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Dental Bridge: Pros and Cons

Dental Bridge and Prosthodontic EquipmentWhen you are missing one or more teeth, a dental bridge is a tried-and-true method for not only restoring the missing teeth but also keeping remaining teeth in place, distributing forces in your bite and regaining — and maintaining — the ability to speak and chew properly.

That being said, there are benefits and risks associated with getting a dental bridge.

Here’s a closer look.

The positives:

  • Not everyone can undergo surgery – Whether it’s due to medical concerns, bone levels in the jaw or another reason, not every patient is a candidate for dental implants. In these situations, a dental bridge is a viable alternative.
  • Bridges are considered pleasing in appearance – In fact, before dental implants surged in use and popularity, dental bridges used to be the gold standard for replacing missing teeth.
  • Dental bridges are nonremovable.

The negatives:

  • Existing teeth are impacted – In order to place a dental bridge, the surrounding natural teeth to which the bridge is affixed must be filed down.
  • Higher risk for decay and gum disease – Because an artificial crown is literally attached to the natural teeth, you’re not going to be able to get between the margins of the teeth to clean them.

Dental bridges take less time to replace, and their initial cost is less than with other options such as dental implants, but many factors go into deciding whether a dental bridge is the best option for you.

At DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake, our prosthodontist Dr. Khal Ajlouni, as well as our entire team, understands well that decisions like these can make a significant impact on your wellbeing, comfort and confidence. We look forward to visiting with you soon to work toward making your smile as healthy and strong as possible. Contact us by calling 817-251-9333 or connect with us on Facebook.

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Sleep apnea treatment: Maintaining your oral appliance

Illustration showing areas impacted by sleep apnea treatmentSleep apnea is a big deal. The more people begin to understand the impact of this chronic sleep disorder, the more they seek solutions for the condition. In cases of obstructive sleep apnea, patients are often pleasantly surprised to learn of a simple form of sleep apnea treatment: a custom-fitted oral appliance.

Oral appliances — similar in appearance to a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer — work by gently holding the jaw forward, which keeps the airway open during sleep when soft tissues could otherwise relax and block the airway.

The benefits of an oral appliance compared with a CPAP machine or even surgery are numerous and include:

  • comfort;
  • quiet;
  • portability; and
  • convenience.

Oral appliances must be maintained, however, to ensure their effectiveness with sleep apnea treatment. This includes not only cleaning your appliance but coming in for follow-up appointments (at least once every year). During this appointment, the dentists and team members at DaVinci in Southlake will assess whether the appliance needs to be adjusted.

Maintaining an oral appliance to treat sleep apnea is pretty simple; it just requires a bit of initiative on the part of the patient. At DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake, we’ll go over the details of what to expect and what to do to ensure you get the maximum benefit from your night’s rest. Have questions? Feel free to contact us at 817-251-9333.

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Why are TMJ problems more common in women?

TMJ pain treatment in SouthlakeMore than 10 million Americans experience TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and muscle disorders, according to the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research. While the institute recognizes that these issues seem to affect more women than men, it doesn’t offer exact numbers. By some estimates, like those offered by dental insurance carriers, women are twice as likely as men to be affected by TMJ. So what accounts for that vast difference? Is it simply that women are more likely to seek care for TMJ symptoms, or are other factors at work?

One of the prime reasons that women — particularly those of childbearing age — may experience TMJ disorders is hormones. Dental research has pointed to a link between estrogen and pain in the jaw joints. This can take on increased relevance for women taking oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy.

While not as well researched, some commonly held beliefs about females’ susceptibility to TMJ problems include vitamin deficiencies due to menstrual cycles as well as differences in joint structure.

Arthritis, a misaligned bite and trauma or dislocation can lead to TMJ problems in males and females.

