What is Periodontal Disease?
It's an infection of the gums. It starts out as plaque, an opaque film on the teeth that hardens to form calculus or tartar. As tartar accumulates, it harbors bacteria which attack the soft tissue around the gums. This early stage of gum disease is called Gingivitis. Symptoms include red swollen gums, bleeding, bad breath and, sometimes, an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Untreated, Gingivitis becomes Periodontitis. At this severe stage, bacteria destroy both the gums and the supporting bone structural Pockets form where teeth are separated from the gums and surrounding bones. Left untreated, Periodontitis eventually results in tooth loss.
What's the best way to treat Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is often multi-factoral and requires careful assessment into the specific causes for each patient. Once the causes are identified, a custom treatment plan is determined to restore each patient to a state of optimum oral health. Causes can include plaque and tarter build-up below the gum-line, bite problems, auto-immune disorders, destructive bacteria and even factors such as missing teeth, overuse of certain teeth, and less than ideal dental restorations.
How long do the results of periodontal treatment last?
There are 3 keys to determine long term success with periodontal treatment. They are 1) Identify and treat all of the causes. 2) Do your part at home (such as brushing, flossing, etc). 3) Start and/or continue routine maintenance cleanings with a dental professional.
Why I am being referred to Dr. Eastman?
Dr. Eastman is a periodontist—a specialist recognized by the American Dental Association. As a result of his specialty training, Dr. Eastman has the expertise to provide specialized therapy to treat gum disease, prevent tooth loss and restore lost or missing teeth with dental implants —the most advanced and natural tooth replacement system ever devised. Using a team approach, he works in collaboration with restorative dentists to provide patients with an ideal treatment plan to restore and maintain optimum oral health.
What are Dr. Eastman’s qualifications?
Dr. Lindsay Eastman received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1978 from Loyola University Dental School where he completed his Graduate training in Periodontics and his Masters of Science in Oral Biology. He received his Post-Graduate specialty training in Surgical Placement of Implants from Northwestern University Dental School in 1990 and completed Business Management Training from Pride Institute in 1992. He has maintained a successful periodontal practice in Bradenton, FL since 1980. Dr. Eastman incorporates the latest techniques in reconstructive periodontics, tissue engineering, dental implants placement and was among the first group of dentists in the U.S. trained in computer guided implant surgery. He founded the Manatee Study Club in 2008 and became a Clinical Assistant Professor in Periodontology at the University of Florida College of Dentistry in 2010.
Dr. Eastman facilitated the initiative to create the Dental Hygiene Program at Manatee Community College in 1998 and is Chairman on the Advisory Committee. He has served as president of the Manatee Dental Society and as a local board member since 1994. He is a member of multiple professional associations and spends countless hours in continuing education each year.
What Makes Dr. Eastman’s Practice different from other periodontal practices?
Dr. Eastman and his team of professionals are not your typical periodontal and dental implant practice. With over 25 years of experience and a team of registered nurses, dental hygienists, dental assistants and administrative coordinators, we specialize in complex interdisciplinary treatment. We set ourselves apart through the following:
1. Registered Nurses in Office. We remain one of only a few periodontal practices in the state of Florida with the ability to utilize registered nurses in our office. With the safety and comfort of our patients in mind, our nurses review each patient’s medical history, communicate with physicians, administer necessary medications, assist in surgeries, and administer local anesthetic. For anxious or medically compromised patients, many forms of sedation are available, including nitrous oxide, conscious sedation, and IV sedation.
2. State-of-the-Art Dental Implant Treatment. We were among the first group of dentists in the United States trained in computer guided implant surgery, with options for “teeth-in-an-hour” solutions. We are a certified L.A.N.A.P. practice, utilizing laser periodontal therapy and use leading-edge diagnostics such as digital radiography, intra-oral photography and CT imaging.
3. Improved Treatment Results. We utilize the latest surgical techniques and materials to optimize treatment results and accelerate healing time. To reduce the need for re-treatment, we offer state of the art salivary diagnostics to identify harmful bacteria in the mouth and prescribe specific antibiotics to treat periodontal infection at its source.
