What Makes a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant is essential not just to your oral health but your overall health, too. One missing tooth can cause many other severe oral complications, including gum disease, jawbone recession, tooth decay, and shifting teeth. It can also lead to malnutrition because you won’t be able to chew food correctly, making it difficult for your body to absorb essential nutrients and minerals.

A gap in your smile will lower your confidence and self-esteem, which can lead to depression. Therefore, replacing a missing tooth immediately is paramount. Fortunately, dental implants permanently replace the missing teeth, allowing you to continue living your life normally without interruptions.

But before you rush to your dentist for dental implants, you need to be sure that you are the right candidate. Here are some important factors that determine your suitability for dental implants.

General Health

The right candidate for dental implants doesn’t have any underlying medical conditions. So, before your dentist clears you for dental implants, he or she will run a few medical tests on you to ensure that you do not have any health issues that could put you at risk during and after surgery. Some of the medical conditions that will negatively affect your candidacy for implants include diabetes, heart disease, gum disease, bone disease, smoking, alcohol abuse, and many others.

They will also check if your immunity is compromised or take medications that might put your life at risk. Since dental implants are placed into your jawbone through an invasive surgical procedure, you will be sedated throughout the procedure. Therefore, your doctor must ensure that your overall health allows you to be sedated.

Support Structure

For your dental implant placement procedure to be successful, you need to have enough bone mass to support and anchor the implant. It would help if you also had healthy gums. So, your doctor will start by evaluating your jaw, gum, teeth, and mouth in general before they clear you for dental implants. Ordinarily, the doctor will conduct an X-ray and a CT scan to check for bone loss, nerve location, and the shape of your sinuses.

Age

A young patient whose jawbone hasn’t developed fully is not a good candidate for a dental implant because their immature jawbone will hinder osseointegration – the implant’s fusion to the jawbone. This integration is critical to the longevity of the dental implant. So, children and teenagers are advised to try other temporary tooth replacement options like crowns and bridges.

Three Things to Avoid After Getting Dental Implants

Dental implants have made it possible for people to resume their everyday lives even after losing their teeth to infections, trauma, or congenital conditions. These implants are designed to attach to the jawbone permanently, allowing you to chew, talk, and perform other tasks with your mouth with no discomfort. However, their placement is extremely invasive and will leave you with sore and swollen gum for a few days.

Therefore, recovering from a dental implant procedure requires special care and attention. You must do several important things after this procedure to optimize your recovery and the results. If something goes wrong during recovery, it will have a long-term effect on your dental implants. Here are the three things to avoid after getting dental implants.

Smoking

After surgery, your mouth needs a conducive environment to heal properly and for the osseointegration process to go on successfully. This integration process is important as it enables your jawbone to develop and grow around the implants, thus creating a firm foundation for your teeth replacements. Smoking and chewing tobacco affect the healing process, which ultimately interferes with the osseointegration process. So, it would help if you quit smoking at least for a few weeks to allow your mouth to heal.

Intense Physical Activities

Since dental implant surgery involves making incisions in your gums, you face the risk of excessive bleeding if you engage in intense physical activities immediately after surgery. So, you should rest as much as possible and avoid strenuous activities for at least two days after the procedure. If you have to go back to work, seek guidance from your doctor.

Excessive Rinsing of Mouth

Until you are fully healed, do not rinse your mouth vigorously because it will disturb the surgical sites and cause excessive bleeding. Doctors advise against the use of mouthwash a day or two after surgery. Even after the two days, you should gently swish the mouthwash around your mouth, making sure that you do not irritate the surgical sites. Also, do not spit the mouthwash out; just let it flow out slowly over the sink.

Two days after the procedure, start brushing the surgical sites gently with a soft toothbrush (preferably with soft bristles). Work gently on the sides, front, and back of the implant site without pushing the toothbrush too hard. Also, do not floss your teeth or use an electric toothbrush for at least two weeks after the surgery.

Dental Implants vs Dentures

Unlike in the past, people looking to replace their missing teeth have two great options to choose from: dental implants or dentures. Both of these options will help you to restore your natural smile, thus boosting your self-confidence. But since both are reliable options, most patients have trouble deciding which one to go for.

