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Implant Dentistry

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Can Dental Implants Improve Your Health?

By Blog, Implant Dentistry No Comments

Dental implants can not only improve the appearance of your smile but also your quality of life and your health. Dental implants are a long-lasting, stable, strong alternative to dentures or dental bridges for replacing one or more missing teeth. Our Naperville dental implants patients can attest to the life-changing benefits of the treatment. While we’ve talked before about the cosmetic perks, today we’re discussing the ways dental implants can improve your oral and overall health. 

What Happens if You Don’t Replace Missing Teeth?

When you lose a tooth, the teeth surrounding the empty space have a tendency to shift and fill in the gap. This will leave you with crooked teeth and spacing, which doesn’t just impact the appearance of your smile but also makes teeth harder to keep clean and can result in uneven wear of the teeth. It can also weaken the surrounding teeth and cause further tooth loss. You may experience difficulty with chewing and speaking clearly when a tooth or teeth are missing as well.

Another consequence of a missing tooth is bone resorption. If the tooth isn’t replaced, there is nothing stimulating the bone and gum tissue where it once was. This causes the jawbone and gum tissue to deteriorate, leaving you with a sunken face that looks older than it really is, as well as discomfort.

How Do Dental Implants Work?

Dental implants, both titanium and zirconia, are surgically placed in your jawbone. They fuse with the bone and act as the tooth’s root. Once your bone heals following dental implants surgery, a permanent, lifelike replacement tooth, called a crown, is attached to the implant. Your new tooth functions and looks just like your natural tooth. We can replace just one or even all of your teeth with dental implants.

What are the Health Benefits of Dental Implants?

Many of our Naperville dental implants patients seek us out because they’re worried about the appearance of their smile. The cosmetic benefits of dental implants are not something to overlook. Replacing missing teeth with a titanium dental implant or zirconia dental implant will truly revitalize your smile and make you look healthier and more youthful. This leads to a huge increase in self-esteem and self-confidence that will have a positive effect on all areas of your life. Yet, as we mentioned, there are also important oral health and overall health benefits of dental implants, including:

  • Allowing You To Chew Properly – With missing teeth or dentures, you may find yourself skipping certain foods because you have a reduced ability to chew. Fresh, crunchy vegetables, nuts and seeds are among the healthy foods you may forgo. Since dental implants fuse with your bone, they act like natural teeth and you can chew with confidence. This means you can eat a more varied diet, which can improve your health. 
  • Preventing Jawbone Shrinkage – Dental implants stimulate your jawbone just like your natural teeth do. This is a huge benefit of dental implants vs. bridges or dentures. While dentures and bridges are useful for replacing missing teeth and restoring the appearance of your smile, you’ll still experience bone resorption and deterioration. This causes a shrunken, shriveled appearance to your face and can cause pain and discomfort. Dental implants keep your jaw healthy and strong and this is essential to your oral health.
  • Avoiding Malocclusion – Malocclusions, or issues with the positioning or alignment of the teeth and jaw, can occur when missing teeth aren’t replaced. When you lose a tooth, the teeth around the gap tend to shift in an attempt to fill in the space. Because teeth are harder to clean when they’re crooked, you have an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Additionally, when teeth aren’t in their correct places, they’re susceptible to excessive wear of the enamel.
  • Boosting the Health of Gums When You Choose Zirconia Dental Implants – The two main types of dental implant materials are titanium and zirconia. When comparing zirconia dental implants vs. titanium implants a great perk of zirconia implants, sometimes called holistic dental implants or ceramic dental implants, is the fact that zirconia resists plaque. This helps prevent gum disease. Your gum tissue is a barrier that wards off inflammation. Gum disease introduces bacteria into the bloodstream and this bacteria result in inflammation. This is likely why gum disease is tied to a number of health problems including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and, in women, premature birth. Therefore, keeping your gums healthy isn’t just good for your oral health but it also benefits your overall health.

If you’re ready to improve your health and smile with either titanium or zirconia dental implants, schedule a complimentary consultation with our Naperville prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca. He has the experience and knowledge to help you decide on the best type of dental implant procedure for your smile and needs. Book your visit online or by giving us a call at (630) 848-2010 today!

 

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. 

 

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

By Blog, Dental Bridge, Dental Implant Bridge No Comments

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?

By Dental Implants, Blog No Comments

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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swelling around dental implant

How to Treat and Prevent Swelling Around Dental Implants

By Dental Implants No Comments

How to Treat and Prevent Swelling Around Dental Implants?

As a leading provider of dental implants in Naperville, IL, we know getting an implant is an investment in your oral health and smile. That’s why it’s alarming if you notice swelling. Is it a normal part of the healing process? Is it one of the signs of dental implant failure? 

