Restoring a smile with implants involves more than the surgical procedure itself. We must also take into consideration the quality of the bone they’re placed into and the gums that will surround them — the “canvas” that showcases your new beautiful smile.
Bone — not only at the missing tooth site but supporting neighboring teeth as well — is the foundation for a successful implant. Without an adequate amount of bone, we can’t place an implant to achieve a final life-like appearance. Inadequate bone can be a problem if the tooth has been missing for awhile — without the stimulation of biting forces from the tooth, the bone can shrink gradually over time. Periodontal (gum) disease and other dental conditions can also cause bone loss.
The health of your gums — as well as the tissue type you’ve inherited from your parents, thin or thick — can also determine how natural the implant crown looks as it emerges from them. If they’ve receded due to gum disease they may not regenerate sufficiently, making your teeth longer-looking or leaving the triangular bit of gum tissue between the teeth, the papillae, noticeably missing. If you’ve inherited thin tissue gums, you’re also more susceptible to gum recession and there’s less margin for error during implant surgery.
There are some things we can do to minimize these problems. Tooth removal to make room for the new implant needs to be done carefully with as little tissue trauma as possible; it’s also helpful to place grafting material in the empty socket immediately after extraction, especially if there’s going to be a time gap before implant placement. If bone loss has already occurred, we can also use similar grafting techniques to rebuild the bone.
Likewise we need to take special care during implant surgery when dealing with thin or diseased gums. With the latter, it’s usually necessary to bring the gum disease under control and allow the gums to heal first. In extreme cases, cosmetic gum surgery may also help restore lost tissues and create a more natural look between the gums and the implant crown.
Creating a natural appearance with implants is a blend of technical skill and artistic insight. Keeping the balance between all these factors will produce a smile you’ll be proud to show.
If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “Matching Teeth & Implants.”
Among the “to-do” items on your pre-dive checklist like “Pack wetsuit” or “Fill scuba tanks,” be sure to add one other: “Check my dental health status.”
While that may seem like an odd concern, the changes in atmospheric pressure you encounter while diving (or flying, for that matter) could amplify oral sensitivity and intensify pain if you have pre-existing teeth or jaw problems.
The reason for this is the effect of basic physics on the body. All anatomical structures, including organs, bones and muscles, equalize external pressures the body encounters. We don’t notice this at normal atmospheric pressure, but when we encounter an extreme — either lower pressure during air flight or higher pressure during a scuba dive — we may feel the effects of the pressure on any structure with a rigid-walled surface filled with either air or fluid. These structures can’t equalize the pressure as fast as other areas, resulting in pain or discomfort. This is known medically as “barotrauma,” or more commonly as a “squeeze.”
One structure in particular could have an effect on your upper teeth and jaws: the sinus cavities of the skull, particularly the maxillary sinuses just below the eyes. Their lower walls are right next to the back teeth of the upper jaw and, more importantly, share the same nerve pathways. It’s quite possible, then, for pain from one area to be felt in the other, commonly known as “referred pain.” A toothache could then be felt in the sinus region, and vice-versa.
During a squeeze, then, pain levels from existing problems in the teeth and jaws that were previously tolerable (or even unnoticed) may well become amplified as the pressure from the sinus cavity impinges upon the jaw. That dull toothache you’ve been having may suddenly become excruciating at 30,000 feet — or 30 meters under the surface.
That’s why it’s important to see us if you’ve experienced any signs of tooth decay, gum disease or TMD, including pain, before your next dive or air flight. And, if you encounter any significant pain while flying or diving, be sure you consult with us as soon as possible when you return. Taking action now could help you avoid a miserable, and potentially dangerous, flying or diving experience in the future.
If you would like more information on pressure changes and dental health, 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 “Pressure Changes can Cause Tooth and Sinus Pain.”
Fans of the legendary rock band Steely Dan received some sad news a few months ago: Co-founder Walter Becker died unexpectedly at the age of 67. The cause of his death was an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. This disease, which is related to oral cancer, may not get as much attention as some others. Yet Becker's name is the latest addition to the list of well-known people whose lives it has cut short—including actor Humphrey Bogart, writer Christopher Hitchens, and TV personality Richard Dawson.
As its name implies, esophageal cancer affects the esophagus: the long, hollow tube that joins the throat to the stomach. Solid and liquid foods taken into the mouth pass through this tube on their way through the digestive system. Worldwide, it is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths.
