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August 20, 2012

Tooth Replacement For Everyday People

Dr. Chilcoat @ 11:19 am

Why You Should Not Dismiss Implant Dentistry As Too Expensive

cartoon of man landed on moonUnless you’ve been living on the Moon, you’ve probably heard the hype about dental implants for tooth replacement.  The dental world has been proclaiming the glories and triumphs of multiple tooth replacement using implant dentistry for several years now.  Just because everybody is talking about it now, doesn’t mean that implant dentistry is a new science.  In fact, tooth replacement with dental implants has been a successful treatment option since the 1960’s.  Even our ancient ancestors have dabbled in tooth replacement using pieces of ivory and shells, as far back as the Ancient Egyptians. What has changed in the practice of implant dentistry recently is that it has become a much more successful and financially accessible option for patients who desire to replace missing teeth.

Teeth have a tendency to wear out, become decayed, infected and eventually lost.  Even those of us with excellent oral hygiene will most likely lose a tooth at some point.

Missing teeth are an important concern for a number of reasons:

1)      Missing teeth are unattractive

2)      Missing teeth perpetuate bone loss in the jaw

3)      Remaining teeth are stressed unnaturally in the absence of missing teeth, contributing to even more tooth loss

4)      Missing teeth interfere with speech and the ability to chew our food.

For these reasons, dentists and dental professionals strive to educate their patients about their options regarding tooth replacement.

Dental Implants Vs. Bridge

man with 3 stairways

Choosing the Best Option for You

A hot topic of debate among patients and dentists is centered on choosing the best option for tooth replacement. Dental implants have a long history of being a highly specialized, technologically engineered treatment option.  In the recent past, dental implants have been a very expensive tooth replacement option.  This is due to the fact that materials, hardware, planning and technique contribute to the cost of the procedure.  Patients and dentists must weigh the options between dental implants vs. bridge or denture.

Here are a few facts to consider when deciding on a dental implant vs. bridge:

1)      Dental Implants are the closest we have come to mimicking the anatomy and functionality of a natural tooth

2)      Dental implants are ideal for patients who are missing teeth which are surrounded by undamaged or unrestored teeth.  Replacing a tooth with a bridge requires that the adjacent teeth be ground down and crowned.  While a reliable treatment option, the adjacent teeth are compromised and more susceptible to future damage.

3)      Replacing a tooth with a dental implant is 97% successful over almost 50 years of research.  A dental bridge will last 5-15 years before requiring replacement or extension due to damage and potential loss of the adjacent teeth.

4)      Implant dentistry is one of the most reliable, predictable and effective options for tooth replacement, the gold standard in the dental profession.

What About The Cost of A Dental Implants Procedure?

Dental implant professionals have recognized that the high cost of dental implants can be a detractor for many patients.  In recent years, the cost of materials and hardware has become less prohibitive.  While dental implants do often cost more than a dental bridge, it is important to consider these facts when weighing your options:

1)      Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth, while a dental bridge or removable partial denture provides temporary solutions which must be replaced every 5-15 years.

2)      Dental implants are now covered by a growing number of dental insurance companies

3)      Many implant dentists have been able to control their costs and streamline their treatments to support a reduction in overall fees, making a dental implant more comparable in cost to a dental bridge.

4)      Dental implants are more durable and stronger than other forms of prosthetics.

5)      Dental implants help maintain important jaw bone structure and prevent excess bone loss in areas of missing teeth.  Other forms of prosthetics cannot accomplish this.

Additionally, many implant providers are offering interest free financing and other financial options to help patients take advantage of the number one tooth replacement option available today.  Dr. Robert Weinstein of Texas Wisdom Teeth and Dental Implants has heard the call to action by patients.  Dr. Weinstein offers uncomplicated dental implants for a lower fee.  For more information on low cost dental implants, click on the link.

