Category Archives: Dental Implants

Why should my dentist care if I smoke?

I’m trying to get dental implants, but my dentist won’t place them if I’m still smoking. I say it’s none of his business if I smoke. I’m paying him, he should place the implants.

Stanley W. – Arkansas

Stanley,

I understand your line of thinking. Your dentist is a contractor. You’ve hired him to place dental implants. He should do the job and let you worry about the statistics.

Look at it this way. If you were a building contractor and someone wanted you to build a house over something that was likely to have a sink hole, you might hesitate to build.  Even if the people were willing to sign something saying you were not liable for any damage to their home or person, you might have moral concerns about putting them in danger.

When you smoke, it does more than damage your lungs.  You also have reduced blood flow in your gums.  Not only will this increase the likelihood of dental implant failure, but can lead to complications in recovery from the surgery portion.

You’ll be at increased risk of infection all while healing at a slower rate. To put it short, it is more dangerous for you.  It’s possible your dentist is so concerned about the risks to you, he is unwilling to profit from the procedure.

To me, that says you have a dentist who cares about your health and not just his bottom line.  You have two choices. 1. Quit smoking (yes, I know that is easier said than done) and stay with a dentist who is obviously ethical and not just out to make a buck.  or 2. Take a risk with a dentist who is willing to give you implants regardless of the chances of failure and risk to your health post-operative.

This blog is brought to you by Naperville Cosmetic Dentist Dr. David Newkirk.

What is facial collapse?

My dentist told me if I got dental implants, it would lead to facial collapse. That sounds really bad, but wondered what exactly it was.

Paula M. – Nevada

Paula,

I’m surprised your dentist would make such a statement, though accurate, without explaining it to you. Part of a dentist’s job is to make sure his patients understand what he’s talking about.

Facial collapse is a term that refers to what happens to your jawbone when you don’t have your tooth roots there.  Once your teeth are removed, your body begins to reabsorb the minerals that your jawbone once needed. If you don’t replace the roots of your teeth with something, that will continue until you don’t have enough jawbone left to even support a denture. That is what is known as facial collapse.

The best way to prevent this is with dental implants. I would talk to your dentist about your dental implant options. Don’t feel bad about making him explain everything. He has a responsibility to make sure you understand all your treatment options.

This blog is brought to you by Naperville Cosmetic Dentist Dr. David Newkirk.

Concern about dental implant plan

I’m getting four dental implants on my upper arch, but my dentist is doing six crowns. He said it is because it will help in working with the color and size. I don’t really want to get two extra crowns if they are not necessary. Is it important to do the extra ones?

Molly H. – Sacramento, CA

Molly,

No, it is not necessary. In fact, why would you want to grind down healthy teeth? If he needs these two extra teeth to “help with the size and color”, it is only because he isn’t skilled in working with the cosmetic aspects of dental implants. Doing six teeth instead of four will more hide things if they don’t match your other teeth.

While dental implants are a fantastic replacement for missing teeth, if the dentist who does the implant crown isn’t familiar with the the artistry involved in cosmetic dentistry, you could end up with something that looks pretty fake. If it is your front teeth, you want to be especially careful.

A skilled cosmetic dentist could match even just one crown.  The fact that this dentist is willing to sacrifice two healthy teeth to cover his lack of ability really is concerning. I suggest you look for a different dentist to do your procedure.

This blog is brought to you by Naperville Cosmetic Dentist Dr. David Newkirk.

Dental Implants and Hip Replacement

I wanted to get implant supported dentures. I’ve had two opinions on this surgery, but both dentists gave me different advice. One of them told me that I would need to start an antibiotic regimen before surgery and the other said it is not necessary. So, do you want a vote?

Elisa M.- Louisville, KY

Elisa,

Well, how about I just confuse the issue a little more for you. It used to be that the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommended that a patient be on antibiotics before any invasive dental procedure. The reasoning behind it is any bacteria introduced into the bloodstream could put you at risk of getting an infection in your hip joints.

However, in a recent discussion of the issue (December 2012) both organizations said that based on new studies that there is no direct evidence to continue making that recommendation.

I would say that there isn’t a right or wrong answer that is for every patient. I would just weigh the pros and cons of both options and choose which one you feel is best for your individual circumstance.

I will say that getting dental implants to support your dentures is a great idea. It is ideal if you can get complete dental implants, but if you can’t afford that then doing your plan of having them support your dentures are a fantastic solution.

This blog is brought to you by Naperville Dentist Dr. David Newkirk.

Can I get implants cheaper than clear choice?

I went to my local Clear Choice center and they quoted me about $50,000. I almost fainted. $50,000!! I’ve already had all my teeth extracted. Will that make it any cheaper? Is there another way to save money on these implants? I can’t really wear my dentures any more, so I know I need them, but jimminey crickets that is a lot of money.

Dirk from Newport.

Dirk,

Clear Choice has a fantastic marketing program. Plus, I think their free CT scan really draws people into their office for a consultation. Combine that with their promise of having dental implants done in one appointment and people are attracted to their clinic. They do bring in some of the best dentists to do their work, so you can be assured that you are getting quality work done. However, their all-on-4 procedure (which avoids bone grafting) is riskier than more traditional methods.

I do think you’ll be able to get this done for less than was quoted to you by Clear Choice. Though, you will probably need bone grafting. I’m basing that assumption on your saying that you can no longer wear your dentures. This leads me to believe that you’re dealing with facial collapse, a natural result of wearing removable dentures for 10 or 20 years or more.  My advice is to get a second opinion from a qualified implant dentist. I’d be sure he or she is qualified. Implant dentistry is not a regulated specialty, so any dentist can learn the procedure and call themselves an implant dentist. In reality, it takes a lot of post-graduate training to do dental implants correctly. Take a look at Dr. Newkirk’s bio. to get an idea of the kind of training you’ll want to look for.

