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Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons Say: “Keep Flossing!”

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons routinely provide recommendations about important oral health care habits. Proper oral hygiene is critical for keeping the mouth healthy and reducing the chance of tooth decay, gum disease, infection and related problems.

But what about flossing?

flossing teeth

Flossing came under debate last year, as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) neglected to include the practice in the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Despite this puzzling development, oral surgeons continue urge patients to floss daily.

Why the Latest U.S. Dietary Guidelines Removed Advice to Floss

Federal dietary guidelines are issued every five years. Their overarching purpose is to provide evidence-based recommendations for healthy eating patterns.

Flossing had been included in previous versions, so why the change?

As it turns out, the authors of the current guidelines decided not to carry forward the flossing recommendation because a review of the evidence was not completed, not because it isn’t beneficial.

In fact, after the dental community spoke out about the omission, HHS came out in support of flossing. According to their statement, the agency considers flossing an important oral health care habit, and the authors did not intend to imply otherwise.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Have Always Advocated Flossing

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons understand that good oral health care minimizes the risk of serious problems involving the teeth and oral cavity. Flossing is an integral part of that effort.

Brushing only cleans the front and back surfaces of the teeth. While this helps get rid of some plaque buildup, destructive bacteria tend to hide out in spots that are hard (or impossible) to reach with a toothbrush. Failing to clean these areas increases the risk of cavities, gum disease and tooth loss.

Because of this, we recommend that patients clean between their teeth once per day. Flossing — along with twice-daily tooth brushing and regular professional examinations and cleanings — is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Government Agencies Also Recommend Flossing

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons aren’t alone in touting the benefits of flossing.

The HHS, as we mentioned above, believes flossing is critically important. So do the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

For patients who have trouble using regular dental floss, oral surgeons suggest other types of interdental cleaners.

Pre-threaded flossers are easy to use and they work to remove plaque between the teeth. Soft pick-style gum brushes remove plaque and debris between teeth while also massaging the gums. Water flossers are another option, and are particularly well-suited for people with bridges, dental implants or braces. Finally, most manual, electric and sonic toothbrush manufacturers offer a brush type specifically designed for interdental cleaning.

The experienced oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can offer more tips and information on improving and maintaining your dental health. Contact one of our convenient Salt Lake City area offices today to schedule a consultation with our oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

Can Teenagers Get Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the perfect method for replacing lost and missing teeth. Implants are strong and stable, and they feel, look and function just like natural teeth.

Generally, any adult healthy enough to undergo routine dental work can get implant surgery. Teens, on the other hand, may have to wait.

dental implants for teens

Dental Implants and Jaw Development

Implants are placed directly into the jawbone. Integration with the bone is what makes the tooth replacement permanent.

The jawbone must be fully grown before implant surgery can be performed. If the bone hasn’t completely developed, serious problems can arise later.

For example, if the teeth and jaw are still in transition, the implants might not be placed to correctly compensate for future growth. As a result, they could become crooked as the jaw grows, which could stop the natural teeth from growing into the proper position. Implants can also become submerged relative to the other teeth as the jaw finishes growing.

Growth in the jawbone continues well into the teenage years. So many teens may need to hold off on getting implants, at least for a year or two.

What Is the Minimum Age for Getting Dental Implants?

Oral surgeons don’t have a hard-and-fast age rule for implant surgery because every patient is different.

The upper and lower jaw finish growing at different times. And teen guys and girls complete their growth at different ages.

X-rays of growth plates in the wrist can reveal whether jawbone development is complete. Some girls may be ready for implants by the age of 14 or 15. However, guys usually have to wait until at least age 17 to get implant surgery.

Tooth Replacement for Teens Not Ready for Dental Implants

Many teens balk at the idea of walking around with missing teeth, particularly if the gaps are visible when they smile or talk. Fortunately, if dental implants aren’t an option, temporary tooth replacements are available.

A removable partial denture can fill the missing spaces. With this dental appliance, the artificial teeth are attached to a gum-colored plastic base. Clasps or precision attachments hold the denture in place.

Dentures need to be removed for cleaning, so teens often prefer bonded bridges. These replacement teeth are fixed in place with metal or resin “wings” attached to the natural teeth on each side of the gaps.

