Dental X-rays help dentists to see beyond the surface to offer better diagnoses and treatments for dental conditions. The last 60 years have seen tremendous improvements, so that conventional dental X-rays are easier to take and much safer for patients than ever before. Conventional X-rays now emit a much lower amount of radiation which makes it extremely safe.
But now patients can opt for an even more advanced option with digital radiography. This high tech option offers significant advantages over conventional dental X-Rays:
- It uses 90% less radiation, so it’s even a lot safer than taking X-rays (which is already safe).
- It’s a much faster procedure, so the dental visit doesn’t take as long.
- It results in images with much higher quality.
- The procedure doesn’t involve the use of chemicals that can do harm to the environment.
- As the images are digital, these can be sent easily to another office or to a lab through email.
Extractions and Bone Grafts
Sometimes a tooth extraction or tooth removal is required to remove wisdom teeth as well as teeth that have been badly fractured/damaged. In other cases, extractions may be deemed necessary for an orthodontic treatment.
Oftentimes, extractions are performed without the need for surgery but it some cases, surgery may be needed. It all depends on the condition of the tooth/teeth. When the extraction is non-surgical, anesthesia is usually applied to minimize the pain. The dentist then uses dental forceps and an elevator so that the tooth can be taken out safely and carefully.
Surgery is needed when the tooth isn’t easily accessible. Usually because this is because the tooth hasn’t fully broken through the gum line or that the tooth has fractured and the remaining portion of the tooth is under the gum line. The surgery involves making an incision through the gum line to access the tooth. The tooth may also be broken carefully into several pieces so that they’re easier to remove.
After a tooth is removed, some bleeding is normal even when it’s a non-surgical procedure. The bleeding can last for about an hour as that’s the normal time for a blood clot to form in the socket. It will take about a week for the open wound over the socket to fully heal. It will then take about a month or two for the empty socket to fill in with soft gum tissue. Finally, it will take at least 6 months for the final socket closure with bone remodeling.
Bone grafting is the procedure you can opt for if you wish to better preserve your jawbone and your jawline after you’ve had a tooth extracted.
After you’ve lost a tooth, it’s true that the extraction site does end up partially refilled with bone material. This isn’t a permanent refilling, since this particular bone material will shrink and deteriorate over time. It’s been found that after about 2 to 3 years, there will be 40% to 60% bone loss.
This bone loss can cause your jawline to recede because the adjacent teeth will be affected and they will be become loose or move from their place. You may also develop gum pockets. You’ll find it harder to chew and your bite can collapse. The changes in your facial lines can be altered by this development so that you look older.
This can be prevented with bone grafting. This procedure involves filling the socket with synthetic bone graft material. This material stimulates the underlying bone to grow so that it can go back to its former height and width.
Bone grafting’s use of synthetic bone material isn’t really an issue as your bone will grow around it and through it as the growth restores the original bone ridge.
Bone grafting can be used to provide a solid base for a dental implant or for a bridge, so that these solutions can be installed more securely with the bone material for the jawbone. It’s also helpful as part of the treatment for advanced cases of gum disease. It can reverse some of the damage to the jawbone supporting your teeth done by the periodontal disease.
It’s a very safe procedure, and the success rate is impressive. A survey involving more than 60 dentists who practice this procedure has reported a success rate of 97.9% for bone grafting.