Santa Barbara Center for OMS

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait For Your Dental Implant

The Sooner, The BetterYou need a dental implant, but you are reluctant to get started. We understand that there is some hesitation and life gets in the way. However, here are a list of reasons as to why you shouldn’t wait.

  1. Stop your remaining teeth from moving. Your teeth help keep everything in place. When you are missing a tooth, and have a gap, your teeth will start to shift to fill in that gap. That could cause not only uneven teeth, but teeth that are harder to clean and, in the end, that cost you more to fix.
  2. Save Your Jawbone. When you are missing a tooth, your jawbone slowing starts to deteriorate and shrink away. The roots of your teeth keep the jawbone stimulated to maintain the bone mass. The longer you are missing the tooth, the more the bone will disintegrate, making the implant process more difficult.
  3. The appearance of your face. Living without a tooth can eventually change how you look, especially if you suffer from bone deterioration. The longer you go, your skin could begin to make your cheeks sag, which will make you look older than you are.
  4. The way you speak. When you are missing a tooth, it could make it hard to annunciate words, making you sound like you have a lisp.
  5. Your overall self-esteem. Getting a dental implant will allow you to feel like your normal self. You won’t have to worry about how you look or how you sound. The implant looks and feels like a normal tooth. No one will know that you have an implant unless you tell them.

These are just a few reasons as to why you should wait to get your dental implant. If you are experiencing any hesitations or have further questions, contact our office. We are happy to ease your mind and get you on track to a beautiful smile. Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery - SB Office Phone Number 805-569-1889

What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer

What are you waiting for?One of the most important jobs we have is to examine, monitor, and diagnose oral cancer in our patients. Every year, nearly 52,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. More than 8,000 of those people will die. This is why it is crucial to get routine oral exams and keep a close eye on the state of your mouth.

To make sure that you stay educated and healthy, here is a list of the most important facts you should know about oral cancer:

  • 90% of oral cancers begin in the surface area of the mouth, tongue, and lips. We highly recommend performing regular self-exams, which your dentist can review with you!
  • Cancer found on the tongue, gums, lips, throat, or back of mouth is considered oral cancer.
  • Largest risk factors: Tobacco and alcohol use are two of the biggest risk factors for oral cancer.
  • Other risk factors: Pre-cancerous oral lesion, excessive UV/sun exposure, human papilloma virus (HPV), certain drugs and genetic syndromes.
  • If you are experiencing these common oral cancer symptoms, call our office: Sores that don’t heal, lumps inside the mouth, white or red patches on soft tissues in the mouth, bleeding, pain when swallowing or chewing, numbness, difficulty moving the jaw or tongue, lumps in neck, hoarseness, and more.
  • To diagnose oral cancer, we will examine the mouth and neck, inquire about your exposure to risk factors, and possibly order biopsies and imaging of the head (CT, MRI, etc).
  • Pain is not typically present with early stage oral cancer, so it is crucial to get routine oral checks!

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to call our office and schedule an appointment! Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery - SB Office Phone Number 805-569-1889

What You Should Know About Dental Implants

Lady smiling with dental implants

If you are looking for an alternative to dentures and would like to replace your missing teeth, dental implants may be for you. Dental implants are a popular long-term method for restoring your smile. Many people decide to get dental implants after they have experienced loss of teeth due to variety of reasons. Dental implants give you back your freedom from missing teeth.

Who gets dental implants?

Those who are in overall good health and are looking for a long-term solution for their missing teeth are candidates for dental implants. This includes those who are tired of dentures and are looking for a more comfortable and convenient alternative.

What are the advantages of dental implants?

There are many advantages of getting dental implants, including:

  • Convenience: dental implants are a long-term option for replacing missing teeth. They have the added benefit of being a permanent fixture in your mouth unlike dentures that can be abrasive to the gums and can cause difficulty speaking.
  • Easier eating: you may have found that eating has become more difficult with missing teeth. A dental implant allows for more efficient chewing and will allow you to enjoy your favorite foods once again.
  • Improved appearance: Dental implants look and feel like real teeth. They can be designed with the same color and shape as your surrounding teeth, making them natural looking
  • Confidence: Dental implants can give you a youthful appearance and increased self-esteem. You may find yourself smiling more than ever with your new implants.

