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Naperville Dental Specialists

Zirconia vs. Titanium Implants: What’s the Difference?

By | Blog, Implant Dentistry | No Comments

Dental implants have quickly become one of the most popular restorative procedures in the world of adult dentistry. This is because implants are a permanent, attractive, comfortable solution to missing teeth. Our Naperville implant dentist, Dr. Anthony LaVacca, has been a leader in prosthodontics and stays at the forefront of the latest advances in the field. One of these advances is the zirconia dental implant, which we offer at Naperville Dental Specialists. When it comes to zirconia vs. titanium implants, patients are often curios as to what the difference is. We’ll be covering what sets zirconia implants apart and how they can transform your smile. 

What are Zirconia Implants?

Before we dive into zirconia vs. titanium implants, first let’s discuss exactly what zirconia implants are. Sometimes referred to as ceramic implants, holistic implants or zirconium dental implants, these implants are metal-free. They’re made of durable zirconium that is naturally white in color, which helps the implant blend in with your smile. Zirconia is biocompatible and the implant integrates into the jawbone, acting just as your tooth’s root would. A permanent replacement tooth is attached to the zirconia dental implant. 

At our practice, we use Z-systems ceramic dental implants. These high-quality implants have an innovative design that allows us to offer same-day dental implants instead of having to do it in two phases. With our Z-systems zirconia implants and our in-house lab, we can design, fabricate and attach a crown on the same day as your surgery so you can leave the office with a new tooth. 

Zirconia Dental Implants vs. Titanium Dental Implants

The two main types of dental implants are zirconia and titanium. While titanium implants are a great option for many patients, there are benefits to zirconia implants. Let’s compare some of the features:

  • Aesthetics 

Ceramic dental implants, or zirconia implants, are the clear winners when it comes to aesthetics. Titanium implants are made of metal so there can be a gray cast at the gum line in people with thin gum tissue. Or, if you experience gum recession, some of the metal can peek out. Zirconia dental implants are the same color as your teeth, so even if you do experience gum recession, it will not be noticeable. When combined with a porcelain crown or a crown that has porcelain on the outside and zirconia on the inside, you’ll get the most realistic, lifelike result. Unlike titanium, zirconia lets light pass through it just like a natural tooth does.

  • Gum Health

While plaque can adhere to titanium, zirconia implants actually resist plaque, which helps to keep gums healthier and reduces the likelihood of gum inflammation after you procedure. Gum disease has been tied to a host of health problems, including diabetes, stroke, heart disease and, in women, premature labor, so promoting healthy gums is an excellent benefit of ceramic implants. 

  • Biocompatibility

Both titanium and zirconia are biocompatible. However, zirconia has been shown to have improved biocompatibility. Some patients are concerned about corrosion, chemical leaching and reactions with titanium implants. Over time, if the metal corrodes, the micro-particles can get into your tissues and bloodstream. You don’t need to worry about these risks with zirconia because the material is bio-inert and non-corrosive. Zirconia is optimally tolerated by the body and it is the safest, most holistic solution for missing teeth. 

  • Healing

When comparing zirconia vs. titanium dental implants, zirconia does promote a superior soft tissue response and elicits less of an inflammatory response. This means faster healing and the gums regenerate more quickly and adequately. There is also less of a chance of gum recession with zirconia, while some patients experience receding gums around titanium implants. 

  • Conductivity

Titanium conducts thermal energy, as well as electromagnetic energy, which some theorize has health implications. Zirconia implants, on the other hand, do not react with electromagnetic fields. Additionally, they have a low thermal conductivity, meaning you won’t feel hot and cold sensations in the tooth, which improves comfort. 

  • Allergy Potential

Metal allergies can cause a variety of problems, including swelling, implant failure, loss of taste, and more. Ceramic implants are metal-free and hypoallergenic. This makes them the best dental implants for anyone who has a sensitivity or allergy to metal.  

  • Strength and Design

Zirconia dental implants are exceptionally strong and don’t scratch or corrode. They can withstand an enormous amount of biting pressure, making them ideal for both front and back teeth. While titanium is durable as well, it does have the potential to corrode. As for the design, as we mentioned earlier, the Z-systems ceramic dental implants we use are crafted from one piece and placing them is a one-part procedure. Some titanium implants are comprised of two pieces: the implant and the abutment. For these types of implants, bacteria can get lodged between the pieces, which can ultimately lead to implant failure. Additionally, depending on the design, the implant procedure may need to be done in two phases as opposed to one. 