Whatever the cause, TMJ disorders can range from mildly aggravating to severely debilitating. Patients may not just experience jaw pain, clicking and popping when eating or talking, but headaches and neck pain can also be commonplace. If you experience any such symptoms, talk with the DaVinci Dentistry team. Getting to the root of TMJ pain can be a time-consuming process, involving taking an intensive health history and having willingness to try multiple solutions. We’ll do whatever we can to try to find the solution that works for you. Set up an appointment online or call 817-251-9333.

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Supporting Dentures with Dental Implants

Dental implant-supported dentures

For patients who do not have any teeth in the lower jaw, the growing use of dental implant-supported dentures may provide you with the lasting solution that you’ve been seeking. While you can have dental implants placed in the upper jaw to anchor dentures, it’s not as common, as dentures that cover the palate add enhanced stability. But, opting for dental implants even in this location makes open palate dentures a reality.

Choosing dental implants to anchor dentures provides patients several benefits, including:

  • increased stability and reduced tendency for dentures to slide out of place;
  • renewed confidence; and
  • ease of chewing.

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of implant-supported dentures is the fact that dental implants help increase bone levels in the jaw, allowing you to retain your face shape. This is a common concern among patients who wear dentures, as appearance can be affected when bone resorbs and shrinks away.

At DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake, prosthodontist Dr. Khal is a specialist in replacing missing teeth and can talk to you about whether dental implants may be a good fit for you. For starters, we’ll have to assess whether current bone levels in your jaw would support implants. Be prepared to complete a full medical and dental history, exam, X-rays, impressions and in some cases, CT scans. We can talk to you about each step in the process, and give you a realistic timeline for completion. Contact us today to get started: 817-251-9333.

 

 

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Why some dental implants fail

Illustration: Human teeth and dental implant. Dental implants have become one of the most successful and predictable surgeries within dentistry today. They’ve become the go-to method for tooth loss, because unlike dentures and bridges, which address the cosmetic concerns associated with missing teeth, dental implants help restore appearance and also help to maintain bone levels in the jaw. This helps ensure chewing function, facial shape and overall oral health are also maintained.

Despite these benefits, even when diagnosis, treatment planning and implant placement are on par, and when the patient maintains follow-up appointments and oral hygiene, a dental implant can, in rare instances, fail.

Here is a look at some reasons why:

  • Periodontitis – When a patient develops this condition, the tissue around the teeth becomes inflamed, causing gums to shrink and teeth to loosen. For patients with implants, this can contribute to peri-implantitis, which leads to inflammation in the soft tissues surrounding the implant, as well as bone loss.
  • Issues with adjacent natural teeth – If a tooth near the implant site is infected, the infection can travel to the dental implant. If caught early, tooth and implant loss and expensive regenerative repairs might be avoided.
  • Smoking – While dental implant failure rates are still quite low, even among smokers, (approximately 6 percent), those who smoke are twice as likely to experience implant failure than those who do not.

The good news is, that while dental implants have the potential to fail, it does not happen often. Current implant success rates are approximately 98 percent. At DaVinci Dentistry, if you’re considering your options to replace a missing tooth or multiple teeth, we’ll discuss the pros and cons and potential concerns unique to your case. We are located in Southlake, TX, and serve patients throughout much of Tarrant County. You can get your questions answered by requesting an appointment online or by calling 817-251-9333.

 

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Family dentistry focus: Hidden sources of sugar and what this means for your teeth

Family dentistry focus: A photo of sugar cubes and a spoonWhen you’re looking out for your family and their dentistry needs, one easy way to help ensure their oral health is top notch is by limiting sugar intake. Sure, tasty treats such as candy, cookies and ice cream come to mind immediately. But some other cavity-causing culprits may be hidden within more foods than you think.

For instance, did you know that pasta sauces can be laden with sugar? It doesn’t matter whether you’re indulging in the alfredo or marinara varieties, even though they’re not sweet, they’re high in sugar, with up to 12 grams of sugar per a half-cup serving.

Other foods high in hidden sugars may include:

  • salad dressing;
  • cereal and oatmeal;
  • granola bars;
  • tea;
  • sports drinks;
  • packaged and dried fruit; and
  • yogurt.

