Dental Implant Placement Basics as a Step-by-Step Process

If you have ever lost a tooth, you might have more than just a gap between your teeth. If a lost tooth is not replaced, the bone in the jaw that supported the lost tooth starts to deteriorate. That’s because when you chew your food, there’s no more stimulation to the bone from the missing tooth’s chewing action. Over time, the gaps in your mouth change as the surrounding teeth shift into the empty space, causing your bite alignment to shift with it. When this happens, missing teeth can not only affect how you look but can cause problems when you chew and even when you speak.

What can you do to prevent this from happening to your smile? You want something to take that missing tooth’s place, and one of the best options available today is a dental implant. Acting like a tooth, implants stimulate your jawbone from the pressure they exert when you chew by acting as the base of a regular tooth. Because of this, they keep the jaw healthy and strong and your bite alignment intact. You can have a single implant done or multiple implants to replace as many teeth as you need.

The implant itself is a titanium post used to act like a tooth root. Once it is surgically placed into the jawbone under the gumline, it can hold a tooth replacement (or a dental bridge). Once the implant fuses to your jawbone it is sturdy and durable. It won’t shift in the mouth, so you can speak and chew without worry. A dental implant can be used to secure dentures, bridges, and crowns to replace your teeth to help them feel natural in the mouth.

To have an implant done for your missing teeth requires healthy gums and enough jawbone material to support the implant. You’re also going to need to keep up excellent daily oral hygiene, including routine dental visits to support the ongoing function of the implant. If you are considering dental implant placement, we are pleased to offer some insight into what you can expect from the procedure.

Many patients are concerned that the process will be painful, and while any surgical procedure has some degree of discomfort as the mouth heals, our team can provide a local anesthesia or another form of sedation to ensure you are comfortable during the implant placement process.

When it’s time to place your dental implant after you’ve been given the appropriate anesthesia, our team of professionals typically perform the following basic steps:

– Create an access point in the gum line to reach the underlying jawbone area.
– Create some space in the jawbone to create an anchor point for the dental implant to support a new tooth.
– Attach the titanium screw to the jawbone, which forms the base of the dental implant.
– Allow the jawbone time to grow around the metal base and fuse naturally with the implant, which can take a few months.
– Attach an abutment to the titanium screw after the bone has completed its regrowth process, which serves to keep the final dental crown or other tooth restoration in place.
– Allow your gums to heal and improve their health for a few weeks prior to placing the dental restoration.
– Create a detailed impression of your smile to serve as a guide for the creation of the restoration.
– Place it on the implant so that it looks natural and matches well with your surrounding teeth.

Depending on the number of teeth that need to be replaced, the overall process can take a few weeks or months to achieve final completion. To learn more about dental implants and how they can replace missing teeth, contact our team today for more information!

Enamel-Friendly Foods for Your Teeth

When it comes to protecting your teeth, your first line of defense against tooth decay and cavities is tooth enamel, as it is the outermost covering that protects the more vulnerable dentin and tooth pulp below. Your enamel comes equipped for the job as the hardest substance in your body. However, because it doesn’t have living cells it can’t grow back once it is lost.

The number one enemy of tooth enamel is acid. It eats away at the enamel leaving it vulnerable to decay as it weakens. Because tooth enamel protects the lower layers from acids and plaque, protecting it is vital to your oral health. Be sure to limit these harmful items as much as possible, and be sure to clean your teeth at least twice a day. Here are some items to avoid:

– Soda
– Fruit juice
– Flavored water (has citric acid and other additives)
– Sugary snacks like cakes, cookies and candies
– Starchy snacks like chips, crackers, pretzels and bread
– Citrus fruit

Of course, it’s not just about what you leave out of your diet that protects tooth enamel. There are foods that can help strengthen tooth enamel, so let’s take a look at them.

– Probably the number one food choice for healthy teeth is rich in calcium which helps form strong teeth and bones. Cheese, which is high in calcium, also helps balance your oral pH which lowers the acids that attack the enamel. Besides cheese and other low-fat dairy items like yogurt, you can find calcium in fortified rice and soy milk, sardines and salmon in the can, almonds, and dark leafy greens like kale, broccoli and spinach.

