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Compared to other dental restorations—a few of which have been around for over a century—implants are a relatively recent development. But even though it's just now entering its fourth decade, recent advances have catapulted implant therapy well beyond where it began.
That's due mainly to digital technology. Two examples of this, computed tomography (CT) and 3-D printing, are increasing the accuracy and efficiency of implant placement.
Properly placing an implant is one of the most important elements in achieving a natural and attractive result. But finding the best location is often difficult due to a lack of suitable bone volume, the patient's bite or the proximity of anatomical structures like nerves and blood vessels. CT imaging, especially Cone Beam CT scanners (CBCT), is helping to make implant placement planning easier.
Unlike the static, two-dimensional views of standard x-rays, CBCT takes hundreds of images and digitally blends them together to create a virtual 3-D model of the patient's jaw and face. Dentists can view this highly detailed model on a computer monitor from various vantage points and better identify possible obstructions. With better information about what "lies beneath," they can more accurately pinpoint the best implant site.
Creating the ideal plan is one thing—successfully implementing it is another. Dentists often create a surgical guide that helps them drill in precisely the right positions during surgery. The guide, which resembles a mouthguard, fits over the gums and contains marker locations for drilling.
Many dentists are now using 3-D printing to create these surgical guides. A 3-D printer turns a digital model of the guide based on measurements of the patient's mouth and proposed implant locations into an actual physical object "printed out" layer by layer of special polymer material. The end product can be more precise than guides created by other means.
These and other technological developments are helping implant therapy rise to a new level of success. With the resulting increase in accuracy, efficiency and less treatment time, tomorrow's implant patients will be the ultimate beneficiaries.
If you would like more information on restoring missing teeth with 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 Technology Aids Dental Implant Therapy.”
Losing a tooth can be traumatic, but a dental implant can dramatically turn that experience around. Providing functionality, life-like appearance and durability, implants stand out as the premier restoration for lost teeth.
For adults, that is. An older child or teenager with a missing tooth may need to wait a few more years for an implant. The reason: jaw development. A person's jaws, particular the upper jaw, continue to grow with most growth completed by early adulthood. Natural teeth with their periodontal attachments develop right alongside the jaw.
But because an implant attaches directly to the jawbone, its position is fixed: it won't change as the jaw grows and may gradually appear to sink below the gum line. That's why we wait to place an implant until most of jaw maturity has occurred after full jaw maturity. For females, we try to wait until 20 years of age and for males, usually 21 years of age. These are guidelines as some people mature faster and some slower, so a discussion with your dentist or surgeon is necessary to make an educated decision.
While we wait, we can install a temporary replacement for a child's or teenager's lost tooth, usually a partial denture or fixed modified ("Maryland") bridge. The latter affixes a prosthetic (false) tooth in the missing tooth space by attaching it to the back of natural teeth on either side with bonded dental material. It differs from a traditional bridge in that these supporting teeth aren't permanently altered and crowned to support the bridge.
During the time before implants we should understand that the area where the implant will be placed will undergo some bone deterioration, a common consequence of missing teeth. Forces generated as we chew travel through the teeth to stimulate renewing bone growth all along the jawbone. But with a lost tooth the chewing stimulation ceases at that part of the bone, slowing the growth rate and leading to gradual bone loss.
Fortunately, the titanium posts of dental implants stimulate bone growth as bone cells naturally grow and adhere to their surfaces. Before then, though, if the bone volume is diminished, we may need to graft bone material to stimulate bone growth that will enlarge the jaw bone enough for an implant to be placed.
It usually isn't a question of "if" but "when" we can provide your child with an implant for their missing tooth. In the meantime, we can prepare for that day with a temporary restoration.
If you would like more information on dental restorations for teenagers, 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 for Teenagers.”
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Dentist Lansing, MI
What’s the Connection? Your Dentist in Lansing Shares
Problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body, further proving the importance of maintaining proper oral hygiene. Your teeth and gums speak volumes about your overall well-being. Some diseases are associated with an increased risk of infections, such as diabetes, which increases the risk of gingival and periodontal inflammation and infections. Additionally, loose teeth can be a sign of osteoporosis. When there is an underlying condition in play, Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler, your dentist in Lansing, may be able to draw an important connection between your oral health and your overall health.
Let’s Take a Look at Diabetes and Oral Health
Bleeding gums, dry mouth, fungal infections and cavities are all signs that might be a clue as to a serious health issue: diabetes. These symptoms can also suggest other serious conditions such as HIV and leukemia. Studies show that diabetics are more susceptible to the development of oral infections and periodontal disease.
