Alabama Oral & Facial Surgery

What to Expect When Expecting (..A Bone Graft)

bone graft- what to epect

Need a dental implant but don’t have sufficient jaw bone? Dental implants are the most effective option when it comes to replacing a tooth. However, if in order to successfully get an implant, you need to have an adequate amount of jawbone. If you don’t, then you will need a bone graft before getting the actual implant. Bone grafting is when an oral surgeon will either harvest bone from another part of your body, or in most cases, use a special bone grafting material to anchor it onto your jaw bone, thus increasing its’ strength and density. Although the procedure may sound pretty scary, we can promise you it’s nothing of the sort. Below are some things to expect when getting a bone graft!
First, it’s important to keep in mind that dental implant surgeries are most often performed in stages. The first stage is the removal of the damaged tooth. After the removal of the tooth is when the actual bone grafting takes place; which, as explained previously, is when an oral surgeon replaces lost bone, therefore creating a base for a dental implant. Once the jawbone heals, you’ll be able to move on to the next stage, which is setting up the base for the dental implant using a titanium post. After this heals, the prosthetic tooth will then be inserted. To summarize, this process is often very long, spanning over months. A successful bone graft and implant won’t just happen overnight.
Recovery time is often based on the size of the bone graft and implant. This can take anywhere from a short two weeks to more than a year. We recommend avoiding intense physical activity for the first six weeks. Swelling is expected (as it always is after most surgical procedures); it’s your body’s reaction to the surgery. Most swelling won’t be apparent until the day following your surgery. To help aid your swelling, Ice packs can be applied to the outside of mouth where the surgery was performed.
As always, if you have any questions regarding the procedure, or simply want to discuss the details further, simply call our office @ Birmingham Phone Number (205) 682-1099.

Dental Implant Misconceptions

Insecure about a missing tooth? Don’t be. With dental implants (link), you can get your smile back to looking perfect. For many, dental implants provide the feeling of having their natural teeth back again. This is because instead of being a removable type of device, such as a dental flipper, dental implants are permanently embedded into the jaw, which then allows a dental crown to take the place of the missing tooth. We understand that this procedure may seem intimidating, but we’re here to reassure you it’s not as bad as it sounds. Below are the top three common misconceptions when it comes to getting dental implants.

Myth #1: Dental Implants are painful

This is a common fear. Many people hold back from pursuing a dental implant, simply because they’re afraid the procedure might be too painful. However, this is not true. The procedure itself is pain-free. As always after surgery, there may be some temporary discomfort, but your doctor will work very closely with you to ensure your comfort and ease.

Myth #2: Dental Implants are expensive

Although dental implants aren’t cheap, they’re a much better investment than dental bridges, which need replacing every 7-15 years. Dental Implants cost may be high initially, but it’s a better financial decision in the long run.

Myth #3: Dental Implants cause headaches

It’s a fairly common myth that dental implants can cause migraines or headaches. However, we’re here to let you know that this is not true. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support this. After the dental implant has successfully bonded with the jaw/gums, you should experience zero pain.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding dental implants, give our office a call at Birmingham Phone Number (205) 682-1099 so we can discuss the next steps.

When do You Need a Bone Graft?

Bone grafts are essential for replacing missing or damaged bone in your jaw. Whether a cavity has reduced your tooth to an empty, gummy space after an extraction, or gum disease has caused loose teeth, a bone graft can repair and rebuild the damaged bone needed to support a dental implant. Surrounding teeth can also become loose and eventually fall out without healthy bone regeneration, which may cause future complications. Without bone grafting, a dental implant would not have enough mass to securely latch onto.

So, when do you need a bone graft?

• Once a tooth is lost, 25% of bone width is reduced within the first year. If left untreated for an extended period, there would not be enough surrounding jawbone to support a dental implant to replace a missing tooth. Once bone mass is gone, it cannot be reversed which is why a bone graft may be needed.