Now that you have all of the information about zirconia vs. titanium dental implants, schedule a complimentary consultation with our Naperville implant dentist, Dr. LaVacca, by giving us a call at (630) 848-2010. He’ll be able to determine the best dental implants for your unique needs so that you can smile with confidence. 

 

What are the White Spots on Teeth and How Can You Treat Them?

By | Blog, Cosmetic Dentistry | No Comments

You may have noticed someone that has chalky white spots on their teeth or maybe you have them on your own teeth. Beyond being an aesthetic concern, exactly what are the white spots on teeth? Technically referred to as white spot lesions, there are a number of things that can cause them. At our Naperville cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry practice, it’s a problem we see frequently. Today, we’ll be diving into the causes, as well as solutions for how to get rid of white spots on teeth.

Why Do I Have White Spots on My Teeth?

The two most common causes of white spots on teeth are fluorosis and early decay, though they can also be the result of certain nutritional problems or genetics. Fluorosis occurs when a child is exposed to too much fluoride during the first eight years of their life. When the permanent teeth come in, parents or the dentist will often notice discoloration, including white spots. 

The other cause is decalcification, which is the first sign of tooth decay. Essentially, white spots on teeth are often early cavities, which is why we sometimes call them cariogenic white spots. White spots on teeth after braces are extremely common. Plaque tends to accumulate around the bracket and it’s hard to reach it to brush it away. When it sits there, the plaque acids cause mineral loss underneath the surface enamel of the tooth. This causes white spots to form where the brackets once were.

How to Get Rid of White Spots on Teeth

We know discovering white spots on teeth after braces is especially disheartening because you went through the effort to get a perfect smile. When the big day arrives, and your brackets come off, the last thing you want are white spot lesions ruining the show. The good news is, there are ways to remove white spots on teeth and help you reclaim your smile, regardless of the cause. Here are some of the treatments for white spot lesions:

  • Prescription Paste – A prescription product called MI Paste, which is the commercial name for casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate, or CCP-ACP, and sodium fluoride (NaF) may both help remineralize white spots. However, researchers are still looking into the treatments and they tend to work better when used preventatively.
  • Remineralization – Some dentists offer remineralization treatments after orthodontic treatment, such as a fluoride varnish. Remineralization replaces the minerals that were lost due to the plaque acids and should, theoretically, stop the decay from progressing and help even out the appearance of white spots. While one study did show that fluoride helped reduce the appearance of white spots on teeth after braces, more research is needed and it might not give you the dramatic results you’re looking for.
  •  Icon Infiltration Technique – Icon infiltration is a cutting-edge way to gently treat white spots on teeth without needles or drilling. Research has shown that resin infiltration is more effective than CCP-ACP and fluoride in the esthetic improvement of white spots. We offer Icon caries infiltrant in Naperville at our office. We inject a highly fluid resin into the enamel where the white spot is. It makes its way into the tooth’s pore system and it fills the area, quickly stopping decay and esthetically blending the white spots so they match the rest of your enamel. The infiltration technique also has the added benefit of preserving your tooth and increasing its life expectancy.
  • Veneers or Composite Fillings – As a last resort, veneers, composite fillings or bonding can give you the even, white smile you want. However, since a treatment like veneers will involve filing down healthy teeth, it’s best to try less invasive options first, such as the Icon infiltration technique.

Ways to Prevent White Spot Lesions

You can prevent white spots on teeth after braces, or at any time in your life, by following these tips:

  • To prevent white spots on your child’s smile, avoid excessive fluoride. Talk with your pediatric dentist about how much fluoride your child should be getting before adding any topical fluoride products to the mix.
  • Practice good oral hygiene, especially when you’re wearing braces. Brush using an electric toothbrush in the morning, after meals and before bed. Be sure to floss once daily as well. If you need a little extra help cleaning around your braces brackets, use an interproximal brush or a water flosser in addition to your toothbrush and dental floss. These tools are good for getting in tight spaces and around brackets.
  •  Watch your diet. Acidic foods and drinks, including citrus fruit, sports drinks, soda, white wine and fruit juice eat away at your tooth enamel and can increase your risk of getting white spots. Try to enjoy these types of foods and beverages in moderation.
  • Ask your orthodontist or dentist about topical fluoride. If you’re at a higher risk for cavities or white spots, they may prescribe a special fluoride rinse or toothpaste or apply a fluoride varnish in the office.