Is your teen ready for implant surgery? You can learn more by scheduling an appointment with the professional oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule a consultation for your teen’s dental implants.

5 Questions to Ask an Oral Surgeon

Which oral surgeon should you use when you or a family member requires tooth extraction, dental implants or maxillofacial surgery?

This decision is an important one, as orthognathic surgery and related procedures can affect both your health and your appearance.

oral surgeon questions

Oral surgery can be life-changing, so it’s important to ensure your surgeon is the right one for you. Selecting the right specialist to meet your needs requires a bit of research, and you must ask the right questions.

No. 1: Does the Oral Surgeon Have the Appropriate Training?

The correct level of education and training are essential for oral surgeons.

Make sure your surgeon graduated from an accredited dental school and completed four to six years of additional surgical and advanced anesthesia training. In addition, check for continuing education courses — oral and maxillofacial surgeons are required to stay current on the latest procedures and techniques.

No. 2: Does the Oral Surgeon Have Experience with Your Procedure?

Not every specialist has extensive experience with every type of orthognathic surgery procedure.

You need someone with the skills to improve the odds of a successful outcome, and there’s no substitute for practice. As you research specialists, find out how many similar surgeries each has performed. The surgeon you choose should have a solid history of success with your particular procedure.

No. 3: Does the Oral Surgeon Belong to Professional Industry Organizations?

Professional organizations hold specialists to exacting standards of care. So it makes sense to choose a surgeon who belongs to the leading industry associations.

Seek out a surgeon with memberships and distinctions in several organizations, including the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the Utah Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

No. 4: What Payment Options Does the Oral Surgeon Accept?

Insurance may cover your orthognathic surgery if the procedure addresses a medical condition.

If not, you will be responsible for the costs, but paying for treatment doesn’t have to be a financial burden. Some practices — including Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah — offer affordable monthly payment plans.

As you search for the right specialist, ask about payment options ahead of time so you aren’t unpleasantly surprised.

No. 5: Are You Comfortable with the Oral Surgeon?

Bedside manner matters. The way your surgeon interacts and communicates with you can make all the difference during your treatment.

Choose a surgeon who takes the time to answer your questions and personally explain everything to your satisfaction. You need to feel at ease for your procedure, so find a surgeon who treats you with empathy and kindness.

The professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah is committed to providing the best care to all our patients. Contact one of our three Salt Lake City area offices today to learn more about our doctors or to schedule your consultation with one of our oral surgeons.

April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

How much do you know about oral cancer?

Also known as oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer, this potentially deadly disease can affect anyone. In observance of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the American Dental Association encourage everyone to learn more and be proactive about oral health.

Oral Cancer awareness

Oral Cancer Facts

While some people believe that oral cancer is rare, that is not the case.

Roughly 50,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. That translates to about 136 new cases every day. And, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF), this number has been on the rise for over a decade.

Even scarier, about 9,000 people die each year as a result of this disease. Or, to put it another way, that’s one death every hour of every day.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Anyone can develop this deadly disease. But certain risk factors can increase your chances. For instance, these cancers are twice as common in men as they are in women.

Tobacco use in any form — including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chew, snuff and smokeless tobacco — boosts your risk. Regular alcohol consumption has the same effect, particularly when used in combination with tobacco products.

Certain genetic and medical conditions and infectious diseases can also increase the probability of getting the disease. Exposure to sunlight without protection, poor nutrition, poor oral hygiene and physical trauma to the head, neck or jaw area may also play a part in some cases of carcinoma.

One of the biggest risk factors, however, is exposure to human papillomavirus (HPV16), the same virus that is responsible for many cases of cervical cancer in women. The OCF says that because of the HPV virus, young, healthy nonsmokers are the fastest growing segment of oral carcinoma patients.

Early Detection Saves Lives

The earlier oral carcinoma is diagnosed, the better the chances for successful treatment. In fact, the reason for the high mortality rate is because the disease is often not discovered until its later stages.

Conducting a monthly self-examination at home can help detect the disease early. Using a mirror and a flashlight, look for lesions, bumps and textural or color changes in the mouth tissues.

