Mark Friedrich, DDS, PC

Dental Implants: High Tech Teeth

What are dental implants? Dental implants are replacement tooth roots that provide a foundation for both fixed and removable replacement teeth. Like roots, dental implants are secured within the jawbone and not visible once surgically placed. Teeth replacement is not new to dental technology. Early civilizations practiced teeth replacements; archaeologists have discovered skulls where teeth have been replaced by cast iron and sea shells. Despite their primitive methods, some of these implants were fused with bone like modern dental implants! However, unlike the ancient cast iron or sea shell implants, modern implants are composed of titanium. Titanium is lightweight, strong, and biocompatible.

Dental Implants-High Tech TeethAccording to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device — 98%. Dental implants are available in several designs that meet individual needs: single tooth replacement, multiple tooth replacement, implant supported prosthesis (removable), and an implant stabilized denture. Aside from meeting individual needs, there are a few other advantages to having dental implants:

  1. Improved appearance. Dental implants are designed to fuse with bone, and look and feel like your natural teeth.
  2. Improved comfort. Because dental implants become an extension of your natural mouth, implants remove the discomfort associated with removable dentures.
  3. Easier eating. Dental implants act as your natural teeth, allowing you to eat without the pain and discomfort that often accompany slipping of dentures.
  4. Improved self-esteem. Dental implants give your best natural smiling, helping build self-confidence!
  5. Improved oral health. Dental implants are the only proven way to prevent bone loss after the loss of natural teeth. The jawbone needs consistent chewing action to stimulate continual bone growth. Tooth/teeth replacement with dental implants offers a solution to prevent bone loss.
  6. With proper care, consistent brushing, flossing and routine dental visits, dental implants can last 40-years to life.

If you are interested in dental implants, or have any questions regarding the procedure, call the office today!

Rubber Tipping: A Guide to Gum Health

Brushing and flossing are important aspects of our daily dental routine, but they’re only two parts of the oral health equation. Good oral hygiene goes beyond a simple teeth cleaning. While gum health is often overlooked, a quick trip to the drugstore is all it takes to find the right tools for keeping gums healthy! If you want to avoid the risk of gum disease, it’s time to introduce rubber tipping to your routine.

Rubber Tipping A Guide to Gum HealthWhat is rubber tipping?

Rubber tipping is a technique that strengthens the gums with the use of a handheld dental instrument called a rubber tip gum stimulator. You simply apply pressure to the gums to help prevent gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, and periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.

How do you use a gum stimulator?

  1. Brush and floss your teeth first to remove as much food debris as possible.
  2. Run the rubber tip of the gum stimulator under hot water to soften it for gentler use.
  3. Gently massage the gum line with the rubber tip. You can also run the stimulator between your teeth to remove any remaining food debris.

Why should I use a gum stimulator?

Gum stimulators are time-efficient, multipurpose instruments that improve overall oral health. They primarily stimulate the gum tissue to strengthen it against infection, but they also help with cavity prevention by assisting food and plaque removal.

How does rubber tipping affect jawbone health?

Jawbone loss is a serious concern that is linked to poor gum tissue health. Tooth loss is a primary symptom of gum disease, and it has a devastating impact on the jaw. With missing teeth, the jawbone no longer has something to support, and it begins to deteriorate from underuse. Jawbone loss drastically worsens jaw function and facial structure overtime.
Because gum stimulators are crucial in preventing gum disease, they also eliminate the need for procedures such as bone grafting, which promotes bone regeneration after the jaw has atrophied.

If you have any concerns about your gum health, consider adding rubber tipping to your dental care repertoire!

Veneers: Doorway to a Successful Smile

For minor tooth imperfections, veneers provide the opportunity of an improved smile with little hassle and minimal time invested.   In fact, with veneers, we can help you achieve a new smile! Here are some commonly asked questions about veneers and how they can help to resolve a variety of cosmetic dental issues!

Veneers cWhat are veneers?

