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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.

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TMJ Treatment: Considering All of Your Options

senior with pain in front of earsIf you suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly referred to as TMD or TMJ, treatment options may be more accessible than you think. At DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake, TX, we see patients for TMJ-related concerns on a regular basis.

TMJ Treatment: Mild Cases

For many people with TMD, symptoms are mild, periodic and typically resolve within a few weeks or months when simple remedies are followed, including:

  • eating soft foods;
  • avoiding chewing gum;
  • applying ice or moist heat; and
  • exercising caution when yawning and singing.

TMJ Treatment: Severe Cases

For other patients, TMD symptoms may be more debilitating or persistent, despite at-home therapy. In these situations, a number of conservative treatment options are available. The key here is the word “conservative.” We look at reversible treatment options, per recommendations from the National Institutes of Health, as more studies are needed regarding the benefit and safety of irreversible, permanent options such as bite adjustment and surgery.

Some conservative TMJ treatment measures we can explore to help alleviate your symptoms include:

  • pain medication;
  • injections;
  • splints; and
  • night guards (to prevent further grinding and clenching during sleep).

From treatment for TMD symptoms to dental implants and full mouth reconstruction, the Southlake, TX, team at DaVinci Dentistry has the training and expertise to guide you through your oral health needs. We provide cosmetic, family and implant dentistry for residents throughout much of Tarrant County, including Grapevine, Colleyville, Keller, North Richland Hills, and Hurst-Euless-Bedford. Contact us at 817-251-9333.

 

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Preparing for dental implants

Preparations for dental implants SouthlakeWhen preparing for dental implants, the Southlake team of DaVinci Dentistry has its own set of responsibilities to fulfill, but that doesn’t mean that you, the patient, don’t also have an important role to play in the process.

On our end, we first must complete a comprehensive dental exam, which includes X-rays and models of your face and mouth. From there, we can create a treatment plan. In certain instances, we may need to partner with other dental specialists, such as oral and maxillofacial surgeons and periodontists. In either case, careful precision and attention to every detail is necessary to ensure that we follow each step of your treatment with the end goal in mind: a restored, functional smile.

There are some things you can do to ensure placement of your dental implant or multiple implants goes as smoothly as possible.

These include:

  • Carefully review your customized plan leading up to surgery (this contains instructions on medication changes and dietary restrictions, such as when to stop eating the day before, etc.).
  • Designate a driver to take you home (whether you receive general or local anesthesia, having someone else to operate a motor vehicle is the best bet to ensure your safety).
  • Follow dietary restrictions (soft food is conducive to healing, and if you purchase what you need in advance, you’ll be able to rest and relax following your surgery).

Placing dental implants is not a one-step process. Once adequate healing has occurred after the implant is placed, anther appointment is scheduled, during which a restoration, or crown, is connected to the implant via an abutment. Of course, the partnership doesn’t end there. We’ll establish a recall schedule to ensure your dental implants are functioning as comfortably and naturally as the teeth they are replacing. And whenever you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re only a phone call away: 817-251-9333.

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Cool off with these foods that are also good for teeth

Southlake Dentist Advice on Tooth-Healthy FoodsAs a dentist and prosthodontist, we’re sure you’ve heard about foods to avoid to safeguard the health of your smile. Sodas, candies and chocolates probably enter your mind. But what about foods that give your oral health a bit of a boost while also helping you cool off in the heat of summer?

Here are some easy-to-find foods in the produce aisle that can give you something to smile about:

  • Carrots – That satisfactory crunch associated with eating raw carrots also carries a benefit. The chewing action actually helps stimulate saliva production in your mouth, reducing risk of cavities. These babies are also rich in Vitamin A and fiber.
  • Celery – High in Vitamin A and C, this veggie helps remove food particles and bacteria from the teeth, acting as a natural toothbrush.
  • Apples – Just because they’re sweet doesn’t mean they’re (necessarily) bad for your teeth. A special exception to the rule, apples are loaded with water and fiber, and just like carrots and celery, they help produce saliva, which rinses away food particles. Even gums are stimulated as a result of the fruit’s texture.
  • Leafy greens – Low in calories and high in calcium, you can have spinach or kale in a salad or even throw them into the blender for a savory twist on your summer smoothies.

Some other key ingredients include calcium and Vitamin D, which help strengthen teeth and bones. While milk is a source of this, many juices are now fortified with calcium, which means you can cool off while doing something good for your teeth. Do bear in mind, though, if the juice you’re sipping on contains a good deal of citric acid, you’ll want to swish with water after and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. This is because the acid in these types of drinks temporarily softens enamel, and saliva, which helps to remineralize teeth, requires a bit of time to take effect.

At DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake, no question is too simple or too complicated for our dentist, Dr. Raed Ajlouni, and prosthodontist, Dr. Khal Ajlouni. So whether it’s in regard to learning more about refreshing summer foods that are also good for your teeth, or perhaps a complex matter, such as whether you may be a candidate for dental implants, we’re here to help. Contact us by completing our online appointment request form or calling 817-251-9333.