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Implant Dentistry

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

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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. 

 

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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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How to Treat and Prevent Swelling Around Dental Implants

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How should swelling around dental implants be effectively treated and prevented? Both you and your dentist have a role.

What your dentist will do

  • Examine the dental implant – Your dentist will check your implant for damage and position. Your jawbone can detach from a defective implant, and it is unlikely that it will reattach. The implant will need to be removed, the affected area will need to heal, and a new implant will be placed.
  • Identify the cause of infection – Swelling is a sign of infection. Your dentist will look for trapped debris between your gums and the implant because it can cause irritation and swelling. Other possible causes of swelling include periodontal (gum disease), certain medical conditions, and smoking.
  • Treat the swelling – The affected area will be cleaned and disinfected. Swelling is your body’s response to an infection in your oral tissue. Your dentist will determine if the infection should be treated with antibiotics.

What you can do for preventive care

Diagram of a dental implant, for information on magnetic dentures from Naperville prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

Dental implants fuse with the bone and crowns or dentures are placed on them

At-home care, nutrition, and lifestyle can affect the health of your implants and gum tissue. Practice good oral hygiene with the following steps:

  • Limit or avoid food that can lodge between your gums and the implant, including popcorn, chips, nuts, and shells. If you occasionally eat these foods, try to avoid chewing hear the implant.
  • Thoroughly floss around your dental implants. It will remove trapped food and bacteria-causing debris.
  • Avoid smoking because it irritates oral tissue and restricts blood flow.
  • Schedule regular dental cleanings and exams. Your hygienist and dentist can detect issues with your oral tissue and dental implants. Early detection can help you get the treatment you need and prevent issues that lead to swelling around your implants.

An infection can weaken your gums and bone and affect the support of your dental implants. If you have swelling around an implant, don’t delay scheduling an appointment for an exam.

This post is sponsored by award-winning Naperville implant dentist Dr. LaVacca.

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Do I Really Need a CT Scan for All-on-4 implants?

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I’ve been thinking about getting All on 4 implants. My dentist says it looks like I’m a candidate, but there’s a lengthy planning process which requires a CT scan. I’ve already had dozens of x-rays at this point and I know they have already seen everything they need to. I’m worried about the excess radiation. I’m also worried about the cost. Is the CT scan really necessary or is it an add on to increase my costs? Thanks – Tony
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My husband put his dentures on the dinner table

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My husband must be having some serious issues with his dentures. He doesn’t seem bothered by it, but neither will he wear them. He got a new set in March and that was an ordeal by itself. Since then the dentures have been nothing but trouble. 2 nights ago, we were invited out to dinner with close friends. I begged Don to wear his dentures and he reluctantly agreed. I don’t know why he puts up such a big fuss because he looks so handsome with them. We started the meal and everything was fine, but no more than five minutes into eating, he pulled them out and put them on the table. Our friends were polite and didn’t say anything, but their eyes showed that they were uncomfortable. Don left the dentures on the table during the entire dinner. I talked to him about it on our way home, and he insisted that although I think the dentures look great, they don’t feel great. I don’t think he has worn them enough to know how they feel. How can I get my husband to wear his dentures? Thanks, Anya

 

Dear Anya,

It can be difficult for people to adjust to the change, and wearing dentures can be a difficult transition. There are several issues people might experience with dentures.

Some Causes of Discomfort with Dentures

Too Tight/High Spots: Sometimes a new prosthesis can be too tight in certain areas or have high spots that cause pressure and make them uncomfortable to wear. The dental office should have run tests to see how the dentures fit and felt and made adjustments accordingly. If your husband prefers not to complain, he may not have mentioned these spots to the office, but they could be causing serious discomfort. If so, your best bet is to get him back to the office so they can adjust it.

Too Loose: When teeth are extracted, the jawbone in those areas begins to shrink, which can make a prosthesis feel too big. In the early stages of healing, there’s also some swelling. As swelling subsides, a prosthesis might not fit correctly. Dentists can make adjustments and reline the prosthesis for a better fit.

Movement/Sore Spots/Poor Fit: Poor fit or movement can and should be adjusted. If these issues aren’t addressed, they can cause serious pain and even injury.

Excess Saliva: When there is a foreign object in your mouth, it stimulates saliva. People new to wearing an oral prosthesis often complain about excess saliva, but as they wear it more, saliva production reduces. The key is to regularly the oral appliance.

Difficulty Speaking: It takes time to get used to talking while wearing dentures. If your husband has difficulty speaking with dentures, it can help to wear them at home and practice speaking with them.

