NRV Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Inc.
Bones, grafting, or any combination of the two are rarely the subject of casual conversation. Most of us, regardless of our profession, are happier discussing recent football scores, the price of gasoline, or the abnormally high number of Dunkin Donut franchise locations. Perhaps for it is for this very reason, however, that we should bring up this important topic–to raise awareness, maximize modern technology, and inform the public about the options offered in terms of dental implant surgery.
Bone grafting for dental implants is the process by which bone tissue is placed (grafted) into the mouth to act as a placeholder for tissue that has been lost. In the modern medical landscape this is a safe, painless, and routine process: indeed, more than two million bone-grafting operations occur worldwide each year, making bone the second most transplanted organ (after blood!).
As well as natural bone tissue, synthetic tissue is an alternative for patients seeking the best results. Structured as a ‘biodegradable scaffold’ that can be implanted within the body and trigger bone regeneration, this strong, flexible material has been compared to tire rubber! Dr. Karin Hing, author of the study and reader in Biomedical Materials at Queen Mary’s University of London Institute of Bioengineering stated that the challenge being tackled currently is the development of a graft that is as clever as bone. By mechanically evaluating the way bone adapts to its environment and reacts to chemical and physical components, progress is taking place in leaps and bounds.
What does this mean for the average person who just wants to be happy with their mouth? Comfortable outpatient procedures complete with local anesthesia or intravenous sedation make bone grafting a sensible and worry-free choice. Browse our procedures page for more information on maximizing your resources!
As doctors, we always weigh the risks and benefits of any procedure or medication therapy. One of the most significant procedures that we perform in our office is orthognathic surgery, more commonly known as “jaw surgery.”
Orthognathic surgery has the ability to enhance a patient’s life, giving him or her the comfort needed to eat properly and, often, the freedom from pain. Because the decision to have jaw surgery is such a serious one, we would like to take a moment to look at the positive side of the procedure in this blog, focusing on the benefits of orthognathic surgery:
- Pain Relief – There are several reasons that a person may experience jaw pain bad enough to warrant orthognathic surgery. They may have unnecessarily been causing excessive wear and tear in the joints over many years and living with constant inflammation. Correcting the alignment of the jaws through surgery is sometimes the only way to set the jaw back on the correct path, reducing strain and therefore pain. Another common scenario occurs with injury to the jaw, often from trauma caused by car and sports accidents. If the jaw is knocked too far out of place or suffers significant trauma, it may not heal on its own and may require resetting through a surgical procedure. These two situations represent occasions where the benefits of orthognathic surgery far outweigh the risks.
- Regular Eating Patterns – A misaligned jaw can make it difficult to chew and swallow, particularly if your teeth do not line up correctly. Often, braces are not enough to correct the alignment issues with the teeth and the jaw itself must be altered. Sometimes, patients don’t even know that they are working too hard to chew because they are used to it always having been that way. Once their bite is corrected through surgery, they are pleasantly surprised to find a significant enhancement in their quality of life.
- Better Overall Health – The health of your body starts in your mouth. Proper nutrition is key to everything from longevity to happiness. Whether your jaws are misaligned from injury or genetics – if your bite is significantly affected, your nutritional habits may be as well, and orthognathic surgery may be the best option for getting your health back on track.
What are dental implants? Dental implants are replacement tooth roots that provide a foundation for both fixed and removable replacement teeth. Like roots, dental implants are secured within the jawbone and not visible once surgically placed.
Teeth replacement is not new to dental technology. Early civilizations practiced teeth replacements; archaeologists have discovered skulls where teeth have been replaced by cast iron and sea shells. Despite their primitive methods, some of these implants were fused with bone like modern dental implants! However, unlike the ancient cast iron or sea shell implants, modern implants are composed of titanium. Titanium is lightweight, strong, and biocompatible.
According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device — 98%. Dental implants are available in several designs that meet individual needs: single tooth replacement, multiple tooth replacement, implant supported prosthesis (removable), and an implant stabilized denture. Aside from meeting individual needs, there are a few other advantages to having dental implants:
- Improved appearance. Dental implants are designed to fuse with bone, and look and feel like your natural teeth.
- Improved comfort. Because dental implants become an extension of your natural mouth, implants remove the discomfort associated with removable dentures.
- Easier eating. Dental implants act as your natural teeth, allowing you to eat without the pain and discomfort that often accompany slipping of dentures.
- Improved self-esteem. Dental implants give your best natural smiling, helping build self-confidence!
- Improved oral health. Dental implants are the only proven way to prevent bone loss after the loss of natural teeth. The jawbone needs consistent chewing action to stimulate continual bone growth. Tooth/teeth replacement with dental implants offers a solution to prevent bone loss.
- With proper care, consistent brushing, flossing and routine dental visits, dental implants can last 40-years to life.
If you are interested in dental implants, or have any questions regarding the procedure, call NRV Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Ltd. today at NRV Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Blacksburg Office Phone Number 540-951-8777!
Oral cancer screenings are performed regularly at dental exams, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be paying attention to your dental hygiene between appointments. Taking matters into your own hands is the best way to maintain your oral health. Not sure how to screen for oral cancer? We’ll show you!
What is oral pathology?