Like oral cancer, esophageal cancer generally does not produce obvious symptoms in its early stages. As a result, by the time these diseases are discovered, both types of cancer are most often in their later stages, and often prove difficult to treat successfully. Another similarity is that dentists can play an important role in oral and esophageal cancer detection.
Many people see dentists more often than any other health care professionals—at recommended twice-yearly checkups, for example. During routine examinations, we check the mouth, tongue, neck and throat for possible signs of oral cancer. These may include lumps, swellings, discolorations, and other abnormalities—which, fortunately, are most often harmless. Other symptoms, including persistent coughing or hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained weight loss, are common to both oral and esophageal cancer. Chest pain, worsening heartburn or indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also alert us to the possibility of esophageal cancer.
Cancer may be a scary subject—but early detection and treatment can offer many people the best possible outcome. If you have questions about oral or esophageal cancer, call our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”
How CEREC crowns from your dentist in Frederick, Maryland can enhance your smile.
If you have broken or damaged teeth, chances are you’ve thought about getting dental crowns. You’ve probably heard stories about needing several appointments and several weeks to get a new crown. Times have changed! Thanks to CEREC Same-Day Crown technology, you can have a new crown almost immediately. Dr. Frederick Asuncion at Asuncion Dental Group in Frederick, Maryland wants to help you discover the advantages of CEREC crowns and what they can do for your smile.
The technology CEREC uses is revolutionary. It combines computer-assisted design and computer-assisted measurement (known as CAD/CAM) along with 3-D imaging to fabricate a perfectly designed, perfectly measured crown that fits great the first time. CEREC crowns are made from high-grade dental porcelain that repels stains, so your CEREC crown will stay looking beautiful for years.
When you choose a CEREC crown, you can count on these important advantages:
- A crown that fits perfectly
- A precise color match so your new crown will blend in with your smile and look completely natural
- A new crown delivered in just one appointment, with no need to wear an uncomfortable temporary crown
Like all crowns, CEREC crowns cover the entire visible part of your tooth, protecting it from damage. Your tooth will be prepared for the crown and then precise measurements are taken. Your crown is then created by the CEREC milling machine to fit exactly. The crown is bonded in place, restoring both the strength and the beauty of your tooth.
In the past, crowns were typically created from full gold or porcelain fused to a metal framework. Both of these crown materials looked unnatural because they didn’t reflect light. CEREC crowns, made of pure porcelain, are translucent and reflect light, just like your natural teeth do. The natural beauty of CEREC crowns is just one more reason why people love them.
If you need a crown, insist on CEREC crowns, giving you rapid delivery and beautiful results. For more information about CEREC crowns and other restorative and cosmetic dental services call Dr. Frederick Asuncion at Asuncion Dental Group in Frederick, Maryland today!
Dental implants from your general dentist in Frederick, MD, can reshape your smile
It’s easy to lose teeth, especially as you get older. Whether it’s from deep decay, infection, or dental trauma, a missing tooth leaves a gap in your smile. If you are embarrassed by the gaps in your smile, or are unable to eat the foods you love, you’ve probably thought about tooth replacement.
If you want to replace your lost teeth, dental implants offer benefits that can’t be matched by bridges, partials, or dentures. General dentist Dr. Frederick Asuncion at Asuncion Dental Group in Frederick wants to share the benefits of dental implants and how they can help your smile.
When you choose dental implants, you will enjoy:
- A naturally-beautiful smile, because the dental implant crown reflects light, just like your natural teeth
- Complete stability, because dental implants are locked in place by bone, so they don’t move around like partials and dentures can
- Amazing convenience, because you simply brush and floss dental implants along with your natural teeth
- Worry-free results, because your dental implants will never decay and they resist stains, so they will stay beautiful for years
- Long-term success, because dental implants are the most successful surgical implants, boasting a success rate of over 95% according to the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
One of the problems with wearing a denture for a long period of time is that the denture puts pressure on your jawbone. The pressure causes your bone to diminish over time, producing a slack jawline and sagging facial contours.
In contrast, dental implants actually help you create more bone to fuse with the dental implant. More bone means a firm jawline and strong, youthful, facial contours. Dental implants can help you look younger!
Dental implants can replace a single missing tooth, or multiple missing teeth, restoring the beauty and function of your smile. You will feel more self-confident knowing you have a beautiful smile that people notice. For more information about dental implants and other restorative and cosmetic dental services call your general dentist, Dr. Asuncion, at Asuncion Dental Group in Frederick, MD, today!
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