Monthly Archives: August 2016

What to Expect From a Dental Implant Procedure

In modern dentistry, a dental implant is considered the gold standard to replace a missing or failing tooth. Individual dental implants can be used to replace any number of teeth from one to an entire arch. Implant-supported overdentures and fixed bridges are more cost-effective solutions for spans of missing teeth. Regardless of which procedure you choose, however, the general process is very similar.

What to Expect From a Dental Implant Procedure

Evaluation and Planning

The first step is to determine whether you are a good candidate for implants, and what steps need to occur before you are ready for the implant placement. Your dentist will take detailed X-rays and scans to learn the current condition of your mouth. You will then work together to develop a plan of action. At this stage, it is very important to ask questions and express your concerns to ensure that you end up with the best possible plan for your unique needs.

Extraction and Repair

The success rate for dental implants is extremely high, but they need to be given the best possible chances for success. To guard against infection and possible failure, they must be placed in a healthy mouth. Therefore, if you need other dental work such as fillings or root canals, your dentist will take care of those projects first.

Since dental implants replace teeth, your failing teeth must be extracted. In most cases, this is a simple matter that needs only local anesthesia. However, if your extractions are complicated or you are nervous, you can opt for sedation. Discuss this with your dentist during your planning appointment to learn exactly what your choices are and whether you will need someone to drive you home.

Possible Bone Grafting

Most people do not need bone grafting, which replaces jawbone that was lost due to severe decay or trauma. If you need it, though, you must have it done, as the implant must be able to fuse into bone. This procedure is relatively simple, but it requires several months of healing time.

Implant Placement

Dental implants are usually placed under local anesthesia. After thoroughly numbing your mouth, your dentist will cut a precise flap in your gum tissue, and then use a series of drills to gently open a hole in your jawbone. The implant is then screwed in and secured, and the gum tissue is stitched back together.

The implant may be topped with either a cover screw or a healing cap. A cover screw is a flat piece that protects the implant during healing. A healing cap is similar, but is shaped like an abutment, which is the piece that eventually connects the implant to the crown. This allows your gums to heal in just the right position for your final restoration.

Depending on how many teeth were extracted, and where they are positioned in your mouth, you might receive a temporary partial or full denture to wear during healing. This ensures that you are never without teeth.

Abutment and Crown

After your mouth heals for a few months, you will be ready for an abutment and crown. This is a relatively minor procedure in which the dentist will reopen the gum tissue and replace the healing cap or cover screw with an abutment. The final crown is then fitted on top.

For those who are having multiple teeth replaced, the dentist will have placed two or more implants at strategic spots in your mouth. You will receive abutments for all of the implants, along with a dental bridge or overdenture, at this time.

All-on-4

All-on-4 is an excellent alternative to the traditional implant process for those who need an entire arch of teeth replaced. After your teeth are extracted, your dentist can immediately place four implants at key points along your upper or lower arch. These immediate-load implants are capable of taking the pressure of regular eating and chewing with no waiting period.

You will receive a fixed set of acrylic teeth immediately, so you can begin eating normally as soon as you feel ready, which is typically within a day or two. You have the option of having the acrylic teeth replaced with porcelain teeth in a few weeks or months for an even more natural look and feel.

Dental implants are considered the gold standard in modern tooth replacement. Many people are afraid or unsure of the process, but we are confident that you will find it quite simple and easy. We encourage you to ask as many questions as you like to ensure that dental implants are the right choice for you.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.

7 Tips for Cavity Prevention

Cavities are an unfortunately common dental problem, affecting both children and adults of all ages. Untreated cavities can lead to further tooth decay, abscesses, gum disease, and, eventually, even tooth loss. Some people are simply more prone to cavities than others, but everyone is at risk. Following these 7 tips can help minimize the chances of developing cavities.
Tips for cavity prevention

  • • 1. See the Dentist
    Professional cleaning removes plaque and tartar that home treatment misses. In addition, regular dental appointments allow your dentist to check for signs of emerging problems and treat them before they become severe. Plan to visit every 6 months or as directed by your dentist.
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  • • 2. Ask About Fluoride Treatments
    Most people get enough fluoride from tap water and fluoridated toothpaste, but some need a little extra help. If you are committed to bottled water, use a well, or live in an area with unacceptable tap water, you might benefit from fluoride treatments. Your dentist will advise you as to what kind of treatment you need and on what schedule.

