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Caring for Your Dental Implants: Dos and Don’ts

A woman smilesOne of the wonderful things about dental implants is that they have the potential to last a lifetime. While periodic adjustments are necessary, as well as replacement of the crowns attached to the implant itself, the permanency of an implant is one of its most popular features. Plus, the effect of osseonintegration — in which the bone cells attach themselves to the implant’s surface — actually adds stability to your jaw and prevents future bone loss, a benefit you won’t find with other types of dental prostheses or restorations.

The potential of a dental implant to last a lifetime does depend on some factors, like pre-existing medical conditions and the location of the implant, but a large part is up to you. Here are a few Dos and Don’ts to dental implant care.

  • Do – Practice good oral hygiene. A general rule of thumb is to care for implants like you would your normal teeth. That means brushing, flossing and regular check-ups are a must. We also can make recommendations for you on special cleaning aids to incorporate into your daily routine.
  • Do – Remember that recovery takes time. Once your implant is placed, it may be up to several months before we can attach the abutment and final restoration to complete your smile makeover. To help ease this process, you’ll want to take necessary time off of work or school and take it easy for at least several days to allow your body to begin the healing process.
  • Don’t – Keep old habits alive. There are many things that can lead to the need for dental implants. Perhaps your tooth loss was caused by a traumatic accident or even side effects from medications or health care treatments. In some cases, though, just the effect of tooth decay and periodontal disease is enough to warrant a tooth’s extraction. If habits like smoking, frequent consumption of sweets or inadequate oral hygiene may have led to your dental troubles, there is no better time than now to start fresh.

Want to know more about what you can do to care for your dental implants? The cosmetic and family dentist team at DaVinci serving Tarrant County is here to help you every step of the way, from initial consultation and treatment planning to your long-term oral health needs. We’re just a phone call away: 817-251-9333.

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Treating obstructive sleep apnea: CPAP therapy vs. oral appliances

You’ve discussed your symptoms with your dentist. You diligently completed the at-home sleep study. Then there’s the diagnosis. You do indeed have obstructive sleep apnea. Now what?

When it comes to treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, you have several options that accomplish the same goal — keeping the airway open to ensure you get the oxygen you need during sleep — but in very different ways. As you weigh your options, it may help to understand two of the most common forms of treatment: CPAP machines and oral appliances.

A full face mask for a CPAP machine.

A full face mask for a CPAP machine

CPAP therapy

CPAP — continuous positive airway pressure — machines operate much like their description. The machine prevents your throat from collapsing when you inhale during sleep by providing a constant stream of air pressure. It consists of prongs that fit into your nose, and a mask that covers the nose or both the nose and mouth. Connected to the mask is a tube through which the air passes from the machine to your throat.

Oral appliances

Similar in appearance to a sports mouthguard, the most common dental appliances for sleep apnea fit over the upper and lower teeth like a retainer. Known as mandibular advancement devices, they have a pole-like attachment that pushes the lower jaw forward and down, propping the mouth open and preventing the throat from collapsing during sleep.

How we can help

When it comes to treating obstructive sleep apnea, we at DaVinci Dentistry know there’s no one-size-fits all solution for everyone. CPAP machines may indeed be the best option for some patients. But for those who cannot tolerate them (noise, nasal congestion, skin and eye irritation, and mask leaks are among the most common complaints), dental appliances provide a viable solution. The fact that they are silent, simple to use and portable is appealing to many patients.

If you experience drowsiness on a regular basis and snore at night (or are told by a bed mate that you snore), talk to us about it. As dentists trained in dental sleep medicine, we can coordinate the sleep studies required for diagnosis and fit you with a custom-made appliance. Call 817-251-9333.

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3 Things to Know about your Dental Implant

Dental Implant If you’re contemplating getting a dental implant or even multiple implants at once, it helps to know a bit more about this incredible technology and growing option for patients.

First, just what is a dental implant? It may help to think of a dental implant as an artificial tooth root. Typically composed of titanium or zirconia, the implant, which resembles a small post, or screw, is surgically placed into the jawbone. With time, the surrounding natural bone fuses to the implant, making it strong and sturdy. Once the crowns (prosthetic teeth) are placed, your dental implant is able to look and function just like natural teeth.

So here’s a bit more about them:

  • Dental implants do not stain – The materials used to make the crown portion of the implant (the part you see) are made to keep their original color permanently. While there can be rare exceptions in the case of heavy tobacco use, or coffee and soft drink consumption, most patients actually are more concerned with their natural teeth appearing stained in comparison to their implant.
  • Dental implants do require brushing – Just because the dental implant crown is composed of stain-resistant materials such as porcelain does not mean patients have a hall pass to practice inadequate oral health. Bacterial plaque can still build up on the surface of your prosthesis, and flossing is still needed to remove food particles between teeth.
  • How long dental implants last depends on several factors – While a dental implant can last decades — even a lifetime, in some cases — its ultimate longevity can be impacted by patient oral hygiene practices and condition of surrounding teeth. Gum disease or decay that may have contributed to the loss of the natural tooth in the first place could come back into play and negatively impact a dental implant in some cases.

