Considering Dental Implants?

Important Facts to Help Make Your Decision

Many people are unaware of the consequences of losing their teeth or the effects of wearing partial or full dentures upon their jaws and bones. When teeth are lost, the surrounding bone immediately begins to shrink [atrophy]. Implant treatment, for tooth replacement therapy, can be the optimal treatment plan. Here are some important facts to take into consideration.

  • Wearing dentures [plates] accelerates bone loss, and old dentures become loose because of this bone loss. It is possible to watch and wait for bone to disappear to the point where treatment success of any kind is in doubt.
  • At the end of a five-year period, only 40% are still wearing the original partial denture made for them. This is not a great testimonial for value and utility. Those lucky enough to have a functioning partial denture after 5 years are still losing valuable supporting bone.
  • Of those patients who wear a partial denture, 50% chew better without it.
  • One study showed that after 8 years, 40% of the supporting teeth [abutments] that the partial hooks onto were lost through tooth decay or fracture.
  • Patients with natural teeth can bite with about 200 pounds of force. Denture wearers can bite with approxiametly 50 pounds of force. Those wearing dentures for 15 years or more can bite with only about 6 pounds of force, and their diet and eating habits have had to been modified accordingly.
  • The average lower full denture shifts from side to side during chewing and is a significant problem that new denture wearers must get use to and accept.
  • Denture wearers have decreased nutritional intake, a ten year shorter life span, and 30% of denture wearers can only eat soft foods.
  • The single tooth implant success rate is above 98%, and unlike a bridge, the teeth adjacent to the implant are no more at risk than if no teeth were missing.
  • Implant-supported bridges or dentures have 95% success rates over 10 years without the severe loss of supporting bone.

For bone maintenance, the health of adjacent teeth, the longevity of the restoration and patient comfort, implant therapy is the treatment of choice. Implants can restore chewing function to the equivalent of someone with natural teeth. If you have questions or want to know if you are a good candidate for implant tooth replacement therapy, please call our office.  (520) 297-9069

Does My Dental Insurance Pay?

If you have dental insurance coverage, like most people, you want to know how much of the treatment will be covered and how Tucson dentistmuch out-of-pocket expense will I have?

Most dental benefit plans arise from an agreement between an insurance company and a plan sponsor [employer or union]. There are literally hundreds of plans with endless variables concerning limitations, exclusions, deductibles, annual of lifetime maximum benefits, co-payments and fee schedules. If you have changed jobs, your new plan may not have any resemblance to your old one.

If you are being offered a plan, ask if there are several plans from which to choose. Beside yourself, who in the family will be covered? See if the plan you choose covers pre-existing conditions. If the plan is provided by your union or employer, is there any direct cost to you? If so, how much? Compare this with what you understand the benefits of the program to be.

If you already have dental insurance, we need you to bring in specific information for us to give you the best advice as to your coverage. We must have your insurance policy and ID number. Most important, bring your benefits booklet. If you don’t have one, call your employer or insurance company and request it.

Once we read the benefits book, we can project a general idea for what services and treatment are covered and the percentage of reimbursement. Many third party payers request a “predetermination of benefits” on treatment plans. We can submit the proper form and appropriate records to the insurance company. They will return it with the accepted, allowable treatment and the exact amount of coverage.

Once we have reviewed your plan, we should be able to answer most of your questions. Some plans will only allow the least expensive way to treat a problem, regardless of your choice or our recommendation. We would hope that you don’t base your dental needs and oral health solely on what benefits your plan allows. Our office will be happy to discuss a variety of financial arrangements that will make it possible to receive the treatment you need, while maximizing your insurance benefits.

Risk Factors Of Periodontal Disease

tucson dentistPeriodontal disease (gum disease) is an infection of the tissues (gums) that support the teeth.  The gums do not attach very firmly to the teeth.  There is a shallow v-shaped gap existing between the teeth and gums where periodontal disease easily thrives.

There is a lot of bacteria in your mouth.  The bacteria and food particles combine and cause a sticky film that clings to your teeth called plaque.  Thorough brushing and flossing every day (best after every meal) removes most of the plaque but all too often not all of it especially around the gum line.  The bacteria in plaque creates a toxin that may injure the gums and all supporting tissues.

There are many factors that increase your chance of developing periodontal disease.  These range from oral habits, diet and disease to pregnancy and medications.

How do you know if you have it?  Here are some of the most common sign and symptoms:

  • Gums may be red, swollen, tender or bleed during brushing/flossing
  • Root surfaces may be exposed
  • Experience pain with chewing or increased sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Calculus or tarter build-up
  • Loose teeth
  • Changes in your bite or tooth position
  • Bad breath

Periodontal disease doesn’t just effect your oral health.  It can effect your overall health in many ways.  It has been known to cause:

Cardiovascular disease and stroke
– As bacteria colonies grow the immune system may not be able to keep them in check.  The oral bacteria can then enter the blood stream and attack the arteries and cardiovascular system.  New research indicates that people with periodontal disease are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Bacterial pneumonia
– The bacteria in your mouth can be inhaled or aspirated into your lungs thus causing infections and pneumonia.

Increased risks during pregnancy
– Studies indicate that women with periodontal disease are more likely to give birth to underweight or premature babies.

Periodontal disease is the primary cause of teeth loss after the age of 35.

Some people are more susceptible than others.  This can be reversed, if caught early, and properly cared for.

Have you had a recent checkup with your dentist to see if you have periodontal disease?  If not then call us at Arizona Dental Medicine to make your appointment today – 520-297-9069.  Your health depends on it!