FAQs

Is Removal of Wisdom Teeth Necessary?

Wisdom teeth are the last to erupt. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen.

The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt successfully.

These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection, resulting in swelling, stiffness, pain and illness. The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth.

Removal of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.

Do Dental Implants Need Special Care?

Once the implants are in place, they will serve you well for a lifetime if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists.

What Types of Prostheses are Available?

A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing; each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant. A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and may require only two or three implants. A complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge) replaces all the teeth in the upper or lower jaw.

The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. A removable prosthesis (over denture) attaches to a bar or ball-in-socket attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by the dentist.

Drs. Gaitros, Bufalini and Booth perform in-office implant surgery in a hospital-style operating suite, thus optimizing the level of sterility. Inpatient implant surgery is for patients who have special medical or anesthetic needs, or for those who need extensive bone grafting from the jaw, hip or tibia.

S-tooth-con-a
(Image provided by DentsPly)

Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?

Jaw growth is a gradual process and in some instances, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates resulting in a host of problems that can affect chewing function, speech, long-term oral health and appearance. Injury to the jaw and birth defects can also affect jaw alignment. Orthodontics alone can correct bite problems when only the teeth are involved; orthognathic surgery may be required when repositioning the jaws is needed.

If you are a candidate for corrective jaw surgery, our doctors will work closely with your dentist and orthodontist during your treatment. The actual surgery can move your teeth and jaws into a new position that will result in a more attractive, functional and healthy dental-facial relationship.

What About Bite Correction or Surgery?

If your TMJ disorder has caused problems with how your teeth fit together, you may need treatment such as bite adjustment (equilibration), orthodontics with or without jaw reconstruction, or restorative dental work.

Surgical options such as arthroscopy and open joint repair restructuring are sometimes needed, but are reserved for severe cases. Our doctors will not consider TMJ surgery unless the jaw can’t open, is dislocated and non-reducible, has severe degeneration, or the patient has undergone appliance treatment unsuccessfully.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental Implants are substitute tooth roots, used to replace natural tooth roots in areas of the mouth where teeth are missing. The replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth—dramatically improving so many aspects of a person’s life. With dental implants, a person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and smile with confidence. The natural-looking replacement teeth also help preserve facial contours and prevent the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

How New is Dental Implant Technology?

Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, developed the dental implant concept for oral rehabilitation more than 40 years ago. With his pioneering research, Dr. Branemark opened the door to a lifetime of renewed comfort and self-confidence for millions of individuals facing the frustration and embarrassment of tooth loss.

Who Actually Performs the Implant Placement?

Implants are a team effort between an oral & maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. While our doctors perform the actual implant surgery (plus the initial tooth extractions and bone grafting if necessary), the restorative dentist fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. The dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.

Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types of Restorations?

DENTURES

  • Little change over the past few centuries
  • Poor fitting, causes sore spots
  • Embarrassing moments
  • Limited chewing ability
  • Very bulky, interferes with taste
  • Must be removed at night

BAR ATTACHMENT DENTURE™ IMPLANT BRIDGE

  • Proven technique for the new millennium
  • Uses 4 implants in each jaw
  • Teeth are permanently fixed
  • No need for bone grafting and sinus lifting
  • Replaces teeth without bulky denture base
  • Chewing ability similar to natural teeth

BRIDGES

  • Require that the adjacent healthy teeth be ground down to support the false tooth
  • Does not replace the tooth root, therefore bone loss will still occur
  • If an adjacent anchor tooth is lost or damaged, the next healthy tooth will need to be ground down, and another bridge will need to be made
  • Last only 7-10 years on average
  • Lower costs in the short term, costs increase as the need for replacement occurs

SINGLE TOOTH DENTAL IMPLANT

  • Does not damage adjacent teeth
  • Integrates with the jaw, preventing any future bone loss
  • With proper care, implants can last forever
  • Looks, feels and performs like your natural tooth

Am I a Candidate for Implants?

If you are considering implants, you will need to have a thorough oral examination, and your medical and dental histories must be reviewed. If your mouth is currently not ideal for implants, ways of improving the outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.

What Type of Anesthesia is Used?

The majority of dental implants and bone graft procedures can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, as well as with or without general anesthesia. We also offer nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas” as an additional sedation option. Whatever your anesthesia choice is, we will ensure that your procedure is comfortable and pain-free.