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Dr. Anthony LaVacca

Naperville Dentist Highlights the Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

By Blog

For Naperville Dental Specialists, oral care for patients goes beyond dental treatments. That’s why they offer throat cancer screening with the high-tech VELscope® diagnostic tool, which allows them to spot possible oropharyngeal cancers that aren’t visible by the eye alone.

The American Cancer Society’s most recent 2024 estimates for oral cavity and oropharyngeal (throat, base of the tongue, and tonsils) cancers in the US include about 58,450 new cases this year. They also calculate that the risk of developing these types of cancers is 1 in 69 for men and 1 in 139 for women. This data reflects a trend of oral cancers increasing about 1% yearly since the mid-2000s.

In light of these statistics—and that April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month—Dr. Anthony LaVacca and the award-winning team at Naperville Dental Specialists encourage everyone to schedule an oral cancer screening appointment. According to Texas Oncology, throat cancers are more likely to respond successfully with surgery alone or combined with radiation therapy when caught early, particularly in Stages I and II.

Who Should Have Regular Oral Cancer Screenings?

Those who smoke, consume alcohol excessively, have a history of cancer, or have HPV are more at risk and should include oral cancer screenings as part of their regular overall health reviews. Regular screenings can help detect oral cancers early.

The Link Between Oropharyngeal Cancers and HPV

Dr. LaVacca also wants to highlight the connection between oropharyngeal cancers and Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Research indicates that 70% of oropharyngeal cancers are caused by HPV 16. However, this can be prevented by getting the HPV vaccine before it is contracted. Oral cancer screenings are critical in oropharyngeal cancer cases linked to HPV since these types are known to develop without exhibiting any early-stage symptoms.

What Does An Oral Cancer Screening Involve At Naperville Dental Specialists?

Oral cancer screening at Naperville Dental Specialists’ state-of-the-art dental office includes a mouth and throat physical exam, and the utilization of innovative VELscope® technology. This diagnostic tool helps reveal abnormal tissue in the throat that might not be visible to the naked eye in a physical exam. The VELscope emits specific wavelengths of blue spectrum light to stimulate natural tissue fluorescence; abnormal tissue lights up differently than healthy tissue when viewed through the VELscope.

Ask Your Naperville Dentist About An Oral Cancer Screening

Your award-winning Naperville dental team wants to help you stay on top of your oral health. Contact us to schedule your next dental check up and cleaning and ask us about including a VELscope oral cancer screening at your visit.

Here’s What You Should Know About HPV and Oral Cancer

By Blog, Oral Health

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month so there’s no better time to shed light on a critical oral health issue: the connection between Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and oral cancer in the throat. Surprised that HPV can cause oral cancer? It’s not one of the first connections people often make when they think of HPV. That’s why the team at Naperville Dental Specialists wants to talk about it here. We care not only about your dental health by providing everything you need from general to cosmetic dentistry , but also about how your oral health affects your overall well-being.

The Connection Between HPV and Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can affect all adults and includes cancers of the mouth and the back of the throat. While tobacco and alcohol use are often what we initially associate with oral cancers, the HPV virus, particularly HPV16, also causes oropharyngeal cancers (back of the throat, base of the tongue, and tonsils). In fact, research has indicated that 70% of oropharyngeal cancers are caused by HPV 16. So if someone were to ask you, “Can HPV cause throat cancer?” the answer is a definite yes.

HPV-Related Throat Cancer Symptoms

If you haven’t received the HPV vaccination and you end up contracting it, it can be years between contracting HPV and developing HPV-related throat cancer. You see, your immune system does try to fight off the HPV infection but if it isn’t successful after a year or two, it can stay in your body and cause cancer. In other words, you don’t know when HPV throat cancer symptoms could appear. And what does HPV do to your throat? HPV can change the cells in your throat, infecting the squamous cells that line the inner surface of your oropharynx with cancer.

Now, we should take a moment to talk about the difference between what’s called “oral cavity cancers” and “throat/oropharyngeal cancers”. Oral cavity cancer happens on the lips or mouth (but not in the throat). HPV is not connected to oral cavity cancers like it is with throat cancer. Instead, oral cavity cancer is caused by tobacco and alcohol use, and sometimes the UV exposure from prolonged use of tanning beds.

So back to throat cancer, the big question is, what symptoms should you pay attention to that might indicate throat cancer from HPV? Throat cancer symptoms can include:

  • A sore throat doesn’t get better
  • A lump in your throat, back of your mouth, or neck
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble opening your mouth fully or moving your tongue
  • Ear pain
  • Changes in your voice
  • Coughing up blood.

HPV Stage 1 Early Throat Cancer: Catch it Early for Successful Treatment

As with many types of cancer, recognizing HPV-related throat cancer in its early stage is important. Early stage throat cancer — Stages 1, 2, or sometimes 3 — is typically treatable. So be aware of early throat cancer symptoms and see your family doctor or your Naperville dentist right away if you experiencing any of them. But also keep in mind that HPV Stage 1 early throat cancer sometimes doesn’t have symptoms, which is why regular throat and oral cancers screenings are crucial.

