OST Blog

Dental Implants vs. Dentures—Which Is the Right Choice?

July 28th, 2021

For hundreds of years, tooth loss meant dentures. And over those hundreds of years, dentures have become more realistic, more secure, and more comfortable.

Now, however, Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter and our team have the technology to replace missing teeth with dental implants that look just like our natural teeth, that are firmly anchored in the jaw just like our natural teeth, and that are easy to clean and care for just like our natural teeth. If you are debating the merits of both kinds of tooth replacement, here are some comparisons to consider.

  • Confidence

No matter how securely dentures are attached, no matter how “new and improved” your adhesive is, dentures are not anchored in the bone as implants are. There is always the possibility—or worrying about the possibility—of slipping, clicking and other noises, and problems with speech and pronunciation.

Implants fuse with the bone in your jaw, so the base of the implant acts like the root of your natural tooth. Biting, chewing, speaking, and appearance are unaffected, because implants function just like “real” teeth.

  • Convenience

Full dentures and partial dentures should be removed every night. Placing them in a mild cleaning solution or soaking them in water is important to help them keep their shape. Ideally, dentures should be removed and rinsed every time you eat.

With implants, you treat them as you treat your natural teeth. Brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings. No need to add to your daily to-do list.

  • Cuisine

When you wear dentures, foods like apples, pork chops, and corn on the cob are probably off the menu. Let’s not even think about the occasional caramel! Some denture users also notice that food doesn’t taste as flavorful, because dentures which cover the roof of the mouth also cover the taste buds located on the soft palate.

Implants function just like your natural teeth, so feel free to indulge in your crisp and chewy favorites—and savor every bite.

  • Health Considerations

First, missing teeth can eventually affect the structure of our jawbones and change our facial appearance. The bone tissue which supports our teeth needs the stimulation of biting and chewing to stay healthy. Without that stimulation, the bone ridge under the missing tooth gradually shrinks, a process called “resorption.” Not only does this bone loss affect the stability of the denture and the health of the bone, it also affects our facial appearance, especially the lips, cheeks, and profile.

Implants, on the other hand, provide the same kind of pressure and stimulation to the jawbone that natural teeth do. Preventing further bone loss is a wonderful additional benefit of choosing dental implants.

Second, fixed bridges can impact neighboring teeth. To provide a base to anchor either side of a fixed bridge, your heathy teeth might need to be ground down and shaped to fit the bridge attachment.

Implants do not affect neighboring teeth, and, unlike bridgework, are easier to clean and floss, thus reducing the risk of decay in the adjacent teeth.

  • Comfort

Loose and ill-fitting dentures can cause irritation and even infection. And because the jawbone begins shrinking when teeth are lost, your dentures will start to fit less comfortably even over their fairly limited lifespan as the contour of your bone continues to change.

Implants can cause a bit of discomfort in the days immediately after surgery, but pain should be manageable with over the counter or prescription pain relief. (Pain that lasts longer than two weeks should be reported to Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter right away.) Once you have healed, there should be no further discomfort.

  • Cost

It’s true that dentures can cost less than individual or multiple implants. However, bridges and dentures are meant to be replaced every five to ten years. An implant is meant to last a lifetime. When you factor in the need for regular replacements, you might find that implants are a very competitive economic alternative to dentures.

Finally, if you are uncertain about choosing implants because you are missing several teeth, there are still implant options to consider. Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter can place several implant posts strategically, which will then be used to hold a bridge or even a full denture. These types of implants still provide stimulation to the bone beneath, and have the stability that only implants provide.

If you have missing teeth, dentures are no longer your only option. Talk to Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter at our Virginia Beach, VA office today for all of the possibilities that are available to you for a healthy, beautiful, and complete smile.

Crushing the Ice-Chewing Habit

July 21st, 2021

It's a habit many people have and not only can it be annoying to the people around you, it can be detrimental to your dental health. Chewing ice is so common that it even has its own name, pagophagia. We're not talking about a slushy or shaved ice (although those artificially sugary treats should be avoided too!) but more like the hunks of ice rattling around in the bottom of your glass.

