Kucey Dental Group
Was this word the invention of an evil doctor who loves long and complicated words? No! Osseointegration actually derives from the Greek osteon, bone and the Latin integrare, to make whole. It’s a physical process that was first observed by Swedish researchers in the 1960’s and refers to the functional connection between a titanium implant and living bone. Simply put, without osseointegration, dental implants wouldn’t work!
Osseointegration is a natural process: When the titanium dental implant connects to bone cells, it is locked into the jawbone, forming a solid bond. While the process is natural, the implementation isn’t simple. Implant healing times and initial stability depend on implant characteristics and to a large extent on your doctor! We have ample experience in placing dental implants and therefore can ensure that you receive the best care and outcome when it comes to implant surgery and the healing process.
The first evidence of the bone bonding with the implant occurs after a few weeks, while a more robust connection progresses over the next months or years. The osseointegration process will make the implant resistant to external shocks over time, but it can still be damaged from trauma or poor care.
The benefits of dental implants can’t be overstated! Not only do they give you a fully functioning bite back, they also prevent your jawbone from deteriorating and protect your facial profile.
Give us a call if you have questions about the dental implant process!
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Oct 7th, 2015 8:20 am
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What color are your teeth? Of course, there is no “right” answer. Teeth come in endless shades and ranges. When we talk about tooth color in our office, we try to break it down into no fewer than 40 shades (light to dark) and ranges (color). For example, you could have a very light shade of tooth in the reddish brown range, or a dark shade of tooth in the gray range. Everyone’s teeth are unique and the possibilities are endless.
You may be wondering, what makes a tooth the color it is now or will be in the future? We all know about coffee and tobacco as being major culprits of stained teeth, but what else goes into the making of a tooth color?
Things We Can’t Control:
- Genetics – Did you know that you could inherit your tooth color? You can also inherit your tooth’s propensity for staining.
- Aging – We now know that teeth simply turn yellow, as we age.
- Medicine Use – some medicines, such as certain antibiotics, can cause your tooth color to change.
- Injury – Traumatic tooth injuries can cause intrinsic discoloration of the inner part of the tooth, the “dentin”, which is difficult to remedy. Have you ever seen a tooth that looks “dead”? That gray tone has most likely been brought on by a traumatic tooth injury.
Things We Can Control:
- Food and Drinks – Certain foods and drinks, such as berries, sauces, coffee, dark soda, black tea and red wine, cause staining over time. Limit these foods and practice good oral hygiene habits!
- Over-fluoridation – Too much fluoride in children, while teeth are still developing, can cause tooth discoloration. Be sure to follow guidelines for safe fluoride use. Don’t abandon the use of fluoride altogether though. Fluoride offers numerous benefits such as: preventing tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to acid attacks and reversing early tooth decay. But, we’ve all heard that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing!
- Tobacco Use – It is well known that cigarettes and other tobacco products turn teeth yellow and eventually brown. Don’t smoke or chew.
What can you do about stained teeth? We’re glad you asked! We offer professional teeth whitening options for the best and safest results. No matter what tooth shade you’ve inherited (or created), we can help make it whiter. Give us a call today to find out more!
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Sep 23rd, 2015 8:15 am
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It’s estimated that 125 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. If you are one of them, you may be considering dental implants for tooth replacement. We think it’s important for you to know what factors make a person a good candidate for such a procedure. Here are a few things to consider.
Most People Are Good Candidates. Dental implants can replace one, several, or all of your teeth. They can be used in place of bridges or dentures. Good candidates have healthy gums and are old enough so that their jawbone has stopped growing. You should also have enough bone to support and anchor the implants. Even if you have lost bone in your jaw, however, you may still be a good candidate for implants. In fact, dental implants may be recommended to prevent further bone loss. In these situations, bone can actually be rebuilt with grafting procedures as part of the implant process.
Evaluation. Successful implantation starts with a thorough evaluation of your jaw, teeth, mouth and overall health. You will receive a mouth X-ray and possibly a Computed Tomography (CT) scan. This will help us identify areas of bone loss and carefully see the shape of your sinuses and nerve location to make accurate assessments for your treatment. We will also do a thorough medical evaluation, as your overall health and history plays a big role in how well your implant will heal and fuse to the bone.
People At Risk of Poor Outcomes. Uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, radiation to the jaws, smoking, alcoholism, or uncontrolled gum disease are all risk factors that can adversely affect your outcome. You may still be a good candidate with one of these diseases, but we’ll want to thoroughly assess your situation and work with you and your doctor to increase your overall health and functioning. People who take certain medications, such as steroids or drugs that suppress the immune system may not be suitable candidates, either. And people with certain habits, such as people who severely grind or clench their teeth may put too much pressure on the implants, causing long term damage.
