What is the lifespan of a dental implant?

dental implants Odessa TXThe lifespan of a dental implant can vary from person to person but since dental implants are incredibly durable, most people enjoy their prosthetic teeth for decades – if not longer. The reason the lifespan of dental implants is so long is due to the fact that implants are made from durable, biocompatible materials and secured by the bone in the jaw. Before an implant is fitted with a custom restoration, an oral surgeon or dentist will monitor the process of bone stabilizing the implant over time. Without bone to anchor the implant, the implant would not be able to serve as an adequate base for restorations like crowns and bridges.

Why is a dental implant made of titanium?

A dental implant is made of titanium because this metal is considered biocompatible, which means that the body won’t reject the implant as a foreign object but rather natural tissue. Having biocompatible prosthetics and restorations is necessary for the longevity and functionality of the replacement tooth.

How big are dental implants?

Dental implants are available in a few different sizes. Larger dental implants are usually less than ten millimeters in diameter. Implants with larger diameters are usually reserved for single tooth replacement whereas smaller dental implants are used for securing prosthetics that replace multiple teeth.

What kinds of restorations are attached to dental implants?

Restorations and prosthetics can be attached to dental implants because implants feature abutments on one end. The most common restorations used to replace lost teeth are crowns and bridges. Crowns and bridges make for excellent replacement teeth when attached to dental implants.

Prosthetics attached to implants are dentures. Patients may choose to have a full denture anchored to multiple dental implants or a partial. When dentures are held in place by implants, oral function is greatly increased when compared to unsupported dentures.

If you have questions about dental implants and your tooth replacement options, call us today to reserve a consultation with one of our oral surgeons at Permian Basin Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center.

How Long Will My Dentures Last?

implant supported dentures MidlandThe lifespan of your dentures can depend on many things. For example, if you lose bone rapidly, you might need a new set of dentures rather quickly. On the other hand, dental implant supported dentures can last longer than most conventional types of dentures because dental implants help keep bone stimulated so that it doesn’t atrophy. Our oral surgeon places dental implants that can support crowns, bridges, and dentures.

What are dental implants, exactly?

Dental implants are small titanium components used to replace the roots of teeth. These components are only a few millimeters wide and have a tapered end. Their texture is ridged, much like that of a screw. Since a dental implant is constructed from titanium, it will become a part of the body once bone in the jaw fuses around it. The jawbone will hold the implant in place so that people can enjoy effective oral function with their replacement teeth. Prosthetics anchored to dental implants will not move or slide.

Why should I have implant supported dentures?

When compared to conventional dentures, implant supported prosthetics tend to perform better and last longer. Anchoring dentures to dental implants is beneficial for many reasons. Dental implants will stabilize dentures so that they will not move during oral function.

Dental implants will help keep bone stimulated so that it won’t atrophy. Bone loss commonly affects people afflicted by tooth loss. When bone is lost, the face will lose shape and appear sunken in. Loss of bone can also contribute to additional tooth loss and problems with the TMJ.

Who is a candidate for this procedure?

Candidates for implant supported dentures can be new to wearing prosthetic teeth or those who have worn conventional dentures for years. The main focus in determining a patient’s candidacy is whether he or she has enough bone to support dental implants and healthy enough to heal from oral surgery.

Those receiving implant supported dentures should be committed to practicing good oral hygiene and attending routine checkups. Call us today to reserve a consultation with one of our oral surgeons.

How to Deal With Dry Socket

wisdom teeth MidlandDry socket is a complication they can develop after you have a tooth extracted. If you have had wisdom teeth or other teeth removed, you should be aware of the symptoms of dry socket and what to do if it seems to be developing. If you do notice symptoms of dry socket, you should see your dentist or oral surgeon right away.

What Is Dry Socket?

When a tooth is removed, a blood clot forms that fills the socket where the tooth used to be. This blood clot helps stanch bleeding and also protects the exposed nerves and bone left behind after the extraction. However, in some cases, the clot can become dislodged. This is called dry socket.

You should be aware of the symptoms of dry socket so you can notify your doctor as soon as possible if you notice them. Symptoms include:

  • Extreme discomfort at the extraction site
  • You can see that the blood clot has been dislodged
  • Bleeding at the extraction site

Dry socket can be extremely uncomfortable, so if the over-the-counter or prescription pain meds you have been recommended after your procedure seem not to be helping, or if your discomfort increases a day or two after the procedure, talk to your oral surgeon.

Preventing Dry Socket

Many of the aftercare instructions provided by your dentist or oral surgeon are designed to prevent dry socket. After your procedure, you should be sure to follow these recommendations:

  • Do not use a straw
  • Eat soft foods for a day or two
  • Don’t brush your teeth over the extraction site
  • Follow any other instructions you have been given

If you do experience dry socket, your oral surgeon will treat it by packing the empty space with a sterile dressing to protect the socket. You might have to go back every day or two to have this dressing replaced. You can greatly reduce your chances of developing dry socket by diligently following your dentist’s aftercare instructions.

Call our office today if you have more questions.

