Tag Archives: dental implants

Avoiding a Dental Implant Horror Story

I keep hearing you have to be careful with who does your dental implants or it can be a complete disaster. I’ve read countless horror stories online. How do I find the best dentist to do my dental implants? I don’t want to end up another story on the internet.

Celina Y.

Dear Celina,

Illustration of dental implants in three parts

You’re wise to check ahead of time. I don’t know if you’ve already talked to your dentist about this. It could be that your dentist will be the best dentist for you, but let’s go through a few things first.

The Best Implant Dentist Will Have Extensive Post Graduate Training

There are several very reputable schools for dental implant study. General Dental school does not give enough training in such an advanced procedure. Never hesitate to ask a dentist where he received his (or her) implant training. Here are some of the best programs for that study:

  • The Misch International Implant Institute
  • The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI)
  • Dawson Academy

The Best Implant Dentist Can Do Both the Surgery and the Restorative Crown

Many mistakes are made regarding dental implants because of simple miscommunication between the dentist and the surgeon. If the surgeon places the implant in the wrong place, then what? You’ll have to have the implant completely re-done, which would mean the additional procedure of bone grafting and then a second surgery. Believe it or not, this happens more often than you’d think.

When the dentist and the surgeon are the same, there isn’t that danger. The dentist knows exactly where the implant needs to be placed for optimum security and aesthetic value.

The Best Implant Dentist Can Give You a Beautiful Restoration

You don’t want to just have a secure implant. You’ll also want a beautiful restoration. Check out your dentist’s smile gallery to make sure the dental crowns they craft are natural looking.

If your implant is being placed in a visible spot, and you’re not completely satisfied with the color of your teeth you’ll want to get them whitened before you have the implant crown made. Once the crowns completed, the color cannot be changed.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

30 Years of Dentures – Can My Smile Be Pretty?

I’ve had dentures for over thirty years. I’ve spent my life embarrassed by my smile. The other day I read something that reminded me I’ve never tried to do anything about it. Instead, I accepted it as a fate I couldn’t change. Now I’m wondering. After all this time, is it too late for me to have a pretty smile?

Miranda

Dear Miranda,

You’ve got a few issues going on here. But, first let me tell you before we go into what to do that yes, you can absolutely have a beautiful smile again.

Sadly, your dentures could have been gorgeous from the beginning. Many patients feel like what their dentist gives them is as good as it gets, especially when dentures are concerned. Maybe it’s because they remembered their grandmother’s dentures looked similar. It no longer has to be that way.

It would have taken a better cosmetic dentist than you obviously had. But, gorgeous dentures are done every day by expert cosmetic dentists. Looking at Dr. Cha’s smile gallery, there are a few patients there who had partial dentures placed. You can see they are stunningly gorgeous. When it comes to beauty, it’s not the procedure nearly as much as it is the dentist.

But how do you find such a dentist? When it comes to finding the most artistic and skilled cosmetic dentists, I recommend getting a dentist who’s reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).

Problems with Dentures

However, your bigger issue is not just how it looks. The downside of dentures is far greater over the long term. When your teeth were removed, your body wanted to preserve the minerals which are no longer necessary to retain your teeth. Unfortunately, that means you’ll start losing jawbone. Eventually, you won’t have enough jawbone to retain your dentures, leaving you a dental cripple.

Solution to the Problems with Dentures

Illustration of dental implants in three partsFirst, you’ll need to build up your jawbone again. This can be done with a procedure called bone grafting. This will provide you with bone again. From there, you have two choices. You can get your dentures re-done. You will have similar problems with losing jawbone all over again, along with the other types of problems which go along with dentures.

You have another option, though. My suggestion would be for you to instead of replacing your dentures to get dental implants instead. You’ll find that your quality of life goes up significantly, especially your chewing capacity.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

Teeth Whitening and Pot Stains

Can you tell me if teeth whitening can get rid of pot stains? If so would someone use the tray teeth whitening or the Zoom? Asking for a friend….