A good rule of thumb: When available, check the label. The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons of sugar a day for women, with no more than nine teaspoons of sugar per day for men.

Why sugar is bad for teeth

Sugar in and of itself isn’t bad for teeth. It’s certain harmful bacteria present in your mouth that feed on sugar that do the damage. When bacteria eat the sugar you ingest, acid is created, which erodes at enamel. With time, a hole, or cavity, forms in the tooth.

A family dentistry practice that can help

At DaVinci Dentistry, not only do we have answers to seemingly simple questions such as unexpected sources of sugar, but we can explain to you why these concerns matter to your dental health. We’re here to provide family dentistry to you and your loved ones, but we also offer dental implant and cosmetic dentistry options when your dental health needs become complex. Contact us to schedule your appointment and become a part of the DaVinci Dentistry family! Serving patients in Southlake, Keller, Grapevine, Colleyville, North Richland Hills and the HEB corridor.

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Full-mouth reconstruction/prosthodontics: Not an overnight process

Full mouth restoration/prosthodontics in Southlake, TexasFull-mouth reconstruction/prosthodontics can literally be an exercise in patience on behalf of the patient.

Because every tooth in the mouth is involved, it can be time-consuming. This process, which addresses and corrects poorly aligned jaws and worn, missing, broken, or crooked teeth through several restorative and cosmetic dentistry procedures, can easily take 12 months or more, depending on what treatment is required.

Role of Prosthodontics Training in Full-Mouth Restoration

Because intensive planning is needed to blend prosthetic and cosmetic dentistry, having a prosthodontist coordinate your care will help ensure your full mouth reconstruction — also called full-mouth restoration and full-mouth rehabilitation — goes as smoothly as possible, and that you are met with little to no surprises. A prosthodontist is uniquely qualified to coordinate such cases, with three additional years of training in the reconstruction and replacement of teeth. This allows them to approach your full-mouth reconstruction with the final product in mind: the look and feel of your smile.

In some cases, other dental specialists may be brought in, as the following are just a few of the treatments utilized in full-mouth reconstruction:

  • gum tissue contouring;
  • placement of crowns, bridges and veneers;
  • dental implant placement;
  • jaw surgery;
  • bone or soft tissue grafting;
  • orthodontics; and
  • more.

Dr. Khal at DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake is a prosthodontist, and Dr. Raed is highly skilled in cosmetic dentistry. Together the two, both professors at Texas A&M Baylor College of Dentistry, will work together to deliver you a new smile that not only rejuvenates your appearance but is healthier in terms of function and movement. We can answer your questions and provide you with a detailed treatment plan so you know exactly what to expect. Start the process by contacting us at 817-251-9333.

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5 Ways Sleep Apnea Treatment Can Change Your Life

Group of people standing and jumping at sunset demonstrating the positive effects of sleep apnea treatmentJust as it’s quite common that those with sleep apnea don’t know they have it, it’s also just as likely to not understand all the ways it’s impacting your life. That is, until you seek sleep apnea treatment for this condition, in which the muscles in your throat relax during sleep, with the tongue often falling black and blocking the airway. The result: waking hundreds of times in the night, even if for only split seconds at a time, imperceptible to the sleeper.

One method of treatment is an oral appliance that helps prop the mouth open during sleep, preventing this phenomenon.

Benefits of Sleep Apnea Treatment

With adequate sleep comes a whole host of benefits including:

  • Improved concentration and alertness
  • Change in mood
  • Lower medical bills (sleep apnea can lead to more health problems – think stroke, heart disease, diabetes – which means more doctor visits and with it, health care costs)
  • Reduced snoring (good for everyone involved, including your bedmate)
  • Increased safety for you and those around you (people with obstructive sleep apnea are 10 times more likely to have a car accident)

Best of all, treatment for sleep apnea with an oral appliance is becoming increasingly more common. Since as dentists we are experts where the mouth is concerned, we can customize your appliance to your specific bite and teeth. With training in dental sleep medicine, we can talk to you about your symptoms, and coordinate a sleep test to work toward a diagnosis and solution. Contact us at 817-251-9333. DaVinci Dentistry is in Southlake and here to serve patients in the entire area, including Keller, Grapevine, Colleyville, Trophy Club, North Richland Hills, and the HEB Corridor.