In this article, we will be sharing the pros and cons of each option. But first, let’s understand the difference between dental implants and dentures.

What Are Dental Implants

Dental implants are permanent teeth replacements consisting of metal posts and artificial teeth (crowns). The metal posts are surgically placed in the jawbone to serve as the missing root portions. These implants are designed to match your natural teeth.

What Are Dentures

Dentures are removable replacements for missing teeth. They consist of a flesh-colored acrylic base and artificial teeth. The base is designed to cover the upper and lower palates snugly with no discomfort. Dentures are usually custom-made in the lab using impressions of your mouth. They can be full or partial, depending on the number of missing teeth.

Benefits of Dental Implants

Dental implants are designed to permanently replace your missing teeth, allowing you to go on with your life without interruptions. So, you can eat your favorite food, laugh, and talk with no discomfort. They also improve your overall health by enabling you to chew food properly for better uptake of essential nutrients.

Since dental implants function like natural teeth, they promote your jawbone’s regular stimulation, keeping it strong and healthy. They also maintain the natural profile of your facial edifice and jawbone. And because they are permanently attached to your jawbone, dental implants are easy to maintain.

Drawbacks of Dental Implants

Compared to dentures, dental implants cost more to set up. Also, not every patient is a good candidate for implants because they require healthy gums and jawbones. Although your dentist can do bone grafting, it will further increase the cost.

Benefits of Dentures

In terms of price, dentures are more affordable than dental implants. They are also suitable for a broader range of patients, even those with bone and gum problems. Dentures don’t have downtime because their placement is entirely noninvasive. Moreover, they can be placed in a single visit to the dentist.

Drawbacks of Dentures

Dentures require regular adjustments as the structure of your jaw changes with age. They also feel uncomfortable, especially during the first days of wearing them. You might also experience excess salivation. They require daily care to prevent infections around the gums.

What it Takes to be an Expert Maxillofacial Surgeon

Becoming a maxillofacial surgeon is a long journey with many hurdles. It requires extensive training, surgical expertise, and unmatched knowledge of aesthetics. A maxillofacial surgeon is considered the surgical specialist of the dental profession. They are qualified to deal with all oral conditions, defects, injuries, and visual aspects of the mouth.

So, if you want to become a maxillofacial surgeon, brace yourself for a long, wearing education and practice journey.

This article discusses the scope of training for people looking to become oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

Entry to Maxillofacial Surgery

Entry to this prestigious profession is highly competitive. You will need to have A levels or the equivalent in biology and chemistry with impressive grades in most cases. Some dental courses require you to have good grades in physics and mathematics.

Pre-Medical/Dental Training

For you to qualify to be a maxillofacial surgeon, you must have studied medicine and dentistry. Dental schools require at least two years of college-level pre-dental training, irrespective of the major you choose to pursue. Oral surgery students must have a bachelor’s degree in medicine or dentistry.

Additional Training

Training at dental school includes a 4-year curriculum, pursuing a degree in Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). Within the four years, you should attend several internship programs in recognized dental clinics. You will also sit several end-of-semester exams and do a final project before you graduate.

Residency Programs

After dental school, you will be required to go for a four-year hospital-based surgical residency program. Some maxillofacial surgeons choose to pursue an advanced degree, while others prefer to complete a fellowship in sub-specialty areas while they are on a residency program. On average, you will have to spend at least 12 years of education at the college and university levels before you can begin your maxillofacial practice.

Personal Attributes

Apart from surgical expertise, an excellent maxillofacial surgeon must have outstanding personal qualities such as enthusiasm, drive, organizational and communication skills, leadership skills, talent, hand-eye coordination, perfect vision, physical stamina, and the ability to evaluate situations in three dimensions.

Board Certification

Beyond the simple practicing license, you will need a certificate from the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial surgery. This certificate proves that you have achieved and continues to maintain the highest standards in the profession. For the board to certify you as a maxillofacial surgeon, you have to do a rigorous written exam and a lengthy oral test. You also have to provide a portfolio of cases showing your experience in the field of practice.