Dan S.

Dear Dan,

an attractive white smile
After Teeth Whitening

Here’s what you can tell your friend…

You can imagine there haven’t been any clinical studies done on this to date. Not only is a brand unwilling to give patients marijuana, they’re not likely to align their brand with it either. Though, my guess would be this will change because more states are legalizing its use.

Even without the studies, I can tell you that teeth whitening can remove marijuana stains because of the nature of THC stains that have been observed in patients. That being said, there are some things you should know first.

Any teeth whitening needs be done on clean teeth. If you haven’t had your teeth recently cleaned, the whitening gel will not distribute evenly which will give you blotchy teeth. Not an attractive look.

As to whether to use take-home whitening or Zoom whitening depends on how quickly you need results. Zoom will completely whiten your teeth in one appointment. Take home does it gradually so the results can be as brilliant but will happen over a period of weeks instead of the same day.

Before You Whiten Your Teeth

Are you certain your friend’s stains are from marijuana? THC stains are usually very easy to remove so if your friend regularly brushes his teeth and gets check-ups there really shouldn’t be that much staining, at least not from that.

It could be that he’s assuming it’s from that but they’re actually stained from things like cigarettes or coffee/tea, etc. Those will need professional whitening as they are harder to remove and get into the pores of the teeth more readily.

Pot Smoking and Oral Health

Something else to be aware of. People who smoke marijuana have a much higher rate of gum disease and decay. Most of that has to do with the effects of THC on the gums. I would also venture to guess that when someone is high, they’re binging on lots of food because of the “munchies”. That’s more likely to be things like carbs, sugary snacks, and sodas than it is to be carrot sticks and other healthy snacks. Plus, it’s highly unlikely brushing and flossing after snacking like that is going to be high on their priority list if they happen at all.

Let your friend know how important it is he brush carefully afterward, and also see a dentist regularly. Otherwise, he will develop gum disease which leads to tooth loss. Then he’s looking at expensive tooth replacement options such as dental implants.

Some recreational users avoid the dentist out of fear of being turned in. That’s really not a legitimate fear. They won’t turn him in, with the possible exception of if he came to the office high and was trying to drive himself home. That would make him a public danger.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

If I Get Dentures, will I Get Teeth Right Away?

If I have all my teeth extracted, will I get the teeth removed and dentures put in on the same day? How does that work, am I asleep?

Cora M.

Dear Cora,

Image of Dentures

A lot what happens depends on the type of dentures you get. As for whether you’re asleep, that’s really up to you. There are several options available:

  • Local Anesthetic: Some patients prefer to stay awake for the whole procedure and just use a local so they don’t feel it.
  • Oral Conscious Sedation: Most patients prefer this option. You take a pill that makes you very sleepy and you’ll rest throughout the entire procedure. Many patients find they don’t even remember having it.
  • IV Sedation: Not all sedation dentists have this available. Dr. Cha is one of the few who does and is DOCS certified, so you’ll know you’re in safe hands.

Immediate Dentures

If you elect to have immediate dentures placed you can have your teeth removed and walk out with a full set of dentures that day. While the obvious advantage is having your dentures that day, there are drawbacks. As the swelling goes down they’ll come loose and need re-fitting. Often you’ll need several re-fittings and sometimes a new denture will have to be made when healing is completed six month’s later.

Conventional Dentures

With these, your teeth are removed and you’ll wait about eight weeks for some of the swelling to go down before your dentures are made. This has the benefit of needing fewer re-fittings, feeling better from the start, and costing less.

An Alternative to Dentures

No matter which type of dentures you choose, they both have one major drawback— facial collapse. When your teeth are removed, your jawbone begins shrinking. The reason for that is the redistribution of the minerals. Your body recognizes there are not longer any tooth roots there and assumes the bone is no longer needed. It reabsorbs the minerals to use elsewhere throughout your body. Eventually, you lose so much jawbone, you don’t have enough left to keep your dentures in.

