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Questions to ask before getting dental implants

A dentist and patient have a conversation at the dental chair. Getting one or more dental implants is a decision that can stand to improve your life for the better. While it is considered a cosmetic dentistry procedure, getting a dental implant actually serves to stabilize the bone in your jaw through a process called osseointegration, in which the surrounding bone fuses to the implant. In addition, the dental implant restores the function of natural teeth, allowing you to chew, talk and live life with confidence that your smile is at its best.

While dental implant surgery can be done right at the dentist’s office, it is still a surgical procedure, which means you’ll want to find out some specifics before choosing the dentist or prosthodontist who is the best fit for you.

With this in mind, here are some questions the American College of Prosthodontists recommends you ask during a consultation, whether you’re talking with us here at the DaVinci Dentistry office, or with another dentist.

Dental implant questions

  1. How often do you do this procedure?
  2. How many times have you done this procedure?
  3. What has been your training in this procedure? How long was it? (Weekend course, lecture, 14-20 weeks CE at a dental school, or years of specialty training at an accredited dental school?)
  4. Where were you taught?
  5. Do you take lifelong learning / continuing education credit and if so, when, where, how often and in what area?
  6. What’s the success rate for this procedure for me, and how long will it last?
  7. How long will the procedure take from beginning until I have my permanent teeth?
  8. Will I have to be without teeth for any period of time?
  9. How much will it cost for the entire treatment from start to completion?
  10. How much will it cost for follow-up maintenance of my restoration?
  11. What are alternative treatment options for this procedure?
  12. What training do you have in these alternative options?
  13. May I get my treatment plan in writing?
  14. How do you feel about me getting a second opinion?

At DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake, TX, Dr. Raed Ajouni is an experienced esthetic dentist who has received recognition from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and Dr. Khal Ajlouni is a prosthodontist with three years of advanced training in the design, manufacture and fitting of artificial replacements for teeth, including dental implant therapy. Contact us to set up your appointment, where we look forward to answering all of your questions and working with you. 817-251-9333.

 

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What smokers need to know about dental implants

A man holds a lit cigarette in his fingersIf you currently smoke and are contemplating whether dental implants are an option for you, there is good news and bad news.

The bad news is that the failure rate for dental implant patients who are smokers is twice as high as it is for nonsmokers. The good news: The implant failure rate, even for smokers, is just 6.35 percent. This means more than 93 percent of patients who smoke still experience a positive and healthy outcome with their dental implants.

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Dentistry evaluated more than 80,000 dental implant cases to determine the higher implant failure rate of smokers, and an article published in the Journal of Prosthodontic Research, also in 2015, points to the long-term implant success rate. The research also reveals that for smokers, the majority of dental implants that fail do so in the early stages after placement. The primary cause: thicker mucosal tissues, which diminish stability of surgical guide placement.

The success rate of dental implants for smokers may come as a relief to some, considering just 3 to 4 percent of those who try to quit on their own are successful, and 22 percent of those who quit with help from medication and counseling.

But there is always room to change. For many, the investment in dental implants serves as the catalyst they need to make the move toward quitting. For those that struggle, the guidance from a dentist on how maintain oral health will be of prime importance.

Whether or not you smoke, the decision to get dental implants is one that stands to impact your life for the better, but it’s not without potential challenges. At DaVinci Dentistry, Drs. Khal and Raed Ajlouni are well versed in the latest research findings and trends within the profession, so we can offer an informed opinion. If you’re thinking about dental implants, talk to us by calling 817-251-9333, and we can evaluate whether this option is right for you. Our family, cosmetic and implant dentistry practice is located in Southlake, Texas, so we are convenient to residents in Grapevine, Keller, Colleyville, North Richland Hills, HEB, and much of Tarrant County.

 

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Dental bonding, crowns and veneers: Restoring teeth that are chipped or cracked

Gloved hand holding dental tool to teeth x-rayRestoring teeth that are chipped or cracked may require bonding, crowns or veneers, depending on the location and severity of the damage. The reason for these treatments isn’t solely cosmetic in nature. While a crown, veneer or use of bonding will restore your smile, it also protects your teeth from future damage.

At DaVinci Dentistry, brothers and dentists Drs. Raed and Khaldoun Ajlouni are experienced in cosmetic dentistry and prosthodontics, respectively, which means you’ll have skillful artisans behind the end result of your restorations.

Here’s a closer look at each of these restorative procedures and why patients need them:

  • Bonding – This tooth-colored composite resin is applied when just a small piece of enamel from the front of teeth has chipped. The surface of the tooth is etched to help with adhesion, the adhesive applied, and then the bonding material sealed in place.
  • Crowns – When a larger part of the tooth has broken off, porcelain and resin dental crowns can protect teeth and be made to look just like natural teeth. Typically this is a two-part process: After preparing your tooth for a crown (usually by filing away part of the remaining tooth) an impression is taken and a temporary crown is placed while a customized crown is created. At a follow-up appointment, the temporary crown will be removed and the customized one cemented into place.
  • Veneers – Another option to repair a crack or chip to the front of the tooth is veneers. These cover the front of the teeth and are customized to your specific tooth shape by taking an impression.