Oral infections appear to be more severe in diabetic patients than non-diabetic patients because they may experience diminished salivary flow and a burning sensation of the mouth or tongue which can lead to a higher incidence of tooth decay. If you are a diabetic it is important to control your blood sugar levels, otherwise there is a tendency for increased oral health problems, especially gum recession.
Diabetics who receive proper dental care and control their insulin stand a better change of avoiding gum disease. In addition, they should maintain proper dental health care in order to prevent mouth and gum infections including periodontal disease, which require immediate attention. To keep your teeth and gums strong, diabetic patients should be aware of their blood sugar levels and have their triglyceride and cholesterol levels checked regularly. These may be a direct correlation in the development of periodontal disease.
Dr. Scott-Hetchler Says “Brush up on Dental Care Basics and Protect Your Smile”
If you find yourself tempted to skip brushing or flossing your teeth, remember that your smile depends on these simple dental care habits. Oral health begins with clean teeth. According to the American Dental Association, you should follow these brushing and flossing basics:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Use proper equipment
- Practice good technique
- Know when to replace your toothbrush
- Floss one tooth at a time
- Stay constant and consistent with flossing
In addition to daily brushing and flossing, you can use an antiseptic mouth rinse to help reduce plaque between your teeth. To prevent gum disease and other oral health problems, schedule regular dental cleanings and exams at least once or twice a year.
Since most people have regular oral examinations, their Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler, your Lansing dentist, may be the first to diagnose a health problem in its early stages. Visiting Dr. Scott-Hetchler, your dentist in Lansing, MI, regularly helps in maintaining the health of your mouth and allows her to watch for unusual developments that may point to other health issues.
Did you know of the connection between your oral and overall health? What steps will you take to protect yourself?
Jaw Pain - TMJ Pain - Headaches: Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler in Lansing Can Help
For those who have a poorly aligned bite or missing teeth, health related problems such as frequent headaches or sleep disorders can become more pronounced because their jaw muscles are working harder to bring the teeth together, straining the surrounding jaw muscles, leading to TMJ disorder. If you are experiencing any of this, you may be suffering from a TMJ disorder, a painful condition that is often mistaken for other conditions that cause recurring headaches.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
The temporomandibular joints are the points at which the lower jaw attaches to the skull, and are among the most complex joints in the human anatomy. If your jaw clicks or pops, this could be a sign of a TMJ disorder. Joint sound is one of the most recognized signs of a TMJ disorders. TMJ disorder symptoms include:
- Clicking and/or difficulty when opening and closing your mouth
- Frequent headaches
- Neck and/or shoulder pain
- Sensitive teeth when no dental problems can be found
- Jaw pain or stiff jaw when chewing, biting, eating or yawning
- Earaches without an infection
Between five and ten percent of Americans suffer from TMJ symptoms that require some form of treatment.
Stressors May be Causing you Pain
Do you have too many things on your “to-do” list and not enough time to do it? Are you worried about up coming events this year? It is important to take a deep breath and stay calm when performing stressful tasks. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, when a situation causes stress, many people grind or clench their teeth, which can eventually lead to temporomandibular joint disorder.
Overloading the tiny muscles in your jaw can cause a TMJ disorder. When you experience many stressful situations, you may exhibit symptoms such as tightened jaw muscles without realizing it. Over short periods of time, this habit is not detrimental, but long periods of time will prove to be problematic. Prolonged grinding or clenching of your teeth while stressed can cause soreness of the jaw, as well as partial or full locking of the jaw. It can also cause cracks in your teeth. In addition you may exhibit clicking in the jaw area, earaches that are not caused by infections and pain surrounding your temples.
If your discomfort is more intense when you wake up in the morning, you may be clenching or grinding your teeth while you are sleeping. This is very common. At the end of the day, if your jaw hurts you may also be clenching your teeth at work, which is often caused by stress.
If you are noticing pain, pay attention to where it is located, keep your teeth apart by placing your tongue between your teeth, stretch your jaw by gently opening and closing, and call Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler to ensure that there is no serious problem if your pain continues for several days.
