By: Shelly Robinson | Category: Health & Beauty | Issue: February 2010
Cher Frazier, Kim LeFlore and Dr. Dirk Thomas offer the latest dental procedures and products at Thomas Dental & Eye Care.
If you or a loved one are missing teeth, you may be unaware of the health risks involved. Cher Frazier and Kim LeFlore, registered dental hygienists for Thomas Dental & Eye Care, say that missing teeth can cause a number of problems. “It’s not just about appearance,” explains Cher. “Missing teeth interfere with the way your jaw closes, movement of surrounding teeth can cause bite problems, and the jaw bone actually begins to disintegrate when a tooth is missing.”
Replacing missing teeth can help maintain the shape of your face, keeping you from developing further jaw problems, and can actually help you live a longer and healthier life. “Healthy teeth and gums enable a person to eat a wide variety of food and obtain proper nutrition. Many with missing teeth or poorly fitted dentures eat only soft or mashed food because they are unable to chew properly,” shares Kim.
That’s the bad news; the good news is that technology has made great strides in the area of dental implants, and they are now a very viable option to missing teeth. Dr. Dirk Thomas and his staff make continuing education a priority. Both Kim and Cher recently attended a seminar on dental implants, hosted by Dr. Ray Beddoe, a Broken Arrow periodontist. “We came away with a strengthened commitment to educating our patients about the benefits of dental implants,” says Cher.
Implants look and act like a natural tooth and prevent bone loss in the jaw structure. Maintaining the jaw bone keeps the other teeth in place and prevents painful neuromuscular changes. Unlike a bridge, an implant doesn’t affect the adjacent teeth, and there is no special cleaning equipment or maintenance needed other than routine care. Patients with full dentures can benefit from implants as well. Implants can hold dentures securely in place and make embarrassing mishaps and chewing issues a thing of the past.
Dr. Thomas works closely with a specialist who places the titanium implant into the jaw where it becomes integrated with the bone. After the initial healing process, the patient comes to Dr. Thomas to have the restorative work to correct the bite, smile and health of the patient. He says it’s a rewarding process: “To see a patient leave our office with a healthy mouth and a restored smile is a wonderful thing. It’s definitely a confidence booster knowing you can laugh and smile and not be concerned about someone noticing a missing tooth.”
Perhaps the best news of all is that the costs of implants have dropped significantly in recent years, and many insurance companies are now covering this treatment. “Implants are very comparable cost-wise to having a bridge placed, and the health benefits make them a better choice for many patients,” explains Cher. She further explains that anyone with missing teeth is a good candidate for implants. Kim adds that sometimes people have the idea that having missing teeth “runs in the family” and really don’t consider getting them fixed. “That’s a shame, because no one needs to live with missing teeth anymore.”
Proper preventative care is key, and if you catch a problem early, it’s always easier to correct. Dr. Thomas recommends routine cleaning and checkups every three to six months, and his staff strives to make your visit a very calm experience. You won’t find a cold, clinical setting at Thomas Dental. In fact, you might think you’ve entered a day spa instead of a dental office. As you are ushered from the peaceful waiting room to the reclining memory-foam exam chairs, you can choose a family movie to play on the private flat screens located on the wall and ceiling of your individual station, or just slip on the headphones and relax.
To see if you are a candidate for implants or schedule an appointment, call Thomas Dental & Eye Care today. They are located in Owasso on 86th Street North at 124th East Avenue. Hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and most major insurance plans are accepted. Visit the Thomas website at www.thomasdentalandeye.com or their Facebook page to become a fan, start a blog or see what’s new.