Posts for category: Dental Procedures
Do you need dental implants? Are there gaps in your smile? Do you want to conceal and repair them? If your answer is yes to all of the above, then no worries. Dr. Alexander Pence, Dr. Barry Duncan, and Dr. Milton Poulos in Asheville, NC, provides patients with dental implants and the care they need for a healthier life.
Want to know more about dental implants?
Dental implants are state-of-the-art installations that fix gaps in your smile. The process of getting a dental implant is simple. Your dentist applies local anesthesia to the problem area and places a titanium post. The titanium post is biocompatible, so your body will not reject it.
Afterwards, your dentist will surgically seal the area and give you a temporary crown. The titanium post will need to osseointegrate, will fuse to the jawbone, which takes three to six months. This process simply means the titanium post will fuse with the bone, giving your teeth support and strength.
When the three to six months pass, you will go back to your dentist. They will re-open the area and attach an abutment and a permanent crown that matches the rest of your teeth. You can walk out of our Asheville office with a complete smile.
Want to know how to care of dental implants?
The advantages of implants are that they have a high success rate, can last a lifetime and you can receive multiple implants, not just one, at the same time.
And taking care of them is simple.
- Drink fluoride-containing water
- Avoid drinking too much coffee and tea
- Get dental checkups every six months to examine teeth and gums for cavities
- Brush teeth at least twice a day
- Stop chewing tobacco and smoking
- Floss at least once before bed to remove food debris
- Use fluoride-containing products like toothpaste and mouthwash to help repair teeth
For more information about dental implants, call Dr. Alexander Pence, Dr. Milton Poulos, and Dr. Barry Duncan. Their office is conveniently located in Asheville, NC, so make sure you schedule an appointment as soon as you can.
A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”
How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.
The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.
If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.
If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.
If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
A toothache means you have tooth decay, right? Not necessarily — your pain could be signaling a number of potential causes. Determining where, how much and how often it hurts will help us find out the cause and apply the appropriate treatment.
A single symptom, for example, can mean many things. A twinge of tooth pain as you consume hot or cold foods might indicate localized tooth decay easily repaired by a filling. But it could also mean the tooth's root surface has been exposed as a result of periodontal (gum) disease — aggressive plaque removal and maybe even gum surgery might be necessary. Or it could be a sign of inner pulp decay: in this case you'll likely need a root canal treatment to save the tooth.
Pulp decay can also announce itself with a very sharp and constant pain radiating from one or more teeth. You shouldn't hesitate to see us for an examination — even if the pain goes away. Pain cessation most likely means the nerves in the pulp have died. The infection, however, still exists, so you'll still probably need a root canal treatment.
If you notice severe, continuous pain and pressure around a tooth, particularly about the gums, you may have a localized, inflamed area of infection called an abscess. An abscess can be the result of gum disease, but it might also stem from a foreign body like a popcorn husk, getting stuck below the gums. We'll need to conduct a complete dental examination to determine the cause and how to treat it.
Finally, a sharp pain when you bite down could mean many things such as a loose filling or a fractured (cracked) tooth. The latter especially requires immediate attention to save the tooth.
These are just a few of the possible causes behind mouth or facial pain. Although all of them are serious, a few are true dental emergencies and can't wait if we're going to save a tooth. The sooner you see us, the sooner we can help relieve the pain, minimize any damage and avert disaster.
If you would like more information on treating tooth pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Pain? Don't Wait!”
Are you ready to find out whether or not this restoration could preserve your oral health?
If you are dealing with a weak or damaged tooth, a tooth that is seriously malformed or tooth loss then chances are pretty good that you’ll need to turn to one of our Asheville, NC, dentists Dr. Barry Duncan, Dr. Alexander Pence or Dr. Milton Poulos to get a dental crown. Just as the name implies, a dental crown is an oral restoration that resembles a real crown of a tooth and it can be used to cover and protect a tooth, to improve the shape of a tooth or to replace a missing tooth.
Dental crowns are most commonly used when a tooth has been extremely weakened or damaged by a fracture or break, or an infection. A crown can also restore a tooth after a severe cavity in cases where a dental filling may not be able to fully support and restore the tooth. In this case, our Asheville, NC, general dentist will often recommend a crown.
A crown is usually meant to restore function back into a tooth so that it’s strong enough to handle the extreme chewing and biting forces of the jaws without incurring further damage. A crown acts as tooth-shaped armor, protecting the overall structure of the tooth so that it’s nearly as strong and resilient as it was before it was damaged.
Of course, a dental crown also has its cosmetic benefits, as well. If the tooth in question is also a bit smaller, uneven or misshapen compared to the rest of your smile, then a crown can also improve the overall shape and size of a tooth to give you a more symmetrical smile. It can also cover severe discolorations in a tooth to give you a whiter smile.
Plus, getting dental crowns is actually pretty quick and simple. Once we prep the tooth for the crown (this requires us to shave down some enamel so the crown can fit over the tooth) the next step is to take impressions of your mouth to send to a dental lab. It will take about a week for a lab to make your new restoration and once it’s ready you’ll come in one more time so we can permanently cement it into place.
Furthermore, crowns are made to look just like real teeth so you will never have to worry about anyone being able to tell that you are sporting a crown. Crowns are often made from tooth-colored material such as porcelain, ceramic or composite resin, which can be matched to the shade of the tooth to blend right in with the rest of your smile.
If you are dealing with a damaged tooth it’s important that you get the treatment you need right away to prevent further issues from happening. Here at Biltmore Dental Group in Asheville, NC, we pride ourselves on offering the oral prosthetic you need to improve your oral health and also boost your self-confidence.
With a 95-plus percent survival rate after ten years, dental implants are one of the most durable replacement restorations available. Implants can potentially last much longer than less expensive options, which could make them a less costly choice in the long run.
But although a rare occurrence, implants can and do fail—often in the first few months. And tobacco smokers in particular make up a sizeable portion of these failures.
The reasons stem from smoking’s effect on oral health. Inhaled smoke can actually burn the outer skin layers in the mouth and eventually damage the salivary glands, which can decrease saliva production. Among its functions, saliva provides enzymes to fight disease; it also protects tooth enamel from damaging acid attacks. A chronic “dry mouth,” on the other hand, increases the risk of disease.
The chemical nicotine in tobacco also causes problems because it constricts blood vessels in the mouth and skin. The resulting reduced blood flow inhibits the delivery of antibodies to diseased or wounded areas, and so dramatically slows the healing process. As a result, smokers can take longer than non-smokers to recover from diseases like tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease, or heal after surgery.
Both the higher disease risk and slower healing can impact an implant’s ultimate success. Implant durability depends on the gradual integration between bone and the implant’s titanium metal post that naturally occurs after placement. But this crucial process can be stymied if an infection resistant to healing arises—a primary reason why smokers experience twice the number of implant failures as non-smokers.
So, what should you do if you’re a smoker and wish to consider implants?
First, for both your general and oral health, try to quit smoking before you undergo implant surgery. At the very least, stop smoking a week before implant surgery and for two weeks after to lower your infection risk. And you can further reduce your chances for failure by practicing diligent daily brushing and flossing and seeing your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
It’s possible to have a successful experience with implants even if you do smoke. But kicking the habit will definitely improve your odds.
If you would like more information on dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants & Smoking.”