Regular professional examinations are also important, even for patients who don’t fit in the high-risk categories. As the prevalence of these cancers is increasing, routine screenings could help catch more cases in the early, treatable stages. And while you’re here, our oral surgeons can show you exactly what to look for and how to conduct self-examinations.

Dr. Maxfield and Dr. Partridge of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of oral pathology of all types. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule your oral cancer screening.

What to Expect after Your Bone Graft Surgery

Many patients require bone graft surgery prior to getting dental implants. This procedure replaces missing bone in the jaw and builds a solid foundation for the new replacement teeth.

Although bone grafting may sound serious, it’s a routine procedure that’s quick, minimally invasive and typically performed on an outpatient basis in our office. Once you get home, you can help minimize discomfort — and expedite the healing process — by following our basic aftercare instructions.

bone graft surgery

Managing Discomfort from Bone Graft Surgery

When you undergo a bone grafting procedure, as with any type of oral surgery, you will likely have some discomfort afterward. The good news is that, for most patients, the pain is no worse than with an ordinary tooth extraction.

Minor aching may persist for a few days, but prescription medication or over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help you manage the pain easily. Applying ice can also help you feel more comfortable after the procedure.

Minimizing Swelling After Bone Graft Surgery

Ice packs aren’t just for discomfort, though. Graft surgery procedures can cause facial swelling, which usually reaches its peak within the first two days, and gradually tapers off over the course of the next week.

To keep the swelling and inflammation down, our oral surgeons typically advise patients to apply ice at regular intervals for the first 48 hours. This helps restrict blood flow to your gum tissues, which minimizes bleeding and promotes proper healing.

Using ice packs in this way helps decrease the risk of graft or dental implant rejection.

Eating After Bone Graft Surgery

Although the types of foods you’ll be able to eat will depend on the complexity of your procedure, you will need to eat a modified diet for at least a few days after your bone grafting.

Some patients are restricted to a cold liquid diet for the first few of days. This means juices, milkshakes, smoothies, chilled blended soups and other cold beverages.

Other patients can eat room-temperature or tepid soft foods soon after the bone graft procedure. This includes pureed fruits, mashed potatoes, cooked cereal, yogurt, scrambled eggs and pudding. If a food requires any chewing, it’s best to avoid it for at least the first week after oral surgery.

You will also be asked to avoid eating any sharp, hard or crunchy foods for several weeks to ensure that nothing gets stuck in or around your graft site.

Sleeping and Activity Restrictions for Bone Graft Patients

Bone graft patients are typically advised to sleep on their backs, propped up with pillows, to prevent blood from pooling at the surgery site. Elevating the head keeps inflammation to a minimum, which expedites the recovery period. If you aren’t able to sleep on your back, at least avoid sleeping on the affected side of the face.

You will also have to avoid strenuous activity for the first few days following bone grafting. Exerting yourself too much can disturb the surgery site or cause your sutures to open. As you feel more comfortable, you can gradually return to your normal level of everyday activities.

The expert treatment team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah wants to give you the best chance for a quick and easy healing period after your oral surgery. Contact one of our three convenient Salt Lake City area offices today to schedule an appointment to ask any questions you may have about an upcoming bone graft surgery.

Be Ready for Dental Implant Surgery with These 3 Tips

Before scheduling your dental implant surgery, the oral surgeon and our expert treatment team will make sure you are prepared for the procedure.

We answer all your questions and provide you with detailed preoperative instructions, as well as a comprehensive aftercare plan. By following this advice, you can help ensure that your procedure and recovery go as smoothly as possible.

dental implant surgery

That said, some instructions are especially important to the success of your dental implants.

No. 1: Quit Smoking Before Your Dental Implant Surgery

We know today that smoking can increase the risks of serious health conditions, like heart disease, chronic lung disease and oral cancer. But did you know that tobacco use can also impede the healing process?

Research shows that smokers have impaired white blood cell migration after dental implant placement. This results in poor wound healing and a greater chance of infection.

We recommend that our patients quit smoking at least one week prior to their dental implant procedure; but putting away your cigarettes for a month or more is even more beneficial. This longer period of abstinence will also make it easier for you to adhere to the smoking restriction after your procedure.

