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Dental Implants

Why Are Dental Implants Important?

Dental Implants are an excellent method to replace a missing tooth or teeth.  Losing a tooth or teeth creates a physical change in the smile and in the overall appearance of the face.  Depending on the location of the missing tooth or teeth, certain foods can’t be chewed well or even at all.  Not being able to chew not only means a change in diet, but also impacts nutrition. 

When a tooth or teeth are lost, the process of bone loss begins.  The missing teeth create a physical appearance change in the facial features and profile, often times, prematurely aging the patient.  This process can be reversed by replacing missing teeth with dental implants. 

Dental implants look and work like natural teeth- and they can last a lifetime.  The dental implant procedure performed by Dr. Puckett bonds with surrounding healthy bone.  This bond will work as a permanent support for crowns or dentures. 

dental implants model
Dental Implants

Why Dental Implants Are Better

The traditional method of replacing a missing tooth didn’t solve the problem of bone loss at the site of the lost tooth.  The traditional crown and bridge also grinds down healthy teeth on either side of the loss.  The method also has a high failure rate because of the increased risk for cavities and tooth failure.

Implants are considered the best method for multiple tooth replacement since each implant is independent of the surrounding teeth.  The implants are lightweight, durable, biocompatible and made from titanium.  The implant tooth itself carries a lifetime warranty from BioHorizons.

Dr. Puckett restores beautiful smiles everyday-it’s time for you to smile again!

Implant Retained Dentures

Pre-Prosthetic Preparation refers to the process of preparing the mouth to receive a prosthesis, like dentures. Since the dentures site on the bone ridge, it is important that the bone ridges have the proper shape and size to ensure that the dentures fit comfortably.  Additional preparation may include extracting a tooth or teeth for a partial or full denture.  To prevent dentures from slipping, patients may select to use Implant Retained Dentures to secure the top or bottom denture plate.

Additional Pre-Prosthetic Procedures include:

  • Bone smoothing and reshaping
  • Removal of excess bone
  • Bone ridge reduction
  • Removal of excess gum tissue
  • Exposure of impacted teeth

Wisdom Teeth

wisdom teeth x-ray

It's Wise To Handle Wisdom Teeth Early

Your mouth goes through many changes in your lifetime. One major dental milestone that usually takes place between the ages of 17 and 21 is the appearance of your third molars. Historically, these teeth have been called wisdom teeth because they come through at a more mature age.

Wisdom teeth can lead to problems if there isn’t enough space for them to surface or they come through in the wrong position. If your dentist says your wisdom teeth are impacted, he or she means they are trapped in your jaw or under your gums.

Every patient is unique, but in general, wisdom teeth may need to be removed when there is evidence of changes in the mouth such as:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Cysts
  • Tumors
  • Damage to neighboring teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay (if it is not possible or desirable to restore the tooth)

Your dentist may also recommend removal of wisdom teeth as part of treatment for braces or other dental care.

A panoramic x-ray will be take at your consultation appointment. Dr. Puckett will do an exam and recommend the best course of treatment. Wisdom tooth removal is an in office procedure, commonly done under IV sedation.

Bone Grafting

Bone Grafting for an Implant

Bone loss to the jaw is one of the most serious consequences of missing teeth. It begins as soon as a tooth is lost, when the natural stimulation for bone growth created by the force of teeth chewing can no longer occur. The result can be dramatic—the width of the bone can reduce by 25% in the first year alone after tooth loss.

Fortunately, excessive bone loss isn’t inevitable if you lose a tooth. Dr. Puckett can perform a bone grafting procedure with materials that stimulate new bone growth at the missing tooth site. And, if placed immediately after a tooth extraction, grafting can prevent excessive bone loss and allow for future dental implants to be placed.

Bone grafts are derived from one of four possible sources: the patient, another human being, an animal or synthetic materials. Dr. Puckett finds that human material (cadaver bone) works best. Donor tissue from another person is thoroughly disinfected and safe for grafting.

The graft itself acts more as a platform for nearby bone to grow upon; the new bone growth will eventually replace the graft material, which is made up of the minerals calcium, phosphorous and hydroxyapatite. Dr. Puckett may also cover the graft with a collagen membrane to guide the regeneration, or synthetic material that acts with other biologically active molecules in the body to promote healing. These materials are eventually absorbed by the body.

