February 24, 2011

Partial Dentures vs. Implants? Chew on that one.

For those of you who remember the famous Spy vs. Spy comic books, dentures vs. implants may seem to be different sides of the same coin, but the truth is the choice is easier than you might think. Check out the Q&A below.

Q. I am thinking of getting dental implants to replace the removable partial denture I now have.  I can hardly chew with it, and food always gets stuck under it.  I think implants will be a great investment in my health.  How long does an implant last?

A. You can feel that you’re making a very sound investment.  Implants have remained in patients’ mouths for as long as 30 years.  With the proper preventive maintenance program, you can ensure the long-term success of your implants.  The implants should last a lifetime with your proper daily maintenance and regular maintenance scheduled with us for hygiene and exams.  Periodically, the teeth that are supported by your implants may need to be replaced.  The timing varies with the dental materials used.

February 15, 2011

Bone loss can impact denture function

Q.  I wear a lower denture.  What will happen without treatment?

A.  When you lose your teeth, you gradually lose the bone that holds them in your jaw.  As this bone shrinks, problems with a lack of bone lead to increased discomfort, increased movement of your denture, lack of retention and sharp, painful ridges, movable gums, and sore spots.  The tongue also enlarges to fill in the spaces.  With tooth loss, a five-fold decrease in function happens and the diet shifts to softer foods, which has a bad effect on your nutrition.  When bone is lost, numbness to the lower lip or even fracture of the lower jaw can be a possibility. In addition, the progressive bone loss can make it difficult, impossible, and more expensive to solve your problem.  You could need more implants or extensive treatment, or we will not be able to provide the treatment we recommend now.

February 4, 2011

When Is A Silver Lining Not So Good?

When it's in your teeth!
Q. Why is it important to replace old silver fillings with a crown or onlay?

A. Old silver fillings usually have leakage around the margins, which means that bacteria is getting in between the filling and the tooth and can be a cause of tooth decay or the nerve of the tooth dying (when the nerve dies a root canal therapy is needed on the tooth).  Silver also acts as a wedge and can actually eventually help to fracture a tooth.  If the fracture is vertical, the tooth has to be extracted.  A crown encircles the remaining tooth structure so it protects it and an inlay or onlay is prepared by a laboratory to fit perfectly to the tooth and is more protective to the remaining tooth structure than silver.  Fillings prepared by the lab can be done in porcelain to match the existing tooth structure and are a great cosmetic choice.