Category Archives: Dental Implants

Considerations Before Getting Dental Implants

illustration of a dental implant
Dental Implant Diagram

You’ve lost a few teeth and need to replace them. While all the buzz is about dental implants when it comes to tooth replacement options, there are some things to ask yourself before deciding. Here are some questions to consider:

Have All My Options Been Explained?

Yes, dental implants are a fantastic way to replace missing teeth, but it’s important you know your options so you can be sure you chose the correct option for you. For instance, if you’re only replacing one tooth, but one or more of the two adjacent teeth need crowns, then a dental bridge would make more sense. If you’re missing all your teeth, getting a dental implant on every tooth would cost up to $84,000. Getting implant overdentures addresses all the same needs with significant cost savings. Be sure to ask your dentist to explain all your options along with their pros and cons when you book your consultation.

Are You Committed to Proper Oral and Health Care?

If you’ve lost your teeth because you have gum disease, that will have to be addressed before getting dental implants. Gum disease will cause the implant to fall out just the way your teeth did. Once your gums are healthy, it’s fine to go ahead and get the implants. However, if you’re not willing to care for your teeth with regular brushing and flossing, along with visits to the dentist, you’ll end up right back where you are now. In that case, you’d be better off not investing in something you won’t care for. Removable partial dentures may be a better option for you.

If you’re a smoker, this is a larger contributor to both gum disease and dental implant failure. The reason behind that is smoking causes a reduction of blood flow in your gums. This slows healing time, which often leads to infections. You’ll want to consider quitting or at least severly cutting back if you’re serious about dental implants.

Think About Your Long-Term Goals

These are meant to be a permanent replacement. That’s great, but if you’ve been unhappy with a dingy smile, you’ll want to take care of that before getting your implants done. Get your teeth whitened. This way when your dentist creates your implant crowns, they can be made to match your beautiful new fresher, whiter color. It’s a great way to come away with not just a full set of chompers, but one you’re proud to share as well. Make sure you discuss with your dentist any long-term goals you have for your smile at your consultation. This way the two of you can work out a logical plan that will save you money in the end.

Make Sure You Book with an Experienced Implant Dentist

This is an advanced procedure which requires extensive post-doctoral training. Don’t hesitate to ask the dentist where they received their dental implant training as well as the number of cases they have performed, as well as their success rate. It should be around 98%.

While not everyone is a dental implant candidate. They are the closest option to having healthy natural teeth in your mouth.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Dental Implants Turned My Gums Gray

I’m worried something is seriously wrong. I had two dental implants placed on my front teeth. They’ve been on for a few months now. While I sort of like how the implant crowns look, the surrounding gums have turned gray. Are the implants causing an infection? Will I lose the implants?

Melissa

Dear Melissa,

illustration of a dental implant

The good news is that you’re probably not dealing with an infection. If you were, there would be a fever and pain involved, neither of which did you mention. More likely, the titanium from your dental implants is showing through your gums. This could be from one of two reasons or a combination of both.

You probably have thin gum tissue which contributes to it. The placement of the implants is also a big factor. If your dentist isn’t experienced in placing dental implants, he may have placed them without factoring in the depth of your gum tissue. I suspect that’s the issue. Another reason I’m wondering about the skill of your implant dentist is your disappointment with the look of the crowns. But, first, let’s talk about your options for your gray gums.

Obviously, your first option is to live with it. If it’s not visible when you smile, that may be acceptable to you. If the gums are visible, then you won’t want to leave them. In that case, you’ll need to have them re-done. If it turns out they weren’t properly placed for the thinness of your gums, you could get at least a partial refund. A second opinion by an expert implant dentist can tell you that.

When you have them replaced, you can either get titanium implants again or you can get Zirconia Implants. These are white and more easily masked. These are also great for people who have severe metal allergies because they are metal-free.

Can Dental Implant Crowns be Beautiful?

When you’re talking about getting restorations on your front teeth, it especially important you find a skilled and artistic cosmetic dentist. Ideally, you’d want an AACD accredited dentist. They’re the cream of the crop when it comes to cosmetic dentistry. But, very few dentists are accredited so you may not find one at a reasonable distance from you. In that case, look on the mynewsmile.com website.