The Importance of Throat and Oral Cancer Screening

Regular oral cancer screenings can detect cancerous and precancerous conditions in your throat, even before symptoms develop. The first step in an oral cancer screening? A physical examination of your mouth and throat by your doctor or a screening by your dentist using VELscope®. If findings are of concern, you might then see an ENT for further examination and diagnosis.

What is VELscope?

VELscope is a radiation-free, non-invasive and painless examination technology used by dentists to screen for oral cancer in the throat. This handheld device allows us to see any abnormal tissue that we couldn’t see with the naked eye, whether you have throat cancer symptoms or not. How does this technology work for throat and oral cancer screening? The VELscope tool emits specific wavelengths of blue spectrum light into your mouth to stimulate natural tissue fluorescence which can be viewed directly through the VELscope. Abnormal tissue will look different than healthy tissue.

Schedule Your VelScope Appointment to Screen for HPV-Related Throat Cancer

Now that you’re more informed about the connection between HPV and oral cancer in the throat, screening should be on your mind. As part of our cutting-edge approach to dental care, Naperville Dental Specialists offers state-of-the-art VelScope oral cancer screenings. You can easily include it onto your next check-up and cleaning appointment at our Naperville office.

Be proactive about your health and schedule your VELscope appointment with our experienced, award-winning team.

The Science of Attraction: 5 Studies Linking Your Smile to Dating Success

By Blog

It’s February and love is in the air. So as your Naperville dentists, what’s on our minds this month? We’re thinking about how an attractive, healthy smile can influence your dating life! And we’re not alone — several studies on smiles have found a close relationship between smiling and attraction.

Really? Do straight teeth matter in the science of attraction? Well, If you’re not convinced, read on as Dr. Anthony LaVacca and the dentistry team at Naperville Dental Specialists cover five studies about how smiling and attraction go hand in hand.

1. A Beautiful Smile and Memorable First Impressions

Whether you first meet someone in person or are trying to decide on swiping right or left, first impressions mean a lot. So, how does smiling play a role? According to a study by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a smile is the most memorable attribute people remember. In the study, about 48% of adults believe a smile is the most memorable feature when first meeting someone, regardless of age. A smile is even more memorable than any other physical attribute or even what’s first said. So, it makes sense that a beautiful smile with straight teeth makes for a positive first impression. On the flip side, participants also said that those with less-than-straight smiles seemed less attractive and confident.

2. Straight Teeth Signals You’re Healthy

In another study, researchers found that participants chose images of people with whiter, straight, evenly spaced teeth over pictures of those same people with yellower or gapped teeth. This preference is rooted in evolutionary cues, where nice teeth are seen as a sign of health and genetic quality, playing a central role in smiling and the science of attraction. The study also found that straight teeth in a woman’s smile signals reproductive health.

3. Smiling = You’ve Got it Together

On top of making a good first impression and giving the vibe that you’re healthy, an attractive, straight smile also hints at personality and achievements. One of the most well-known studies on smiles, a Kelton Research study, found that participants connected more positive attributes to images of people with straight teeth than those with crooked teeth.

Those with straight teeth were often perceived as happy, loved by others, and having great overall health. They also were perceived as having the potential for professional and financial success. A person with a pleasant smile was also considered more likely to get a job than someone with a less-than-appealing smile who had the same qualifications. And people with straight teeth were perceived as 58% more likely to have success and wealth.

4. Straight Teeth and Long-Term Relationships

A smile not only informs our initial perceptions about personality or triggers that first spark, it also gives us an impression of long-term suitability. One of the more unique studies on smiles, the study called: Cool Guys and Warm Husbands: The effect of smiling on male facial attractiveness for short- and long-term relationships, suggests that men with attractive smiles are not only preferred for short-term dating but also more likely giving the impression they’re suitable for long-term partnership, too. It’s a perception that’s subconsciously rooted in our ideals of good health and reproductive fitness — key qualities for a lasting relationship.

5. Smile and Get A Smile Right Back

“Smile and the world smiles with you.” It’s not just a hopeful saying — it’s a fact! You’ve likely noticed that when you smile at someone, more often than not, they automatically smile back. It’s a natural response called “sensorimotor simulation,” which is a fancy way of saying how we instinctively copy other people’s facial expressions. This review of several studies on smiles and expressions concluded that mimicking another person’s facial expression is our way of bringing up the same emotion in ourselves and acting out of empathy.
What happens when you smile at someone? A smile signals a person is happy, triggering a positive feeling in the person they’re smiling at and informing how the receiver should respond to them. Simply put, a smile is contagious, so when it comes to the science of attraction, it’s a great way to establish and share a happy and comfortable mood.

Get A Smile Transformation That’ll Change Your Dating Life

If you think a more attractive, straight smile could boost your dating life, the award-winning Naperville Dental Specialists dental experts have covered you. Fix damaged teeth from teeth grinding, missing teeth or gaps from gum disease, or stained, yellow teeth with a cosmetic dentistry procedure like natural-looking dental veneers, crowns, bridges, dental implants, or whitening. Our state-of-the-art dental practice in downtown Naperville offers comprehensive, comfortable dentistry in a modern, relaxing environment.

