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Blog > What to Do Before and After Getting Dental Implants

What to Do Before and After Getting Dental Implants

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Getting dental implants can be a life-changing experience. You'll be able to replace missing teeth with an artificial version that looks and feels like natural teeth. But while the surgery itself is in your dentist's hands, there is a lot you can do before and after the surgery to ensure its success.


Pre-Surgery Tips

Dental implant surgery requires more effort than simply showing up to your appointment. You'll need to do the following things prior to the day the surgery takes place.


Give Up Smoking

If you currently smoke, your dentist will want you to give up the habit before the date of your surgery. While your dentist may have a recommended amount of time, try to give up smoking for one week before and two weeks after your surgery date.


Smokers that have received dental implants are more likely to have them fail when they continue to smoke. You're better off kicking this habit for the time being if you want the surgery to be successful.


Arrange a Ride

The sedation that is used for dental implants will knock you out. While you may be able to drive yourself to the appointment, there is no way you will be able to drive home. Arrange for a friend or family member to take you to the appointment since chances are that you will not be coherent enough to drive yourself home after the procedure.


Do Not Eat Anything

The sedation will also require that you avoid eating and drinking before the procedure for about 8-12 hours so that you don't become nauseous after the procedure.


Post-Surgery Tips

Recovering from getting dental implants also requires that you follow a few simple tips.


Take All Medications

Your dentist will provide with instructions about what you should do after you return home from the dental implant procedure. Be sure to follow all their directions, which includes taking medications. You may be prescribed an antibiotic to fight off a potential infection, which requires taking the entire dosage  


for it to be effective. An infection can cause your implants to fail, so take all the medication to help fight it.


In addition, it is a good idea to have those prescriptions ready to go if possible. If the dentist is going to give you a powerful pain pill, you'll want to get the pills immediately. Do not wait until you start to feel pain to have the prescription filled since you can take those pills before your initial pain medication wears off.


Use Ice Packs

You will have swelling around your jaw and face after the procedure, which is completely normal. You will need to take steps to reduce how much swelling is occurring though. Have ice packs ready that you can put on the surgical area. Simply rotate between having the ice on and off in short intervals over the first few days.

You do not want to use heat for treating the area. Ice works well to dull pain and reduce swelling since it is a natural anti-inflammatory. Heat is best for chronic pain and sore muscles.


Use a Salt Water Rinse

One key to a healthy recovery will be to keep the surgical site clean while it is healing. Do this by using a salt water rinse throughout the day. All you need to do is add a teaspoon worth of salt to a glass of water, mix it up, then swish it around your mouth before spitting it into your sink.

Speak with Gregory S. Rutherford, DDS, PA, if you have more questions about care before and after getting dental implants.



Blog > Crowns, Implants, and Bridges: Which Do You Need

Crowns, Implants, and Bridges: Which Do You Need

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If you have a damaged tooth that's in need of repair, you may be wondering whether you should get a crown, an implant, or a bridge. The truth is that these are all very similar solutions to your problems, but your individual situation could make one solution a better option.

Crowns: The Best Option for Preserving Existing Material

If you have enough tooth material left, a crown can be an option. With a crown, most of the visible tooth will be removed, but the underlying tooth will still be left under the gum line. The tooth will then be reconstructed in a material like ceramic, so it looks like new.

Whenever the root system of a tooth is relatively healthy, a crown is usually the best option. The roots themselves may be removed through the process of a root canal (so the tooth does not feel any pain), but the physical structure of the tooth will remain.

For young patients in particular, a crown is almost always ideal. By preserving as much of the tooth as possible, the dentist can mitigate the possibility of a lot of additional damage later on. Natural tooth material almost always lasts much longer than synthetic, though of course synthetic material can also be replaced.

Implants: The Best Option for Replacing a Whole Tooth

Sometimes a tooth does not have enough material to save. In this situation, the tooth has to be removed completely. There are two options from here: either an implant or a bridge. An implant is almost always preferred.

Implants are screwed through the gum and the bone of the jaw, making them as strong as regular teeth. Because the implants are placed on a post, they are durable and they are long-lasting.

An implant will prevent other teeth from drifting, which can happen over time. When teeth drift, they can ruin a person's bite; a poor bite can cause additional wear on surrounding teeth and even lead to an eventual misalignment of the jaw.

