Are Dental Implants Worth It?

If you have a dental problem that threatens the life of one or more of your teeth, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend getting dental implants to replace the missing teeth. One of the most common questions we receive is, “Are dental implants worth it?” There are certainly less expensive options available — for example, root canals, crowns, bridges or even dentures — but does that mean those options are right for you?

Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth, and we encourage you to read our Patient’s Guide to Dental Implants for more information. For now, let’s look at this question from a few different angles to help you determine whether dental implants are a good investment for you.

Cost over Time Considerations

One way to look at the question is to consider the cost of each solution over time. So let’s look at your options from that perspective:

Option 1: Do nothing

If you lose a tooth, the cheapest thing to do in the short-term is not to replace it at all. However, leaving a vacancy in the mouth can cause all sorts of other complications, including infections, shifting teeth and mouth deformities — all of which can add up to thousands of dollars in dental bills down the road. So this option isn’t very cost-effective long-term.

Option 2: Conventional fixes (e.g., dentures, crowns, bridges)

Getting dentures or a bridge is considerably less expensive than getting implants, but bear in mind that these must generally be replaced every 5-10 years. If you replace a single crown four times over 20 years, you’re not saving much money in the long run (not to mention the inconvenience of those repeated dental visits).

Option 3: Permanent implants

Dental implants are considered permanent, and with proper care can last a lifetime. So while they are the most expensive option up front, the cost over time may make them the better investment.

Age Considerations

Another factor to consider is a person’s age — in other words, how long the replacement needs to last. Implants are generally not recommended for children, for example, because they are still losing baby teeth and/or their jaws are still developing. On the other side of the spectrum, someone in their 70s might not benefit as much from implants as someone in their 30s who would otherwise be looking at multiple bridge/crown replacements over time.

Insurance Considerations

While you can’t really put a price on healthy teeth, for many people, their insurance might come into play in deciding whether implants are worth it. Some dental insurance will cover crowns and bridges, for example, but won’t cover the cost of implants. Some insurance plans will cover some of the cost of implants; few will cover it completely. Obviously, your coverage will weigh into what solutions you can afford, as well as the long-term costs.

All these considerations aside, looking at the question completely from a dental health perspective…there is no perfect substitute for your real teeth, and if we can save the tooth, we always recommend doing so. However, dental implants usually provide the next best solution with the least amount of risk for complications — and from that perspective, they can definitely be worth the cost. To learn more about the option of dental implants and determine whether they are right for you, call Riverside Oral and Facial Surgery today at (706) 235-5570.

How Safe is Facial Cosmetic Surgery?

Doctor with clipboardIf you’re considering getting rhinoplasty, otoplasty, blepharoplasty, or any other type of facial cosmetic surgery, you might be wondering just how safe is facial cosmetic surgery. Sure, cosmetic procedures do not hold quite the same level of risk as something like open-heart surgery or a kidney transplant, but they’re still surgeries, and all surgeries have their own share of risks.

When a patient makes the decision to go forward with cosmetic surgery, they must carefully balance the benefits of the surgery’s potential outcome with the risk of any complications that might arise from the procedure. Complications from cosmetic surgeries like facelifts, nose jobs, and eyelid corrections are quite rare, but they can and do occur. Of course, risks vary by patient as well as by the type of surgery, but facial cosmetic surgery complications may include:

  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing
  • Nerve injury
  • Nerve weakness
  • Skin scarring
  • Hair loss at the incision site(s)
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Skin numbness
  • Persistent, prolonged pain
  • Persistent, prolonged swelling
  • Skin discoloration
  • Suture irritation and misalignment
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Other cardiac and pulmonary complications

In addition to these risks, there is also the possibility of unsatisfactory results, such as asymmetry, undesirable locations for your surgical scars, and visible deformities at the incision site(s). Because these unsatisfactory results may require additional surgery to correct, you may open yourself to additional risks with more surgeries.

Remember — only you and your doctor can make decisions to best suit your situation. That’s why It’s vital for patients to do their research before even scheduling a cosmetic surgery consultation, and this due diligence should continue from your first consultation with a surgeon up until the day of your surgery.