Or if you’re looking for the benefits of orthodontic treatment, our orthodontic team at Innovative Orthodontic Centers will help you get beautiful results with braces or Invisalign®.

Contact us today to get started toward a smile transformation that’ll help you find dating success!

Quiz: Do You Really Know How to Brush and Floss Your Teeth?

By Blog

Excellent brushing and flossing are the foundation for healthy, sparkling teeth. But are you sure you really know the basics of proper brushing technique and how to floss your teeth correctly?

Test your brushing and flossing knowledge with this quick and fun oral health quiz from the team at Naperville Dental Specialists. Compare your answers to the answers at the end and find out if you’re a dental beginner, novice, or teeth-knowledge ace!

1. How often should you brush your teeth?
a) Once a day
b) Twice a day
c) After every meal
d) Once a week

2. At what angle should you hold your toothbrush against your gums?
a) 90 degrees
b) 45 degrees
c) Straight on
d) 30 degrees

3. When flossing, what shape should you form around each tooth for proper flossing technique?
a) O shape
b) S shape
c) C shape
d) L shape

4. How long should you brush your teeth each time?
a) 1 minute
b) 2 minutes
c) 30 seconds
d) 5 minutes

5. Should you brush or floss first?
a) Floss, then brush
b) Brush, then floss
c) Use mouthwash, then floss
d) Doesn’t matter!

6. How often should you change your toothbrush or toothbrush head in your oral hygiene routine?
a) Every month
b) Every 3-4 months
c) Once a year
d) When the bristles fall out

7. Which part of the mouth should not be missed while brushing?
a) The tongue
b) The roof of the mouth
c) The inside surface of teeth
d) All of the above

8. What type of toothbrush bristles are generally recommended by dentists?
a) Hard
b) Medium
c) Soft
d) Extra soft

9. How much toothpaste should kids and adults use?
a) The size of a pea
b) The size of a grape
c) A full brush length
d) Just a dab

10. What’s the main benefit of flossing?
a) Whiten teeth
b) Freshen breath
c) Remove plaque and food particles between teeth
d) Strengthen the gums

11. Should you brush before or after your morning coffee?
a) Before
b) Right after
c) No need, brushing is only for after you eat
d) Flossing is preferred after coffee

12. What’s the best way to store a toothbrush?
a) On its side in a drawer
b) With a cover on the bristles
c) Upright and uncovered so it can air dry
d) Bristles down in a cup or container

13. In your oral hygiene routine, what is the best way to brush your tongue?
a) Proper brushing technique is with firm strokes
b) Brush with the back of your toothbrush
c) No need to brush your tongue
d) Brush gently

14. Fluoride in your toothpaste is important because:
a) It freshens your breath
b) It scrubs away the plaque
c) It strengthens your tooth enamel
d) It helps boost proper flossing technique by making your teeth smoother

15. Why include mouthwash in your oral hygiene routine?
a) Mouthwash can get rid of oral bacteria in places a toothbrush can’t reach
b) Some have ingredients that can whiten teeth
c) Some have anti-inflammatory properties
d) All the above

Add up your answers. If you got:

1-5 questions right: consider yourself a dental beginner with room to grow!
6-12 questions right: you’re on your way to oral care ace!
13-15 questions right: pat yourself on the back — your teeth knowledge is top-notch!

Have any questions about your oral hygiene routine that wasn’t answered here? Founding dentist, Dr. Anthony LaVacca, and your Naperville, IL, dental care experts can answer all your dental questions and cover all your oral health needs. Make an appointment with our award-winning team today!


1 b) Twice a day; 2. b) 45 degrees; 3. c) C shape; 4. b) 2 minutes; 5. a) Floss, then brush; 6. b) Every 3-4 months; 7. d) All of the above; 8. c) Soft; 9. a) The size of a pea; 10. c) Removing plaque and food particles between teeth; 11. a) Before; 12. c) Upright and uncovered so it can air dry; 13. d) Brush gently; 14. c) It strengthens your tooth enamel; 15. d) All of the above

Decoding Dental Dreams

Decoding Dental Dreams: What Those Teeth Dreams Really Mean

By Blog

The weird and wonderful world of teeth-related dreams. You know the kind – one minute, you’re relaxing at a beach in your dream, and the next, your teeth are breaking into tiny pieces! Eww. But don’t worry, it’s not just you;  teeth dreams are pretty common, and people have been trying to decipher their meanings for ages.

Now, you might be wondering why your Naperville Dental Specialists team is talking about teeth dreams. Well, although we’re serious about taking excellent care of our patients’ teeth, we also like to have fun. So here, we’re diving into a lighthearted, less dental topic: a few of the most common teeth dreams and their interpreted meanings.

When Teeth Fall Out In Your Dream? 

