Monthly Archives: April 2019

Caring for new dental implants

Can Dental Implants Develop Cavities?

Dental implants are as close to natural teeth as you can get. After implant surgery, no one will ever be able to tell that you once had gaps in your grin.

Since dental implants mimic natural teeth so well, you may wonder if are they just as prone to developing cavities.

They’re not. In fact, implanted teeth can’t get cavities at all! However, you still need to care for your smile, or you run the risk of implant failure.

Caring for new dental implants

Cavities Are Not a Threat to Dental Implants

Implanted teeth are near-perfect matches to natural teeth, but they have a different composition.

Real teeth contain calcium, phosphorous and other minerals. Implants, on the other hand, contain only artificial, biocompatible materials. The implant post, which acts as a tooth root, and the abutment, or connector piece, are made of titanium. The crown, or the visible tooth portion of the implant, is usually a ceramic or porcelain compound.

Because implanted teeth aren’t comprised of biologic materials, they simply cannot develop cavities.

Cavity-Causing Bacteria Can Affect Dental Implants

Cavities don’t occur in implanted teeth, but the oral bacterial that cause cavities can be problematic.

Without proper care, a bacterial infection could take hold in the tissues surrounding an implant. The condition, known as peri-implant mucositis, can be successfully treated if caught early enough. Left untreated, the bacteria can spread and cause jawbone deterioration. At this point, the condition is called peri-implantitis — and it can lead to implant failure.

Peri-implantitis compromises the stability of an implant, causing it to loosen. Surgical treatment can reverse the problem, but in some cases, the only treatment option is to remove the implanted teeth, restore sufficient jawbone density and repeat the implant surgery process.

Proper Care for New Dental Implants

To prevent peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis — and ensure long-term implant stability — patients need to be diligent in caring for their smiles.

Fortunately, taking proper care of implants is easy. Just keep good oral hygiene habits, as you already (hopefully) do. Brush and floss twice per day, don’t use your teeth as tools and schedule routine oral examinations with your dentist and oral surgeon.

However, to clean your implanted teeth properly, you may need to switch to an interdental brush. This type of toothbrush has tiny bristles that reach all the in-between areas and provide a more thorough cleaning.

Do you have any other questions about dental implants? Or are you interested in getting implanted teeth? Dr. Partridge and Dr. Alderman, the board-certified oral surgeons at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, can offer expert answers and advice on tooth restoration and implant surgery.

At Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, serving the greater east central Indiana area, you get a beautiful, natural-looking smile that lasts a lifetime. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss dental implants.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Have you ever had a professional oral cancer screening?

An estimated 53,000 people will get a diagnosis of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer this year. This translates to more than 145 new cases every single day! As if that weren’t scary enough, over 20 percent of these individuals will die as a result of the disease.

The good news is, when oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer is diagnosed in the early stages, treatment stands a very strong chance of success. As this April marks the 20th annual Oral Cancer Awareness Month, now’s the ideal time to learn more about the disease.

Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Cancer can develop in any part of the oral cavity — including the inside of the lips and cheeks, the gums, the tongue, below the tongue and the roof of the mouth – or the oropharynx, which includes the throat, the tonsils, the soft palate and the base of the tongue.

Knowing the key warning signs and symptoms of oral cancer can help you spot the disease early on, when it’s more easily treated. If you notice any of the following, schedule a cancer screening as soon as possible:

  • A sore or ulceration that isn’t going away
  • Red, white, black or discolored patches
  • A lump or hard area in the soft tissues
  • A growth that bleeds when touched
  • Pain or numbness in the mouth or lips
  • Ongoing hoarseness or sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing or moving the tongue

Risk Factors for Developing Oral Cancer

While anyone can develop the disease, research shows that a number of factors increase the risk of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer. These include:

  • Smoking or using another form of tobacco
  • Drinking a heavy amount of alcohol
  • Spending time outside in the sunlight without protection
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • Poor nutrition, with a diet low in produce
  • Weak immune system due to disease or medication
  • Graft-versus-host disease, a condition related to stem cell transplant
  • Inherited mutations or defects in certain genes
  • Family history of cancer in the mouth, neck or face

Gender and age also factor into the equation. Oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers are more than twice as likely to strike men than women, and people over 55 are at a greater risk of developing the disease.

Schedule a Professional Oral Cancer Screening Today

The odds of beating cancer of the oral cavity or oropharynx region are greater the earlier the disease is detected.

Experts recommend conducting monthly self-exams in front of a mirror at home, looking for any abnormalities or changes in the mouth tissues. In addition, everyone should schedule regular professional screenings. A local oral surgeon with expertise in conditions of the face, mouth and neck may identify early warning signs that patients can easily miss.

For a professional oral cancer screening in the greater east central Indiana area, turn to the highly-qualified team at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Dr. Partridge and Dr. Alderman, our board-certified surgeons, have over a decade of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer. For more information or to schedule a professional oral cancer screening, contact us today.