Yearly Archives: 2013

Thoughtful Ways to Talk About Dental Implants With Your Aging Parents

There comes a time when talking about dental implants or dentures with your parents is imperative. It can be a sensitive subject and one that many parents may have a hard time discussing. Here are a few thoughtful ways to approach the subject in a non-threatening, reassuring manner.

First off, it is important that you educate yourself as to what treatment options are available. The more you know, and the more confident you are, the more your parents will trust that you have their best interests at heart.

Include your parents in the decision making process. Schedule a free consultation with our office and bring your parent for the visit. At this appointment, we will discuss their options for dental implants and talk about the benefits of them over traditional denture plates. Many people don’t realize there are other options besides extracting all the teeth and replacing them with dentures. Dentures should actually be considered a last resort.

Try to pinpoint the specific worries your parent has about dentures and implants. Here is a list of possible worries:

  • They may worry that dentures are their only option
  • They may be anxious about the actual procedure
  • They may worry about the feel, smell, slippage, adhesives, discomfort, embarrassment, taste, etc.
  • They may worry about the financial implications for receiving dental implants

Once you have found the source of their apprehension, helping them to see the benefits of a new treatment plan can be much easier.  We understand the fears people face when considering dental implant surgery. We want our patients to know we are only here to help them to receive the best care possible.

Dental implants can be a fantastic option for elderly people. While they aren’t as strong as healthy natural teeth, they are a far better option than dentures. They provide the most comfort and the most natural feel of any false teeth alternative. Most elderly people have enough bone mass and density to support dental implants and there are many treatment options, like Same-Day-Teeth, or Teeth-in-a-Day, which allow a full set of teeth to be attached on as few as two implants in as little as one hour.


Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah now has a Cone Beam CT Scanner!

We are so excited to announce the arrival of our new in-office Cone Beam CT Scanner!

Our new scanner, the Carestream Kodak CS 9300, will allow us to see a much more detailed image of the patient’s jaw and teeth faster than ever before. This means less waiting for the patient, and more detailed x-rays for us!

Also, the new scanner allows us to focus on specific areas of the patient’s mouth, limiting the amount of radiation the patient is exposed to.

This noninvasive scan takes less than a couple minutes. During the scan, the patient bites on a small plastic piece while the machine rotates around the patient’s head taking hundreds of images simultaneously. These images are then compiled to form a three-dimensional, color picture, which can be manipulated and examined to determine a more accurate treatment plan for the patient.

The new Cone Beam CT Scanner will allow us to better serve our patients!

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How Teeth In a Day Can Make Your Life Better

Patients are often hesitant to start restoring their teeth because of the lengthy process. We understand the anticipation, anxiety, and frustrations that come along with dental restoration, which is why we offer Teeth-in-a-Day™.

What used to take multiple visits over the course of several weeks, now takes just one day with Teeth-in-a-Day™.screen_shot_2013-09-05_at_2.10.44_pm

Teeth-in-a-Day™ is a revolutionary concept providing patients with fully functioning, non-removable teeth, on as few as 4 dental implants, in one hour-long procedure.

What does this mean for you, the patient? It means you wont have to find more time in your busy schedule to make multiple appointments.  There is only one procedure to get nervous about and heal from, getting you back to your regular routine much faster. Most patients are able to resume their normal activities the very next day.

Even those who have been told they lack sufficient bone mass can still be candidates for the procedure! By taking advantage of the dense bone in the front part of the jaw and with strategic placing of the implants, this procedure has virtually eliminated the need for costly and time-consuming bone grafting.

If you are tired of dealing with personal shame and self-consciousness brought on by malfunctioning partial plates or ill-fitting dentures, call us for a free consultation. The slipping of plates while talking or smiling, messy adhesives, bad breath, and having to remove your teeth at night, are all annoyances which can be completely eliminated with Teeth-in-a-Day™.

Why an Oral Surgeon Knows Best When It Comes to Wisdom Tooth Extraction

If you need to get a wisdom tooth removed you have a few options when it comes to who can perform it. Typically you will have a dentist or an oral surgeon remove the teeth. However, when it comes to wisdom tooth extraction, an oral surgeon knows best. Here are just a few of the reasons:oralsurgeonknowsbest (1)

While a general dentist can perform all procedures offered in the field of dentistry, including wisdom tooth removal, an oral surgeon specializes in tooth extraction, including wisdom teeth. In other words, they are the most qualified because they receive formal training in a residency hospital-based program after dental school.

