My Blog

Posts for: April, 2015


Dental implants are widely recognized as the best tooth replacement option available. For most people, though, it’s a long process: after a tooth is extracted the socket is allowed to heal and fill in with new bone before implant surgery: that can take anywhere from two to five months. Afterward, there’s usually a two– to three–month period after the implant is placed before the permanent crown (the visible tooth) can be attached.

Without adequate bone present the implant’s long-term stability might be compromised. Furthermore, the implant’s durability is dependent upon bone growth around and attaching to its titanium post after surgery in a process known as osseo-integration. These two considerations indeed serve a critical function in the implant’s ultimate success.

In recent years, however, a variation to this traditional implant process has emerged that allows for immediate implantation right after extraction. Besides combining extraction and implantation into one surgical procedure, immediate implants minimize the disruption to a person’s appearance (especially with visibly prominent front teeth) when combined with a provisional crown.

Immediate implants joined together that replace a full arch of teeth can receive biting forces and succeed. Individual implants that replace single teeth, however, won’t work in all situations and must be undertaken with care to ensure long-term success. Because there may be less available bone, the implant must fit snugly within the socket to maintain as secure a hold as possible. The surgeon must also take care not to damage too much of the gum and bone tissue when extracting the tooth, which could affect both the integrity of the implant and its appearance in the gum line.

Temporary crowns may be attached during the implant surgery, but they’re installed for appearance’ sake only. For individual crowns, they must be designed not to make contact with the teeth on the opposing jaw to avoid generating biting forces that will cause the implant to fail and stop the bone-healing process that occurs with osseo–integration.

If you’re considering dental implants, it’s important to discuss with us which type of procedure, traditional or immediate, would be best for you, and only after a comprehensive examination of your mouth and jaw structure. Regardless of the approach, our goal is to provide you with a smile-transforming restoration that will last for many years to come.

If you would like more information on the dental implant process, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Immediate Implants.”

Soda Enamel ErosionSoda may taste refreshing, but the damage it can do to your teeth is anything but.

You've likely heard of the damage that sugary sodas can do to your teeth. However, even diet sodas can wreak havoc on a tooth's protective surface, called the enamel. The chemicals in soda eat away at the enamel, causing irreversible damage and sensitivity. Here, your Worth dentist explains how soda disrupts the natural processes in your mouth.

How soda damages your smile

With the average American drinking 44 gallons of soft drinks each year, it's no wonder that tooth decay and other problems are on the rise. While the sugar in soda definitely contributes to cavities, it's the phosphoric and citric acids found in both regular and diet soda that erode the enamel by altering the pH balance of the mouth. This imbalance wears away at the enamel, which means that the inner portions of the tooth - the dentin and pulp - aren't as protected as they should be. This leads to tooth discoloration and an uncomfortable sensitivity to hot and cold stimuli. At the very least, your food and drink choices may be limited; the weakened tooth can be also subject to much more damage. While crowns and other restorations can artificially take the place of enamel, this is an expensive solution to a preventable problem.

How to prevent these problems
The most foolproof and obvious solution is to avoid drinking soda - both diet and regular - altogether. For those who aren't ready to completely kick the habit, these drinks should only be consumed at meal times and shouldn't be sipped on throughout the day. A thorough brushing after drinking soda is important; if brushing isn't convenient, rinsing the mouth with water provides some aid in clearing away the acids. Chewing sugar-free gum also promotes the production of saliva, which contains calcium and phosphate that strengthens the enamel.
If you're a soda drinker in Worth and you've been noticing some tooth sensitivity, set down the soft drink and contact the dental team at All Smiles in Worth, IL to schedule an evaluation.


Here's an interesting tidbit of information on Wheel of Fortune host Vanna White: like many people, she grinds her teeth at night. In a detailed interview with Dear Doctor magazine, Vanna explained how she had to replace a filling in a back tooth several times because of her grinding habit. Eventually, she had her dentist make her a nightguard to protect her famous smile.

“I really try to sleep with it every night,” Vanna told the magazine. “I try to keep it on my nightstand so when I go to bed, I remember to put it in. Or I will put it by my toothbrush so I can put it in after brushing my teeth at night.”

The habit of teeth grinding or clenching is often associated with stress and/or sleep deprivation. It is referred to as “parafunctional” (“para” – outside, “function” – normal), meaning it can generate biting forces well outside the normal range — perhaps 10 times normal. This excessive force can affect many areas of the oral system. Teeth may become worn, chipped or loose; jaw joints or muscles can go into spasm; and some grinders (or “bruxers” as they are also called) may even experience discomfort of the head, ears, neck or back. Many times, a person with a grinding habit does not become aware of it until it is pointed out by a sleep partner or dental professional.

Like Vanna White's dentist, we often recommend a nightguard to those with nocturnal bruxing habits. It is made of a very thin, wear-resistant plastic that fits over the biting surfaces of the upper teeth only. The lower teeth are then free to glide or skate over the guard, which prevents them from biting into the upper teeth. Some people wear their guards during the day if they tend to clench their teeth when under stress.

If you are concerned about teeth grinding or interested in learning more about nightguards, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. If you would like to read Dear Doctor's entire interview with Vanna White, please see “Vanna White.” Dear Doctor also has more on “Stress & Tooth Habits.”