Imagine a center brick in a brick wall that begins to crumble. It makes sense that removing the brick and leaving the space open will eventually weaken the entire wall. To preserve the strength of the wall, the brick should be repaired or quickly replaced.
In the natural design of your “bite,” the upper teeth and lower teeth work in unison. Each one serves as a support to the others around it. For example, a tooth helps to keep those on either side in their proper positions as well as the one above or below to its proper height.
Once the process of tooth loss begins, whether a tooth is removed due to infection, decay, an overload of fillings, a crack, or an injury, its presence (above and below the gum line) is still important to other teeth. Just like a brick wall, lack of its support will result in other teeth becoming more vulnerable to tilting, turning, and so on.
There is a misconception that removing a tooth rather than trying to save it will be the cheapest option. There is a domino effect that results, including the potential for continued tooth loss of neighboring teeth. People are often unaware of the long-term effects of leaving an open space.
When we are unable to save teeth, we recommend replacement options. This, ideally, occurs with a dental implant. Dental implants are advised because they are held in the jaw bone, just as natural tooth roots. This foundation restores the same, dependable foundation for biting and chewing. It also helps to preserve the bone mass of the supporting structures of remaining teeth.
Dental implants recreate stimulation to the jaw bones that secure tooth roots. Without this, the bone begins to shrink in height and width. This occurs in a ‘melting away’ of bone mass through a process known as resorption. This begins the domino effect
Bone loss in one area affects the supportive foundation of adjacent teeth. This causes neighboring teeth to become vulnerable as their supportive structure declines. These teeth have a higher risk for being the next to be lost as a result. Thus, one open space leads to another, and so on, and so on.
Too, people are often unaware that a denture or partial actually accelerates the process of resorption. While these appliances may recreate the presence of teeth above the gum line, what is occurring below is very different. The pressure of these appliances on the ‘ridge’ that once supported tooth roots speeds up the rate of bone loss.
When a patient is interested in dental implants, tired of the frustrations associated with dentures and partial dentures, the amount of bone mass they have remaining is a guiding factor in my recommendations. Why?
Like teeth, a dental implant is dependent on a solid foundation. Without sufficient bone mass, the size of an implanted “core” can’t be adequately supported. Too, a lower jaw bone has a nerve that runs vertically through it. An implant cannot be placed in its proximity or eventual removal will be necessary.
By the same token, the upper jaw must be to a certain mass to sufficiently support dental implants. When an implant is placed in shallow bone, the sinus cavity can be too close to the implanted site. There is a risk that the implanted portion will work its way into that proximity. Again, removal can be eventually needed if this occurs.
This is why it is so important to select an implant dentist carefully. When he or she is fully trained in the diagnosis (selection of the best type) and placement of ALL implant systems, your results have a greater potential to provide you with a lifetime of confident eating and smiling. However, a dentist trained in only one or two implant systems is limited in their recommendations. You could end up making an investment that fails to fully achieve your needs and goals that another type may have been better suited to provide.
With decades of advancements in implant dentistry, there have been refinements to the implant systems available. There are now a number of types to select from, each designed to accommodate specific needs and preferences. When shallow bone mass exists, however, one particular type has proven to be beneficial and effective.
While it was once necessary to rebuild bone mass through bone grafting or applying bone rebuilding materials, the All on 4 Dental Implant system can eliminate that need. Through an elongated design and placement at unique angles at strategic points, patients who have experienced severe bone loss can even enjoy the benefits of dental implants.
Using only four implants to support a full upper or lower arch of teeth, All-On-4 also lowers treatment costs since implant fees are based on the number of implants placed, While helping to curtail treatment fees, the teeth attached to All-On-4 implants are non-removable (“fixed”). This means you don’t have to take your teeth out of your mouth to clean them. You brush and floss them just as your would natural teeth!
Best of all, All On Four can effectively manage the forces of biting and chewing. They support a full arch of replacement teeth that restore the ability to eat the foods you love again, laugh with confidence, and wake up with a fabulous smile!
To discuss the All-On-4 process or any tooth replacement options, call 843-871-6351 or tap here for a no-charge consultation. During this time I’ll answer your questions, discuss treatment fees, and what to expect during the treatment process. While you’re here, we can also have you meet with our financial coordinator who will explain easy payment plans that are interest-free with no down payment required.
Take charge of your smile by preventing tooth loss through thorough hygiene at home and regular dental check ups. However, if you’ve found yourself in dentures and desire a better way to eat, smile, and be confident with others, the consultation appointment is a good way to understand the options that are available to you.Read More
When it comes to replacing missing teeth these days, a number of adults make the decision to go forward with dental implants. However, dental implants are not always a preferred choice for individuals facing tooth replacement, nor advisable for some.
For example, the health of some individuals may hold potential problems when it comes to implant success. This is true for people undergoing cancer treatment or who take certain medications for osteoporosis. For some of these patients, the risks may be too high.
Additionally, some mouths are too small for implant placement at proper depths or angles. For instance, if a back tooth needs replacing and the bone mass is minimal, even bone rebuilding procedures may fail to overcome the challenge of the best positioning.
Although our office offers advanced skills and training in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants, rest assured that we also have advanced training and skills in other methods to replace teeth.
Our patients also have access to many features and advanced technology that optimize comfort, speed healing time, and minimize treatment time. Some procedures can be completed in just two visits.
In addition to dental implants, options to replace missing teeth include…
Full Dentures – A Full Denture is typically removable and replaces all teeth as well as the foundation of gums that may have diminished over time. New denture wearers need time to get accustomed to their new teeth because even the best fitting denture can feel awkward at first. Some have difficulty eating for several days and may notice a slight change in facial appearance, increased salivary flow, or minor speech difficulty. However, once the patient has adjusted to this new feel, a denture can be worn comfortably and function with stability.
Replacing a tooth is a big decision, and affects a large number of adults. It is estimated that over 69 percent of Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 years have at least one missing tooth.