If you’re worried about not being able to take a break from smoking, try a transdermal nicotine patch instead of cigarettes during the oral surgery preoperative period. Using a patch instead of smoking will be better for healing, and it will reduce your risk of infection.

No. 2: Don’t Imbibe Before Getting Dental Implants

Just like smoking, habitual alcohol use has a negative effect on the dental implant healing process, inhibiting bone development and causing an increased risk of infection.

Even if you only indulge occasionally, you’re still at risk. Scientific studies have revealed that any acute exposure to alcohol before oral surgery can cause diminished wound healing and compromise bone formation, a critical part of the implant healing process.

A single night of overindulgence can delay the early inflammatory response and inhibit wound closure. To avoid this, our oral surgeons advise patients to refrain from alcohol consumption for at least one week prior to the implant procedure.

No. 3: Prepare for Your Care After Dental Implant Surgery

Dental implants are placed on an outpatient basis, so you’ll be able to head home once the procedure is finished. But since you may feel sleepy or weak from the anesthesia afterward, we always advise patients to make some preparations ahead of time.

Have a friend or family member available to accompany you to your implant appointment, because we don’t recommend driving yourself home after oral surgery. In fact, if you have IV anesthesia for your procedure, you won’t be allowed to drive.

Also, check with us to verify whether you will need prescription medications after the procedure. If so, consider filling them in advance so you won’t have to make any extra stops on the way home.

Before coming in for your appointment, set up a comfortable spot at home to rest and recover. And don’t forget to stock your pantry — you’ll be on a soft-food diet for several days after your dental implants are placed.

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, with three convenient Salt Lake City area offices, provides expert dental services, including oral surgery, wisdom tooth extraction and restorations. Contact us today to learn more about how dental implants may help restore your healthy, beautiful smile.

8 Habits That Wreak Havoc on Your Oral Health

You expect to ace your oral health exam, but instead, your oral surgeon is concerned about weakened teeth, worn-down enamel, discolorations or the health of your gums.

What gives? You brush and floss twice a day, you don’t smoke and you never miss a routine checkup and cleaning.

oral health habits

If you have sound oral health care habits but still have dental problems, your everyday habits may be to blame.

No. 1: Snacking on Sugary or Starchy Foods

Sugar and starch are archenemies of your oral health.

The bacteria in your mouth feed on them, creating acids that eat away tooth enamel. For better oral health, enjoy sweets and starchy treats like potato chips or crackers as part of a meal rather than as snacks.

No. 2: Making the Wrong Beverage Choices

Regular soda, fruit juice and energy drinks are extremely high in sugar and acid.

Even sugar-free options bathe your teeth in enamel-destroying acid. Coffee and wine are also highly acidic — and these popular beverages can also stain the teeth. Water is the healthiest option for your oral and overall health. If you go with another drink choice, using a straw can help limit acid exposure to your teeth.

No. 3: Chewing Ice

Ice is just harmless frozen water, right? Wrong.

Munching on ice cubes can irritate your gums, leading to a toothache. And chewing a hard substance like ice could chip or crack a tooth. Instead of gnawing on ice, try a piece of sugarless gum.

No. 4: Biting Your Cheeks or Lips

Habitual cheek or lip biting can create chronic irritation. The presence of mouth sores can result in a serious oral infection.

Sugar-free gum is a safer alternative for habitual cheek and lip biters.

No. 5: Using Your Teeth as Tools

How many times have you used your teeth to rip open a package, twist the cap off a bottle or bite a fingernail? Doing so can weaken or even break your teeth.

You get one set of permanent teeth — never risk using them as tools. Protect your mouth by taking the time to grab a real tool instead.

No. 6: Grinding Your Teeth

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can create problems in the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), resulting in jaw pain. This habit can also wear down the enamel and lead to fractured or broken teeth.

To lessen the negative oral health effects of bruxism, wear a nighttime appliance to prevent grinding.

No. 7: Playing Sports Without a Mouthguard

Contact sports can be physically rough, and falls or collisions with other players can chip or knock out a tooth. The front teeth are particularly vulnerable to damage.

Keep your teeth safe by wearing a mouthguard, preferably one that is custom-fitted by an oral health professional.