At Riverside Oral and Facial Surgery, our doctors make sure all patients are aware of the risks involved with their procedure. To learn more about our facial cosmetic surgery services, call us today at (706) 235-5570.

The Patient’s Guide to Cosmetic Skin Treatments

Woman holding up cosmetic skin treatmentsAs we age, our skin becomes less resilient and more susceptible to permanent damage — whether it’s serious cancer-causing sun damage or just the gradual accumulation of scars and wrinkles from a poor skincare routine or skin shaving techniques.

Luckily, there are several methods for reducing the appearance of wrinkles and scars. At Riverside Oral and Facial Surgery, we provide our patients with a range of anti-aging and anti-wrinkle treatments, including scar revision surgery, the Obagi Nu-Derm skin care system, chemical peels, and more. Let’s walk through the basics of each treatment.

Obagi Nu-Derm System

Ready to say goodbye to fine lines, wrinkles, rosacea, sun damage, increased pigmentation, acne, and symptoms of premature aging? The Obagi Nu-Derm System is a range of dermatologic skin treatments that not only reduce (and prevent) the effects of aging on your skin.


Another popular cosmetic skin treatment that helps reduce the appearance of scars, wrinkles, sun exposure damage, and other skin imperfections is dermabrasion. During a dermabrasion session, the top layers of your skin are removed using a rotating wire brush. While your skin will feel and look raw immediately after dermabrasion, your skin comes out looking younger and newer after healing.

Chemical peels

Chemical peels treat many skin imperfections, including age spots, freckles, melasma, scars, and even precancerous lesions. There are different types and strength levels for chemical peels. At Riverside Oral and Facial Surgery, we offer glycolic peels, which help reduce the appearance of scarring and blemished while also removing dead skin cells. The result is a bright, fresh face! Not sure what to expect after a chemical peel? Our professionals will guide you through the entire process, both before and after your treatment.

Scar Revision Surgery

Trying to drastically reduce the appearance of scars? Fancy lotions only get you so far. Some scars are just too prominent to naturally fade away on their own. If this sounds like you, then one option you might want to consider is scar revision surgery.

Other cosmetic skin treatments

Other cosmetic treatments we offer at Riverside Oral an Facial Surgery include permanent makeup (such as microblading of the eyebrows) and treatment of hypotrichosis (also known as insufficient eyelashes) for patients who want their eyelashes to look fuller and longer. For hypotrichosis, in particular, we generally prescribe Latisse, a topical treatment that is applied to your lashline. Learn more about treating hypotrichosis with Latisse.

At Riverside Oral Facial Surgery, we are committed to providing the highest quality cosmetic skin treatments in Georgia. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call us today at (706) 235-5570.

How Safe Are Facial Injections?

Woman with great skinAre you considering cosmetic facial injections, such as Botox, dermal skin fillers, and facial fat grafting? These treatments are great for reducing the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging, which is why they are popular among people who want to restore their skin’s youthful glow.

Sounds great, right? Right. But if you’ve never received facial injections, one of the questions that is likely at the top of your mind is “how safe are facial injections?”

This short answer is that facial injections are incredibly safe. However, as with all dermatological treatments and procedures, facial injections are not without their fair share of risks and adverse reactions. It’s critical for all recipients of facial injections to consult with their doctors to make sure these treatments are appropriate for them.

While adverse reactions to facial injections are uncommon, they can and do occur. These adverse reactions vary depending on the specific type and relative permanence of the substance or filler being used, but they may include:

  • Acne-like reactions near the injection site
  • Bleeding, swelling, and bruising at the injection site
  • Development of an open wound and subsequent scarring
  • Asymmetry and lumps
  • Infection at the injection site(s)
  • Skin rash with itching
  • Skin redness and irritation

In some extremely rare cases, facial injections may also result in blindness or necrosis of the skin caused by a disruption in blood flow, but these reactions are very rare occurrences that are unlikely to happen as long as you choose a reputable and trained facial injection provider.

We know how personal of a decision it is to get injections or fillers for your face. At Riverside Oral and Facial Surgery, our doctors make sure all patients are aware of the risks involved with cosmetic facial injections. To learn more about Botox, dermal fillers, or fat grafting for your face, call us today at (706) 235-5570 for a consultation.

