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What to Expect When Expecting (..A Bone Graft)

what to expect

Need a dental implant but don’t have sufficient jaw bone? Dental implants are the most effective option when it comes to replacing a tooth. However, if in order to successfully get an implant, you need to have an adequate amount of jawbone. If you don’t, then you will need a bone graft before getting the actual implant. Bone grafting is when an oral surgeon will either harvest bone from another part of your body, a cadaver, a deceased animal, or in most cases, use a special bone grafting material to anchor it onto your jaw bone, thus increasing its’ strength and density. Although the procedure may sound pretty scary, we can promise you it’s nothing of the sort. Below are some things to expect when getting a bone graft!
First, it’s important to keep in mind that dental implant surgeries are most often performed in stages. The first stage is the removal of the damaged tooth. After the removal of the tooth is when the actual bone grafting takes place; which, as explained previously, is when an oral surgeon replaces lost bone, therefore creating a base for a dental implant. Once the jawbone heals, you’ll be able to move on to the next stage, which is setting up the base for the dental implant using a titanium post. After this heals, the prosthetic tooth will then be inserted. To summarize, this process is often very long, spanning over months. A successful bone graft and implant won’t just happen overnight.
Recovery time is often based on the size of the bone graft and implant. This can take anywhere from a short two weeks to more than a year. We recommend avoiding intense physical activity for the first six weeks. Swelling is expected (as it always is after most surgical procedures); it’s your body’s reaction to the surgery. Most swelling won’t be apparent until the day following your surgery. To help aid your swelling, Ice packs can be applied to the outside of mouth where the surgery was performed.
As always, if you have any questions regarding the procedure, or simply want to discuss the details further, simply call our office @ Billerica Office Phone Number 978-667-8600.

Common Dental Implant Myths

common dental implant myths

Insecure about a missing tooth? Don’t be. With dental implants, you can get your smile back to looking perfect. For many, dental implants provide the feeling of having their natural teeth back again. This is because instead of being a removable type of device, such as a dental flipper, dental implants are permanently embedded into the jaw, which then allows a dental crown to take the place of the missing tooth. We understand that this procedure may seem intimidating, but we’re here to reassure you it’s not as bad as it sounds. Below are the top three common misconceptions when it comes to getting dental implants.

Myth #1: Dental Implants are painful

This is a common fear. Many people hold back from pursuing a dental implant, simply because they’re afraid the procedure might be too painful. However, this is not true. The procedure itself is pain-free. As always after surgery, there may be some temporary discomfort, but your doctor will work very closely with you to ensure your comfort and ease.

Myth #2: Dental Implants are expensive

Although dental implants aren’t cheap, they’re a much better investment than dental bridges, which need replacing every 7-15 years. Dental Implants cost may be high initially, but it’s a better financial decision in the long run.

Myth #3: Dental Implants cause headaches

It’s a fairly common myth that dental implants can cause migraines or headaches. However, we’re here to let you know that this is not true. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support this. After the dental implant has successfully bonded with the jaw/gums, you should experience zero pain.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding dental implants, give our office a call so we can discuss the next steps.

When Do You Need a Bone Graft?

when do you need a bone graft?

Bone grafts are essential for replacing missing or damaged bone in your jaw. Whether a cavity has reduced your tooth to an empty, gummy space after an extraction, or gum disease has caused loose teeth, a bone graft can repair and rebuild the damaged bone needed to support a dental implant. Surrounding teeth can also become loose and eventually fall out without healthy bone regeneration, which may cause future complications. Without bone grafting, a dental implant would not have enough mass to securely latch onto.

So, when do you need a bone graft?

• Once a tooth is lost, 25% of bone width is reduced within the first year. If left untreated for an extended period, there would not be enough surrounding jawbone to support a dental implant to replace a missing tooth. Once bone mass is gone, it cannot be reversed which is why a bone graft may be needed.

• Periodontal disease can also cause bone to disintegrate, which can lead to tooth loss. The bacteria slowly eat away at the jawbone and periodontal ligament, which connect teeth to bone.

• Dental trauma, including the persistence of grinding and clenching teeth, can cause excess wear on the tissue supporting tooth structure. The constant pressure can also lead to fractured or cracked teeth, which do not heal. Aside from grinding and clenching, trauma can also include a tooth getting knocked out from an accident or a fall. In this case, a bone graft may be needed as well.

Bone loss can be caused by several different circumstances, but one thing is for sure- a bone graft is a great alternative for repairing and building new bone. So, what are you waiting for? Call today for a consultation to see what our office can do for you!

3 Myths About Oral Cancer

3 myths about oral cancer

There have been many misconceptions about Oral Cancer regarding the severity, prevention and likelihood of being diagnosed with this disease. It’s important to separate fact from fiction by understanding the disease as a whole. Among the numerous myths, I am here to set three of the most common ones straight.

Myth #1: Only Smokers Get It: There are a variety of factors that can cause Oral Cancer, one of them being tobacco and nicotine usage. By smoking you would be increasing your odds of being diagnosed but that doesn’t mean only smokers are at risk for this disease. Alcohol consumption is another factor that can significantly increase your chances of Oral Cancer as well. Genetics can also play a part in the diagnosis, but they don’t guarantee you will get it.

