In recent years, dental implants have helped traditional bridgework take a giant leap forward. A few strategically placed implants can provide the highest support and stability we can currently achieve for this well-known dental restoration.
Implants derive this stability from the bone in which they're imbedded. Once surgically installed, the bone around a metal implant begins to grow and adhere to its titanium surface. Over time, this creates a strong anchor that firmly holds the implant in place.
But the implants' stability can be threatened if the gums around them become diseased. Gum disease, a bacterial infection caused mainly by dental plaque, can advance silently below the gum surface until it ultimately infects the bone. This can cause significant bone loss around an implant, which can weaken it to the point of failure.
To avoid this scenario, it's important to prevent gum disease by flossing daily to remove accumulated dental plaque between the implant-supported bridge and the gums, particularly around the implants. This kind of flossing around bridgework is more difficult than flossing between teeth, but it can be done with the help of a device called a floss threader.
A floss threader is a small plastic hand tool with a loop on one end and a stiffened edge on the other (similar to a sewing needle). You begin by threading about 18" of dental floss through the loop, and then work the other end of the threader between the bridge and gums to the other side.
With the floss threaded between the bridge and gums, you can now remove it from the threader, grasp each end, and floss around the sides of each implant you can reach. You'll then need to repeat the process by removing the floss, rethreading it in the threader and inserting it into the next section between implants, continuing to floss until you've accessed each side of each implant.
You can also use pre-packaged floss thread sections with a stiffened end to facilitate threading. But whichever product you use, it's important to perform this task each day to prevent a gum infection that could rob you of your implant-supported bridge.
If you would like more information on oral hygiene practices with dental work, 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 “Oral Hygiene for Fixed Bridgework.”
While anyone can lose a permanent tooth, the cause often varies by age group. Adults usually lose their teeth to disease, while those under twenty lose a tooth to accidents.
For adults, a dental implant is usually the best way to replace a missing tooth. Teenagers and younger, on the other hand, must wait to get implants until their jaws fully develop. An implant placed on an immature jaw will eventually look and feel out of place.
For most, their jaws won't reach full maturity until their early twenties. Even so, they still have a couple of good options for restoring their smiles in the meantime, albeit temporarily.
One is a removable partial denture or RPD, a device with the replacement prosthetic (false) tooth or teeth set in a gum-colored acrylic base. Of the various types of RPDs, most teenagers do well with a rigid but lightweight version called a “flipper,” called so because it can be flipped in and out of place with the tongue.
These RPDs are affordable, their fit easily adjusted, and they make cleaning the rest of the teeth easier. But they can break while biting down hard and—because they're dentures—aren't always well accepted among teenagers.
The other option is a bonded bridge. Unlike a traditional bridge secured with crowns cemented to natural teeth, a bonded bridge uses a strip of dental material affixed to the back of the prosthetic tooth with the ends of the strip extending outward horizontally. With the prosthetic tooth inserted into the empty space, these extended ends are bonded to the backs of the natural teeth on either side.
Though not as secure as a traditional bridge, a bonded bridge is more aesthetic and comfortable than an RPG. On the other hand, patients who have a deep bite or a teeth-grinding habit, both of which can generate abnormally high biting forces, run a higher risk of damaging the bridge. A bridge can also make hygiene tasks difficult and time-consuming, requiring a high degree of self-discipline from the patient.
Whichever you choose, both options can effectively replace a teenager's missing tooth while waiting for dental implants. Although temporary, they can make the long wait time for a teenager more bearable.
What you’re about to learn about cosmetic dentistry could make you smile.
We place a lot of importance on the appearance of our smiles. How often do you notice someone’s smile? Most of the time, right? So, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that many people turn to our West Columbia, SC, dentists Drs. Peter and Brooke Stoltz for cosmetic dentistry. After all, the cosmetic treatments we offer can help your smile look and feel its best, which also means that you look and feel your best. Want to know more about cosmetic dentistry? You’ve come to the right place!
New Year, New You
The New Year is often the time that people turn to our West Columbia, SC, dental team to discuss the ways in which cosmetic dentistry can give them the more confident appearance they want. After all, a beautiful smile can boost your self-esteem and even take years off your face. Here are just some of the ways in which cosmetic dentistry can help you,
Correct Minor Imperfections
A slightly chipped front tooth or a small discoloration can still leave you feeling self-conscious. Luckily, we also offer more conservative cosmetic options such as dental bonding, tooth contouring and gum reshaping to buff away small chips and unevenness in your teeth, while also filling small gaps between teeth and hiding small discolorations.
Brighten Your Smile and Get Rid of Stains
It’s natural for our smiles to become a little dull and dingy over the years. Even our favorite white t-shirt starts to fade with time; however, our team offers professional teeth whitening, which can get your smile several shades whiter and easily remove those stubborn stains. If you want a brighter smile to start the New Year out right, then it’s time to talk to us about teeth whitening.