They only recommend the best cosmetic dentists. Many of them are on their way to accreditation, which is a lengthy process. If a dentist is on their list, they’ll give you a beautiful smile.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Can a Diabetic Get All-on-4 Dental Implants

After my husband died I really struggled. I stopped taking care of myself. I gained 100 pounds, developed diabetes, and even developed gum disease which led to losing several teeth. I didn’t care. Then, one day I was at a park and smiled at a little girl and she asked if I was homeless. I realized then, things had to change. I have a full life ahead of me. I started eating right. I joined a gym. I’ve almost completely lost all the weight I gained and I no longer have gum disease. I asked my dentist about what he recommended for my missing teeth and he suggested all-on-4 dental implants. I was super thrilled about the idea of having a full mouth of teeth again. But, I went home to do some research and learned that diabetics shouldn’t get them. I don’t want to pay all that money if it’s not going to work. What should I do? I really want teeth again.

Carra

Dear Carra,

illustration of a dental implant

First, let me add my condolences. Don’t be too hard on yourself regarding how you dealt with your grief in the beginning. It’s almost suffocating to lose a loved one and we all seem to lose ourselves at first too. You should be really thrilled with the incredible progress you’ve made since then. I think the healthy changes you’ve made are remarkable.

For the most part, dental implants have a 98% success rate when done by an experienced implant dentist. There are some factors which make patients more at risk for implant failure. The biggest of these are:

  • Gum Disease
  • Smoking
  • Uncontrolled Diabetes

You’ve already taken care of your gum disease, which is huge. A responsible dentist will NEVER give a patient who has gum disease dental implants. There’s no way for your body to retain them well, just like when you suffered from gum disease, they couldn’t retain your natural teeth. They will fail. Because you’ve already turned that around it’s not a worry for you.

You didn’t mention anything about smoking, which I hope means you’re not a smoker. Smoking lowers your blood flow in your gums which increases your risk of infection, a leading cause of dental implant failure. You also increase your risk of redeveloping gum disease.

Your diabetes is under control, so again, Yay! not a problem for you. I think you’re likely a good candidate for dental implants.

Are All-on-4 Dental Implants the Right Choice for You?

The only real reason to do the All-on-4 procedure rather than traditional implants is bone loss. Sometimes, with gum disease and tooth loss, you lose so much jawbone structure you don’t have enough to retain dental implants. All-on-4 is one way to get around that. However, there is a better, more reliable option.

If you don’t have enough bone to support traditional dental implants, I’d consider getting bone grafting done. It will build back up your bone structure. Then you’re free to get whatever procedure you want. I hope this helps you make your decision.

Best of luck and congratulations on all your hard work!
This blog is brought to you by AACD Accredited dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

My Dentist is Gouging Me

I have full snap-on dental implants. I have four posts. I fairly regularly need the locator male retention caps. I’ve looked online, but they only seem to allow dentists to purchase them. Unfortunately, my dentist charges me $30 for one! I can tell they come in sets of four for $20. That’s a huge markup and one I just can’t afford to keep paying. Do I have other options?

Brandon

Dear Brandon,

dental implants anchoring dentures

Ouch! I’m guessing your dentist has high overhead and is using that markup to cover some of that. However, that’s quite a markup. You do want to keep up with your maintenance, especially after investing so much money in your dental implants. I have a couple of options for you that may help.

First, most dentists are very generous people and understand how expensive life can be. You could call around to a different dental office explaining your situation. It’s usually the dental assistant not the dentist who orders those materials using the dentist’s code. You could see if one of them would be willing to order for you and allow you to pay much less than your current dentist, making it affordable for you. You might even find someone who’d be willing to sell it to you at cost.

Another option is ebay. There are dental implant locator caps available there from overseas which don’t require any documentation that you’re a dental professional. They sell for about $20 per set. There is a catch though, it’s important you know EXACTLY what you need, including the resistance. They vary and you don’t want to end up with the wrong ones. Because of that, I’d try other dentists in your area first.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Dental Implants for Stuntman?

Hoping you can point me in the right direction. I’m a stuntman and normally have no problems. But, in the last six months, I’ve lost two teeth. That’s quite a spate of bad luck for me. I need to replace those teeth but wondered if dental implants are stronger or a dental bridge. I don’t want anything removable because I’d think that would be a choking hazard.

Carlton

Dear Carlton,

Illustration of a dental implant

I’m glad you’re taking the time to research this ahead of time. You’re in a unique situation and have to be certain you’re getting the absolute best tooth replacement. Before we discuss your options, I want to make sure you’re wearing a mouthguard during your stunts. If you’re worried about appearance, your dentist can fashion one that will look like teeth.

Another thing to consider is whether you’re losing more teeth because of accidents at work or if they’re a little looser than normal because of some gum disease. If that’s the case, you’ll want to have your dentist start treatments right away or you’ll continue to lose teeth.