The Patient’s Guide to Getting Oral Surgery

To many people, the very term “oral surgery” can suggest a nightmare waiting to happen. Not only do the mouth and face comprise sensitive part of our bodies, but they also form a huge part of our identifying features. However, modern advances have made most oral maxillofacial procedures much easier to manage — most are performed on an outpatient basis — and under the hand of the right oral surgeon, you can come through with highly satisfactory results. With the following patient’s guide to getting oral surgery, we discuss the basics of different types of procedures, conditions that may be treated and other things you need to know.

What Does Oral Surgery Treat?

There are a wide range of oral surgical procedures ranging from minor to major, and treating many different types of issues in the mouth and jaw. Procedures may include:

Sleep Apnea Surgery

Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by heavy snoring and temporary stops and starts in breathing as you sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea can cause you to waken suddenly at night gasping for air, causing sleep deprivation and even cardiovascular disease. An oral surgeon can help correct sleep apnea by recommending a number of different corrective procedures. Talk to your oral surgeon if you are experiencing symptoms of this potentially serious disorder.

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is a common process used in many reconstructive oral surgeries, particularly for the purpose of restoring bone loss and reinforcing the jaw. A dental bone graft involves extracting a piece of bone from another part of the body and affixing it to the jaw, allowing it to fuse with the jaw bone and reinforce it. Bone grafting may be used to treat a number of conditions, including repairing jaw fractures and preparing the jaw for tooth implants. Your oral surgeon will inform you if bone grafting will be part of your procedure.

Preparing for Oral Surgery

Preparing for oral surgery follows a similar pattern to other outpatient procedures. Your surgeon will advise you to arrange transportation home; he may also help you arrange in advance for any prescription medications you might need after the surgery. You’ll be advised to avoid smoking before and after the procedure to encourage quick recovery. You’ll also need to fast the night before the procedure, especially if you’ll be going under general anesthesia.

What to Expect After Oral Surgery

You can expect a bit of pain and discomfort following your procedure, and your doctor will recommend taking at least the first day off of work after oral surgery. Besides taking a little time to rest, you’ll probably need to stick to liquids or soft foods for a brief period of time, and you may need to avoid heavy lifting to prevent aggravating your incision. Read more about the do’s and don’ts after oral surgery here.

Riverside Oral Facial Surgery is home to some of the top oral surgeons in north Georgia, and our compassionate team can help you determine whether oral surgery is right for your needs. To make an appointment, call us at (706) 235-5570.

The Patient’s Guide to Getting Facial Surgery

The term “facial surgery” encompasses a wide range of procedures intended to correct a problem, improve a certain aspect of one’s appearance, or both. While many of these procedures can be done on an outpatient basis, any surgery will still have lasting consequences (and at least minimal risk), and should not be decided on lightly. If you are considering a facial procedure — or if your physician, dentist or oral surgeon says you need one — it’s important to go into the process well-informed. The following patient guide to facial surgery should provide a road map.

Determining the Purpose of the Surgery

Your first order of business is to understand why you need or want a certain procedure. Are you having corrective surgery to remedy a problem, such as corrective jaw surgery or septoplasty to correct a deviated septum and improve breathing? Are you choosing one or more procedures to reclaim a more youthful appearance? Or are you unhappy with a certain feature of your face and want to improve it? All of these are legitimate reasons for having a procedure performed, but there may be some prioritizing involved depending on the reason and the need — especially if there is a pressing problem to be corrected or if you are looking at doing a series of facial cosmetic surgeries.

It’s also important to note the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery because many people mistakenly interchange these terms. For our purposes, plastic surgery refers to something corrective or reconstructive, while cosmetic surgery is an elective (optional) procedure.

Common Types of Facial Surgeries

Once you have a good understanding of why you want or need facial surgery, it’s time to look at which procedure(s) will address that issue. Below are several common types of procedures with links to read more about them:

Sometimes it may take more than one procedure to achieve the look you desire — for example, cosmetic eye surgery may require both an eyelid lift and an eyebrow lift. Whatever the case, educating yourself about the possibilities and what each procedure entails will help alleviate any mysteries or concerns.

