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Implant Dentistry


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?



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?

By Dental Implants No Comments

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.

Looking for alternatives to dentures including a snap on smile

By Dentures No Comments

I have 4 upper teeth and 3 bottom teeth left. I don’t want dentures. Everyone that I know who wears dentures hates them. Plus they look bad. The teeth look like white plastic and the gums look like dark plastic. It is interesting to me that as long as dentures have been around that they still look unsightly. I’ve been looking into alternatives to dentures that might look more natural. Can I get a snap on smile instead? I think it will look better than false teeth. – Ephraim

Ephraim – Dentures vary in quality. The prosthesis you have described are likely budget dentures. They are the least expensive and least natural-looking dentures available. But for people with a limited budget, this is an option that is better than having all of your teeth missing. It enables people to chew and to smile with more confidence than having no teeth at all.

Dentures vs. Snap-On Smile

There are several characteristics of a Snap-On Smile that make it an unsuitable alternative to dentures:

  • It is designed to snap over your natural teeth, and your teeth keep it in place. If all, or most, of your teeth are missing, the appliance will easily dislodge.
  • It is temporary. If you wear it daily, it will wear out very quickly and need to be replaced.
  • Without the support of your natural teeth beneath the Snap-On Smile, you will have difficulty chewing. And as we mentioned, it will be almost impossible to keep it in your mouth.

Cosmetic Dentures

You can get comfortable cosmetic dentures that are made of high-quality materials and look natural. A prosthodontist will provide you with customized dentures that fit well. They will look much better than a Snap-On Smile.

A prosthodontist has at least two years of post-dental school training in replacing and restoring teeth. You will be included in the process of designing dentures that like your natural smile. They will compliment your facial features and be an expression of your personality.

If it’s within your budget, you can consider securing your dentures with dental implants. The implants will prevent your dentures for from slipping. Implant overdentures may fit over the remaining natural teeth that you have left, if the teeth are healthy.

Request a consultation with a prosthodontist to learn about cosmetic dentures and your options for stabilizing them.

This post is sponsored by award-winning prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca of Naperville.

Do I really need All on 4 implants or can I get 3 instead?

By All-on-4 Dental Implants No Comments

I’ve lost all most of my teeth and the remaining ones are loose and need to be extracted. My dentist says that I have enough bone to do All-on-4 implants. It probably sounds bad, but I’m tired of dealing with teeth problems and am really looking forward to dentures. Anyway, I I am wondering if two or three dental implants will suffice. It seems like a great way to save money and there would be less to go wrong. Is this a viable solution?

Thanks, Ronny


Dear Ronny,

The All-on-4 process is well known because it has been heavily advertised. Some companies and practices may use the terms overdenture or implant-supported denture instead. There are versions that referred to as fixed or permanent because you cannot take them out. There are also removable or snap-on dentures, which you can take out as needed.

All-on-4 Implants Balance Your Prosthesis

Dentures with no additional support stay in place with suction or adhesives. While they are the traditional cost-effective replacement, may look natural, and work well, they don’t feel natural.  Some people struggle with movement in the appliance or keeping them in place. Imagine if you add a single dental implant to the appliance. You may be able to keep it in place better, but you won’t really improve the stability or balance.

If you add a second implant, the retention will improve, but again, there will still be a significant area without an implant, and stability will continue to be an issue. As you add additional anchors, the stability of the prosthesis will increase. You could theoretically function with a denture that’s only anchored in two or three places, but it won’t be as secure as a denture that is anchored in four or six places.

Dental Implants are Successful Up to 98% of the Time

Fewer implants don’t necessarily guarantee success. Generally, individual dental implants successfully integrate and remain healthy 98% of the time. But the largest determining factor of success is the dentist you choose.

Doctors who frequently place implants, such as oral surgeons, prosthodontists, periodontists, and a handful of general dentists with extra training, provide statistically better outcomes for their patients. In part, this is because they are more skilled, but another reason is that they look at each case and evaluate it individually. They know when a person isn’t a good candidate at all, as well as what options are going to provide the highest success rates. Find a doctor who routinely handles cases like yours to help you trust what he or she is recommending will provide the best outcome.