Veneers are thin layers of porcelain placed over damaged teeth to improve the durability and aesthetic appeal of your smile. As a bonus, veneers also offer strength and resilience similar to that of natural tooth enamel! First we will analyze your smile to identify where veneers might make improvements. Next we will create the veneers and finally we will bond them to your teeth.

Why should I get veneers?

Veneers are ideal for fixing imperfections that are caused by one or more of the following situations:

  • Discolored teeth: Often, drug use, smoking, excessive amounts of fluoride and even root canal treatments can lead to a discolored smile.
  • Worn down teeth.
  • Broken or chipped teeth.
  • Gaps between teeth.
  • Misaligned or uneven teeth.

How can I get veneers?

Give us a call to set up a veneers consultation. We will examine your mouth and decide whether you are a good candidate for veneers.

Before the veneers are designed, we will scrape about half a millimeter of enamel off of your tooth, roughly equal to the thickness of the added veneer. This ensures good bonding and adequate space for the veneer. After the veneer has been created (roughly two weeks after your first visit), we will carefully examine whether it fits in your mouth and how it looks next to your other teeth. Then we will apply a special adhesive to your tooth and finally place the veneer on top!

Call us today to set up an appointment to reclaim your perfect smile!

Oral Bacteria: Get the Facts

We all have bacteria in our mouth, good and bad. But what exactly do these bacteria do? We’ve got all kinds of information on the role bacteria play in your oral health. Learn more about those pesky bacteria in your mouth!

Oral BacteriaFact #1

There are anywhere between 500 and 1,000 different kinds of bacteria in our mouths.

Fact #2

Babies’ mouths are free of bacteria at birth. However, bacteria is transferred into their mouths from their mothers within hours of birth, mainly through kissing and food sharing.

Fact #3

Saliva flushes harmful bacteria out of the mouth by making it hard for bacteria to stick to the surfaces of our teeth.

Fact #4

Some foods can also flush bacteria from the teeth. Crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery stimulate the gums, while acidic fruits like apples increase saliva production to wash the teeth clean.

Fact #5

The tongue holds a significant portion of the mouth’s bacteria. It’s just as important to clean the tongue as it is to brush and floss, because bacteria on the tongue contributes to gum disease and bad breath. Try using a plastic or metal tongue scraper to clear out bacteria!

Fact #6

Hormonal changes during pregnancy put soon-to-be mothers at a higher risk of tooth erosion. Morning sickness and general hormonal changes cause acidity in the mouth to increase, which in turn erodes enamel.

Fact #7

Smoking increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Not all bacteria are bad; in fact, some are even necessary to maintain hygienic balance. However, smoking tobacco destroys helpful bacteria in the mouth, which promotes the growth of harmful oral bacteria.

Fact #8

Oral bacteria multiply in number every 4-5 hours. No wonder it’s so important to brush teeth twice a day!

Who knew something so small could have such a big impact on your oral health! Make sure to schedule regular dental exams with us to keep oral bacteria under control for a clean, healthy smile!

No Teeth? No Problem!

Are missing teeth causing you difficulty, discomfort or embarrassment? Don’t worry – we have all the facts about tooth replacement treatments and the effectiveness of dental implants as a long-term solution for missing teeth.

No Teeth No ProblemWhat are dental implants?

Dental implants are replacement teeth made of titanium. They are composed of an artificial crown attached to a screw that is surgically implanted into the jaw for stability. Implants are an effective treatment for missing teeth because they maintain the strength of the jaw.

There are a few alternative treatment options, some more lasting than others:

Flippers are temporary, removable plastic teeth. They are attached to a retainer for easy removal. Flippers are one of the most cost efficient tooth replacement methods; however, they are the least durable alternatives to dental implants and are considered short-term solutions until a more lasting treatment can be performed.

Fixed bridges literally “bridge” gaps caused by one or more missing teeth. A dental bridge consists of a false tooth, called a pontic, and two abutment teeth, which are crowns that anchor the bridge to the teeth on either side of the gap. Abutment teeth can be secured to both natural teeth and dental implants; however, anchoring them to natural teeth can cause damage.

