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3 common questions about dental implants — answered

Dental implants questions When you’re considering whether dental implants may be an option for you, it’s likely to start out with more questions than answers. At DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake, it’s our goal to answer any and all questions you may have about dental implants. We don’t just want your mind to be at ease; we want you to be certain and confident about your decision.

Here’s a closer look at some of the most common questions we receive from patients who are interested in dental implants, as well as some answers that may help as you explore your options.

Q: How much do dental implants cost?

A: This number can vary depending on the type and number of dental implants you receive, as well as any additional procedures that may be required, such as tissue grafting or bone augmentation. Once we conduct our initial exam and get a feel for the teeth that you need to replace, as well as the condition of your jawbone and mouth, we’ll provide you with a detailed treatment plan complete with estimated cost and the number of office visits that will be required. While not all insurance plans cover dental implants, some may offer funds to be used toward your implants that would otherwise have gone to a bridge or dentures.

Q: What are the risks associated with dental implants?

A: While dental implants have shown to be safe, predictable and effective, they’re not completely without risk.

Some complications include:

  • infection;
  • sinus problems;
  • nerve damage (numbness and tingling);
  • damage to other teeth; and
  • implant failure.

Q: Who should perform my dental implant surgery and placement?

A: Oral health professionals from several dental specialties can place your dental implant, as well as general dentists with training, skills and experience in this treatment method. At DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake, both Dr. Raed Ajlouni and Dr. Khal Ajlouni, a prosthodontist, are experienced with placing dental implants; so much so that they train future and current dentists on the entire process.

Contact our office at 817-251-9333 with your dental implant questions, and we look forward to meeting you soon at your next appointment!


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What conditions does full-mouth restoration treat?

full-mouth restoration in Southlake, TexasFull-mouth restoration, the process of rebuilding and reconstructing every tooth in the mouth, doesn’t just benefit the appearance of your smile. At its core, this treatment is intended to improve a patient’s overall health and quality of life by addressing bite imbalances, chewing limitations and pain. While no two cases are exactly the same, there are some common factors that may require full-mouth reconstruction.

These include:

  • accidents and trauma (teeth may have been injured, fractured or even lost);
  • acid erosion (long-term exposure to acid reflux or acidic foods can substantially wear down teeth);
  • neglect and effects of gum disease (in its advanced stages, gum disease can lead to bone loss, and with it, the teeth themselves); and
  • the natural aging process.

Because full-mouth restoration involves multiple forms of dental treatment, ranging from dental implants and corrective jaw surgery to root planing and bone grafts — among other procedures — having a professional with advanced training and treatment planning abilities can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. At DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake, Texas, Dr. Khal Ajlouni is a prosthodontist, and Dr. Raed Ajlouni is a general dentist with extensive experience in cosmetic dentistry. Together they will conduct an exam, take photographs and impressions and determine what steps are necessary to complete your full-mouth restoration. The first step is making an appointment. Call us at 817-251-9333 or connect with us on Facebook to learn more about what it’s like to be a patient at our office.

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2 Ways Sleep Apnea is Harmful

Sleep apnea can cause car accidents, as this photo of a man sleeping in a car illustrates. More than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, according to the National Sleep Foundation. And for those individuals suffering from the condition, in which the muscles in your throat relax during sleep and the tongue falls back and blocks the airway, the resulting lack of oxygen has a trickle-down effect, in more ways than one.

Here are just a couple ways in which sleep apnea is harmful to you:

  1. Drowsiness – While the disturbances in breathing cause by sleep apnea may be imperceptible to you — despite the fact that bedmates often deal with snoring — the condition actually causes you to wake briefly. This pause in breathing followed by a split-second waking can occur up to 30 times an hour, cutting into crucial sleep cycles. Drowsiness in and of itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, but get behind the wheel of a car, or try to operate heavy machinery on the job, and accidents can and do occur.
  2. Heart disease – When sleep apnea disrupts the body’s oxygen levels, the brain can have a hard time regulating the flow of blood through the arteries, which can contribute to heart attack risk. In fact, a 2013 Mayo Clinic study revealed that people with obstructive sleep apnea are at a greater risk for sudden cardiac death during sleep. This risk doubles when the sleep apnea patient experiences more than 20 breathing disruptions per hour, coupled with drastic falls in oxygen saturation levels, the amount of air flowing through your lungs.

As awareness about obstructive sleep apnea continues to grow, and with it, the knowledge base on ways to treat it, patients have more options at their disposal. Since sleep apnea involves the mouth and throat, the team at Southlake’s DaVinci Dentistry can fabricate an oral appliance designed to prop the mouth open at night, customized specifically for you. Drs. Khal and Raed Ajlouni are experienced in dental sleep medicine, and they can combine an accurate diagnosis coupled with oral appliance therapy to help treat your condition, decrease risks and improve your quality of life. Contact us by calling 817-251-9333, filling out our online appointment request or connecting with us on Facebook.

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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.