They are better equipped to perform tooth removals because they are required to complete an additional program, typically 4-6 years of residency, in order to master tooth removal and sedation. The additional training they receive includes hospital based surgery and medical training focusing on the mouth, face and jaws.

You would want to use an oral surgeon for the same reason you wouldn’t want your family practitioner doing surgery on you. Just because a dentist knows how, and has had some experience, doesn’t make them as qualified as an oral surgeon to do the job.

2. Wisdom teeth are some of the most difficult teeth to remove.

Due to many problems often associated with wisdom teeth, such as those caused when the teeth are impacted, extraction can easily turn into a complicated procedure. Wisdom teeth are some of the most difficult to be removed because they are often impacted, and are further back in the mouth. That is why it is important to have someone that specializes in removing teeth, particularly wisdom teeth, to perform your procedure. An oral surgeon can make wisdom teeth extraction much less painful.

3. Oral surgeons are trained to handle complications.

Another reason why an oral surgeon knows best is that there can be pain and complications from wisdom tooth removal, and oral surgeons are formally trained to manage complications that arise from extraction of teeth, whether that is infection, sinus issues, bleeding, or nerve injury. Oral surgeons have the experience and expertise that you need to feel comfortable with the wisdom tooth removal surgery.

Choose a dentist for cleanings, fillings, and examinations, but for tooth extraction, especially that of wisdom teeth, an oral surgeon knows best. Call the office of Dr. Partridge at (801) 943-8703 today to schedule a free consultation.

5 Steps to Make the Most of Your Wisdom Teeth Recovery Time

Having wisdom teeth removed is not uncommon, but everyone’s recovery differs to some degree. Some will claim it was easy, while others may share horror stories about their recovery. If you want to be numbered among the ones who had it easy, consider the following five tips for making the best of your wisdom teeth recovery time:

1. Schedule it on the right day.

One consideration that should be taken is WHEN you will have your surgery. You want to schedule it for a time when you will be able to recuperate after the surgery, giving you the best chance for a quick recovery. For example, if you have weekends off, you may want to schedule your surgery for a Friday so you have the whole weekend to recover, and can take fewer days off work. Arrange sitters for children, or extra help for things you may need, and don’t plan to be too active or busy during your recovery.

chicken_soup12. Have the right foods on hand.

Eating is always a bit challenging after wisdom tooth removal, so plan ahead and buy soft, easy-to-eat foods. Avoid foods served too hot or too cold. And try not to eat things that require chewing. Examples of good food options include: yogurt, applesauce, chicken soup, cottage cheese, pudding, and anything soft and easy to eat.

3. Entertain yourself.

The recovery time may leave you in some discomfort, and uman_jugglingnable to do much. Sitting around thinking about your mouth hurting is not going to make the time pass very quickly. Prepare in advance to have plenty of resources for entertainment. Buy books, rent movies, or get a Netflix account, learn some board games, etc. Entertaining yourself will help keep your mind off your mouth, and help recovery time pass faster.

4. Get some help.

Because sedation is used, you will need someone to drive you home after the operation, and pick up your prescription painkillers. It is helpful to have someone that can get you settled, make sure you have what you need, and take care of you while you are recovering.

5. Take care of yourself properly.

Recovery time is smoother if you take precautions and take care of yourself. Do not try to overdo it, or rush recovery. Instead, be sure to do the following:

  • Elevate your head to decrease swelling.
  • Keep supplies close by so you can rest.
  • Rest as much as possible.
  • Wait a day before doing any exercise, and a few days before anything strenuous.
  • Open your mouth, despite stiffness, but do so slowly and gently.
  • Rinse your mouth with salt water to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Follow instructions from your surgeon for controlling bleeding. This may involve biting gently on gauze to reduce bleeding.

Each situation is unique, and your oral surgeon will give you directions that best fit your needs. Follow those instructions. Consider writing them down, as you may be groggy after surgery, and may have trouble remembering everything.

5 Dental Problems That Can Lead to Tooth Extractions

There are a number of reasons you may need to have a tooth extracted. The following is a look at five of the common dental problems that can lead to a tooth extraction:

1. A tooth is beyond repair.

A dentist is going to do their best to keep teeth, and repair any tooth that can be fixed. However, if the tooth is decayed and damaged to the pulp, and a root canal and antibiotics don’t fix the problem, the tooth may need to be extracted in order to prevent infection from spreading to other teeth. Any time a tooth is beyond repair, whether it is from decay, fracture, gum disease, bone loss, or something else, extraction may be necessary.