Advances in Dental Implant Technology

As the ongoing technological advancements continue to revolutionize the world, dentistry has not been spared. A lot of changes are happening in this sector, making service deliver faster and more effective. One of the areas that have experienced significant technological advancement in dentistry is the field of dental implants. In the past, it was difficult to replace a missing tooth. Even when the replacement was successful, the substitutes didn’t last long, and some of them even ended up causing more serious dental problems.

But with the new technology, tooth replacement has improved. Today, it is possible to replace multiple teeth in a single day. Here are some of the remarkable innovations happening in dental implant technology.

Computer-Designed Dental Implants

For so long, the jawbone recession has been a significant headache to dentists and dental clinicians when trying to replace missing teeth because bone loss creates instability in the bone, leading to the loss of the remaining teeth or even the implants. But with the new computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing process, dental practitioners have been able to create dental implants that don’t cause bone loss. The new technology makes it possible to design exact replicas of the lost teeth, which can be fitted in the mouth immediately. Furthermore, this technology offers a symptom-free recovery process and enables dentists to create dental implants effectively and efficiently.

Antibacterial Teeth Coating

Since most dental problems are related to bacteria, dental practitioners have managed to develop an antibacterial coating for dental implants. Although this technology is still not widely available, it is expected to enhance dental implants’ durability and effectiveness. The antibacterial coating is also resistant to the harmful acid found in food. Therefore, patients have the liberty to eat or drink whatever they want without worrying about their teeth and dental implants’ safety.

Advanced Image-guided Implant System

Since 2019, most dental clinics worldwide have been using an advanced image-guided system to install dental implants. This system, commonly referred to as IGI, utilizes a Cone-Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) scanner to carry out dental implant procedures. Studies have shown that this system is as accurate – if not more so – than a mortal dentist. The dental design is placed over a 3D CT scan to show the patient’s jawbone, teeth, sinuses, nerve canals, and roots. This whole process is instantaneous, with no delay. Consequently, doctors can fix multiple dental implants within a concise time.

Signs That You Need an Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer is increasingly becoming rampant around the world, affecting people of all ages. This type of cancer affects different parts of the oral structure, including lips, cheeks, tongue, palates, sinuses, pharynx, and the mouth floor. If it is not detected and treated early, this type of cancer can be life-threatening. Therefore, it is crucial to go for regular oral cancer screening so that the doctor can detect the tumor before it develops into cancer.

But even if you go for regular checkups, there are specific symptoms that should raise eyebrows and compel you to go for immediate oral cancer screening. Here are some of the possible signs of oral cancer that should get you worried.

Swellings and Lumps

While not every swelling or lump in your mouth is cancerous, it is important to see the doctor. The examination if there is a mysterious lump in your mouth that does not respond positively to anti-inflammatory medication or any other related medical intervention. When you go to the doctor, a series of medical examinations, including cancer screening, will be done to determine the swelling cause.

White and Red Patches in Your Mouth

If you notice a combination of white and reddish patches in your unexplainable mouth, see a doctor immediately. Such patches are commonly referred to as erythroleukoplakia and are brought by the abnormal growth of cells in your mouth that will likely become cancerous. It should even be of more concern to you if the patches last for more than two weeks.

Unexplained Gum Bleeding

It is normal to have occasional bleeding of your gums, especially after brushing your teeth vigorously or wearing dentures. However, frequent bleeding of gums can indicate more serious health problems, including blood cancer (leukemia), advanced gum disease, etc. Therefore, it is vital to have yourself screened for cancer immediately.

Persistent Sores

Persistent sores in your mouth, lips, gums, and throat that easily bleed and don’t go away after two weeks could sign oral cancer. Persistent lumps may accompany these sores in your lymph glands in your neck. They may also make swallowing difficulty and cause your voice to change.

In summary, the safest way to detect and deal with oral cancer is to go for regular cancer screenings. Also, while you may have one or a couple of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean that you have cancer. The best way to establish whether you have the disease or not is to go for screening.

Are Dental Implants Worth It?