Ice chewing can be a sign of emotional problems like stress or obsessive-compulsive disorder, but it can also be a marker for iron deficiency anemia and other physical problems. Then again, some people just like to have something to chew on. For whatever reason you find yourself chewing on it, it's a habit you need to break.

Chewing on ice can cause:

  • Chipped and cracked teeth
  • Damaged enamel
  • Sore jaw muscles
  • Damage to dental work such as crowns, fillings, or other appliances

If chewing on ice is becoming a problem in your life, don’t hesitate to speak with Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter about it. But if you find yourself still wanting to chew on something, here are a few alternatives to ice:

  • Baby carrots
  • Celery sticks
  • Sugar-free (xylitol) gum

We know you need to chill sometimes, but chomping down your entire glass of ice is not the way to do it. If you have any other questions on the topic, feel free to talk with a member of our Virginia Beach, VA team. It may be beneficial in solving the issue and helping to remediate any damage to your teeth.

Will Insurance Cover Dental Implants?

July 14th, 2021

Dental implants are an increasingly popular choice when we need to replace a lost tooth or teeth. The reasons for choosing an implant are clear: implants look just like our natural teeth, are firmly anchored in the jaw just like our natural teeth, and are easy to clean and care for just like our natural teeth.

Not as clear? Whether your insurance will cover your implant procedure. Because implants are often more expensive than other replacement options, it’s important to learn just what your insurance plan provides, and what your out-of-pocket expenses will be. What do you need to know?

Know your policy

Dental and medical plans vary widely, from individual to individual, company to company, and state to state. Depending on your specific policy, you might be covered for part or most of the cost of a procedure, or your plan may provide no coverage at all. It pays to find out ahead of time!

Know the reason for your procedure

Your coverage may be affected by the reason for your procedure and whether it’s seen as medical or dental.

  • If your dental insurance policy considers an implant to be a cosmetic or an elective treatment, implant surgery may not be covered. However, the cost of the crown restoration could be, at least in part.
  • If implants are used to anchor a bridge or a denture, your dental policy might provide partial coverage, at least to the monetary extent that the insurance company would cover standard bridges or dentures.
  • If you are suffering medical complications because of tooth loss due to illness, accident, or injury, your medical health insurance could cover some of your expenses.

 Know your plan’s annual and lifetime limits

If you do have dental coverage, there might be limits imposed on the kind and number of procedures allowed during a calendar year. You could also have yearly maximum benefits or lifetime maximum benefits, after which your expenses will be out-of-pocket.

Find out which steps of the implant procedure are covered

The implant process can require different steps, some of which may be covered by insurance while others are not. Depending on your needs, these steps can include:

  • Extraction
  • Bone grafting
  • Implant surgery
  • Crown restoration
  • Anesthesia

Your policy may or may not cover any of these individual procedures, so it’s always best to discover exactly what’s involved in your implant treatment before you begin.

Know how to find out what you need to know!

  • Talk to our Virginia Beach, VA office before you schedule surgery. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are experts in implant procedures, and can provide you with an explanation of just what services will be involved at every stage of your implant treatment, as well as a pre-treatment estimate.
  • Talk to your dental insurer to see exactly what coverage they provide for the procedure or procedures you might need.
  • And don’t forget to touch base with your medical insurer if you need implants as the result of a medical condition, accident, or injury.

Finally, talk to Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter again! We want to make sure that you receive all of the coverage that you are entitled to, and that your implant procedure is as affordable as it can be for this lifetime investment in your oral health. Whether it’s working with you to make the most of your insurance coverage, or working with you to discuss a financing plan that fits your budget, we will do their best to provide the clear answers you need.

Tell us about your summer!

July 7th, 2021

The dog days of summer are upon us, and what better time for Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter and our team to ask our patients about their summer!

Whether you visited our nation’s capital, went on a camping trip, or just stayed in Virginia Beach, VA and relaxed, we want to know how you’re all spending your summer! Please feel free to share your summer plans and experiences with us below or on our Facebook page as summer rolls on!

2875 Sabre St #260
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
(757) 499-6886

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