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Posts for: October, 2017

AntibioticsCouldHelpEnsureyourImplantSurgeryisSuccessful

If you're considering dental implants to replace one or more missing teeth, you'll need to undergo a minor to moderate surgical procedure (depending on the number of implants) to install them. Depending on your current health status and medical history, you may need antibiotics before or after the procedure to help ensure a successful outcome.

Although implants have a high success rate (over 95%), they can still fail — and bacterial infection is a major culprit. Installing implants requires surgically accessing the bone through the gum tissues; you may also need other invasive procedures like tooth extraction or bone or gum tissue grafting. These disruptions to the soft tissues can introduce bacteria into the bloodstream.

In certain individuals, this can increase infection risk not only around the implant but also in other parts of the body. You may be at higher risk, for example, if you have serious health problems like cardiovascular disease or diabetes, a weakened immune system, you use tobacco or you're over or under normal weight. The American Dental and American Heart Associations both recommend antibiotics before dental implant surgery as a preventive measure against infection if you have a prosthetic heart valve, a history of infective endocarditis, a heart transplant or some congenital heart conditions.

For other patients with low to moderate risk for infection, there's vigorous debate on administering antibiotics before implant surgery. There are some side effects to antibiotic use, ranging from diarrhea to allergic reactions, and an increased concern in general to the developing resistance of many infectious agents due to the prevalent use of antibiotics. Many dentists and physicians are becoming more discriminate in the patients for which they prescribe antibiotics before surgical procedures.

It really comes down, then, to your particular case: not only the specific procedures you need but also your general health. After weighing these factors against the possible benefits for protecting your health and improving your odds of a successful outcome, we'll recommend whether antibiotic treatment for implants is right for you.

If you would like more information on the role of antibiotics in dental procedures, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


WhytheTreatmentModelforYourJawJointDisorderMatters

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ), located where your lower jaw meets the skull, play an essential role in nearly every mouth function. It’s nearly impossible to eat or speak without them.

Likewise, jaw joint disorders (temporomandibular joint disorders or TMD) can make your life miserable. Not only can you experience extreme discomfort or pain, your ability to eat certain foods or speak clearly could be impaired.

But don’t assume you have TMD if you have these and other symptoms — there are other conditions with similar symptoms. You’ll need a definitive diagnosis of TMD from a qualified physician or dentist, particularly one who’s completed post-graduate programs in Oral Medicine or Orofacial Pain, before considering treatment.

If you are diagnosed with TMD, you may then face treatment choices that emanate from one of two models: one is an older dental model based on theories that the joint and muscle dysfunction is mainly caused by poor bites or other dental problems. This model encourages treatments like orthodontically moving teeth, crowning problem teeth or adjusting bites by grinding down tooth surfaces.

A newer treatment model, though, has supplanted this older one and is now practiced by the majority of dentists. This is a medical model that views TMJs like any other joint in the body, and thus subject to the same sort of orthopedic problems found elsewhere: sore muscles, inflamed joints, strained tendons and ligaments, and disk problems. Treatments tend to be less invasive or irreversible than those from the dental model.

The newer model encourages treatments like physical therapy, medication, occlusive guards or stress management. The American Association of Dental Research (AADR) in fact recommends that TMD patients begin their treatment from the medical model rather than the dental one, unless there are indications to the contrary. Many studies have concluded that a majority of patients gain significant relief with these types of therapies.

If a physician or dentist recommends more invasive treatment, particularly surgery, consider seeking a second opinion. Unlike the therapies mentioned above, surgical treatments have a spotty record when it comes to effectiveness — some patients even report their conditions worsening afterward. Try the less-invasive approach first — you may find improvement in your symptoms and quality of life.

If you would like more information on treating TMD, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Seeking Relief from TMD.”


A brighter, whiter smile is important for that next photo, interview or date. Your Salem, NH, dentists offer their patients a solution to those teeth whiteningstained and discolored teeth.

There are two types of teeth whitening treatments provided: in-office teeth whitening or a take-home whitening kit.

The in-office procedure is quite simple and time-effective for the busy individual. Your Salem dentist will cover sensitive oral tissues, like your gums, and a device meant to retract your lips and cheeps will be placed in your mouth. The dentist will apply a strong whitening agent on the surface of your teeth and will allow it to sit for about an hour. When the hour is up, your dentist will remove the agent and your teeth should be whiter!

If you don't have time to visit your dentist for an hour, you can use the take-home whitening kit. A custom-made plastic mouth tray will be made for your teeth. One tray is used for the upper set of teeth and the other is used for the lower set of teeth. A whitening gel supplied by your doctor will be put in these trays, then placed over your teeth. In about an hour, your teeth should be whiter.

Take note of the fact that gel used at home is not as strong as the gel used by the doctor in their office. In-office teeth whitening gel contains a strong peroxide that only a professional should handle. Although using the take-home kit is more convenient, the process may need to be repeated several times before reaching the results you desire.

To avoid or reduce discoloration and stains, try to stay away from the following:

  • Certain medications may cause teeth to darken, like blood pressure medication.
  • Some food and drinks, such as coffee, tea or blueberries.
  • Tobacco and smoking are dangerous culprits for the color of your teeth and your overall health.

If you would like to know more about teeth whitening, you should contact your Salem, NH, dentists as soon as possible at (603) 893-4538.