If you’re unhappy with the white spots on your teeth, we can help! Schedule a visit at Naperville Dental Specialists today and learn about how we can remove white spots on teeth and restore your smile with the Icon infiltration technique. 

 

The Ultimate Guide to How to Whiten Teeth

By | Blog, Teeth Whitening | No Comments

If we’ve learned anything in our years as Naperville’s general dentists, it’s that everyone wants a perfect pair of sparkling pearly whites. But between the foods we eat and the habits we create, getting shiny white teeth can be easier said than done. Whitening your teeth (and keeping them that way) requires good oral hygiene practices, including brushing, flossing, regular cleanings, and avoiding things that cause damage and discoloration, like smoking and poor diet.

If you’re suffering from teeth stains or yellowing teeth, don’t worry — you’re not alone. There are many ways to whiten your teeth, both at home and at the dentist, and things you can do to keep discoloration at bay. But while at-home practices can be effective, nothing will give you the same dramatic results as professional teeth whitening.

No matter which teeth whitening method you choose, the experts at Naperville Dental Specialists are here to help you restore your teeth to their former brilliancy. Let’s take a look at what causes tooth discoloration and how to put the “white” back in your pearly whites. 

What Causes Yellow Teeth

There are many factors that contribute to yellow teeth — from lifestyle and diet choices to genetic predispositions and aging. Some of these things are in our power to change; for example, we can choose to eat more fruits and veggies and avoid smoking. Other things are just a part of how we’re built.

When it comes to whitening your teeth, it’s important to understand that your teeth have two basic parts: the enamel (or outer layer) and dentin (or inner core). As we age, dentin naturally yellows which unfortunately is just a part of growing older. But there are ways to combat the aging process, and to whiten your enamel, to keep your teeth looking whiter for longer. Here’s how:

  • Eat healthy, nutritious foods: A diet that lacks proper vitamins and nutrients will lead to premature aging of the dentin, meaning your teeth will look yellow quicker. At the same time, your enamel can become discolored by highly pigmented foods and drinks, like red wine, coffee and tobacco. Fortunately, eating a diet rich in healthy, nutrient-packed foods will slow yellowing down and whitening treatments are extremely effective to clear up your enamel.
  • Protect your teeth from trauma: Grinding and trauma from accidents, falls or sporting injuries can all accelerate the aging of the dentin. As we’ve learned, that equals yellow teeth. When you grind your teeth or suffer damage from an accident, the force can cause the dentin to shrink and trigger the aging process, so be sure to take good care of your teeth.
  • Get a whitening treatment: From at-home solutions to in-office professional services, there are so many ways to get whiter teeth. Keep reading to find out more and then ask your dentist which method is best for you.

How to Get Whiter Teeth

Now that you know what’s dulling your teeth’s shine, let’s talk about the best way to get whiter teeth. The most effective solution is professional teeth whitening but it can be more of an investment than some patients are ready to make. For those who prefer to whiten their teeth on their own, there are plenty of DIY teeth whitening practices you can try. Just be aware that while at-home methods and regular cleanings at your dentist will help get rid of surface stains, they won’t be able to clear away deep, set-in discoloration. In most cases, professional teeth whitening is the best solution.

  • Teeth whitening strips: It seems that every major toothpaste brand has some sort of teeth whitening product that promises to give you the shiny, white teeth of your dreams. This type of method is super popular for good reason: it’s super affordable and you can do it in the comfort of your own home.

The truth is whitening strips are actually effective — but that doesn’t make them safe. These strips typically contain hydrogen peroxide, which definitely makes your teeth whiter by breaking down the molecules that cause discoloration in both your enamel and dentin. But hydrogen peroxide is considered toxic or harmful when used in the mouth, so the side effects may not be worth the pearly whites after all.

  • Activated charcoal: This one is for the DIY-ers out there. Activated charcoal has long been used to promote detoxification and treat poisoning, dating back nearly 200 years. The healing properties of activated charcoal have stood the test of time and are now used in all types of beauty and health products, including teeth whitening methods. Unlike hydrogen peroxide, activated charcoal cannot reach the dentin and can only whiten surface stains caused by environmental factors, food and drinks — but it is a 100% safe, natural way to whiten your teeth.
    To try it out, make a paste with activated charcoal, then smear it on your teeth and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then rinse and brush away anything remaining. Since charcoal is quite abrasive, it’s best to only use this homemade toothpaste a few times a week.
  • Professional teeth whitening: Like we’ve mentioned, this is the only guaranteed way to get whiter teeth that last. Professional teeth whitening can safely get rid of stains and yellowing on both your enamel and dentin, giving you the whitest smile possible.