First off, the classic “teeth falling out” dream. Dreams of teeth falling out happen a lot. So, do teeth falling out in dreams have a meaning? Dream analysts often link dreams of teeth falling out to anxiety or stress. Specifically, your teeth falling out in a dream can reflect:

  • worry about or working through the death of a loved one
  • feeling a loss of control
  • going through poor oral health
  • experiencing low self-image
  • lacking confidence in interpersonal communication
  • dental anxiety about an upcoming treatment

But what if your teeth aren’t falling out by themselves, but you’re pulling them out in a dream? Pulling teeth out in a dream can mean you’re ready for or going through a transition in your life.

Crumbling and Breaking Teeth

One dream analyst says that teeth dreams are about communication: what you’ve been saying or how you’ve been talking about things. Specifically, dreams about crumbling teeth reflect times when you couldn’t or didn’t express yourself how you wanted. Like if you couldn’t get your point across in an argument or didn’t explain something correctly.

Then there are teeth dreams when you end up breaking your teeth on something. You’re biting into an apple, and, crack, there goes a molar. In dreamland, broken teeth can symbolize stress or anxiety similar to dreams of your teeth falling out. Or broken teeth dreams can represent passive-aggressive moments or missed opportunities to communicate your feelings.

Loose or Wiggly Teeth

Dreams where your teeth are loose or wiggly are very common. They’re often interpreted as a sign of indecision or uncertainty. Essentially, your dream is mirroring a feeling of, “I’m not sure what to do here.” These loose teeth dreams can also tell you that you want to speak up about something but haven’t done it yet or found the right words.

Teeth That Won’t Stop Growing

Ever had that dream where your teeth are growing uncontrollably? It’s a less-than-common teeth dream but just as intriguing. Often, dreams where your teeth keep growing signal a positive transformation in your life — you’re gaining more confidence, power, or a new skill. Yet, these teeth dreams can also mean a fear of aging or financial concerns.

Rotting Teeth

Now, let’s talk about the “rotting teeth” dream. This one’s often linked to regret or guilt about something you’ve said or done. Think of it as an internal nudge to address some unresolved issues or to take better care of yourself, physically and emotionally.

Turning Teeth Dreams Into Positive Action IRL

So, what’s the takeaway from all these teeth dreams? It’s fun to talk and think about what they could be telling you, acting as a window into your deeper thoughts and feelings. Whether anxiety, stress, unresolved communication, or fear, these dreams are considered by some as a way to help you process what’s going on in your life. 

Dream interpretation isn’t an exact science; what might signify stress for one person could mean something different for another. Ask yourself how your loose teeth dreams relate to your life, or maybe why you’re having dreams of your teeth falling out in the first place. This introspection can lead you to make positive steps in real life.

On the other hand, if you’re having dental dreams and also notice some dental issues, take the dreams as a sign to contact your dentist. The award-winning dental team at Naperville Dental Specialists provides comprehensive dental care and is happy to help you with your oral health issues, from a small filling to a new crown to dental implants.

Contact your Naperville, IL dentist today!

Innovative Dental Partners Wins Best of Naperville For 16th Consecutive Year

By Blog

Naperville Magazine readers once again voted Innovative Dental Partners as “Best Dentist” in Naperville. This year marks 16 years in a row our Naperville, IL, dental and orthodontic practice has received the honor.

Each year, the magazine recognizes community leaders in 40 unique categories for “Best of Naperville.” Winners are chosen based on readers’ votes, meaning Innovative Dental Partners is beloved by those we serve: our patients, our families, and the community at large. The Innovative Dental Partners team is proud and humbled to receive this recognition again from their Naperville community. 

Innovative Dental Partners includes three dental practices under one roof: Innovative Pediatric Dentistry, Innovative Orthodontic Centers, and Naperville Dental Specialists. Founding doctors Dr. Anthony LaVacca and Dr. Manal Ibrahim are a husband-and-wife duo who wanted to offer the Naperville community dental generalists and specialists in one location. Under the Innovative Dental Partners umbrella, patients can find adult dentistry, pediatric dentistry, and orthodontic treatment at one hub, making this Naperville, IL, practice the ultimate dental destination for the whole family.

What Makes Us An Award-Winning Dental Practice 

Whether visiting Innovative Pediatric Dentistry, Naperville Dental Specialists, or Innovative Orthodontic Centers, patients can expect exceptional dental care and stunning smile results. Bright and modern offices, friendly teams, and state-of-the-art technology ensure every visit is positive, comfortable, and efficient.

Innovative Dental Partners is the go-to destination for comprehensive dental and orthodontic care in Naperville, IL. Headed by American board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca and American board-certified orthodontist Dr. Manal Ibrahim, Innovative Dental Partners’ three, award-winning practices offer pediatric and adult dentistry as well as orthodontics with braces or Invisalign — all under one roof. From babies dental care to seniors, Innovative Dental Partners can be a lifetime partner in oral health solutions for your entire family.

Dental Care During Pregnancy

Smiles for Two: 6 Reasons You Should Keep Up With Dental Care During Pregnancy

By General Dentistry, Oral Health

Pregnancy is a rollercoaster. You’ve got excitement and anticipation mixed with morning sickness and physical discomfort. There’s baby names and nursery decor, doctor’s appointments and vitamins. And what else? Remembering dental care during pregnancy. Here, your Naperville dentists cover six reasons why looking after your oral health while pregnant is vital.