At DaVinci Dentistry in Southlake, we’ll talk to you about all of the possibilities when you’re considering opting for a dental implant. Contact us: 817-251-9333.

 

 

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When you need a prosthodontist

Gloved dentist hand, holding dental prosthesis on black backgroundModern dentistry is allowing more options for patients and the dentists who treat them than ever before. With advances like digital and 3D imaging, and computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM), dentists are able to offer restorations more efficiently than ever before, sometimes even that same day. And as dental implants surge in popularity, more and more general dentists are seeking training to be able to offer this service to their patients.

But there are some cases in which your treatment may require a prosthodontist. As a result of three years of additional training after completion of dental school, prosthodontists possess a deep understanding of the dynamics of a smile. Not just what makes it beautiful, but what is necessary for it to function effectively and feel as comfortable as possible. While general dentists also are trained in how to provide restorations such as crowns, bridges, veneers, dental implants, and more, prosthodontists are considered the experts whenever anything in the mouth needs to be replaced, whether you are missing one or more teeth and need a full set of dentures, removable partial dentures or are contemplating dental implants.

Complex cases requiring several steps as well as teams of dentists and specialists are often referred to prosthodonists.

At DaVinci Dentistry serving Southlake and Tarrant County, the prosthodontist-general dentist team of brothers Drs. Khaldoun and Raed Ajlouni can address your family’s oral health needs in addition to providing cosmetic and implant dentistry solutions. Contact us at 817-251-9333 to set up an appointment. During your visit, we’ll take the time to learn about you, your smile goals and how to get you there.

 

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Resolving to have more energy in the New Year: Investigating whether sleep apnea may be the cause of your daytime drowsiness

Sleep apnea word cloud concept with insomnia snore related tagsDo you often feel tired and lack the energy needed to get through the day? Poor sleep could be too blame, but the problem doesn’t stop there.

Inadequate sleep can put you at risk for myriad health problems and other concerns, including:

  • forgetfulness;
  • inability to concentrate;
  • memory loss;
  • car accidents;
  • weight gain;
  • high blood pressure;
  • diabetes;
  • stroke;
  • heart disease;
  • heart attack; and
  • more.

While getting enough sleep can be a matter of changing behavior and lifestyle patterns, sometimes the answer is not so simple. Even for adults who carve out the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night, a condition known as sleep apnea robs many of the rest they need to function and thrive.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway temporarily closes during sleep as a result of soft tissues collapsing in the throat. This can occur for seconds at a time to a minute or more. The interruptions in sleep may not even be noticeable to you, but when it happens hundreds of times a night, the sleep loss adds up.

So how do you know if you have sleep apnea? Among many symptoms, drowsiness can be a telltale sign, but to be sure, a sleep test can be ordered. With advances in modern dentistry, more and more dentists — including your team at DaVinci — play a vital role in diagnosing and treating this condition. If you think you may be at risk for sleep apnea, consider making investigating this condition a part of your 2016 New Year’s resolutions.

During your appointment, we can talk to you about ordering a sleep study and the custom-fitted oral appliances that prop the airway open during sleep. It’s amazing what a huge difference this treatment can make on your life. We’re located in Southlake and serve surrounding communities throughout DFW and North Texas. Call us at 817-251-9333.

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Understanding the Timeline of Dental Implant Treatment

wall calendar calendar with the number of days and clock close-upIf you are missing one or more teeth, you are not alone. Approximately 178 million Americans — more than half of our population — are missing at least one tooth. As dental implants become increasingly popular, more and more patients are considering this restorative option.

The benefits of dental implants are numerous, including realistic look and function, comfort, and the ability to strengthen the bones in your jaw.

One thing that is important to factor into the decision to pursue dental implants as a form of treatment is the timeline. Unlike dentures, removable partials or tooth-supported bridges, dental implants require between four to six months to complete, and can vary depending on the location where the implant is to be placed as well as the number of missing teeth. While there are some unique circumstances in which dental implants and final restorations can be placed the same day, this is not the case for most patients.

This timeline is important, and it includes several stages, including:

  • Implant placement – The dental implants are placed in the jawbone, typically in the bone socket of the missing tooth.
  • Abutment attachment (approximately two to three months later) – Once the implant has begun to fuse to the bone and the desired bone stability has been reached, an abutment is attached to the implant. It is on this abutment that the final restoration will be placed.
  • Placement of final restoration/prosthesis (approximately two months after abutments are attached) – It may take several weeks for the gum tissue surrounding the abutment to heal so that the final tooth replacement — a crown — can be attached to the abutment. This new tooth is fabricated based on impressions taken of your teeth. Every detail, including color, is tailored to match the surrounding teeth in your mouth.

Depending on the location of your dental implant, temporary restorations during treatment are an option. These are all things we can discuss with you at DaVinci Dentistry during your appointment, as we want to ensure the highest level of comfort and esthetics for you and your smile. Call us at 817-251-9333.