But the downside to an implant is that they do tend to be the most expensive option. They require surgical procedures, such as drilling.

Bridges: The Best Option for Affordable Tooth Replacement

If you have a tooth or teeth removed, you may be able to replace them with a bridge. A bridge is a tooth implant that is not anchored into the jaw. Instead, the tooth is actually anchored on the surrounding teeth. Because they simply need to be anchored to the other teeth, they are generally more affordable and less invasive than an implant. 

But bridges do have downsides. Though they can sometimes be more affordable than other options, they can weaken the surrounding teeth. They put a lot of pressure on the surrounding teeth, and if a patient is fairly young, this pressure could eventually lead to some damage.

Bridges are more likely to experience issues than implants, and they may need to be maintained and replaced in the future. At the same time, they will still prevent some tooth drifting and will maintain a person's bite. 

Because the right solution for you is so highly dependent on the health of your teeth, it really needs a professional assessment. A professional will be able to look at the health of your current teeth and the health of your surrounding teeth and will give you advice on your best option. To get started today, contact the office of GregoryS. Rutherford, DDS, PA.

Blog > Risk Factors for Bruxism

Risk Factors for Bruxism

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Bruxism affects 10 percent of adults in the U.S., according to the American Sleep Association. If you've never heard of bruxism, the medical name itself may be throwing you off. In plain English, bruxism is grinding or clenching your teeth.

This condition goes beyond a once in a while clench or a temporary stress-related gnash. Patients with bruxism consistently clench and grind their teeth while they sleep or unconsciously when they're awake. In the mildest forms, bruxism may not affect the patient's daily life or health. But moderate to severe bruxism can cause headaches, jaw problems, worn enamel, face pain, sleep disturbances, and chipped or damaged teeth.

Dentists and doctors don't have a clear picture of what causes bruxism, but they can treat it. Treatment requires a positive diagnosis by a professional (dentist or physician). If you think that you may have bruxism, you'll need an evaluation. Along with looking for specific symptoms and signs, the dentist will also ask about risk factors. Take a look at the top factors that may increase the risk of bruxism.


Genetics

Patients who have family members with the condition tend to also have it themselves. Genetics are behind more than a few medical conditions and health issues. Your parents, grandparents, and the rest of your family tree provide the building blocks for who you are. From your eye color to whether you grind your teeth, genetics provide a way to pass traits down through the generations.

Not every health-related concern is genetic, though. With that in mind, researchers have tested the idea that bruxism is a hereditary condition. A literature review published in the journal Oral Rehabilitation revealed that after reviewing recent research on the subject (of bruxism and genetics), the condition does run in families.

What does this mean for you? If one, or both, of your parents is a grinder and a clencher, you may have the problem too.


Medications

Side effects from prescription medications go well beyond headaches, tummy troubles, and a rash. Some medications, primarily antidepressants, raise the risk of developing bruxism. Common antidepressants such as Paxil, Zoloft, and Prozac have been known to cause bruxism in some patients.

Even though teeth clenching or grinding has been associated with antidepressant use, this side effect shouldn't sway you from using these types of medications if your doctor feels that they are beneficial and medically indicated. Depression is a serious disease that requires treatment.

If you develop medication-related bruxism, your doctor and dentist can work together to come up with an acceptable plan that alleviates your facial pain while still treating your depressive symptoms.

Along with prescription medications, substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine can also raise the risk of developing (or worsen) bruxism.

This doesn't mean that using these substances will cause grinding and clenching. But there is research pointing to an association between the use of these substances and the dental-motor condition.


Stress

Your mental state may contribute to clenching and grinding. Stress and anxiety are common risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing bruxism. Your mental state itself doesn't cause the grinding. Instead, the way you handle excess stress is the likely culprit behind this condition.

Along with stress and anxiety, anger and frustration can also lead to bruxism. While an anxious or angry mental state raises the risk, the resulting grinding and clenching is typically a temporary problem. Learning how to handle stress or removing the stressor can also make the bruxism go away.

Do you suspect that you have bruxism? Contact Gregory S. Rutherford, DDS, PA for individualized treatments for your bruxism and any other dental conditions.