Stopperich Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

What Exactly is a Dental Implant?

What is a dental implant?

Missing teeth? No problem. A dental implant is a way to replace an empty void that may be leaving you self-conscious about your smile. Whether the vacant spot is due to a sports injury, facial trauma, periodontal complication, or bad oral hygiene, it can fill the vacancy permanently and give you a boost of confidence. So, what exactly is a dental implant? Here are a few things you need to know:

• Dental implants act as a replacement for the roots of a tooth. Metaphorically speaking, they can be the anchor for crowns, bridges and dentures and are screwed into the jaw bone to provide support for replacement teeth. They are surgically inserted into the jawbone beneath the gum line.

• Dental implants resemble the shape of screws and once placed into the jawbone, will naturally bond with your natural bone to provide a strong base for artificial teeth.

• Dental implant surgery is one of the safest procedures done in dentistry.

• Dental implants will be the next best thing you’ll have to healthy and natural teeth.

• A dental implant is dependent on the oral health of the person undergoing treatment. There needs to be healthy tissue in the mouth and enough jaw bone to support these dental implants.

• After undergoing a dental implant procedure, keeping the structures healthy and clean should be done precisely and with attention to detail. This will help to maintain and ensure the long-term success of the treatment and the oral health of your mouth.

Don’t let a missing tooth or teeth stop you from living a full life without limits. Laugh and smile, indulge in foods without restriction, and most importantly, feel comfortable in your own skin. Call our office McMurray Office Phone Number 724-942-4800 to find out how a dental implant can be beneficial to you and the overall health of your teeth. What have you got to lose? Call us today!

What Can Good Oral Health Prevent?

good oral health

When it comes to your teeth, practicing good oral hygiene should be at the top of your list. We only have one set of fully grown adult teeth that we use in every aspect of our lives. When we see family, friends and even strangers, one-third of the time our teeth are the first thing they notice. Having a well taken care of smile can make the difference in your social life. Aside from your teeth’s appearance, between meals and snacking, our teeth are constantly working for us. So, what are you doing to improve your teeth? Good oral health can prevent several undesirable dental traits and problems.

Making sure to brush your teeth for at least two minutes, scrape your tongue, floss daily and gargle with mouthwash twice daily can prevent bad breath caused from plaque and food build-up. Gum disease can be prevented by regularly flossing around the gums and teeth to loosen build-up and plaque that irritate the gums and cause cavities. Don’t let neglecting to maintain these oral health habits keep you from becoming a social butterfly.

Cavities are a pain. The toothache that comes from biting into a sugary treat can be enough to jumpstart your new oral health habits. In caring for your teeth, you can dramatically reduce the number of cavities that develop from the acid and bacteria left from foods, especially sweet ones.

Keeping your oral health in check may also inhibit costly dental procedures from accumulating. A cavity that is left untreated can quickly turn into a tooth in dire need of a root canal, and developing gum disease may require gum laser therapy or tooth extraction. Most certainly, teeth that are well taken care of will have less plaque build-up that causes bad breath, cavities and gum disease, and better oral health could potentially prevent overwhelming dental expenses in the future.

Want to know more about what good oral health can do for you? Give us a call to find out, and schedule your checkup today!724-942-4800

Common Dental Implant Myths

dental implant myths

Insecure about a missing tooth? Don’t be. With dental implants (link), you can get your smile back to looking perfect. For many, dental implants provide the feeling of having their natural teeth back again. This is because instead of being a removable type of device, such as a dental flipper, dental implants are permanently embedded into the jaw, which then allows a dental crown to take the place of the missing tooth. We understand that this procedure may seem intimidating, but we’re here to reassure you it’s not as bad as it sounds. Below are the top three common misconceptions when it comes to getting dental implants.

Myth #1: Dental Implants are painful

This is a common fear. Many people hold back from pursuing a dental implant, simply because they’re afraid the procedure might be too painful. However, this is not true. The procedure itself is pain-free. As always after surgery, there may be some temporary discomfort, but your doctor will work very closely with you to ensure your comfort and ease.

Myth #2: Dental Implants are expensive

Although dental implants aren’t cheap, they’re a much better investment than dental bridges, which need replacing every 7-15 years. Dental Implants cost may be high initially, but it’s a better financial decision in the long run.

Myth #3: Dental Implants cause headaches

It’s a fairly common myth that dental implants can cause migraines or headaches. However, we’re here to let you know that this is not true. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support this. After the dental implant has successfully bonded with the jaw/gums, you should experience zero pain.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding dental implants, give our office a call at724-942-4800 so we can discuss the next steps.

When do You Need a Bone Graft?

when do you need a bone graft

Bone grafts are essential for replacing missing or damaged bone in your jaw. Whether a cavity has reduced your tooth to an empty, gummy space after an extraction, or gum disease has caused loose teeth, a bone graft can repair and rebuild the damaged bone needed to support a dental implant. Surrounding teeth can also become loose and eventually fall out without healthy bone regeneration, which may cause future complications. Without bone grafting, a dental implant would not have enough mass to securely latch onto.

