Our Apex Dentist Shares Tips on Preparing for Oral Surgery

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At some point, most people will need to undergo standard oral surgery, like wisdom teeth removal. The more you know and prepare for the oral surgery, the less anxiety you will experience, and the better you will be able to recover. Below are some tips to follow when preparing for oral surgery in Apex NC.

Talk to Your Dentist

Your dentist will usually be happy to answer any questions you might have about the upcoming procedure. Common questions you might want to ask include:

  • How many teeth will you remove?
  • Will you use general or local anesthesia?
  • How long will the oral surgery take?
  • How long will my recovery take?

It also never hurts to research the procedure in advance. Researching will help you identify more questions you’d like to ask.

Make Arrangements for the Day of Surgery

Most oral surgeries occur when the patient is under general anesthesia. This means that you will not be able to work or drive during the day of the surgery. Make sure you have scheduled the day off (if applicable), arranged for childcare (if applicable), and have arranged for someone to drive you to and from the appointment. Note that you will likely be too uncomfortable to perform normal activities on the day after surgery, too.

Stock Up on Supplies

After your procedure, you will do well to have the house stocked with soft foods, NSAID pain medications, and cold packs. Your dentist will most likely give you gauze and cold packs to take home with you, but it always helps to have backups (and may help calm your nerves before surgery, too.) If your dentist plans to prescribe a pain reliever, ask him or her to let you fill the prescription a day early so you can avoid a trip to the pharmacy when you are still groggy. We also recommend having favorite movies and a comfortable recovery area set up and ready to go!

Avoid Eating Before Surgery  

General anesthesia can make patients experience nausea and vomiting, so your dentist may recommend that you stop eating at midnight on the night before the procedure, and skip breakfast and/or lunch the next morning. Ask your dentist or oral surgeon if you need to avoid eating or drinking before the surgery.

Need Oral Surgery or Wisdom Teeth Removal in Apex?

If you need wisdom teeth removal, dental implants, or another restorative dentistry service in Apex, we can help. Our skilled dentists and dental hygienists will make sure your experience is as relaxing and comfortable as possible. If you would like to schedule an appointment with our Apex dentist office, please contact us here!

Our Apex Dentist Explains the Treatment Process for a Dental Implant

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If you are missing a tooth, a dental implant is an excellent way to restore your smile and jaw alignment. No other form of tooth replacement so perfectly mimics the natural tooth structure, root and all, while leaving surrounding healthy teeth untouched. Below is some more information about our Apex dental implant treatments.  

Step One: Post Insertion in the Jaw  

After an initial consultation meeting to discuss your treatment plan and payment details, you will return again to our Apex dental office for the first part of your dental implant surgery: the insertion of a titanium post into your jawbone. This post will eventually be hidden beneath the gum line, and act as the artificial “root” of the tooth. Once the post has been inserted, you will wait for 3-6 months for the jaw and gum tissue to regrow. The gums and bone tissue will grow up around the implant, integrating with it perfectly. 

Step Two: Attaching the Post 

After a few months, your gums and jaw will have healed, and you will be able to return to our office for the second part of your treatment. Our Apex dentist, Dr. Hansen, will attach what is called a “post” to the implant. You might think of this as the scaffolding inside the new tooth’s crown. In order to attach the post, the dentist will need to remove a small amount of gum tissue. That is why you will once again wait several weeks for the tissues to heal. 

Step Three: Attaching the Crown 

Finally, you will return for your last appointment, where your dentist will attach a crown to the post. This crown restoration will look identical in color and texture to the teeth that are surrounding it. After making some adjustments for bite and fit, you will be ready to head out the door with a tooth that is just as sturdy and stable—if not more so—than the old one! 

Why Dental Implants Are Beneficial for Jaw Health

One reason why most dentists prefer dental implants to other dental solutions, like bridges and dentures, is that they give adequate support to the jaw. Once your tooth’s roots are gone, your jawbone begins to naturally deteriorate. This can cause changes in your facial shape, contribute to bite problems, and lead to painful jaw issues such as TMJ. The dental implant, by contrast, allows your jaw to stay strong and stable, preserving the health of your other teeth and your oral health as a whole.

Need a Dental Implant in Apex? 

We understand that the idea of a dental implant can be scary (even for grown-ups!) However, we are very fortunate to have this remarkable development in dentistry. Dental implants have a very high success rate and are almost unnoticeable to most patients. In fact, some of our patients who are returning for a dental cleaning do not remember which tooth is the implant tooth until we remind them! If you would like to schedule an appointment to learn more about our dental implant services, click here

Apex Oral Surgeon Explains Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Cracked Teeth

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Have you ever had dental pain or discomfort when biting into food or after eating/drinking something that is hot or cold?  This pain or discomfort might not be constant like it is with a cavity, but intermittent.  If so, it is possible you may have a cracked tooth.

