Posts for: November, 2018
If you've lost a tooth, you have a number of options for replacing it. Perhaps the best choice in terms of lifelikeness and durability is a dental implant.
All implants have the same basic architecture: a titanium metal post imbedded in the jawbone to replace the root; and an abutment, a metal collar that links the post with a lifelike porcelain crown. But implants can vary in how the crown attaches to the abutment and post — either cemented to the abutment or screwed through the abutment to the post.
Either method will permanently secure the crown to the implant. But there are advantages and disadvantages for each.
A screw-retained crown may better facilitate any future repair that might be needed. For a skilled dentist it's a simple matter of removing the screw and then the crown from the abutment. There's less risk of damage to the implant during repairs or crown replacement. Many dentists also prefer screws for crowns placed at the same time they're installing the implant post (a procedure called immediate loading).
The screw access hole, however, could pose a cosmetic problem. Although we can cover it over with tooth-colored filling, it may still be noticeable and unattractive especially for a tooth visible when you smile (in the smile zone). There's also the possibility the porcelain around the access hole could chip.
By contrast, cemented crowns have a smooth, unbroken surface and are aesthetically ideal for smile zone teeth. But the cement could interact poorly with gum and bone tissue in some patients, causing inflammation and possible bone loss.
And unlike screw-retained crowns, cemented crowns are difficult to remove for implant repair. We may have to drill through the crown to access the screw between the abutment and the post, and then repair it cosmetically if we use the same crown. Again, the final result may not be quite as visually appealing.
In the end, it will depend on the implant's location, how your body reacts to the cement or your dentist's preference. In either case, though, you'll have a tooth replacement that's functional, life-like and able to endure for many years to come.
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 “How Crowns Attach to Implants.”
Mayim Bialik has spent a good part of her life in front of TV cameras: first as the child star of the hit comedy series Blossom, and more recently as Sheldon Cooper’s love interest — a nerdy neuroscientist — on The Big Bang Theory. (In between, she actually earned a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA…but that’s another story.) As a child, Bialik had a serious overbite — but with all her time on camera, braces were just not an option.
“I never had braces,” she recently told Dear Doctor – Dentistry & Oral Health magazine. “I was on TV at the time, and there weren’t a lot of creative solutions for kids who were on TV.” Instead, her orthodontist managed to straighten her teeth using retainers and headgear worn only at night.
Today, there are several virtually invisible options available to fix orthodontic issues — and you don’t have to be a child star to take advantage of them. In fact, both children and adults can benefit from these unobtrusive appliances.
Tooth colored braces are just like traditional metal braces, with one big difference: The brackets attached to teeth are made from a ceramic material that blends in with the natural color of teeth. All that’s visible is the thin archwire that runs horizontally across the teeth — and from a distance it’s hard to notice. Celebs like Tom Cruise and Faith Hill opted for this type of appliance.
Clear aligners are custom-made plastic trays that fit over the teeth. Each one, worn for about two weeks, moves the teeth just a bit; after several months, you’ll see a big change for the better in your smile. Best of all, clear aligners are virtually impossible to notice while you’re wearing them — which you’ll need to do for 22 hours each day. But you can remove them to eat, or for special occasions. Zac Efron and Katherine Heigl, among others, chose to wear clear aligners.
Lingual braces really are invisible. That’s because they go behind your teeth (on the tongue side), where they can’t be seen; otherwise they are similar to traditional metal braces. Lingual braces are placed on teeth differently, and wearing them often takes some getting used to at first. But those trade-offs are worth it for plenty of people. Which celebs wore lingual braces? Rumor has it that the list includes some top models, a well-known pop singer, and at least one British royal.
So what’s the best way to straighten your teeth and keep the orthodontic appliances unnoticeable? Just ask us! We’d be happy to help you choose the option that’s just right for you. You’ll get an individualized evaluation, a solution that fits your lifestyle — and a great-looking smile!
For more information about hard-to-see (or truly invisible) orthodontics, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Orthodontics for the Older Adult” and “Clear Aligners for Teenagers.”
When you face tooth loss, your oral health and facial structure change. Impaired speech, biting, and chewing, along with bone recession, tooth drifting, and premature facial aging, impact patients who lose even one tooth—dental implants counter these problems. Your dentist, Dr. Stephen Yi, at El Paso Viva Dental, can tell you if these artificial teeth could help your smile.
It's a fact
Conventional dental prosthetics—bridges and full/partial dentures—cannot reproduce natural oral function or clear speech. Slippage, wear and tear on adjoining teeth, and more characterize these tooth replacements. Conversely, dental implants replicate natural smile aesthetics and oral function so well that patients forget they have tooth replacements.
Why are dental implants successful? The answer lies in the attraction human bone has for the titanium in the dental implant screw. This is called osseointegration. Once Dr. Yi surgically places a dental implant into the jaw bone, bone cells actively bond to the device, creating a firm foundation for the metal alloy post and ceramic crown which finish the single-tooth implant.
Most dental implant procedures involve the replacement of one tooth. However, multiple implants may support bridges or dentures, too.
The single implant treatment takes a few visits to El Paso Viva Dental. Dr. Yi will examine and image your prospective implant site to ensure your mouth is healthy and has enough bone in the jaw to support an implant. These factors are essential to dental implant success.
Then, he injects a local anesthetic to numb the area and opens the gums and jaw bone. He inserts the implant and closes the gums with sutures.
At home, your gums and bone will heal. As they do so, osseointegration creates that inseparable bond dental implants are known for. After many weeks, you'll return to the dental office to receive the post and porcelain crown.
Keeping implants healthy
Dental implant procedures feature a high success rate—about 98 percent, says the Institute for Dental Implant Awareness. Disciplined oral hygiene is critical, however, for long-term retention. Also, stopping all tobacco usage keeps implant sites free of infection. (The National Institutes of Health report that smokers experience implant failure rates of 16 percent)
Are you a candidate for implants?
Find out through a consultation with Dr. Stephen Yi. Call the El Paso Viva Dental today to arrange an appointment, and ask about the dental implant special. Phone (915) 751-1007.