Overall, dental implants have a very high rate of success and patients tell us how happy they are with the outcome. If you are considering implants, we can complete a careful examination to determine what options are best suited for you. Call us today to make that appointment!
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Sep 9th, 2015 8:03 am
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Nobody likes coming to the dentist to have a cavity filled! Many of our patients ask us how stop a cavity before it happens. Many people have heard of fluoride but wonder how it works and if it is safe. We wrote this blog to answer your questions about fluoride and to help you understand its benefits and how to use it effectively.
Fluoride occurs naturally in certain foods. You might be surprised to learn that it can be found in black teas and raisins, and in our water sources, such as lakes and rivers. And, because it provides such good protection from tooth decay, it has been added to dental products to help prevent cavities.
Fluoride works for both children and adults. It’s true! Before teeth even erupt through the gums, fluoride taken in from certain foods and supplements makes tooth enamel stronger and therefore more resistant to decay. After teeth erupt, brushing with fluoride toothpaste helps rebuild (remineralize) weakened tooth enamel, reversing early signs of cavity formation. In addition, the fluoride you consume becomes a part of your saliva, constantly bathing your teeth with tiny amounts of the cavity fighter. While it is critical for infants and children to be exposed to fluoride when primary and permanent teeth are forming, new research indicates that topical fluoride is just as important in fighting tooth decay for adults!
Use the correct amount of toothpaste to benefit your teeth. While all toothpaste removes plaque (a thin film of bacteria that can cause gum disease and tooth decay), only toothpaste with fluoride can prevent tooth decay by making teeth stronger. Make sure you’re using the correct amount of toothpaste with your children!
For very little ones, under 3 years of age, parents and caregivers should begin gently brushing teeth as soon as they come into the mouth with an amount of fluoridated toothpaste the size of a few grains of rice.
For children ages 3 to 6, a pea-size amount of toothpaste is best. Everyone should brush their teeth twice a day and make sure to supervise children to help instill good habits.
Some mouth rinses also contain fluoride. You may already be protecting your teeth with fluoride without even knowing it! However, mouth rinses should not be used with children under the age of 6, as they may not be able it use it appropriately.
You may have fluoride in your water. Your community may have chosen water fluoridation (simply adding fluoride to drinking water) as a public health benefit. Water fluoridation is safe, effective, and healthy. The Center for Disease Control has noted water fluoridation as one of the ten best public health achievements of the 20th century.
For your best dental hygiene routine, ask us during your next visit about the right fluoride products for you and your family. Your oral health is our priority so we want to answer any questions that you have. Armed with the right information, your family can have healthy teeth for life. Contact our office to schedule your next visit! We can’t wait to see you soon!
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Aug 26th, 2015 8:31 am
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When compared to the costs of other tooth replacement options, boy do dental implants seem expensive! Yet you may be surprised to learn that, in the long run, dental implants can be more affordable than their traditional counterparts. Understanding this procedure and the factors that determine the costs can help you decide if dental implants are a good investment for you!
What is a Dental Implant? A dental implant is a permanent replacement for lost teeth. It is made of an artificial tooth firmly held in place by a tooth root made of titanium (which is biocompatible) that is surgically placed into your jaw. Dental implants help stabilize the jaw and the bone around it to avoid future bone loss and maintain the shape of your jaw. They never have to be removed and feel more natural and comfortable than dentures. And unlike bridges or crowns, which are cemented in, the chances of slippage or shifting are eliminated. With implants, talking and eating become worry free.
Steps In a Dental Implant Procedure. We will first use extensive imaging to determine bone health, height, and thickness to assess your bone and teeth structure carefully. The surgery itself is done in our office in separate stages. First, the implant is surgically placed into your jawbone, completely hidden within your gum tissue. Once the implant has integrated into your bone, a healing process of about 4 to 6 months, the next stage is the placement of the abutment, or the post that penetrates the gum and will connect the replacement tooth to the implant. The final stage involves attaching your artificial tooth (made from impressions of your natural tooth) to the abutment. If more than one tooth is being replaced, a removable bridge is used, as it is more affordable than implanting each tooth separately. For a bridge, it takes only one implant on either side to span an area holding several teeth. The bridge snaps into place for a more permanent and natural fit than dentures.