Knowing What to Expect

There are many misconceptions and myths surrounding cosmetic procedures, so it’s important to be aware of what a certain procedure will and will not accomplish. For example, while a good cosmetic surgeon can minimize the risk of scarring, sometimes a little bit of scarring is inevitable. You should also talk to your doctor about things like how to prepare for the procedures, the effects and risks of the anesthesia and what to expect after the procedure. You also need realistic expectations as to long-term effects — for example, whether your neck lift will revert over time and how long it will take to recover after your face lift. Ask your cosmetic surgeon plenty of questions so you can enter the process with your eyes open.

Choosing the Right Surgeon

Finally, choosing the best cosmetic surgeon for your needs is every bit as important as the choice of procedure itself. Before committing to any cosmetic procedure, be sure to ask important questions about the surgeon’s certifications, experience, cost of the procedure, etc.

At Riverside Oral Facial Surgery, our team of experienced surgeons is committed to helping you get the care you need and the look you want through a variety of facial cosmetic surgeries. To discuss your options, call us at (706) 235-5570.

The Patient’s Guide to Oral Health

To many people, their plan for oral health basically consists of doing whatever they feel is necessary to avoid going to the dentist. Perhaps they brush their teeth semi-regularly (albeit incorrectly); they might even floss once in a while. A visit to the dentist doesn’t come into the picture unless they’re experiencing tooth pain — and even then, because they’re afraid of the dentist, they may wait it out until the pain becomes unbearable.

The reality is that practicing good oral health (including regular visits to the dentist) can actually prevent or minimize many of the more serious problems that can happen with your teeth. The following patient’s guide to oral health will help you cover all the bases.

Preventative Care and Maintenance

Remember the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” It definitely applies to your mouth. Most serious tooth problems are preventable by establishing a basic routine designed to keep your teeth healthy. To maintain good oral hygiene, do the following:

  • Brush thoroughly twice a day.
  • Floss once a day.
  • Switch to an electric toothbrush. (The vibrating bristles can dislodge more potentially dangerous plaque from your teeth.)
  • Change your toothbrush every couple of months.
  • Avoid tobacco use. (Smoking and chewing tobacco are both unhealthy for teeth, but snuff and chewing tobacco in particular can cause a wide range of serious oral health problems.
  • Schedule regular visits to the dentist for checkups and cleanings, even when you have no signs of trouble. (Typically every 6 months.)
  • Schedule regular dental X-rays, which can detect problems early so they can be treated before they become painful.

Respond at the First Sign of Trouble

Even with a good oral health plan in place, occasionally problems can emerge. The earlier you see a dentist or oral surgeon when problems arise, the easier and less painful it usually is to address and correct those problems. Tooth pain and bleeding gums are obvious signs of trouble, but you should also learn the warning signs of common conditions like oral thrush and periodontal disease. For more information, check out these 5 signs that it’s time to see an oral specialist.

Understanding Tooth Loss and Replacement

Adult tooth loss is one of the most common oral health issues, and it can be caused by any of a number of factors. Unfortunately, many people simply choose to live with tooth loss instead of replacing their missing teeth, which can lead to a cascading array of more serious oral issues. In some situations, a dentist or oral surgeon may recommend dental extraction of a tooth that is either diseased or is causing problems with your other teeth. The good news is, dental patients today have a number of treatment options for replacing missing teeth, including a variety of choices for dental prostheses. It may be tempting to try and avoid the cost of tooth replacement, but in the long run you will save money and additional pain by preventing the additional health problems tooth loss can cause.

Aesthetic Dentistry

Finally, some people opt for a number of dental procedures and treatments that are simply intended to improve their smile. Tooth whitening procedures can remove stubborn stains and make you look more youthful, while applying veneers can make you look and feel like you have a whole new set of teeth. Sometimes, a dental procedure can serve both health and aesthetic purposes — for example, getting dental implants to replace a set of crooked, decaying or diseased teeth. If you’re unhappy with your current smile, talk to your oral surgeon about what options might be available to you.

At Riverside Oral Facial Surgery, we are committed to providing the best care and treatment while instructing our patients on the best practices for optimal oral health. To learn more, call us at (706) 235-5570.

