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By Briarcliff Center for Esthetic Dentistry
July 01, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  
HowDoDentalImplantsHelpPreserveYourYouthfulAppearance

Modern dental implants not only help you maintain your normal chewing ability and speech patterns after you have lost a tooth or teeth — they also keep you looking younger. How do they do this? Read on.

Do lost teeth cause tooth-supporting bone to “melt” away? Yes. Of course, the bone does not actually melt. Bone is a living tissue, and under normal conditions it constantly dissolves and rebuilds. Stimulation by the small stresses from the contact of upper and lower teeth — something that normally happens hundreds of times each day — keeps these two forces in balance. When a tooth is missing, the bone that normally surrounds and supports the tooth (called alveolar bone) no longer receives the stimulation that causes it to rebuild, and it begins to diminish over time.

What happens if you don't replace missing teeth? The first year after a tooth is lost, the width of the bone that once surrounded the tooth decreases by 25 percent. Over the years, gradually increasing bone loss results in sunken cheeks and lips, making you look older. Gum tissue also decreases, affecting your ability to chew and speak.

What happens if you lose all your teeth? For people who have lost all their teeth, called edentulous, the effects are severe. After the alveolar bone is lost, the bone beneath it, called basal bone, also begins to be resorbed, eventually causing the lower part of the face to partially collapse.

Do partial or full dentures prevent bone loss? Unfortunately, just the contrary is true. A removable denture pressing on a person's gum increases bone loss because the pressures from biting are not transferred into the internal structure of the bone but instead are compressive, which damages the bone over time. This is why dentures begin to fit poorly after they have been worn for a while. This problem can be reduced by anchoring dentures with strategically placed dental implants.

What is a dental implant? A dental implant is a tooth-root replacement that is made of titanium. This metal is able to osseointegrate, or fuse with the bone. For a single tooth replacement, a crown that looks and functions like natural tooth is attached to the titanium implant. As mentioned above, implants can also be used to anchor dentures.

Does an implant prevent bone loss? Yes. When dental implants fuse to the jaw bone, they stabilize the bone. They also provide tooth-to-tooth stimulation that was formerly supplied by the natural tooth.

How long do dental implants last? Dental implants have been shown to last at least 10 years. For most people, implants will last the rest of their lives.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about tooth loss and dental implants. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”

By Briarcliff Center for Esthetic Dentistry
June 23, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
ldquoPreplessrdquoPorcelainVeneersAreTheyRightForYou

Designing a better smile sometimes requires a change in the size, shape, or color of your teeth. Porcelain laminate veneers (thin layers of dental ceramic material) enhance your appearance by replacing the natural enamel on the outside of your teeth. A veneer is physically bonded to the surface of a tooth, in essence, becoming part of it.

Traditionally, a small amount of the natural tooth enamel is drilled away to allow room for the veneer. But today, in some circumstances, it is possible to use an approach where enamel reduction or preparation is not necessary because the veneers can be bonded directly onto the tooth's natural surface. These are called “Prepless” or “No-prep” veneers, and are used to create aesthetically pleasing and natural looking restorations. An advantage of the prepless procedure is that the process is reversible so that you can give your new smile a “test drive.”

You may be a good subject for Prepless veneers if:

  • Your smile is narrow because the teeth in the sides of your smile are positioned inward and do not show from a frontal view.
  • There is spacing between your teeth, and the teeth appear too small.
  • You have a fairly common genetic condition in which one or both of the teeth directly next to the two upper front teeth are very small and peg-shaped.
  • There is an imbalance between the size of your lips and teeth (large lips and small teeth), which are not in proportion to show off your best smile.

Prepless veneers are probably not for you if:

  • Your teeth are not aligned properly in your bite.
  • Your teeth are very crowded, resulting in poor facial profile.
  • Your teeth are already relatively large or positioned forward.

In these cases you may need to have some form of orthodontic treatment to move your teeth into better position. Sometimes veneers can be used to create an illusion of proper tooth alignment, but some amount of tooth reduction may be required.

We can assess whether prepless veneers are right for you. There is no substitute for an expert dentist's talent and expertise with the various cosmetic techniques available today. These skills combined with a thorough diagnostic evaluation, and a clear understanding of your goals, are the keys to providing you with a successful and beautiful smile.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about cosmetic dentistry. You can also learn more about prepless veneers by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Porcelain Veneers Without the Drill.”

