Posts for: June, 2017
One of the top concerns in public health today is exposure to the metallic element mercury within the environment. At abnormal levels, mercury can have a toxic effect on our nervous systems and cause other health problems.
These concerns over mercury have also increased attention on one material in dentistry that has included the metal in its makeup for over a century — dental amalgam for filling teeth. Amalgam is a metal alloy that can include, in addition to mercury, silver, tin, and copper. When first mixed dental amalgam is a moldable material used for fillings in prepared teeth. It then hardens into a durable restoration that can withstand biting forces.
While the use of amalgam has declined with the introduction of life-like colored fillings, it's still used for teeth like molars subject to high biting forces. With what we now know about the ill effects of mercury (which can make up to half of an amalgam mixture) is it safe to continue its use?
The American Dental Association has performed extensive research into amalgam safety. They've found that mercury is stabilized by the other metals in the amalgam. This prevents "free" molecules of mercury, the real source of harm to health, from escaping into the blood stream in the form of vapor. Although trace amounts of mercury vapor from the amalgam are released as a person chews, those levels are well below the threshold that could cause harm.
From a patient standpoint, the biggest drawback to dental amalgam isn't safety — it's the appearance of teeth it's used on. Silver fillings aren't considered attractive. And now there are viable filling alternatives that not only look like natural teeth but can withstand biting forces almost as well as amalgam. These materials include composite resins, mixtures of glass or quartz within resin, or glass and resin ionomers. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages depending on how and where they're applied.
After a thorough dental examination, we'll be able to advise you on what filling material will work best to produce the best result. And if we do suggest dental amalgam you can rest assured it will be a safe choice.
If you would like more information on the safety of dental amalgam, 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 “Silver Fillings — Safe or Unsafe?”
How dental implants from Sugar Land can save your smile
If you’ve worn dentures for a long time, chances are you’ve noticed the firm contours of your face beginning to sag. You may have lost the firm jawline you once had. Dental implants can help restore the contours of your face and help you feel better about yourself. Your dentists at Lukin Family Dentistry in Sugar Land, TX want to share how to protect the integrity of your jaw bone with dental implants.
Wearing dentures or partials for a long time can cause the bone to diminish. That’s because dental appliances put pressure on your bone, causing the bone level to decrease, a process known as resorption.
In contrast, dental implants actually increase your levels of bone. That’s because dental implants are made of titanium, a uniquely biocompatible material that is gentle to soft tissue and bone.
After a dental implant is placed, your body will produce increased bone to fuse with the dental implant. Over time, your dental implant will be completely surrounded by strong, healthy bone. Increased bone helps to restore the contours of your face and a firm jawline, making you look younger!
In addition to protecting the integrity of your jaw and restoring bone, dental implants have many other benefits which are unmatched by conventional dental appliances. When you choose dental implants, you will enjoy:
- A beautiful, natural-looking solution to tooth replacement
- An increased oral health because you can brush and floss normally
- A convenience because you never have to take them out
- Stability because they are embedded in bone and won’t move
- A stain-resistant tooth replacement solution that will never decay
- A permanent tooth replacement solution that can last a lifetime
Dental implants also boast an outstanding success rate of over 95 percent, according to the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. That’s higher than any other surgical implant!
You deserve a firm jawline and youthful face, and now you can achieve it with dental implants. Why choose conventional dental appliances which can make you lose bone when you can protect the integrity of your jaw bone with dental implants? For more information about dental implants and other dental services, call your dentists at Lukin Family Dentistry in Sugar Land, TX. Call today!
You’ve decided to obtain dental implants for your missing teeth. It’s a good choice — they provide the closest restoration to the function and appearance of natural teeth. You will, however, need to undergo a surgical procedure to imbed the implants’ threaded titanium posts into supporting bone.
It’s understandable if you’re a little apprehensive about undergoing surgery. We’re here, though, to set your mind at ease: implantation is a relatively minor procedure carefully planned in advance. Most patients experience no discomfort during the procedure and very little afterward.
We begin by completely numbing the surgical site with a local anesthetic. If you have a high level of anxiety, we can also administer a sedative or similar medication to help you relax. We then access the underlying bone through a series of incisions that create a flap in the gum tissue that we’ll later suture closed.
It’s quite common to have prepared a surgical guide or template beforehand. The template placed in the mouth marks the exact site for a small channel (or hole) we create in the bone. We then incrementally increase the size of the hole by drilling until it matches precisely the implant’s size and shape. This takes time to avoid overheating and damaging the bone.
We then remove the implant from its sterile packaging and insert it into the opening. We’ll also take x-rays to ensure correct positioning, which is critical for achieving an attractive result. We then suture the gum flap in place using stitches that will eventually dissolve. The implant will then integrate with the bone for a few weeks to create a strong, durable hold before we continue with the restoration.
Most patients can manage any post-surgical discomfort with mild anti-inflammatory pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen, although we can prescribe something stronger if you need it. We may also prescribe a mouthrinse with an anti-bacterial agent like chlorhexidine for you to use while the gums are healing to reduce the risk of infection.
Implant surgery is part of a long process that will eventually result in regaining the function of your lost teeth. What’s more, undergoing this minor procedure will also help you regain something just as important — a beautiful smile.
If you would like more information on dental implant restoration, 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 Implant Surgery.”