This blog is brought to you by Naperville Dentist Dr. David Newkirk.

Do I really need this flipper temporary?

I have a missing tooth on upper right, and will be having an implant done shortly. My dentist says I need to have a “flipper partial” installed while the gum is healing from the surgery so that the teeth on either side of the dental implant don’t move while I’m waiting to have a permanent tooth installed. I’m not keen on wearing a flipper because of the discomfort since it will be a few months before the tooth is installed. He also said that the missing tooth could cause a problem if there is no contact with the lower teeth/tooth which could become loose and erupt. Your opinion please. P.S. Your website was very useful in helping me understand my dental issues. Good job! Thanks.
Amy from Massachusetts

Amy,
Everything you said your dentist has told you about the need for the dental flipper is correct. When a tooth is missing, the teeth on either side tend to tip into the space and the opposing tooth drifts down into the space. All this movement is part of a natural system that your body uses to make sure that your teeth all touch each other on the sides and all your teeth meet at the same time when you bite down. And this movement, while it is slow, begins immediately as soon as a tooth is missing, so it’s important to get this temporary flipper tooth in place within a few days after the missing tooth was extracted.

This blog is sponsored by Naperville cosmetic dentist Dr. David Newkirk

Follow-up: Amy responds with a thank you.

Fixing a broken front tooth on a 12-year-old

My grandson recently had a bicycle accident and his front tooth was broken. Broken in the gum area. He currently has a splint on the 2 teeth surrounding it and this broken one. The dentist is saying that her next step is to have his tooth removed and put a flipper on it. He is only 12yrs.old and I am concerned that there could possibly be some alternative to saving/repairing the tooth instead of replacing it. It has been approx. 5 or 6 weeks since the occurrence. He is having no problem with the tooth right now with the splint on it. Could the broken tooth possibly fuse on it’s own over time? Is it too soon to determine if the tooth will die or not?
– Candace from New Hampshire

Candace,
I’m not sure I understand exactly the situation here. I think you are saying that the root of the tooth is fractured and that this fracture is down in the bone where it can’t be seen.

Usually when the root of a front tooth is fractured down in the bone like this you can’t save the tooth. In some cases, if the fracture is close enough to the root tip, the root tip could maybe be surgically removed and the rest of the tooth could be saved by doing a root canal treatment. But that would be tricky. Only in very rare circumstances would the broken root fuse back together.

How this tooth is replaced is also a concern. And on a twelve-year-old boy, this is also tricky. A dental implant will probably be the most esthetic tooth replacement, but generally we don’t put in dental implants for front teeth in young people until the jawbone has finished growing, which can be around age 18-20. This is to make sure that the companion natural tooth and the dental implant are the same height. If the bone continues to grow after the implant is placed, the natural tooth will move with the bone and the implant will stay in the original position.

When your grandson gets this all fixed, it will also be important to have the replacement tooth, or the repaired tooth, match his existing natural tooth exactly in shape, color pattern, and translucency. This is no easy task, even for an experienced cosmetic dentist. If it were my son or grandson, I would want the very best cosmetic dentist I could find to help with this. It might cost 10-25% more, but it would be worth it to have this looking good and not have it be an embarrassment to him.

Links – This posting comes from the office of your Naperville dentist, Dr. David Newkirk. A broken front tooth would be classified as a dental emergency, and if you called our office, we would see you that day to evaluate it and see what we could do.

I’ve inherited bad teeth

I have inherited bad teeth, at age 44 they are chipping, filled and discolored. I have had 3 root canals, 2 crowns and many fillings. Actually so many fillings the tooth walls are thin. I must be very careful how I brush, floss and eat as I never know when one or more are going to break off. (Not to mention the pain involved) I am wondering as the teeth break off or get cavities under the fillings and in one instance under the crown, is it best to have them pulled and replaced with something (bridging, implants, other suggestion) or continue to get them fixed? I have search the internet and haven’t found consistant information. Of course the dentist is going to say it is best to keep your own teeth, but what about just replacing a few? My thoughts are molers, 3 on each side top and bottom over the next 3 to 5 years. Thanks for your time, I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Susan from Wisconsin

Susan,
I’m not convinced that you have inherited bad teeth. And about inheriting bad teeth. I have heard this from many people over the years, but I’ve never actually seen a patient who inherited bad teeth, so I’m really skeptical. If you have pieces of teeth that keep breaking off, then my suspicion is that your teeth weren’t restored properly. If a tooth has been weakened by extensive decay, it should have a crown. If a filling is placed instead, then you will have that problem of continual breaking of pieces of the tooth. And if you get a lot of decay, the culprit for that is usually too much snacking throughout the day. If you get decay under your old fillings, that’s often a problem with the filling.

Dentists make a lot of money replacing missing teeth, so when we state that it’s best to save your teeth, it’s not from financial interest, but that comes from our experience over the years seeing how people’s mouths deteriorate once teeth are missing. Yes, you can have the teeth replaced with implants and that works well. But that’s very expensive. If you replace teeth with a removable partial denture, it complicates things for your remaining teeth and leads to the loss of more teeth. If you lose all your teeth, then your jawbone begins to shrink until after ten or twenty years there isn’t enough left to support a denture.

I would recommend finding a dentist who is genuinely concerned about your long-term welfare, and then sitting down with that dentist to make a plan that works for you. That may involve removing some teeth. Your situation with your teeth sounds complex, and I can’t give you any specific recommendations without a complete exam.

I hope this is helpful.