Common Questions

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Common Questions

Dental Implants


Oral Cancer

Other Questions


What are dental implants?

A dental implant is a small titanium screw that is anchored to the jawbone. The implant is allowed to fuse to the bone for a short period of time before the restorative dentist creates a replacement tooth. Implants can replace one or more missing teeth, support a bridge and can provide support for a denture without the use of adhesives. The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of BayCare Clinic have extensive training and experience in implant placement. The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of BayCare Clinic are board certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery or are board eligible.


Why is it important that an oral surgeon place dental implants?

The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of BayCare Clinic are board certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery or are board eligible. Our surgeons have completed four years at an accredited dental school along with additional four or more years in an accredited, hospital-based oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program. Our state-of-the-art facility, along with our surgeons’ education, training and experience, gives them the ability to make all of our patients comfortable and highly satisfied with their procedure.


I’ve researched dental implants on the internet…what is the difference between the various systems available?

There are a variety of implant systems available on the market today.  However, we've learned that they are all extremely similar and have equivalent success rates.  As an oral surgeon, we provide the base for the implant while your restorative dentist builds the new tooth onto it.  Since the implant and restorative pieces need to be compatible, we offer a choice to your dentist on which system he/she would like to use; we then use whichever system they choose.


What is the timeline for a “standard” dental implant case?

Depending on the complexity (i.e. multiple implants, bone grafts, etc.), an implant case can take three to six months to be fully complete.  However, for a "standard" implant case (a single tooth); patients go through a sequence of stages with our office and their restorative dentist.  With the advancements in technology, implants typically take only 8 to 12 weeks to be completely stable and have a prosthesis built on it. 


Are more insurance companies covering dental implant procedures?

As a courtesy to you, we will file to both your medical and dental insurance.  We have seen an increase in companies that are helping cover this procedure, but it depends on the plan you have.  We will help in any way we can by sending a pre-determination in advance to your insurance carrier and by answering any questions you may have.  This will give you the information you need to determine your course of treatment.


What if I don’t have adequate bone for a dental implant to be placed?

For a dental implant to be placed, your jawbone needs to be of high quality and quantity.  However, there are options available if you do not have adequate bone.  Bone grafts can be used to help build bone and are placed in the area where the implant will go.  Cases that use bone grafts may take longer to complete, but the outcome will be just as ideal as cases that don't need a graft.


What are the success rates for dental implants? 

This depends on where the implants are placed and what they will do.  The best case scenario is the placement of implants in the front portion of the lower jaw (i.e. supporting a denture).  Here success rates are as high as 98%!  In the front part of the upper jaw and back parts of the lower and upper jaw, success rates are still as high as 90-95%.  Dental implants are the standard of care for the replacement of missing teeth. 


What does a dental 3-D scanner do?

Our Prexion machine provides a 3-D look at everything from bone curves for implant placement to nerve location for wisdom teeth removal.  Where medical scanners use a spiral scan that needs several passes to get pictures in one millimeter slices, the new technology uses a cone beam to capture information in seconds.  Most people will appreciate not having to lie inside a tube-like machine. 


Why should I replace a missing tooth?

Most adults feel extremely self-conscious about their smile if they have experienced tooth loss.  This alone is enough reason for most people to consider a dental implant as a replacement option.  A missing tooth can also affect your overall dental health.  When the tooth and root are no longer present, your jawbone begins to lose its strength and firmness.  This deterioration will not happen over night, but it should be a concern for anyone who has missing teeth.  A dental implant will replace your tooth and root, allowing your jawbone to stay strong and healthy.


What can I do to ensure that my dental implant surgery will be a success?

After the implant and crown are placed, it is important that you practice exceptional oral hygiene.  Just like natural teeth, the implant, artificial tooth and gum need to be kept clean.  It is important that you schedule your dental check-ups every six months to ensure the health and proper functioning of your implant.  You should also try to avoid damaging habits such as chewing ice or hard candy and using tooth- staining tobacco and caffeine products.


What new technologies are improving the dental implant surgery?

New technologies are constantly being developed to help place the implant and allow for faster healing times.  Guided surgery has been designed to translate surgical planning on a rendered virtual model of the patient's jaw in a software program, to physical reality.  This software allows us to see the implant(s) in place before performing the actual procedure.  Surface modifications to the implant have included microscopic calcium-phosphate and fluoride deposits.  These microscopic deposits will facilitate faster integration between the implant and your jawbone.  Once the implant is stable, your restorative dentist will be able to build the prosthesis. 






Oral Cancer

Other Questions


When and why should I have my wisdom teeth out?

Wisdom teeth are third molars that usually appear between the ages of 14 and 24.  In a study sponsored by The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons it was stated that, wisdom teeth, even those that display no current signs of disease, may increase the risk of chronic oral infectious disease, periodontitis and tooth decay, and should be strongly considered for removal in young adulthood.  Retained wisdom teeth pose other health risks for affected patients, and may even lead to the development of cysts or tumors in the jaws.


What type of anesthesia do you offer?