Dentures are a common treatment for individuals missing all their teeth in one or both of their jaws. They are made of a removable frame that holds an entire set of teeth.

Removable partial dentures are removable frames that hold a partial set of teeth rather than a full set of teeth. This option is often considered for individuals who are missing some but not all of their teeth in one or both jaws.

Why choose dental implants?

Implants are the longest lasting treatment for missing teeth. With proper care, dental implants can last up to ten years or longer. Because they are surgically anchored into the jawbone, they function like natural teeth.

Strawberries and Baking Soda for Whiter Teeth: Debunked

You may have heard the recent claim that a mixture of fruit and baking soda applied to the teeth will whiten them dramatically, inexpensively and in a much more “organic” way than traditional bleaching methods.

Strawberries and Baking SodaIn particular, young adults and teens have shown themselves to be susceptible to this advice. They readily experiment with it and spread the idea throughout their community because the materials involved are so easily accessible.

While the claim has some merit and certainly comes from well-meaning sources, we feel that we should set the record straight. New research done on the subject from Professor So Ran Kwon of the University of Iowa shows that while the mixture does brighten the smile a bit, it does so merely by removing superficial debris. So although the teeth may look whiter, the effect is short-lived. As plaque and debris build up again, the teeth will darken.

In addition to that, the fruit and baking soda mixture method may reduce the surface hardness of your teeth, leaving them vulnerable to decay.

To achieve a permanently whiter smile, what you really need is a substance that penetrates into teeth and breaks down stain molecules, whitening teeth from the inside out for better and longer-lasting results.

If you want whiter teeth, we urge you to use ADA approved methods for achieving that brighter smile!

Get Checked, April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month!

Being that we are entering April, now is the time to be proactive and get yourself checked for oral cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 48,330 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer, and an estimated 9,570 people will die from oral cancer in 2016. In the spirit of April’s Oral Cancer Awareness, we urge you to receive regular oral cancer examinations. Remember—early detection saves lives!

Get CheckedAre you at risk?

The sad truth is that oral cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women, and the fastest growing group of oral cancer patients are young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals. It is more important than ever for young adults, as well as older men and women, to get regular screenings whether they think they’re at risk or not.

Knowing the risks can help you make educated decisions about your health. There are several risks that increase your chances of developing oral cancer:

  • Smoking and using tobacco products have been a known long-term historic causes of oral cancer.
  • Heavy alcohol usage also makes you more susceptible to develop oral cancer.
  • The HPV virus, a sexually-transmitted disease, is the leading cause of oropharyngeal (the back part of the mouth) cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The mouth is one of the body’s most crucial early warning signs in the fight against oral cancer. In between regular dental visits, it’s important to be aware of the mouth’s signs and symptoms. Remember, if you see any of these signs or symptoms, schedule an appointment at the office if you don’t see improvement within two-three weeks:

  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice.
  • The development of white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth.

Oral Cancer Awareness: Let’s Spread the Word!

Has there ever been a moment in your life where you felt that you should be a part of something bigger than yourself? An organization, a charity, or a non-profit perhaps? Humans are born with the innate desire to help others, so it’s no wonder that we may feel the need to give back to the world in one way or another. And sometimes, it’s the simple acts that yield the most difference. This month you have the opportunity to get involved with a sweeping issue that goes unnoticed too often, and you may help save a life by doing it.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and we need to stir up some conversation. Oral cancer awareness in the American public is extremely low, with very little acknowledgment of its devastating realities. According to the AAOMS, oral and pharyngeal cancer (cancer of the upper throat and mouth) collectively kills nearly one person of every hour of everyday of the year. Approximately 48,250 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year. While smoking and tobacco use are still major risk factors, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients is healthy, young, nonsmoking individuals. We know this sounds scary, but the truth of the matter is that it is scary, and we need to confront the concern head on.