• Periodontal disease can also cause bone to disintegrate, which can lead to tooth loss. The bacteria slowly eat away at the jawbone and periodontal ligament, which connect teeth to bone.

• Dental trauma, including the persistence of grinding and clenching teeth, can cause excess wear on the tissue supporting tooth structure. The constant pressure can also lead to fractured or cracked teeth, which do not heal. Aside from grinding and clenching, trauma can also include a tooth getting knocked out from an accident or a fall. In this case, a bone graft may be needed as well.

Bone loss can be caused by several different circumstances, but one thing is for sure- a bone graft is a great alternative for repairing and building new bone. So, what are you waiting for? Call today for a consultation to see what our office can do for you! Birmingham Phone Number (205) 682-1099

What Can Good Oral Health Prevent?

When it comes to your teeth, practicing good oral hygiene should be at the top of your list. We only have one set of fully grown adult teeth that we use in every aspect of our lives. When we see family, friends and even strangers, one-third of the time our teeth are the first thing they notice. Having a well taken care of smile can make the difference in your social life. Aside from your teeth’s appearance, between meals and snacking, our teeth are constantly working for us. So, what are you doing to improve your teeth? Good oral health can prevent several undesirable dental traits and problems.

Making sure to brush your teeth for at least two minutes, scrape your tongue, floss daily and gargle with mouthwash twice daily can prevent bad breath caused from plaque and food build-up. Gum disease can be prevented by regularly flossing around the gums and teeth to loosen build-up and plaque that irritate the gums and cause cavities. Don’t let neglecting to maintain these oral health habits keep you from becoming a social butterfly.

Cavities are a pain. The toothache that comes from biting into a sugary treat can be enough to jumpstart your new oral health habits. In caring for your teeth, you can dramatically reduce the number of cavities that develop from the acid and bacteria left from foods, especially sweet ones.

Keeping your oral health in check may also inhibit costly dental procedures from accumulating. A cavity that is left untreated can quickly turn into a tooth in dire need of a root canal, and developing gum disease may require gum laser therapy or tooth extraction. Most certainly, teeth that are well taken care of will have less plaque build-up that causes bad breath, cavities and gum disease, and better oral health could potentially prevent overwhelming dental expenses in the future.

Want to know more about what good oral health can do for you? Give us a call to find out, and schedule your checkup today! Birmingham Phone Number (205) 682-1099

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait For Your Dental Implant

sooner the betterYou need a dental implant, but you are reluctant to get started. We understand that there is some hesitation and life gets in the way. However, here are a list of reasons as to why you shouldn’t wait.

  1. Stop your remaining teeth from moving. Your teeth help keep everything in place. When you are missing a tooth, and have a gap, your teeth will start to shift to fill in that gap. That could cause not only uneven teeth, but teeth that are harder to clean and, in the end, that cost you more to fix.
  2. Save Your Jawbone. When you are missing a tooth, your jawbone slowing starts to deteriorate and shrink away. The roots of your teeth keep the jawbone stimulated to maintain the bone mass. The longer you are missing the tooth, the more the bone will disintegrate, making the implant process more difficult.
  3. The appearance of your face. Living without a tooth can eventually change how you look, especially if you suffer from bone deterioration. The longer you go, your skin could begin to make your cheeks sag, which will make you look older than you are.
  4. The way you speak. When you are missing a tooth, it could make it hard to annunciate words, making you sound like you have a lisp.
  5. Your overall self-esteem. Getting a dental implant will allow you to feel like your normal self. You won’t have to worry about how you look or how you sound. The implant looks and feels like a normal tooth. No one will know that you have an implant unless you tell them.