Dental implants have changed people’s perception of their teeth regardless of age. Gone are the days when people cared less about their missing teeth. Today, even the elderly want to have their teeth replaced as soon as they fall out. This has given rise to the creation of highly valuable dental implants that have replaced the traditional dentures. With these implants, people can retain their natural smile, regardless of their age. But despite this popularity, some people still do not see the need to have dental implants. They still prefer the old and outdated methods of teeth replacement. If you are one of them, please check out the following benefits of having dental implants.

Prevents Shifting of Teeth

When you lose one or several teeth, the opening is left in the gum, which causes bone loss. Consequently, the neighboring teeth begin to shift, causing your straight, healthy teeth to slant and become loose. If this situation is not rectified soon, the gum and the jawbone will shrink, causing further bone and teeth loss. That’s why it is advisable to fill in the gaps with the right dental implants. With implants, your jawbone and remaining teeth will be supported to ensure they stay healthy and stable.

Better Chewing

While the traditional dentures are good for replacing all the teeth, they slip and fall off easily. Therefore, it becomes difficult for the patient to perform specific tasks such as chewing food and talking. But with dental implants, the patient can chew food normally or speak in front of people without worrying about their teeth falling off. Since dental implants are attached to the bone with metallic screws, they are tightly held in place to function the same as natural teeth. When you chew food correctly, your body can easily pick the necessary nutrients and improve your overall health.

Boosting Self-confidence

Nobody feels good when they have missing teeth. In fact, the gaps cause distorted speech, which affects a person’s social life. But with dental implants, you can restore your natural smile and improve your speech. This gives you the confidence to talk and laugh in front of people without holding your mouth. Unlike the traditional dentures that often slip inside the mouth, causing you to slur some words, implants are firmly attached to your jaw, so you won’t have to worry about your teeth slipping.

Dental implants are, therefore, good for your appearance and quality of life. They will help you to retain your youthful smile even in your 80s.

Correcting Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Do you often find yourself unable to breathe when sleeping? If yes, then you could be having obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This condition occurs when your upper airways get partially or fully blocked, preventing air from going in or out. People with this condition experience periodic pauses in breathing that negatively impact their sleeping patterns. So, they tend to suffer from prolonged fatigue and daytime sleepiness.

In fact, studies have shown that people with OSA are at a high risk of getting involved in road accidents because they are more likely to fall asleep while driving. If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can contribute to numerous long-term health problems. OSA is a contributor to depression, memory loss, weakened immunity, high blood pressure, mental confusion, diabetes, and acid reflux. So, you should see a doctor immediately if you suspect you have OSA. Luckily, there are several treatment options available.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is one of the most consistently successful and commonly used treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. It involves the use of a CPAP machine that has a fan for blowing air into your nostrils. This air is under pressure, and it serves as an inflated splint that opens up the pharyngeal airways. This treatment method isn’t curative; therefore, patients have to use the CPAP machine whenever they sleep. However, it is known to improve the quality of sleep and reduce daytime sleepiness.

Oral Appliances

There are several oral appliances that you can use to move your tongue and mandible forward. These appliances can be useful for people who have mild apnea but snore. While the efficacy of these appliances in treating OSA has not been very consistent, some studies have shown partial improvement in some patients. According to the American Sleep Disorders Association, before any patient uses these appliances, a mandatory initial sleep analysis must be done to assess their condition’s severity.

Surgery

Different types of surgeries can help cure obstructive sleep apnea. For instance, you can go for palatal surgery, which removes the obstructive part of the soft palate and uvula. Palatal surgery tends to lessen snoring and other forms of sleep-disordered breathing. Another standard procedure is jaw surgery, which involves the advancement of a patient’s maxillomandibular. This surgery is known to be one of the most effective treatments for OSA. However, this is a more invasive procedure, and therefore patients who have it should brace themselves for a protracted recovery period.

What Are the Best Ways to Maintain Good Jawbone Health?