Fix Misshapen or Misaligned Teeth
If you are dealing with widespread imperfections that impact several of your teeth, then you may wish to talk to us about dental veneers. Veneers are how many of those Hollywood stars have such perfect smiles. These thin porcelain shells are bonded to the front of your teeth to craft a brand-new smile that hides imperfections and alters the length, shape, alignments and color of your teeth.
Whether you have questions about cosmetic dentistry or you’re ready to sit down with our West Columbia, SC, dental team here at Three Fountains Family Dental Inc. to take the next steps, call our office today at (803) 755-0039. We would be happy to discuss options that are right for you and to get clear on your smile goals.
Mike Tyson made a splash when he faced off against sharks during the Discovery Channel's Shark Week 2020. But there's bigger news for fans of the former undisputed world heavyweight champion: After a 15-year absence, he will enter the ring again for two exhibition matches in the Fall. However, it's not just Tyson's boxing action that made news during his 20-year career. His teeth have also gotten their fair share of press.
Tyson used to be known for two distinctive gold-capped teeth in the front left side of his mouth. He made headlines when he lost one of the shiny caps—not from a blow by a fellow pugilist but from being headbutted by his pet tiger as Tyson leaned in for a kiss. Tyson's teeth again garnered attention when he had his recognizable gold caps replaced with tooth-colored restorations. But the world champion may be best known, dentally at least, for his trademark tooth gap, or “diastema” in dentist-speak. Several years ago, he had the gap closed in a dental makeover, but he soon regretted the move. After all, the gap was a signature look for him, so he had it put back in.
That's one thing about cosmetic dentistry: With today's advanced technology and techniques, you can choose a dental makeover to suit your individual taste and personality.
An obvious example is teeth whitening. This common cosmetic treatment is not a one-size-fits-all option. You can choose whether you want eye-catching Hollywood white or a more natural shade.
If your teeth have chips or other small imperfections, bonding may be the solution for you. In dental bonding, tooth-colored material is placed on your tooth in layers and then hardened with a special light. The material is matched to your other teeth so the repaired tooth fits right in. This procedure can usually be done in just one office visit.
For moderate flaws or severe discoloration, porcelain veneers can dramatically improve your appearance. These thin, tooth-colored shells cover the front surface of the tooth—the side that shows when you smile. Veneers are custom-crafted for the ideal individualized look.
Dental crowns can restore single teeth or replace missing teeth as part of a dental bridge. Again, they are manufactured to your specifications. With restorations like crowns and veneers, the smallest detail can be replicated to fit in with your natural teeth—even down to the ridges on the tooth's surface.
And if, like Mike Tyson, you have a gap between your teeth that makes your smile unique, there's no reason to give that up if you opt for a smile makeover. Whether you would like a small cosmetic enhancement or are looking for a more dramatic transformation, we can work with you to devise a treatment plan that is right for you.
If you would like more information about smile-enhancing dental treatments, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry: A Time for Change.”
Spot the early warning signs of gum disease so you can seek proper care from your dentist.
Millions of adults in the US have some degree of gum disease. Some don’t even know it. Since it’s possible to have gum disease and not even notice, this is one of the main reasons why you shouldn’t skip out on those routine dental checkups with our West Columbia, SC, family dentists Drs. Peter and Brooke Stoltz. As with any disease, the sooner gum disease is identified and treated, the better.
What are the stages of gum disease?
There are two main stages associated with gum disease. The first and earliest stage is known as gingivitis. If gum disease is detected by our West Columbia, SC, family dentists during this initial stage it can be reversed. If gingivitis isn’t detected, it will progress into periodontal disease.
If you have been avoiding the dentist, or you don’t see your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups, it’s very possible that symptoms will go unnoticed until more advanced stages of gum disease have set in.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Symptoms and signs of gingivitis are often subtle, becoming more noticeable as it advances into periodontal disease. Signs of gingivitis include,
- Bleeding gums, especially when brushing and flossing
- Tender, swollen gums
- Red, inflamed gums
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
As gingivitis progresses into periodontal disease you may notice spaces or gaps between teeth and gums. You may even notice pus in these spaces. Eventually, as the pockets of infection grow larger, teeth will become loose and fall out.
How is gum disease treated?
There are several ways to treat gum disease and the treatments we recommend will depend on the severity of your gum disease. Ways to treat and even reverse gingivitis include,
- Brushing at least twice a day, but ideally after every meal
- Replacing your toothbrush head every 3-4 months
- Flossing every day
- Using an electric toothbrush
- Using a special antimicrobial mouthwash several times a day
- Eating a healthy diet
- Visiting our dentist more often for routine cleanings
With proper lifestyle changes and professional dental cleanings, gingivitis will usually go away. Of course, those with periodontal disease may require more aggressive treatment including,
- Scaling and root planing (a deep cleaning)
- Medicated mouthwashes
- Flap surgery
- Bone and tissue grafting
The health of your gums depends on you and how well you care for your smile. Along with maintaining good oral hygiene, it’s important that you are visiting our West Columbia, SC, family dentists every six months for checkups. Maintain healthy teeth and gums by turning to the team at Three Fountains Family Dental Inc. To schedule an appointment, call us at (803) 755-0039.
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