It is also highly important to replace a missing tooth.
The arrangement of teeth is a balanced support system that provides proper support and stability. Not replacing a tooth can trigger a domino effect of continual oral challenges. Typical problems include drifting, shifting, and an increased risk of gum disease and decay.
In a normal, healthy mouth, there is a natural balance of alignment. Each tooth has three or four companion teeth. These include adjacent teeth on either side as well as the upper or lower teeth that meet them. Upper and lower teeth must work harmoniously to provide comfortable chewing function.
When a tooth is lost, the proper position of neighboring teeth is at risk. When teeth shift or tilt, it can lead to chipped, broken or fractured teeth. Eventually, this can cause problems with the TMJ (jaw joints), which may lead to headaches, migraines, worn teeth, and clenching or grinding during sleep.
Not replacing a tooth also places others at higher risks for being lost. Statistics show that a neighboring tooth is the most likely be lost next when subjected to the same conditions. With each tooth lost, the problems are magnified and the cycle of tooth loss continues. And, so do the associated decisions, costs, and treatment time for replacement.
For many reasons, we recommend dental implants whenever practical and desirable to the patient. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) five million implants are placed in the U.S. each year. They restore dependable biting and chewing, have a nearly 98 percent success rate, and are designed to last a lifetime (making them an excellent investment).
Still, we understand an implant is not the preferred or most practical choice for every patient. Once our patients know the options recommended for their needs, we respect the wishes of each and are committed to the best outcome for each.
If you need to replace missing teeth or an existing appliance, let’s discuss your options during a no-charge consultation appointment. During this time, I’ll explain the advantages and challenges of each and the procedures involved. Call 843-871-6351.
While you’re here, we can also have our Insurance Coordinator and Financial Coordinator meet with you to determine easy payment plans according to your needs.Read More
It is a misconception that losing natural teeth is a normal part of the aging process. Although previous generations may have assumed that tooth loss (and ending up in dentures or partials) was natural for adults as they grew older, we know today that this is far from true – and certainly not desirable.
When teeth are missing in a smile, it compromises its appearance, often causing people to feel self-conscious when smiling. Yet, the repercussions of missing teeth go far beyond esthetic. It is now known that dental challenges caused by missing teeth can lead to a long list of problems.
The space left by missing teeth needs to be filled to avoid teeth drifting. Drifting teeth can lead to:
• Compromised chewing efficiency
• The tooth above or below the missing tooth growing too long
• Neighboring teeth moving out of alignment
• More challenges with food accumulation, accelerating bacteria growth
• Uneven chewing patterns, which strains jaw joints and can lead to worn teeth, tooth fractures and chips, clenching and grinding, and headaches
• Loss of jaw bone mass in the extracted area
• Facial changes and biting/chewing problems in the area of tooth loss
• Increased risk of tongue biting
Periodontal (gum) disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Yet, it is easily preventable with simple measures applied on a daily basis. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing and twice-a-year dental visits can greatly reduce the risks of gum disease and subsequent tooth loss.
Those most at risk for tooth loss with the highest susceptibility to gum disease are:
• Males over the age of 35
• Adults who fail to have professional dental care
• Not brushing teeth
• Having diabetes, high blood pressure or rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Additionally, teeth most commonly lost due to gum disease are in the front of the mouth rather than back teeth. Health issues such as diabetes and arthritis can also make you more vulnerable to developing gum disease.
When a tooth is lost, it is imperative that it be replaced as soon as possible. We recommend dental implants because they restore the look and feel of a natural tooth. Dental implants also recreate the presence of a tooth root in the jaw bone. This helps halt bone loss, protects your facial structure, and preserves the natural alignment of your bite.
Missing natural teeth? We offer many tooth replacement options to restore the look, feel and function of a natural-looking, confident smile. Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule a free consultation to discuss the choices that may be best for your individual needs.Read More
The definition of “Seniors” has changed rather drastically over the past several decades. No longer deemed the inactive, rocking chair adult, today’s seniors are active — in sports, socially involved, and still learning and participating. And, their numbers are a force to be reckoned with.
According to the U.S. Census, “baby boomers” (Americans born 1956 – 1964), are the fastest growing age group in the U.S. Currently, 14.5 percent of the nation’s population are ages 65 and over. By the year 2029, the over-65 population is estimated to be 20 percent. (https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2017/cb17-100.html)
It is also estimated that one out of every four 65-year-olds will live past the age of 90, and one out of 10 will live beyond the age of 95. (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.html)
One contributing factor to this trend has to do with their determination to stay active and involved. This is one of the reasons why dental implants are so appealing when an individual is faced with tooth loss.
Whereas aging adults were once associated with dentures soaking in a glass by the bathroom sink, today’s senior prefers the stability and confidence of dental implants.
But, how old is too old for dental implants?
It is a common misconception that an individual is beyond the age for dental implants. As long as one’s periodontal (gum) health is good, there is actually no age limit on having a successful outcome when it comes to dental implants.
For seniors who may have experienced loss of multiple teeth, dental implants offer a successful solution for all adults. Too, they not only replace missing teeth, they resolve the many frustrations commonly associated with removable teeth such as dentures and partials.
Quite frankly, any age can expect a successful outcome when the implants are properly selected, placed and maintained. The failure rate is actually very low, with dental implants enjoying one of the highest of all implant-in-bone success rates – up to 98 percent.
However, like anything that is not a natural part of the body, there are issues that can complicate implant success, including:
While there are risks, the many advantages of dental implants far outnumber any downside. Dental implants add to everyday pleasures, including the enhanced ability to taste, bite and chew a diet of healthy, delicious foods. The stability of dental implants also restores confidence in social settings, allowing you to speak and laugh without worry.
Dental implants also halt the process of bone loss, helping the jaw bones retain a full, healthy shape. This prevents changes in facial appearance that can be aging far beyond one’s actual years.