There are several reasons that patients develop cracked teeth.  Some situations that can result in fractured teeth are:

  • teeth with large fillings

  • teeth with root canals

  • clenching or grinding teeth

  • chewing ice or other hard foods

  • trauma to the tooth from an accident

  • too much pressure on one tooth as a result of the patient’s occlusion (the way the teeth come together in the mouth)

If the crack in the tooth does not extend further than the enamel, your dentist may not recommend any treatment.   These cracks, known as craze lines, are common in adult teeth.  Think of a teacup with a crack in it but that is still able to hold water without it leaking.

However, if the fracture extends beyond the enamel, it is very important to have the tooth treated. In this situation we have a leaky teacup! It can be difficult for patients to distinguish between the different types of cracks, so it is important to visit your Apex dentist so the fracture can be properly evaluated.  Try to pay attention to exactly where the pain is coming from so that you can tell your dentist.

Molar are more vulnerable to cracks because they absorb most of the impact when chewing food.  Front teeth are more commonly fractured due to trauma.

Your Apex dentist will determine a treatment plan based on the severity of the fracture. Treatment typically includes placing a dental crown on the cracked tooth.  If the fracture effects the pulp chamber a root canal may also be necessary.  If the tooth is split beyond repair, an extraction is likely necessary.  In this situation tooth replacement is possible with implants or bridges.

Postponing treatment can lead to more serious complications such as an infection or a deeper fracture.  That is why it is important not to ignore warning signs or dental pain and sensitivity.  By seeking treatment early, there is a typically better prognosis for the tooth. which also usually results in a lower financial cost of treatment.

Do Wisdom Teeth Need to be Extracted? Ask an Apex Oral Surgeon

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We have found that while many of our patients with wisdom teeth know that they should be extracted, very few of them understand why.

So here you go…A Little Wisdom about Wisdom Teeth.

There are several reasons your Apex Dentist might recommend having your third molars, also known as Wisdom teeth, extracted.   Very few people have adequate space in their dental arch for wisdom teeth.  If you are one of the lucky ones that does have enough room, be sure your toothbrush is reaching all the way back to those teeth, as they are often very difficult to keep clean.  If/when 3rd molars develop cavities (as they often do), it is usually better to put financial resources towards having these teeth extracted rather than filled as they usually only cause more problems down the road.

dental-arch

For patients who do not have enough room in their dental arch, the 3rd molars are often unable to properly erupt, making it difficult or even impossible to keep clean.  The improper eruption can cause a variety of problems including but not limited to, periodontal infections, dental decay, and dental abcesses.

The first radiograph was of a patient for whom Dr. Hansen had to perform an extraction not only the partially erupted  wisdom tooth but the 2nd (more important) molar as well due to the decay caused by the wisdom tooth.

radiograph

The second radiograph demonstrates another reason that 3rd molars often need to be extracted:  dental abcesses.  This particular abcess was so large that this patient was a risk of her lower jaw breaking. The radiograph also demonstrates the importance of routine dental check ups, as this patient did not have any pain associated with the dental abcess.   She literally would not have ever known that it was there except that she was consistent with her dental examinations, including dental radiographs.

Understanding dental problems that can arise from  wisdom teeth is important so patients are able to take necessary steps to seek treatment. Typically, your Apex dentist will recommend having wisdom extracted between ages 15 and 25 because healing and recovery is much easier for younger patients.

If only our wisdom teeth made us all-knowing and wise…that would make for a good case in keeping them!

Our Apex Dentist Explains The Importance of Replacing Missing Teeth

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Everyday we see patients that have missing teeth. Sometimes they are teeth that have been recently extracted.  Other times they have been missing for years.  The reasons for why the teeth are missing vary.  But the answers about why to replace them are usually the same.  So we wanted to share these answers with you!

In the US, about 70% of the population is missing one or more teeth.  Tooth loss can lead to reduced self confidence because of gaps in a person’s smile.  Unfortunately, effects on physical appearance are not the only result.

 

Teeth are lost or missing for several reasons such as trauma, decay, periodontal disease, or even genetics.  It is important to replace missing teeth because when a tooth is missing there is no contact with the opposing arch.  This can cause opposing teeth to gradually extrude which leads to other problem, such as fractures, mobility, tooth loss, shifting in surrounding teeth, and gum problems.

There is more than one option available to patients for replacing missing teeth.  Like most choices, each option has pros and cons.  The 3 most common options are replacing the missing teeth with implants, crowns and bridges or dentures. Sometimes a combination of two of these options can be used, such as a denture that is supported by implants, or a bridge that is supported by implants.  We will cover more about what the pros and cons of each of these treatments are in upcoming blog posts.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, so whenever possible try to avoid loosing the tooth in the first place.  The financial cost of saving a tooth with a crown or even a crown and a root canal is substantially less than the cost of an implant and crown or a bridge.  Not to mention that by saving one tooth, you are also helping keep the surrounding ones healthy as well.

The loss of a tooth is not always preventable, such as in the case of trauma or when a tooth is congenitally missing.  But no matter the cause, it is important to understand the effects of missing teeth so that you can take the necessary steps to prevent further problems. Your Apex dentist can answer questions you have about what treatment best fits your needs and your smile.  And check back here when we explain more about each treatment in the upcoming weeks!