  1. Hormones, Hormones, Hormones

When you’re pregnant, your hormones are doing all sorts of things they weren’t doing before. And you might be surprised to know that these hormonal fluctuations can actually affect your gums with symptoms like redness, swelling, even bleeding when you brush and floss. This is commonly known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” and it can worsen if you ignore it.

 If you notice these symptoms, it’s a good reason for going to the dentist while pregnant. You’ll want an experienced dentist like our team at Naperville Dental Specialists to examine your symptoms and help you find a solution.

Even if you don’t experience changes to your gums, the possibility of pregnancy gingivitis is a great reason to keep up with going to the dentist for regular cleanings and check ups while pregnant. Your dentist can catch any pregnancy-related issues in the early stages and recommend professional preventative treatment or helpful at-home care.

  1. Pregnancy Tumors—Yeah, It’s a Thing

Rest assured, it’s not as scary as it sounds but it can be concerning. Pregnancy tumors are overgrowths of tissue that appear on the gums, typically in the second trimester. They’re not cancerous, but they can be uncomfortable and can bleed easily. They can also feel or look strange in your mouth, cause discomfort, or get in the way of eating or your oral hygiene. 

If so, go ahead and see the dentist when you’re pregnant about this issue. Depending on your case, your dentist at Naperville Dental Specialists might opt to remove the excess gum tissue in a quick procedure under local anesthesia. With our modern, state-of-the-art office and friendly approach, your appointment will be efficient and comfortable.

  1. Hello, Morning Sickness

It’s the gift that keeps on giving… and makes you practice extra diligent dental care during pregnancy. Morning sickness can mean you’re brushing your teeth more than twice a day — after every instance even. Not only do you want to clean away the taste of morning sickness in your mouth but the stomach acid that also comes up can weaken your teeth. 

Always use a fluoride toothpaste and rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash. And if your usual minty fresh flavor makes you feel ill? Try brushing with a fruit-flavored toothpaste or rinsing with a kids’ mouthwash. 

  1. Oral Hygiene Affects Baby’s Health

Oral health and pregnancy isn’t only about your health, it’s about your baby’s health, too. You might be surprised to learn that poor dental care during pregnancy can lead to issues like premature birth and low birth weight. See, the bacteria in your mouth can get into your bloodstream and affect your baby. So every time you skip flossing or delay that dentist appointment, you’re taking a risk that’s not just about you anymore. 

  1. Mom’s Diet Matters

Giving in to those sugar cravings with sweets every time isn’t great for your teeth or your baby’s health. Instead, opt for teeth-healthy foods rich in vitamins A, C, and D, as well as calcium and protein. These nutrients help both the baby’s developing teeth and yours. Sugary snacks also turn into sticky plaque on your teeth, setting the stage for cavities if you don’t follow up with extra diligent at-home dental care during pregnancy. 

  1. Plan Ahead For A Healthy Smile

The American Pregnancy Association recommends planning visits to the dentist when pregnant for the second trimester and scheduling major dental work or cosmetic treatments for before you conceive if you can or wait until after giving birth. So what types of dental care treatment are okay during pregnancy? Non-invasive dentist treatments such as cleanings and scaling, root planing, even fillings are typically safe when pregnant — however, let your dentist know how far along you are so they can determine the safest and healthiest course of action. 

Of course, going to the dentist when pregnant can get a little uncomfortable, but you can be confident that your caring Naperville dentists will ensure your comfort, with breaks to sit up or change positions when you need.

Stay On Top of Your Dental Care During Pregnancy WIth Your Naperville, IL Dentists

From tackling hormone-induced gingivitis to preventative cleanings and checkups, including good dental care during pregnancy is beneficial for both you and your baby. Dr. Anthony LaVacca and the dental team at Naperville Dental Specialists are here with comprehensive dentistry that suits this unique time during pregnancy. 

Contact us for that cleaning, level up your at-home oral hygiene, and smile your way through pregnancy!

Affordable Dental Implants

4 Great Options for Affordable Dental Implants

By All-on-4 Dental Implants, Dental Implants

Dental implants are the gold standard for replacing missing teeth. Because the implants integrate with the jawbone, there’s no slipping and sliding like you get with dentures. Dental implants are also the only tooth replacement option that prevents bone loss and, in turn, facial collapse. Plus, with proper care, they can last a lifetime. 

So why doesn’t everyone just get dental implants? Well, some patients worry about how to afford dental implants because of a perception that the price is high. While, yes, dental implants cost more than removable dentures and bridgework, they last much longer and help maintain optimal oral health. For these reasons, they’re actually surprisingly cost-effective over time. 

While this is true for even conventional dental implants, at Naperville Dental Specialists, we offer options that help you enjoy the benefits of implants at a lower price point. In fact, here are four types of dental implants that won’t break the bank.

Snap-On Dentures: Budget-Friendly and Effective

Snap-on dentures are an economical alternative to traditional implants and a more comfortable, functional alternative to removable dentures. Our American board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca uses only two standard implants. Once the jawbone has sufficiently healed around the implants, the dentures are snapped into place. 

