Even with all the information out there about dental implants, they often are not what most people imagine that they are. Dental implants are quite versatile and have many uses in the mouth.
The most common one is to replace a single missing tooth. The dental implant replaces the root of the tooth (in your jaw). An abutment and crown make the dental implant look like your other teeth.
If you have several missing teeth in the same area of your mouth, you might be able to put in two dental implants and connect them with a dental bridge to fill in the entire gap.
Because dental implants can be used for individual teeth, many people believe that if they have no teeth, they would need a dental implant for each missing tooth. This is not the case. A full arch replacement can be placed on 2, 4, or 6 dental implants. (Compared to 28-32 adult teeth.) Two (2) dental implants are often used for removable replacement appliances. This is often called an overdenture. If you prefer a non-removable replacement, that can often be done using 4 or 6 dental implants to anchor the appliance.
Both overdentures or fixed full-arch appliances can stabilize your bite—which is often the goal for patients who have trouble eating with or wearing a lower denture.
If you’re interested in learning more about dental implants, please make an appointment to see Dr. Robb by calling 440-960-1940. You can also learn more about dental implants here: Fixed Dentures and Dental Implants FAQs
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist located at 1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH. She is accepting new patients of all ages. Website: www.drjrobb.com
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Note: Information in this article is not intended to replace the clinical judgment of your health care professionals.
While tooth decay is a potential problem at any age, the risk increases as you grow older. Not only are senior adults more susceptible, decay is often more difficult to treat. That’s because cavities can occur at or below the gum line, often due to gum recession.
If that’s the case, we won’t be able to fill the cavity in the usual way because the gum tissue is in the way. To make it possible to treat, we may need to perform a minor surgical procedure known as crown lengthening.
As the name implies, the procedure helps expose more of the crown, the tooth’s visible part, from the surrounding gum tissue. In basic terms, we’re repositioning the gum tissue away from the biting surface of a tooth to make room for a filling. It’s also useful for improving a tooth’s appearance by making it look longer, or creating room for a crown or other dental restoration.
After applying a local anesthesia, the dentist (or periodontist, a specialist in the gums) creates a tiny flap of gum tissue with a series of incisions. This allows the dentist to move the affected gums out of the way to access the underlying bone. The dentist then reshapes the bone to adequately support the gum tissue when it’s finally repositioned to expose the crown. In its new and improved position, the dentist sutures the gum tissue in place.
For a few days afterward, the patient will need to restrict their diet to soft foods, avoid strenuous activities and apply an ice pack to help reduce swelling the day of surgery. They will also prescribe a pain reliever and possibly an antibiotic to reduce the chances of infection.
While most people return to normal activities a few days later, you’ll usually have to wait a few weeks for the gums to heal before undergoing any further treatments for the affected teeth. But even with the wait, crown lengthening could make it possible to not only save your tooth but improve your smile as well.
If you would like more information on treating tooth decay, 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 “Crown Lengthening: This Common Surgical Procedure Restores Function and Improves Appearance.”
The short answer to the title question is water and milk. All other beverages fall into the acidic side of the pH scale. Acids will dissolve your tooth enamel and make your tooth more susceptible to cavities. Some also contain sugar. The bacteria in your mouth are activated by sugar (whether from drinks or food). Their waste product is acid. So drinks that are acidic and have sugars provide a “double whammy” of acid to your teeth.
Bottled Water: Water is great for your body whether it’s bottled or from the tap. Bottled water goes through a filtration process and often loses the fluoride that is added to tap water, and this is bad for your teeth. An increase in cavities has been seen since people started drinking bottled water over tap water. Tooth decay decreased an average of 29% in children ages 4-17 once fluoride started being added to community water supplies. Some bottled water does have fluoride added to it.
Sparkling Water: Sparkling water, on the other hand, is carbonated water (it has carbon dioxide dissolved in it). This creates carbonic acid which is what provides the bubbles. So it can damage teeth. It’s slightly more acidic than tap water. The acidity can cause enamel erosion. In some experiments, it has eroded enamel at the same rate as orange juice. Sparkling water should be used in moderation. Those people with IBS or acid reflux should avoid sparkling water. Also, the bubbles may make you feel full so that you don’t drink as much—this can sometimes lead to dehydration.
Milk: Milk contains calcium which is one of the building blocks of hard body structures such as teeth and bones. It does have some natural sugars, so it’s not quite as good for your teeth as water. In fact, it is the cause of “baby bottle tooth decay” which is what happens if milk is placed in a baby’s bottle at naptime or bedtime and the child falls asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth. The milk pools by the front teeth and causes cavities. For this reason, milk should not be held in the mouth for long periods of time.
Chocolate Milk/Flavored Milks: You might think chocolate milk would be bad for you since the chocolate adds sugar, but it’s actually better for you than most other drinks on the list. Depending on the amount of added sugar, flavored milks should probably be used in moderation.
