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Posts for: October, 2017

By Healthwest Dental Associates
October 26, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

If you’re considering different options for tooth replacement, dental implants are likely high on your list. Implants have a proven reputation for both durability and life-like appearance that can restore mouth function and revitalize your smile.

There is one aspect concerning implants, however, which gives people pause — the surgical procedure required to place the implants in the jawbone. If you’re leery about undergoing this procedure we can put your mind at ease — for most patients implant surgery is a minor, pain-free process with little discomfort afterward.

While there are variations in style, implants generally have two major components: a titanium post that’s implanted into the jawbone and a permanent life-like crown that’s affixed 6 to 12 weeks after implant surgery. Titanium is the metal of choice because of its affinity with bone cells; over time bone will grow to and attach itself around the implant, a process known as osseo-integration. The metal post is normally spiral in shape, allowing it more surface area for bone to adhere to.

In the beginning of the procedure we administer local anesthesia to fully numb the area before proceeding. After accessing the bone through tiny incisions in the gum tissue, we create a small channel in the exposed bone. A surgical guide may be used to prepare the precise location for the implant with a series of drilling sequences that increases the channel until it matches the implant size. While this takes place, you should only feel a mild vibration and a little pressure from the drill.

The implants are then removed from their sterile packaging and placed immediately into the prepared site. The gum tissues are then sutured into place with self-absorbing sutures. Most people have only mild discomfort after the surgery that can be managed with a prescription-strength non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen. We may also prescribe antibiotics and other care instructions to ensure successful gum tissue healing.

With proper planning and precise implant placement by skilled hands, implant surgery is an easy and uneventful procedure. And, with your new crowns in place, your new, beautiful smile will make the experience a distant memory.

If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “Dental Implant Surgery.”

By Healthwest Dental Associates
October 11, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

October is National Dental Hygiene Month. It’s a great time to talk about your first line of dental defense: your toothbrush.

Are you getting the most out of your tooth-brushing routine at home? Your toothbrush is the primary tool to maintain oral health on a daily basis, so here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Brush gently twice a day, every day, for two minutes each time using a soft toothbrush. Scrubbing with too much force or with hard bristles can damage gums and tooth enamel.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is a mineral that builds tooth enamel to prevent tooth decay.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or when the bristles start to look frayed, curled, or worn.
  • Rinse out your mouth thoroughly after brushing to get rid of bacteria and food debris that you worked loose from your teeth.
  • Also rinse your toothbrush well after each use to wash away the debris and bacteria you just brushed from your teeth.
  • Let your toothbrush dry out between uses. A toothbrush that is stored in a closed container can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Keep your toothbrush to yourself. Sharing toothbrushes is a way to share disease-causing germs as well.

Follow these pointers and come in for regular dental visits to help ensure healthy teeth and a bright smile. If you have any questions about your dental hygiene routine, be sure to ask us.

To learn more, read these informative articles in Dear Doctor magazine: “Manual vs. Powered Toothbrushes” and “10 Tips For Daily Oral Care at Home.”

By Healthwest Dental Associates
October 10, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Broken and damaged teeth cause more than just aesthetic issues. If left untreated, your broken or damaged tooth can lead to serious dental crownsdental issues or even result in tooth loss. Luckily, a dental crown can help restore your smile’s functionality while improving the appearance of your smile. Find out more about dental crowns with Dr. Paul Hufham and Dr. Bayne Heersink at Healthwest Dental Associates in Dothan, AL.

How does a dental crown work? 
A dental crown fits over a tooth and protects the tooth’s natural structure. A dental crown is actually one of the most common dental procedures, used in many cases, especially those where a tooth receives a large filling, such as a root canal. Other reasons dentists use crowns include:

  • restoring the worn biting surface of a tooth
  • stabilizing a broken or damaged tooth
  • holding a dental bridge in place
  • replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant
  • renewing the appearance of a worn, discolored, or misshapen tooth

What is the process for crowning a tooth? 
Before your dentist can crown a tooth, they must first prepare it. The preparation uses a method which removes enamel from the sides and top of the tooth and shapes it into the correct form to fit inside the crown. Then, your dentist will take an impression of your mouth which a dental laboratory will use to custom-make each crown.

How long do dental crowns last? 
Porcelain dental crowns will last many years with the proper care. Porcelain is durable and stain-resistant, giving you a look you will love. Caring for porcelain dental restorations is as easy as caring for your own teeth. All patients--no matter their age, risk level for tooth decay, or previous dental procedures--should brush twice a day and floss once. Patients should also see their dentist at least twice a year for regular dental examinations and professional cleanings performed by a dental hygienist.

Dental Crowns in Dothan, AL 
For more information on dental crowns, please contact Dr. Hufham and Dr. Heersink at Healthwest Dental Associates in Dothan, AL. Call (334) 702-1101 to schedule your appointment with your dentist today!