Because your snap-on dentures cost is per implant, it’s more affordable than the typical four to eight implants needed for implant overdentures. Treatment makes chewing, speaking and smiling feel more natural. Most importantly, this technique alleviates undue pressure on the gums and jawbone, mitigating the risk of jawbone shrinkage and facial collapse.

Mini Implants: Lower Cost and Quicker Recovery

Mini implants are another excellent solution. How much do mini dental implants cost? Thanks to their smaller diameter, they cost about half as much as standard dental implants. Dr. LaVacca places the mini implants into your jawbone. After a brief healing period, your dentures are permanently fastened to the implants. 

Though your dentures won’t feel quite as secure as they would with full-sized implants, it will be a substantial improvement compared to removable dentures. Additionally, mini implant surgery is simpler, resulting in a faster recovery. 

Implant Overdentures: Stability and Value

Implant overdentures, also called implant-supported dentures, offer a nice balance of stability and affordability. They’re more secure than mini implants and snap-on dentures, but not as expensive as replacing all of your missing teeth with dental implants, because, again, the cost is per implant. 

During dental implant surgery, Dr. LaVacca will place between two and eight implants with ball-shaped attachments into your jawbone. Depending on the situation, he may also use a retainer bar with the implants for better stability. 

Once your jawbone heals, he’ll secure custom, permanent dentures to the implants. Your dentures will stay in place and you’ll care for them like you would natural teeth. They won’t slide around, fall out or look unnatural. The implants will also help to preserve the integrity of your jawbone. 

All-On-4® Dental Implants: Robust and High-Quality

All-on-4 dental implants cost more than snap-on dentures or mini dental implants. Yet, the technique offers a comprehensive solution for patients with diminished jawbone density. In lieu of using bone grafts to regenerate lost bone and placing implants for an entire arch of missing teeth, the All-On-4 method involves inserting four strategically angled implants in the back of the jawbone where there is more density. 

This angular placement offers sturdy support for full dentures. Your new smile will look natural, feel great and provide outstanding function at a significantly lower price than bone grafting and individual implants for each missing tooth. 

How do I find affordable dentures near me?

Don’t just type “affordable dentures near me” into Google and choose the first option. For the best results, visit an American board-certified prosthodontist like Dr. Anthony LaVacca for any type of dental implant procedure. 

After dental school, prosthodontists complete three additional years of in-depth specialty training focused on diagnosing and treating deficient or missing teeth and orofacial structures. This means they have the experience and knowledge to safely and effectively restore smiles with a range of treatments, including all types of dental implants. 

If you’re in the Chicagoland area, schedule a consultation with Naperville implant dentist Dr. LaVacca. He’ll provide expert guidance on the best affordable dental implants for your unique smile.

My Teeth See Through

Why are My Teeth See Through?

By Bruxism

Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, “Why are my teeth see through?” You might be wondering if it’s something that just happens naturally as you get older or if it’s a sign of a dental problem. 

Our expert Naperville dentists have answers. In this post, we’ll be exploring the causes of see-through teeth, how the issue can be prevented and the ways Naperville Dental Specialists can restore your smile’s radiance. 

 Tooth Structure: The Basics

To understand the reason behind transparent teeth, let’s first cover the basics of tooth structure. Each tooth consists of multiple layers, including the protective outer layer called enamel. Enamel, which is made up of minerals, gives teeth their strength and glossy appearance. While enamel naturally has some translucency, it usually appears opaque due to the underlying layers of dentin and pulp.

What Causes Teeth to Look See Through?

Transparent teeth are caused by enamel erosion. You might notice you can see through the bottom of the teeth and along the outer edges. This is because the underlying layer of dentin doesn’t reach all of the way to the edges of the teeth, so these areas are composed solely of enamel. As the enamel thins, it becomes translucent. If enamel loss spreads to the rest of the tooth, those sections will look yellowish or grayish, because there is dentin underneath that is now exposed. 

So, what causes enamel erosion? Any of the following can contribute to enamel loss:

Acidic Foods and Drinks

Drinking a lot of acidic beverages, such as energy drinks, soda and coffee, and regularly eating acidic foods like citrus fruits and candy can wear down the enamel. The more frequently you have these types of foods and drinks, the more pronounced acid erosion will be. 

Soda and sports drinks are especially harmful. Most soft drinks and sports beverages are high in sugar and they contain enamel-dissolving acids. Unfortunately, according to research, diet sodas are nearly as erosive as their sugar-filled counterparts. 

Tooth Wear and Abrasion

Physical enamel erosion is another common culprit. Brushing the teeth with too much force or using a hard-bristle toothbrush or abrasive toothpaste will strip away the tooth’s surface. 

Teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism), using your teeth as tools and habits like biting your fingernails or chewing on ice can have the same effect. While at first you’ll be able to see through the bottom of the teeth, eventually, these weakened spots can chip and stain from the continued force. 