The Patient’s Guide to Getting Facial Injections

Facial Skin FillersLet’s face facts: Most of us want to age as gracefully as possible. For many people, that means doing whatever they can to improve the appearance of their skin (especially around the face), reducing the appearance of wrinkles, etc. Facial injections of different types can be used to reduce or eliminate the signs of aging and restore that youthful glow — but what is involved in the process? Are facial injections safe? Do they work? Are some types of injections better than others? How long do the effects last? What are the costs involved?

In an attempt to answer these and other questions, we’ve created the following patient’s guide to facial injections. Hopefully, this will help eliminate any confusion or misinformation surrounding these procedures so patients can make an informed decision as to which procedures — if any — are right for them.

What You Need to Know About Botox

Botox is one of the most common and most popular types of facial injections for smoothing wrinkles. Botox treatments encountered some controversy at first because Botox is effectively a neurotoxin; however, when applied strategically and topically by a trained professional, it is harmless and produces positive results with reducing the appearance of wrinkles. If you’re new to the process of Botox treatments, the following articles should demystify the treatment for you.

Once you have a better understanding of Botox and how it works, you can talk with your facial surgery professional about how to prepare for your treatment, cost considerations and any other questions you may have.

What About Skin Fillers?

Dermal filler injections work in a different way than Botox treatments do. The primary difference between Botox and skin fillers is that Botox relaxes the nerves and muscles that cause wrinkles, while skin fillers inject collagen to fill in sagging areas, thereby reducing the wrinkles themselves. Juvederm is one of the most beneficial skin filler treatments available because it works quickly, looks natural and is completely reversible if the patient doesn’t like the results. Juvederm’s active ingredient is hyaluronic acid, a substance highly valued for its anti-aging benefits. Other common types of filler injections include Sculptra and Radiesse. Talk with your facial surgeon to discuss the pros and cons of these fillers.

Facial Fat Grafting

For those who prefer a more natural approach to anti-aging, facial fat grafting may be a welcome alternative to chemical injections. Much as the name suggests, facial fat grafting involves extracting small amounts of fat from other parts of the patient’s body and injecting them into strategic areas of the face to create a fuller look and reduce wrinkles. Talk to your facial surgeon about this option as well.

If you’re looking for a safe way to reduce the signs of aging beyond applying cremes and lotions, one or more of these facial injection treatments might be just the thing for you. To learn more about them, call Riverside Oral Facial Surgery at (706) 235-5570.

The Patient’s Guide to Getting Wisdom Teeth Removed

Initial ConsultationAt some point, typically during your late teens or early twenties, your dentist or oral surgeon will likely have a conversation with you about getting your wisdom teeth removed. Our four outermost molars (the third molars) are the last to come in, and quite often there isn’t room in the jawline to accommodate them. As a result, they can cause a variety of complications, impacted teeth, pericoronitis, severe infections, tooth pain, and overcrowding/misalignment of other teeth. Some patients have their wisdom teeth removed because they are already experiencing symptoms; for others, the dentist may recommend extraction as a preventative measure, or because it will provide more benefit to the other teeth.

While wisdom tooth extraction is quite common, it is still a surgical procedure, and as such it’s best to be as informed as possible before deciding if extraction is right for you. The following patient’s guide should help.

Do You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed, and Why?

Contrary to many people’s presumptions, not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed. For some people, their wisdom teeth emerge in their proper place and without complications; for others, their teeth don’t emerge but also don’t cause any complications. A small percentage of people don’t get their wisdom teeth. So the first question is whether you need your wisdom teeth removed at all — and if so, why?

As a general rule, if you’re experiencing no complications and your X-rays don’t show any signs of possible issues, your dentist might take a wait-and-see approach. That said, there are a few telltale signals that suggest wisdom tooth extraction is a good idea:

  • You’re already experiencing complications — for example, infections, gum disease, cysts, etc.
  • Your other teeth start shifting due to pressure from the wisdom teeth.
  • Your wisdom teeth are unable to emerge or to emerge fully.
  • You have a history of oral complications in your family.

Performing the Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Once you and your oral surgeon have determined you’re a good candidate for wisdom tooth extraction, what happens next?