I’m not saying that’s the issue, just that you want to try to pinpoint why you’re losing teeth to see if you can eliminate the issue. Though, you can’t very well do anything about a run of bad luck.

Dental Implant versus Dental Bridge

As you can see from the illustration above a dental implant places a prosthetic root into your jawbone, making it the most stable replacement option. The implant mimics your tooth root. After the healing time and the bone has reformed around your dental implant, it will be as strong as your natural teeth were. But, just like you’ve broken your natural teeth, you can break your dental implant if enough force is applied.

An illustration of a dental bridge

The other option you asked about was a dental bridge. While a dental bridge will be bonded on (see image directly above), it’s not implanted into your jaw. They’re still stable, but not quite as stable as an implant.

Because of that dental implants are generally the better choice. However, if the adjacent teeth already need crowns, then a bridge may make more sense, though, you can certainly get more than one dental implant if you wanted.

Hopefully, your spate of bad luck will change soon.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Dentist Said I’m Too Old for Dental Implants?

I’m a little distressed and hoping my dentist is mistaken. He’s been my dentist for years, but sometimes I get the impression he doesn’t exactly “keep up” with the developments in his field. I’ve had dentures for 25 years. Back then I’d never even heard about dental implants. My dentures never really looked natural, but it’s getting impossible to keep them in even though I completely replaced them a few years ago. To top it off, now my face is smushing around them. I asked my dentist about dental implants and all he said was, “Not at your age.” I’m sick of dentures. Is there any way for a mature woman to get implants?

Sarah L.

Dear Sarah,

dental implants anchoring dentures

I’m sorry your dentist gave you the impression that your age would preclude you from getting dental implants. If you’re in good health otherwise, there isn’t really a reason why you can’t have them. Though, the length of time you’ve had dentures will require you to have another procedure done ahead of time in order to make them viable.

When your teeth were removed, your body started reabsorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere throughout your body. While great for other aspects of your body, it’s a horror for your jawbone. This is why your dentures no longer fit and why your face has scrunched up around them. This is known as facial collapse.

Dental Implants are a Great Solution

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to that bone loss. Bone grafting can now be done as a one-day procedure. Once you have enough jawbone again, you’ll be good to go to get dental implants. The best part is, with implants in your jaw, you won’t have to worry about losing any more jawbone.

Now, I want you to know your dentures could have been made to look beautiful and natural, though you’d still have the same problem with the bone loss. What the dentures look like is really down to the cosmetic abilities of the dentist. It sounds like your dentist isn’t very artistic.

Unfortunately, you won’t get any better results from him next time, unless he’s done extensive training since then. If you want a beautiful smile, you need to find a different dentist to do these implants.

Who Should Do Your Dental Implants?

There are two things which need to factor into who you go to for this procedure.

1. Technical skill. They’ll need extensive training in the implant procedure. You want to make sure they’ve done post-graduate training.

2. Cosmetic Ability. If they get the implants right, that’s great, but you won’t like your smile much if he doesn’t make the implant crowns beautiful. The most artistic dentists are AACD accredited. In fact, many of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Can’t Eat Since Getting Dental Implants

I need help and I’m not sure how to get it. Over a year ago I went to the dentist for the first time in a long time. She said my teeth couldn’t be saved and recommended removing all of them and replacing them with dental implants. I couldn’t afford that initial procedure she recommended, but we finally settled on implant supported dentures. Even then, I had to get a loan through this program they use. Ever since the implants were placed I’ve been in massive pain. In fact, I’m in more pain now than I was when this started. I’d hoped when they added the denture after my healing period I’d feel better. That’s what the dentist’s office told me too. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. In fact, it hurts so much I can’t even wear the dentures. I’ve lost over 60 pounds because I’ve essentially been on a liquid diet for this whole time. I can’t live like this anymore. The dentist says everything’s fine and I’ll adjust, but I’m not seeing any improvement. What do I do?

Belinda K.

Dear Belinda,

Salem Dental Implants

I’m sorry you’ve been in so much pain and am a little concerned that you’re losing so much weight and your dentist doesn’t seem to care. While some postoperative pain is normal, what you’re experiencing seems to be anything but normal. Your dentist should be willing to make this right on her own, but it seems like she may need a little nudge.

If it were just the dentures hurting I’d think they’re just in need of adjustment. But, this pain has been consistent from the beginning. I haven’t examined you, but I am wondering if the dental implants were improperly placed. What I’d like you to do is get a second opinion from a highly skilled implant dentist. Look at some of the training and experience Dr. Burba has to get an idea of what kind of dentist you’ll want to visit to have this looked at. Don’t tell them who your dentist is, just explain your symptoms and go from there.