Dental Care for Toddlers: Give Your Child a Lifetime of Smiles
When your toddlers teeth start erupting into their mouth it is really time to step up their home care if you haven’t already. First, give toddler plenty of good-for-you foods and beverages to keep his or her teeth healthy and strong. It is very important to avoid sugary snacks for your toddler. It is not good for their overall health or their dental health. It is important to extablish a good habit of limiting sugary snacks to immediatley following a meal. Toddlers should no longer be using a bottle or a pacifier. Continued use can have detrimental effect on their developing jaw. Sippy cups should be used on a limited basis and only contain water if the toddler is allowed to drink from it between meals.
Baby teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they break through the gums. Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler suggests you start good tooth brushing habits early with your toddler. You should brush twice a day, always before bed and then whatever other time works best for your schedule. Be prepared to help your toddler. He or she won’t have the motor skillsto brush on their own until around eight years old. Let your toddler brush and maybe even try tooth brushing gamesto make cleaning teeth a more fun. Sing songs or tell a story for the two minutes and it won’t seem like such a long time.
You should not use regular adult or child tooth paste with your toddler. Use water only or fluoride-free toothpaste until your child won’t swallow it (probably not before two). When he or she is older and won’t swallow the tooth paste your toddler can start using a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
Brushing technique is important too!You want to teach good brushing techniques to help establish good habits for your toddler. Have your toddler stand on a step stool in front the mirror and brush his or her teeth with your hand over theirs hand. That helps them to learn the proper motion and to get all areas of their mouth. Use a circular motion and hold the brush at a 45-degree angle when brushing the sides of the teeth. On areas that don’t have teeth you should still lightly brush the gums. It is also important to brush the tongue.
Regular dental visits are important in the toddler years to prevent any problems from happening. Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler recommends that your toddler visit her office twice a year for a professional dental cleaning, exam, and any needed radiographs.
Welcome to Our Blog!
Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS would like to welcome you to our blog. Here you will find informative and useful postings about dental care and our practice.
At Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS we believe that educated patients are better prepared to make decisions regarding their oral health and wellbeing. Our blog was designed to provide you with valuable dental health care information, the latest dental developments and oral health advice from our dedicated team.
Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS hopes you find our blog to be a great resource for keeping up to date with proper dental care and treatments.
We welcome all comments and questions.
-- Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
Brighten Your Smile this summer with Teeth Whitening Procedures
If you smile is stained or discolored, you have solutions for improving the appearance of your smile. Rather than just putting up with teeth that are not as bright as you would desire, take a closer look at teeth whitening to understand your options. Whether you receive professionally dispensed take-home whitening kits, or complete your whitening with an in-office procedure, you can achieve a smile that sparkles this summer.
How are Teeth Stained?
Teeth can become discolored due to a variety of reasons—both on the surface or changes in the tooth material. There are three main types of tooth discoloration: extrinsic, intrinsic and age-related. Extrinsic discoloration occurs when the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) is stained. Smoking, and drinking coffee, wine, cola or other drinks or foods can stain teeth.
On the other hand, intrinsic stains occur when the inner structure of the tooth (dentin) darkens or get s yellow tint. You can develop this type of discoloration if you had:
- Too much exposure to fluoride as a child
- Used tetracycline antibiotics when you were 8 years old or younger
- Trauma that affected the tooth when you were a young child
- Trauma in a permanent tooth, and internal bleeding discolored the tooth
- Been born with a rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta, which causes gray, amber or purple discolorations
Lastly, age-related discolorations occur as a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Dentin naturally yellows over time, while the enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner with age as well—allowing the dentin to show through. Foods and smoking can also stain teeth as you age, while chips or other injuries can discolor a tooth, especially when the pulp has been damaged.
Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Kits
Take-home whitening kits provided by your dentist in Lansing are available only from your dentist as they contain a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide or Carbamide peroxide. With these take-home kits, you may only need to use them for one to two weeks. Custom-fit trays keep the whitening solution on the surface of the tooth to be whitened, and allow for only slight exposure of the solution to the sensitive gums area.
Typically, your dentist will first take impressions of your upper and lower teeth. Once the impressions are made, your dentist will send them to the dental laboratory to make your custom
trays. It will normally take about one to two weeks for the dental lab to complete your trays. At this initial visit, your initial shade of your teeth will be recorded in your dental chart for comparison when whitening has been completed.
Once the trays are returned to your dentist, your next appointment will allow your dentist to show you how to properly dispense the teeth whitening solution in the trays, with detailed instructions to follow. Take-home whitening is used for about one hour a day for two weeks, and can also be used for touch-up applications thereafter.