Depending on the circumstances, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend removing wisdom teeth in two sessions, one for each side of the mouth. If the situation is more acute, it may be recommended to remove all four at once. In either case, you’ll want to prepare for surgery beforehand by avoiding foods for about 12 hours prior and scheduling a ride home, as you may not be in a condition to drive afterward. In some cases, the procedure is performed under general anesthesia — at other times, the surgeon will use a combination of local anesthesia and sedation. The procedure itself is usually straightforward, and barring any complications should take an hour or two, depending on how many teeth are being removed. Read here for more information on the procedure itself.

What to Expect During Wisdom Teeth Extraction Recovery

As with any surgery, you’ll have a bit of post-operative recovery time afterward. You can expect a bit of pain and swelling at the extraction site. You need to keep the wound areas clean and watch for infection. You may have to avoid solid foods for a time.

Recovery times vary according to every situation, but most patients begin resuming normal routines within a few days. Click here for some tips on how to accelerate your recovery time.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Complications to Watch For

Infection and dry socket are the two most common complications that may occur after wisdom tooth extraction. If you experience severe pain, inflammation and/or fever, during recovery, talk to your surgeon, as these may be signs of infection. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot protecting the extraction site either fails to form or gets dislodged, exposing the nerves and causing severe pain usually lasting about a week. If you experience the symptoms of dry socket, see your dentist for treatment to help with healing and avoid further complications. Click here for some tips on preventing dry sockets.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction for Older Adults

On occasion, wisdom teeth may wait until later in life to emerge, or they may not cause complications for years after emerging. Wisdom tooth extraction is generally as safe for older adults as it is for young people, but recovery times may take a bit longer, and your dentist may monitor the patient more closely for signs of complications. If you’re an older adult facing wisdom tooth extraction, here’s a bit more about what you need to know.

Wisdom tooth extraction is for most people a minor life interruption, but most enjoy better oral health after the procedure is performed. To learn more about whether wisdom tooth extraction is right for you, call Riverside Oral Facial Surgery at (706) 235-5570.

The Patient’s Guide to Getting Dental Implants

Dont Be Affraid Of The DentistTo anyone struggling with significant oral health issues due to weak, damaged, displaced or missing teeth, the idea of getting dental implants can be daunting at first. How extensive or complicated is the process? What does the process entail? Will it hurt? How much will the implants cost? How long will the implants last? Are there other alternatives?

These concerns are completely natural, especially if you’ve never considered dental implants before. Because this topic raises so many questions (and because getting implants is, in fact, a big decision) we’ve put together this guide to help you navigate the process of deciding whether dental implants are right for you.

Considering Your Options

Dental implants aren’t the right move for everyone. Some people have a relatively healthy smile overall except for a couple of damaged teeth. For some, a simple crown or root canal might be a more appropriate solution at this time. Children present a whole other set of variables since their jaws are still developing. Start by educating yourself on all the alternatives to replacing lost teeth so you can make an informed decision about implants. Some helpful articles to get you started:

Choosing an Oral Surgeon

Once you have a better idea about dental implants, the next step is to choose a good oral surgeon in your area who can answer your questions further, advise you on your options and actually perform the implants — if he/she concurs it is the right choice for you. If you don’t already have an oral surgeon you trust, you might ask your dentist whom she recommends. You can also check local patient reviews and even ask friends and family about their own experiences. Find a good surgeon and clinic with plenty of experience and a history of good feedback.

Asking the Questions

Once you have selected an oral surgeon and have scheduled your first appointment, you should come to the consultation armed with the right questions to ask. For instance:

If you are still considering whether to entrust this procedure to this surgeon, the answers to these questions should help build trust. Feel free to ask about the surgeon’s experience, and even ask for references. Make sure this is the person you want to work with before moving forward.

Before, During and After

Once you’ve made the final determination to move forward with dental implants, it’s time to look at what to expect with the procedure itself. The following articles should provide some helpful insight:

There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty surrounding the idea of dental implants, but actually the procedure is far less intimidating than most patients realize — and most are extremely happy with the long-term results. Most importantly, implants provide a long-term solution to tooth loss. To learn more about whether dental implants are right for you, call Riverside Oral Facial Surgery at (706) 235-5570.