These are just a few reasons as to why you should wait to get your dental implant. If you are experiencing any hesitations or have further questions, contact our office. We are happy to ease your mind and get you on track to a beautiful smile. 205-682-1099

4 Types of Foods You Can Eat After You Had Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

ice creamAbout 90% of people need to get their wisdom teeth removed. If you are a part of that 90%, you might be wondering what the steps are post-surgery. Taking it easy and getting a lot of rest is a key step to a quick recovery. Another big step is knowing what you can and can’t eat. Here is a list of foods you can indulge in post-surgery.

  1. Ice Cream: After having a minor surgery, it’s okay to treat yourself with a little sweet. The coolness will not only feel good, but it will also help sooth inflamed tissue. Try to avoid eating cones and flavors of ice cream with large chunks in them like chocolate chips and nuts.
  2. Soup: Soup is a great food to have on hand after your surgery. It provides protein and the broth is easy to eat. If you choose this brothy goodness, make sure you aren’t eating large pieces of vegetables and the temperature of the soup isn’t too hot.
  3. Mashed potatoes: Not only are mashed potatoes delicious, but they are easy to make and they really are the perfect post-surgery food. You can smother them with gravy, butter or sour cream. Top the meal with whatever sounds good to you, but make sure there aren’t large potato chunks you’ll have to chew. Another route you could take is mashed sweet potato. Top it with butter and cinnamon to take this savory treat to sweet!
  4. Smoothies (NO STRAWS): Smoothies are a great source to get all the nutrients your body will need. You can make different flavors with fruits and vegetables. Prepack your smoothie packs before you have your surgery so all you have to do is blend and enjoy. You could also add in different protein powders or vitamins to help your body. If you choose to make a smoothie, DO NOT USE A STRAW. Sucking on a straw could disrupt your healing process and create dry sockets.

These are just a few ideas of what you can eat post-surgery. There are a ton of other options. Get creative and indulge in the snacks you wouldn’t normally eat for your main course. If you have any hesitations or questions on what you can’t and can eat, call our office. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. 205-682-1099

Facts About Bone Grafting

know the factsModern bone grafts can be used to fix a number of dental and facial issues and are often required. Dental implants often cannot be placed without first getting a bone graft. If you are considering getting dental implants or think you’re in need of a bone graft, here are some things you may want to know!

Bone grafting is a routine procedure!

Over the years, bone grafting has become a standard and highly-practiced procedure. The procedure is typically performed in the office, depending on each individual case and a local anesthesia or conscious sedation is available if needed in order to block the pain and calm any anxiety you may be feeling!

A number of materials can be used!

The bone grafting material that we use may come from a variety of sources. If we are able, we generally like to use bone from your own body, which decreases the chance of your body rejecting the graft. If possible, we will take this bone from your hip, jaw, or lower knee. If this is not an option, we are able to obtain bone from a tissue bank.

Bone grafting allows for your body to rebuild itself!

Your body will use your new bone graft as a sort of frame to grow new bone. Over time, the graft will be replaced with new bone that your body has grown during its own regeneration process. Keeping a healthy amount of bone tissue around your teeth is crucial in maintaining great oral health.

If you are in need of a dental implant, have a congenital defect, or have suffered a traumatic facial injury, and you’re wondering if you might need a bone graft, give our practice a call! We can assess your case, answer your questions and come up with the best possible treatment option for you! 205-682-1099

What You Should Know About Dental Implants

Lady smiling with dental implant

If you are looking for an alternative to dentures and would like to replace your missing teeth, dental implants may be for you. Dental implants are a popular long-term method for restoring your smile. Many people decide to get dental implants after they have experienced loss of teeth due to variety of reasons. Dental implants give you back your freedom from missing teeth.

Who gets dental implants?

Those who are in overall good health and are looking for a long-term solution for their missing teeth are candidates for dental implants. This includes those who are tired of dentures and are looking for a more comfortable and convenient alternative.

What are the advantages of dental implants?

