Posts for category: Oral Health
Dental implants are revolutionary tooth replacements because they reside in the jaw bone just as your natural tooth roots once did. But, as with any restorative work, wear takes its toll. At the Salisbury, MD, office of your dentist, Dr. Kathleen Geipe, she places and maintains implants so your smile stays complete and strong. If your dental implant crown is failing, she can fix it.
The components of a single-tooth implant
The typical dental implant has three basic parts:
- A titanium metal screw which your dentist Salisbury inserts into the jaw bone during a brief oral surgery at her Salisbury PA office
- A metal abutment or extension post
- A porcelain crown which looks and acts just like a real tooth
The titanium screw bonds with your jaw bone through a process known as osseointegration. As bone cells wrap around the implant, they create a virtually inseparable bond. Only an infection called peri-implantitis, which is similar to gum disease, or a blow to the mouth can dislodge an implant and cause it to fail.
What can happen to the implant crown
Just like a crown placed over a natural tooth, an implant crown may loosen due to oral trauma (you fall and strike your face, for example) or because of excessive forces exerted by teeth clenching (bruxism) or chewing very hard foods.
Of course, time is a factor too. All crowns, no matter their use, eventually wear out. In all these situations, your dentist Salisbury can replace the crown with a new one.
Additionally, some people experience a wobbly abutment post. This post screws into the dental implant itself and may, though rarely, loosen due to normal use or bruxism. If this occurs, your dentist can remove the crown, replace the screw, and re-mount the same crown or a new one as needed.
You can have confidence in the strength and longevity of the titanium metal implant itself. These artificial tooth roots have a high success rate--up to 98 percent, says the Institute for Dental Implant Awareness (IDIA). Plus, you should retain that implant for the rest of your life when you practice good oral hygiene habits at home and get your routine cleanings and check-ups with Dr. Geipe and her team.
Dental implants are the most reliable and effective tooth replacements available. If you have any kind of problem with yours, or if you wish to pursue the placement of a new dental implant, please contact your dentist, Dr. Kathleen Geipe, in her Salisbury MD office. Call (410) 543-0599.
It's National Dairy Month and time to pay tribute to the aurochs, those shaggy creatures who once roamed the Fertile Crescent until people began domesticating them about 8,000 years ago. Today we call them cows, the source of nutritious dairy that can help us, among other things, maintain a healthier mouth.
Since the first auroch roundup, we humans have been drinking milk and eating cheese with abandon—excepting those who suffer from lactose intolerance or who avoid dairy for other reasons, such as the high saturated fat content of some dairy products. However, dairy confers many health benefits, so if you haven't quite made up your mind about this particular food group, you should consider that milk, cheese and other forms of dairy are chock-full of nutrients. And, it just so happens, some of these nutrients are especially beneficial for your teeth.
Calcium. You can get this important mineral from different foods, but dairy is loaded with it. Similar to our bones, tooth enamel absorbs calcium, which in turn strengthens it against decay.
Phosphorus. Phosphorus, another mineral found in dairy, is highly beneficial for overall health. In regard to teeth, phosphorus helps calcium maximize its strengthening ability in enamel.
Vitamin D. This nutrient helps your enamel absorb calcium, whereas a vitamin D deficiency increases your susceptibility to both tooth decay and gum disease.
Casein. This dairy protein can form a protective film over teeth. Coupled with other nutrients, this further reduces your risk of tooth decay.
Eating dairy is definitely beneficial for your dental health. If needed, you can select lactose-free dairy products. And to cut down on saturated fat, you can choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products. You can, for example, drink non-fat or low-fat milk, or indulge in some non-fat Greek yogurt with granola or in a fruit smoothie. Cheese is also an excellent type of dairy for teeth because it reduces decay-causing acidity during and after meals. So try eating a bite of cheese by itself, or experiment by adding it to vegetable dishes or salads.
As in most things, incorporate dairy into your diet in moderation. A little of this popular food group can go a long way toward keeping your teeth healthy.
If you would like more information about nutrition and your dental health, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Nutrition & Oral Health” and “Nutrition: Its Role in General & Oral Health.”
What makes a beautiful smile? Beautiful teeth, for sure. But there's also another component that can make or break your smile, regardless of your teeth's condition: your gums. Although their primary function is to protect and stabilize the teeth, your gums also enhance them aesthetically by providing an attractive frame.
But just as a painting displayed in an oversized frame can lose some of its appeal, so can your smile if the size of your gums appears out of proportion with your teeth. Normally, a smile that displays more than four millimeters of gum tissue is considered “gummy.”
There are some things we can do to improve your gum to teeth ratios. What we do will depend on which of the following is the actual cause for your gummy smile.
Excess gum tissue. We'll start with the obvious: you have excess gum tissue that obscures some of the visible tooth crown. We can often correct this with a surgical procedure called “crown lengthening,” which removes some of the excess tissue and then reshapes the gums and bone to expose more teeth length.
Teeth that appear too short. The problem may not be your gums — it could be your teeth appear too short. This can happen if the teeth didn't erupt fully, or if they've worn down due to aging or a grinding habit. One option here is to “lengthen” the tooth cosmetically with veneers, crowns or other bonding techniques.