2. Not enough room.

An over-crowded mouth may warrant tooth extraction. This is particularly true if a mouth is being prepared for orthodontia. If your teeth are too big for the mouth, or there is not enough room in the mouth for teeth to break through the gums, a dentist may extract teeth. In addition, if extra teeth cause you to bite your tongue or cheek frequently, are difficult to clean, or block other teeth from erupting, they may need to be removed. This is often seen with wisdom teeth removal. The mouth may not be large enough for the wisdom teeth to come in without displacing or crowding the other teeth, and can even damage the roots of other teeth.

3. Risk of infection.

There are times when a tooth is extracted because of the risk of infection. For example, wisdom teeth are very hard to clean around, especially as many are impacted, making it more likely to get cavities, and have root and gum problems in adjacent teeth.

Additionally, if your immune system is at all compromised, such as from having an organ transplant, or chemotherapy, a tooth at risk for infection may be extracted so as to avoid damaging health.

4. Periodontal Disease

This is another name for gum disease. When the tissue and bone surrounding and supporting the teeth get infected, teeth may become loose. It may be necessary to pull the teeth in order to put in implants. Gun disease is a common problem that leads to tooth extraction.

5. The tooth is mal-positioned or non-functional

When a tooth is misaligned, does not come in completely, rubs against the tongue or cheek, causing pain, it may be removed. Teeth that are mal-positioned or not functional often cause both pain and risk for infection. For example, an impacted wisdom tooth is at greater risk for the development of cysts and tumors around it, resulting in preventative removal of teeth.

Common Reasons You May Need Bone Grafts Prior to Dental Implants

Are you considering dental implants, but the thought of bone grafts makes you nervous? Most people can successfully obtain dental implants that will last many years, and bone grafting will enhance the new tooth or teeth’s support system. It may be a necessary step before dental implants, let’s take a look at why:

For some, bone grafts are required before dental implants because of inadequate bone. A dental implant is a titanium root replacement. It is inserted into the jaw, and as the bone heals, it incorporates the root into the mouth structure. However, you have to have a good foundation for the titanium root to be placed, otherwise the restored tooth won’t look or feel natural, and the implant will fail. Adequate bone structure is needed for an implant to integrate properly. This is where bone grafting comes in. Bone grafting is a surgical procedure used to replace the missing bone, and provide the needed support for a dental implant to be successful.

The most common reasons you may need bone grafts prior to dental implants include:

  • The bone has insufficient width- This may be due to abnormalities in growth, or damage, but sufficient width is needed for an implant to anchor successfully.
  • Insufficient bone height- This is critical as it ensures the dental implant is properly anchored to support the stress of biting and chewing food.
  • Not enough bone thickness- Again, without proper thickness, the implant would not be secure enough to facilitate chewing and biting foods.
  • Inadequate bone as a result of previous tooth or teeth removal- Sometimes when teeth are pulled or fall out, bone comes with, leaving an unstable or insubstantial amount, not allowing for a secure implant.
  • Not enough bone due to gum disease or injury- Gum disease and injury can lead to there not being enough bone for a successful dental implant.
  • Inadequate bone due to developmental defects that affect bone growth in the jaw.
  • Insufficient bone caused by the removal of cysts or tumors in the mouth- If the removal of a cyst or tumor also required the removal of some of the bone, there may not be enough left for the dental implant to be successful.

There are a number of procedures that can be used to accomplish a successful bone grafting, such as sinus augmentation. Consult with a qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon about your specific needs to determine which options will offer you the most success. They will carefully review your history, the condition of your mouth, and get the proper x-rays and scans to determine whether or not a bone graft will be needed prior to dental implants.

Is Teeth-In-A-Day Right For You?

Teeth-in-a-day is a process where you will get a whole new set of teeth in one procedure.

It is based on an “All-on-Four” system where the base implant screws are placed, two anterior, two posterior, to hold your new teeth securely in place.

In other words, rather than each tooth having its own implant, four bases hold the whole prosthesis in place. This process is done using a local anesthetic. Old, failing, and decayed or infected teeth are removed, and the mouth is prepared for the titanium implant screws. After the base is in place, the new, customized prosthesis is fabricated, and then put in place. (Source: MALO CLINIC, Stamford “All-on-Four” Procedure)

This all happens in one day, allowing candidates to literally get a new smile in one day. These teeth are fully functional on day one, are not removable, and because there are only 4 implant screws placed, there is a much slimmer chance for needing bone-grafting.

