My Blog

Posts for: July, 2012

By Drake Tollefson DDS
July 25, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
FactorsthatCanInfluenceaDentalImplant

While the long-term success rate for a dental implant is well over 95%, there are factors that can compromise their success. For this reason, our office has put together this list so that you can be prepared should you ever need a dental implant. We feel that by providing our patients with this type of easy-to-understand information, we can educate, address any concerns and help produce the best results.

The three most common categories for classifying factors that influence dental implant success are: general health concerns, local factors and maintenance issues. As you may suspect, general health concerns include factors such as:

  • Whether or not you smoke or use tobacco products.
  • Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications you are currently taking or have recently taken.
  • If you have or have a family history of osteoporosis (“osteo” – bone; “porosis” – sponge-like).
  • If your medical history includes any cancer or radiation treatment to the jaws.
  • Or if you have a compromised immune (resistance) system.

The second category is “local factors” and includes bone quantity and quality — there must be sufficient bone to anchor implants. Other considerations that fall into this category include whether or not you clench or grind your teeth or have additional bite concerns, as all of these can have negative impacts on both the short and long-term success of an implant.

The last category concerns maintenance. While dental implants are superior works of technology that can last a lifetime and produce results that are nearly identical to natural teeth in looks and durability, they do require routine maintenance. This includes daily cleaning (brushing and flossing) and routine visits to our office for evaluation and professional care to make sure they are functioning properly.

To learn more on this subject, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Factors which can influence implant success.” You can also contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about dental implants.


By Drake Tollefson DDS
July 17, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dentures  
TestingYourKnowledgeonCaringforYourDentures

Whether you have worn dentures for years or they are new to you, knowing the proper way to care for them is critical. This is why we have put together this fun and insightful test so that you can see just how much you know.

After reading each of the following statements below, determine whether you think the statement is true or false. See below for the answers.

  1. Boiling your dentures at least once a week is an excellent way to sterilize them.
  2. With a proper fit, it is perfectly acceptable to wear your dentures continuously (24 hours per day).
  3. The bacterial biofilm that accumulates under a denture causes inflammation referred to as denture stomatitis.
  4. You should store your dentures immersed in water after cleaning or when not in your mouth.
  5. Once you have dentures (and no longer have any teeth), you really only need to schedule a dental appointment if you have a problem with your dentures or damage them.
  6. To best clean a denture, you should use a slightly abrasive cleanser and a firm toothbrush.
  7. The pressure from wearing dentures causes jawbone loss over time.
  8. The optimal method for cleansing your gums is to take a moistened washcloth and gently massage your gums two times each day.
  9. If you are careful, you can use denture cleaners while your false teeth are in your mouth.
  10. You should never use sodium hypochlorite bleach to clean your dentures.

Answers

1. False. You should never boil dentures. 2. False. You should not wear your dentures 24/7. 3. True. 4. True, as this prevents your dentures from warping. 5. False. Even though you may not have teeth, you need to visit our office at least once a year for a thorough examination and to ensure your dentures are fitting and functioning properly. 6. False. You should never use a firm toothbrush OR any type of abrasive cleanser to clean your dentures. 7. True. This is unfortunate, but a fact nonetheless. 8. True. 9. False, you should only use a denture cleanser outside of the mouth. 10. False. Sodium hypochlorite bleach is an excellent cleanser; however, you should never soak your dentures in this solution for periods that exceed 10 minutes.

To learn more tips, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Top Ten Tips For Denture Care & Maintenance.” Or you can contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions.


By Drake Tollefson DDS
July 09, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  
WhenTeethareLostBoneisLost

Most people think of bone as rock-solid, but it's actually a living tissue that's constantly changing. This has significant implications for your oral health, general health, and appearance — if you are one of the 70% of Americans missing at least one tooth.

Throughout the day, your top and bottom teeth make hundreds of fleeting contacts with each other. These small stresses are transmitted though the periodontal ligament (“peri” – around; “odont” – tooth) that supports each tooth in its socket like a hammock. Think of it as a gentle push on the hammock, which causes the tooth to gently bump the underlying bone. The bone then builds up in the spot that's receiving stress to counteract it. This constant remodeling of bone is what allows bone to stay healthy and strong.

When a tooth is lost, the bone does not receive that gentle stress. It reacts by literally melting away. Sometimes this happens fairly quickly — in a matter of months. After the tooth-supporting bone is lost, the jawbone itself begins the same process of deterioration. This could eventually change the shape of the face, as the distance from nose to chin can decrease — even if only a few back teeth are missing. The results aren't pretty. But the good news is, there's a way to prevent all this.

Dental implants, which function as substitute tooth roots, actually save underlying bone when teeth are lost. They do this because they are made of titanium, which fuses to the bone in which it's set, stabilizing it. The implant is topped by a realistic-looking crown, which replaces the part of the missing tooth that was visible in the mouth. Together, they look and function just as your natural tooth did.

If you are missing a lot of teeth, implants can also be used to anchor bridges or even removable dentures while providing that same bone-saving benefit. And when you consider that they are so durable they should never need replacement, implants are a great investment.

If you have any questions about dental implants, please contact us, or schedule an appointment for an implant consultation.

You can read more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”


By Drake Tollefson DDS
July 01, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   tmd   tmj  
UnderstandingTemporomandibularDisorderTMD

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD), which was formerly known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), is a condition that is unusual in that it frequently is quite hard to diagnose, because it often mimics many other conditions. For this reason, many healthcare professionals refer to it as “the great imposter.” The condition arises when there are problems inside the temporomandibular joint and the muscles that attach to it causing pain. The pain is most often due to muscle spasm, thereby limiting the ability to open and close the jaw and to function normally. TMD can impact anyone and has a wide range of similar symptoms.

One of the common causes of TMD is stress, and it may manifest itself through clenching or grinding of teeth while awake or asleep. These habits are often completely subconscious until pointed out by a dental professional or sleeping partner. With stress-induced TMD, the pain often comes and goes in cycles. In other words, it may be present when you are stressed, seem to disappear for a while, and then reappear when you are stressed again. Another cause of TMD can be from an injury or trauma, such as a blow to the jaw. However, regardless of the cause of TMD, the pain is real and needs to be treated properly.

If you feel that you might have TMD, please let us know so that we can address your concerns, starting with a full history and conducting a thorough examination. Or if you are in constant or severe pain, contact us immediately to schedule an appointment. You can learn more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment options for TMD by reading “TMD — Understanding The Great Imposter.”