– Foods rich in vitamin D help your body absorb calcium. Vitamin D is abundant in milk, salmon, margarine, as well as soy and rice beverages which are fortified.

– Your teeth also need phosphorus which you can find in eggs, meat and fish.

– Vitamin A, found in sweet potatoes, red peppers, mangoes and kale.

– Beta-carotene in fruits and vegetables which are orange.

– Magnesium rich foods like bananas, whole grains, and spinach.

For healthy tooth enamel, you also want to make sure are hydrated throughout the day. Water helps support saliva flow and keeps your mouth debris-free while helping all the bodily tissues.

Healthy eating habits, combined with daily tooth brushing and flossing and regular dental checkups and cleanings can help your teeth and gums stay strong for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

If you would like to have our team provide you with a thorough dental cleaning and exam, we invite you to call and schedule an appointment today. We look forward to providing you with the quality care you deserve.

How Routine Dental Checkups Help Your Smile in the Long Run

When you come in for dental exams and we have cleaned your teeth and gum line and removed any hardened plaque, our dentist can look at them for any signs of trouble, such as cavities, loose or broken teeth, damaged fillings, and evaluate your risk rate of certain diseases which might also take into account your family history. We will look for swelling in the gums or redness and bleeding and even measure the depth of gingival pockets signaling gum disease. We will evaluate your bite, determine if you have bruxism (a sign of teeth grinding), check the contact between teeth and examine the lower jaw joints for problems. We will also examine the soft tissues in your head, mouth and neck, including the lymph nodes, for any indications of cancer or infection. If problems are detected, you may require further diagnostics followed up with recommended treatment options.

As you can see, this is one of the biggest reasons why dental checkups are so important, because spotting problems early on is crucial for providing effective, minimally invasive, and economical treatment. Using x-rays and other diagnostic tools, we can detect problems early when you may not even be aware of them, especially since tooth decay isn’t usually obvious or painful in the early stages. By the time you do notice problems, the condition has often already advanced.

While most of the time you may need to see your dentist twice a year, there are circumstances that might require coming in more often, particularly since your oral health is directly related to your overall health and vice versa. For example, if you have a disease such as diabetes or heart disease you may be at greater risk of gum disease. If you have a weakened immune system, you will likely have a diminished ability to ward off infections and diseases. If you regularly use tobacco or are a heavy drinker, you are at greater risk of oral problems. Taking medications that result in dry mouth – a reduction in saliva production – puts you at higher risk of developing cavities. So be sure to let our dentist know what medications and supplements you are currently taking when you come in for your routine checkups. You can also let us know if you are noticing signs of tooth sensitivity, pain or an unusual lump. Again, the earlier a problem is addressed, the better the treatment success rate.

If you would like to have our dentist and team provide you with a thorough dental cleaning and exam, we invite you to call our office to schedule an appointment. Our goal is to help you create the healthiest oral environment for your teeth and gums and we look forward to providing you with the quality care you deserve.

The Relationship Between Your Teeth, Gums and Mouth Jewelry

Are you familiar with the risks of mouth jewelry and why you should always exercise caution before implementing any new ones? Although you may think that lip and tongue rings are stylish and trendy, they do come with their downfalls. One of the pitfalls of mouth jewelry is that most forms can lead to some form of dental damage. Be aware of the risks of mouth jewelry before having any inserted into your mouth. Common risks include the following:

– Most mouth jewelry products are designed from hard pieces that can easily chip and crack your teeth as they slide around in your mouth. If they are not anchored into place, enamel wear can occur over time or even happen immediately due to an oral accident or injury.
– Lip and tongue rings are known to produce various infectious diseases due to the risk of open wounds. Serious infection such as hepatitis and endocarditis are possible through the use of mouth jewelry.
– If any pieces should ever break off, they can become immediate choking hazards. It is possible for your mouth jewelry to end up getting lodged in your throat and put your life at risk.
– Several individuals may have hypersensitivity to metals or allergic reactions to the product being used, which could cause your tongue to swell or lead to other severe health risks.
– When a tongue ring is directly inserted into your tongue, it could burst your blood vessels or even cause permanent nerve damage if it is not placed in the proper area.
– When mouth jewelry is in place, it is often very difficult to clean around your mouth, and even our dentist can struggle with regular cleaning routines.