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Oral Pathology

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Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer screening is just something we do for each and every single patient.  While most patient’s oral mucosa, or the special type of skin found inside the mouth, is smooth and coral pink in color, oral cancer screening is looking for any changes in the mucosa.  

Oral cancer screening is performed by looking inside the mouth for any change in color or patches of discolored areas.  The screening also includes feeling inside the mouth (with a gloved finger) for any lumps or thickened areas.  Changes in color or thickness could be a warning sign of many serious conditions including oral cancer.

Dr. Puckett encourages every patient to conduct a monthly self-oral examination and call him immediately if you discover any reddish or whitish patches, sores that fail to heal and bleeds easily, a lump or thickening of the lining or have a chronic sore throat or hoarseness, or difficulty in chewing or swallowing.  Be sure to feel inside your cheeks, the roof of your mouth and under your tongue. 

Oral Pathology refers to the study of abnormal growths in and around the mouth.  If any changes are noted, an oral biopsy may be performed by Dr. Puckett.  A biopsy is when a small amount of tissue is removed for further evaluation.

Tooth Extraction

Tooth Extraction

If a tooth has been broken or damaged by decay, your dentist will try to fix it with a filling, crown or other dental treatment. But when there's too much damage for the tooth to be repaired, the tooth may need to be extracted — or removed — from its socket in the bone.  At your consultation an X-ray will be taken of the area.  Dr. Puckett will perform an exam then plan the best way to remove the tooth.  He will also discuss any options for replacement. Be sure to provide your full medical history and a list of all medications you currently take. This should include both prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements.
smiling man in a dental chair


smiling woman in the city

IV Sedation

IV sedation / anesthesia is commonly referred to as “twilight sleep”, a medically-induced state of relaxation, without effecting your vital organs such as the heart and lungs. This is different than “General Anesthesia”, which is most commonly confused with IV sedation / anesthesia. With general anesthesia that is typically administered in a hospital setting, a patients muscles are paralyzed, necessitating the need for a machine to breath for you. This is not needed for minor surgical procedures.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation is an excellent choice for people who fear needles. Oral medication is provided prior to treatment in order to induce a moderate state of sedation. Though oral sedatives do not cause sleep, they usually dull the senses. This means that most patients cannot remember the pain or noises associated with the procedure.

TMJ Treatment

TMJ Disorder

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a set of problems relating to the way that the jaw functions.  The TMJ joint is a complex and heavily innervated (a lot of nerves) joint that impacts everything from difficulty in chewing to intense pain.  The joint is comprised of many moving parts and a thorough examination is needed to determine the best form of treatment.  If TMJ Disorder is left untreated, it will cause more acute and chronic issues in the future.  Early detection and treatment are the best solutions for TMJ disorder.

TMJ Disorders occur for a variety of reasons.  Patients may knowingly or not clench or grind teeth during the day or especially at night.  Clenching and grinding the jaw joint creates undue stress on the muscles and teeth resulting in pain.  Injuries to the jaw can stretch or tear the muscle ligaments. As a result, TMJ Disorder occurs when the disk, or cushion of the jaw joint, slips out of position.  

Unfortunately, TMJ Disorder cannot be cured, however, it can be very successfully treated by Dr. Puckett.  Each patient will undergo a thorough examination along with X-rays or imaging to determine the cause and the best course of treatment, perhaps including a custom occlusal (night or Bite ) guard to treat symptoms..  

The guard has many names, but essentially, prevents the jaw muscles from clenching causing stress to the joint, the joint disc and muscles.  The guard may be an excellent solution for your TMJ Disorder. 

If you suffer from jaw pain, unexplained ear pain, neck pain or face pain, it’s time for a consultation for possible TMJ Disorder.

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Other Services


During the course of orthodontic treatment, a tooth may not erupt or drop down in place from inside the gum.  The tooth may fail to erupt for a variety of reasons including extreme crowding, too little space or over-retained baby teeth.  Since each mouth is unique, Dr. Puckett works with your referring orthodontist for to create a customized plan.

An orthodontic exposure simply explained means that Dr. Puckett will be exposing and lifting the gum up and attaching a bracket to the tooth.  The patient will visit both doctors during the exposure process to ensure proper alignment of the tooth.