The best way to fully understand the risks involved is through a no-charge consultation. Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule. During this time, we can discuss the implant type that may be best for your needs as well as treatment time and costs. If comfort is a concern for you, we can also discuss sedation options, including oral and I.V. sedation (twilight sleep).Read More
Through decades of research and findings from countless studies, there is no doubt that your oral health plays an integral part of your overall health. Not only does oral bacteria overload lead to tender, bleeding gums, it causes cavities, bad breath and some serious health problems far beyond the mouth.
Studies have shown that oral bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream. Once bloodborne, it can cause inflammatory reactions that have been associated with a long list of diseases and health conditions. These include stroke, heart disease, preterm babies, diabetes, arthritis, and some cancers.
Still, with all these findings, it’s perplexing that nearly half of American adults have some level of periodontal (gum) disease. I believe the problem lies in the fact that gum disease can begin – and even exist to a certain extent – without obvious symptoms.
To help our readers be in a better position to avoid (or respond promptly to) gum disease, I hope the following Q&A will help in your appreciation of good oral health:
What is gum disease? Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. It forms from accumulated oral bacteria. Like any infection (which is bacteria that is straining the capability of the immune system), it causes redness, tenderness, and swelling. Because it is hidden inside the mouth, gum disease is easier to ignore than if the same were to occur on a skinned knee. Early-stage gum disease causes the gums to bleed when brushing, tender gums, and frequent bad breath. As it progresses, gums swell and turn red. The gums loosen their grip around the base of teeth. Eventually, persistent bad breath occurs and may be accompanied by pus pockets that form on gum tissues. As the bacteria eats away at the structures that support tooth roots, the need for tooth removal can occur.
Why should I worry about gum disease? As if the discomfort, bad breath, and rotten teeth weren’t enough, many people are unaware that gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. When a tooth is lost, it creates a domino effect that can lead to more tooth loss. Replacing teeth can be expensive. For some tooth replacement options, it typically causes bone resorption. This is when the jaw bones that once supported natural tooth roots begin to shrink in mass. A thinning jaw bone is what causes a denture or partial to slip or rub uncomfortably on tender gum tissues. (Dental implants, fortunately, mimic the presence of tooth roots. This halts the process of resorption.) Additionally, as mentioned prior, gum disease bacteria can enter the bloodstream and contribute to a number of serious, even deadly, health problems.
How do I prevent gum disease? Although I’d like to say that twice-daily brushing and daily flossing is sufficient, that’s only part of the equation. It is necessary to keep the mouth moist. Aging and the side effect of many medications can be very drying to the mouth. This mean that oral bacteria are not being washed away efficiently. Also, American diets are full of sugar. Sugar is especially challenging in the mouth, triggering acids that can damage almost immediately. Too, just over 52 percent of the adult population visit the dentist every six months. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), over 20 percent (in 2014) stated they only saw a dentist every “few years.” (https://www.ada.org/en/science-research/health-policy-institute/dental-statistics/patients) Your dental check-ups are structured to remove built up oral bacteria that has hardened on teeth (known as tartar, or calculus). Seeing your dentist every six months helps you to prevent, or greatly minimize, the risks associated with gum disease.
As a dentist in Summerville, I’ve been pleased to offer a “dental home” where our patients know we will treat them thoroughly, respectfully, and with gentle hands. We keep our fees affordable so all individuals can enjoy the benefits and confidence of a healthy smile.
If you suspect you have gum disease or have not had a dental cleaning in over six months, call 843-871-6351 to schedule an appointment. If preferred, ask to begin with a no-charge consultation appointment. During this time, we’ll discuss your unique needs and how we can assist you in achieving the smile you desire.Read More
Let’s say you’re nearing the time when an ’empty nest’ in on the horizon. In anticipation of having extra space, you may have some ideas as to how free space could be reconfigured. A workout room? A media room? An office for a new in-home business?
Although designers and contractors could come in with a sketch pad and pencil, wouldn’t you be more assured with a visual proposal that gave a firsthand view of where, what, and how?
Today’s technology is designed to eliminate guesswork and provide the means to achieve goals without unexpected glitches.
This is true for dentistry as well. Advanced computerized technology has given dentists the tools to diagnose, treatment plan, and perform procedures with precision based on each individual’s needs and goals.
Dental offices can vary significantly when it comes to advanced technology. Not only does this equipment require a monetary commitment, most require intense training of the dentist and staff members in order to utilize each piece properly. While some of these advancements can seem rather intimidating, I’ve found that they can be of such benefit to our patients that the learning process becomes exciting.
Case in point – when I first invested in CEREC 3D technology, I took a couple of courses but avoided using it for months. When I decided to truly master it, I became so enthralled at the results that I pursued every advanced course I could take. Now, I am a proud Mentor for CEREC 3D, providing training assistance to other dentists who make this positive leap into the future of dentistry.
While my goal has always been to provide options that enhance patient comfort, save them time, and create optimal outcomes, it has also been important to select technology that is ‘green.’ At Smiles By Andrews, we have incorporated features that are environmentally-friendly, which minimize the use of chemicals, save water, and reduce waste.
We are proud of the environment we offer to our patients. Experience the benefits of these features yourself! We are always happy to welcome new patients to our office and even offer a free consult for those who wish to ‘check us out’ before committing to an appointment. Just call our friendly staff at 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule.
While we are pleased to offer this technology, what our patients notice most is the respectful, friendly, compassionate environment we provide. Regardless of your need, we are committed to exceptional care with an emphasis on comfort.
I hope to meet you soon!Read More
When most people think about a dental implant, they envision a replacement tooth that is held by the jaw bone. This is correct since Dental implants are unlike replacement teeth supported by neighboring teeth (as in crown-&-bridge) or a denture that is contoured to fit the ‘ridge’ where tooth roots were once held.