For more information on dental implants, select one of these entries:

Multiple Tooth Replacement

The History of Dental Implants

Replacing Missing Teeth

Affordable Dental Implants

Advancements in Implant Dentistry

 

 

 

August 16, 2012

All About Dental Bone Grafting- It’s Not As Scary As You Think

Dr. Chilcoat @ 1:49 pm

The term “bone graft” sounds really scary, I know this, and I feel for you.  I’m going to share a little information about bone grafting anyway.  I’m going to try to show you that dental bone grafting is a very good thing that helps make all kinds of other beautiful dental related things possible. Let’s focus on the positive when it comes to replacing bone for dental reasons.  Here we go!

Little, Medium and Big Dental Bone Grafts

In the instance of a missing tooth or many missing teeth, a few things can happen.  First of all, it’s important to understand that your jaw bone is what holds your teeth in place.  The roots of your teeth are surrounded by bone and attached by some other anatomical structures that we don’t really want to worry about today. If you are missing a tooth, you definitely want to replace it with something, usually a dental implant or a bridge. Once a tooth is removed, the bone doesn’t have anything to support anymore.  Over time, it begins to slowly erode until it creates a hollow or a basin shaped divot in the jaw bone.  If you try to place a bridge or a dental implant in a spot where the natural bone and gum tissue level is much lower than the surrounding areas, it’s going to look kind of funny.  A tooth in an area where the bone level is very low is going to make you look really “long in the tooth” (nobody wants that)! For Cutting Edge Grafting Techniques, Click Here

The Little Bone Graft

In the case of a lost tooth, there are a couple of ways to ensure that you will not lose excess bone dental implant with bone graft height and width.  Ideally, your dentist or oral surgeon will remove the damaged tooth and preserve the bone in the area using a simple bone grafting procedure.  In this procedure, demineralized, sterile human bone granules, (which look like coarse sand), are packed into the tooth socket immediately after tooth extraction.  The granules are covered with a protective collagen membrane and a couple stitches are used to close the tooth socket.  This procedure is simple and usually does not add to your recovery time.  Over the next several weeks, your own bone will fill the tooth socket and preserve the bone height long enough for you to have the area restored.  If you replace the missing tooth with a dental implant, the bone level will remain indefinitely.  If you replace the missing tooth with a bridge, you will lose some of the bone level over time.

Medium Bone Grafts

If the tooth, or teeth were removed years ago, there is likely some bone loss hindering the restoration of the area. A slightly more involved bone graft may be needed.  In this case, the area of the missing tooth is opened with a small incision, the bone surface is prepared and demineralized bone graft granules are used to build the area up.  Many surgeons prefer to use a little bit of the patient’s own bone in this procedure in order to ensure the best results possible.  If your own bone is used, your surgeon will take it from another area of the jaw bone, usually near the wisdom tooth area.  He will not remove a large piece of bone, rather he will shave off tiny granules and combine them with the demineralized bone.  Again, the graft is protected with a special membrane and sutures are used to close it up tight.  Over the next several months, the bone graft will heal and integrate with the surrounding bone tissue, successfully building up the width and height of the area so a nice restoration can be made. This type of graft can be used for one or multiple areas of missing teeth.