If you get dental implants, it protects you from losing that bone structure. It does that by implanting a prosthetic root into your jaw bone. Then tops it with a porcelain crown. Your body recognizes the root and leaves the minerals where they are. For added benefit, they’re much more secure and more like having your own natural teeth back again.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

Dentist Pressuring Me to Whiten My Teeth

I am getting annoyed at my dentist. I’m planning on getting a dental implant on a front tooth. It’s going to cost me a fortune. Yet, my dentist still isn’t satisfied. He’s nagging me to get my teeth whitened first. That’s even more money. Should I do what he wants? Is there a legitimate reason or is it just a money grab?

Luis F.

Dear Luis,

before teeth whitening
Before Teeth Whitening
After Teeth Whitening
After Teeth Whitening

While I don’t know your dentist or his motives, there is a sound principle behind you getting your teeth whitened ahead of getting your dental implant, especially given the tooth you’re replacing is a visible front tooth.

What your dentist doesn’t seem to have explained to you is the reason. Once the porcelain crown for your dental implant is made, the color cannot be changed. If your teeth are showing some yellowing and you eventually decide to whiten them, you’ll have a beautiful white smile….except for where your implant crown is. That will still match your older yellowed color. That will be both distracting and unattractive.

Doesn’t Teeth Whitening Take Forever?

One argument is that teeth whitening can take weeks to get to the level of whitening the patient wants. When you’re anxious to get started on your implant surgery, that can seem like an unnecessary delay. After all, you could simply replace the crown later when you’re ready to whiten. However, it’s no longer necessary.

With Zoom Whitening, or other brand of in-office whitening, you can completely whiten your teeth in just one appointment. You will want to give it a week before getting your crown though, in order to allow the color to settle a bit. But, with dental implants, that’s not a problem. The implant surgery comes before the crown, so you have plenty of time.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

Please Tell Me I Have Options Other Than Dentures?

I’ve stopped crying long enough to write you. I’m 28 years old. My parents never took me to the dentist. I didn’t really think about it much until last week when my new job told me I had dental insurance. That was kind of exciting. So, I was thrilled to get to go to the dentist for the first time. That feeling quickly turned from elation to despair. He told me that my teeth were a wreck and he should pull them all and replace them with dentures. He really pressured me to do it right then. I was in shock. Dentures! At my age! I burst into tears. That’s when he grew impatient and said, “What did I expect when I neglected my teeth my entire life.” I got angry and walked out. I haven’t neglected my teeth. I brush AND floss everyday, which people who have been to the dentist don’t do. Also, how was it my fault my parents couldn’t afford to take us to the dentist? Is there any chance he’s wrong? I’d think if my teeth were in that bad of shape, I’d know somehow. Wouldn’t I be in pain or even see cavities? If he’s not wrong, are dentures my only option. Please help me!

Annabelle P.

Dear Annabelle,

Tulsa Dentures

Wow! I’m not sure what to say. Mostly, I feel sorrowful that your first experience with the dentist was this negative. Not all dentists are as grumpy as the one you experienced. And they certainly would not have such a pessimistic attitude about your dental health.

You may not feel this way right now, but there is hope. In fact, I’m pretty sure you won’t need dentures at your age. I have no idea why your dentist just jumped right to dentures. That’s generally an absolute last resort, even if you do have to remove all of your teeth.

The first step for you is to get a second opinion and see what the true condition of your teeth is. Most dentists will make it their first priority to save as many teeth as absolutely possible. If you do need to have some teeth removed, dentures won’t be their top recommendation.

Alternatives to Dentures

There are several alternatives to dentures. Most of which are a better option.

Dental Implants

Tulsa Dental implant

This is the ideal tooth replacement. As you can see from the image on the left, this puts a prosthetic tooth root into your jawbone to stabilize a dental crown. The crown serves as the visible part of your teeth. The stability of the implant allows you to eat, drink, and care for your teeth as you normally would.

