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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Closing The Gap: Options for Missing Teeth

Missing teeth, especially in the "smile zone", can really effect how we feel about our smile and our overall self confidence.  Your smile is an important part of who you are.  But our confidence isn't the only reason you may need to replace missing teeth.  There are anatomical reasons as well, namely receding gums and movement of adjacent teeth.

Once a tooth is lost, the bone around the empty socket has a tendency to collapse into the space.  The gums surrounding the space in turn will begin to recede changing the aesthetic appearance of adjacent teeth and possibly affecting the aesthetics of a bridge or future implant.  Bone Grafting in the area of tooth if you do not plan fill the gap immediately will keep the bone from collapsing into the hole.

What are the options for closing the gap?

This is the most natural route.  Placing the implant immediately after the tooth is removed allows the implant to be a permanent replacement, preventing bone loss.  If the tooth is already missing and an immediate implant is not an option you will need to speak to your dentist or oral surgeon regarding bone density for placement of an implant.

Cost wise this will most likely be more costly than other options.  Regular professional cleanings are critical in the life of this restoration.
 A bridge can be the next best options next to an implant.  Bridges can include 3+ teeth, depending on how many teeth are missing.  The two adjacent teeth are considered anchor teeth for the missing tooth.  A pontic (fake tooth) fills in the gap between the two anchors.  It is a fixed prosthetic (not removable).  Regular professional cleanings are critical in the life of this restoration.

Partial (removable prosthetic):
There are two options when it comes to partials.  Your dentist will cover which option is best for you. 
One option is a flexible partial (does not contain any metal).  This can be the most comfortable of the two due to its flexibility.  They are stain and odor resistant and virtually unbreakable.  It is the least expensive option.

The second option is a metal partial.  The metal utilizes an existing tooth as an anchor.  This option is extremely stable and retentive.

There is a third option known as a "flipper" which is a temporary prosthetic that allows the gums and extraction site to heal prior to replacing a missing tooth.

It will never cost less or hurt less than it does today! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dentures: Are They Right for You?

Not everyone needs a full set of dentures.  It is a viable option and can be the least costly option when compared to the extensive cost of repairing existing teeth.  It is a decision that should not be taken lightly as it really does change everything.

We have patients that come into our office who have extensive treatment needs and feel their only option is dentures.  Finances are a big part of the decisions we make when it comes to dentistry.  We understand and do our best to help patients navigate these waters.

Keeping our natural teeth as long as possible is always the best option, though there are conditions that may invalidate that option.

  1. Can teeth be saved?  There are times when teeth are just too far gone and extraction is the only option.
  2. Professional cleanings.  If a patient is not getting regular professional cleanings as it is, restorations may not be ideal.  Restorations need to be professionally cleaned twice a year to protect their integrity and extend their life.  It is a small investment to protect a large investment.
  3. Home care:  If a patient currently does not have good home care habits, again, restorations can become compromised.  Good home care is critical to the life of any restoration.
  4. Commitment:  Is the patient committed to professional cleanings and excellent home care?  If not, dentures may be the most ideal option.  The patient must also be committed to the possible lengthy process of restoring their teeth.  As this may be the most expensive option, how long will it take to get through the process.
How does the process work?
  • Once the denturist has made your immediate (temporary) dentures, you will make an appointment with us for extractions.  You will bring the denture into the extraction visit and we will deliver it the same day.
  • You'll want to schedule your extractions so that you'll be able to have them adjusted within 24 hours and again within 48 hours as you will develop sore spots.
  • As the gum tissue heals and the bone reduces, your dentures will become loose.  You will need to schedule relines with our office.  You will drop off the dentures in the morning and receive them back in the afternoon.
  • It is possible you may require additional services, such as, tissue conditioning - an effort to restore the health of the tissues  of the denture foundation area before final denture impressions are made.
  • Within a year you will need a permanent (final) set of dentures.

What you need to know about life with dentures:
Adjustment period:  They can be awkward to get used to.  You may need to learn how to talk again in a sense.  Learning to eat certain foods can be an adjustment, especially until healing is complete.You will need to get your dentures relined at least twice within the first year as gums will shrink while healing.  This causes your denture to be loose fitting.

It will never cost less or hurt less than it does today.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Oral Cancer

According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, Close to 45,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year.  It will cause over 8,650 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day.