Factors That Affect the Cost. While dental implant surgery is a safe and routine option, it is a complex procedure that takes time and expertise to be done effectively. There are many factors that will influence the final costs including what X-ray and CT scans are necessary to evaluate and assess the implant area and the brand and material of the post, abutment and artificial teeth. However, the biggest cost factor is the complexity of the surgery itself. For example, how many teeth are we replacing and what is the location? Will additional procedures, such as bone grafting or sinus elevation be required? We do our best to make sure that your estimate includes all of the possible costs of each of the steps of your procedure.
While dental implants may seem expensive, they are often more affordable in the long run than traditional restoration methods such as crowns and bridges, which are more vulnerable to damage and usually require repairs or replacement every few years.
Dental implants are known to have a 95% success rate when completed by professionals with the right experience and training, such as us! Because dental implants offer a permanent solution, are natural and comfortable, and require little maintenance, they are a cost effective choice for most of our patients.
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Aug 12th, 2015 8:23 am
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What’s involved in a dental implant? Do they hurt? Can anyone get them? There are a lot of questions surrounding dental implants but one thing is certain; they’ve been reconstructing smiles for over 35 years with amazing results. But what’s the fuss surrounding dental implants and are they really worth it? Lets answer some question to help you decide for yourself.
Can anyone get a dental implant? Anyone who is healthy enough to get a dental implant can get one as long as they have enough bone to hold the implant. This is where bone grafting comes in for those who have been told their jawbone won’t hold an implant. Keeping up with regular oral hygiene is also an important factor and heavy smokers may be told it’s not a safe option.
What exactly is a dental implant? A dental implant replaces your tooth root with a metal rod. It provides a solid structure on which to place a new tooth that is made to match your real teeth. Dental implants not only improve the overall look of your smile but they’re durable, convenient, and easy to take care of.
What are the steps to getting a dental implant? As your doctor, we will want to develop an individualized treatment plan that focuses on your specific needs. Once we have agreed on a treatment plan, the next step will be the placement of the implant in your jaw. The implant is made of titanium and once placed the jawbone will actually begin to grow around it. In about six to twelve weeks the implant will have completely bonded to your jaw and it will be time to attach a small post that connects your new tooth to the implant. We create a mold of your bite that allows us to create your new tooth. This replacement tooth is then attached to the post and the implant process is complete!
Lastly, how painful are dental implants and are they difficult to take care of? Most patients have said they experienced very little discomfort when receiving their implant. Many have even said the process is much less painful than a tooth extraction. Mild pain that may occur for a few days after you receive your implant can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. Dental implants require the same care as your real teeth but generally they are much easier to clean and you don’t have to worry about cavities.
We hope this answers some of the questions surrounding dental implants. If you’re missing a tooth or teeth, give us a call to ask more about the procedure. We’ve seen many patients leave happy and comfortable with their improved smile!
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Jul 29th, 2015 9:03 am
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Many people think that a painful tooth means they need a root canal treatment. While that is sometimes true, it’s not always the case. In fact, there are many other reasons why teeth can hurt!
Here, we offer a guide to some common types of tooth pain and what that pain may be trying to tell you:
Sensitivity to hot and cold foods:
If the pain is short-lived, you probably do not have a serious problem, but more likely a loose filling or a small amount of gum recession that has resulted in root surface exposure. Try using sensitive teeth toothpaste and a soft brush with a gentle up and down motion. If this doesn’t help after a week or so (especially if there is a loose or missing filling), give us a call.
Heat sensitivity after an appointment:
Some types of dental work can irritate the pulp inside your teeth, causing sensitivity for several weeks. If it lasts longer than that, let us know.
Sharp pain when biting:
Sometimes sharp pain can be caused by a loose filling or a crack in your tooth. Either of these scenarios requires evaluation by a professional, so please give us a call.
Pain/Sensitivity lasting longer than 30 seconds:
Often this means that the pulp (innermost part of your tooth) has been damaged and there is probably infection. Without intervention, you may lose this tooth so it is important to call us to find out what are the best treatment options.
Frequent, dull aching in the jaw.
This can happen when excessive grinding of the teeth happens (bruxism), when there is advanced periodontal disease, or it could even be a sign of a sinus headache or infection. Please call us for more information.
Severe spontaneous pain, pressure or swelling of the gums:
This may mean that you have an abscessed, infected tooth that may have spread to other tissues in the mouth. This is a serious situation that requires an emergency visit and should not be left untreated
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Jul 15th, 2015 9:00 am
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Why should teeth get all the fame? Since the beginning of time, teeth have taken center stage in the oral health arena, while their close cousins, the gums, have occupied more of a back-seat role. So we have decided to dedicate this article to gums. What makes them healthy, what makes them sick, and why they are so important for whole-body health!