Big Bone Graft

Illustration of a sinus lift graft

Sinus Lift Graft

Patients who have been missing many teeth for a very long time have often experienced advanced bone loss which prevents adequate restoration of the teeth.  In denture wearers, the lower jaw bone often recedes so severely that their dentures no longer fit properly.  The jaw bone in cases of advanced bone loss can be as thin as a pencil in some patients.  These patients can no longer wear a denture successfully and do not have enough bone to place dental implants.  Extensive bone grafting is necessary in order to restore the missing teeth as well as restore quality of life.  In a procedure like this, a combination of demineralized, sterile human bone and the patient’s own bone is used to build up the jaw bone, creating enough width and height to accommodate dental implants.  The patient’s bone is supplied by another part of the jaw, hip or tibia in the form of a small block.  This block is anchored in place in the recipient site using specialized bone screws and sometimes plates.  Bone granules are used to enhance the graft.  The entire site is protected with a membrane, closed tightly with sutures and left to heal for a period of months before dental implants can be placed in the new bone. The upper jaw has challenges of it’s own.  Patients missing upper molar teeth often experience extensive bone loss which causes the maxillary sinuses to become involved.  The maxillary sinus is a hollow cavity which sits just above the molars in the upper jaw.  When these teeth have been lost, the maxillary sinus often begins to dip down lower and lower.  Combined with bone loss from the missing teeth, patient’s can end up with just an eggshell of bone between their gums and maxillary sinus.  You cannot place implants into a hollow cavity, so bone grafting is performed in order to raise the floor of the sinus and increase the depth and width of the bone in this area.  This procedure is often referred to as “sinus lift”. In the sinus lift, an incision is made in the gum tissue and a small window is created into the maxillary sinus cavity.  Very carefully, the sinus membrane lining the sinus wall is detached and lifted.  Demineralized, sterile human bone and the patient’s own bone is combined and packed into the new space between the sinus membrane and the bone of the sinus floor.  Once the desired thickness is achieved, a special collagen membrane is placed to protect the new bone and the window and gum tissue is closed with sutures.  The width of the bone can also be augmented at this time in order to create space for dental implants.  A graft like this will need at least 4 months to heal before dental implants can be placed in the new bone.

Dental Bone Grafting Makes New Teeth Possible

Although bone grafting is a surgical procedure which can sometimes be rather extensive, it plays a very important role in making new teeth possible.  In the not so distant past, patients without adequate bone height or width for tooth replacement with dental implants were simply told they couldn’t have implants.  These people didn’t want to wear dentures or go toothless forever.  The art and science of implant dentistry has brought us these highly specialized and successful techniques in order to restore what was lost and make it possible to have a beautiful smile.  Bone graft surgery is temporary, but being able to eat, laugh, talk and smile lasts a lifetime!

For more information about dental bone grafting, read on

We provide live chat to answer your bone grafting questions or to schedule a free consultation with your Dallas oral surgeon at Texas Wisdom Teeth, click here.

August 7, 2012

Oral Cancer Facts

Dr. Chilcoat @ 1:38 pm

 

oral cancer information

Oral Cancer Information

 

Oral Cancer is Deadly

Over 8,000 people die annually from oral and pharyngeal cancer.  As the deadliest form of head and neck cancer, it is important to know the facts and risk factors associated with this form of cancer.

Most people think that oral cancer only affects people who smoke or use chewing tobacco.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  In recent years, much of what we believed about risk factors for oral cancer has been shown to be only a part of the big picture.

HPV-Connection

One important factor to consider is that the same virus which has been shown to cause cervical cancer, the HPV-16 (human papilloma virus), also causes oral cancer.  In fact, oral cancer is showing up in patients who are younger and younger than the over 40 high risk age group previously defined.

While traditional lifestyle choices and risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and environmental risks are still considered high risk factors, younger patients with no known lifestyle risks are being diagnosed with this disease.

Early Detection Saves Lives

Oral cancer is so serious because it is often not detected until it has progressed to an advanced stage.  Late detection of oral cancer carries with it a 57% 5-year mortality rate.  When detected in the very early stages, the chances of survival increase dramatically.

In recent years, the early detection of oral cancer and precancerous lesions in the mouth, pharynx and oral tissues has been improved dramatically through the integration of specialized examination tools.  Your dentist will perform a visual and tactile oral cancer screening in addition to using one of these tools in order to ensure that you are protected.

Shining a Light on Oral Cancer

The Velscope light is one such tool which utilizes technology which is very similar to that which detects precancerous and cancerous cervical lesions.  A specialized light is used to illuminate oral tissue during examination.  Normal tissue appears green and possible abnormal tissue appears darkened.  This new method of early detection has made it possible to prevent abnormal tissue from developing into cancer.

The Best Way to Prevent Oral Cancer?

See your dentist regularly.  Have an oral cancer screening performed annually.  Do not ignore warning signs.

14856 Preston Rd., Suite 104, Dallas, TX 75254 USA
Charles Chilcoat, DDS Dallas TX Dentist (972) 960-1111 care@texaswisdom.com