Oral cancer is particularly dangerous because in its early stages it may not be noticed by the patient, as it can frequently prosper without producing pain or symptoms they might readily recognize, and because it has a high risk of producing second, primary tumors.  This means that patients who survive a first encounter with the disease, have up to a 20 times higher risk of developing a second cancer.1

Risk Factors:
  • Tobacco use: Smokeless (chewing/spit), Cigarettes
  • Age 40+
  • Alcohol (those who smoke and drink have a 15% greater risk of developing an oral cancer)
  • Persistent Viral Infections (ex. HPV - 200 strains)
Signs and Symptoms:
  • Tissue changes
  • White or red patch of the soft tissue
  • Ulcers (look like a common canker but persist longer than 7-10 days)
  • Lump or mass inside the head or neck
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing, speaking, chewing
  • Wart like masses
  • Hoarseness
  • Numbness
  • Unilateral persistent ear pain
If you have any of these risk factors or signs and symptoms, be seen immediately.  Regular check ups and cleaning by the dentist can often identify suspicious lesions visible in the oral cavity.  Your regular medical doctor should be seen  as well if you have no visible symptoms.

It will never cost less or hurt less than it does today!

1. The Oral Cancer Foundation 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dental Phobia: Climbing That Mountain

For some people, they'd rather hang off a sheer cliff than come to the dentist.  Some have had a bad dental experience, yet some just flat out have a fear.  Whatever the cause of your dental anxiety, know that you are not alone.

Statistics estimate 10% of the population suffers from a dental phobia, but we believe the percentage to be much higher.  We get calls daily: "I'm a chicken", "I hate dentists", "I had a bad experience" or "I've put off coming because I'm afraid".  We've had folks call in tears, just making the phone call to schedule!

It's real!  We believe you!  Outside of a bad experience, most people's dental anxiety comes from lack of control.  First, your having to trust what the dentist is telling you is the issue and because you didn't go to dental school you don't know if he/she is telling you the truth.  Some dentists don't take the time to explain what options you have, they just tell you "this is what I have to do".  Of course, there may only be one solution to the problem at hand, but walking a patient through a discussion helps patients overcome so much of their fear.

Secondly, you're lying prone, the dentist is hovering over you and his/her hands are filling up your mouth with a number of dental tools to boot!  You can't breath, talk and feel ultimately out of control. There is hope!

A good dentist gets to know his/her patients.  They discuss together what the current issues are, what options are available and what treatments are best for the patient.  There are times when a dentist just has to be blunt honest with a patient regarding the status of their oral health, but can be sensitive doing so.  Covering and educating the patient on what to expect during upcoming procedures can greatly reduce anxiety.  During treatment, checking with the patient to ensure they are doing ok and aren't feeling any pain is another way to relieve stress.

At Gilmore Dental, our entire philosophy revolves around the patient experience.  From the moment you get us on the phone, to your first visit and through your treatment needs, we work hard to ensure that you will leave having an entirely new perspective about your trips to the dentist.

It will never cost less or hurt less than it does today!

My best dental experience so far! Went in with issues with my teeth from a previous dentist and Dr. Gilmore and his staff were so friendly and welcoming and most of all honest. My experience getting my crown replaced was painless and a great dental experience. I highly recommend Gilmore Dental :)  Ashlie C.

A year a ago when I came to Dr. Gilmore, I had multiple problems. The doctor and his staff are simply the best! My healing is all done, and I am now able to order things off the menu that I haven't been able to eat for a long time. My smile is very pretty again. I was so lucky to have chosen Dr. Gilmore. My son is also very pleased with you and your whole staff. Thanks so much.  Joe B.

Dr. Gilmore helped me out with some great reconstructive work recently. I am so grateful for him and the time he spent on me- I really can't tell you enough great things about him. He was the perfect mix of acting very professionally while having a great sense of humor. Rosie W.

I have finally found a dentist I love. When you go to Dr Gilmore you don't feel like you are going to the dentist, they make you feel so welcome from the very beginning. I was terrified of the dentist but since I have been going here I have had more work done in the last year than I have my whole life. He even has a sense of humor, I haven't found a dentist yet with a good bed side manner. Dr Gilmore and his staff has it all. I couldn't imagine going anywhere else. Wendy C.