However, a dental implant is not one piece, but actually made up of three parts. The first part is the implanted portion. This piece is similar to a hollow screw that is positioned in the jaw bone beneath the gum tissues. This is your tooth root replacement. This piece is designed to recreate the presence of a tooth root, which is beneficial for the bone that supports it as well as the replacement teeth that will be attached to it.
Once placed, the bone begins to grow around the implant, securing it in place. This process takes approximately 3-4 months and is known as “osseo-integration.” During this phase, patients are able to wear temporary teeth (or often, their existing denture or partial) comfortably.
The second and third components of dental implants are referred to as the abutment and the restoration. These are typically placed in the same appointment. After the phase of osseo-integration is complete, an opening is made in the gum tissue over each implant site. Into the implant, a post is secured and a replacement tooth (or bridge) is then attached to the post.
With the implant held by the jaw bone and the replacement tooth secured to the implanted portion, the look, feel and function of real teeth is restored. This means that your implants will have the same foundation as that of natural teeth so you can enjoy dependable biting and chewing strength and stability.
When more than one tooth is missing in the same area, a bridge of two or more teeth can often be attached to one implant. For those missing all upper and/or lower teeth, a full arch of teeth can often be secured to 4 to 8 strategically-placed implants. This is an appealing option for people who are missing all of their upper or lower teeth and want to replace the discomfort and frustrations of a ‘rocky’ denture.
This option also minimizes the expenses associated with dental implant treatment. Because the cost for dental implants is largely based on the number of implants placed, attaching a bridge of teeth or securing a full arch can translate into a tremendous savings.
In our office, we utilize advanced CEREC 3D technology to create single crowns, bridges, and even full arches of replacement teeth. These ‘restorations’ are made of beautiful ceramic that is natural-looking and durable. This also saves you a tremendous amount of time by eliminating waiting time for a dental lab. Additionally, there is no need for a second appointment for a dental lab’s final teeth to be placed.
In addition to restoring the ability to eat and chew securely and comfortably, dental implants help to halt bone resorption that occurs when tooth roots are no longer present in the jaw bone.
What is this?
Without the presence of tooth roots, the bone lacks necessary stimulation that helps to maintain its mass. Dental implants recreate this stimulation, preserving the bone’s height and mass.
In addition to placing neighboring teeth at risk, bone loss can create changes in facial appearance that are aging far beyond one’s actual years. These changes include deep wrinkles around the mouth, a pointed chin, jowls that form from detached facial muscles, and a mouth that appears collapsed into the face.
There are many types of Dental Implants, each designed to accommodate individual needs and preferences. We offer a free Consultation that allows interested adults to learn the types best for them and have their questions answered thoroughly.
During this time, we can also discuss affordable payment plans. These can break your treatment costs into easy monthly payments, often with no interest charged and no down payment required.
Call 843-871-6351 to schedule your no-charge appointment.Read More
For a number of reasons, we often recommend Dental Implants to our patients when it comes to replacing natural teeth. For those who are missing all upper or lower teeth, several strategically-placed implants can often support a full arch. This restores biting and chewing comfort and dependability.
However, not everyone can afford Dental Implants or wants to undergo the procedures to have them. Here, we are respectful of all patients as to the tooth replacement option that is best for their preferences. Our goal is to provide each patient with an excellent fit and optimal comfort for all options in tooth replacement. For some, this may be through a full denture.
People are often surprised to learn that today’s Cosmetic Dentures can restore the ability to eat comfortably and securely with the added benefit of providing a more youthful smile. In addition to having advanced training and skills, I use advanced dental technology and materials to create a natural look and feel with a secure fit and exceptional durability.
Cosmetic Dentures are able to provide a more youthful smile because the process begins with the custom-design of the gum base that supports the teeth. With the proper increase in the distance between the upper and lower jaws, Cosmetic Dentures can often provide a sort of ‘mini facelift.’ This helps to smooth out the wrinkles around the mouth and lift lower facial muscles that lessens facial sagging.
In addition to creating a more youthful look of the face, your smile will have a more flattering look as well. For each individual, we enhance the look and feel of the teeth in Cosmetic Dentures and design your smile according to your preferences. For example, we can create teeth to the degree of whiteness you desire. We can also design the height of teeth so they are at a more flattering height. Lastly, we can adjust the gum line (area that shows above each tooth) so it is to a level that is esthetically-pleasing.
You’ll also appreciate that Cosmetic Dentures will never LOOK like dentures! No one will suspect you are a denture wearer or are wearing ‘fake’ teeth. Rather than feel self-conscious with replacement teeth created by cheap denture clinics, the teeth in Cosmetic Dentures are made so you will never look like you wear dentures! The teeth will also provide the luminosity and opalescence of natural teeth, even reflecting light as natural teeth.
For patients who still have remaining natural teeth, we use the same artistry in designing Cosmetic Partial Dentures. These are created with a gum portion that blends naturally with existing gums and custom-designed teeth that have a highly-natural appearance.
In our dental office, we make the design of a beautiful smile part of the overall construction of Cosmetic Dentists and Partials. We want you to have a smile you feel good about; one that makes you want to share it often! Let’s discuss the tooth replacement option of your choice during a no-charge, no obligation consultation. Call 843-871-6351 to schedule.Read More
Growing up, I remember a particular relative I only saw at Christmas gatherings at my Grandmother’s home. I was probably eight or nine when I recall him bending down and greeting me just inches from my face. While I don’t remember his words, I do remember his knock-you-over bad breath.
For years, every time his name was mentioned, I remembered the jolt of breath odor. I should have remembered his words and his smile, first and foremost, but his breath seemed to take a front-&-center place in my memory bank whenever his name came up.
None of us want to be remembered for our breath odor! While it is often associated with spicy foods, breath that is less-than-pleasant actually has a number of sources.