No. 8: Bleaching Your Teeth Too Often

Repeated whitening procedures can cause your teeth to become extra sensitive to temperature. In addition, bleaching too often can result in patchy tooth discolorations and deterioration of the enamel.

For appropriate whitening technique and frequency, consult your oral health care professional.

The experienced team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah is committed to keeping your mouth healthy and your teeth strong. Call one of our three convenient Salt Lake City area offices today to schedule your oral health exam.

Survival Guide for Wisdom Tooth Removal

Is wisdom tooth removal in your near future?

Having these teeth, also known as the third molars, extracted has become a rite of passage into adulthood, but nevertheless, most patients aren’t thrilled about the prospect of having any teeth pulled.

Fortunately, understanding what to expect can help calm your nerves about the procedure.

wisdom tooth removal

To address our patients’ most common questions and concerns, our professional treatment team has put together a handy survival guide for having your wisdom teeth removed.

Why Is Wisdom Tooth Removal Necessary?

Erupting wisdom teeth are notorious for causing dental problems.

The third molars frequently become impacted, unable to fully emerge through the gum tissue. And if they do push their way through the gums, the teeth often come it an angle. Crooked growth can cause damage to neighboring teeth and lead to overcrowding in the mouth.

For these reasons, wisdom tooth extraction can be necessary. However, our oral surgeons typically take a proactive approach and recommend third molar removal for most patients, even if they have not yet begun experiencing dental problems.

Oral surgeons take this approach because the research demonstrates that keeping the wisdom teeth increases the risk of gum disease, whether they emerge or remain below the gumline. The back of the mouth is difficult to clean, so the area is a breeding ground for the bacteria that cause gingivitis and periodontitis.

What Is Wisdom Tooth Removal Like?

The most important thing to remember is that you won’t feel any pain or discomfort from the extraction procedure. In fact, you probably won’t feel it at all.

On the day of your extraction, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb your mouth. This anesthetic is used in conjunction with a second method of sedation to keep you comfortable, relaxed and pain free. We have several options for secondary sedation, depending on the oral surgeon’s recommendation.

One option is oral sedation, taken in pill form. This type of medication targets the anxiety center of the brain, easing your fears and making you feel calm and sleepy.

Extraction patients also frequently choose laughing gas, or inhaled sedation. This method of anesthesia changes your perception of pain and produces a sense of well-being and euphoria.

Intravenous (IV) sedation methods may also be used, especially for patients with impacted wisdom teeth. This approach is often referred to as “twilight sleep,” because although most patients have no memory of the procedure, it doesn’t cause them to lose consciousness.

If you undergo IV sedation, you will need to have someone along to drive you home.

What Is Recovery Like for Wisdom Tooth Extractions?

The level of discomfort you feel after your wisdom tooth extraction will depend on the specifics of your procedure. But for most patients, ice packs and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually enough to manage the pain.

Your cheeks will likely swell after the procedure, and you may experience slight bleeding and bruising. For the first 48 hours after your tooth removal, you’ll need to avoid strenuous activity. And you’ll be eating a soft food diet for a few days.

Most patients begin to heal within three to five days. Complete healing generally takes three to four weeks. In the meantime, it’s important to be diligent about keeping your mouth clean, to decrease the risk of infection. The more carefully you follow your aftercare instructions, the lower your chance of experiencing any complications.

The professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah specializes in extractions as well as oral surgery and dental implants. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule a consultation for your wisdom tooth removal.

Two Major “Don’ts” of Oral Surgery Recovery

To ensure that your oral surgery recovery is smooth and complication-free, following your aftercare instructions is essential.

Patients usually don’t question the need for proper oral hygiene after their procedure. Likewise, they don’t typically balk at eating a soft-food diet or avoiding strenuous exercise for a short time.

oral surgery recovery

Smoking and drinking alcohol, however, can be a matter of discussion. Many patients wonder why these activities are discouraged after surgery, and how these behaviors can undermine a successful recovery.

Why Alcohol Consumption After Oral Surgery Is Detrimental

Although you may feel like you deserve a stiff drink or a nice cold beer after your procedure, indulging in a cocktail after oral surgery is not wise.

