Posts for: August, 2015
In real life he was a hard-charging basketball player through high school and college. In TV and the movies, he has gone head-to-head with serial killers, assorted bad guys… even mysterious paranormal forces. So would you believe that David Duchovny, who played Agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files and starred in countless other large and small-screen productions, lost his front teeth… in an elevator accident?
“I was running for the elevator at my high school when the door shut on my arm,” he explained. “The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the hospital. I had fainted, fallen on my face, and knocked out my two front teeth.” Looking at Duchovny now, you’d never know his front teeth weren’t natural. But that’s not “movie magic” — it’s the art and science of modern dentistry.
How do dentists go about replacing lost teeth with natural-looking prosthetics? Today, there are two widely used tooth replacement procedures: dental implants and bridgework. When a natural tooth can’t be saved — due to advanced decay, periodontal disease, or an accident like Duchovny’s — these methods offer good looking, fully functional replacements. So what’s the difference between the two? Essentially, it’s a matter of how the replacement teeth are supported.
With state-of-the-art dental implants, support for the replacement tooth (or teeth) comes from small titanium inserts, which are implanted directly into the bone of the jaw. In time these become fused with the bone itself, providing a solid anchorage. What’s more, they actually help prevent the bone loss that naturally occurs after tooth loss. The crowns — lifelike replacements for the visible part of the tooth — are securely attached to the implants via special connectors called abutments.
In traditional bridgework, the existing natural teeth on either side of a gap are used to support the replacement crowns that “bridge” the gap. Here’s how it works: A one-piece unit is custom-fabricated, consisting of prosthetic crowns to replace missing teeth, plus caps to cover the adjacent (abutment) teeth on each side. Those abutment teeth must be shaped so the caps can fit over them; this is done by carefully removing some of the outer tooth material. Then the whole bridge unit is securely cemented in place.
While both systems have been used successfully for decades, bridgework is now being gradually supplanted by implants. That’s because dental implants don’t have any negative impact on nearby healthy teeth, while bridgework requires that abutment teeth be shaped for crowns, and puts additional stresses on them. Dental implants also generally last far longer than bridges — the rest of your life, if given proper care. However, they are initially more expensive (though they may prove more economical in the long run), and not everyone is a candidate for the minor surgery they require.
Which method is best for you? Don’t try using paranormal powers to find out: Come in and talk to us. If you would like more information about tooth replacement, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework,” and “Dental Implants.”
Would you like a strong, firm foundation for your removable dentures? Are you tired of the slippage, dietary restrictions, slurred speech and messy adhesives so common to traditional dentures?
If so, Nidhi D. Sikka DDS and her associate dentist, Mona Chattha DDS, may have the perfect solution - the dental implant-supported denture. Manufactured from a biocompatible titanium metal alloy, IMTEC Mini Dental Implants from science innovator 3M are inserted into the patient's jawbone in a 90-minute, minimally invasive procedure right at Sikka Dental.
A Secure Denture Stabilization System
IMTEC Mini Dental Implants meld right to the patient's jaw through a process called osseointegration. Because the spherical implants are so small, less than 2 mm in diameter, the in-office surgery requires just a pain shot, and subsequent healing time is very rapid. Dentures are fitted with an o-ring system which snaps securely onto the implants, resting the prosthesis lightly on the patient's gums.
Even patients whose bone is not dense enough for traditional implants can receive the IMTEC devices and leave with their full denture in place and functional. That means:
- eating a regular diet
- never needing denture adhesives
- enjoying clear speech, stable chewing and a natural-looking, attractive smile
- a cost-sparing price
After the simple procedure, patients typically need no more than over the counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen for 48 hours for mild discomfort.
A Better Jaw Bone and Easy Hygiene
Just as with traditional implants, IMTEC Mini-Dental Implants exercise the jaw bone, strengthening its density and size.
Of course, patients must perform good dental hygiene at home as recommended by the American Dental Hygienists Association. Also, patients should see Dr. Sikka for exams and cleanings every 6 months or as recommended. It's important to keep implants and dentures very clean and to brush gums, cheeks, tongue and hard palate twice a day to stimulate circulation.
Many patients use an ACCESS toothbrush, also made by 3M, to clean their implant devices. A Water-Pic keeps the o-ring fixtures free of food particles. These practices ensure healthy gums and longevity of the implant devices.
Need More Information?
Doctors Sikka and Chattha run a family dentistry practice that also specializes in sedation and hospital dentistry. They even make house calls to patients who have special needs and mobility issues. Your oral health and comfort are their priority.
Contact your San Jose dentist today to find out more about IMTEC Mini Dental Implants. They may be the perfect solution for your new smile. Call (408)259-1280.
Long-term dental health is built on a foundation of good hygiene habits instilled at an early age. Consistent, daily hygiene not only makes for healthy teeth and gums but an attractive smile too.
Here are 4 tips for encouraging your child to develop effective oral hygiene habits.
Begin teaching them to brush and floss on their own around age 6. Brushing and flossing are the primary ways to remove bacterial plaque from teeth, the main cause for dental disease. You should begin brushing your child’s teeth when they first appear; around age 6 you can begin encouraging them to brush for themselves and learn to floss.
Promote healthy eating and snacking habits. A nutritious diet is also important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Make sure your child is eating a varied, balanced diet of whole foods in appropriate portions. You should limit sugar and other carbohydrates (which accelerate growth of decay-causing bacteria) to mealtimes; offer limited, non-sugary snacks between meals.
Warn older children and teens about practices that are unhealthy for the mouth. As children enter their teen years, they’re under increased pressure from peers to try unhealthy practices. Oral piercings like tongue and lip bolts can increase tooth damage — chipping and wear — and gum recession, infection and bone loss. Tobacco use, both smoke and smokeless, can also cause tooth staining, increase the risk of decay, gum disease and oral cancer. Begin stressing the dangers these practices pose to their general and oral health before they reach puberty.
Practice what you teach. Â Modeling healthy behavior you want your child to learn is just as important as instructing them how to do it. When they’re very young, brushing teeth should be a family affair — allow them to see how you brush your teeth as you help them brush theirs. And, if you’re not sure if your hygiene techniques are worthy of emulation, we’ll be glad to help you improve your effectiveness to pass on to the next generation.
If you would like more information on developing life-long dental habits with your child, 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 to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”