PERIODONTAL (Gum) DISEASE: A common symptom of gum disease is frequent bad breath. As the disease worsens, it goes from frequent to persistent. This is because oral bacteria produce a sulphuric odor that causes bad breath. As they reproduce, more and more of these bacteria exist, subsisting on the soft tissues in the mouth. The gums become so compromised from this over-accumulation that they bleed easily (often while brushing). Other symptoms include tender or swollen gums, gums that release their tight grip around teeth, and gums that turn red. Keep in mind, however, that gum disease begins silently. Beware: You may even have it without noticing symptoms in initial stages.
GERD OR ACID REFLUX: In addition to causing heartburn and a sore throat, acid reflux can cause bad breath. This occurs when acid travels up the throat and reaches your mouth. When these digestive acids mix with saliva, it produces bad breath that is uniquely associated with acid reflux. An excellent explanation of how it occurs (and ways to curtail it) can be found at: http://digestivehealthguide.com/acid-reflux-bad-breath/
DENTURES & PARTIALS: The gum-colored base that holds replacement teeth in dentures and partials is of a porous material. These pores actually provide oral bacteria with little homes where they breed and thrive. As mentioned prior, oral bacteria that accumulate in the mouth produce a surphur-ish odor (likened to a garlicky scent). Although soaking these appliances nightly in a denture cleanser rids most of these bacteria on a daily basis, many people also sleep in their dentures or partials. How bad is this bacteria? One study showed that pneumonia risk doubled in the elderly who slept in their dentures. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4541085/)
INSUFFICIENT ORAL HYGIENE: For many people who brush twice daily, the process may not be nearly as effective as they may think. It is recommended to spend two minutes per brushing, using a soft to medium toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. (This applies when using either manual and electronic toothbrushes). Divide the mouth into four sections and spend 30 seconds on each. Finish up by brushing the tongue to remove millions of oral bacteria embedded there. If you’re not flossing prior to brushing, however, you can be missing an important part of the process. Food particles caught between teeth cannot always be dislodged by the bristles of a toothbrush. Left behind, they rot in your mouth, creating a welcome food source that boosts oral bacteria growth.
DRY MOUTH: When the mouth is dry, it means that saliva flow is unable to rinse oral bacteria from the mouth efficiently. This leads to bacterial growth. Dry mouth is a side effect of many prescription and OTC medications, including antihistamines, antidepressants, and sedatives. Smoking, caffeine, and alcohol are also drying to oral tissues. Be aware of the moisture level in your mouth. Drink plenty of filtered water throughout the day, chew sugarless gum to promote saliva flow, and consider using a rinse to replenish oral moisture (available over-the-counter at most drug stores).
While other causes of bad breath may be your problem, these are the most frequent culprits. However, regardless of the cause, having a healthy mouth can give you more confidence in close settings with others, and help you avoid the dreaded reputation of “the one who has bad breath.” Begin by scheduling a cleaning/exam to address your problems head on, or ask for a free consultation to discuss your concerns. I’ll make recommendations to help pinpoint the source of your problem and ways to help resolve it.
If you have dental fears or anxiety associated with dental care, please know that we hold consultations in a private room that is removed from the clinical side of the office. You’ll never be asked to sit in a treatment chair until you are ready. I’ll also be happy to discuss comfort options, including oral and IV sedation (twilight sleep), if needed.
Call 843-871-6351 to schedule.Read More
I can’t imagine that any adult over the age of 30 wants to look older than they are. Most of us are hoping to go into our elder years with people saying, “Oh, you certainly don’t look your age! I would have guessed you no more than age xx.” (preferably 10 or more years less than we really are!)
Mere flattery or not, we love to hear that we are aging well. And, American adults are willing to invest heavily in keeping a more-youthful look. According to a 2015 article published in Markets & Trends entitled, “U.S. Skin Care Market to Reach Nearly $11 Billion in 2018,” they estimate nearly $11 billion will be spend on skin care in the U.S. this year. (http://www.gcimagazine.com/marketstrends/segments/skincare/US-Skin-Care-Market-to-Reach-Nearly-11-Million-in-2018-311287121.html)
While we slather on expensive creams and color our hair, an unfamiliar factor (to many) that contributes to the appearance of more years than we’re due is the decline in jaw bone mass from tooth loss.
Ever heard the term ‘granny look?’ Although this is the extreme of a shrinking jaw bone, it is pretty descriptive when it comes to an aged appearance that no one wants. It conjures up an image of an older woman who has a pointed chin, deep wrinkles around the mouth, and a mouth that seems collapsed into the face.
This all occurs when the jaw bones that supported natural teeth no longer have tooth roots to provide stimulation. When the roots are removed, the jaw bone doesn’t receive the nourishment and stimulation needed. Without this, they slowly begin to shrink. This process is known as resorption.
As the bone shrinks from a missing tooth or teeth, neighboring teeth are at higher risk. Due to various factors, the next tooth to be lost is typically one that is adjacent to a missing tooth.
Bone loss is not always obvious for people who wear dentures or partial dentures. They tend to look in the mirror when their denture is in place, which plumps up the face. However, it is what’s taking place below the gums that causes changes in facial appearance. These changes will only become more severe with time.
Bone loss contributes to deep wrinkles that form around the mouth with the corners of the mouth turning downward, even in a smile. As it continues, the mouth appears to collapse into the face and jowls form from the detachment of facial muscles.
For those who wear dentures or partials, the pressure this places on the ‘ridge’ actually accelerates the rate of resorption. This is the gum-covered arch that the denture or partial rests upon. For those who sleep in these appliances, the 24/7 pressure speeds the rate of resorption even more.
As resorption continues, the gum ridge begins to flatten as it’s foundation shrinks. Denture wearers often first notice bone loss when their denture begins to move while eating. Eventually, even denture adhesives are unable to prevent uncomfortable rubbing or slips while eating. Speaking and laughing also becomes overshadowed by the fear of embarrassing moments.