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How to Care for your Dental Bridge

An illustration of a dental bridge A dental bridge can be a welcome change for many patients who have had to live with the effects of a missing tooth. We have had many patients come through the doors of our Southlake dental practice tell us firsthand: “It’s difficult to speak.” “It’s hard to eat.” “Just biting down is a challenge.”

In these scenarios, a dental bridge can help patients regain not just a missing tooth, but proper bite alignment and face shape. It operates much like its name. It connects adjoining natural teeth with a false tooth. This is done by placing dental crowns on the teeth on either side of the empty space, effectively making them anchors, or abutments, for the false tooth.

When you opt for a dental bridge you are literally investing in the health of your mouth and smile, and as such, you’ll want to do whatever you can to maintain it for as long as possible. A good rule of thumb when caring for your dental bridge is simply to care for it as you would your permanent teeth.

In addition to proper brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, you’ll still want to floss between the anchor teeth and false tooth, and an antiseptic mouthwash can help prevent decay. In some cases, patients find proxy brushes preferable to flossing for cleaning out debris from around the bridge. Following good oral hygiene practices also serves to help maintain your dental bridge by keeping surrounding teeth strong and healthy. After all, they serve as its firm foundation.

At DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake, whether we are preparing your dental bridge, placing your dental implant or even giving you a single dental crown, we’ll provide you with guidance every step of the way. Coming to see us for your regular check-up helps us catch potential problems early, in order to keep you on the right track. Contact us at 817-251-9333.

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Effects of sleep apnea: How much sleep do you need each night?

 

For anyone who has ever suffered from sleep apnea, insomnia or other disruptions in sleep, the adage that we all “need a good night’s rest” is probably one you understand well. Even so, the amount of time recommended to devote to sleeping each day, per the National Sleep Foundation, may surprise you.

Recommended hours of sleep per night

Here’s a closer look:

  • Newborn (0-3 months) – 14 to 17 hours
  • Infant (4-11 months) – 12 to 15 hours
  • Toddler (1-2 years) – 11 to 14 hours
  • Preschool (3-5 years) – 10 to 13 hours
  • School age (6-13 years) – 9 to 11 hours
  • Teenager (14-17 years) – 8 to 10 hours
  • Young adult (18-25 years) – 7 to 9 hours
  • Adult (26-64 years) – 7 to 9 hours
  • Older adult (65+ years) – 7 to 8 hours

When sleep apnea is to blame

Three sheep jumping over the fence. Count them to sleep.Even if you allot enough time for sleep, conditions like obstructive sleep apnea — when the muscles in your throat relax and the tongue falls back and blocks the airway as you sleep — could be robbing you of the rest your body needs, as well as vital oxygen for all of your organs, including your heart and brain. Unless you have a spouse or bedmate who tells you about persistent snoring (snoring can be but is not always symptomatic of sleep apnea), you may not even know anything is wrong. Other indicators such as waking up frequently in the night, waking up with headaches and excessive daytime drowsiness might be all you experience.

Taking action

If this is the case, and you are allotting the recommended hours of sleep per night, talk to us at DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake about your concerns. Dental as well as medical practices can assist you with diagnosis through take-home sleep studies. And if all signs point toward sleep apnea, dental solutions such as oral appliances can help. By comfortably propping open the mouth, these devices help prevent the tongue and soft tissues from obstructing your airway during sleep. If you still have questions about sleep apnea solutions, don’t hesitate to call our office at 817-251-9333 to schedule an appointment.