Awareness is so much more than just knowing about an issue, it’s also about collective, meaningful action. Share this information with your family, friends, and coworkers. Help educate those around you about the importance of regular self-exams and screenings. Oral cancer is not a new phenomenon, but with advancing technologies and the ability to rapidly share information, we can have a new approach. It is possible for fatalities to be avoided! As reported by the AAOMS, the death rate associated with oral and pharyngeal cancers remains particularly high due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development. This means our voice can carry the power to make a difference in the world of oral cancers.

April 10-16th is Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Week (OHANCAW).

A message from President Louis K. Rafetto, DMD, mentions that the AAOMS is joining a number of dental organizations in support of the Oral Cancer Foundation’s 17th annual observance this April. This designated week will encourage practitioners, patients and other interested individuals (like YOU) to promote head and neck cancer awareness through the use of public service announcements, news releases, talks at middle and high schools, walk-a-thons, and other community-based activities.

Dental Implants: What to Expect

Dental Implants-What to ExpectIf you have been considering dental implant surgery, you might be concerned about what to expect. Questions such as: “Will I need to take time off of work?”, “Will I need bone grafting?” and “How quickly will I heal?” are not uncommon. We get that you’ve got questions, and we’ve got answers.

Placing a dental implant is a process that is different for each patient. The healing process and the steps required all depend on what’s going on in your mouth. The only way to know exactly what to expect is to consult with us at our office, but we’d be happy to give you an overview here:

Can I go back to work right away?
You may have read that it can take months to completely heal from a dental implant procedure. This is true, but a little misleading. Many patients are able to return to work the next day, but the mouth takes time to truly be ‘good as new’. It all depends on your specific procedure. We recommend that you plan to rest for a day. Keep in mind that your body will heal faster if you avoid exhausting yourself. If you take good care of yourself, you should be back to work very quickly.

How can I care for myself while I heal?
After the surgery, you will need to go easy on your mouth. Just like after any oral surgery, we recommend eating only soft foods for at least two weeks. You may be given antibiotics and instructions to rinse with salt water. Keeping your mouth clean is important to prevent infection. Avoid smoking.

About Bone Grafting
It may be the case that your bone is not strong enough to support the implant. In this case, bone grafting may be necessary. During this routine procedure, we take bone from a stronger part of your jaw or another part of your body, implant it into the jaw and are thus able to encourage your body to begin growing strong, new bone in its place. If you only need a small amount of bone, it may be possible to do the procedure during the same appointment as your implant surgery. However, it may be the case that you need to wait for bone growth to occur prior to us placing the implant. Every case is different.

Let us properly inform you on what you personally can expect! Schedule an appointment today!

What Type of Floss Should I Use?

What Type of Floss Should I UseWe know we don’t have to tell you this—but flossing at least once a day is key to healthy gums and teeth! And while studies have shown it doesn’t really matter what kind of floss you use (as long as you do it!), people are more likely to use floss that’s easy for them to use. We’ve broken down the different types of floss, so you can decide which is best for you!

Waxed and Unwaxed

Waxed floss will glide easier, but there isn’t really any other difference between waxed and unwaxed floss. If your teeth are close together, try one of these.

Ultra Floss

Ultra floss is a thicker floss that can be stretched to fit between tight spaces between your teeth; this is a good option if the closeness of your teeth varies.

Tape

Dental tape is a relatively new addition to the floss family. This fatter floss option is made from plastic and has a bit more stretch. If you have wide spaces between your teeth or have sensitive gums, try this ribbon-like floss.

Flossing picks

If you find yourself on the go—or if you hate the feeling of floss wrapped around your fingers—try disposable picks that have handles to make flossing a little easier!

Oral Irrigators

Recent trials are inconclusive on whether using a water flosser is as effective as traditional floss, but studies agree that using an oral irrigator is better than not flossing at all!

So which one is the best? Any one you’ll actually use! Don’t hesitate to ask us for different types of floss at your next cleaning to see what works best for you!