OST Blog

Zirconia Dental Implants

April 21st, 2021

Since dental implants first started being implemented in the 1980s, they have been primarily made of titanium. Recent advances in implant technology have allowed dental implant manufacturers to shift from all-metal implants, to part-metal and part-ceramic implants, to the newer all-ceramic or zirconia implants.

Zirconia implants are made of high-impact resistant ceramic called tetragonal zirconia polycrystal (ZrO2+Y2O3). They remedy many of the issues and complaints doctors and patients have with traditional metal implants and have several advantages—let’s take a look at some of them.

Advantages of Zirconia Implants

  • Do not cause allergic reactions – Although titanium is considered non-toxic, some people still have allergic reactions to titanium. Zirconia implants are inert, non-corrosive, and hypoallergenic.
  • Have been used for decades in medical applications – Millions of patients have had zirconia used safely and effectively as the base material for their hip replacements. The zirconia used for medical applications also undergoes strict radiation monitoring to ensure its safety for use within the body.
  • They are incredibly strong – Unlike titanium implants, zirconia offers a much higher degree of resistance to scratching, corrosion, and fracture. The aerospace industry even uses zirconia (ZrO2) due to its high resistance to heat and fracture. This all means a safer and more aesthetically pleasing result for the patient.
  • One-piece design is more hygienic – Zirconia implants are a one-piece design, meaning there is nowhere for bacteria to build up or liquids to penetrate like with titanium implants. They are highly biocompatible (how a material reacts with the human body) which leads to healthier gums and no risk of corrosion.
  • Implant margin is at gum not bone level – With titanium implants the margin (or gap between the implant and the tooth) is at bone level, which can lead to bacterial buildup since you can’t brush there. The zirconia implant margin, which is at gum level, allows you to brush and clean your implant and restoration regularly.

If you are in need of a restorative dental implant, it would be wise to consider zirconia due to its many advantages. It might not work in every situation, but feel free to discuss your options with Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter or one of our Virginia Beach, VA staff members.

The Top Ten Questions about Oral Surgery

April 14th, 2021

If you or someone you know is going to require oral surgery, you may have many questions about what exactly will occur during the surgery, what to do (or not do) before and after surgery, and what your options might be. Here, we’ve covered the most common ten questions pertaining to oral surgery.

What is Oral Surgery?

Maxillofacial and oral surgeries is a dental practice consisting of the diagnosis and the surgical treatment of injuries, defects of the mouth, face, jaw and related structures, and of diseases.

Will I be Awake During the Procedure?

It depends on the actual procedure, but many of the more intensive surgeries require that you be anesthetized, or put to sleep for the duration of the procedure. Wisdom tooth removal and dental implant procedures are examples where anesthesia may be required.

What are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is used to replace missing teeth. A titanium fixture is implanted into the jaw if there is sufficient bone to provide anchorage for the implants.

How Long do Implants Last?

With proper care and good hygiene practices, a dental implant can last a lifetime.

Is the Dental Implant Procedure Painful?

Most patients are surprised to find that it was less painful than they expected. Regular Tylenol® is often enough to control the discomfort until it fades after a few days.

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Many people have more teeth than they have room for in their jaw. Wisdom teeth are the "third molars" and they try to erupt into a jaw that is too small when children are in their late teen years.

Why do Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed?

Today most wisdom teeth end up getting impacted because they have nowhere to go thanks to a mouth full of healthy teeth. When they are not in a normal position they can cause discomfort, pain and even damage to other teeth or nerve endings. Therefore, if your X-rays show that your wisdom teeth are impacted, we may recommend their removal.

Will I Miss Work Due to Oral Surgery?

Taking one day off for the surgery and rest afterward is advised. We'll let you know on a case-by-case basis if more time off is needed, though after most oral surgeries people can go back to work the next day.

Is Exercise a Problem After Oral Surgery?

We usually recommend a week of rest before resuming your exercise regimen. If we think more rest would be better, then we'll let you know.

When Can I Eat After Surgery?

In most cases, you can eat after you get home from the surgery, and soft foods are best.

If you have any specific questions or concerns in the Virginia Beach, VA area, we are here to help, and put your mind at ease. Please contact our team at Oral Surgery of Tidewater. We’d love to hear from you!

This April, Let’s Celebrate National Facial Protection Month!

April 7th, 2021

Poor April. While other months celebrate romance, or giving thanks, or costumes and candy, April has—April Fool’s Day and a tax deadline. We might be forgiven for thinking these two dates seem more like warnings than celebrations.

So here’s a new topic for the April calendar: National Facial Protection Month! Take the opportunity this month to review your safety practices while you’re enjoying your favorite activities.

  • Mouthguards

If you have a mouthguard for sports or athletic activities, wear it! In any activity or sport where humans come into contact with solid objects (including other humans) tooth injury is possible. A mouthguard will help protect you from dental injuries caused by falls, physical contact, or other accidents that might happen in your active life. And it’s not just your teeth—mouthguards protect your lips, tongue, cheeks, and jaw as well.

You can buy mouthguards in stock sizes or shape-to-fit models, or you can have a guard custom made especially for you at our Virginia Beach, VA office. Custom mouthguards fit perfectly and are designed to make breathing and speaking easy and comfortable. And if you wear braces or have fixed dental work such as a bridge, a custom mouthguard can protect your smile and your appliance.

  • Helmets

If there’s a helmet available for your sport, use it! Helmets are especially important for protecting athletes from brain injury and concussion, and they help protect the face and jaw as well.