At Naperville Dental Specialists, we offer Zoom Tooth Whitening. Using a specially designed, light-activated gel, this method breaks down stains. In less than an hour, you’ll have the brightest, whitest teeth you’ve had in years. All you have to do is follow our aftercare instructions and practice good oral hygiene. With our professional teeth whitening service, we’re confident we can put the sparkle back in your smile.

 

 

couple eating ice cream in the sun

The Causes of Sensitive Teeth and How Your Dentist Can Help

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Does eating ice cream send blinding pain through your teeth? Do you avoid drinking coffee and tea because hot beverages makes you want to scream? You’re not alone — you’re likely one of the 40 million Americans who suffer from tooth sensitivity. The good news is that tooth pain is totally curable, as long as you visit your dentist as soon as possible.

At Naperville Dental Specialists, we aim to treat the underlying cause of tooth pain — not just the symptoms. We’re experts in diagnosing, treating and managing tooth sensitivity safely and efficiently. Here are some common causes of sensitive teeth and how we, your general dentists in Naperville, can help you get back to living your best life.

Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Your sensitive teeth could be caused by a number of different things. The cause depends on the type of pain you’re experiencing. Some causes of tooth sensitivity are more serious than others — but if you’re having any kind of discomfort with your teeth, it’s important to see your dentist to find out what’s behind the pain.

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive to Air?

If your teeth are sensitive air, it could mean you have an exposed root. This can happen simply because of aging, or there could be something more serious going on that’s wearing down your enamel. Gum disease, aggressive brushing, grinding and malocclusion (misaligned jaw) can all lead to root exposure, causing extreme sensitivity to air, as well as hot or cold foods. Since exposed roots lack the protective enamel that keeps infections and pain at bay, they can also contribute to further dental problems, such as root cavities or a root canal infection.

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive to Pressure?

If pressure on your teeth is causing you pain, it’s likely due to one of two causes. Constant tooth sensitivity to pressure is a sign of an infection, while intermittent pain usually means you have a cracked tooth. Both need to be treated immediately by your dentist to reduce complications or further damage.

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive to Cold or Heat?

Are your teeth super sensitive to cold or heat? You may have an infection or it could be a sign of deep tooth decay. Sensitivity to heat is of particular concern — it means your tooth has likely been deteriorating for a while and you will probably need a root canal to remove the infection.

No matter what’s causing your sensitive teeth, your dentist can help. If tooth pain arises, be sure to visit your dentist immediately to avoid potential risks.

Treatment for Sensitive Teeth

Treatment for sensitive teeth typically involves a trip to the dentist. Depending on the underlying cause of your pain, you may be able to use a home remedy for sensitive teeth. More serious issues, like deep infections, will require intervention with antibiotics or surgery. Remember: your dentist always knows best. They’ll be able to recommend the best course of action to treat your tooth pain. Here are the most common ways to treat sensitive teeth.

Use Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

For mild tooth sensitivity, a desensitizing toothpaste could be all you need. These toothpastes contain special compounds that block pain-causing stimuli, helping you return to a pain-free life. It usually takes a few uses for desensitizing toothpaste to take effect, so be patient and make sure to use it every time you brush.

Get a Fluoride Treatment

For issues related to weakened enamel, your dentist may advise a fluoride treatment to reduce your tooth sensitivity. Fluoride treatments are typically done in-office by applying fluoride gel to your sore teeth to help strengthen the enamel. In some cases, your dentist may be able to prescribe an at-home fluoride treatment.

Cover Up Exposed Roots

Exposed roots are one of the most painful kinds of tooth sensitivity. Treatment usually involves the application of bonding agents to conceal and protect the root surface.

Get a Surgical Gum Graft

In the case that your tooth root has lost gum tissue, a surgical graft may be your best option. This in-office treatment takes gum tissue from elsewhere in the mouth and uses it to regenerate the affected tooth.

Get a Root Canal

If your pain is severe or your haven’t found relief with other treatments, you will likely need to have a root canal procedure. A root canal addresses the source of your pain by treating your tooth’s core. In this procedure, your dentist will remove the nerve and dental pulp, and clean and reseal your tooth. Root canals are the most effective treatment for tooth pain.