Medical Conditions

Conditions like heartburn and acid reflux and those that lead to frequent vomiting, such as bulimia and morning sickness, regularly expose the teeth to corrosive stomach acid. The enamel thins, causing transparency, as well as yellowing wherever dentin is exposed. Celiac disease may also result in see-through teeth because it can interfere with enamel formation while the teeth are developing. 

Enamel Hypoplasia

Enamel hypoplasia occurs when tooth development is interrupted and the enamel is very thin or, in some cases, non-existent. The condition can impact the primary teeth or permanent teeth. Because the teeth don’t have adequate enamel coverage, they’re vulnerable to erosion, transparency and decay. 

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, technically called xerostomia, can be caused by medications, medical conditions, dehydration and more. Saliva is crucial for neutralizing acids in the mouth, remineralizing the teeth, washing away food and plaque and limiting bacteria. If dry mouth is chronic and you’re consistently not producing enough saliva, enamel loss and tooth decay will occur. 

Diet High in Sugar and Starches

The bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars and starches, and when they do, they release acids. The acid byproduct forms plaque, which further eats away at tooth enamel. That’s why eating a diet high in sugar and simple starches increases your risk for transparent teeth. 

Genetic Factors

Some people inherit genes that predispose them to thinner enamel. This makes them much more susceptible to acid erosion and wear and tear. 

Preventing Translucent Teeth

Prevention is key when it comes to maintaining the opacity of your teeth. To keep enamel erosion at bay:

  • Practice proper oral hygiene – Use a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen enamel. Brush teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day. Floss once daily to remove food bits and acid-producing plaque from in between the teeth and under the gumline. 
  • Eat a healthy, well-rounded diet that’s low in sugar – Stick to as many whole and minimally processed foods as possible and enjoy sugar and simple carbohydrates in moderation. When you do have a treat, eat it one sitting, preferably with a larger meal. 
  • Snack less often – Frequent snacking or sipping prolongs your enamel’s exposure to the acid byproduct from oral bacteria.
  • Watch your acidic foods and drinks – Avoid sodas and sports drinks, or at least minimize your intake, and have things like fruit juice and coffee in moderation. After eating or drinking something acidic, wait about an hour before brushing your teeth. Brushing immediately after eating or drinking will damage enamel while it’s in a temporarily weakened state. 
  • Manage health conditions – If acid reflux, bulimia or another condition is causing enamel loss and tooth transparency, speak with your doctor. Getting the condition under control will go a long way in keeping your teeth strong. 

And just like after eating or drinking something acidic, avoid brushing your teeth for an hour after vomiting or suffering from a bout of reflux. While you’re waiting, you can rinse with a fluoride mouthwash or dissolve a tablespoon of baking soda in eight ounces of water and swish it around in your mouth. This will get rid of the bad taste and neutralize acidity. 

  • Quit harmful oral habits – Stopping harmful oral habits or getting treatment for bruxism will reduce tooth damage. 
  • Banish dry mouth – If a medication or medical concern is causing dry mouth, speak with your doctor about your options. Also be sure to stay hydrated and rinse your mouth with water after eating. Try chewing sugarless gum or sucking on a sugar-free lozenge after meals or whenever your mouth feels dry to promote the flow of saliva. 
  • Regular dental check-ups and cleanings – During routine dental exams and cleanings, we’re able to detect enamel erosion in its earliest stages. Remineralization treatments, like a professional fluoride treatment, and guidance on homecare, diet and oral habits can stop erosion from progressing. 

How to Fix See-Through Teeth

Home Remedies for Enamel Erosion

You can’t grow new enamel, however, you can strengthen your remaining enamel by focusing your efforts on remineralization. To promote remineralization, use fluoride toothpaste and eat a smile-friendly diet that includes foods rich in calcium and phosphorus. 

While some people claim there are natural solutions to combat tooth transparency, there isn’t scientific evidence to support them. That’s why it’s important to approach these remedies with caution and always get professional guidance. 

Dental Treatments for Transparent Teeth

The best way to fix see-through teeth is to visit your dentist. At Naperville Dental Specialists, we offer a range of cosmetic and restorative dentistry services to address enamel erosion and improve the appearance, strength and health of your smile. Two effective treatments include dental bonding and porcelain veneers.

  • Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is an affordable, non-invasive way to replace lost enamel. Your dentist applies a thin layer of tooth-colored composite resin to the areas of your tooth, or teeth, where enamel is thin. They then use a curing light to harden the resin before applying another layer. This process is repeated until the desired thickness is achieved.

When complete, the dentist shapes and polishes the composite resin so that it blends in seamlessly with your natural enamel. The material creates a strong bond with your tooth. While it can last for years, cosmetic dental bonding doesn’t last as long as a permanent restoration like porcelain veneers. 

  • Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are a long-lasting, highly effective way to transform your smile. Whether transparent teeth are your only concern or you have multiple cosmetic flaws you’d like to fix, veneers could be a great option. 

Your Naperville cosmetic dentist will take digital scans of your mouth and design custom veneers to create the ideal shape and color. Your veneers will be fabricated from natural-looking, durable porcelain. The wafer thin shells will then be bonded to your teeth, covering translucency, discoloration, chips and cracks, wear and even minor spacing or crowding

While the dentist does need to remove a small amount of enamel to fit the veneers, the procedure is painless and preserves much more of your natural tooth structure as compared to treatments like dental crowns. 