With any of these restorative options, X-rays may very well be taken to ensure that tooth pulp, consisting of nerves and blood vessels, isn’t exposed. If it is, a root canal may first need to be performed to prevent bacteria from infecting the pulp. At DaVinci Dentistry, we can advise you of your best course of treatment in the case one or more of your teeth is cracked or chipped. We take appointments by phone and through our online appointment request form: 817-251-9333.

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Crowns and veneers: A stain-proof option?

Stain-resistant veneers and dental crowns in Southlake, TX

Chances are, if you are considering dental crowns or veneers as a cosmetic option to refresh your smile, it’s because your natural teeth are stained or misshapen. If staining is the reason, it’s likely you’ll want to do whatever you can to take care of your new smile, and many patients ask us if teeth treated with crowns or veneers will stain.

As a general rule of thumb, dental crowns — which cover the whole tooth — and veneers — which cover just the surface of the teeth, used to conceal minor imperfections — are stain resistant.

A commonly used material in each is a durable porcelain. The good news is, this material should remain a bright, beautiful white for many years to come. Potential challenges come into play when you consider that the edges of veneers are bonded to teeth with resin, which can be more susceptible to staining. In these situations, we can polish the area to get rid of the stain. Another thing to consider is your natural teeth surrounding a dental crown or veneer. You’ll want to continue to take excellent care of your other teeth so that they will not stain and create a two-tone smile when contrasted with the stain-resistant white of your crowns or veneers.

Dr. Raed Ajlouni at DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake, TX, is an experienced esthetic dentist with recognition from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and can answer your questions about whether dental crowns or veneers may be right for you. The first step to your new smile is to contact us at 817-251-9333.

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TMJ Pain and Age

TMJ pain, a condition Southlake-based DaVinci Dentistry can treat.

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are estimated to affect more than 10 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health – National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. When this joint that connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone on the side of the head doesn’t work as it should, simple motions like yawning, speaking and eating can become painful. A limited range of motion may also be accompanied by clicking or popping noises.

The age of those impacted can range from patients in their teen years to their 70s, but a recent survey from the TMJ Association reveals one population particularly prone to TMJ disorders, also known as TMD: Individuals who are, on average, 41 years of age. And 90 percent of them are women.

While this points to a possible connection between female hormones and TMJ disorders, the causes of this condition are not widely understood. Sometimes traumatic injuries are to blame, while in other cases symptoms begin without an obvious reason.

Treating TMJ Disorders

If you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ, you may be surprised to learn that there are dental solutions that can ease the severity of your discomfort. At DaVinci Dentistry, we can talk with you about your symptoms and evaluate your health history in efforts to rule out other conditions that could be to blame. It all starts with a consultation that can be scheduled by contacting us at 817-251-9333. Our dental office is conveniently located in Southlake to serve patients throughout much of Tarrant County.

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After dental implant placement: What to do and what not to do

tooth implant, and two molars on white background

Dental implants are one of the fastest growing cosmetic dentistry options available today. And for good reason: In many patients, the titanium post surgically placed in the jaw can last a lifetime. This post replaces the tooth root, and fuses with bone, actually making the jaw stronger than it was before. And implants don’t decay like natural teeth. While the artificial teeth (crowns) may need to be replaced on occasion depending on wear and tear, if all goes well, the same is not true of the implant itself. With this being said, there are some things you can do — and avoid — after your dental implant has been placed that can make quite an impact on its ultimate success or failure.

Here’s a closer look.

Do:

  • Use ice on the cheek near where your implant was placed to reduce swelling.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Take antibiotics and pain medication as instructed.
  • Talk with us about what oral hygiene tools we recommend (water flossers, interdental brushes, interproximal brushes and antimicrobial rinses may be beneficial, depending on the characteristics of your dental implant placement).

Don’t:

  • Use abrasive products (think toothpaste with baking soda or whitening toothpaste).
  • Eat or drink hot foods or liquids.
  • Attempt to exercise immediately after dental implant placement (throbbing or bleeding can be a common side effect with too much physical activity following this procedure).
  • Attempt to wear any partial or full dentures without first consulting with us. Wearing these too soon can hinder healing.

If you’re considering whether a dental implant is right for you, the Southlake-based DaVinci Dentistry team has the expertise to talk with you about your options and possible outcomes. We serve patients in Tarrant County including Grapevine, Keller, North Richland Hills, Colleyville and H-E-B. You can reach us at 817-251-9333.