Juice: Juices, even 100% juices, contain sugar. In 100% juice the sugar is natural. In juice drinks or blends, the sugar is added. Be careful with labels. Often a label will say 100% Vitamin C and people see the 100% and think it is real juice. Orange juice and other high acid drinks are ok at mealtime, but don’t sip them slowly or hold them in your mouth for long periods of time
Sports Drinks: Sports Drinks are really only needed for intense exercise or endurance sports. They contain high levels of carbohydrates, salt, and citric acid and can have a negative impact on dental health. They may contribute to eroding your dental (tooth) enamel. Citric acid tends to maintain acid levels on a tooth because it binds calcium and keeps it away from the tooth so the calcium can’t remineralize your tooth. This causes the teeth to soften and weaken. Enamel erosion with sports drinks is estimated to be 11 times greater than soda!
Soda: Sodas contain phosphoric acid and citric acid. Acids erode your tooth enamel, which softens and weakens your tooth and can make them more susceptible to cavities. Even though the pH is more acidic than sports drinks, the erosion tends to be less—but there is still erosion which can cause sensitivity/discomfort. A 12 oz. can of soda contains 9-10 teaspoons of sugar. Oral bacteria are activated by sugar and produce acids—so you can get a bit of a “double whammy” for your teeth between the sugar effects and the acid effects.
So it is okay to have beverages other than water or milk from time to time. Using a straw may reduce the amount of acid and sugar that comes into contact with the teeth. Gulping your beverage or drinking it all at once rather than taking small sips over a long period of time will also minimize the amount of contact with your teeth. On average, you will get about 20 minutes of acid production each time sugar comes in contact with your teeth. So if you chug the whole soda, there will be 20 minutes of acid production. If you sip the soda throughout the day, you get 20 minutes of acid production for each sip.
*Note: Information in this article is not intended to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees both adults and children.
1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd.
Lorain, OH 44053
It’s been a long road with your braces, but now they’re finally off. Hopefully the first glimpse of your new smile more than made up for the time and effort they required.
But while braces removal is a big milestone, it’s not the end of your treatment—not, that is, if you want to keep that new smile! You’ll now need to wear an appliance called a retainer for a few years or, in some cases, from now on.
Orthodontic retainers are a must after braces for the same reason braces work in the first place—your teeth can move. While the teeth attach to the jawbone via the roots, they’re firmly held in place by an elastic gum tissue network called the periodontal ligament. This tough but elastic tissue lies between the teeth and gums and attaches securely to both with tiny fibers.
While the ligament provides stability, it’s also dynamic—constantly remodeling to allow the teeth to move in response to biting pressure and other mouth factors. Orthodontists use this mechanism when moving teeth to better positions. The braces apply pressure on the teeth in the desired direction and the periodontal ligament responds as the teeth move.
Afterward, however, the ligament can still retain a kind of “muscle memory” for a time of the teeth’s old positions. Free of the pressure once supplied by the braces the teeth have a tendency, especially early on, to “rebound” to where they were.
A retainer helps prevent this by exerting just enough pressure to “retain” the teeth in their new positions. In the beginning this may require wearing the appliance around the clock, but you may be able later to reduce wear time to just a few hours a day. Rebounding is unpredictable, so you should continue to follow your orthodontist’s recommendations on retainer wear.
Wearing a retainer may seem like a drag, but it’s absolutely essential. Being diligent about it will help ensure that the beautiful smile you and your orthodontist worked so hard to obtain stays with you for years to come.
If you would like more information on getting a new smile through orthodontics, 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 “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”
Bad breath: We all have it from time to time. Here are some possible causes:
- Can be caused by dry mouth (which can result from mouth breathing, medication side effects, or other causes).
- Can be caused by your diet (sulfurous compounds in onions, garlic etc.). These can get into your body, particularly into your lungs or respiratory system, and create bad breath from within.
- Can be caused by poor oral hygiene or gum disease. Imagine putting food into a trash can on a 98 degree day and leaving it out. How does it smell? That’s what leaving food particles and plaque on your teeth is like.
- Can be caused by tobacco use in any form.
- Can be caused by health problems. (ex. Respiratory infection, stomach ailment, liver ailment, kidney ailment, diabetes)
- Can be caused by the digestive process for certain foods.
- Can be caused by tooth decay or other dental problems.
Probably the first thing to try if you have persistent bad breath is to ramp up your oral home care (brushing and flossing)* and also brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper. Some studies suggest that about 70% of bad breath cases resolve by cleaning the tongue. If you haven’t had a professional dental cleaning in a while, you may need to have one to remove hard deposits (tartar or calculus) that your toothbrush and floss won’t remove.
You may also need to see your dentist to rule out dental problems that could contribute to your bad breath and/or see your physician to rule out medical problems that may contribute to your bad breath.
If medication causing dry mouth, talk to whoever prescribed it to see if there’s a different one you can take that may not have this side effect.
Additional information about Bad Breath can be found in this selection from the Dear Doctor library.
*Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day (at bedtime is best). Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you the proper way to brush and floss. You may also want to get a disclosing tablet or solution to check that you are removing all that you think you’re removing. A toothpaste that contains baking soda or mixing your own paste of baking soda or water may provide temporary relief.
Note: Information in this article is not intended to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees both adults and children.
1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd.
Lorain, OH 44053
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