Six Reasons Why Dental Implants Might Be the Best Option

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Missing teeth can have a huge impact on a person’s health and confidence. Often, those missing teeth make it difficult to chew, which affects your diet. Facial features can change if there is bone loss in conjunction with the missing teeth. And for many people with missing teeth, their confidence takes a hit because they are so self-confident about how they look and how they eat.

Historically, dental bridges and dentures have been the primary solution to helping people with missing teeth. But the development of dental implants has provided patients with a new choice that can be a “game-changer” for a patient’s life.

Here are six reasons why a dental implant might be the right choice for you if you are missing teeth.

Prevents Bone Loss

If you replace a lost tooth with a dental implant, it will prevent the bone from starting to reabsorb because it replaces the root. If you don’t take this approach, you may eventually require a bone graft because of the bone reabsorption process. You will need to make sure that too much time doesn’t pass between when you lose your tooth and begin the dental implant process.

Enhances Your Quality of Life

Implants look and feel like your own teeth, so your quality of life is bound to be improved. Dental bridges and dentures can be difficult to take care of and wear, and dental crowns can feel and look like they aren’t natural.

Eating Is Easier – Which Helps You Be Healthier

With dental bridges, dentures and crowns, eating can be a hassle. You may have problems with certain types of foods (crunchy or sticky foods can be difficult) adversely impacting the crown, denture or bridge. If you have a dental implant, you won’t have to worry about a bridge or denture slipping or a crown coming off.  Crunchy vegies, chewy steak, sticky caramel rolls – none of them will present a problem chewing if you have implants. And since you will be able to thoroughly chew your food with implants, your digestion will improve and so will your health.

Stop Worrying

Your dental implant won’t slip or move when you chew food, laugh, cough or sneeze. They are permanently attached to your jawbone and are as sturdy as natural teeth that are healthy.

Naturally Restores Your Mouth

An implant is the best dental approach to replicating the original tooth that you lost. It matches the structure of the original tooth as close as possible and is the sturdiest and most natural looking option available.

Food Can Have Flavor

For folks who wear an upper denture, the full flavor of any food they eat is seriously reduced. With a dental implant, you won’t have that problem. You’ll be able to enjoy the full flavor of whatever food you are eating.

If you would like more information about the advantages of dental implants, the procedure to put them into your mouth, and their cost, meet with a dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs for a complimentary consultation.

Source: Worldental.org, American Dental Plan

Why Are All Mouth Guards Not Created Equal?

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Did you know that athletes who don’t use a mouth guard are nearly 60 times more likely to suffer an injury to their mouth? And did you know that the mouth guard you choose can have a huge impact on how well your son’s or daughter’s teeth are protected from a blow to the face? Losing a permanent tooth can create a lifetime of problems for a young athlete, including impacting their smile, speech, eating and self-image.

Mouth guards are designed to reduce the risk of a blow to the face injuring – or breaking – your teeth or hurting your tongue, lips, face and jaw. They generally cover the teeth in your upper jaw and are especially important for the oral health of any athlete involved in a contact sport – football, lacrosse, hockey, wrestling, rugby, and boxing. Mouth guards can also prevent injury in sports that don’t feature constant contact, like baseball or basketball.

While wearing any type of mouth guard is better than not wearing a mouth guard at all, certain types of mouth guards provide superior protection and have less impact on an athlete’s speech, breathing, and comfort while wearing the mouth guard.

So what are the three main types of mouth guards?

Stock: These mouth guards are relatively cheap and you purchase them already formed and ready to wear. However, they are usually bulky and ill-fitting and negatively impact breathing and talking. Those issues usually reduce an athlete’s performance.

Boil and bite: You can purchase this type of mouth guard at most sporting goods stores and often at drug stores or big box stores like Walmart or Target. You soften them initially in boiling water, then insert them into your mouth so that the softened mouth guard can shape itself to your mouth.

Custom-fitted: These are the best type of mouth guards because they are one-of-a-kind and made just for you. Your dentist will personally fit these to your mouth – it takes just 30 minutes for the fitting -  and the custom manufacturing takes less than a week.

Among the benefits of a custom-fitted mouth guard from your dentist are:

  • Comfortable fit
  • Clear speech
  • Enhanced breathing
  • Better protection
  • Ease of drinking
  • Customizable colors
  • Different thicknesses

Give your dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs a call about making an appointment for a custom-fitted mouth guard. Your son or daughter involved in sports will thank you for protecting their mouth for a lifetime!

SOURCE: American Dental Association

8 Options for A Great Grin

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If you feel like your pearly whites need some help to enhance your smile, then you have an array of options to choose from at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs. These range from changing the shape of your teeth to closing gaps in your smile; from making them whiter to removing plaque and taking care of cavities.

Here are 8 common dental procedures that will help you have a happy, healthy smile!

Teeth Whitening

Over time, your teeth often lose their shade of white because of the chemicals in the food and drink that you consume. Lehigh Valley Smile Designs can create a customized mouthpiece tray that makes sure you’ll get the correct amount of whitening solution on your teeth when you use the tray.

Crowns

Crowns are designed to completely cover your tooth, giving it a normal appearance and shape. Crowns – also called caps – are used by the team at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs for a variety of dental problems. These range from using a crown to cover a large filling to providing a weak tooth with added protection. Crowns are also used after a root canal procedure, to cover a dental implant, or hold a dental bridge in place.

A variety of materials can be used to make a crown, including metal, porcelain fused to metal, resin, or ceramic materials. Although more costly than some other dental procedures, permanent crowns can have a long life if you take good care of them.