Gingiva, or “gums”, are the mucosal tissue that cover the jaw and hold the teeth in place. When they are healthy and properly intact, they offer a protective barrier for the jaw and tooth roots against food, bacteria and other materials, of which there are many that enter the mouth.
Healthy gums typically are coral pink and color, and not recessed far above the tooth. They show a scalloped appearance over each tooth, and are firm and resist movement. They take brushing and flossing well, usually with no reaction whatsoever.
By contrast, unhealthy gums may exhibit red, white and even blue hues, have a puffy or orange peel texture and may bleed when brushed or flossed. Eventually, this disease affects the underlying supporting bone. Untreated periodontal disease has been shown to affect the whole body, especially when there are other health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. It can result in lost teeth and poor function and nutrition down the road.
Prevention is Key:
The good news is that most cases of periodontal disease are preventable with regular professional care. While we don’t know exactly what role genetics play in terms of periodontal health, we do know that practicing good oral health is the first step to preventing periodontal disease. Habits such as brushing twice and flossing once per day and regular exams and cleanings can help many people prevent or slow the progression of gum disease. Visiting your dentist for professional cleanings will remove the bacteria that you can’t and prevent periodontal disease.
We hope you have learned something new about your gums!
If you have any questions about your gums or any other part of your mouth, don’t hesitate to give us a call!
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Jun 17th, 2015 12:00 pm
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Oral Health Spotlight Gums
People often wonder, “How does a tooth get an infection?”
It’s a common misconception that teeth are not alive. That belief leads to confusion about how teeth become infected. Because you can’t “feel” the part that you can see (the crown), many people think that their teeth are not alive. Yet, the opposite is true. Most of the material that makes up your teeth is, in fact, made of living cells. Since the material is alive, it makes a great host site for bacterial infections!
Similar to hair and fingernails, there is a part of your teeth that is not alive – it is the outermost part, called “enamel”. This is the hard, white part that you can see. It is made of calcium phosphate, a very hard mineral that is perfect for breaking down food when you eat. Underneath that enamel, however, is where all of the live action happens!
Starting on the outside and working our way in, we find dentin (alive), and then the pulp cavity and root canal, through which nerves and blood vessels flow.
Generally speaking, if the enamel is intact, bacteria cannot get through to the pulp to cause problems. However, if there is a crack in the outer part of the tooth due to injury or decay, this creates a pathway for bacteria to enter into the innermost part of the tooth (the pulp cavity and canal) causing infection of the living tissue.
Entry of bacteria into the pulp or nerve space is when endodontic treatment becomes essential! The only way to remove the infected material is manually, by accessing the canal itself, irrigating and then filling, or closing off access, to the inside of the tooth again. If this is not done, pain and infection will increase. The only other alternative would be to remove a natural tooth and replace it with a dental implant, bridge or removable partial denture. Keeping a natural tooth healthy is always best!
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Jun 3rd, 2015 1:56 pm
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Did you know that over 69% of adults in America are missing at least one tooth? Whether it is from an accident, neglect, or even being born without certain teeth, not everyone is supporting a full set of teeth. There are many solutions to replacing missing teeth, each with its own benefits. With the influx of technology and precision of modern dentistry, dental implants are becoming more affordable, and are the premier long-term solution for missing teeth. Dental bridges are an alternative to dental implants, but over time a single dental implant is generally more cost-effective. Dental implants can last decades or even a lifetime, which allows a patient to treat the implant as they would their real teeth, and continue on with life without having to worry about them. Whether you’re in the market for one tooth, or multiple teeth, dental implants not only can lower your overall healthcare costs, but also increase your quality of life!
How the implant works:
In place of the natural original root where the tooth was, a dental implant is connected to the existing bone, as a base, and can then support the new (restoration) tooth in place.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
The quick answer is: “most likely yes.” Restrictions such as age do not apply to the possibility of receiving dental implants. There are very few restrictions that would prevent a patient from receiving dental implants and they include: Those who do not have enough existing bone in the jaw, and those who have had medical radiation therapy to the jaw (for cancer or similar treatments), which could interrupt fusion of implant to the bone. Recent studies have even shown that even patients with diabetes or prior periodontal disease have little to no restrictions in the ability to receive dental implants.
If you are interested in dental implants, give us a call today and see how we can help you!
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
May 20th, 2015 7:55 am
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Dental Implants- Learning the Basics