There are many advantages of getting dental implants, including:

  • Convenience: dental implants are a long-term option for replacing missing teeth. They have the added benefit of being a permanent fixture in your mouth unlike dentures that can be abrasive to the gums and can cause difficulty speaking.
  • Easier eating: you may have found that eating has become more difficult with missing teeth. A dental implant allows for more efficient chewing and will allow you to enjoy your favorite foods once again.
  • Improved appearance: Dental implants look and feel like real teeth. They can be designed with the same color and shape as your surrounding teeth, making them natural looking
  • Confidence: Dental implants can give you a youthful appearance and increased self-esteem. You may find yourself smiling more than ever with your new implants.

How do I care for my dental implant?

The great thing about dental implants is that they require the same care as real teeth. This means regular brushing, flossing and routine dental checkups. If taken care of properly, your new implant can last you a lifetime!

If you are interested in dental implants, contact Alabama Oral & Facial Surgery at Birmingham Phone Number (205) 682-1099 to set up a dental implant consultation.

What is a Wisdom Tooth?

Wisdom Tooth Growing in crooked We all know that for most people, wisdom teeth need to be removed in order to prevent serious dental problems! But have you ever wondered, what exactly is a wisdom tooth? Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that typically grow in during a person’s late teens/early twenties.

Why are they called “wisdom” teeth?

Formally known as “third molars”, wisdom teeth developed their name due to the late nature of their arrival, at an age where people are “wiser” than when their other teeth grow in (during childhood).

What is their purpose?

Today, wisdom teeth are no longer needed in order for us to process food. Back in the day, however, when the human diet consisted of tough meats and fibrous vegetables, an extra molar was needed to break down food. Scientists have not discovered a common day use for wisdom teeth, as they are not needed for chewing modern food.

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

Over the years, human jaws have become much smaller, making the space too crowded for wisdom teeth. Therefore, when wisdom teeth start growing in, they push on the teeth that have already established themselves. Once they start pushing on other teeth, the alignment of a person’s mouth is affected. Wisdom teeth can easily become “impacted”. This means that they are trapped underneath a person’s gums and are unable to fully erupt, which can be painful. Since wisdom teeth aren’t needed and can affect your smile and health negatively, we recommend that most people have them removed. For the few people that don’t get their wisdom teeth removed, serious dental health problems can occur down the road.

If you’re curious about the status of your wisdom teeth – contact us today at Birmingham Phone Number (205) 682-1099 and we will go over your options with you!

Smoking and Oral Cancer

Dr. breaking cigarette

Oral cancer is a cancer that develops within the mouth or oral cavity. But it doesn’t just affect the mouth, it can involve the lips, tongue, throat, salivary glands, pharynx, larynx and sinuses. There are many factors that can cause oral cancer, but smoking is one of the biggest lifestyle choices that can increase the risk of disease. The Mouth Cancer Foundation found that 90% of those with oral cancer consumed tobacco. When you combine heavy use of alcohol and tobacco, the risk is even greater.

Oral Cancer Statistics

9,750 people die from oral cancer each year in the U.S, and oral cancer represents about 4% of all cancers and 2.2% of all cancer deaths in the U.S. After reading those stats, you might be wondering how you can avoid being a part of these grim numbers.

Preventing Oral Cancer

The first step is to choose a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to eat a balanced diet, exercise, avoid alcohol (or drink in moderation) and avoid tobacco usage altogether. But it’s also important to recognize all the signs and symptoms of oral cancer so that it can be caught early on.

Here are a few oral pathology signs to watch out for:

  • Feeling of a lump or object in your throat
  • Numbness, pain or tenderness in your mouth and tongue
  • Troubling moving your jaw or tongue with chewing, swallowing or speaking
  • Loose teeth with no apparent dental cause
  • Lingering sore throat

If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, contact our office today. In addition to that, we urge you to have regular oral cancer screenings in our office. We offer oral cancer examinations to all our patients. The earlier the cancer it detected, the quicker we can help you. Call our office today at Birmingham Phone Number (205) 682-1099 to schedule your screening appointment.