How do I care for my dental implant?

The great thing about dental implants is that they require the same care as real teeth. This means regular brushing, flossing and routine dental checkups. If taken care of properly, your new implant can last you a lifetime!

If you are interested in dental implants, contact Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery - SB Office Phone Number 805-569-1889 to set up a dental implant consultation.

What is a Wisdom Tooth?

Wisdom tooth growing in sideways

We all know that for most people, wisdom teeth need to be removed in order to prevent serious dental problems! But have you ever wondered, what exactly is a wisdom tooth? Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that typically grow in during a person’s late teens/early twenties.

Why are they called “wisdom” teeth?

Formally known as “third molars”, wisdom teeth developed their name due to the late nature of their arrival, at an age where people are “wiser” than when their other teeth grow in (during childhood).

What is their purpose?

Today, wisdom teeth are no longer needed in order for us to process food. Back in the day, however, when the human diet consisted of tough meats and fibrous vegetables, an extra molar was needed to break down food. Scientists have not discovered a common day use for wisdom teeth, as they are not needed for chewing modern food.

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

Over the years, human jaws have become much smaller, making the space too crowded for wisdom teeth. Therefore, when wisdom teeth start growing in, they push on the teeth that have already established themselves. Once they start pushing on other teeth, the alignment of a person’s mouth is affected. Wisdom teeth can easily become “impacted”. This means that they are trapped underneath a person’s gums and are unable to fully erupt, which can be painful. Since wisdom teeth aren’t needed and can affect your smile and health negatively, we recommend that most people have them removed. For the few people that don’t get their wisdom teeth removed, serious dental health problems can occur down the road.

If you’re curious about the status of your wisdom teeth – contact us today at Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery - SB Office Phone Number 805-569-1889 and we will go over your options with you!

Bone Grafting for Dental Implants

Woman smiling with Implant

Bone grafting and dental implants typically go hand-in-hand, as the loss of a tooth can wear down the surrounding jawbone structure and a dental implant is a common procedure to replace lost teeth. As soon as a person loses a tooth, bone loss begins. In order to place a sturdy, reliable dental implant, a bone grafting procedure is often required in order to rebuild the jawbone. While bone grafting sounds daunting, it is a safe and reliable procedure that prepares the jaw bone for a dental implant, and in most cases, is necessary to build up a sturdy foundation.

In a bone graft procedure, bone tissue taken from another part of the body is grafted into the jawbone. Another method utilizes processed bone from animals, but results in the same regrowth of your jaw. It can take several months for the graft to set and grow into a stable foundation for a dental implant.

Depending on the amount of bone loss, bone grafts can be placed at a variety of times during the implant process. For example, if only a minor bone graft is needed, we may be able to place it at the same time as the dental implant. However, if a larger bone graft is necessary, it will have to rest for months before the dental implant procedure can be performed.

Bone grafting is a very important and often overlooked procedure when it comes to preparing for a dental implant! Dental implants have increased in popularity and effectiveness over the years, as they provide the most reliable replacement for natural teeth. Dental implants look and feel like normal teeth, and if treated properly, can last the rest of a person’s lifetime! Bone grafts and dental implants work together to restore smiles.

Contact us today at Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery - SB Office Phone Number 805-569-1889 to schedule your dental implant consultation, and we can talk about your bone grafting options!

FAQs: Wisdom Teeth

question mark Patients always wonder why it is recommended that they get their wisdom teeth extracted, or why they even have wisdom teeth in the first place! We always want our patients to be in the know and have all of their questions answered. It is important to understand the benefits of having your wisdom teeth extracted.

We invite you to read through our frequently asked questions about wisdom teeth and the extraction process and call us at Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery - SB Office Phone Number 805-569-1889 if you have any questions.

Why do we have wisdom teeth?