How to Prevent Sensitive Teeth

If you’ve ever suffered from tooth pain, you know that it can be extremely disruptive to your quality of life. It’s important to take care of your teeth at home to prevent sensitivity before it starts (and avoid excessive trips to the dentist!). Do these things every day to keep tooth pain away:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled brush
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste to help strengthen your enamel
  • Floss every day
  • Be gentle when you brush; vigorous brushing can cause abrasions
  • Use a mouthguard if you grind your teeth
  • Limit your consumption of acidic liquids (ie. carbonated drinks, citrus, wine)

No one should ever have to suffer from sensitive teeth. Fortunately, tooth pain is avoidable when you practice proper dental hygiene at home. In the case that infection or tooth pain does arise, call Naperville Dental Specialists for an appointment. We’ll examine your teeth, diagnose the cause of your pain and offer the best options for treatment. Our goal is to help our patients live their lives to the fullest — that to us, that starts with happy, healthy teeth.

happy man in dental chair

How to Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist

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Dental anxiety is extremely common with the majority of adults experiencing some level of apprehension about going to the dentist. However, for others, dental anxiety is serious enough that it impacts their ability to seek out care. According to Peter Milgrom, director of the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle, for about 20% of people, the anxiety is enough that they only get care when it’s absolutely necessary, meaning they skip important routine check-ups and cleanings. For between 5% and 8% of Americans, their severe fear qualifies as a true dental phobia and they avoid dentists altogether to the detriment of their oral and overall health. To avoid letting the anxiety take over, here are some ways to manage a fear of the dentist:

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Is Dental Floss Toxic?

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In light of a recent study published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, our Naperville cosmetic dentists, general dentists and specialists have been asked by a number of patients, is dental floss toxic? Well, according to the American Dental Association, the concern is unwarranted and we have to agree. The study in question wasn’t actually a flossing study but one that involved a small sample of women and their self-reported use of a wide variety of consumer products and foods. The buzz is due to the fact that some of the women with higher levels of one type of PFAS in their blood stream (PFAS are a broad class of man-made chemicals found in everything from non-stick cookware to stain-resistant carpets) used a certain type of dental floss. The media coverage of the study has given the impression that dental floss is toxic when, in reality, even the study’s authors noted more research is needed and that Glide Floss and similar products aren’t necessarily the underlying cause. Read More

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What is a Dental Bridge and How Can it Restore Your Smile?

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Missing teeth can significantly impact your quality of life by interfering with chewing and speaking, as well as making you feel extremely self conscious. Not only that, when you lose a tooth, the surrounding teeth tend to shift to fill in the gap, which creates issues with your occlusion, or bite, and can lead to things like gum disease. It’s important to replace a missing tooth, or teeth, and one of the ways our Naperville dentists do that is with a dental device known as a dental bridge. Read More

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Are Dental Implants Safe?

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Dental implants are an increasingly popular way to replace missing teeth and for good reason. They’re permanent, stable and look and function just like your natural teeth. There isn’t a better way to restore your smile. But are dental implants safe? Well, as with any procedure, there are risks involved with dental implant surgery and these risks can lead to implant failure. That is why it’s essential to see an experienced doctor like our Naperville prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca. When you work with a skilled dental implant specialist, dental implants are safe and the benefits far outweigh the risks. Here’s what you need to know about dental implant safety and the steps we take at Naperville Dental Specialists to ensure the procedure is a success.
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Bulimia and Teeth: Side Effects, Considerations and Treatments

By | Bulimia, Bulimia and Teeth, Eating Disorders and Teeth, Oral Health, Tooth Decay | No Comments

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that involves a cycle of binging and purging, which refers to binge eating followed by using compensatory behavior, such as self-induced vomiting, laxative use, excessive exercise, fasting or using diet pills or diuretics to rid the body of calories. It’s a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that can affect all aspects of your health, including your oral health, particularly if you practice self-induced vomiting. While the effects of bulimia on the teeth can be significant, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it. Today we’ll be covering everything you need to know about bulimia and teeth from the oral health side effects of the disorder to the treatment options available to restore your smile.
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Missing Teeth? Your Guide to the Different Types of Dental Implants

By | Dental Implants, Implant Dentistry | No Comments

Dental implants are an extraordinary advance in dentistry and give patients a permanent, comfortable, attractive solution to missing teeth. Because dental implants integrate into the jawbone, they function just like regular teeth. Dentures can slip out of place and are often uncomfortable and a dental bridge involves altering adjacent healthy teeth, making implants a much better option. Our Naperville prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca has expertise in a variety of different types of dental implants, as well as techniques, in order to accommodate patients’ needs, goals and budget. Here are some of the choices you’ll find at Naperville Dental Specialists:

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