Posts for: February, 2019
Dental implant technology has advanced at such an astounding rate in recent years that you can now walk into a dentist's office with a problem tooth and out the same day with a new one. Unfortunately, not all dental situations allow for this possibility.
For example, you might be considering an implant many years after losing a tooth. But there's a potential problem: there might not be enough supporting bone. While an implant might still be possible, inadequate bone complicates the matter.
Because implants are essentially tooth root replacements, they require a certain amount of bone for stability and the best attractive outcome. As a general rule, implants need to be surrounded by at least 1.5-2.0 millimeters of healthy bone to support an implant. But you might not have enough if your tooth has been missing for awhile, regardless if you have or haven't worn dentures or other restorations.
That's because bone has a life cycle in which older cells die and newer ones form to take their place. As we chew or bite, the force generated travels up through the teeth to the bone to stimulate this new growth. Without a tooth the bone doesn't receive this stimulus, which can slow the growth rate. Over time the affected bone can lose its volume and density.
If we find you've experienced loss to the point your bone won't support an implant, that doesn't automatically mean this popular restoration is out of the picture. But it will require us first performing a procedure known as augmentation or bone grafting to help rejuvenate some of the lost bone.
With grafting, we place processed bone grafting material in the jaw through a minor surgical procedure to form a scaffold for new bone to grow upon. After several months this can result in several millimeters of new growth maintaining the width of the underlying bone, which in turn may be able to support an implant.
Bone grafting is quite common, often performed at the same time as tooth extraction if there's going to be a time lag before installing an implant. Even if performed later, though, it can successfully rejuvenate lost bone and make it possible for you to take advantage of durable, life-like implants.
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 “Dental Implants after Previous Tooth Loss.”
Though you may not even realize you do it at all, grinding your teeth can cause some serious dental and medical issues. This seemingly harmless activity — which usually happens while you sleep — can damage your teeth or even cause you to develop conditions like TMJ disorder. Luckily, your dentist can help you get your teeth grinding under control with a night guard. Find out more about teeth grinding and night guards with Dr. Susan Hockaday and Dr. Jim Baucom at Hockaday & Baucom, DDS in Charlotte, NC.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism — known more commonly as grinding your teeth — is a common condition which causes patients to clench their jaw and/or move the teeth back and forth on each other, an action called grinding. Bruxism often occurs while asleep but can also present itself in the daytime hours.
What is a night guard?
A night guard is just what its name implies: a guard for your teeth worn at night. Made from flexible, soft plastic, a night guard protects the surfaces of the teeth from grinding together. You can choose to buy an over-the-counter night guard, but they are not custom-made to your teeth. A custom night guard, prescribed by your dentist, is handmade for you to ensure a perfect fit and the best protection for your teeth.
Do I need a night guard for teeth grinding?
If you experience the common symptoms of bruxism, you can benefit from a night guard:
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Flattened or loosened teeth
- Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
- Sore jaw
- Worn tooth enamel
- Neck or face pain or soreness
Night Guards in Charlotte, NC
If you grind your teeth, a night guard can help prevent damage and ensure your teeth remain healthy. For more information on teeth grinding or getting it under control with a night guard, please contact Dr. Susan Hockaday and Dr. Jim Baucom at Hockaday & Baucom, DDS in Charlotte, NC. Call (704) 553-2348 to schedule your appointment for a consultation with your dentist today!
We all know that a child's baby teeth don't last forever. So if those little teeth develop problems, like severe decay, chips or cracks, it doesn't much matter—right? Wrong! National Children's Dental Health Month, observed in February, is the perfect occasion to remember why baby teeth need the same meticulous care as adult teeth:
- Baby teeth perform the exact same jobs adult teeth do, only in little mouths. Without healthy teeth, a child can't eat comfortably, speak properly or smile with confidence. Given that the last baby tooth doesn't fall out until around age 12, children need to rely on these "temporary" teeth for a long time!
- While there often are no symptoms of early tooth decay, badly decayed baby teeth can become painful—and the problem may get worse quickly. Untreated tooth decay can lead to suffering and expense that could have been avoided with relatively simply dental treatment.
- Baby teeth help guide adult teeth into the right position. Each baby tooth helps hold the right amount of space open for the next tooth that will grow in. When a baby tooth is lost before the permanent replacement is ready to grow in, orthodontic problems can result.
As you can see, good dental health has a big impact on a child's quality of life and health—in both the present and the future. That's why it's important to treat childhood dental disease and injuries promptly and properly. Regular dental exams are the best way to keep on top of your child's dental health. If a cavity is discovered at a routine exam, prompt treatment can keep the decay from spreading to the root canals.
If your child plays sports, ask us about a custom-made mouthguard. This small device can protect your child's teeth from serious injury. And if a baby tooth does get knocked out, let us know. It may be best to fit your child with a very small dental device called a space maintainer, which will hold that empty space open until the permanent tooth beneath it grows in.
If you would like more information about children's dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Importance of Baby Teeth.”