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  • • 3. Brush Regularly
    Food particles and bacteria collect on teeth after every meal or snack, and the longer you leave them there, the harder they are to remove. If possible, brush your teeth after every meal. If you can’t, then brush them at least twice per day. Floss at least once every day to remove particles and debris from between your teeth and along your gum line.

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  • • 4. Rinse Your Mouth

    If you don’t have the opportunity to brush after eating, rinse your mouth with clear, fresh water to remove food debris. Be especially scrupulous about rinsing after consuming sugary or sticky foods or drinks, which make it easier for bacteria to grow. In addition, consider using a medicated mouthwash once or twice a day, rather than one that merely freshens your breath. Over the counter formulations are available, but be sure to read the label to ensure that your mouthwash of choice contains a cavity-fighting active ingredient.

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  • • 5. Watch Your Diet
    Fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as unsweetened gum and hard candy, can actually help flush your mouth by stimulating saliva production. Unsweetened coffee and tea also do a decent job of rinsing away food debris. Limit foods that stick to or between the teeth, such as chips and cookies. When you do eat them, brush your teeth as soon as possible.

    Many people have made the switch to bottled water, but it lacks the fluoride of tap water. Switch back if possible to get the full benefits of fluoridated city water. If your water is safe, but you don’t like the taste, use a home water filter or add a packet of unsweetened flavoring to each glass of water.

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  • • 6. Try a Dental Sealant
    If your teeth are prone to cavities, ask your dentist if a dental sealant is right for you. This is a protective plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, sealing off the grooves where bacteria and food particles can hide. Dental sealants are recommended for all young children, but can also be of benefit to teens and adults. A dental sealant normally lasts for about 10 years, but it should be checked periodically for signs of cracking and replaced if needed.
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  • • 7. Use Antibacterial Protection
    If you are at particular risk for cavities and tooth decay, your dentist might recommend an antibacterial treatment such as a prescription mouth rinse. These treatments are not right for everyone, but can help to protect teeth that are unusually cavity-prone.

 

Cavities are the first step in tooth decay. Untreated, they can lead to further decay, infection, painful abscesses, gum disease, and even tooth loss. With early detection and proper treatment, they can be halted, but not reversed. The best solution is to prevent cavities from developing in the first place. Following the 7 tips above will not necessarily prevent all cavities, but will go a long way towards keeping your mouth cavity-free.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.

Dental Crowns: What You Should Know

Dental crowns, or caps that cover all of the visible structure of a tooth, are an extremely common part of modern dentistry. From severe decay to cosmetic concerns, dental crowns can address a vast range of tooth problems. Yet with so many different types of available crowns, it can be difficult to decide which one to choose. Here is what you should know about dental crowns.

Dental Crowns

Reasons for a Dental Crown

There are many reasons to place a dental crown. These are just a few of the most common:

  • • To provide protection for at-risk baby teeth
  • • To finish a dental implant restoration
  • • To protect a very large filling
  • • To fasten a dental bridge
  • • To protect a tooth that is cracked or badly worn down

 

Types of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are available in many types. Although some specific restorations require a particular type of crown, in the majority of cases, it is up to you. Your dentist will provide more information and help you select the type of crown that is right for you.

  • • Resin Crowns: A composite material that is typically the least expensive, resin crowns can be color-matched to the other teeth. They are a good choice for people who are allergic to metals, as they contain no metal at all. However, resin does not age as well as other crown materials. Over time, it is likely that a resin crown will fail and need to be replaced. In addition, resin can cause gum inflammation, and a large amount of tooth structure must be removed for a resin crown to properly fit.
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  • • Stainless Steel: In adults, stainless steel is generally used only as a temporary protective measure while waiting for a permanent crown to come back from the lab. In children with tooth decay, however, stainless steel crowns are often the treatment of choice. The reason is that the baby tooth will fall out anyway, and will be replaced by a healthy adult tooth. Therefore, there is little reason to put the child and parents through the trauma and expense of switching from a temporary crown to a permanent one.
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  • • Gold and Other Metals: Gold, palladium, and base metal alloys are an interesting choice for dental crowns. They do not require as much tooth structure to be removed as other types of crowns, and they are not likely to damage the neighboring teeth. Metal crowns are durable, and are at low risk for breaking or chipping even under high bite forces. However, the distinctive metallic color makes them unappealing to many patients.
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  • • Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal: These crowns combine the natural look of porcelain with the functionality of metal. The under-structure provides enhanced strength and durability, while the porcelain overlay can be color-matched to the other teeth. However, the porcelain is at risk for chipping or cracking, and these crowns are more likely than all-metal crowns to damage the surrounding teeth. In addition, the aesthetics are not perfect, as the metal can show through as a dark line along the gums.
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  • • All-Porcelain Crowns: All-porcelain crowns are metal-free, making them an excellent choice for those with metal allergies. They are also the best for those who are particularly concerned with aesthetics, as they provide the best color-matching and most natural look. However, these crowns are more prone to damage than metal-based types, so care must be taken not to bite down too hard or to grind the teeth.