Bonding

If you have teeth with extra space between them, or teeth that are broken, stained, chipped or cracked, then bonding might be the answer to your dental problem. Bonding can often be done in one office visit and involves applying an etching solution to the tooth and then adding tooth-colored materials (often a composite resin) to the tooth’s surface. Bonding usually lasts for several years, but is more likely to chip or become stained vs. other restoration types.

Veneers

Veneers are usually made of porcelain and are designed to cover the front of your tooth to alter the color and shape. They last longer than bonding and give your tooth a better appearance. They are usually a bit cheaper than crowns. Veneers can help teeth that have spaces between them, are permanently stained, are chipped or worn, are slightly crooked, or are shaped poorly. When you come in for your initial visit, the dentist at  Lehigh Valley Smile Designs will take a tooth impression. On your second visit, the dentist will prepare the tooth before cementing the veneer on the tooth. The dentist then uses a light beam to harden the cement.

Enamel Shaping and Contouring

This procedure can help alter the shape, length or position of your teeth. The dentist uses dental enamel to enhance your teeth’s appearance. Reshaping and contouring often is used to correct overlapping or crooked teeth, irregular and chipped teeth, or minor bite problems. It is often used in conjunction with bonding.

Bridges

Often a dental bridge is called a fixed partial denture. It is used to replace teeth you are missing with artificial teeth and can be made of porcelain, gold, alloys or a combination of materials. Dental bridges are anchored onto other teeth after preparing them for crowns. Then a false tooth joins to the crowns and the bridge is cemented onto the prepared teeth.

Braces

If you have crooked teeth – or suffer from an underbite, overbite, or other problems with your jaw or teeth - braces are often your best solution. It can take a few months to several years depending on the severity of your dental issue. Braces can be made from ceramic, metal or plastic, with wire connecting them. The process is often uncomfortable, but the end result is worth it to many people

If the problem you need correcting is not severe, you may be able to use clear aligner trays to address your problem. This approach is more convenient and less painful, but often more expensive. But for many people, the cost is worth the outcome.

Implants

While implants can be one of the more expensive dental procedures, they are one of the best solutions to dental problems because of their permanence and stability. Many people prefer them to removable dentures (which can fall out easily). Your dentist at  Lehigh Valley Smile Designs surgically connects the implant to your jawbone. The result is strikingly realistic looking teeth that won’t lose their shade of white. There are multiple steps involved in putting in an implant, so you’ll need to visit your dentist several times over many months.

Of course, many of the solutions we’ve outlined aren’t needed if you take care of your teeth through proper oral hygiene, Be sure to brush twice daily, floss daily, and visit  Lehigh Valley Smile Designs every six months for a check-up and dental hygiene cleaning.

Sources: Worldental.org, WebMD

Are Dental Implants the Right Solution for You?

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Did you know that simply smiling improves your attitude – even if you are by yourself? That’s just one of the many ways that having a mouth free of decay or missing teeth can have an impact on your health – both mental and physical. It’s also hard to eat a balanced diet if you have ongoing tooth issues since many of the healthy foods you need are hard to chew. Plus if you’re missing teeth, you’ll probably have a tell-tale “hollow-cheek” look.

If you are missing teeth or have teeth that are so decayed they need to be removed, you’re best option is often a dental implant. Other solutions, depending on your condition, are a crown (on the original tooth), dentures (which you remove regularly and put back in), or a bridge (anchored to an existing tooth). All three tend to need replacement or adjustments periodically, and can have problems with usage or aesthetics.

Although dental implants are the most expensive solution, they are a much more effective permanent solution that restores your smile and upgrades your overall health. And because they feel and look just like your natural teeth – and work the same way – you’ll notice a definite improvement in your quality of life.

Implants will prevent bone loss because they replace the tooth from its root. Other options don’t do that, which means the bone in that area may start to break down due to a resorption process which can lead to further oral health complications. You also want to make sure you don’t wait too long after losing a tooth to start the implant process. Waiting too long can mean you will need bone grafts.

Dental implants can also be used as the “anchor” for a dental arch if you have lost all of your upper or lower teeth. Called an “All-on-4” denture, this process involves four implants strategically placed in your upper or lower jaw and then an arch or bridge is screwed onto the implants, restoring all of your teeth.

You will also find with dental implants that you can eat any type of foods – you’ll have no restrictions! Crispy vegetables, chewy steak, sticky caramel-covered apples – you can eat them all. You’ll also be able to chew properly, which means your digestion will be improved.

Dental implants involve a titanium “rod” being inserted into the root of your tooth or bone, so you don’t have to worry about slippage or movement of the artificial tooth that is attached to the implant. Sneeze, cough, laugh, chew vigorously – none of those usual things will impact your dental implant!

To restore your mouth to its original state, dental implants are your best option. The natural state of an original tooth is reproduced, so it’s like having real teeth again that don’t move or slip or require high maintenance (like a denture).

You’ll also be able to taste food normally again with dental implants if you’re switching from using upper dentures. With dentures, your plate is sealed, which means you can’t taste the full flavor of your food. Dental implants, however, don’t cover your palate and you can enjoy the maximum flavors of food.

When you are ready to take a look at your oral restoration options, consider dental implants. We recommend that you meet with a dentist from Lehigh Valley Smile Designs for a complimentary exam to determine if implants are your preferred option. You can also find out what your treatment plan would be, how much it would cost, and learn about financing options.

Source: Worldental.org, American Dental Plan