We offer a variety of anesthetic techniques to make our patients more comfortable.  As a result of our extensive training, the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of BayCare Clinic are well-prepared to identify, diagnose and assess the source of discomfort and anxiety within the scope of our discipline, and to appropriately administer local anesthesia, general anesthesia and all forms of sedation.  Commonly, patients describe their feelings during their procedure as comfortable and surprisingly pleasant. 


What are dry sockets?

Dry sockets are most commonly associated with the extraction of teeth.  They are basically a disruption of the healing process when the blood clot in the extraction site is broken down, leaving the bone exposed.  Food and bacteria can then be packed into that socket causing extreme pain, a foul taste in the mouth, bad breath and swelling.  If a dry socket is formed, we typically clean the socket to remove any debris and encourage new clot formation. 


What instructions should I follow after I have a tooth removed?

Care of the mouth after surgery has an important effect on healing.  Swelling, discomfort and restricted jaw function are expected, and should not cause alarm.  If you have been given a prescription, have it filled and take as directed on the package.  It is also very important to keep up your intake of foods and fluids.  However, a soft diet is recommended on the day of surgery.  Maintaining your normal oral hygiene is also important in keeping a possible infection from occurring.  Any discomfort can be minimized if you follow the written instructions that we provide after the procedure is completed.




Oral Cancer



Other Questions


How often should I be screened for oral cancer?

The American Cancer Society estimates that over 35,000 new cases of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2011. Oral cancer is typically referred to as a "lifestyle disease" since the main causative factors are tobacco and alcohol use.  However, oral cancer is now affecting people in their 30's and 40's, if not younger, who have never smoked or drank.  It is important that you receive a thorough exam at least once a year since early detection is the key in treating this disease.


What is leukoplakia?

Leukoplakia is a term used to describe a white patch in your mouth.  These patches can be caused by an irritation, friction, infection or may represent a more severe entity such as a tumor. Occasionally these white patches can become sore and irritated.  We can often "watch" these patches for about ten days before we decide if we need to take further action.  Depending on the area and how long the patch has been present, a biopsy may be taken to determine the definitive diagnosis.  This minor procedure is often the only treatment required.


Will switching to smokeless tobacco from cigarettes decrease my chances of having oral cancer? 

No, chewing tobacco should not be considered a safe alternative to quitting smoking.  Research has concluded that the use of chewing tobacco causes several types of cancer in humans, including oral cancer.  Not only can chewing tobacco cause cancer, but it can also cause acute increases in heart rate and blood pressure.  The best way to prevent oral cancer is to completely stop using any and all tobacco products. 






Oral Cancer



What is a TMJ disorder, also known as TMD?

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) are a collection of poorly understood conditions characterized by the discomfort in the jaw and surrounding tissues and limitations in the jaw movement.  Your two TMJ's are in front of each ear and connect the lower jaw bone to the skull.  The joint allows movement up and down, side to side, and forward and back.  Discomfort is the most common symptom along with clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint, locking of the jaw, headaches and swelling of the side of the face. 


What does it mean to be a board-certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon?

In order to become board certified, an individual must complete an intensive application and examination process. Applicants must provide verified written evidence of their educational and training qualifications. Finally, a board-certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon is required to pass both a thorough written qualifying exam and a rigorous oral certifying exam to be certified as a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Diplomates are recertified every 10 years by a comprehensive written examination. The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of BayCare Clinic are board certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery or are board eligible.

How do I know if I need corrective jaw surgery?

People that may benefit from corrective jaw surgery include those with an improper bite resulting from misaligned teeth and/or jaws.  In some cases, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates or an injury may also affect jaw alignment.  Other conditions include: receding chin, protruding jaw, unbalanced facial appearance from the front, excessive wear of teeth and other issues.  It is important to understand that your treatment, which will probably include orthodontics before and after surgery, may take several years to complete. 


What are TADs?

Temporary anchorage devices (TADs) are immediately loaded miniscrew and osseointegrated implants that are placed to control tooth movement during orthodontic treatment and removed when the treatment is completed.  Your orthodontist will determine whether or not you are a candidate for a TAD and will communicate with our office on where to place them.  The most important factor regarding TADs is that they eliminate the need of headgear as an anchorage device in maximum anchorage cases.  These cases can be treated much faster and the patient will have better esthetics without the traditional headgear in place.


What other office locations do you have?

Since we work with a number of area dentists, we have made an effort to accommodate each of their patients they refer to us.  Our state-of-the-art main office is conveniently located off of Highway 172 at the GV exit in Bellevue.  We also see patients on the west side of Green Bay at 2253 W. Mason Street.  Other offices that our surgeons and staff rotate to on a daily basis are in Manitowoc, Sturgeon Bay.  We will do our best to schedule your appointment at the office that is most convenient for you. 


What if my child is born with a cleft palate?

Oral and facial clefts are congenital deformities formed during gestation.  Clefts often result in an opening in the roof of the mouth or an upper lip that is not in one continuous segment.  A cleft lip or palate can be treated with surgery shortly after birth with highly successful results.  The bone in the area of the teeth is generally treated later as the child grows.  The oral and maxillofacial surgeon is part of a team of doctors and allied health professionals who care for all issues the patients and families may encounter.

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