Would you like to know more about mouth jewelry or other oral health risks that you should avoid? For more information about mouth jewelry and other oral health tips, you can speak with Dr. Damon Thompson and our team by calling us at 540-552-5433. If you require a comprehensive oral exam or bi-annual professional cleaning from Real Life Dental, our dental office is located in Blacksburg, Virginia.

These Foods and Drinks Can Stain Your Tooth Enamel

Your tooth enamel is vital for your oral health, which is why your dentist reminds you to brush and floss each day to take care of them. Did you know, some foods and drinks can severely stain or damage your tooth enamel putting your oral health at risk? Yes, it’s true! Your teeth could be at risk from drinks or foods you consume on a daily basis.

That is why our dentist, Dr. Damon Thompson, is happy to help you understand more about your oral health. Our team at Real Life Dental in Blacksburg, Virginia, has provided you with some basic foods and drinks that could be putting your oral health in jeopardy.

Here are some foods and drinks that can stain your tooth enamel:

– Red and white wine: Most people comprehend red wine’s dark colors can color your teeth. Still, the high acidities in both color wines can cause deep discoloration. White wine is higher in acidity ranking, which can cause more discoloration and injury to your teeth than red wine can.
– Sodas: Sodas are high in sugar content, which is known to harm your teeth. Nevertheless, the color dyes used to generate them mixed with their acid ranking causes natural damage to the health and shade of your teeth.
– Coffee and tea: Coffee is known to color your teeth because of the effectiveness of the beans used. However, teas can also stain your teeth. White tea can also harvest yellowing effects causing your teeth to stain and discolor over time.
– Sodas and sports drinks: Sports drinks are incredibly high in acidic ranking and consist of dyes that can darken your teeth and smile. Sugar-free sports drinks can cause your teeth to become stained because of the high acids and dyes used to color them.
– Curry: A common spice or seasoning called curry is known to hang on to your teeth and cause a yellowish hue that stains your teeth.

As you can see, many foods and drinks are dangerous to your teeth. If you avoid the substances harmful to your tooth enamel, you could help preserve your oral health and keep your teeth looking their best. If you have questions or would like an appointment, please call us today at 540-552-5433. We are always happy to work with you.

A Knocked Out Tooth Is a Dental Emergency

Rigorous athletics can place a person at an increased risk of injury. While bruises, bumps and sprained joints are common, there are times when a hard blow to the mouth can severely damage or knock out a tooth.

In a situation like this, applying some basic first aid principles can help manage pain and other complications while you seek emergency treatment at Real Life Dental.

Sometimes rising your mouth with some lukewarm saltwater can help clear away lingering blood or other debris to help get a better view of the affected area. If the gums have been injured and are bleeding you might want to try lightly packing the area with some sterile gauze.

If a tooth has been knocked out of the socket and it is whole and kept alive, our dentist might be able to place it back in the socket. The tooth can be preserved by handling it only by the crown and not by the roots. You should hold it between your cheek and gums, submerge it in milk or your saliva, or place it in a tooth-preservation fluid that has been specifically formulated to keep the tooth alive.

If you live in the Blacksburg, Virginia, area and you have just suffered a severe dental trauma, you should call 540-552-5433 for an emergency appointment.

Tooth Sensitivity: The Facts You Should Know

If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, you’re likely wondering what causes it and how to treat it. Well, you’re not alone. Many people wonder the same thing as they suffer from tooth sensitivity discomfort. One thing that can help you find the answers you’re looking for is by knowing all about the problem. Our dentist, Dr. Damon Thompson, would like to teach you all about tooth sensitivity today by sharing the following facts:

-There are many things that can be the culprit behind your sensitivity. Some of those things include worn tooth enamel, tooth erosion, tooth decay, tooth chips and breaks, gum recession and teeth grinding habits.

-The first thing you should do when wanting to treat tooth sensitivity is call your dentist and schedule an appointment. Your dentist will examine your smile, consider the situation and determine the best course of treatment for you, your teeth and your gums.

