My Blog

Posts for: September, 2018

By Dennis Lockney, DDS
September 25, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental ImplantsWould you like tooth replacements that stay in place, improve your bone structure and look totally natural? If you qualify, you can discover the advantages of dental implants, the modern tooth replacements offered by your Concord family dentists, Dr. Dennis Lockney and Dr. Tyler Lockney. Lasting for decades, dental implants are surpassed only by healthy natural teeth. Learn more here.

The story of dental implants

They've grown in popularity over the past 30 years due to a characteristic found in no other tooth replacement. It's called osseointegration, the process whereby the titanium implant screw and the jaw bone adhere to each other. This bone-to-metal bond provides the stability of the artificial tooth. No other tooth replacement increases bone strength and size.

Because a dental implant occupies the bony socket where the natural tooth formerly resided, it looks and feels completely natural. Dental implants eliminate the slippage and oral irritations of conventional tooth replacements. Plus, they are versatile prosthetics, anchoring multi-tooth bridgework and partial and full dentures as needed.

The procedure

Once your Concord family dentist qualifies you with an oral examination, and digital X-rays, you can begin the dental implant procedure. Local anesthetic takes care of the very minor discomfort associated with:

  • Incising the gums
  • Creating an access hole
  • Screwing the titanium implant in place

Healing and osseointegration takes place over several weeks, during which time you may wear a healing cap to protect the site. At your final appointment, you'll receive a metal alloy extension and beautiful porcelain crown.

The vast majority of dental implant treatments are successful, says the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. In fact, the success rate is upwards of 95 percent.

Keeping your implant healthy

Because dental implants are true artificial teeth, they cannot decay. However, certain conditions can compromise underlying gum tissue and bone and thus, threaten implant retention.

For instance, poor oral hygiene and smoking create conditions perfect for an infection called peri-implantitis. It resembles advanced gum disease and is just as destructive.

In summary, keep your implants healthy and functional by:

  • Brushing twice a day
  • Flossing implant sites once a day
  • Avoiding tobacco--both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco

Be sure to keep your routine exam and cleaning appointments with Dr. Lockney, too. Preventive dental care is key to implant health.

A great smile

It can be yours when you explore the many advantages of dental implants from Dr. Dennis Lockney and Dr. Tyler Lockney in Concord, NC. Would you like to book a consultation? Then, please call us at (704) 788-4144.

By Dennis Lockney, DDS
September 20, 2018
Category: Oral Health

If you’re about to undergo orthodontic treatment, you’re going to face a challenge keeping your teeth and gums clean wearing braces. That in turn could increase your chances for tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease, which could diminish your future dental health and disrupt your current orthodontic treatment.

The main hygiene tasks of brushing and flossing are more difficult with braces because of the fixed hardware on the teeth. Your toothbrush or floss can’t always easily maneuver around the wires and brackets, increasing the chances you’ll miss some areas. These neglected areas can then accumulate dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles that’s most responsible for disease.

But although difficult, effective oral hygiene isn’t impossible.  First and foremost, you’ll need to take more time to be thorough with brushing and flossing than you might normally without braces.

Second, there are some specialized hygiene tools to make the job easier. Instead of a regular toothbrush try an interproximal brush. This special brush has a long and thin bristled head (resembling a pipe cleaner) that can maneuver in and around orthodontic hardware much easier than a regular brush.

For flossing, use a floss threader, a device through which you thread floss on one end and then pass the other sharper end between your teeth. Once through, you release the floss from it and floss as usual, repeating the process with the threader for each tooth. Another option is an oral irrigator, a device that emits a pressurized spray of water between teeth to loosen plaque and flush it away. Many orthodontic patients have found this latter option to be quite effective.

Finally, continue seeing your regular dentist for regular appointments in addition to your orthodontist. Besides cleaning those hard to reach areas, your dentist can also provide other preventive measures like topical fluoride for strengthening enamel and prescription mouth rinses that inhibit bacterial growth. You should also see your dentist immediately if you notice signs of disease like spots on the teeth or swollen or bleeding gums.

Keeping your teeth clean while wearing braces is a top priority. Doing so will help ensure your new smile after braces is both an attractive and healthy one.

If you would like more information on dental care during orthodontics, 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 “Caring for Teeth during Orthodontic Treatment.”

By Dennis Lockney, DDS
September 10, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants   smoking  

With a 95-plus percent survival rate after ten years, dental implants are one of the most durable replacement restorations available. Implants can potentially last much longer than less expensive options, which could make them a less costly choice in the long run.

But although a rare occurrence, implants can and do fail—often in the first few months. And tobacco smokers in particular make up a sizeable portion of these failures.

The reasons stem from smoking’s effect on oral health. Inhaled smoke can actually burn the outer skin layers in the mouth and eventually damage the salivary glands, which can decrease saliva production. Among its functions, saliva provides enzymes to fight disease; it also protects tooth enamel from damaging acid attacks. A chronic “dry mouth,” on the other hand, increases the risk of disease.

The chemical nicotine in tobacco also causes problems because it constricts blood vessels in the mouth and skin. The resulting reduced blood flow inhibits the delivery of antibodies to diseased or wounded areas, and so dramatically slows the healing process. As a result, smokers can take longer than non-smokers to recover from diseases like tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease, or heal after surgery.

Both the higher disease risk and slower healing can impact an implant’s ultimate success. Implant durability depends on the gradual integration between bone and the implant’s titanium metal post that naturally occurs after placement. But this crucial process can be stymied if an infection resistant to healing arises—a primary reason why smokers experience twice the number of implant failures as non-smokers.

So, what should you do if you’re a smoker and wish to consider implants?

First, for both your general and oral health, try to quit smoking before you undergo implant surgery. At the very least, stop smoking a week before implant surgery and for two weeks after to lower your infection risk. And you can further reduce your chances for failure by practicing diligent daily brushing and flossing and seeing your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.

It’s possible to have a successful experience with implants even if you do smoke. But kicking the habit will definitely improve your odds.

If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “Dental Implants & Smoking.”