 

Like any treatment, dental crowns are not the right solution for every situation. Crowns preserve a great deal of healthy tooth structure, but not as much as more targeted solutions, such as fillings or veneers. A crowned tooth retains its nerve structure, which could be problematic if your tooth is sensitive to pressure, heat, or cold. In addition, a crowned tooth will never be as strong as a healthy tooth. The tooth will always be at greater risk for bacterial invasion and decay, although scrupulous oral hygiene can help to minimize this risk.

Only your dentist can help you decide whether a crown is right for you and, if so, which type is the best choice. Always discuss your treatment plan and any other options with your dentist, and decide together how to proceed.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.

Root Canals: Understanding This Feared Dental Procedure

A root canal is a common but frequently misunderstood dental procedure. Although modern dentistry has rendered root canals virtually pain-free, they are arguably the most feared of all dental treatments. Knowledge is power, and understanding the process can help ease your mind if you are facing a root canal.

Root Canals and their treatment explained

What Is a Root Canal?

In a root canal, the dentist first numbs the tooth completely. He or she then creates a small opening from the tooth’s crown to its root chamber, exposing the canals. The canals are thoroughly cleaned of infected pulp and tissue, smoothed and reshaped as necessary, and then filled and sealed with a material that is biocompatible. Posts can be placed in one or more canals to help support the tooth. Finally, a temporary filling is placed to protect the tooth while a crown is created.

Why Are Root Canals Performed?

Root canals are performed whenever a tooth’s nerve becomes inflamed and the pulp tissue becomes infected. Trauma and bad decay are the most common causes for root canals. A root canal can often save a tooth that would otherwise have to be pulled.

Although teeth that need root canals occasionally show no symptoms, this is not often the case. Most of the time, you will experience such symptoms as severe pain when chewing, sensitivity to heat and cold, tooth discoloration, or swelling in the gums around the infected tooth.

If the tooth is not treated or removed, it is likely to cause an abscess. Hallmarks of abscesses include severe pain, weeping bumps on the gum, and moderate to severe swelling. If left untreated, an abscess can cause further tissue damage, grow around the bone, and even cause systemic infections.

Are Root Canals Painful?

With modern techniques, root canals are no more painful than any other dental procedure. In fact, since most teeth that require root canals cause pain, many people report feeling better immediately after the procedure. If you experience pain or discomfort at any time during any dental procedure, let your dentist know right away so that more numbing medication can be applied.

How Long Will Healing Take?

After the numbness wears off, you may experience some mild discomfort that is roughly equivalent to what you would expect after a filling or other common procedure. A mild, over the counter pain reliever should be enough to alleviate any lingering discomfort. You might find that the tooth is sensitive to pressure and temperature extremes for a few days, so try to avoid chewing directly on that tooth. Of course, if you experience any unusual pain, it is important to call the office right away. Most people feel completely back to normal in just a couple of days.

What Are the Risks of a Root Canal?

Root canals are considered very safe, but like any major medical or dental procedure, very slight risks always exist. The most likely, though still rare, complication is a re-infection. This is normally caused by the breakdown of the sealing material over time, although it could happen more quickly if your dentist misses one of many infected canals. If you experience any pain or signs of infection, call your dentist immediately.

What Is the Long Term Prognosis for Root Canal Treatment?

Root canals have an effectiveness of roughly 95%, and many teeth that receive this treatment last for a lifetime. While you are waiting for your permanent crown, try to avoid biting or chewing directly on the affected tooth. Once your restoration is complete, however, your tooth will look and act identically to any other tooth. Make sure you practice excellent oral hygiene, including regular brushing, flossing, and dentist visits, and you are unlikely to experience any problems with the tooth.

What Are the Alternatives to a Root Canal?

Unfortunately, there is no alternative to a root canal besides pulling the tooth. At that point, the tooth can be replaced with a dental implant, a partial denture, or a bridge. These procedures are excellent alternatives for teeth that cannot be saved, but ultimately nothing is as strong and useful as your own natural teeth. Therefore, if you have a badly infected tooth, it is important to perform a root canal as soon as possible.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.