By Briarcliff Center for Esthetic Dentistry
June 15, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
Top5ReasonsNottoFearBoneGrafting

Dentists often recommend bone grafting to ensure the success of dental implants. And it is likewise common for people to squirm a bit at the thought. Bone graft? That sounds serious. And maybe a bit, well, unappealing. These feelings are completely understandable. After all, this may be something you've never had to consider before. But there's no reason to worry. Here’s why:

  1. Bone grafting is not new or experimental. It is actually a very routine part of the implant process, as well as other types of oral and periodontal surgery. And it is very successful when performed by an experienced doctor.
  2. Bone grafting materials are processed for safety. The grafts used — whether synthetic or from a natural source, such as cow or human bone — have been specially treated for medical use.
  3. Only a small amount of this bone-grafting material is needed. Once placed in the site of the missing tooth, it serves as a helpful scaffold your body uses to build more of its own bone in that spot.
  4. Your implant will be more ideally positioned and may work better. It needs a good, strong foundation with which to fuse. But when teeth are lost, this supporting bone is often lost, too. This loss is often unpredictable and bone grafting limits the change that occurs. In fact that's one of the main benefits of replacing missing teeth with implants: they help prevent bone loss just as a natural tooth does.
  5. Your implant will look so much better! Think about it: Your original tooth was supported to a certain height by the underlying bone. If that bone is now gone, the replacement tooth is going to be much longer because of the missing bone height. It may not look quite right without that additional support.

So if you want the best-looking and best-functioning implant possible, have no fear of bone grafting. And please contact us to discuss any of your concerns, or schedule an appointment for an implant consultation.

You can read more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Can Dentists Rebuild Bone?

By Briarcliff Center for Esthetic Dentistry
June 07, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
OralHealthTipsforSpecialNeedsChildren

If you are the parent or caregiver of a special needs child or a child with a chronic disease, you face additional challenges when it comes to life's everyday routines. This includes establishing and maintaining good oral health so that your child is not at risk for other healthcare issues due to poor oral hygiene. For these reasons, our office has put together real-world advice that will make a difference in the life of your child.

The visit to our office that can make the biggest difference is your child's first one. However, be sure to contact us in advance of your child's appointment to let us know the details of your child's special needs or chronic disease state. This will give us the opportunity to contact your child's primary care physician or one of his/her specialists before starting treatment to obtain any medical information or special instructions. It will also enable us to be prepared so that we can pay special attention to these needs, as well as to make any necessary modifications to our office and/or equipment. Our primary focus is to work with you and your child's healthcare team towards the same goal. We all want your office visit to go smoothly and comfortably so that your child's first dental experience is a positive one.

Depending on the age of your child and his/her special needs, we most likely will start a gentle process of training and education. For example we will teach your child how to brush properly. It is important that you sit in and participate in this educational process so that you can reinforce this training at home. And little things count; before working with your child at home, you should set the stage so that it will be a comfortable setting with adequate light, fresh water for rinsing, and a mirror. You also need to have all of your supplies handy, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and rubber gloves (if needed).

To learn more tips, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How To Care for the Oral Health of Children with Disabilities and Special Needs.” Or, you can contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about your child's special oral healthcare needs.

By Briarcliff Center for Esthetic Dentistry
May 30, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
BelieveItorNotYourBodyCanRegrowLostBone

Of all the of amazing procedures in today's dentistry, surgery that causes new bone to grow — in places where it had previously been lost — is high on the list of the most extraordinary. (When bone is lost or resorbed, it is broken down into its mineral components, which are dissolved into the bloodstream. Resorption of tooth-supporting bone often takes place after teeth are lost.) Dental techniques that cause new bone growth are important because a certain amount of bone is needed to replace lost teeth with dental implants.

Today's dental implants themselves are an amazing innovation. Implants consist of a replacement for the tooth's root, usually made of a metal called titanium. A replacement for the crown, the part of the tooth that is visible above the gums, is attached to the titanium root. Titanium has the remarkable quality of being able to fuse with the bone in which it is anchored. This process, first discovered in the 1950s, is called osseointegration.

In the case of missing upper back teeth, many people who wanted dental implants in the past were told that they did not have enough bone to anchor the implants and that they had to get removable dentures instead.

But now a new surgery called maxillary sinus augmentation can cause your body to regenerate bone where it was lost and is needed to anchor dental implants.

Bone in the upper jaw or maxilla usually supports your upper back teeth. Inside the maxilla, on either side of your upper jaw, are air spaces in the bone, which are lined with a membrane. These spaces, called the maxillary sinuses, are generally shaped like pyramids; but their shape and size is different in each person. The new surgical procedures involve lifting up the sinus membrane in the area where bone is needed and filling the space thus created with a bone grafting material. Your body then creates new bone to fill the space. This usually takes about six months. If you have almost enough bone to stabilize the implants, they can be placed simultaneously with the graft, thus saving time and avoiding a second surgical procedure.

All grafting materials used today are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and must be prepared according to their guidelines. They are specially treated to render them completely safe for human use.

After the surgery there is usually no more than mild to moderate swelling and some discomfort, about the same as having a tooth removed.

If you are missing upper back teeth, contact us to schedule an appointment to evaluate your upper jaw. You can also learn more about this procedure by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sinus Surgery.”





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