4. Commitment to Life-Long Learning. We are committed to continual training and education in periodontal and dental implant procedures, and we offer ground breaking implant options that reduce the need for multiple appointments. Our goal is to return the patient’s mouth to a state of health and give patients the ability to once again control their oral health.
5. Patient-Centered Practice. All patient forms are available online for the convenience of our patients. Insurance claims are submitted electronically, usually the same day the patient is seen. In addition, financing is available.
Our practice stands committed to the idea that exceptional professionals can practice leading-edge comprehensive care, while at the same time creating a warm caring environment dedicated to improving the quality of people’s lives.
Is implant surgery comfortable?
Most patients are pleased to find out that implant procedures usually cause only minimal discomfort and may be more comfortable than other dental procedures such as extractions. Prior to and during procedures, oral sedation, local anesthesia, and intravenous sedation may be used to keep patients comfortable. Following treatment, over-the-counter pain medication is recommended. Prescription medicine is also available if needed.
Are implants expensive?
Dental implants are replacement body parts that look and function like natural teeth. They give patients the ability to eat, chew, smile, and laugh naturally. Implant patients are very happy after treatment and consider their implants to be an excellent value for the dollar as well as a long-term investment in the quality of their lives.
Will my dental insurance cover dental implants?
Dental implant treatment is often beyond the scope of dental benefits. However, we will work closely with your dental and medical insurance companies to determine whether any of your specific benefits apply to dental implant treatment.
Are there alternatives to implants that are less costly?
Our philosophy is to treat patients once and treat them right. We have found that dental implants are often the most cost-effective treatment over a lifetime. Dental implants are kinder to adjacent teeth than a bridge or partial denture. Dental implants are also more natural, and they help preserve bone, which helps prevent the appearance of premature aging.
How do I know that implants are going to work?
We set the stage for success by creating a thorough, customized treatment plan for each patient in cooperation with the restorative dentist. Dental implants have an outstanding success rate—greater than 95%. They are designed to last a lifetime.
How long does it take to complete implant treatment?
Sometimes implant treatment takes a number of months to complete from start to finish, because, after implant placement, the implant has to remain undisturbed for a period of time so that it becomes firmly anchored in the bone. At that point, it will be at least as strong as a natural tooth root and ready to support the replacement tooth. However, there are new protocols available to some patients that significantly shorten the overall treatment time. In some cases, it is possible for patients to receive temporary replacement teeth on the day of treatment. This is called the “teeth-in-an hour” option.
How does the “teeth-in-an-hour” option work?
Dr. Eastman uses the latest technology based on advanced x-ray images and software to plan the placement of the implants on a computer prior to implant surgery. This new technology also allows Dr. Eastman and the restorative dentist to create a pre-manufactured prosthesis that is placed at the time of surgery. As a result, the major decisions of the treatment are made during the planning phase, long before the patient arrives for implant surgery. The actual implant placement that follows is performed with minimal surgical intervention. Because Dr. Eastman spends many hours doing his “homework” before the patient arrives, the result is that the patient leaves the dental office after surgery with a temporary and functional prosthesis in place.
Due to the precise nature of the computer-guided implant placement, surgery is less traumatic and patients report a minimum of post-operative discomfort.
Is everyone a candidate for the teeth-in-an-hour option?
The teeth-in-an-hour option is ideally suited to patients with specific dental needs. The type of dental implant treatment that is best for you depends on your individual clinical situation. Dr. Eastman will review your options with you so you can make an informed decision that’s right for you.
What is the role of my restorative dentist when I have implant treatment?
Your restorative dentist is a key member of the team. Dr. Eastman stays in close communication with your restorative dentist throughout your implant treatment. In fact, after your restorative dentist completes your treatment, people you meet will not be able to tell that some of your teeth have been replaced by dental implants. They will just assume that you have naturally attractive teeth.
How do I know if I am a good candidate for dental implants?
Today, most patients who are missing one or more of their natural teeth are good candidates for dental implants. Dental x-rays and a comprehensive exam are a great initial impression for potential implant treatment, but often times a CT scan of the jaw is necessary to be safe and certain.
Why Does It Take so Long to Complete Treatment?