A Dental Bridge

Tulsa Dental Bridge

Another good option is a dental bridge. It uses the teeth on either side of the extracted tooth to anchor your new false tooth. These are especially useful when the adjacent teeth are needing crowns to begin with. It’s a little less expensive than dental implants as well.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

How Custom Designed Can Porcelain Veneers Be Made?

After the last election I grew discouraged and decided to do something about it. So, I’m running for office. My wife insists I need to improve my smile. She suggests porcelain veneers. I do have an unattractive smile. My teeth are cigarette stained and chipped. One of them is even missing. But, I don’t want my smile made too perfect or I think I won’t be viewed as trustworthy. How custom made can these things be done?

Matt M.

Dear Matt,

Tulsa Porcelain Veneers

It’s noble that you’re wanting to make a difference and are actually doing something about it instead of merely complaining but taking no action. If your smile is unattractive, then your wife is correct. One of the first things people notice about us is our smile. And unfortunately, they’ll make preconceived judgments about us based on its appearance.

Based on your description of your teeth, porcelain veneers will be a perfect solution for you. They can be custom designed to the minutest details. However, how successful and attractive the smile will be, depends a lot on the dentist you choose.

You can have two different dentists work on the exact same smile, attempting the same design, and you’ll get two different results. Ideally, you want a skilled and artistic cosmetic dentist. So, how do you go about finding one of those? The top cosmetic dentists in the world have achieved accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD.com). They can tell you where the closest accredited cosmetic dentists are to your area.

The great news is most of them will have some form of a beautiful smile guarantee, so you can be sure you’re getting exactly the smile you want.

As for your missing tooth, the best solution will be to get a single dental implant. This is the closest thing to having a natural healthy tooth as you can get.

Best of success with your political endeavors. Our country needs statesmen more than politicians.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

My Dentist Refuses to Whiten My Child’s Teeth

My daughter is in Kindergarten. She also does a lot of pageants. Last week she fell and now one of her front teeth has turned gray. I took her to the dentist. He said there’s nothing which can be done for the tooth and just to leave it alone. I was mortified and asked him to at least whiten it. He acted like I was nuts and just said no and left the room. First, can it be whitened? I don’t want it to hurt her chances in the pageants in a couple of months. Second, where can I find a dentist to whiten it? Third, if it can’t be, what can I replace it with? I was thinking a dental flipper for the competitions. That’s what some of my peers do when their daughter’s teeth fall out. Do you have an opinion?

Margaret T.

Dear Margaret,

Tulsa Teeth Whitening and Children

I’m afraid your dentist is correct. A graying tooth cannot be whitened. When a tooth has turned gray from trauma, it means it’s either dead or dying. There’s not a realistic way to whiten it. The tooth will fall out, likely soon. It may likely fall out before the start of her competition. I’m not familiar with these pageants, but as they’re of children, I’d assume they’re used to the competitors missing teeth. It’s a normal part of development.

You mentioned replacing it. Her age really makes that a bad idea. A dental flipper is a temporary tooth replacement while you’re waiting for your more permanent replacement to be completed. However, they’re a choking hazard in young ones because they’re removable. The other options are removable partial dentures, a dental bridge, and dental implants.

All of these, while suitable replacements for an adult, aren’t good ideas for children. The removable partial dentures can also fall out, like the flipper. You wouldn’t want it to catch in her throat. The bridge won’t work because her jaw is changing too rapidly. The same is true for the implants, plus that particular option requires surgery.

If for some reason it doesn’t fall out on its own by the time of the competition, you always have the option of extracting the tooth. Honestly, though, I’m not sure that’s worth the potential trauma to your daughter with such a procedure. I wouldn’t even consider doing it without sedation.

It’s important to give children as many positive experiences with a dentist as possible. We want them to be comfortable going to the dentist so they’ll have good oral care without being afraid.

