My Blog

Posts for: November, 2011

By Drake Tollefson DDS
November 27, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns   dental implants  

If you have missing teeth, dental implants are the state-of-the-art tooth replacement system. They act as substitutes for natural tooth roots, stabilizing the bone with which they fuse and become integrated with. This protects the remaining bone and prevents its further loss, the natural occurrence after the natural teeth are lost. Done correctly, implants can offer a long-term solution to the problem of missing teeth.

Key factors assuring dental implant success are having an experienced dental team consisting of:

  1. A surgeon (periodontist or oral surgeon, or dentist trained in surgical techniques to place the implants)
  2. A dental technician who will design the crowns (tooth portion of the implant)
  3. A restorative dentist to place the crowns

The whole team is necessary to plan the process as well as carry out their individual roles. They will ensure that there is enough bone and that it is in the right place prior to treatment to allow for proper implant position, and that the implant/s are correctly placed, which is necessary to allow for natural aesthetics and proper function.

Replacing missing teeth is imperative to maintaining normal oral health and function. Dental implants will help support the entire structure of the face. If back teeth are lost, the vertical height of the lower face and mouth can begin to collapse, negatively impacting biting function and causing creasing and cracking of the lips and facial skin, resulting in a prematurely aged look.

Implants differ from bridgework in several ways, making them the most favorable option for tooth replacement in many cases. For starters, they do not affect adjacent teeth, nor do they decay like teeth, and they are less susceptible to gum disease. In the long-term, implants are a more cost-effective solution based on the fact that once they are placed, their life expectancy is longer than bridgework.

If you have missing teeth that have negatively affected your appearance, self-confidence, and ability to chew, call us today to talk about the possibility of replacing them with dental implants. To learn more about the use and capabilities of dental implants, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants: Evaluating Your Options For Replacing Missing Teeth.”


By Drake Tollefson DDS
November 20, 2011
Category: Oral Health

One topic we are often asked about is finger or thumb sucking and/or pacifier use — a challenge that most parents or caregivers will likely face with at least one of their children. The first and perhaps most important thing to remember is that it is totally normal for babies and young children to suck their fingers, thumb or a pacifier. It only becomes a problem when it continues as the child ages or if you unnecessarily make it a problem.

For most children, the sucking instinct starts in the womb before birth. This fact is evident, as many expectant mothers are shown their child sucking fingers or a thumb during a mid or late-term sonogram. Once the child is born, the habit may continue because it provides the child with a sense of security. Other research indicates that some babies start sucking habits as a way to make contact with, test and learn about their new world outside the womb. It is interesting to note that most children typically tend to stop finger or thumb sucking habits on their own and without much intervention between the ages of two and four. However, for others it can continue much longer. And that is the scenario that parents and caregivers need to be aware of so that they can monitor sucking habits.

Children who suck their thumbs or a pacifier after the age of two have a higher risk of developing some long term negative effects from the habit. This includes but is not limited to upper jaw development issues and “buck” teeth (upper front teeth that protrude forward out of a natural position towards the lips). For this reason, some researchers feel that children should cease thumb or finger sucking and/or pacifier use by 18 months of age. However, the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents and caregivers encourage children to cease this habit by age three.

If you feel your child is at risk due to his/her age and habits, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for your child. After a thorough exam, we can work with you to create a strategy for helping your child overcome finger, thumb or pacifier habits. To learn more about this topic, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Thumb Sucking in Children.”


By Drake Tollefson DDS
November 13, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: tooth decay   oral health   oral hygiene   x-rays  

Because our main goal is to help you maintain optimal oral health, we use the latest proven technologies, techniques, and treatments to ensure we achieve them. One tool, radiographs or x-ray pictures, has been around for a long time with an inordinate amount of scientific research backing up both its safety and value. Here's a brief summary of why.

X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation just like natural daylight, except that they can easily penetrate soft bodily tissues, such as skin and muscles, without causing any harm if used properly. And as you may have guessed, we use them to examine what we can't see with the naked eye. For example, they enable us to see inside tooth structure, bones, and joints of the jaws. This ability makes x-rays a critical tool that we rely upon to monitor your oral health.

How often you need x-rays really depends upon your individual health needs and often is different from family member to family member given their age and oral health. During adolescence, we may need to take x-rays more often, so we can closely monitor the development of the teeth and jaw to check for normal growth and abnormalities, which can be corrected with early diagnosis. We may also need to use x-rays to diagnose trauma if you or any family member has experienced injury or disease. This will enable us to ensure the correct treatment is given and, in fact, is working and that there are no other related concerns.

Today's ultra-sensitive technology uses extremely low dosage x-rays and ensures early diagnosis and monitoring of your oral and dental health in safety and with confidence.

Learn more about the safety of x-rays by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “X-ray Frequency And Safety.” If you need to schedule an appointment, contact us today.


By Drake Tollefson DDS
November 06, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

How much do you know about dental implants? Test yourself with this quiz.

  1. Earliest recorded attempts at using dental implants were from
    1. Medieval England
    2. The ancient Mayans
    3. U.S.A. in the 1950s
  2. Dental implants are called endosseous. What does this mean?
    1. They fuse with the bone
    2. They are inside the mouth
    3. They are not real teeth
  3. What are most dental implants made of?
    1. Aluminum
    2. Titanium
    3. Steel
  4. What part of the tooth does an implant replace?
    1. The implant is the root replacement
    2. The implant is the root plus the crown
    3. The implant is the crown
  5. What is the success rate of dental implants?
    1. 50 percent or less
    2. 75 percent
    3. 95 percent or more
  6. What could cause an implant to fail?
    1. Smoking or drug use
    2. Poor bone quality and quantity at the implant site
    3. Both of the above
  7. What is a tooth's emergence profile?
    1. The implant and crown's shape as it emerges from beneath the gum line
    2. A measure of the urgency of the tooth replacement
    3. A measure of the time it takes for you to be able to chew on the new implant
  8. What are some of the factors that go into the aesthetics of designing the crown?
    1. Choice of materials
    2. Color matching
    3. Both of the above
Answers:
  1. b. The concept of dental implants goes back to the Mayan civilization in 600 AD.
  2. a. The word endosseous (from endo meaning within and osseo meaning bone) refers to the implant's ability to fuse with or integrate with the bone in which it is placed.
  3. b. Most implants are made of a titanium alloy, a metallic substance that is not rejected by the body and is able to fuse with the bone.
  4. a. The term “implant” refers to the root replacement, which is anchored in the gum and bone. A crown is put around the implant where it emerges from the gumline.
  5. c. The majority of studies have shown long term success rates of over 95 percent.
  6. c. Factors that could cause an implant to fail include general health concerns such as smoking and drug use, osteoporosis, or a compromised immune system; poor bone quality or quantity; and poor maintenance such as lack of proper brushing and flossing.
  7. a. The emergence profile has a lot to do with the implant's natural appearance. It involves the way the crown, which attaches to the implant, seemingly emerges through the gum tissue like a natural tooth.
  8. c. Choices such as materials, color, and position can be worked out in the design of a customized temporary crown, which acts as a template or blueprint for a final crown.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about dental implants. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Matching Teeth & Implants.”