Because dental Implants recreate stimulation to the jaw bones that support them, they are able to halt the rate of bone loss. Additionally, because they are placed in bone, just as tooth roots were once, they provide the same dependable foundation of natural teeth.
Dental implant systems have also evolved so they are able to accommodate specific needs. For example, some types can be placed in adults who have experienced severe bone loss. The All-On-4 implant system requires only minimal bone to adequately support a full arch of teeth on just four implants.
Regardless of the implant type selected, a dentist who is trained and experienced in all implant types is your best choice for a successful result. In our office, our patients know their implant treatment is backed by advanced training in all implant types with both oral and I.V. sedation (twilight sleep) available.
Using the cutting edge technology of CEREC 3D, we are also able to create replacement teeth at the same appointment our patients are having their implants placed. This eliminates waiting for a dental lab to create your final restoration (replacement teeth) and a second appointment to place them. It also cuts numbing requirements in half.
Dental Implants restore biting and chewing comfort as well as the ability to speak and laugh confidently. Call 843-871-6351 to schedule a free, private consultation. During this time, I’ll make recommendations based upon your specific needs and goals. We can also discuss treatment costs and easy payment options.Read More
After years of wearing a denture, many people realize the fit is not as dependable as when it was first made. It begins to slip while chewing and also rub sore spots on tender gum tissues.
The reason for this is due to bone loss. When natural tooth roots no longer exist in the upper or lower jaw, the bone begins to shrink, or ‘resorb.’ Resorption is also the reason a once-secure fitting denture feels less and less so after each year.
Most people are not aware that wearing a denture places pressure on the jaw bones, which speeds up the process of bone loss. For those who sleep in their dentures, the rate is accelerated even more.
Initially, after a denture is first made, patients may be advised to wear it 24/7 until becoming used to its presence in the mouth. However, after an adjustment period, you should remove it before bedtime. Studies have also shown that people who sleep in their denture have a higher risk for pneumonia. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4541085/)
For people who do everything possible to care for their dentures, however, there is no way to prevent bone resorption. In addition to the looser fit with each passing year, changes to facial appearance will begin to take place.
These changes include deep wrinkles that form around the mouth, having the corners of the mouth turn downward (even while smiling), a more pointed chin, having a mouth that seems collapsed into the face, and jowls that form as facial muscles detach from bone structures.
A temporary fix to loose dentures is a reline. This reshapes the gum base portion to fit the less prominent contours of a declining gum ‘ridge’ to which it was originally fitted. Yet, the problems will reappear as bone loss continues.
In the past, people who had experienced severe bone loss were required to first have a bone graft, often using a piece of hip bone to rebuild the jaw bone where implants were to be placed. As dental techniques advanced, bone rebuilding materials were developed that could regenerate bone mass, preventing the need for the more-involved surgical grafting procedure.
Fortunately, in 1998, a new dental implant system was introduced that enabled implant placement in even severely resorbed bone mass. All-On-4 dental implants relied on specially designed implants placed at unique angles. This technique evenly distributed the load among four implants.
There were additional advantages to the All On Four system. First, the procedure itself was less complex than traditional implant placement, making it possible for the patient to recover quickly. Too, teeth could be attached immediately after placement. So, not only could the patient walk out of the dentist’s office and meet a friend following the procedure, they could enjoy lunch together!
For many, the best advantage of all is in the lower cost as compared to many other implants systems. Because only 4 dental implants are needed to support a full upper or lower arch of teeth, treatment costs are typically quite lower than traditional implant types.
While All On 4 dental implants won’t work for every individual who is missing teeth, they are a beneficial option for a number of patients who wish to be rid of a bothersome denture. If you’re one, call 843-871-6351 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.Read More
Remember when your sister (or you!) used to roll her hair and sit under a hair dryer on Saturday afternoons? The process often required hours for washing, rolling and drying to get ready for ‘date night.’
Of course, today’s females have it much easier. Blow dryers, heated rollers and flat irons have made the process much more efficient and with excellent results.
Times have certainly changed. Today’s technology has simplified the process for many things. We no longer have to stand by a stove, waiting for water to boil when a microwave oven can ‘zap’ it to a boil in a couple of minutes.
Dentistry has also simplified some once-laboring procedures to what is now much more time efficient, more comfortable, and affordable. The 3D computerized technology of CEREC is a highly-advanced method for creating custom-made crowns (caps) in a single visit.
Let’s revisit the ‘old’ method for crowning a tooth. First, the tooth had to be reshaped so the ‘cap’ could fit over it. Then, a mold of the tooth was made so a dental lab could create a ‘final’ crown according to the dentist’s instructions of shape, size and shade.
Because it would take several weeks for the dental lab to make the crown and have it back to the dental office, a ‘temporary’ was placed. This gave the patient a fake tooth that would protect the remaining tooth structure while enabling some ability to eat.
The reason drug stores sell a dental paste that is specially made to replace temporaries is because they can come off fairly easily during this wait time. The adhesive that is used to attach a temporary to a tooth is designed for easily detachment. This lighter adhesive prevents damage to the remaining tooth structure when the temporary is removed.
However, as many individuals find, it doesn’t take much chewing to dislodge a temporary. And, as Murphy’s Law would have it, these instances seem to occur on a weekend more often than not.
But let’s say your temporary holds until the dental lab has the final crown delivered to the dentist’s office. You must return for a second appointment for the placement process and go through another numbing. The final crown is placed, proper shade matching is verified, and your bite is checked.
Although rare, the dental lab may have gotten the shade wrong or failed to follow the dentist’s instructions for crown height, for example. Guess what? Back to the temporary as the process begins again. Another crown, another appointment, another numbing, etc.
CEREC 3D has eliminated much of this process by providing in-office technology the dentist can oversee. In just one visit, your tooth is prepared, a custom crown is created, and securely placed. No wearing a temporary. No second appointment. No second numbing. You walk out with a beautiful, durable crown that has the look, feel and function of a natural tooth!