I hope this helps. I know it’s probably not what you wanted to hear. I’m concerned so many of your peers are using small removable oral appliances on young children. It’s really not recommended.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

Please Tell Me I Don’t Have to Remove All My Teeth

I need some advice. I have avoided the dentist for years. It’s a long story, but my fear started when I was a child after a horrible experience. I started having a toothache which was pretty bad and decided I had to go in. It was equally horrible. He told me all my teeth are bad and I need to remove them and get dentures. He tried to insist I do it then saying I’d die if I didn’t. I started to cry and he essentially said I’m being a baby and did this to myself. Then said if I’m not going to do what’s necessary, I need to leave. I left devastated thinking even if I HAD to do this I didn’t want to do it with someone so insensitive. I’d rather give my money to someone else. But, I’m only 32 years old. Are dentures really my only option? I don’t want to look like my grandma. But, I also don’t want to die.
Stacey A.

Dear Stacey,

Dental implant
Dental Implant

I’m sorry you’ve had such a disastrous experience for a second time. I want to assure you that not all dentists are like this. The behaviour of this dentist makes me question his diagnosis. First, most dentists try to save as many teeth as possible. If it’s not possible to save any teeth, the next best option is dental implants. I don’t know any dentists who would suggest full dentures. They’re a last resort kind of option because of all the drawbacks.

What I’d like you to do is get a second opinion. I’m optimistic at least some of your teeth can be saved. You only mentioned the one toothache. I don’t know if you had any symptoms of gum disease. Some ways to recognize that is gum tenderness and even bleeding when brushing your teeth. If it progresses too far, without treatment, it can cause you to lose your teeth.

As far as threatening death, a tooth infection left untreated can spread to the brain or heart, which will lead to death. Only the severely infected tooth would need to be removed, not all of them.

Whatever teeth you do end up losing, you are better suited having replaced with dental implants. That gives you a prosthetic tooth root which will protect you from losing jawbone. That shrunken look your grandmother has is from that loss of jawbone. It’s called facial collapse and is a side effect of dentures. You won’t have to worry about that from dental implants.

I also wanted to address your dental fear. Most patients with dental anxiety developed it in childhood just like you, due to a negative experience. I’ve found that many patients with dental anxiety do much better with dental sedation. The chance to have pain-free dental experiences generally changes their whole outlook on dentistry. Eventually, many don’t even need the dental sedation anymore.

It’s worth looking into, especially if you end up needing more than that one tooth worked on. It can allow you to get a significant amount of more work done than you normally could in one sitting, all without pain or stress.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

Help! I Have George Washington’s Teeth

I read once that George Washington had fake teeth and hated them. He felt they were a constant embarrassment. You’d think in the 200 plus years since George Washington had to get dentures, things would have changed. They haven’t. I just got dentures. I’m looking in the mirror and feel like I have wooden teeth myself. I’m in tears. Please, please tell me this can be fixed. I’m willing to pay for the whole thing over again. I’m just not willing to look like this!

Christie Y.

Dear Christie,

So, here’s the thing. Things have improved. Your dentist may be a fine general dentist. He may be very skilled at fixing things. But, when you’re talking about something aesthetic, like your smile, you really want someone who is a skilled cosmetic dentist. Dentures can be gorgeous. They can not only look like your natural teeth, they can look like a stunning celebrity smile.

You can try asking your dentist for a refund, explaining how unhappy you are with your appearance. He may just return the fee, though he may keep lab fees so he doesn’t lose money. If you’re willing to get the dentures re-done, you should look for a dentist who’s reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).

These are the top cosmetic dentists in the world. You will not feel like George Washington. You’ll feel like a supermodel.

I want to be sure your dentist spoke with you about the complications of dentures versus dental implants. When you get dentures, you lose jaw bone. Eventually, you won’t have enough jawbone to support your dentures.

Dental implants prevent bone loss. It is a more expensive, but it’s by far a better treatment than dentures if you’re a good candidate. It’s like having healthy teeth in your mouth. I’m worried he hasn’t talked to you about it because his skill isn’t there to perform the procedure. Talk to a qualified dentist to see if you’re a candidate and have them explain the pros and cons of ALL your options.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.