Virtual Reality Has Become Reality in Dentistry | Alhambra Dentist

For Implants: Dentist Places Virtual Implants into 3D Computerized Image of Your Jaw Then Computer-Generated “STENT” Guides Implants to Place – No Incision Needed

Virtual reality has become reality in dentistry – for dental implants. Virtual reality in the form of 3D imaging is changing the practice of dentistry. With state-of-the art digital imaging, dentists can analyze the anatomy of the patient’s jaw without surgery, which saves time and money and shortens implant recovery time, according to the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI). ICOI further states that it’s like having the patient’s jaw on the computer screen and helps make implants the most predictable procedure in dentistry today. By incorporating advanced, highly precise computer-guided technology, dental implant surgery has made implant procedures faster, highly predicable and long-lasting with a success rate of 97 percent.

Life-like 3D images are obtained by means of specialized CAT scans. Assisted by specialized software computer systems, the dentist is able to precisely measure volume, shape and density of the bone and location of sinuses. Just as importantly, the precise location and distribution of nerves and blood vessels are also determined and measured with high precision. This eliminates uncertainty about which spots in the jawbone are the right sites for the placement of implants and what angulation of the implant ought to take. In this way the precision of the CT scan and implant surgical planning software gives the dentist a vivid, precise 3D simulation (virtual reality) of the patient’s mouth to pinpoint potential problems and plan the entire implant procedure in advance with confidence.

In planning the procedure, the dentist considers the computerized data and the clinical examination results and general health information of the patient, as well as the subjective preferences of the patient. The dentist then determines which, out of a myriad of types, shapes and sizes of implants, would be the most appropriate and optimal for the best long-term function of the implants. Furthermore, where anterior teeth are involved the dentist will particularly assess and control the cosmetic effect the implant will have on the smile. The dentist may also generate a simulated image of the implant crowns during the consultation appointment. This way the patient can see a virtual reality of the new smile and further indicate preferences in terms of appearance. Based on the totality of information, the final implants are chosen. Then the dentist prescribes a “stent” or a guide that will precisely direct the implants into the correct location at the correct angulation. According to the prescription the implant manufacturer will fabricate this stent.

At the implant placement appointment the stent is used to guide the implants into the exact spot and at the exact angulation that the dentist had pre-determined on the computerized 3D image of the jaw. Generally no incision or cutting or lifting (flap elevation) of the gum is necessary. Rather, the implant is simply inserted, with a minimal disturbance to the site. Most single implants do not take more than one hour. Routinely, healing is rapid and uneventful.

If you have questions regarding your particular needs, consult with your dentist.

If you would like more information about virtual dental implants, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Why General Health Is Important to Dental Treatment | Alhambra Dentist

Nellie, age 42, went for a dental checkup for the first time in ten years. Routine blood pressure monitoring disclosed that her blood pressure reading was abnormally high (180/115). No dental treatment was rendered. She was immediately referred to a physician and was diagnosed and treated for hypertension, high blood pressure. Her physician told her that if left undetected her condition could have led to a heart attack or stroke. She returned for dental treatment after her condition stabilized.

Nellie’s case is the result of the kind of routine screening dentists generally conduct to look for medical conditions that need medical attention. In addition to hypertension, one of the most common medical conditions that are of particular concern to dentists is “mitral valve prolapse,”a malfunction of a heart valve that leads in backflow (regurgitation). These abnormal heart valves are said to be susceptible to bacterial infection that originate from oral sources. In such cases, prophylactic (preventive) antibiotic, such as amoxicillin, should be taken before dental treatment is begun.

Diabetes is sometimes suspected when the patient presents with a family history or diabetes and severe, uncontrolled periodontitis (gum disease). In this case the patient may be referred for a medical checkup and blood test.

Another common problem is that of “dry mouth” (xerostomia). This condition may be associated with such conditions such as diabetes and menopause. But dry mouth is also a common side effect of over 400 commonly prescribed drugs. Patient suffering from dry mouth are especially susceptible to gum disease and dental caries (cavities). If there is no apparent cause for dry mouth, the patient is referred for medical consultation. If it clear that dry mouth is associated with a diagnosed disease or side effects of medications, treatment planning will probably include home application of topical fluoride with gels, rinses and fluoride toothpastes. To reduce risk of gum disease, more frequent deep cleanings, anti-bacterial rinses, topical administration of antibiotics and home application of anti-bacterial solutions.

These are just a few examples of conditions your dentist will be concerned with at your dental checkups. Feel free to discuss any medical issues, even those you suspect may not relate to your dental treatment. You may be surprised at how medical condition affect dental health, and vice verse.

If you would like more information about the ways your general health can affect your dental health, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Denture Problems: Instant Cure with Affordable Dental Implants | Alhambra Dentist

Denture wearers most often have problems with looseness of the fit. In the vast majority of cases this is because, while dentures do not change dimensions, bone and gum do. This soft and hard tissue shrinkage is further accelerated by the forces of mastication and bruxism (common habit of grinding and clenching the teeth). Over time, the gap between the denture and the underlying gum and bone increases. Some patients have the ability to adapt to this looseness, sometimes with the help of denture adhesives. Others develop “denture sores” that persist and simply limit their diet to soft, nutritionally deficient foods. Poor nutrition can lead to a cascade of common health problems, such as obesity, high blood sugar and diabetes, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disorders. Emotional and self-esteem issues are often the result. On the other hand it is amazing how new; well-fitting dentures can elevate the mood and sense of well-being in the patient who had been suffering with ill-fitting dentures.

Recent advances in implantology have allowed denture patients to have existing, functional dentures to be attached to “one-stage, immediate loading implants” in one visit. The best news is that these “mini-permanent implants” are substantially less costly than conventional two-stage implants.

Through a procedure, called “minimally invasive micro-surgery,” your dentist can place an implant that measures 1.8 mm (less than one tenth of an inch) in diameter and one-half inch in length at appropriate locations in the jaw. No incision or stitching is needed. Generally four implants are required for the lower denture and six for the upper denture. Discomfort is minimal and patients generally can eat immediately afterwards.

Where the current dentures are serviceable, there is no need to make new dentures. If necessary it is possible to “reline” the denture when the implants are being done.

There is also welcome news for gaggers or anyone who prefers not to have anything covering the roof of the mouth. With upper implants holding the denture in place, the roof of the denture is no longer necessary, and can be removed.

Discuss your denture needs with your dentist and see whether you are a good candidate for mini-implants. You will be pleasantly surprised at how easy this can be done.

If you would like more information about dental implants, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.