Pushing Out/Falling Out: Some people are inclined to push their dentures out with their tongue. Others experience difficulty with suction for the upper denture. If the prosthesis is otherwise comfortable, using adhesive will be helpful. There are many different styles and brands of adhesive, so it’s a good idea for your husband to try a few until he finds one he prefers.

Any of these factors, and more, could be contributing to your husband’s discomfort. It may be better to discuss the issue with him and let him know you’re concerned. A visit or two to the dentist for adjustments should be able resolve the issue. If he continues to have discomfort, consider seeing a prosthodontist, a dentist who specializes in replacing missing teeth. Prosthodontists can help with more complicated issues and will be able to determine if your husband is a candidate an implant-supported denture, which helps dentures fit and feel better.

 

This blog is sponsored by Naperville denture specialist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

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How Can I Be Sure Dental Implants are Safe? – Mansueto Scandal

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I’ve been following a story in the news and am worried about the safety of some dental implants. The story involves a dentist from San Diego who just got four years in jail for doing the work incorrectly and injuring a woman. It seems like every time I watch the news, there’s new information to be worried about. I don’t know if I will go forward with treatment, but I have to wonder, how is it possible for an average person to know that their dental implants will be safe?

-Joseph

 

Dear Joseph,

It sounds like you’re referencing the Robert Mansueto case. Indeed, this is a heartbreaking case. While a victim of a crime suffers, there were some major red flags that should have been observed.

  • The first red flag here is that the “dentist” in question was meeting patients at his house. That’s certainly not a sign of professionalism. Patients should meet their dentist at the office—not at his or her home.
  • The biggest red flag, however, was that the “dentist” convinced people to leave the country with him. Mansueto drove at least one woman across the border into Tijuana to perform the surgery. Every reputable dental agency in the United States cautions against leaving the country. There is never a good reason for doing so, and it’s unthinkable that any professional would consider incorporating this into the patient’s treatment plan.

How to Stay Safe with Dental Implants

  • Check Credentials. The man involved in this story was not a licensed dentist. Although he was formerly a dentist, he lost his license a decade ago. There’s actually a great online tool to check licensure, and it even notes if the professional has been disciplined. Many states also have their own lists.
  • Choose a Specialist: Although many dentists are legally able to provide patients with dental implants, a prosthodontist has extensive training and generally has more experience than others. This has a significant impact on the overall success of the procedure.
  • See Examples: Find out if the dentist has a smile gallery or other ways to view examples of his work. Don’t accept stock photos that are routinely used for educational purposes. You need to be able to see what the dentist has actually accomplished.
  • Watch for Red Flags: You shouldn’t meet anyone claiming to be a doctor or dentist at his home. You should only get treatment in a dental office. Ideally, with a procedure as sensitive as dental implants, you’ll want a local dentist whom you can visit with ease in case complications arise.

 

This blog is sponsored by Naperville dental implants provider Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

Is it too late for dental implants to help my sagging face?

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I’m wondering if it’s too late for dental implants to help my facial sagging. I’ve had dentures since I was 49 years old and I just turned 61 last week. The bags on my face from dentures are finally catching up with me. Other than cosmetic surgery, what are some ways that people with dentures can at least soften their wrinkles? Is it too late for dental implants?

Madge – After years of wearing dentures, facial sagging results from jawbone shrinkage. When all of your teeth are missing, the bone that once supported the teeth is resorbed and used elsewhere in the body. The jawbone is no longer available to support facial muscles, so sagging and shrinking result. Although cosmetic surgery may tighten facial tissue, jawbone shrinkage can continue and additional wrinkles or sagging can occur. Dental implants can help.

How Dental Implants Can Help with Facial Sagging

Bone grafting – If you don’t have enough jawbone density to support your facial muscles, you probably lack the density to support dental implants. But it’s not too late for dental implants. The good news is that jawbone can be built up through bone grafting. After the grafts heal, dental implants can be placed, and jawbone shrinkage can be prevented or interrupted.

Support for your dentures and facial muscles – Your dentures will be attached to the dental implants. Your facial muscles will have support, and the process will rejuvenate your face and help you look longer.

Healthier than cosmetic surgery – Dental implants stimulate jawbone growth. Cosmetic surgery doesn’t. When all of your teeth are missing, dental implants and bone grafting support your oral health, while cosmetic surgery only lifts your facial muscles and improves your facial appearance. Without dental implants, your bone will continue to shrink, and additional cosmetic treatment might be needed in the future.

Before you receive any treatment, diagnostic studies are needed to determine how much jawbone shrinkage has occurred and the best way to address it. The process will take several months, but you’ll have better oral health, and it will enhance your facial appearance.

This post is sponsored by board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.