Posts for: March, 2018
Losing teeth will certainly disrupt your otherwise beautiful smile. It could also potentially affect your food choices and whether or not you receive proper nutrition.
But something else just as consequential could be happening beneath the surface of your gums—you could be losing bone. Significant bone loss in the jaw could adversely affect remaining teeth and facial structure, as well as limit your future restoration choices.
To understand why this occurs we must first consider what bone is: living, cellular tissue. Like the body's other cells, bone has a life cycle: cells form, live and eventually dissolve (or resorb), and are then replaced by new cells. Stimulation from forces generated during chewing traveling up through the tooth roots to the jawbone keep this cycle going at a healthy pace.
But when a tooth is missing, so is this stimulation. This could slow the replacement rate and cause bone volume to gradually decrease. The jawbone width could decrease by as much as 25% the first year alone and several millimeters in height after just a few years.
Although dentures (a popular and affordable choice) can restore lost function and appearance, they can't duplicate this needed stimulation. They even accelerate bone loss by irritating and creating compressive forces on the bony ridges and the gums they rest upon.
One restoration, however, can actually help stop bone loss and may even reverse it: dental implants. This happens because an implant's metal titanium post imbedded in the jawbone attracts bone cells to grow and adhere to its surface. This could actually increase bone density at the site.
To gain this advantage, it's best to obtain implants as soon as possible after tooth loss. If you allow bone loss to occur by waiting too long, there may not be enough to properly support an implant. Even then it might be possible to build up the diminished bone through grafting. But if that's not possible, we'll have to consider a different restoration.
To determine the condition of your bone after losing teeth, visit us for a complete examination. Afterward, we'll be able to discuss with you the best way to address both your overall dental health and your smile.
If you would like more information on treating missing teeth, 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 “The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”
When you're first startled awake in the middle of the night by a loud, gritting sound emanating from your child's room, you may have two questions: how can such a loud racket not be harmful to their teeth? And, how can they sleep through it?
While it sounds earth-shattering, teeth grinding (medically known as bruxism) is a common habit among children. It involves an involuntary grinding, clenching or rubbing of the teeth together, either during the day or during night sleep.
While certain medications or conditions could be factors, it's believed most teeth grinding arises from the immaturity of the part of the neuromuscular system that controls chewing. It's believed to trigger a night episode as the child moves from deeper to lighter stages of sleep toward waking. Older children and adults typically handle these sudden shifts without incident, but a young child's under-developed chewing response may react with grinding.
If a child's teeth are normal and healthy, teeth-grinding typically won't create any lasting damage. But because grinding does generate pressures greater than the teeth normally encounter, it can be harmful to decayed teeth or those with enamel erosion due to high acid from consumption of sports and soda drinks. And it's also a cause for concern if the habit continues into later childhood or adolescence.
To avoid these problems, it's best to keep your child's teeth as healthy as possible by practicing daily brushing and flossing, and regularly seeing a dentist for cleanings, treatments and preventive measures like topical fluoride or sealants. And be sure to limit sugar and acidic foods and drinks in their diet to protect against decay and erosion.
You can also take steps to minimize teeth grinding and its effects. Consult with your physician about any medications they're taking that might contribute to the habit. If there are psychological issues at play, seek therapy to help your child better manage their stress. Your dentist can also fashion a custom night guard worn while they sleep that will prevent their teeth from making solid contact during grinding episodes.
Most importantly, let your dentist know if your child grinds their teeth. Keeping an eye on this potentially harmful habit will help lead to appropriate actions when the time comes.
If you would like more information on teeth grinding, 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 “When Children Grind Their Teeth: Is the Habit of 'Bruxism' Harmful?”
Fear for the dentist is a common and widespread issue affecting many people. However, you do not need to fear your dentist. Sedation dentistry helps you relax in the dental chair, eases your nerves during your procedure, and allows you to get through your appointment without panicking. Find out more about how you could benefit from sedation dentistry with Dr. Nidhi Sikka and Dr. Mona Chattha at Sikka Dental in San Jose, CA.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry helps patients who have dental anxiety get through their appointment and procedures with ease. The sedation medication is administered orally, via inhalation, or intravenously. Sedation dentistry can also benefit patients who have a low pain threshold, a severe gag reflex, have high teeth sensitivity, are physically unable to remain still while in the dental chair, and those who require a large amount of procedures at once.
Could I benefit from sedation dentistry?
Most people are good candidates for sedation dentistry. However, your dentist will go over your medical and dental histories to ensure that you are a good fit for sedation. Patients with heart conditions, who are taking certain medication, who have certain allergies, or who suffer from certain respiratory conditions may not make good candidates for sedation dentistry. Additionally, those who have a bad reaction to sedation medications should avoid sedation dentistry.
Types of Sedation Dentistry in San Jose, CA
- Local Anesthetic: This is the most common form of pain relief, using injections at the site of the tooth to numb the area before the procedure.
- Mild Sedation: Mild sedation keeps your conscious yet relaxed, easing your tension and allowing you to get through your procedure without anxiety.
- Heavy Sedation: Moderate sedation keeps patients conscious, but causes them to lose most memory of their procedure.
- General Anesthesia: General anesthesia puts a patient to sleep completely during their procedure.
For more information on sedation dentistry, please contact Dr. Sikka and Dr. Chattha at Sikka Dental in San Jose, CA. Call (408) 259-1280 to schedule your appointment for a sedation dentistry consultation with your dentist today!