You might find a doctor who will only place two implants for you. That won’t necessarily reduce the risk though. It doesn’t hurt to ask a dentist you know and trust if two could work for you. Odds are, however, that he’ll walk you through the risks and challenges of doing so or he may insist on four or more if he doesn’t believe he can provide you with a successful outcome using fewer.


This blog is sponsored by Dr. Anthony LaVacca, a Naperville All on 4 implants provider. Dr. LaVacca is a board-certified prosthodontist with specialized training in replacing missing teeth.


Will I ever be able to get affordable dental implants?

By Affordable Implant Dentistry No Comments

I signed up for a discount dental plan in hopes of eventually getting affordable dental implants because most of my teeth are missing. On my first appointment I completed forms that I thought asked for more information than usual. I was told to wait a few minutes and really in less than 5 minutes the receptionist told me that I qualify for financing. Why were they trying to qualify me for financing before my teeth were even cleaned? After I got the x-ray and cleaning, the dentist came in. He didn’t look at my teeth at all. He told me that I needed several fillings and 4 crowns. Then they gave me this crazy cost of $4000 which I really though sounds excessive even though I don’t know how much crowns cost. I was really shocked and didn’t say much. When I was checking out, the receptionist was trying to schedule me for the fillings and crowns appointments but I told her I would have to call back to schedule. Of course I am not going back to the office at all. If I really need the dental work they say I do, it will be 3 or 4 years before I can even get affordable dental implants. Besides all that, I don’t have enough healthy teeth left to invest in them. I prefer overdentures. Today I got a call from them to schedule my appointment for the dental work. I haven’t been to a dentist in 3 years so I can believe that I might have cavities but is it normal for a dentist to tell you that you need all this work if he hasn’t even looked at your teeth? – Abrielle

Abrielle – Your dental appointment was unusual. In addition to your cleaning and x-rays, your teeth should be thoroughly examined by the dentist before treatment is recommended. The dentist should also be specific about what dental treatment is needed and why. High fees for treatment can make even the most affordable dental implants out of reach.

How You Can Get Affordable Dental Implants

  • You are wise not to return to the office. Consider contacting your dental insurance company to explain the situation and avoid any problems with coverage due to possible duplication of treatment.
  • Find a prosthodontist to examine your teeth and make any treatment recommendations. You may want to visit the office first or request a consultation with the dentist before you receive an exam.
  • Affordable dental implants can be made possible through financing or payment plants.

This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

My dental implant dentures make me look and feel old

By Dental Implants No Comments

I’ve had dental implants since 2004. The current dentures on them make me feel old. They look old, even though I’ve only had them for about 18 months. I am tired of explaining what I want to my dentist. I couldn’t believe it when he put his hand on mine and told me to remember how lucky I am because some people can’t afford to secure their dentures with dental implants so they have to go about life with loose dentures or no teeth at all. I am insulted. This is a dentist that I’ve seen since childhood. I think it’s time to move on. I know I’m fortunate, but I don’t have an endless supply of money to keep getting new dentures because he can’t make them look youthful. There has to be something better than dentures that age me by at least 10 years. What do you suggest? Am I going to need new dentures? Judith


Judith – It is not unusual to receive dentures for their dental implants that look like, as many people call them, “false teeth.” Your experience is unfortunate, but not unique.

Your dentist’s response likely means that he has done his best in providing you with dentures for your dental implants. But you have the option of finding a prosthodontist, who specializes in dental implants and cosmetic dentures.

How to Get High-Quality Dental Implants and Dentures

  • You can find a prosthodontist with the training and artistic talent to personalize your dentures and make them look like they belong to you—not to someone else. Nor will they look like a generic set of dentures.
  • He or she will listen to your like and dislikes and take into consideration your facial features so you’ll have cosmetic dentures that compliment your smile.
  • Unfortunately, unless your current dentist has the talent to produce lifelike dentures, you probably need new ones. A prosthodontist will let you know your options for dentures that you will love.

Schedule a Consultation

Dental implants can last a lifetime. You should have natural-looking dentures that fit well. It affects your quality of life. We suggest that you schedule two or three consultations with prosthodontists—preferably those who are board certified. It will increase the chances of getting a smile that you love.