What is the success rate of dental implants?

dental implants MidlandDental implants are becoming an increasingly popular tooth replacement method because they offer patients the closest approximation of natural teeth both structurally and aesthetically. Dental implants also are quite reliable. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the procedure has an overall success rate of 95 percent.

Several factors influence the success of dental implants. Most importantly, dental implants must have sufficient bone available in the jaw to support them. However, when a tooth is lost, the jaw bone begins to recede because the tooth’s root is no longer present to serve as an anchor. This process proceeds more quickly toward the rear of the mouth, leading to greater bone loss.

Before placing your dental implants,  an implant dentist or oral surgeon will complete a thorough evaluation of your mouth and jaw to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for implants. Even if you have experienced substantial bone loss, you may still qualify for dental implants, as implant dentists can use a variety of techniques, such as sinus augmentation, to provide sufficient bone material for implant placement.

Certain oral diseases may also compromise the bone, increasing the risk of implant failure. Therefore, the implant dentist must make sure that you do not have any untreated gum disease or advanced tooth decay prior to placing the implants.

The patient plays an important role in the success of dental implants, as well. Maintaining good oral hygiene habits is essential, as the failure to keep the mouth clear of bacteria and plaque can lead to gum disease and decay. Additionally, you will need to keep all of your scheduled follow-up appointments with the implant dentist. These appointments offer the dentist an opportunity to identify any dental implant problems in their early stages, when they can be fixed more easily.

Smoking is another concern for dental implant patients. While smokers are typically eligible for implants, the habit can also increase the risk of gum disease, which may jeopardize the implants. When implant patients quit smoking, they reduce the risk of complications with the dental implants.

If you would like to learn more about dental implants, please contact us at Permian Basin Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center.

Tips to Ensure a Successful Dental Implant Recovery

dental implants OdessaAlthough they require a surgical procedure, dental implants don’t have to derail your normal routine for an extended period of time. Most patients are able to resume normal activities within a matter of days after having their dental implants placed. However, post-operative complications can keep you out of commission longer than necessary. Your oral surgeon can give you some suggestions on how to maximize your chances of an uneventful recovery following dental implant placement.

As is the case with any surgery, infection is a risk after the procedure. In order to prevent this outcome, you should closely follow the instructions provided by your oral surgeon for keeping the implant site as clean as possible. You may need to alter your oral hygiene regimen slightly for a few days immediately after the procedure, but you still need to take steps to keep your mouth clean.

Additionally, you may be directed to adjust your diet in the initial days following dental implant placement. Eating softer foods will make it less likely that you’ll re-open an incision or otherwise interfere with the healing process by chewing tougher foods. This change is only temporary, as you will be able to eat a full complement of foods—even fresh fruits and vegetables—after your dental implants have been completely osseointegrated.

You’ll receive a list of symptoms that could indicate a problem, such as persistent bleeding, ongoing pain or fever. If you notice any of these signs, you should call your surgeon’s office as soon as possible for further evaluation.

Other factors, such as the status of your oral health and your overall well-being, as well as the quality of available bone at the implant site, can also influence the recovery process. Your surgeon will thoroughly assess all of these aspects at your consultation so that any potential problems can be addressed in the treatment plan.

We want to do everything possible to help you successfully recover after you get your dental implants. Make sure that you understand all of your post-operative instructions, and feel free to ask for any clarification or additional information you might need to reduce your risk of complications.

Contact our office today to discuss your options!

Wisdom Teeth Removal: What are post-extraction considerations?

wisdom teeth MidlandHaving your wisdom teeth removed doesn’t have to be terribly disruptive to your schedule. The procedure is relatively routine at this point. However, it does involve a surgical procedure, and post-extraction complications can derail your recovery. Here are some considerations for an uneventful recuperation after wisdom tooth extraction.

Preventing infection will keep your healing process on track, so it’s important to follow the instructions provided by your oral surgeon to keep the extraction site clean and free from bacteria. You may need to adjust your brushing and flossing routine in the days immediately after your wisdom teeth are removed, but you still need to use alternative techniques recommended by your oral surgeon in order to keep the area clean. Your oral surgeon may also prescribe a course of prophylactic (preventive) antibiotics. If so, be sure to take the entire prescription, even if you are not symptomatic. Discontinuing antibiotics too soon may make you susceptible to infection.

Another common complication following wisdom tooth extraction is dry sockets. This painful condition develops when the blood clots either fail to form or are dislodged too soon from the tender empty socket. Your oral surgeon will also give you instructions to reduce your risk of this issue, and you should follow these closely, as well. For starters, avoid drinking straws until you have healed completely from the procedure. Smoking can also interfere with the healing process, so you should abstain from this habit for at least a few weeks. Ideally, you’ll choose to give up cigarettes for good at this opportunity. You may also need to include mainly softer foods in your diet for a few days to give yourself time to heal.

If you have any other questions about aftercare following your wisdom tooth extraction, contact our office and speak to one of our experienced team members. We are quite familiar with the problems most often encountered by patients after having their wisdom teeth removed, and we can make recommendations to help you reduce your risk.