Dental implants preserve bone because they function like tooth roots, firmly embedded in the bone. In order for the implants to become embedded in the bone, the bone must bond to the implants. This process may take anywhere from 3 to 9 months to finish, depending upon the quality of the bone in which the implants are placed. There are other treatment options that do not take as long to complete, however not everyone is a candidate.
Is the Surgical Implant Placement Procedure Painful?
Most implant patients report that the discomfort is far less than they expected, and is much like having a tooth
extracted. And although everyone is different with regard to pain tolerance, most patients are very comfortable simply taking Tylenol afterward.
Is It Necessary to Have One Implant Placed for Each Tooth That Is Missing?
No. In fact, it is possible to replace all of the lower teeth with an overdenture that is supported by only 2-4 implants. On the other hand, some dental specialists feel that it is advantageous to replace missing posterior teeth with individual implants to provide additional strength to withstand the forces of chewing for patients who have most of their natural teeth. Each patient’s situation is unique and should be evaluated by a dentist or dental specialist to determine the appropriate number of implants required to support the replacement teeth that will meet the patient’s functional and esthetic needs.
Am I too Old for Dental Implants?
Overall health and a desire to improve the quality of life are much more important considerations than age. When dental implants were first developed, back in the 1950’s, implant supported replacement teeth were originally designed as a solution for older patients who were missing all of their teeth. Since then, many patients well into their 90’s have had dental implant treatment without a single problem.
How Long Do Implants Last?
Documented clinical research demonstrates that implant supported replacement teeth have been successful for over 30 years. These were some of the first root-form implant cases ever completed and they have been closely monitored from the beginning. It is highly likely that these cases will be successful throughout the lifetime of those patients. Dental implants are designed to be permanent; however many factors contribute to the long term success of implant treatment, such as home care and regular maintenance visits to the dentist or dental specialist.
By comparison, research demonstrates that the typical tooth supported bridge lasts from 7-10 years and that partials and dentures are functional for an average of only 5 years. Insurance statistics indicate that bridges, partials and dentures last 5 years and they generally pay for replacements every 5 years.
Do Dental Implants Ever Fail?
Dental implant treatment is one of the most successful procedures in the medical/dental field, with documented
success rates over 95%. Although successful treatment is very predictable, there are rare occasions where the bone does not completely bond to the implants. When this occurs, new implants are placed, and the success rates for the replacement implants are even higher. Smoking or putting too much pressure on newly placed implants, as with excessive grinding of the teeth, can cause problems with the bone bonding to the implants and should
Does the Body Ever Reject Dental Implants?
Several years ago, there was quite a scare about certain types of breast implants, which has caused a number of people to ask if the same thing is possible with dental implants. As indicated above, the success rates for dental implants are extremely high. This is due in part to the fact that root-form implants are made of a safe biocompatible material called titanium. Because titanium is accepted so well by the human body, it is also used for orthopedic implants, such as hip and knee replacements.
If Dental Implants Preserve Bone, Why Would a Dentist Recommend a Tooth Supported Bridge?
Naturally, since dental implants preserve bone, if a patient qualifies as a candidate, implant treatment is usually
considered the treatment of choice. However, until the late 1980’s, traditional tooth supported bridges were considered the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth. In addition, there have been many improvements in dental implant systems over the past decade, giving more options for dentists to provide for their patients. Some of the enhancements have resulted in better esthetics for replacement of anterior teeth. Prior to the development of these improvements, some dentists felt that their patients were better served with traditional bridges. Sometimes teeth that already have large restorations (fillings) can benefit from the protection of crowns attached to traditional bridges. In these cases, particularly in the back of the mouth, where bone melts away much slower when there are adjacent natural teeth, many dentists will still recommend a traditional bridge as opposed to implant treatment. However, most dentists abhor the idea of grinding down perfect teeth without restorations to place a traditional bridge, and therefore, will almost always recommend dental implant treatment in these cases.
Why would a Dental Specialist Recommend Extracting a Tooth and Replacing It with an Implant Supported Crown?