-There are a variety of different treatments that can help your tooth sensitivity, like using fluoride more often, taking care of your gums, changing the type of toothbrush and toothpaste you use, protecting your smile with a mouthguard and using desensitizing dental care products. Some treatments for more serious causes of the sensitivity include dental fillings, dental crowns and gum grafts.

To learn more about tooth sensitivity in Blacksburg, Virginia, call Real Life Dental now. Our dental team will be more than happy to help you, so don’t be afraid to reach out to 540-552-5433! We also encourage you to call our office if you’re interested in treating your sensitivity. We look forward to helping you!

Use These School Habits for a Better Smile

Drs. Thompson, Bottorff, Denardo, and Rizk want you to have the top-notch smile you deserve. This is why they encourage you to keep up on oral hygiene and attend your dental checkups regularly. Your dentist also recommends doing little things at school to keep your teeth and gums in the best condition possible. Fortunately, there are little school habits you can develop to help. Those habits are:

-Eat a tooth-healthy lunch: When you eat a tooth-healthy lunch, like one that is filled with fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy products, you can strengthen your teeth and improve the health of your smile. So, try to eat a tooth-healthy lunch as well as avoid acidic, sugary and high-carbohydrate foods.

-Brush your teeth after lunch: Keep a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in your backpack and use them to brush your smile after lunch. Brushing can help you maintain a clean and pristine smile and it can also help you avoid embarrassing moments when food is stuck between your teeth.

-Sip on water throughout the day: Water is your smile’s friend. This is because it can wash the bacteria, food particles and acid from the teeth and gums. It can also help you prevent dental issues and dry mouth as well as help you have fresh and pristine breath. So, do your best to sip on water throughout the day.

For more information and details about good smile habits in Blacksburg, Virginia, please contact our dental team at Real Life Dental at your earliest convenience. Our dental team is here to help you in any way we can, even if it’s just by answering your questions. So, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us by dialing 540-552-5433 now. We look forward to hearing from and helping you!

The Answers to Questions About Mouthwash

Are you someone who has questions about mouthwash? If so, our dentists, Dr. Damon Thompson and associates, are happy to help you find the answers you’re looking for. The more you know about mouthwash, the better. In fact, it can help you find the mouthwash that is right for you and your smile. To help you, he would like to provide the answers to these commonly asked mouthwash questions:

Q: What mouthwash should I use?
A: For the best oral health possible, you should use antibacterial or fluoride mouthwash that has been approved by the American Dental Association. This seal of approval proves that the product is safe and effective.

Q: How often should I use mouthwash?
A: It’s best to use mouthwash daily, like in the morning before you start your day or at night before you go to bed.

Q: What does mouthwash do for me?
A: Mouthwash can help you and your smile by strengthening the tooth enamel, killing the bacteria in the mouth (like plaque), freshening the breath and preventing dental issues, like cavities and periodontal disease.

For more information and details about mouthwash in Blacksburg, Virginia, please contact Real Life Dental at your earliest convenience. When you dial 540-552-5433, our dental team will be thrilled to help you in any way we can. We look forward to your phone call!

Oral Hygiene Improvements: Dental Erosion Prevention

One of the biggest risks to your oral health arises due to dental damage in the form of dental erosion, also known as enamel erosion. It results when the layer of your teeth call the tooth enamel slowly wears away. This process is typically the result of harmful acids that can eat through your tooth enamel. To combat dental erosion, it is important to understand its causes and apply the necessary treatments and prevention techniques.

Dental erosion often arises due to conditions involving dry mouth or dry mouth-related symptoms. Dry mouth arises when saliva in your mouth is hindered. This is seriously damaging to your smile because saliva is essential for washing away harmful acids that contribute to dental erosion. Exercise caution with any medications you are taking as they can often lead to dry mouth. Other common causes of dental erosion include heartburn, acid reflux disease, genetic and environmental factors and your diet.

Real Life Dental to help you with whichever oral health care treatment is right for you. To schedule an oral exam with Dr. Damon Thompson and our team at our dentist office in Blacksburg, Virginia, simply give us a call at 540-552-5433. Drs. Damon Thompson, Nick Bottorff, Andrew Denardo, and Natasha Rizk are here for your smile!