So, when do you need a bone graft?

• Once a tooth is lost, 25% of bone width is reduced within the first year. If left untreated for an extended period, there would not be enough surrounding jawbone to support a dental implant to replace a missing tooth. Once bone mass is gone, it cannot be reversed which is why a bone graft may be needed.

• Periodontal disease can also cause bone to disintegrate, which can lead to tooth loss. The bacteria slowly eat away at the jawbone and periodontal ligament, which connect teeth to bone.

• Dental trauma, including the persistence of grinding and clenching teeth, can cause excess wear on the tissue supporting tooth structure. The constant pressure can also lead to fractured or cracked teeth, which do not heal. Aside from grinding and clenching, trauma can also include a tooth getting knocked out from an accident or a fall. In this case, a bone graft may be needed as well.

Bone loss can be caused by several different circumstances, but one thing is for sure- a bone graft is a great alternative for repairing and building new bone. So, what are you waiting for? Call today for a consultation to see what our office can do for you!724-942-4800

5 of Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait For Your Dental Implant

the sooner the better

You need a dental implant, but you are reluctant to get started. We understand that there is some hesitation and life gets in the way. However, here are a list of reasons as to why you shouldn’t wait.

  1. Stop your remaining teeth from moving. Your teeth help keep everything in place. When you are missing a tooth, and have a gap, your teeth will start to shift to fill in that gap. That could cause not only uneven teeth, but teeth that are harder to clean and, in the end, that cost you more to fix.
  2. Save Your Jawbone. When you are missing a tooth, your jawbone slowing starts to deteriorate and shrink away. The roots of your teeth keep the jawbone stimulated to maintain the bone mass. The longer you are missing the tooth, the more the bone will disintegrate, making the implant process more difficult.
  3. The appearance of your face. Living without a tooth can eventually change how you look, especially if you suffer from bone deterioration. The longer you go, your skin could begin to make your cheeks sag, which will make you look older than you are.
  4. The way you speak. When you are missing a tooth, it could make it hard to annunciate words, making you sound like you have a lisp.
  5. Your overall self-esteem. Getting a dental implant will allow you to feel like your normal self. You won’t have to worry about how you look or how you sound. The implant looks and feels like a normal tooth. No one will know that you have an implant unless you tell them.

These are just a few reasons as to why you should wait to get your dental implant. If you are experiencing any hesitations or have further questions, contact our office. We are happy to ease your mind and get you on track to a beautiful smile. 724-942-4800

4 Types of Foods You Can Eat After You Had Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

indulge post sugery

About 90% of people need to get their wisdom teeth removed. If you are a part of that 90%, you might be wondering what the steps are post-surgery. Taking it easy and getting a lot of rest is a key step to a quick recovery. Another big step is knowing what you can and can’t eat. Here is a list of foods you can indulge in post-surgery.

  1. Ice Cream: After having a minor surgery, it’s okay to treat yourself with a little sweet. The coolness will not only feel good, but it will also help sooth inflamed tissue. Try to avoid eating cones and flavors of ice cream with large chunks in them like chocolate chips and nuts.
  2. Soup: Soup is a great food to have on hand after your surgery. It provides protein and the broth is easy to eat. If you choose this brothy goodness, make sure you aren’t eating large pieces of vegetables and the temperature of the soup isn’t too hot.
  3. Mashed potatoes: Not only are mashed potatoes delicious, but they are easy to make and they really are the perfect post-surgery food. You can smother them with gravy, butter or sour cream. Top the meal with whatever sounds good to you, but make sure there aren’t large potato chunks you’ll have to chew. Another route you could take is mashed sweet potato. Top it with butter and cinnamon to take this savory treat to sweet!
  4. Smoothies (NO STRAWS): Smoothies are a great source to get all the nutrients your body will need. You can make different flavors with fruits and vegetables. Prepack your smoothie packs before you have your surgery so all you have to do is blend and enjoy. You could also add in different protein powders or vitamins to help your body. If you choose to make a smoothie, DO NOT USE A STRAW. Sucking on a straw could disrupt your healing process and create dry sockets.

These are just a few ideas of what you can eat post-surgery. There are a ton of other options. Get creative and indulge in the snacks you wouldn’t normally eat for your main course. If you have any hesitations or questions on what you can’t and can eat, call our office. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. 724-942-4800

Facts About Bone Grafting

know the facts

Modern bone grafts can be used to fix a number of dental and facial issues and are often required. Dental implants often cannot be placed without first getting a bone graft. If you are considering getting dental implants or think you’re in need of a bone graft, here are some things you may want to know!

Bone grafting is a routine procedure!

Over the years, bone grafting has become a standard and highly-practiced procedure. The procedure is typically performed in the office, depending on each individual case and a local anesthesia or conscience sedation is available if needed in order to block the pain and calm any anxiety you may be feeling!

A number of materials can be used!

The bone grafting material that we use may come from a variety of sources. If we are able, we generally like to use bone from your own body, which decreases the chance of your body rejecting the graft. If possible, we will take this bone from your hip, jaw, or lower knee. If this is not an option, we are able to obtain bone from a tissue bank.