Studies have shown that drinking inhibits the recovery process. Alcohol can significantly hinder the growth of new blood vessels, an integral part of healing. Connective tissue restoration and collagen production may also be slowed as a result of alcohol consumption.

In other words, drinking can extend your surgical recovery period. But, that’s not the only reason to stay sober. Alcohol exposure can also increase the chance that you’ll get an infection.

Why You Shouldn’t Smoke After Oral Surgery

If you’re a smoker, you may crave a cigarette as soon as you leave the oral surgeon’s office. While the urge is understandable, lighting up is a bad idea.

Just like drinking alcohol, smoking can impede your oral surgery recovery. Tobacco smoke has been shown to impair white cell migration, which is critical to the healing process. And as with alcohol, smoking increases the risk of infection.

Inhaling on a cigarette, much like sucking on a drinking straw, can dislodge blood clots from the surgical site, leaving bone and nerves exposed. As a result, you can develop a painful condition called dry socket.

Don’t be tempted to reach for smokeless or chewing tobacco after your procedure, either. Using these products can cause pain and discomfort, as the tobacco pieces can enter and aggravate the surgery site.

How Long Does the Oral Surgery Recovery Period Last?

So how long will you need to avoid alcohol and tobacco?

The recovery time for oral and maxillofacial surgery depends on a variety of factors, including the type of procedure you undergo and the state of your health. Your oral surgeon will give you an estimate, typically ranging from a few days to several weeks.

If you can refrain from drinking or smoking as long as possible after your procedure, the healing process will be shorter and you’ll be less likely to suffer painful or dangerous complications.

The experienced oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can address all of your concerns about the healing process and aftercare. Contact one of our three convenient Salt Lake City area offices today to learn more how to improve the outcomes of your oral surgery recovery.

How Strong Are Dental Implants Compared to Real Teeth?​

Dental implants are valued for how closely they mimic the look, fit and feel of natural teeth. And this realism extends to their functionality, as they restore the ability to speak, bite and chew.

dental implants utah

But what about strength? Implant surgery is a safe and effective way to fill the gaps in your smile — but that isn’t enough without durability. After all, no one wants to invest in tooth replacement that won’t last.

When compared to real teeth, how strong are dental implants?

Dental Implants Are Made of Titanium

An implant has three parts — a screw-like post, an abutment and a ceramic crown.

The post is placed into the jawbone to function as a tooth root. The crown functions as a replacement tooth. The abutment is the connector piece that attaches the post to the crown.

Both the post and the abutment are made of titanium, one of the strongest metals known to man. This alloy is a staple of the medical field, as it resists corrosion and is capable of osseointegration, or joining with human bone. In addition, dental titanium is biocompatible, meaning the body is highly unlikely to reject the foreign material.

After implant surgery, the bone heals and fuses around the titanium post. The replacement tooth is just as strong as — or stronger than — the natural teeth, as it is solidly anchored in the bone.

Dental Implants Are Not Susceptible to Decay

Real teeth can — and often do — decay. Natural bacteria in the mouth combines with sugars in foods and drinks to create acids. These acids attack and weaken tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and cavities. Left untreated, decay can result in tooth loss.

Implants, on the other hand, are not vulnerable to tooth decay.

Acids in the mouth cannot eat away at the titanium posts and abutments or the ceramic crowns. So in this respect, implants may be considered more solid and durable than natural teeth.

Can Dental Implants Break?

Dental-grade titanium is made to be fracture-resistant. Consequently, it is rare for the posts or abutments to break.

However, ceramic crowns can break. The ceramic material used to fabricate dental crowns is strong, but no more so than a real tooth. Therefore, just as with natural teeth, excess force can cause the crown to chip or fracture. If this happens, it will need to be replaced.

To help prevent crowns from breaking, don’t use your teeth as tools. Neither your dental implants nor your natural teeth were designed to open bottles or tear through packaging. Chewing ice, biting fingernails and cracking nuts should also be avoided.

Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, the experienced oral surgeons of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, can answer all of your questions about implant surgery and alternative tooth replacement methods. Schedule an appointment at our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to learn whether dental implants are the best way to restore your beautiful smile.