Myth #2: It’s Rare: The most recent estimate for this year is that 50,000 people will be diagnosed with Oral Cancer. Mouth and throat cancers are ranked very high among common cancers worldwide, which is the exact opposite of rare. In order to reduce your own risk, it’s important to be aware of alcohol consumption, tobacco usage, diet as well as participating in any preventative screenings that are available.

Myth #3: I am Too Young: Although the likelihood of Oral Cancer increases with age it doesn’t mean that anyone under the age of 50 is immune to this disease. There are a variety of factors that can contribute to the diagnosis regardless of age. New studies show that even certain sexually transmitted diseases, such as HPV, are linked to the development of Oral Cancer, which increases the risk of any age group.

Staying on top of your Oral Health is key for prevention. Early diagnosis and detection will help deter the rapid spread of this disease, so it doesn’t advance to a more harmful stage. Contact our office today for your Oral Cancer screening!

What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer

what are you waiting for?One of the most important jobs we have is to examine, monitor, and diagnose oral cancer in our patients. Every year, nearly 52,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. More than 8,000 of those people will die. This is why it is crucial to get routine oral exams and keep a close eye on the state of your mouth.

To make sure that you stay educated and healthy, here is a list of the most important facts you should know about oral cancer:

  • 90% of oral cancers begin in the surface area of the mouth, tongue, and lips. We highly recommend performing regular self-exams, which your dentist can review with you!
  • Cancer found on the tongue, gums, lips, throat, or back of mouth is considered oral cancer.
  • Largest risk factors: Tobacco and alcohol use are two of the biggest risk factors for oral cancer.
  • Other risk factors: Pre-cancerous oral lesion, excessive UV/sun exposure, human papilloma virus (HPV), certain drugs and genetic syndromes.
  • If you are experiencing these common oral cancer symptoms, call our office: Sores that don’t heal, lumps inside the mouth, white or red patches on soft tissues in the mouth, bleeding, pain when swallowing or chewing, numbness, difficulty moving the jaw or tongue, lumps in neck, hoarseness, and more.
  • To diagnose oral cancer, we will examine the mouth and neck, inquire about your exposure to risk factors, and possibly order biopsies and imaging of the head (CT, MRI, etc).
  • Pain is not typically present with early stage oral cancer, so it is crucial to get routine oral checks!

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to call our office and schedule an appointment! Billerica Office Phone Number 978-667-8600

4 Types of Foods You Can Eat After You Have Had Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

indulge post surgeryAbout 90% of people need to get their wisdom teeth removed. If you are a part of that 90%, you might be wondering what the steps are post-surgery. Taking it easy and getting a lot of rest is a key step to a quick recovery. Another big step is knowing what you can and can’t eat. Here is a list of foods you can indulge in post-surgery.

  1. Ice Cream: After having a minor surgery, it’s okay to treat yourself with a little sweet. The coolness will not only feel good, but it will also help sooth inflamed tissue. Try to avoid eating cones and flavors of ice cream with large chunks in them like chocolate chips and nuts.
  2. Soup: Soup is a great food to have on hand after your surgery. It provides protein and the broth is easy to eat. If you choose this brothy goodness, make sure you aren’t eating large pieces of vegetables and the temperature of the soup isn’t too hot.
  3. Mashed potatoes: Not only are mashed potatoes delicious, but they are easy to make and they really are the perfect post-surgery food. You can smother them with gravy, butter or sour cream. Top the meal with whatever sounds good to you, but make sure there aren’t large potato chunks you’ll have to chew. Another route you could take is mashed sweet potato. Top it with butter and cinnamon to take this savory treat to sweet!
  4. Smoothies (NO STRAWS): Smoothies are a great source to get all the nutrients your body will need. You can make different flavors with fruits and vegetables. Prepack your smoothie packs before you have your surgery so all you have to do is blend and enjoy. You could also add in different protein powders or vitamins to help your body. If you choose to make a smoothie, DO NOT USE A STRAW. Sucking on a straw could disrupt your healing process and create dry sockets.

These are just a few ideas of what you can eat post-surgery. There are a ton of other options. Get creative and indulge in the snacks you wouldn’t normally eat for your main course. If you have any hesitations or questions on what you can’t and can eat, call our office. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Billerica Office Phone Number 978-667-8600

Facts About Bone Grafting

know the factsModern bone grafts can be used to fix a number of dental and facial issues and are often required. Dental implants often cannot be placed without first getting a bone graft. If you are considering getting dental implants or think you’re in need of a bone graft, here are some things you may want to know!

Bone grafting is a routine procedure!

Over the years, bone grafting has become a standard and highly-practiced procedure. The procedure is typically performed in the office, depending on each individual case and a local anesthesia or conscience sedation is available if needed in order to block the pain and calm any anxiety you may be feeling!

A number of materials can be used!

The bone grafting material that we use may come from a variety of sources. If we are able, we generally like to use bone from your own body, which decreases the chance of your body rejecting the graft. If possible, we will take this bone from your hip, jaw, or lower knee. If this is not an option, we are able to obtain bone from a tissue bank.