This post is sponsored by American Board certified prosthodontist and award-winning Naperville implant dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.


magnetic dentures Naperville Dental Specialists

4 Things You Should Know About Magnetic Dentures

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4 Things You Should Know About Magnetic Dentures Before You Request Them

Opposites attract. That’s one reason why magnetic dentures work so well. But what should you know about them before you ask your dentist to secure your dentures with magnets?

1. Magnetic Dentures Are Implant Overdentures

Magnetic dentures are a type of implant overdentures. Dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone. An magnetic abutment, or connector, is placed on top of the implants. Often, a healing period of several months is allowed before your permanent dentures are placed. Magnets in the base of the denture lock into place on the abutment.

2. Advantages of Magnetic Dentures

  • Stable magnetic force – Strong magnetic forces guide the denture to the right position and keep it in place. Close contact between the denture base and implant abutments is not required for the dentures to lock into place.
  • Easy handling – They are easier to place and remove by patients with impaired motor skills.
  • Better oral hygiene – There are no holes or notches in the denture base, which decreases the chances of food and debris getting trapped around them.
  • Less impact – The magnetic force limits lateral movement of the denture. This relieves some of the pressure that a denture can put on your gums, bone ridge, and dental implants.

3. What Are They Made Of?

Although magnetic denture systems often have the magnet enclosed in a capsule, some systems contact a trace of nickel. Some magnets are enclosed in a stainless steel case or are coated with ceramic to limit nickel exposure and add resistance to abrasion and corrosion. Let your implant dentist or prosthodontist know if you have metal sensitivities or allergies. Some dentists use magnets made of the minerals samarium-cobalt or iron-neodynium-boron. If you have concerns about the types of metals used, ask your implant dentist about it.

4. Request a Consultation

Before you choose any method of stabilizing your dentures, request a consultation with a skilled prosthodontist. Prosthodontists are specialists who, after dental school, completed two years of specialized training in restoring and replacing missing teeth.

After an examination and 3-D imaging, the doctor can let you know the following:

  • If you have adequate jawbone density to support dental implants, or if bone grafting is needed
  • The minimum number of implants needed to support your denture
  • The best method for stabilizing your denture

Magnetic dentures might be right for your case, but don’t insist on this method unless you understand the pros and cons. A conscientious prosthodontist will let you know the results you can expect with various methods for securing your dentures.

We recommend that you schedule at least two consultations with different prosthodontists so you can compare the options, costs, and methods of achieving the results you want. Keep in mind that the lowest fees aren’t always the safest and healthiest option for your smile.

This blog is sponsored by Naperville award-winning prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

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    A denture tooth cracked on my affordable dental implants

    By Affordable Implant Dentistry No Comments

    I got affordable dental implants 8 months ago. They have been fine and I have had no problems whatsoever with them until now. The problem is actually with only one of the teeth. So I saw the dentist who did the arch of and she confirmed what I thought. There is a fracture in one of them and it’s making it feel like my bite is off. The dentist asked me how long I had the dental implants. I thought that was very strange because she was the one who did the dentures. Then after another 10 minutes of looking at all my teeth, she suggested that I replace the whole prosthesis “as a precaution.” I have never heard of this. Why would I replace perfectly good dentures that I’ve had no problem with, just in case something happens to them? Am I missing something? What was the purpose of getting affordable dental implants? Also she implied that I am somehow at fault so she is going to charge me for 75% of the cost of replacing the whole arch. – Traci

    Traci – No, you are not missing anything. The savings from your affordable dental implants would be consumed by replacing your dentures.

    We recommend that you get a second opinion. Have a second dentist—preferably a prosthodontist—examine the fractured tooth. It is possible to replace one or more teeth in a denture without replacing the entire prosthesis. Don’t mention anything to the second-opinion dentist about the recommendation you received from your dentist. If necessary, you can get a third opinion until you are comfortable with the diagnosis, recommended treatment for your affordable dental implants and dentures, and the explanation for both.

    This post is sponsored by Naperville prosthodontist and implant dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

    Will diabetes prevent me from getting All-on-4 dental implants?