Bone grafting allows for your body to rebuild itself!

Your body will use your new bone graft as a sort of frame to grow new bone. Over time, the graft will be replaced with new bone that your body has grown during its own regeneration process. Keeping a healthy amount of bone tissue around your teeth is crucial in maintaining great oral health.

If you are in need of a dental implant, have a congenital defect, or have suffered a traumatic facial injury, and you’re wondering if you might need a bone graft, give our practice a call! We can assess your case, answer your questions and come up with the best possible treatment option for you! 724-942-4800

What is a Wisdom Tooth

wisdom tooth emerging from the gumWe all know that for most people, wisdom teeth need to be removed in order to prevent serious dental problems! But have you ever wondered, what exactly is a wisdom tooth? Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that typically grow in during a person’s late teens/early twenties.

Why are they called “wisdom” teeth?

Formally known as “third molars”, wisdom teeth developed their name due to the late nature of their arrival, at an age where people are “wiser” than when their other teeth grow in (during childhood).

What is their purpose?

Today, wisdom teeth are no longer needed in order for us to process food. Back in the day, however, when the human diet consisted of tough meats and fibrous vegetables, an extra molar was needed to break down food. Scientists have not discovered a common day use for wisdom teeth, as they are not needed for chewing modern food.

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

Over the years, human jaws have become much smaller, making the space too crowded for wisdom teeth. Therefore, when wisdom teeth start growing in, they push on the teeth that have already established themselves. Once they start pushing on other teeth, the alignment of a person’s mouth is affected. Wisdom teeth can easily become “impacted”. This means that they are trapped underneath a person’s gums and are unable to fully erupt, which can be painful. Since wisdom teeth aren’t needed and can affect your smile and health negatively, we recommend that most people have them removed. For the few pepole that don’t get their wisdom teeth removed, serious dental health problems can occur down the road.

If you’re curious about the status of your wisdom teeth – contact us today at 724-942-4800 and we will go over your options with you!

Smoking and Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a cancer that develops within the mouth or oral cavity. But it doesn’t just affect the mouth, it can involve the lips, tongue, throat, salivary glands, pharynx, larynx an

doctor breaking a cigarette

d sinuses. There are many factors that can cause oral cancer, but smoking is one of the biggest lifestyle choices that can increase the risk of disease. The Mouth Cancer Foundation found that 90% of those with oral cancer consumed tobacco. When you combine heavy use of alcohol and tobacco, the risk is even greater.

Oral Cancer Statistics

9,750 people die from oral cancer each year in the U.S, and oral cancer represents about 4% of all cancers and 2.2% of all cancer deaths in the U.S. After reading those stats, you might be wondering how you can avoid being a part of these grim numbers.

Preventing Oral Cancer

The first step is to choose a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to eat a balanced diet, exercise, avoid alcohol (or drink in moderation) and avoid tobacco usage altogether. But it’s also important to recognize all the signs and symptoms of oral cancer so that it can be caught early on.

Here are a few oral pathology signs to watch out for:

  • Feeling of a lump or object in your throat
  • Numbness, pain or tenderness in your mouth and tongue
  • Troubling moving your jaw or tongue with chewing, swallowing or speaking
  • Loose teeth with no apparent dental cause
  • Lingering sore throat

If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, contact our office today. In addition to that, we urge you to have regular oral cancer screenings in our office. We offer oral cancer examinations to all our patients. The earlier the cancer it detected, the quicker we can help you. Call our office today at 724-942-4800 to schedule your screening appointment.

Bone Grafting for Dental Implants

woman holding a model of a dental implantBone grafting and dental implants typically go hand-in-hand, as the loss of a tooth can wear down the surrounding jawbone structure and a dental implant is a common procedure to replace lost teeth. As soon as a person loses a tooth, bone loss begins. In order to place a sturdy, reliable dental implant, a bone grafting procedure is often required in order to rebuild the jawbone. While bone grafting sounds daunting, it is a safe and reliable procedure that prepares the jaw bone for a dental implant, and in most cases, is necessary to build up a sturdy foundation.

In a bone graft procedure, bone tissue taken from another part of the body is grafted into the jawbone. Another method utilizes processed bone from animals, but results in the same regrowth of your jaw. It can take several months for the graft to set and grow into a stable foundation for a dental implant.

Depending on the amount of bone loss, bone grafts can be placed at a variety of times during the implant process. For example, if only a minor bone graft is needed, we may be able to place it at the same time as the dental implant. However, if a larger bone graft is necessary, it will have to rest for months before the dental implant procedure can be performed.

Bone grafting is a very important and often overlooked procedure when it comes to preparing for a dental implant! Dental implants have increased in popularity and effectiveness over the years, as they provide the most reliable replacement for natural teeth. Dental implants look and feel like normal teeth, and if treated properly, can last the rest of a person’s lifetime! Bone grafts and dental implants work together to restore smiles.

Contact us today at 724-942-4800 to schedule your dental implant consultation, and we can talk about your bone grafting options!