Monthly Archives: March 2018

Dental Implants Turning My Gums Gray

I’m worried that something is wrong with my dental implants. They feel okay, but the area around the gums on my front tooth is turning gray. Is it possible that I’m developing an infection? Is the implant contaminated? What do I do?

Laurie

Dear Laurie,

An illustration of dental implants in three stages with the crown being placed on

First, let me say I don’t think you have an infection. An infection would be accompanied by pain, fever, and possibly some oozing at the implant site. Sounds lovely, right? It’s more likely you have thin gum tissue and the titanium root form is making the gum tissue look graying.

One of the considerations an implant dentist will make is the depth of the gum tissue, especially on the front teeth. If the tissue is unusually thin and would be visible no matter where the placement, today we have other options. Instead of using a titanium implant, he should have used a zirconia implant. Either way, whether it be not considering your depth of tissue or just poor placement, the dentist didn’t do the job as well as he could have.

When You’re Unhappy with Your Dental Implant

Unfortunately, the only way to fix this is to re-do the procedure completely. Once you remove the implant, you will lose some of the supporting bone structure. So in order to place a second implant, it would require some bone grafting.

You could show your dentist how the implant is visible through the gum. Hopefully, he’ll care enough to do something about it. If he doesn’t, you basically have three options:

1. Find another way to get a refund. The best path for that is to get a second opinion from a highly skilled implant dentist. You want someone who’s completed extensive post-graduate study in implantology. For instance, after dental school, Dr. Potts completed a three-year externship at the Midwest Implant Institute, including courses in surgery, prosthetics, and bone grafting.

It may be that your implant wasn’t properly placed. In that case, your second opinion dentist could work with you to get a refund because it will affect the functionality. Unfortunately, if the dental implant is well functioning, it won’t be easy to get a refund. A dental board doesn’t consider ugly work as a reason for a refund.

2. Your second option is to just live with the darkening around the implant. I know. You probably didn’t even want that listed as an option.

3. Pay for the new implant yourself. I wish I had better news for you. I know it’s frustrating to pay all that money and not be happy with the results.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Potts.

Helping My Girlfriend After Dental Sedation

My girlfriend is having a procedure where she needs dental sedation. She said she’ll need a caregiver to get the procedure done. I agreed to be her caregiver, but I’m a little terrified. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. What does being her caregiver entail?

Charles

Dear Charles,

Someone asleep from sedation dentistry

It’s great that you’re trying to plan ahead to learn what you have to do to help your girlfriend. Believe me, it’s not nearly as scary as you think. Though, I do understand with it being an unknown why you’d be nervous.

The main thing with dental sedation is she will be very groggy and unstable on her feet—possibly even a little goofy. I’m sure you’ve seen videos on YouTube of people coming off of sedation saying silly things. There was even a video which went viral where some brothers pranked their sister into thinking there was a zombie apocalypse.

I don’t recommend you do anything like this. You’re there to make sure she doesn’t fall or anything like that. Plus, it wouldn’t hurt to pamper her a bit. Have a comfy spot ready for her on the couch and some DVDs or Netflix ready for her to binge on.

The dentist will give you any post-operative instructions. They won’t be hard but feel free to ask the dentist as many questions as you need.

Benefits of Dental Sedation

  • It’s a lifesaver for people who have dental anxiety. Those who fear the dentist often have trouble getting numb. That’s because anxiety increases their metabolism which causes them to burn off the local anesthetic. Using dental sedation relaxes them enough to where the dentist can get them completely numb. Too often fearful patients avoid the dentist, which often means they end up with dental emergencies. Knowing they can have a pain free appointment enables them to get work done before they have serious problems.
  • More work can be done in one appointment. When you’re completely awake and alert it can be challenging to keep your jaw open for an extended period of time, which means multiple appointments to break up the amount of time the patient needs to keep their jaw wide. With sedation, a patient generally sleeps through the procedure, so it’s much easier for the dentist to do more work. That means fewer dental appointments for the patient.

Relax. Keep her comfortable. Help her when she needs to move from place to place. That’s pretty much it.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Potts.