  • Face Guards

If you’ve experienced a puck speeding toward you, or a defensive tackle hurtling your way, or a fast ball coming in at 90 miles an hour, you know the importance of wearing a face guard. These guards can help protect your eyes, face, teeth, and jaws. Many sports now recommend using face guards—it’s worth checking to see if your sport is one of them.

  • Eye Protection

And let’s not forget eye protection. Whether it’s safety glasses or a visor, protecting your eyes and the bones around them is extremely important. You can even get sports goggles or protective sports glasses with prescription lenses to keep you safe and seeing clearly.

Oral surgeons, like Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter, have years of special training to help restore function and appearance to injured faces, mouths, and jaws. But as we will be the first to tell you, the very best treatment is prevention!

So here are a few suggestions for your calendar this month:

  • If you haven’t gotten a mouthguard yet, now’s the time. Tooth and mouth injuries occur in sports beyond hockey and football. If you play basketball, ski, skateboard, ride a bike—in fact, almost any sport where you can fall or make contact with a person or object—a mouthguard is a must.
  • If you need to replace an ill-fitting or damaged helmet and face guard, do it before your next game. And do replace a bike helmet if you’ve been in a crash—most likely it won’t be as protective, even if damage isn’t visible.
  • Talk to your eye doctor about protective eyewear if off-the-rack products don’t work for you.
  • If you are a parent or caregiver, make sure your child athlete has the proper facial protection—and uses it.
  • If you are a coach, make sure your athletes have the right protective gear—and wear it.
  • It’s also a great time to commit to using your protective gear every single time you’re active.

But, wait—these reminders are helpful and important, but weren’t we promised something to celebrate this April? Good catch! The great news is, using facial protection for sports and athletic activities gives you rewards you can celebrate all year: fewer injuries, fewer visits to the emergency room, and a beautiful, healthy, intact smile. Suit up!

Facial Trauma

March 31st, 2021

We do our best to plan for our health. We eat right, we exercise, we see our doctors and dentists for regular checkups. But despite our best efforts, we can’t plan for accidents. A bike rider’s encounter with a pothole can mean a broken jaw. A clumsy elbow knocks out a basketball player’s tooth. A car collision leaves the driver with fractured facial bones and lacerations.

These are all very different injuries, but they are all considered facial trauma. When you are the victim of an accident, it’s always important to get the best treatment as quickly as possible. That’s why, if you should ever find yourself in the emergency room with facial trauma, it’s a very good idea to ask for a consultation with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon like Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained specifically in the treatment of facial traumas. They have a minimum of four years of surgical education in a hospital-based residency program. They train with medical residents, and focus on studies in general surgery, anesthesiology, internal medicine, plastic surgery, and otolaryngology (the study of the ear, nose, and throat), among other fields of specialty.

Because their training is centered on the face, mouth, and jaw, these surgeons are experts in diagnosing and treating the complex interrelationship of these structures. Let’s look at our unfortunate cyclist, for example.

A broken jaw involves bone, muscle, ligaments, and teeth. Bones need to fit back together properly; the joint that connects the jawbones needs to function smoothly; and not just the jaw, but the teeth need to be back in alignment. Because they know just how these structures must work together, oral surgeons are experts in restoring function after facial trauma.

But treating facial trauma involves more than restoring functionality. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are also concerned with restoring the patient’s appearance for both physical and psychological healing. Oral surgeons are extensively trained in techniques to reduce scarring and to maintain the balance and symmetry of facial features.

If you suffer facial trauma, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon has the specific knowledge and training to provide you with the very best treatment for your injuries. Oral surgeons are also, because of their wide-ranging experience, able to discover even difficult-to-detect injuries, putting you on the fastest track to recovery. Their medical expertise includes the treatment of:

  • Injuries to the teeth and surrounding bone and tissue

An injury to the mouth can lead to a lost or displaced tooth and damage to the bones and tissues surrounding it.

If a tooth is knocked out, reimplantation can be successful if it takes place promptly—after 30 to 60 minutes, the odds of successful reimplantation go down. Oral surgeons are also trained to discover and treat any injuries or fractures to the alveolar bone which contains the tooth sockets.

  • Bone injuries

An accident can cause broken or fractured bones anywhere on the face. Oral and maxillary surgeons work with bones in the upper and lower jaws, around the eyes and nose, and in the cheeks and forehead. Just like a broken arm, fractured facial bones must be put back in place and stabilized. Unlike a broken arm, injuries to the facial bones cannot be treated with a plaster or fiberglass cast.

Depending on the nature of the fracture, treatment can involve letting the bones “rest” to heal in place, or placing screws and plates or wiring to keep the bones in their proper positions while they heal. Your surgeon will know if your injuries should be treated surgically or non-surgically, and whether reconstructive surgery might be necessary.

  • Soft tissue and special tissue injuries

Accidents can damage more than tooth and bone. When facial lacerations occur, an oral surgeon is skilled at making sure that any necessary suturing is done with an eye toward the best cosmetic outcome. Intra-oral lacerations might mean not only attention to delicate gum tissue, but treatment of the salivary glands and ducts. Facial trauma can also affect the nerves around the eyes, face, and mouth, which require expert diagnosis and treatment in case of injury.

You can’t plan for facial trauma, but you can make sure to involve Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter as possible. If you or a family member suffers a facial injury, don’t be reluctant to ask for a consultation at our Virginia Beach, VA office as part of your treatment.

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

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