Oral Surgery: What should I expect at the initial consultation?

oral surgeon Midland TXThe prospect of meeting with an oral surgeon for the first time can be intimidating, especially if the patient has not undergone any dental surgeries before. Knowing what to expect from this initial appointment can ease a patient’s nerves a bit, so here is an overview of what happens at the initial consultation.

We ask you to bring certain documentation with you to this initial visit to our office, including your insurance card and the referral form provided by your dentist that indicates the specific procedure you need, such as wisdom teeth extraction. You should also bring along any x-rays that were already taken by a different provider (or request for them to be sent electronically) so that the oral surgeon can avoid re-doing imaging unnecessarily.

Your first appointment is primarily intended to give the oral surgeon the opportunity to evaluate your case to begin planning the appropriate treatment. The surgeon will visually examine your jaw and may take additional x-rays or order other imaging, such as CT scans, if necessary to gather all of the information needed for the treatment plan.

The surgeon may also give you a general overview of the recommended treatment at this session. You will also get a chance to ask any questions you may have in order to make your treatment decision. If there will be no other appointments prior to the surgery, you may also leave the office with a detailed list of pre-operative and post-operative instructions. We ask that you closely follow these in order to minimize your risk of complications.

If you’re worried that the initial consultation might result in pain for you, we’d like to put that notion to rest. No aspect of this appointment should create new discomfort for you. If there is concern that the examination may trigger some existing discomfort, let us know in advance and we can plan for your comfort.

Do you have more questions about your initial consultation for wisdom teeth extraction or some other dental surgery? Call our office to get any additional information that you may need.

Makeover Your Smile with Dental Implants

dental implants MidlandTooth loss wreaks havoc on your oral health and it affects your everyday life. Remaining teeth sometimes shift, the jaw bone starts to deteriorate, and it is difficult to chew your favorite foods. It has a negative effect on the aesthetics of your smile, possibly your speech, and it can even impact your self-confidence. Adult tooth loss is more common than we like to think, especially as people age. The best restorative option for adults dealing with permanent tooth loss is dental implants.

What Are Dental Implants

Dental implants are basically prosthetic teeth and they are the closest restorative option to natural teeth. An oral surgeon first places a titanium post in the jaw where the tooth is missing. This post acts as the root of the tooth. While this area is healing, a crown is crafted in a dental laboratory to closely match neighboring teeth. On a subsequent visit, the dental crown is cemented onto the post.

Why Are Dental Implants Better?

Dental implants closely mimic natural teeth in both form and function. They are discreet because they look like neighboring teeth. Once the crown is placed, there are no dietary restrictions and patients can resume normal activities immediately. In addition, dental implants do not disturb or damage neighboring teeth like some of their temporary counterparts.

Dental implants also provide many health benefits. In addition to protecting neighboring teeth from damage, an implant fills the empty space preventing other teeth from drifting. This prevents a wide array of oral complications. The post, or root of the dental implant, also promotes circulation in the jaw where the tooth was lost. As the area heals, the jaw bone fuses to the post in a process called osseointegration. This impedes the diminishing of the jaw bone often associated with missing teeth.

Care for Dental Implants

Dental implants become permanent structures in the oral cavity. If cared for properly, they can last a lifetime. It is still necessary to brush and floss twice daily. You will also still need regular dental check-ups and cleanings.

If you are dealing with adult tooth loss, make an appointment with our office today. Our professional staff will help you explore your restorative options and take charge of your oral health. You can make over your smile with dental implants.

Call us today to schedule an appointment with our caring team!

Why do we get Wisdom Teeth?

Midland wisdom teethThere are a few different theories as to why we get wisdom teeth, commonly referred to as third molars. Some believe that it is because our ancestors survived on a diet of coarse roots, nuts and meats. They were not privy to silverware and certainly did not cook their food. It is thought that these teeth were necessary to help chew and digest this abrasive diet. Others call on evolutionary wisdom to explain a theory that began many years ago when humans had wider jaws and could accommodate more teeth. No matter the history behind them, they can be a problem today.

Problems With Wisdom Teeth

Many people refer to wisdom teeth as the third molars and many dentists refer to them as the problem teeth. Wisdom teeth commonly erupt in early adulthood, long after the permanent teeth have come in. Many times, there is not room for them and other teeth tend to shift and become crowded. This can make it difficult to clean teeth thoroughly, inviting plaque and decay.

Wisdsom teeth often become impacted causing headaches, ear aches and discomfort in the jaw. Additionally, impacted teeth can become infected or even abscess. If this isn’t addressed immediately, infection can enter the bloodstream causing further health complications.

Removing Wisdom Teeth

It is often recommended that patients visit an oral surgeon to have their wisdom teeth removed, often as a preventative measure. Since we slice, cut and chop our food, the third molars are not a necessary part of our dentition. Sometimes patients wait until they experience discomfort to visit an oral surgeon. If infection is present, antibiotics may be necessary before the wisdom teeth can be extracted. On rare occasions, the wisdom teeth may erupt without issue, but they are so far back in the mouth they are difficult to keep clean.

If you still have your wisdom teeth, or you are experiencing discomfort which may stem from these third molars, call our office today. Our highly trained staff will help you explore your options so you can make the best decision for your oral health and general well-being.