As a CEREC Mentor, I help other dentists learn the proper utilization of the technology. The latest advancements also enable me to create bridges, partials and dental implant ‘restorations’ (replacement teeth). All of this saves the patient greatly in the time spent in a dental chair — something that is especially appealing for those with busy schedules or who feel anxious at dental visits.
Crowns are needed when a tooth is holding too much ‘filling’ material or has cracks or fractures. Crowning teeth helps to protect the remaining tooth structure and tooth roots that are invaluable to maintaining a healthy jaw bone. Keeping your natural teeth also helps protect the life of neighboring natural teeth.
If a crown has been recommended for you, consider the ease and quick process of CEREC technology. Call 843-871-6351 to learn more or ask for a free consultation appointment.Read More
I saw a bumper sticker a while back that said, “Growing old is not for sissies!” How true! But it got me thinking about the aging process and how many adults over age 65 are missing teeth. For denture wearers, they could have their own bumper sticker: “Wearing dentures is no piece of cake!”
As a dentist, I see how people struggle with dentures. While some individuals are fine with their current denture, most would love to turn back the hands of time and take measures to prevent tooth loss in the first place.
Contrary to popular belief, losing teeth in ‘old age’ is not a normal part of the aging process. Older adults tend to lose teeth for several reasons. Having a dry mouth contributes to gum disease, which is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. And, gum disease that has been present for years can finally emerge with a vengeance as one grows older.
A study shared by the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research states that seniors over the age of 65 have fewer than 19 remaining teeth. Over 27 percent in this age group have no remaining natural teeth at all. (https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/ToothLoss/ToothLossSeniors65andOlder.htm)
When an individual has all their upper and/or lower teeth removed, most opt to have a denture custom-made to restore their ability to speak and eat. For most new denture wearers, it takes time to get used to the feel of an appliance in their mouth. Eventually, however, eating and speaking again with a new denture is more comfortable – for the time being.
What occurs when tooth roots are removed is a process referred to as resorption. This is a ‘melting away’ of jaw bone mass in areas where natural tooth roots were once supported. Without the presence of tooth roots to nurture the jaw bone, the bone simply decreases in width and depth.
The denture that was made when your teeth were first removed was designed to conform to the unique contours of your ‘gum ridge.’ This is the raised arch where tooth roots were once held. The ridge is actually a protrusion of your upper or lower jaw bone that is covered with gum tissue.
As the bone shrinks, this ridge flattens. This means that a denture formed to wrap the contours of your gum ridge won’t have the same shaped surface to hold it a few years later. This is typically when people start to rely on denture pastes and adhesives more often than before.
Biting and chewing with a denture that moves can be uncomfortable, rubbing sore spots on tender gum tissues. Small seeds or food particles, such as nut pieces, can become trapped under the denture and pierce tender gums. As the denture moves unpredictably when eating, it can also cause embarrassing moments.
Eating out with friends or attending social gatherings where food is a centerpiece can create anxiety for denture wearers. Fearing a slip or having dentures ‘click’ while speaking is so worrisome that some people begin to decline invitations. Because studies have shown that social interaction is a healthy part of the aging process, becoming less social because of a loose denture can lead to a decline in overall health.
One study conducted by the Population Research Center at University of Texas (Austin) found that “older adults who maintain high levels of social activity or ramp up their social life as they age might be protected from increases in physical and cognitive issues over time.” (http://www.cfah.org/hbns/2011/socially-active-older-adults-have-slower-rates-of-health-declines).
Eventually, eating with a loose denture becomes so difficult that many people switch to soft foods that dissolve easily in the mouth. Unfortunately, these foods also lack much in the way of nutrition and fiber that fresh fruits, vegetables and meats provide.
When dentures continue to slip and be undependable, relines can be done as a temporary fix. This process re-contours the denture to the current height of the gum ridge. However, because the gum ridge will continue to flatten, the same process as before — more denture adhesive, difficulty chewing, etc. — will simply repeat itself.
One reason so many denture and partial wearers are choosing Dental Implants has to do with the frustrations brought on by resorption. Dental Implants recreate the presence of tooth roots in the jaw, putting a halt to the process of bone loss. Because implants are held by the jaw bone, they provide the same, secure foundation for biting and chewing as your natural teeth once had.
Another bonus of Dental Implants is their longevity. With proper selection, placement and care, they are designed to last a lifetime. And their success rate is exceptional, higher than any other implant-in-bone type, including knees and hip joints.
There are many types of dental implants, each designed to accommodate various needs, including severe bone loss. Some systems, such as the ‘All-On-4,’ are affordable and hold non-removable teeth. Easy monthly payment plans are also available, most are interest-free with no down payment.
Struggling with a denture that moves or causes embarrassment? Begin with a no-charge consultation. Call 843-871-6351.
Occasionally, I have an elderly patient say something like, “I guess I’m at an age that’s leading to dentures.” Although some of our patients are denture wearers and comfortable as such, tooth loss is not a normal part of the aging process.
A five-year National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey shows that tooth loss is finally on the decline for older adults. However, the average number of remaining teeth for over 65 adults is less than 18. Over 27% in this age group have lost all of their natural teeth.
Losing natural teeth occurs for several reasons, most often from decay or gum disease. Both are the result of oral bacteria, which can be just as prevalent in a senior adult’s mouth as a young adult’s mouth.
Oral bacteria occurs from poor oral hygiene and failure to have regular dental visits, which remove the buildup that contribute to gum disease. Some home care hygiene routines can even include harmful actions such as rigorously scrubbing of teeth, using a stiff toothbrush or using abrasive substances to brush such as baking soda.
Too, many adults are unaware of the signs of gum disease, assuming “If it doesn’t hurt, then nothing is wrong.” Symptoms such as seeing blood in the sink or having tender gums can be falsely perceived by some people as signs they are doing a good job.