This branch of dentistry involves the evaluation and treatment of diseases of the mouth. The most dangerous, but not always the most obvious, of these diseases is oral cancer.
What should I look for?
Keep an eye out for these oral cancer symptoms during your self-screenings:
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- Lumps on the tongue or lining of the mouth
- Mouth sores that won’t heal
- Unexplained bleeding
- Chronic throat soreness
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Mouth numbness
How do I perform an oral cancer self-exam?
- When performing your oral cancer self-screening, be sure to check all areas of the mouth, including the roof, floor, tongue, lips, cheeks and the back of your throat.
- Examine your face in the mirror for abnormal asymmetry and irregularities.
- Feel your neck and the back of your head with your fingers to look for any bumps or changes in texture.
- Examine your throat by placing your fingers around your thyroid cartilage (Adam’s apple) and swallowing.
How often should I perform a self-exam?
Self-exams should be performed at least once a month. Changes to your oral health can occur rapidly, so it’s important to stay on top of things. Treatment is most effective if we detect symptoms early.
Being that we are entering April, now is the time to be proactive and get yourself checked for oral cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 48,330 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer, and an estimated 9,570 people will die from oral cancer in 2016. In the spirit of April’s Oral Cancer Awareness, we urge you to receive regular oral cancer examinations. Remember—early detection saves lives!
Are you at risk?
The sad truth is that oral cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women, and the fastest growing group of oral cancer patients are young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals. It is more important than ever for young adults, as well as older men and women, to get regular screenings whether they think they’re at risk or not.
- Knowing the risks can help you make educated decisions about your health. There are several risks that increase your chances of developing oral cancer:
Smoking and using tobacco products have been a known long-term historic causes of oral cancer.
- Heavy alcohol usage also makes you more susceptible to develop oral cancer.
- The HPV virus, a sexually-transmitted disease, is the leading cause of oropharyngeal (the back part of the mouth) cancer.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The mouth is one of the body’s most crucial early warning signs in the fight against oral cancer. In between regular dental visits, it’s important to be aware of the mouth’s signs and symptoms. Remember, if you see any of these signs or symptoms, schedule an appointment at the office if you don’t see improvement within two-three weeks:
- Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice.
- The development of white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth.
- Lumps, thickening tissues, rough spots, crusty or eroded areas.
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue.
- A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together when you close your mouth.
- Dramatic weight loss.
- Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck.
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth.
Don’t wait any longer. In the spirit of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, be proactive about your oral health, and get checked today!
Orthognathic surgery, commonly referred to as “jaw surgery,” is used to correct a wide range of both minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, often the misalignment of the jaws and teeth. Patients looking at undergoing orthognathic surgery are often faced with an extensive recovery period, as well as a restricted diet in the beginning of their recovery process. Post-surgery patients are discouraged from chewing to allow the bone to heal and stabilize. Due to the fact that adequate healing can take up to 8-12 weeks, patients will initially be on the “swallowing diet” for a number of weeks.
When it comes to the “swallowing diet,” the name of the game is high calorie, high protein, and low volume. Facing a large volume of liquid each meal that meets both the necessary caloric and protein needs can be overwhelming. Consuming enough calories, as well as enough protein is a necessity to heal in a timely manner. In order to get adequate volume of fluid and nutrition daily, it may require you to eat smaller meals 5-6 times per day, rather than the usual 3 times per day.
Patients who are well prepared for their surgery often have a smoother recovery. Here is an example of smoothie recipe a patient can consume following orthognathic surgery:
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
- 2 chilled bananas, broken into chunks
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 cups ice cubs
- 2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
Place bananas, milk, peanut butter, honey, and ice cubes in a blender; blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Though patients are faced with a restricted diet post-surgery, it is important to remember to try and maintain a balanced diet. In particular, foods rich in vitamins A and C. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), plenty of vitamin C is one way post-surgery patients ensure a timely recovery!
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Orthognathic surgery, otherwise known as is performed by Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons to correct an array of jaw-related problems that affect everyday life. Surgery is an option when problems with the teeth and bite alignment cannot be corrected with traditional orthodontic treatments.
- Pain Relief: One reason that many people decide to have jaw surgery is to relieve jaw pain. Often with misaligned jaws, one experiences strain on the muscles that surround the jaw area. This discomfort can often be decreased with surgery.
- Chewing: Jaw surgery realigns the jaw, allowing for the teeth to have optimal bite function. This makes chewing easier and may allow you to enjoy foods that you were not able to eat previously. An improvement in chewing function will also show a noticeable improvement in digestion.
- Tooth Wear: Once the jaw is correctly aligned, the teeth themselves will also benefit. Teeth that are correctly aligned will have overall better wear and tear because the pressure of the bite will be spread evenly around the jaw.
- Speech: The correction of jaw alignment can have a positive effect on speech. The alignment of the jaw doesn’t only affect eating; it can also affect our speech. Correcting the jawline has been shown to improve speech capabilities.
- Appearance: The correction of the jaw often will result in an improved facial appearance allowing many to find newfound confidence after their jaw surgery.
Corrective jaw surgery will position your jaws and teeth into a more functional and healthy bite. The overall improvement to your jaw will allow for an increased enjoyment in life.
If you are wondering if jaw surgery would be beneficial to you, give our office a call at 540-951-8777 to schedule a consultation.