There are many situations where natural teeth are either failing, or are about to fail. This includes severe periodontal disease (gum disease) that has eroded the bone that supports teeth. Sometimes in these cases, it is preferable to extract the teeth; eliminate the disease and infection and replace the teeth with implant supported crowns/bridges. There are also situations where a tooth has had a root canal (nerves have been removed from the tooth) leaving the tooth brittle and susceptible to fracture. In cases where the tooth needs to be retreated and the prognosis is not favorable, it is preferable to extract the tooth and replace it with an implant supported crown.
Teeth with severe fractures are usually extracted and are ideal candidates for replacement with dental implant treatment.
Are There Different Types of Implants?
Although there are different types of implants, the root-form implants are the type most commonly used today. This is primarily due to the extremely high success rates of this type of implant and the fact that they can actually preserve bone, functioning as replacement, or substitute tooth roots. Like any specialized product, there are many different implant manufacturers. We only use the high quality implants from the industry leading manufacturers such as Nobel Biocare and Astra Tech.
Is It Possible to Use an Existing Denture with Dental Implants?
Sometimes it is possible to use a patient’s existing denture, as opposed to fabricating a new denture to snap onto dental implants, by altering it to accommodate the necessary attachments. However, there are a number of factors that must be considered. Since each patient’s situation is unique, the possibility of using an existing denture can only be determined in consultation with a dentist or dental specialist.
What Is Involved with Taking Care of Dental Implants?
The home care recommended varies depending upon the type of implant supported replacement teeth. For example, a single implant supported crown is cleaned like a natural tooth, with regular brushing and flossing. Implant supported bridges that replace a few teeth are cleaned like tooth supported bridges, brushing and flossing with a floss threader. Home care is a little more complicated for people who are missing all of their teeth, in that special brushes and floss are often recommended. With overdentures, it is necessary to clean the implant attachments, as well as the overdenture. Permanently fixed implant supported replacement teeth are
cleaned like all other bridges. In all cases, it is recommended that patients see their regular dentist and hygienist at least twice each year unless they routinely see the periodontist, in which case they would continue to alternate visits. If a surgical specialist placed the implants, it is usually recommended that the patient see the specialist at least once each year as well. These visits, combined with proper home care, are essential to the long term success of implant treatment.
What Is The Cost of Implant Treatment?
An investment in dental implant treatment is an investment in overall health, appearance and well being. It involves preserving the integrity of facial structures, as well as replacing missing teeth. The actual cost of implant treatment is based on a number of factors, such as the number of teeth being replaced, the type of implant supported teeth recommended and whether additional procedures are necessary to achieve the proper esthetic and functional result. The only way to accurately estimate the cost for an individual patient is to have an examination and consultation with a dentist or dental specialist. If a dentist and dental specialist work together on a patient’s treatment, there is a separate fee for each of the doctors.
Are Dental Implants Covered by Dental Insurance?
Insurance coverage of implant treatment depends on the individual policy. However, it is rare to receive any
substantial coverage. Since the benefit coverage is determined strictly by the amount the employer wants to
spend on the policy, and the insurance companies want to build into their profit margins, there are major limitations on most dental insurance plans. In reality, the plans are only designed to cover routine maintenance, emergencies and basic care. The insurance companies use statistical data to determine the most common procedures submitted on claims, then set their own “usual and customary fee” schedule for these procedures. They then determine the specific restrictions and limitations for each plan. Because the plans are only
intended to cover the basics, there is an annual maximum allowable benefit of $1,000-$1,500 on most plans.
Although most companies exclude implants as a covered benefit, many of them will pay the same benefit they would cover for the lowest cost alternative treatment option (partials and dentures) and some of the diagnostic records, if a specific request is made for “alternative benefits”. Even if an individual policy includes implants as a covered benefit, the amount of coverage is still limited to the annual maximum allowable.
There are a few cases where medical insurance is available for people who are missing all of their teeth, and as a result, have medical complications. This type of coverage depends solely on the individual policy. Other than these situations, medical coverage is very rare. Work related injuries and other types of accidents are the other cases that are sometimes covered by insurance. Medicare does not cover implant treatment. All in all, it is best to assume that there is no medical insurance coverage available. ©IDIA