Wearing dentures is no picnic. While dentures replace the presence of teeth, they do little to replace the function. Dentures balance on top of the gum ridge – the arch where natural tooth roots were once held. Yet, without tooth roots providing stimulation and nurturing the jaw bone, the bone begins to shrink.
This process of bone loss is known as resorption. Once resorption begins, it continues on a more rapid pace with each year. The pressure on the jaw bones from wearing dentures actually speeds up this process. For denture wearers who sleep in their denture, the rate of bone loss occurs at a 24/7 rate.
Bone loss is what causes a once snug-fitting denture to move when eating. Eventually, even denture adhesives and pastes will do little to hold the denture in place. The denture may begin to slip when speaking or laughing.
Changes in facial appearance will also become more noticeable, such as deep wrinkles around the mouth, jowls, and a chin that appears to be more pointed and grows closer to the nose (creating what’s known as a ‘granny look’).
Studies have shown that people who have their natural teeth live an average of ten years longer than denture wearers. This may be due to the inability to eat a healthy diet and stay socially involved.
Keeping your natural teeth for a lifetime is possible with simple steps, including:
• Brushing and floss daily – Done properly, this is the best way to remove oral bacteria. Brush at least two minutes twice daily. Use a soft to medium bristle toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste and brush in a swirling motion rather than scrubbing back and forth. Floss daily and brush your tongue (or use a tongue scraper) to remove bacteria embedded in the tongue’s grooves.
• Have 6-month checkups – These appointments give your mouth a clean slate by removing accumulated tartar. Tartar (or calculus) is the cement-hard attachment on teeth that your Hygienist is scraping off during cleanings. This is actually a hardened mass of oral bacteria that eat away at gum tissues and tooth enamel.
• Avoid dry mouth – A dry mouth nurtures the growth of oral bacteria. To curtail this, drink lots of water throughout the day. Limit caffeinated foods and beverages, which are drying to oral tissues (coffee, tea, colas and chocolate). If you take medications that have drying side effects, use an oral rinse to replenish moisture. These are available over-the-counter in most drug stores. Also, chew sugarless gum, which promotes saliva flow.
• Limit carbs and sugar – Carbs and sugar produce a particularly potent acid in the mouth, which provides an ideal environment for bacterial growth. While all foods cause acid attacks in the mouth for 20-30 minutes, sugar and carbs rev up the growth of oral bacteria. This acid also softens tooth enamel, leaving teeth even more vulnerable.
If you have lost natural teeth and want to halt the process, call 843-871-6351 to schedule a free, private consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss how you can achieve a lasting, healthy smile. If you’re struggling with dentures or partials, we can also discuss Dental Implants as a lifetime solution for replacing teeth.Read More
When an individual is missing natural teeth or facing the removal of a tooth (or teeth), I take time to help the patient understand his or her options for replacement as well as why replacement is needed (even when missing a back tooth that is not visible in a smile).
Like the legs of a table or wheels on a car, each tooth plays a role in proper alignment. When a tooth is missing, the tooth above (or below) will grow longer since it does not have an opposing force to help keep it in place. By the same token, the teeth on either side of the open area will begin to tilt out of their positions.
This misalignment leads to a number of problems, including chipped, cracked, broken and fractured teeth. Improperly aligned teeth also contribute to a misaligned bite that places stress or strain on the jaw joints, which is commonly referred to as TMJ disorder.
The TMJ (temporo-mandibular joints) hinge the lower jaw to the skull. When properly functioning, the joints rotate harmoniously every time the mouth opens, while chewing or speaking and even during swallowing.
Misaligned teeth transfer stress and strain to the the jaw joints. This can lead to night-time clenching and grinding, worn teeth, frequent headaches, migraines, dizziness, ear ringing and sore jaw joints.
Obviously, there is a domino effect when lost teeth are not replaced. At the same time, people who wear dentures or partial dentures may encounter an entirely different set of challenges.
When teeth are missing, the jaw bone that once supported their roots begins to shrink. This process is known as resorption. When the bone resorbs, it declines in height and mass. This reduced mass of bone creates a vulnerable foundation for remaining natural teeth. Statistics show that the next tooth you’re most likely to lose is one adjacent to a missing tooth.
Unbeknownst to many people, wearing dentures or partials actually contributes to the rate of bone loss. The pressure these appliances place on the bone speeds up the process of resorption. For those who sleep in their dentures, bone loss occurs at an even faster rate.
When the bone declines in mass, the denture or partial will eventually begin to slip or rub uncomfortable spots on tender gum tissues. This is because the appliance is custom-designed to the unique contours of an individual’s gum ridge. As the gum ridge flattens due to resorption, the fit becomes less and less secure. Over time, even denture pastes and adhesives will do little to hold the appliance in place.
We recommend dental implants for a number of reasons. The main advantage is how dental implants restore natural biting and chewing ability without requiring the support of neighboring teeth (as with some partials and crown-&-bridge combinations).
Additionally, dental implants are designed to last a lifetime. They will not experience decay, require root canals or cause damage to neighboring teeth. And, because they recreate the presence of tooth roots in the jaw bone, bone loss is halted.
When it comes to dental implants, the only obstacle for some people is cost. Although the fees associated with implants are all ‘up front,’ the problems experienced with dentures and partials that require future expense will not creep up and need continual upkeep.
Dental implants are one of the most successful implant-in-bone procedures, with a nearly 97 percent success rate. When you place your treatment in the hands of an experienced dentist who is trained in all types of implants, you optimize your potential for a successful outcome. He or she can choose the type that is truly best for your individual needs.
In our office, we combine experience, skills and comfort. We offer oral and I.V. sedation and use advanced technology to maximize comfort and precision placement. Here, safety and comfort are priorities with our entire team and our track record is exceptional.
To discuss your individual needs, call 843-871-6351. We will be happy to make recommendations and discuss easy payment plans that require no down payment and are interest-free.Read More