Bone grafting allows for your body to rebuild itself!

Your body will use your new bone graft as a sort of frame to grow new bone. Over time, the graft will be replaced with new bone that your body has grown during its own regeneration process. Keeping a healthy amount of bone tissue around your teeth is crucial in maintaining great oral health.

If you are in need of a dental implant, have a congenital defect, or have suffered a traumatic facial injury, and you’re wondering if you might need a bone graft, give our practice a call! We can assess your case, answer your questions and come up with the best possible treatment option for you! Billerica Office Phone Number 978-667-8600

Bone Grafting for Dental Implants

woman smiling holding model of a dental implantBone grafting and dental implants typically go hand-in-hand, as the loss of a tooth can wear down the surrounding jawbone structure and a dental implant is a common procedure to replace lost teeth. As soon as a person loses a tooth, bone loss begins. In order to place a sturdy, reliable dental implant, a bone grafting procedure is often required in order to rebuild the jawbone. While bone grafting sounds daunting, it is a safe and reliable procedure that prepares the jaw bone for a dental implant, and in most cases, is necessary to build up a sturdy foundation.

In a bone graft procedure, bone tissue taken from another part of the body is grafted into the jawbone. Another method utilizes processed bone from animals, but results in the same regrowth of your jaw. It can take several months for the graft to set and grow into a stable foundation for a dental implant.

Depending on the amount of bone loss, bone grafts can be placed at a variety of times during the implant process. For example, if only a minor bone graft is needed, we may be able to place it at the same time as the dental implant. However, if a larger bone graft is necessary, it will have to rest for months before the dental implant procedure can be performed.

Bone grafting is a very important and often overlooked procedure when it comes to preparing for a dental implant! Dental implants have increased in popularity and effectiveness over the years, as they provide the most reliable replacement for natural teeth. Dental implants look and feel like normal teeth, and if treated properly, can last the rest of a person’s lifetime! Bone grafts and dental implants work together to restore smiles.

Contact us today at Billerica Office Phone Number 978-667-8600 to schedule your dental implant consultation, and we can talk about your bone grafting options!

What is a Wisdom Tooth?

impacted wisdom toothWe all know that for most people, wisdom teeth need to be removed in order to prevent serious dental problems! But have you ever wondered, what exactly is a wisdom tooth? Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that typically grow in during a person’s late teens/early twenties.

Why are they called “wisdom” teeth?

Formally known as “third molars”, wisdom teeth developed their name due to the late nature of their arrival, at an age where people are “wiser” than when their other teeth grow in (during childhood).

What is their purpose?

Today, wisdom teeth are no longer needed in order for us to process food. Back in the day, however, when the human diet consisted of tough meats and fibrous vegetables, an extra molar was needed to break down food. Scientists have not discovered a common day use for wisdom teeth, as they are not needed for chewing modern food.

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

Over the years, human jaws have become much smaller, making the space too crowded for wisdom teeth. Therefore, when wisdom teeth start growing in, they push on the teeth that have already established themselves. Once they start pushing on other teeth, the alignment of a person’s mouth is affected. Wisdom teeth can easily become “impacted”. This means that they are trapped underneath a person’s gums and are unable to fully erupt, which can be painful. Since wisdom teeth aren’t needed and can affect your smile and health negatively, we recommend that most people have them removed. For the few pepole that don’t get their wisdom teeth removed, serious dental health problems can occur down the road.

If you’re curious about the status of your wisdom teeth – contact us today at Billerica Office Phone Number 978-667-8600 and we will go over your options with you!

5 Benefits of Jaw Surgery

woman smilingOrthognathic surgery, otherwise known as jaw surgery is performed by Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons to correct an array of jaw-related problems that affect everyday life. Surgery is an option when problems with the teeth and bite alignment cannot be corrected with traditional orthodontic treatments.

  1. Pain Relief: One reason that many people decide to have jaw surgery is to relieve jaw pain. Often with misaligned jaws, one experiences strain on the muscles that surround the jaw area. This discomfort can often be decreased with surgery.
  2. Chewing: Jaw surgery realigns the jaw, allowing for the teeth to have optimal bite function. This makes chewing easier and may allow you to enjoy foods that you were not able to eat previously. An improvement in chewing function will also show a noticeable improvement in digestion.
  3. Tooth Wear: Once the jaw is correctly aligned, the teeth themselves will also benefit. Teeth that are correctly aligned will have overall better wear and tear because the pressure of the bite will be spread evenly around the jaw.
  4. Speech: The correction of jaw alignment can have a positive effect on speech. The alignment of the jaw doesn’t only affect eating; it can also affect our speech. Correcting the jawline has been shown to improve speech capabilities.
  5. Appearance: The correction of the jaw often will result in an improved facial appearance allowing many to find newfound confidence after their jaw surgery.

Corrective jaw surgery will position your jaws and teeth into a more functional and healthy bite. The overall improvement to your jaw will allow for an increased enjoyment in life.

If you are wondering if jaw surgery would be beneficial to you, give our office a call at Billerica Office Phone Number 978-667-8600 to schedule a consultation.