots of the tooth. Exposed roots make the teeth more susceptible to sensitivity, decay, and possible tooth loss.
If you are dealing with gum disease in Wake Forest, NC, don’t worry; we can provide you with the treatment you need to improve the health and appearance of your gums. Call Smile Sculptors of Wake Forest today for an appointment.
Dental implants have soared in popularity thanks to their life-likeness, functionality and durability. But these prized qualities have also created an ironic downside—people are much more likely to replace a tooth with an implant rather than go through the time and effort to preserve it.
We say downside because even though an implant is as close to a real tooth as we can now achieve in dentistry, it still can't rival the real thing. It's usually in your long-term health interest to save a tooth if reasonably possible. And, there are effective ways to do so.
Most dental problems arise from two common oral diseases. One is tooth decay, caused by contact with acid produced by bacteria living in dental plaque. We can often minimize the damage by treating the early cavities decay can create. But if we don't treat it in time, the decay can advance into the tooth's pulp chamber, putting the tooth in danger of loss.
We can intervene, though, using root canal therapy, in which we drill into the tooth to access its interior. We clean out the decayed tooth structure, remove the diseased pulp tissue and fill the empty chamber and root canals to seal the tooth and later crown it to further protect it from re-infection.
Periodontal (gum) disease also begins with bacteria, but in this case the infection is in the gum tissues. Over time the ensuing inflammation locks into battle with the plaque-fueled infection. This stalemate ultimately weakens gum attachment, the roots and supporting bone that can also increases risk for tooth loss.
We can stop a gum infection through a variety of techniques, all following a similar principle—completely removing any accumulated plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums. This stops the infection and starts the process of gum and bone healing.
You should be under no illusions that either of these approaches will be easy. Advanced tooth decay can be complex and often require the skills of an endodontist (a specialist in root canals). Likewise, gum disease may require surgical intervention. But even with these difficulties, it's usually worth it to your dental health to consider saving your tooth first before you replace it with an implant.
If you would like more information on how best to treat a problem tooth, 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 “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?”
How tooth colored fillings from your dentist in Wake Forest, NC, can give you an outstanding smile
If you’ve been told you need a filling, you now have a different option other than a bulky, unnatural-looking metal filling. You can choose a filling that adds to the beauty of your smile, instead of detracting from it. You can choose a tooth colored filling! Dr. Shanean Michelle Anderson at Smile Sculptors in Wake Forest, NC, offers tooth colored fillings to give you an outstanding smile!
Tooth colored fillings provide benefits that can’t be matched by conventional metal fillings. When you choose tooth colored fillings, you will enjoy:
- A very natural looking filling that blends perfectly with your smile because the filling material is matched to the color of your teeth
- Easy treatment, because the material is applied as a liquid, sculpted into shape, and then hardened with an ultraviolet light
- A strong filling that holds your tooth together because it is bonded directly to the tooth surface
Tooth colored fillings can repair all of the same problems as conventional metal fillings, including teeth that are:
- Decayed or damaged
- Worn-down or chipped
- Broken or cracked
When you choose tooth colored fillings, you won’t experience an unpleasant metallic taste in your mouth that you remember from metal fillings. You will only experience the beauty and perfection of a filling that is virtually invisible within your smile. People will notice your smile, not your fillings!
Tooth colored fillings are easy. First, your dentist applies an etching material that creates microscopic pore-like openings in the surface of your tooth. These retain the filling material. Next, a strong bonding agent is applied to cement the filling material to your tooth.
The last step is the filling material, a unique liquid resin known as composite. Composite can be matched to the color of your tooth, and sculpted to conform to the natural contours of your tooth. The liquid material is hardened with an ultraviolet light. The end result is a beautiful tooth colored filling that blends perfectly with your smile.
Don’t settle for old metal fillings when you can have fillings that make your smile look more beautiful. To find out more about tooth colored fillings and what they can do for your smile, call you dentist, Dr. Shanean Michelle Anderson, at Smile Sculptors in Wake Forest, NC, today!
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.