This is a very popular method, as it is fast, effective, and requires fewer implant screws. However, not everyone is a good candidate for this procedure. What makes someone a good candidate for this procedure?

While getting new teeth in one day is a great option, it is not something everyone can realistically hope to achieve, as certain criteria must be met for a successful Teeth-In-A-Day treatment approach.

Here are a few of the things that would make someone a good candidate:

  1. Adequate bone support for placement of implants on same day. If bone grafts are needed, it will take more than a day. Because the system is placed on four implant screws, the bone structure and support has to be sound enough to hold a mouth full of teeth, and allow for the stress of biting and chewing.
  2. No infection or chronic inflammatory disease associated with extracted teeth. This can compromise the success of the treatment approach.
  3. Good oral hygiene to help ensure the implants will remain stable because there won’t be bone loss due to decay, rot, or improper care.

In addition to someone being a good candidate, the following criteria have to be met for this process to be successful:

  1. Stable implants with proper positioning. This has a lot to do with adequate bone support. The key to this approach is getting implants that provide enough stability to support normal jaw function. To help insure the stability of the implant and to avoid damaging vital structures such as the nerve canal and sinus cavity, the posterior implants are inserted at an angle. Proper positioning and angles is necessary for successful implants.
  2. Balanced, well-fabricated temporary prosthesis. Care must be taken with the fabrication. The dentist or surgeon has to be able to create a great temporary prosthesis for comfort and function.
  3. Detailed treatment plan and strategy. A detailed treatment plan and strategy is a team effort, and will account for the unexpected with contingencies. Patients may need to meet with a dentist, oral surgeon, and proshodontist for evaluation and to formulate a comprehensive treatment plan. Part of this plan should include a 3-D computer work up, and thorough examination and analysis of the jaw.
  4. Good oral hygiene, and routine dental care, after the implant is key. This will allow for healthier teeth, and more stable implants.

Surprising Facts About Wisdom Teeth

Most people know only a few things about wisdom teeth: that they are usually removed, and when they are taken out you look like a chipmunk and get to eat ice cream and milkshakes.

However, there is a lot more to them than that, here are some surprising facts about wisdom teeth:

  1. Wisdom teeth got their nickname from the age when they typically grow in. Wisdom teeth are actually called third molars. Most people refer to the third molars as wisdom teeth, but where did they get this name? The third molars do not grow out until the dental arch becomes larger, around the age of 17-25, a time also referred to as the “age of wisdom”.
  2. Most have to be removed. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, an estimated 85% of wisdom teeth will eventually need to be removed. This can be because the teeth are impacted the area is difficult to reach, thus difficult to clean, leading to bacteria and infection.
  3. Some people are born without wisdom teeth. 35% of the population is born without wisdom teeth. Researchers debate whether this is evolution or culture. Humans no longer need these teeth for survival; however, some researchers have looked into the link between how different cultures use their jaws, and whether or not they have teeth. For example, in parts of East Asia, it’s more common to find people without wisdom teeth.
  4. Studies are being conducted to prevent their growth. Wisdom teeth are the only teeth not formed in the womb. Because most people opt to have surgery to remove their wisdom teeth, researchers are looking into ways to prevent their growth altogether.
  5. Wisdom teeth can produce stem cells – Japanese researchers found in 2008 that induced pluripotent stem cells can be harvested from wisdom teeth. Thus, wisdom teeth can be saved for the potential need for stem cells later in life.
  6. Nine out of ten people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth. When there isn’t enough room for a tooth to enter the mouth fully, it is called “impacted.” If left it may damage neighboring teeth, or become infected due to the difficulty in reaching and cleaning that area of the mouth and gums.
  7. Diet and dental work may be responsible for impacted wisdom teeth. Early humans had more wear on their teeth due to a tough diet. This damage caused teeth to drift, creating room for the third molars. Anthropologists believe wisdom teeth were able to emerge into the oral cavity at around the same time as the other permanent teeth because of the lack of obstacles. Nowadays, however, diets are a lot easier on teeth. We also have great dental care, such as braces, and retainers, giving us straighter, healthier, and fuller smiles, but not much room for third molars. Thus, wisdom teeth have to wait for the dental arch to grow larger before they emerge if there is room. If there isn’t room, they may be impacted, and need to be removed surgically.

Wisdom teeth removal is a decision that should be made with your family dentist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Should you decide to keep your wisdom teeth it is important to carefully clean the area daily, and have the molars examined and x-rayed regularly to ensure tooth and gum health.