Our American board-certified prosthodontist, Dr. Anthony LaVacca, has extensive specialty training in placing and maintaining dental implants. We’re tapping into his knowledge to discuss how swelling around dental implants should be treated, as well as how it can be prevented. 

Is Swelling After Dental Implant Surgery Normal?

Yes, post-operative swelling is normal. You may experience it in your gums, around your mouth and even the side of your face. How long does swelling last after dental implant surgery? For most patients, swelling reaches its peak about two to three days after surgery and then subsides. 

Swelling is one of the ways your body responds to an injury, and dental implant surgery is a controlled type of trauma. The severity of the inflammation will depend on the extent of your procedure (i.e., how many implants you received, whether you needed bone grafting, etc.) and your individual biology. Keeping your head elevated, taking anti-inflammatory medication and avoiding strenuous activity will minimize swelling. 

Can Swelling be a Sign of a Dental Implant Infection?

While post-operative swelling is normal, once the initial inflammation goes down, it should not increase again. If it does, you may have a dental implant infection. An untreated infection is one of the main causes of dental implant failure

The most common type of infection is a form of gum disease called peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is an infection in the gum tissue and connective tissue around a dental implant that leads to the progressive loss of bone. It can be caused by poor oral hygiene, periodontitis, smoking, certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, bruxism or even an allergic reaction to the implant itself. 

Infections after dental implants can also occur if the dental implants don’t fit correctly or improper technique was used to place them. In these cases, patients may have swelling and irritation in the tissue around the implant and persistent infection. 

In addition to swelling, other signs of dental implant infection include:

  • Loose implant
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Red, puffy gums
  • Pus around the dental implant
  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing around the implant
  • Pain in the area
  • Visible threads on the implant
  • Difficulty and discomfort when chewing
  • Fever

What Will My Dentist Do for Dental Implant Swelling?

If you have swelling around your dental implant and suspect you have an infection, your first step is to call your implant dentist. An infection can weaken your gums and bone and affect the support of your dental implants, so don’t delay scheduling an appointment for an exam. The sooner the issue is evaluated, the more likely it is that an infected implant can be saved. Even if the implant does need to be replaced, treatment will preserve the health of your jawbone and gums in order to support a new implant in the future. 

At your appointment, your dentist will:

  • Examine the dental implant – Your implant will be checked 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. As we said, other possible causes of swelling include chronic periodontitis, poor oral hygiene, certain medical conditions and smoking.
  • Treat the swelling – When it comes to how to treat dental implant infection, most dentists begin by cleaning and disinfecting the affected area. Depending on the severity of the infection, your dentist may also prescribe a special mouth rinse or antibiotics. If the infection is in its early stages and you haven’t experienced significant bone loss, no further treatment could be needed. However, in some instances, the implant will need to be removed so the infection can heal. A new implant can then be placed at a later date. 

What Can You Do to Prevent Dental Implant Infection?

Dental implants are safe and have a very high success rate. However, as with any procedure, the outcome isn’t 100% predictable. When best practices for implant placement are not followed, dental implant failure can occur. In fact, we’ve had patients come to us who have undergone the procedure at other offices only to experience implant failure due to improper placement technique. 

That’s why it’s important to choose an experienced, American board-certified prosthodontist like Dr. LaVacca for your dental implant surgery. As specialists, prosthodontists have the expertise and training to minimize risk. At our practice, we also offer zirconia dental implants. These ceramic implants resist plaque better than titanium implants, encourage faster healing, and are metal-free and hypoallergenic, making you less likely to develop an infection like peri-implantitis. 

Yet, even with metal-free implants and the most skilled implant dentist, if you don’t follow the doctor’s instructions and take care of your dental implant, swelling, infection and, ultimately, implant failure can still happen. 

When patients visit us for dental implants in Naperville, IL, we recommend they take the following steps to keep their implants healthy and ensure they’re able to enjoy their new smile:

  • 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 near the implant.
  • Thoroughly floss around your dental implants at least once daily. It will remove trapped food, bacteria and plaque.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each session. Be sure to thoroughly clean the area around your dental implant and prosthetic tooth. 
  • Avoid smoking because it irritates oral tissue and restricts blood flow.
  • Schedule regular dental cleanings and exams. Your hygienist and dentist can detect problems with your oral tissue and dental implants. Early detection can help you get the treatment you need and prevent the issues that lead to swelling around your implants.

Schedule a Visit at the Go-To Practice for Naperville, IL Dental Implants

Whether you’re experiencing dental implant problems or you’re interested in learning more about your teeth replacement options, schedule a visit with our award-winning Naperville implant dentist Dr. LaVacca. At Naperville Dental Specialists, our team of general dentists, cosmetic dentists and specialists take a high-tech approach to provide patients with safe, efficient care and stunning results! 

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

By All-on-4 Dental Implants No Comments

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

By Dentures No Comments

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

By Dental Implants No Comments

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.

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