Teeth-replacing dental implants not only look life-like, they’re made to last. For one thing, the metals and dental materials used in them are impervious to bacterial infection.
But that doesn’t mean implants are impervious to failure. Implants depend on the bone and other natural mouth structures for support. If the bone becomes weakened due to disease, the implant could become unstable and ultimately fail.
Peri-implantitis, the condition that can lead to this kind of failure, is a major concern for implant longevity. It’s a type of periodontal (gum) disease triggered by plaque, a thin film of food particles that can build up quickly in the absence of adequate brushing and flossing. The gum tissues around the implant become infected and inflamed.
If the infection isn’t properly treated with renewed oral hygiene and clinical plaque removal, it could spread below the gum line and begin to damage the underlying gum tissues and bone. This could destroy the all-important connection between the titanium implant post and the bone. The implant could eventually loosen and become completely detached from the bone.
The key is early intervention before the bone becomes damaged. Besides plaque removal we may also need to apply antibiotics in some form to control the growth of disease-causing bacteria. If the disease has fairly advanced we may also need to consider surgical repair to strengthen the attachment between implant and bone.
You can help to avoid peri-implantitis altogether by practicing consistent daily brushing and flossing around all your teeth including the implant, and seeing your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups. And by all means see your dentist if you notice any signs of gum swelling, redness or bleeding. Staying on top of your gum health will help not only the natural tissues and remaining teeth in your mouth, it will help preserve your implants for decades to come.
When Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O’Dell set out to teach her young daughter Ashby how to brush her teeth, she knew the surest path to success would be to make it fun for the toddler.
“The best thing with kids is you have to make everything a game,” Nancy recently said in an interview with Dear Doctor TV. She bought Ashby a timer in the shape of a tooth that ticks for two minutes — the recommended amount of time that should be spent on brushing — and the little girl loved it. “She thought that was super fun, that she would turn the timer on and she would brush her teeth for that long,” Nancy said.
Ashby was also treated to a shopping trip for oral-hygiene supplies with Mom. “She got to go with me and choose the toothpaste that she wanted,” Nancy recalled. “They had some SpongeBob toothpaste that she really liked, so we made it into a fun activity.”
Seems like this savvy mom is on to something! Just because good oral hygiene is a must for your child’s health and dental development, that doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. Equally important to making oral-hygiene instruction fun is that it start as early as possible. It’s best to begin cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they start to appear in infancy. Use a small, soft-bristled, child-sized brush or a clean, damp washcloth and just a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
Once your child is old enough to hold the toothbrush and understand what the goal is, you can let him or her have a turn at brushing; but make sure you also take your turn, so that every tooth gets brushed — front, back and all chewing surfaces. After your child turns 3 and is capable of spitting out the toothpaste, you can increase the toothpaste amount to the size of a pea. Kids can usually take over the task of brushing by themselves around age 6, but may still need help with flossing.
Another great way to teach your children the best oral-hygiene practices is to model them yourself. If you brush and floss every day, and have regular cleanings and exams at the dental office, your child will come to understand what a normal, healthy and important routine this is. Ashby will certainly get this message from her mom.
“I’m very adamant about seeing the dentist regularly,” Nancy O’Dell said in her Dear Doctor interview. “I make sure that I go when I’m supposed to go.”
It’s no wonder that Nancy has such a beautiful, healthy-looking smile. And from the looks of things, her daughter is on track to have one, too. We would like to see every child get off to an equally good start!
If you have questions about your child’s oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”
Biting the inside of your cheek is high on the list of minor but painfully irritating occurrences like paper cuts or tongue scalding from hot coffee. A mouth bite, though, has an additional tormenting feature — there's a good chance you'll bite the same spot again.
This kind of repeated mouth injury results in an enlargement of the soft tissue that has been traumatized. They're often diagnosed and referred to as a traumatic fibroma. When you bite your cheek, lips or tongue, you create a small wound that usually heals quickly. This healing process, though, can be interrupted if you bite the area again, which can then cause excess scar tissue to form.
The fibrous scar tissue, made up of a protein called collagen, is similar to a callous. You can often feel it with your tongue — a knot of tough skin that protrudes from the otherwise flat cheek wall. Because of this prominence, it tends to get in the “line of fire” during eating or biting, so you'll bite it again — and again. If this cycle continues, then even a more prominent scar tissue forms that you're more likely to bite again.
The wound will heal most of the time, unless you continually bite it. If it becomes a nagging problem, we can surgically remove the lump. After numbing the area with local anesthesia, we'll either use a laser or scalpel to remove it. The area is easy to fix and will flatten out the cheek surface. The entire procedure takes fifteen minutes or less and in a few days to a week you won't even notice it had been there.