Ancient humans had a very different diet than we do today. They needed the third set of molars in order to grind up food that was tougher in texture and harder to digest. They also had larger jaws with more room for their wisdom teeth.

Humans today eat softer foods, or cooked foods, that are far easier to chew and digest. Over time, we have evolved to have smaller jaws and teeth, leaving less room for our third set of molars.

Why do I need to have my wisdom teeth extracted?

There are several benefits to having your wisdom teeth extracted. Keeping your wisdom teeth can cause a variety of short-term, as well as long-term, complications.

Impaction: When there is not enough space in your jaw for your erupting third molars, they can become impacted, causing them to grow in at an angle. Impaction may cause pain or discomfort while eating.

Damage to other teeth: Impacted wisdom teeth can cause damage to your other teeth. When they grow in at an angle, they can push against your second molars, damaging them and potentially causing tooth decay.

Disease: Due to impaction, the narrow spaces between molars allows for bacteria to form more easily, putting you at a higher risk for periodontal (gum) disease, cysts, and inflammation.

When is it okay to keep my wisdom teeth?

Sometimes, there’s enough room in your jaw for your third molars to erupt comfortably and without damaging your other molars. If we see that they may grow in healthy and without impaction, we may recommend that you do not have them extracted. If this is the case, make sure you are going in for regular check-ups and closely monitoring your erupting wisdom teeth.

When should I get my wisdom teeth extracted?

Wisdom teeth generally erupt between the ages of 17-25. Many people get their wisdom teeth extracted before they graduate high school. It is recommended that you get your third molars removed as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more complications can arise. For example, the longer you wait to have them removed, the longer the roots grow. The longer the roots get, the more chance they have of coming in contact with your nerves, possibly causing nerve damage.

If your teen hasn’t yet had his or her wisdom teeth evaluation, please give our office a call at Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery - SB Office Phone Number 805-569-1889.

The Most Common Types of Bone Grafting

X-Ray Bone grafting has become so common, most patients have encountered the term at least once before entering our office. But delving deeper into some of the additional types of bone grafting will give you a better appreciation of this amazing procedure.

What is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is the process of using natural or synthetic materials to encourage your body to grow new bone. Your jawbone requires regular stimulation from the activities of teeth to maintain its shape. When a tooth is extracted, the jawbone immediately begins to lose mass. In oral surgery, we use bone grafting to build up the jawbone so that we can place a dental implant.

Types of Bone Grafting:
• Socket Preservation: After tooth extraction, the empty socket is filled with bone grafting material to preserve the bone in the site for tooth replacement in the future.
• Sinus Lift: The sinuses lie above the upper jawbone and are filled with air. If the upper jawbone has receded, we lift the sinus membrane and fill the space underneath it with grafting material to bulk up the bone for upper implants.
• Ridge Augmentation: As with socket preservation, ridge augmentation involves the filling the site of an extracted tooth, however, bone loss has already occurred in this case as the extraction was done months or years before.
• Nerve Repositioning: The nerve that gives feeling to the bottom lip and chin is known as the inferior alveolar nerve. Sometimes this nerve must be relocated in order to place a lower jaw implant. The nerve is moved, and the pockets left behind are filled with bone grafting material to prepare for a dental implant.

If you have been told you need bone grafting and aren’t sure what to expect, please give us a call at Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery - SB Office Phone Number 805-569-1889.

Why You Should Get Corrective Jaw Surgery

people eating pizzaJaw Surgery, also known as Orthognathic Surgery, is a corrective surgery which is performed in order to realign the structure of a jaw. This surgery can seem frightening and intense but is actually a very useful surgery, having many benefits which would result in the improvement of your lifestyle in a few different ways. Today we are going to discuss a few of the top reasons why you might want to think about getting corrective jaw surgery and how it can benefit you.

You have difficulty chewing, biting or swallowing foods:

If you tend to chew your food with your back molars, this may be a sign that you need jaw surgery. Having corrective jaw surgery can make eating easier on your jaw and a more enjoyable experience for you (which it should be)!