If it turns out your dentist did something that caused the problem you should be able to get a full refund. You’ll still be in the position of needing to replace all your teeth. Implant-supported dentures are a good option. Unfortunately, once you’ve had implants placed, if you lose them, you’ll need to have bone grafting done in order to have more. This procedure is fairly easy and can be completed in a day.

I almost wish you’d had a second opinion before going through all this. There may have been a chance to save at least some of your teeth. Of course, there’s no turning back the clock now. Hopefully, your experience will help someone else.

I’m also hopeful you can get this resolved quickly just by getting a second opinion. I’m sorry you’ve had such a negative experience.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

How Does Lil’ Wayne Have Permanent Grills?

I’ve got a friend who wants grills. I’ve been under the impression they’re temporary, which I thought would be okay because when she’s trying to get a job she can take them out. But, she’s saying she’s getting permanent ones like Lil’ Wayne. I’m worried she’s going to regret that decision. I’m hoping she’s wrong and she can’t get them permanently placed. Did he get dental implants?  That would be surgery. She tends to make really stupid decisions.

Stacey P.

Dear Stacey,

While you’re right that most grills are removable, there are some which are permanently placed.  You’re right, like dental implants, it does require surgery.

Lil’ Wayne has admitted that on a show with Jimmy Kimmel, as you can see here.

 

Hopefully, your friend has a good dentist who will help her think through the type of issues you brought up. She certainly has a good friend who is looking out for her.

The dentist should remind her that Lil’ Wayne is in a career where grills can be an asset, at least today. Trends change all the time. Maybe your friend will make a smarter decision than you’re giving her credit for.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Why Do My Dental Implant Keep Snapping Off?

Can you help me? I’m feeling desperate at this point?  I needed to replace a tooth I’d lost many years ago. My dentist insisted I get bone grafting done first, which I did. That had to heal. Then I had the implant surgery.  That required more healing.  Finally, a year later, I received the implant crown. Just a month later, it snapped off. My dentist offered to re-do everything. So, I go through it all again. The end of year two approaches. Then again, just a few weeks later the implant breaks.  He says he’ll re-do it one more time, but that is it. He thinks I’m doing something reckless with the implants, but I’ve racked my brain and cannot come up with what I’m doing wrong. Can you help me?

Katrina V. – Pennsylvania

Katrina,

The problem isn’t you. It’s your dentist. Tell him you just want a refund and get this done somewhere else. Dental implants shouldn’t break off like that.  When there is dental implant failure of this type,  it is usually for one of two reasons.

  1. Your dentist is cutting corners by purchasing implant materials overseas. A well-made implant will cost at least $200 here. If they’re purchased overseas they’re only a few dollars. The big problem with that, is they’re so cheap because they’re made cheaply.

When the first one broke it should have given your dentist pause to think about why.

2. A second reason for an implant to break is the dentist isn’t placing them properly. It’s not just a matter of lining up the implant to handle direct force. Our teeth move in a grinding motion, too, when we chew our food. If the implant isn’t carefully placed, just chewing will weaken and eventually snap.

I don’t like the fact that your dentist is trying to blame you for his incompetence. Either he was too incompetent to place them properly or he was too incompetent to recognize the implants he purchased were cheaply made and not holding up.

When you do go to another dentist to have these done, make sure it’s a dentist with enough training to be considered a dental implant specialist.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Worried I’m Losing My Dental Implants

I struggle with gum disease. It’s been affecting my teeth and now I’m worried it’s affecting my dental implants. A few months ago I had dental implants placed after losing two teeth. My dentist tried to save them. He knew gum disease was in issue. In fact, we even doubled my dental appointments, getting me cleanings every three months. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts the teeth were lost. He said it was important I replace the teeth or the remaining ones will shift. His recommendation was dental implants. I LOVE them, but now am worried. They’re feeling a little loose. Am I at risk of losing those too?  Please tell me it’s not too late to save them?

Abigail W. – New Hampshire

Abigail,

I’m concerned about some of the things you’ve written. First, let’s talk about your gum disease. Simply increasing your cleanings and check-ups, while a good start is not enough.  They should have been doing specific treatments for your gums.

If you have gum disease he should have never given you dental implants. Gum disease is contraindicative for implants. Without intervention quickly, you’re going to lose your implants. If you think about it, it’s only logical. If your gums weren’t healthy enough to retain your teeth, they’re not going to be able to retain your gums either.

My recommendation for you is to see a different dentist who treats dental implants.  This one has obviously not given you the proper care.

If you get in quickly, there’s a chance you can save your implants.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.