Restore Your Teeth With General and Cosmetic Dentistry in Naperville, IL

Now that you know enamel erosion is the reason why you can see through your teeth, are you ready to explore solutions? At Naperville Dental Specialists, our experienced dentists provide high-tech, personalized care to improve your oral health and confidence. They’ll determine the underlying cause of your enamel loss and create an individualized treatment plan to help you reclaim your smile. 

Schedule a visit today!

All-on-4 dental implants - Leading Naperville Prosthodontist

5 Summertime Scenarios Where You’ll be Thrilled You Chose All-on-4 Over Dentures

By All-on-4 Dental Implants

As summer approaches, it’s nice looking forward to vacations and meals al fresco with family and friends. But what if worrying about your teeth — specifically your dentures — has, in the past, put a damper on fully enjoying these warm-weather moments? Are you wondering about teeth replacement options that will give you more freedom?

If so, Naperville Dental Specialists and prosthodontist, Dr. Anthony LaVacca, want to introduce you to worry-free All-on-4® dental implants: a fixed replacement for missing teeth that perform just like real teeth. How can All-on-4 give you the summer freedom you’re looking for? Here, 5 summer scenarios where you’ll be glad for All-on-4 dental implants.

Advantage #1: Eat Your Favorite Summer Foods Without Worry

Corn on the cob. Steak off the grill. Veggies straight from the garden. If you’ve been wearing removable dentures, you’re likely familiar with concerns about your dentures staying put when eating your favorite summer foods. And although many denture-wearers use denture adhesive to help dentures stick, there’s often still a little hesitation.

On the other hand, All-on-4 dental implants let you eat the summer foods you love with peace of mind — they’re a fixed, permanent solution that doesn’t ever require adhesive to stay firmly in place. All-on-4 dental implants act like real teeth, securely embedded into your gums as if they were natural.

Advantage #2: No Denture Cleaning Supplies to Pack

For some, packing for a vacation can be stressful. You have to consider what to pack for the weather, for comfort… and for your health, or course. But with All-on-4 dental implants, one thing you don’t have to pack is denture cleaning supplies. Since you take care of your All-on-4 teeth just like you would natural teeth, all you have to pack is your usual oral care kit for brushing and flossing

Advantage #3: You Can’t Lose or Misplace All-on-4 Dental Implants

It’s definitely not ideal to lose any belongings — especially your teeth — when you’re far from home. Thankfully, All-on-4 dental implants are impossible to lose since they’re permanently affixed and act like real teeth. Now if only the same assurance could apply to hotel key cards, sunglasses, and your cell phone.

Advantage #4: No Adhesive To Apply Before Activities or Eating

Whether you’re at home or away this summer, the last thing you want is to worry about your dentures coming loose during your day. And while it’s true that denture adhesive can help dentures stay in place, your dentures can still come loose when eating hard, crunchy, or sticky foods. Or maybe when doing physical activities like swimming or snorkeling. 

In this respect, you’ll appreciate this difference between dental implants vs dentures: All-on-4 dental implants don’t need adhesive. 

Advantage #5: Picture Perfect Teeth for Confident Summer Photos

Once the leaves start to turn and the weather turns chilly, it’s nice to relive the bright, warm days of summer through the pictures you took. What can make you smile bigger and brighter in those photos? A full set of beautiful, natural looking teeth. All-on-4 treatment results in aesthetic teeth for a fully restored smile you can show off. 

However, if a full set of teeth isn’t what you need, we at Naperville Dental Specialists offer many types of dental implants and cosmetic dentistry options to help you achieve the picture perfect smile you’re after. At Naperville Dental Specialists, Dr. LaVacca is not only a leading expert in All-on-4 treatment but our team also provides exceptional results with veneers, bridges, and conventional dental implants, too.

How Much Do All-on-4 Dental Implants Cost?

Now that you know a few of the perks of All-on-4 dental implants, you might be asking, “How much do All-on-4 dental implants cost?” Simply put, everyone’s teeth are different so costs do vary. And keep in mind that one of the benefits of All-on-4 implants vs treatment like dentures is that they’re meant to last a lifetime. 

As your Naperville dentist, we’re transparent and up-front with your costs so you can plan accordingly from the get-go. We also offer flexible payment plans that break up the cost of All-on-4 into low monthly payments. Plus, we offer the VantageOne dental plan — a membership that saves you money on dental implant treatment as well as diagnostics, cleanings, and oral surgery to name a few. 

All-on-4 Treatment With a Chicagoland Leading Dental Specialist

Ready for functional, secure, and stunning teeth? With extensive training in this type of teeth replacement option, prosthodontist, Dr. LaVacca, is your go-to dental specialist in the Chicagoland-area for All-on-4. Schedule an initial free consultation to find out if All-on-4 dental implants from Naperville Dental Specialists is your ticket to summers free of worry over your teeth or dentures.

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