You have an under bite or overbite which makes your smile uneven:

Jaw surgery can improve your smile tremendously and give you the smile of your dreams by making sure the position of your jaws is perfect. Having an under bite or an overbite can make your smile appear uneven or can make the structure of your jaw look off. Jaw surgery can significantly improve the look of your jawline and your smile.

You grind your teeth at night and are subject to constant headaches:

People who have TMJ syndrome, which is a term for pain and/or compromised movement of jaw and surrounding area, tend to grind their teeth at night while they are sleeping. This can result in significant headaches when waking up in the morning. Corrective jaw surgery can stop your grinding, which in turn will reduce your headaches.

These are just a few of the reasons why you should consider getting jaw surgery in order to realign your jaw. Having orthognathic surgery can greatly improve the quality of your sleep, and also the way you chew and eat foods. Contact Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery - SB Office Phone Number 805-569-1889 today for more information about jaw surgery and to see if you are a candidate!

Dental Implants: The Recovery

Recovery SignThe recovery time following dental implant surgery tends to vary, but is usually based on the amount of teeth being implanted, whether or not a bone graft was needed and the individual and how well they manage their recovery. Luckily, the science and technology behind dental implants has improved drastically over the last few years, improving post-surgery pain and comfort for patients.

The patient requiring the least amount of recovery time would be one who had a standard, single dental implant placed with no bone grafting. With a simple procedure like this one, there is very little discomfort or pain after the surgery. Mild bruising and soreness can occur, but is typically manageable with over the counter pain relievers. In more severe implant cases, such as those where multiple teeth are implanted or severe bone grafting needed in order to accomplish the implant, the recovery time tends to be longer and the discomfort can be more intense.

In any cases, it is important to keep your mouth clean after surgery, which can be done by rinsing your mouth gently with salt water beginning the day after surgery. You may begin brushing your teeth the night after the surgery, but make sure to keep it light around the surgery area as to not disrupt the healing in that area. It is also important to remember that in the week following your surgery, there should be no smoking and no sucking through a straw, as this can seriously inhibit your healing process. It is important to stick to a diet primarily consisting of soft foods for the first 7-10 days following your surgery before beginning to return to your normal diet.

As you can see, the recovery process after receiving a dental implant is fairly predictable and comfortable. It is important to follow the instructions that we give you at Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, and to always remember that if you have any questions or concerns regarding a procedure or following your surgery, you can always give us a call at Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery - SB Office Phone Number 805-569-1889.

New Trends In Dental Implants

ImplantsA trending topic right now seems to be the decision to opt for “mini-dental implants” instead of more traditional ones. Below we are going to take a look inside the trend, and lay out some of the benefits and drawbacks so that you can get a better understanding of this exciting trend in dentistry.

Benefits

  • Mini dental implants are usually less expensive than traditional ones, sometimes costing only 1/3 that of regular implants. They take less time to place and are smaller and less invasive, and can be used in small spaces or for those with inadequate bone mass.
  • With mini dentures, smaller dentures can be used, leading to a better tasting experience for the palate than a traditional denture would provide.
  • Mini implants can be placed with minimal recovery time, and usually require very little to no bone grafting.

Drawbacks

Because this is still a fairly new procedure, there are a few downsides. For one, there aren’t enough studies out there on the longevity of these implants, so we don’t know how they hold up over time. A study published in the International Journal of Implant Dentistry in 2016 revealed that traditional dental implant placement has a proven survival rate of 95% or greater. The analysis collected data from over 10,000 implants from 3,095 patients, across three separate private practices over the course of 20 years. For mini dental implants, there isn’t yet enough data to conclude a proper survival rate.

Another concern is that because this is such a new trend there is not as much information or regulation out there. Some practices with claims such as “Dentures-in-a-day” might not do a proper consultation, skipping important steps such as a 3D scan to make sure that you are a good candidate for the procedure.

While it may be some time before this method is perfected and adopted, it is also exciting to see the advancements changing people’s lives in the dental industry every day. Check in with Santa Barbara Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to find out what tooth replacement options may be right for you!