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Prosthodontics: What is it?

Dentures

You may have heard the term “prosthodontics” before, but unless you’re someone who works in the dental profession, it can be easy to gloss over its meaning.

Prosthodontics is unique in that it encompasses many facets of the eight other dental specialties. The end goal is rehabilitation for patients with missing or deficient teeth with regard to comfort, function and appearance. The method: Biocompatible substitutes, which can take many forms, ranging from crowns and bridges to dentures and, most in demand in recent years, dental implants.

When you have complicated issues with your mouth, teeth and oral health, a prosthodontist can often act as the “quarterback” of your care, coordinating treatment — sometimes with general dentists and those who specialize in another arena of the profession.

At DaVinci Dentistry, you can rest assured that Drs. Khaldoun and Raed Ajlouni will work closely together to plan your treatment. They utilize all aspects of their expertise — Dr. Khal is a prosthodontist, and Dr. Raed is a general dentist with a focus on cosmetic and esthetic dentistry — to achieve incredible results for their patients.

To know if prosthodontic work is something that will benefit you, come see us by calling 817-251-9333 so we can diagnose your specific needs and discuss possible treatment options.

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Snoring versus sleep apnea

Annoyed woman covering her ears with pillows to block out snorinWhen it comes to snoring and sleep apnea, some people may struggle to figure out the difference between the two. Snoring is extremely common, and it affects 90 million Americans. It may occur nightly or intermittently.

So what causes it, and how is it different than obstructive sleep apnea?

Snoring occurs when the collapsible part of the airway — where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula — strike each other when breathing, creating a vibration. In this situation, the airway is partially closed.

Some of the most common causes of snoring include:

  • obstructed nasal passageways;
  • excessively bulky throat tissue; and
  • poor tongue and throat muscle tone.

Sleep apnea, on the other hand, is caused when the airway completely closes. The tongue falls against the soft palate, and the soft palate and uvula fall against the back of the throat, so when your chest rises to inhale, no air comes in. This can occur hundreds of times throughout one night, and each episode may last mere seconds to more than a minute. Sometimes those with this condition may snore; other times not. In either case, daytime drowsiness is a hallmark symptom.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition, because not only does it prevent you from getting adequate sleep, it can increase the likelihood that you will experience a host of other problems ranging from depression and headaches to increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and even stroke.

In Texas, dentists in addition to sleep physicians may treat patients for this disorder. The first step is to talk with us. If you are experiencing frequent snoring, we can order a sleep study, and depending on the results, fit you for a custom oral appliance designed to prop the airway open at night. Whether your snoring is simply that — snoring — or an indicator of obstructive sleep apnea, we’ll help you get the answers you are looking for, to get the rest you need. Scheduling an appointment with DaVinci Dentistry is the first step. Call 817-251-8333.

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Caring for your dental implants

Tooth and dental implant isolated on white background. 3d rendering illustrationDon’t underestimate the importance of an established home oral hygiene regimen when it comes to getting the most out of your dental implants. While as a general rule of thumb you can care for dental implants just as you would natural teeth — think brushing, flossing, going to regular check-ups and professional cleanings — there are a few tools that will help you to get the most out of your implants.

These additional tools that may help you when cleaning your dental implants include:

  • Powered toothbrushes – various selections of toothbrush heads in combination with rotating movement can help clear plaque from tissue-implant-prosthetic interfaces.
  • Water flossers – Available at retail stores, they utilize pressurized streams of water to give an extra oomph to your flossing, allowing you to access areas that may be inaccessible by other methods.

Ultimately, a lack of oral hygiene can lead to a buildup of bacteria and plaque, leading to inflammation in the surrounding soft tissues that could, without intervention, jeopardize the life span of the dental implant. It’s true that implants are not susceptible to cavities like natural teeth. But they need to be cared for, as normal wear and tear is still a reality.

Have questions about your dental implants or are considering whether they are an option for your needs? Contact us at 817-251-9333 to set up an appointment.

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What is full mouth reconstruction?

An example of full mouth reconstruction completed at DaVinci Dentistry, utilizing full ceramic crowns

An example of full mouth reconstruction completed at DaVinci Dentistry, utilizing full ceramic crowns

Full mouth reconstruction, also called full mouth rehabilitation, is necessary for patients with severe dental problems. These problems can take many forms, from eroded teeth to jaw misalignment. Full mouth reconstruction is required when literally every tooth in the mouth must be rebuilt.

Because prosthodontists like Dr. Khal are known as the “quarterbacks” of dental treatment plans, they’ll utilize one or many individual treatment options to reach the end result of full mouth reconstruction.

Some of these options may include:

On the moderate end of the spectrum, tooth whitening techniques may be utilized as part of your full mouth reconstruction. In some situations, orthodontics may even be needed to adjust teeth and jaw alignment. When possible, we utilize the Invisalign system here in our office, but when braces are needed, we coordinate care with orthodontists.

This is because the end goal of full mouth rehabilitation is to make your smile beautiful, functional and healthy.