The jawbone performs some of the most important functions in the body. For example, this bone is the one that enables you to open and close your mouth effortlessly when talking, singing, eating, etc. Also, your teeth call the jawbone “home”. Your jawbone protects some of the most vital facial organs as well. Therefore, an injured or unhealthy jawbone can make your life unbearable.

If not taken proper care of, your jawbone will deteriorate and cause tooth loss. Some common risk factors for jawbone problems include tooth extraction, periodontal diseases, trauma, facial tumor, misalignment, and dentures. So, you must keep your jawbone healthy while ensuring that it is functioning flawlessly. Here are several effective ways to maintain excellent jawbone health.

Take Calcium Supplements

Research has shown that 99% of the calcium in the human body resides in the bones and teeth. The body requires calcium to perform essential functions such as regulation of blood pressure and heartbeat control. Interestingly, this mineral is continuously being stored and removed from the teeth and bones. So, if you don’t absorb enough calcium, your bones, including the jawbone, become weak and begin to deteriorate. So, to keep your jawbone strong and healthy, you need to take in enough calcium. That’s why calcium supplements are so important. However, you need to seek advice from a doctor on the best calcium supplements to take.

Exercise Your Jaw Muscles

Like any other muscles in your body, your jaw muscles perform a vital role in enabling your jawbone to open and close consistently when talking, eating, laughing, etc. These muscles always need to perform at a high level. The best way to achieve this is to exercise your jaw muscles regularly. One of the easiest ways to exercise your jaw is to stretch the jaw muscles by opening your mouth wide for a few seconds. Another way is to push the lower jaw backward and forward while holding each position for ten seconds. It may seem simple, but it is straightforward and effective.

Don’t Overburden Your Jaw

While exercising your jaw muscles is important, you shouldn’t overwork them. Avoid excessive chewing or eating food that is too hard. When eating, make sure the food is correctly prepared and easy to chew.

Regular Oral Checkups

Visit your doctor regularly for oral checkups. These checkups help to detect possible jawbone complications before they deteriorate and become a major problem. It would be best if you did not wait until you started feeling pain in your jaw before seeing your doctor.
Feel free to talk to us if you need any help with your jawbone health.

What is the Difference Between a Facial Filler and Botox?

It is quite stressful to have fine lines, furrowed brows, and wrinkles on the face because they are the first signs of aging. That’s why many people are spending tens of thousands of dollars on cosmetic products to regain their youthful look. Through research, medical experts have discovered various solutions to this problem. But the most common ones are facial fillers and Botox. Most people prefer to use these two options because they are considered safer and less strenuous than the alternative – cosmetic surgery.

Over time, Botox and dermal fillers have become very popular, especially among the millennials. Studies show that the use of these injections has increased by 40.6 percent over the past five years. However, before you rush to have your face injected, take time to understand what you are getting yourself into. A lot of people believe Botox and facial fillers are the same substance. But the fact is that the two are quite different. This article looks at the difference between facial fillers and Botox.

Botox

The scientific name for Botox is botulinum toxin. Botox is a cosmetic substance used for treating and preventing facial defects such as wrinkles and fine lines. Studies have revealed that this substance is also effective in treating blepharospasm, muscle dystonia, and strabismus. Since its approval by the FDA in 2002, it has become one of the most sought-after cosmetic treatments for wrinkles and frown lines. At first, Botox stayed in the realm of celebrities, who wanted to look good and had the money to do it. But as its popularity grew, it became the best choice for anyone who wanted to restore their youthful appearance.

Facial Fillers

Also known as dermal fillers, facial fillers have been in use for quite a long time. Like Botox, facial fillers help to prevent and deal with wrinkles and fine lines. However, fillers are different from Botox because they fill the affected parts with collagen to boost collagen growth. That way, they can prevent the formation of wrinkles and fine lines that usually occur with collagen depletion. Botox, on the other hand, helps to reduce muscle activity in your face, thus reducing the chance of developing wrinkles.

You must understand the type of facial wrinkles you are dealing with because each substance is ideal for specific types of lines. For instance, Botox is excellent for dynamic wrinkles that only appear when you make facial movements and expressions. At the same time, dermal fillers are great for wrinkles that remain visible even when your face is relaxed.