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Risk factors for sleep apnea

Sleep Apnea diagram

In Texas, dentists and physicians can diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the tongue and muscles in the throat relax during sleep and fall back against the throat. This can reduce the amount of oxygen delivered to the heart and brain. While these interruptions in breathing may be imperceptible to the individual, they also disrupt sleep, which means that daytime drowsiness is just one of myriad health problems associated with sleep apnea.

Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea are staggeringly broad, and include:

  • being male;
  • excess weight;
  • smoking and/or alcohol use;
  • age (while even children can experience sleep apnea, incidence increases with age);
  • family history;
  • nasal congestion; and
  • neck size (risk of sleep apnea is higher in men with a neck circumference of 17 inches or more and in women with a neck circumference of 15 inches or more).

A second type of sleep apnea, known as central sleep apnea, occurs when breathing starts and stops repeatedly during sleep, not because of an obstruction in the airway but because the brain fails to send the signals to the muscles that control breathing. Dentists do not treat this type of sleep apnea.

If you think you may be at risk for obstructive sleep apnea, the Southlake team of DaVinci Dentistry is here to talk to you about sleep studies, diagnosis and treatment with a custom oral appliance. Our goal is to get you the sleep you need and deserve to live a healthy, beautiful life. We are only a phone call away: 817-251-9333.

 

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What to look for in a prosthodontist

Dental care If you’re thinking of seeing a prosthodontist, chances are good that you may have missing teeth or teeth with significant damage. It’s also likely that your general, or family dentist, referred you to a prosthodontist due to the level of expertise and care necessary for complex cases.

Prosthodontic treatment can often require several appointments to complete, and the results can affect not just the look of your smile but also its function, which means you’ll want to ensure you choose the professional who’s right for you.

Some things to consider as you look for a prosthodontist:

  • Board certification – Successful completion of a four-part exam given by the American Board of Prosthodontics means your prosthodontist has the additional three years of training after dental school, and that he or she is deemed highly capable.
  • Reviews – What do current or previous patients say? A simple five-minute search can either confirm your decision to go with a particular prosthodontist, or perhaps steer you in a new direction.
  • Professional affiliations – Is your prosthodontist active in the community, does he or she take a lead in professional organizations or teach at an accredited dental institution? This is a sign that your prosthodontist will be up to date on the latest in advanced dental technologies and treatment trends.
  • Fee structure – Is the prosthodontist’s fee information displayed in an easy-to-understand way, in a visible place? And are there multiple options, regardless of insurance status?

At DaVinci Dentistry, we want to make your choice for prosthodontic care as seamless as possible. Dr. Khal Ajlouni is a prosthodontist and is involved in myriad organizations within his chosen field – including his role as an associate professor at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas. We serve patients in Southlake, Grapevine, Keller and the surrounding Tarrant County communities, and we’re only a phone call away: 817-251-9333.

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Types of TMD

Young woman has splitting headache pain migrainTMD refers to disorders that affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects the lower jaw to the bones on the side of the head. These disorders can take many forms, but to the estimated 10 million individuals impacted by TMD, symptoms often range from radiating pain in the face, neck or jaw to stiffness and painful popping or clicking when speaking or eating.

When patients talk to us about their symptoms, one goal is to determine the type of TMD they are experiencing, so that we can proceed with the most effective form of TMJ treatment.

The types of TMD include:

  • Myofascial pain – Pain in the muscles that control the jaw.
  • Jaw dislocation – This can take the form of a traumatic injury to the jaw itself, or even a displaced disc in the upper spine.
  • Arthritis – Degenerative and inflammatory joint disorders can often affect the temporomandibular joint as a secondary condition.

At DaVinci Dentistry, we’ll talk to you about the frequency and duration of your TMD symptoms and provide some potential solutions to ease your discomfort. In many cases, TMJ treatment is as simple as using a night guard to prevent tooth grinding and jaw clenching during sleep. Contact us at 817-251-9333 to schedule your appointment. We serve patients in Southlake, Keller, North Richland Hills and the surrounding communities.

 

 

 

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Osseointegration: What separates your dental implants from other cosmetic dentistry procedures

Illustration of a dental implant with crown on a white backgroundThere is one thing that separates dental implants from all other types of cosmetic dentistry procedures: their ability to osseointegrate with the bone. This means that when a dental implant – made of titanium and resembling the shape of a tiny screw — is inserted into a jaw bone, the surrounding cells directly attach themselves to it.

This locks the dental implant into place, and just as important, makes it a strong foundation to support an array of prosthetic tooth replacements, ranging from implant-supported bridges to implant-supported dentures.

There are many factors that must be taken into consideration to determine whether you are a candidate for dental implants, such as the volume of bone in your jaw and your oral and overall health, so you’ll want to talk to the DaVinci Dentistry team by calling 817-251-9333. We are located in Southlake, TX, and provide family and cosmetic dentistry to patients throughout Grapevine, Colleyville, Keller, and Tarrant County.