    By All-on-4 Dental Implants No Comments

    I’d like to know if I’m really a candidate for All-on-4 dental implants because I have diabetes. To be honest, I previously did not take good care of myself. I was more than 200 pounds overweight and subsequently developed diabetes. When I was diagnosed, I ignored medical treatment and spiraled into depression. My self-care was terrible. In addition to diabetes, I developed a number of other conditions, including gum disease, which resulted in me losing many of my teeth. My major wake up call, however, did not happen until about five years ago when I had a heart attack at age 46. Since then, I have made some major changes to my health. I dropped 150 pounds, quit smoking, and am diligent about taking my diabetes meds. I’m still not great about exercise, but I do get out and walk a couple times a week and watch what I eat.

    The last time I went in to see my dentist, he proposed that I have All-on-4 dental implants done. I was incredibly excited that there was a simple and affordable way for me to get my smile back, and I really feel like I earned it. However, I’ve been looking online trying to find out what to expect and there’s a lot of conflicting information. It seems like, because of diabetes, I may be in a high-risk category for failure with All-on-4, and I am very hesitant about it if I’m going to pour time and money into it and may still not get good results. I mentioned it to my dentist and he said I didn’t need to worry, but I also felt like he was brushing me off. Is this something I can safely have done now or should I explore other options? Thank you, Pete H.


    A lot of research has been done around the longevity of dental implants and the types of risk factors that impact the success rates.

    All-on-4 Dental Implants for Diabetic Patients

    • Studies have shown that as much as 98-99% of people will have successful outcomes with dental implants when they’re in the hands of an experienced dentist.
    • There are certain risk factors that can reduce the odds of a successful outcome, which include uncontrolled diabetes and smoking.
    • Newer research suggests that even people with uncontrolled diabetes may have success with these kinds of treatments, but conservative dentists tend to err on the side of caution until there is more evidence.

    With all that said, all your hard work has essentially eliminated the major risk factors for you. That’s no easy feat, so congratulations on your efforts and amazing results. While no dentist can ever guarantee a 100% success rate, even in patients who have no risk factors at all, it sounds like you’re probably a great candidate. If you’re unsure, it’s worthwhile to get a second opinion or consult with an All-on-4 dentist, to discuss your concerns and verify you’re a candidate for the treatment before going forward.


    This blog is sponsored by Naperville all-on-4 dental implants provider Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

    Dental implants are darker after Zoom whitening

    By Dental Implants No Comments

    I’ve had dental implants for 3 years. In January, I got Zoom whitening. The dentist I’m seeing now isn’t the same dentist who did the implant crowns. Anyway, it took a total of 3 whitening sessions to get my teeth as white as I want them. After the first session, I was immediately worried that my own teeth were lighter than the implant crowns. The dentist told me that it takes time for the color to stabilize and I shouldn’t worry. 2 months later and the implant crowns are still noticeably darker. All 3 implants are on the top left of my mouth, immediately to the left of my center teeth. So I’m concerned about how this looks. My dentist has no explanation now. She just tells me that it’s not so noticeable. I have honest close friends who have told me that the color difference is noticeable. Am I stuck with this, or is there some way to darken my teeth or will I have to get new implant crowns? Kamila

    Kamila – Zoom whitening and the acceleration light provide quick penetration of bleaching gel into your teeth. This makes the whitening process faster than take-home whitening. Your super white teeth might darken a little with time, but that will take considerable time. Teeth bleaching gel lightens the natural pigmentation of your teeth. It is unlikely that your teeth will ever darken enough to match your dental implant crowns.

    Matching Dental Implant Crowns to Bleached Teeth

    Ideally, teeth whitening should be completed before you receive dental implants. Crowns are colorfast, so they cannot be darkened or lightened. Your dentist should have explained to you that your implant crowns wouldn’t match your teeth after Zoom whitening. Receiving whitening first ensures implant crowns are made to match your newly whitened natural teeth. Unfortunately, the solution for you is to get new crowns to match your natural teeth. An experienced prosthodontist can perfectly match the color so no one can distinguish your new crowns from your natural teeth.

    Before you choose a prosthodontist, check his or her website to learn more about the following:

    • Level of experience
    • Training
    • Credentials
    • Smile gallery before-and-after photos of actual patients at the practice

    Although replacing the implant crowns will cost you more money, you’ll have the satisfaction of a smile that you’re comfortable with and really love.

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

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