Higher lip movement. Rather than your teeth and gums being out of size proportion, your upper lip may be rising too high when you smile, a condition known as hypermobility. One temporary fix is through Botox injections that paralyze the lip muscles and prevent their movement from overextending. We could also use periodontal surgery to perform a lip stabilization procedure that permanently corrects the upper lip movement.
Overextended jaw. Your gums may seem more prominent if your upper jaw extends too far down and forward. In this case, orthognathic (jaw straightening) surgery might be used to reposition the jaw relative to its connection with the skull. Setting the jaw up and back in this way would reduce the prominence of the gums when you smile.
As you can see, treatments range from cosmetic techniques to moderate surgical procedures. A full dental exam will help determine which if any of these measures could reduce gumminess and improve your smile.
If you would like more information on correcting gummy smiles, 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 “Gummy Smiles.”
Entering your “sunset” years doesn't mean you're washed up—you still have a lot to offer the world. That's why the theme for this May's Older Americans Month (sponsored by the Administration for Community Living) is “Make Your Mark.” And to really make that difference, you'll have to maintain your health—including protecting your teeth from loss.
Once upon a time, it was considered the norm for older adults to experience tooth loss and the resulting consequences on their overall well-being. Today, though, not only can advanced restorations lessen the impact of lost teeth, it's also more likely that you can keep your teeth intact for the rest of your life.
To give your teeth their best chance for survival in your later years, here are 3 things you can do to promote their continuing health.
Brush and floss every day. Ridding your teeth of disease-causing plaque on a daily basis is important at any age, but perhaps even more so as you get older. However, hand weakness caused by arthritis or another health condition can make it more difficult to brush and floss. It may help to use a larger-handled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, and a threading device may help with flossing. If manual flossing is still too difficult, you can try a water flosser that emits a water stream to loosen and flush plaque away.
Relieve chronic dry mouth. Older adults are more prone to chronic dry mouth because of increased use of medications, many of which interfere with saliva flow. It's more than an unpleasant feeling: Deprived of the protective properties of saliva, your mouth is at increased risk of dental disease. If dry mouth is a problem for you, speak with your doctor about alternatives to any saliva-inhibiting medications you're taking. Also, drink more water and use saliva boosters to promote better saliva flow.
Keep up dental visits. Regular dental visits become even more important as you age. Dental cleanings are especially necessary, particularly if you have dental work that can interfere with plaque removal during brushing and flossing. Disease monitoring and screening are more in-depth for older adults who are more prone to tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer. And if you wear dentures, you should have them checked regularly for fit and overall condition.
If you've already enjoyed decades of dedicated dental care, you need only stay the course. But even if you haven't, adopting new dental care habits now can boost your teeth's health and longevity. To get started, make an appointment with us: We'll assess your current dental health and offer a care strategy for keeping your teeth healthy through the next exciting season of your life.
If you would like more information about dental care for older adults, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Aging & Dental Health” and “Understanding Aging Makes Beauty Timeless.”
Discover the many smile advantages of getting a dental crown.
There are many reasons why our Salisbury, MD, dentist, Dr. Kathleen Geipe, might recommend getting a dental crown. This porcelain or ceramic tooth-shaped restoration is designed to protect a tooth from damage. Apart from being strong, durable, and long-lasting, this popular restoration also offers these benefits:
Strengthening a Weak Tooth
Everything from decay to a dental infection can damage the tooth so much that it can no longer stand on its own without some support. While minor decay can be treated with a dental filling, a tooth with more widespread decay might benefit more from a dental crown. The crown fully encapsulates the tooth, providing it with a stronger outer barrier to restore chewing, biting, and speaking.
Preserving Your Natural Tooth
The goal of our dentist, Dr. Geipe, and her team here in Salisbury, MD, is to preserve and protect your natural smile. To ensure the longevity of your smile this means providing restorations such as crowns that can stabilize and support what’s left of the natural tooth structure instead of having to pull the tooth and replace it. A crown provides a simple solution that can help you maintain your own natural smile for the rest of your life.
Improving Your Appearance
A dental crown can also offer cosmetic benefits, as well. After all, a crown is designed to look just like a natural tooth. This means that no one will be able to tell the difference between a real tooth and the tooth that has a crown. Therefore, if you are also dealing with a tooth that is malformed, misshapen, or severely discolored, a dental crown can help to brighten and reshape the tooth while hiding these imperfections.
Preventing Tooth Loss
A weak tooth will only get weaker over time if the problem isn’t treated. This is why it’s important to visit us right away if you are dealing with a cracked or broken tooth. A damaged tooth won’t be able to handle the same pressure and force from your jaws when chewing and biting, which can lead to further irreparable damage in the future. Instead of just waiting until you have to replace the tooth, getting a dental crown when you need it is a much easier solution.
If you are faced with a broken or damaged tooth that requires urgent care here in Salisbury, MD, our dentist is still providing emergency dental visits. Please call us at (410) 543-0599.