While the vast majority of these lesions are harmless, it's still standard protocol to biopsy the removed tissue: a pathologist examines it under a microscope for cancer cells. This is a routine part of any medical practice and not a cause for alarm.
If you've had a lump for awhile that you always seem to be biting, see us for an examination. With a simple procedure, we may be able to remove that irritation once and for all.
If you would like more information on treating mouth lumps and other sores, 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 “Common Lumps and Bumps in the Mouth.”
Dental implants are the most reliable and natural-looking tooth replacements available. Placed by your expert dentists--Dr. John Lynch, Dr. Sheila Lynch and Dr. Frances Lynch of Lynch Dental Center in Chicago and River Forest, IL--these prosthetic teeth help thousands of people annually have complete and fully-functioning smiles after tooth loss. Learn about their many benefits here.
What is a dental implant?
It's an artificial tooth, replacing a natural root and crown with a titanium screw, metal alloy post and porcelain crown. Because the screw-like implant is inserted directly into a healthy jaw bone during a simple oral surgery, this dental prosthetic is very predictable, long-lasting and stable.
The secret to the 97 percent success rate of dental implants in River Forest and Chicago is a process called osseointegration, says online journal, Dental Economics. Human bone just loves titanium, and after implant placement, the jaw permanently integrates with the device. The result is a new tooth that cannot decay and that should last at least 20 years, or even a lifetime, depending on the age of the patient.
Why implants are popular
The American Academy of Implant Dentistry says that 3 million people in the US have dental implants, and it's projected that that number will grow by half a million implants every year. Why are dental implants so popular in River Forest and across the country? They provide patients with many benefits that conventional fixed bridgework, partial dentures, and full dentures cannot. Traditional prosthetics often require substantial enamel resurfacing on neighboring teeth, making speech unclear, especially as people age. They can also slip or fall, making eating a chore.
Conversely, dental implants do not adversely impact adjacent teeth, and they are rock-solid stable because they are anchored right into the patient's jaw bone instead of being simply set on top of the gum tissue.
While a dental implant initially costs more than a conventional tooth replacement, it rarely requires replacement. Also, it continues to encourage bone growth throughout the patient's lifetime.
Finally, dental implants may be applied in many ways:
- The single-tooth implant
- To stabilize removable dentures
- To anchor fixed bridgework or full dentures
Who can qualify
Your River Forest and Chicago dentists can determine if you are a candidate for dental implants. They perform a complete oral examination and take X-rays to ensure the following:
- Good oral health
- Good systemic health
- Sufficient jaw bone density
Additionally, people who brush and floss regularly and who are non-smokers do best with dental implants. Routine in-office and at-home hygiene avoids an infection called peri-implantitis. Resembling advanced gum disease, this infection often leads to implant failure and removal.
Are you ready for a new smile?
Why not contact Lynch Dental Center in Chicago and River Forest, IL today for a dental implant consultation? Solve the problem of your gapped smile by calling today.
Why is getting dental implants such a significant decision when it comes to your tooth loss?
When you lose a tooth you know you need to replace it as soon as possible. Of course, you may be wondering why so many people are turning to dental implants to restore their smile. If this is the case, our dentists Dr. John Lynch, Dr. Frances Lynch and Dr. Sheila Lynch of Lynch Dental Center in Chicago and River Forest, IL are here to shed a little light on what it takes to get dental implants and what makes them unique.
They are Designed to Last a Lifetime
This small metal post is typically made from titanium, which is extremely strong and resilient. While dental bridges or dentures are designed to last a few years before needing to be replaced, dental implants are the only restorations that could last you the rest of your life if you give them the proper care and maintenance they require.
They Stay in Place
Nothing is more embarrassing than having a set of teeth that move and shift around when you are trying to enjoy your food or when trying to speak to colleagues. Dentures can move around at times; fortunately, because implants and the jawbone fuse together, the implant will stay firmly in place. Several implants can even be placed throughout the jawbone to support a full set of dentures so they don’t move around.
They Support Your Jawbone
One complication of tooth loss is that the health of the jawbone is also affected. Once tooth roots are lost the jawbone will begin to breakdown due to a lack of stimulation. By having our River Forest, IL, general dentist place an implant into the jawbone we replace the tooth roots to ensure that the jawbone remains healthy and doesn’t break down. Dentures and bridges won’t be able to offer this major benefit.
Still have questions about dental implants? Want to sit down with us and find out if you are an ideal candidate for implants? Then call Lynch Dental Center in Chicago and River Forest, IL, to schedule your next visit with us.
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