Questions Relating to Dental Implants
Implants are natural looking replacements for missing teeth. The implant itself is a post that attaches to your jawbone. This post provides an anchor for your general dentist to place crowns, bridges or other restorations.
Dental implants begin with an evaluation by your general dentist who will then refer you to a periodontist.
For more detailed information, please see the section entitled "Dental Implants."
Dental implants function much better than removable teeth, (e.g. partials or dentures). Patients often comment that dental implants are so natural in appearance and function that it is like having their natural teeth back. Today's advancements make implants function within 90% of the efficiency of natural teeth in terms of both bite and feel.
The cost of dental implants depends on many factors including, but not limited to:
- The location of the implant
- The condition of the implant site
- Other health conditions which might cause complications.
- The cost of the actual abutment, implant and crown.
When evaluating the cost of an implant versus bridges or dentures, it is important to take note of the ongoing costs. Both dental bridges and dentures have disadvantages that often lead to repeat treatments and ongoing care.
With dental bridges, the adjacent teeth must be shaved down to be able to support the bridge. This can lead to weakness and other dental problems. Dentures do not provide bone stimulation and your jaw bone will shrink as a result. Because of this dentures have to be re-fitted and replaced many times.Although dental implants cost more at the out-set, they can be the most cost-effective and aesthetic choice over a lifetime.
As soon as the final restoration has been placed, you can resume normal eating again. A strict soft diet is necessary between placing the implant and placing the final restoration, since stress prior to the final cementing of the restorative tooth could cause the implant to be weakened and fail.
Questions Relating to Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease (also known as periodontal infection, gum disease or pyorrhea) is an ongoing infection in the gums around your teeth. The cause of periodontal disease is infectious bacteria that gets deep into your gums and causes tissue inflammation.
This infection starts destroying the bone that supports your teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. For more information, please see the section entitled "Periodontal Disease."
Because periodontal infection grows under your gums, you can have no symptoms at all. Patients with more advanced periodontal disease may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Tooth sensitivity to heat/cold
- Bad breath
- Deep pockets around the teeth
- Spaces between the teeth
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Missing teeth
- Gums receding around the teeth (longer looking teeth)
For more information see the section entitled "Periodontal Disease."
Periodontists have advanced training in the treatment of periodontal disease and the placement of dental implants.
Patients with periodontal infection have a lowered resistance to periodontal bacteria. This causes a continuing gum infection that can grow in bursts of activity. Some factors that can cause a dramatic increase in the severity of your periodontal disease are:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Dental plaque
- Genetic factors
Two other important factors are:
- Lack of regular dental checkups
- Lack of regular dental cleanings
When your infection has a burst of growth, or when there are signs that this may occur, your dentist may recommend periodontal treatment.
Periodontal disease is an infection in the gums and jawbone. The goal of treatment is to remove this infection and prevent it from coming back. The specific treatment required to do this will vary with each patient's individual needs. After your initial examination, we will completely explain the different options for your treatment.
For more information see Periodontal Disease Treatment.
One of our primary concerns is that you have a comfortable experience during treatment. Towards this end, we offer an extensive array of the latest techniques to minimize discomfort. Many of our patients are amazed at how little discomfort they experience.
For more information on the patient comfort techniques we use, see our Procedures page.
Periodontal infection grows in "bursts of activity."
It is likely that you have been referred to us because your general dentist has noticed an increase in infection activity. This infection eats away at the bone that supports your teeth (leading to tooth loss). If not treated, there can be a number of consequences. Please see the Dental & Medical Consequences section for a list of these.
On your first visit to our office, you will receive a periodontal examination. You should experience little, if any, discomfort during this exam. If necessary, x-rays will be taken to further evaluate any loss of bone around your teeth.
Afterwards, our findings and your options for treatment will be thoroughly explained. At that time, the doctor will answer any questions you may have.
Our goal is that you leave with a complete understanding of your condition and the treatment needed to restore you to optimum oral health.
Everyone deserves to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime. While periodontal treatment is not as costly as replacing natural teeth due to tooth loss, its cost can vary greatly depending upon your needs.
Most dental insurance plans offer some benefits for periodontal treatment, however this too varies considerably based upon contractual agreements. Our office manager will be happy to answer any of your financial or insurance questions.
When periodontal infection gets into the bone around your teeth, it can then enter your blood stream. From there it travels to other parts of the body and can contribute to medical problems.
Recent research has found that patients with periodontal disease are more than twice as likely to suffer heart disease and stroke. Please read the section entitled "Dental & Medical Consequences" to see an overview of recent research correlating periodontal disease with serious medical problems.
We keep ourselves up to date regarding equipment and periodontal procedures. You can be certain you will receive state-of-the-art care in our office.
Regarding sterilization, we believe that all procedures should be safe as well as comfortable. We use only the latest sterilization techniques. For more information on treatment techniques and sterilization see the section entitled "Procedures."
Your general dentist knows your entire dental history, the condition of your teeth, and your future dental needs. He is in charge of your overall dental care. We work closely with him or her as a "team" to ensure you receive the best possible dental care.