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Posts for: October, 2017

By Signature Smiles, LLC
October 27, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: loose teeth  

A loose baby tooth is normal and expected; a loose permanent tooth is quite another matter: it’s an advanced sign of disease that could lead to losing the tooth.

The reasons for its looseness may vary. You may have experienced “primary occlusal trauma,” in which the teeth have experienced a prolonged excessive biting force beyond their tolerance. This can be caused by habitual grinding or clenching the teeth.

You may have also experienced “secondary occlusal trauma”: although the biting forces are within normal ranges, the teeth still can’t handle the stress due to degraded bone support and gum tissue detachment. Clenching habits combined with weakened bone and gums will only accelerate and worsen the damage.

The most frequent cause in adults for loose teeth is secondary trauma from periodontal (gum) disease. Bacterial plaque built up on teeth from poor oral hygiene causes a chronic infection that eventually weakens gum attachment to the teeth. A loose tooth is a late sign of this damage.

Treatment for disease-based loose teeth has a twofold approach. First, we thoroughly clean the tooth, root and gum surfaces of all plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) to reduce the infection and inflammation and restore tissue health. This is often accompanied by antibiotic treatments to reduce bacteria below the gum tissue.

For the loose teeth themselves, we may need to modify the forces against them while the gums and bone heal. One way to lessen the biting force on a tooth is to reshape its and the opposing tooth’s biting surfaces. For extensive looseness we can also splint the affected tooth or teeth with other teeth. Temporarily, we can apply splinting material to the outside of both the loose and stable teeth or cut a small channel into them and apply bonding material to join them. A permanent option is to crown both the affected teeth and nearby stable teeth and fuse the crowns together.

These and other stabilizing techniques, like occlusal night guards to reduce the effects of teeth grinding or orthodontic treatment, will help secure the teeth. Coupled with disease treatment and renewed dental care and hygiene practices, you may be able to keep that loose tooth from being lost.

If you would like more information on treating loose teeth, 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 “Treatment for Loose Teeth.”


So, you’ve just acquired an attractive restoration with dental implants. You may be thinking at least with these teeth you won’t have to worry about dental disease.

Think again. While the implants and their porcelain crowns are impervious to decay the surrounding gums and bone are still vulnerable to infection. In fact, you could be at risk for a specific type of periodontal (gum) disease called peri-implantitis (inflammation around the implant).

Bacterial plaque, the thin bio-film most responsible for gum disease, can build up on implant crowns just as it does on natural tooth surfaces. If it isn’t removed with daily brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings the bacteria can trigger an infection in the gums.

Besides weakening gum tissues, gum disease can also cause bone loss, of critical importance to dental implants. An implant depends on the bone they’re inserted in to hold them in place. If the bone around an implant becomes infected it could begin to be lost or dissolve (resorb), which could lead to loss of the implant.

That’s why it’s critical to keep the natural tissue structures supporting your implants infection-free. Not only is daily hygiene a must, but your implants and any remaining natural teeth should undergo professional cleaning at least twice a year or more if your dentist recommends it.

Cleanings involving implants will also be a bit different from natural teeth. While the dental materials used in the crown and implant post are quite durable, regular cleaning instruments can scratch them. Although tiny, these scratches can become hiding places for bacteria and increase your risk of infection.

To avoid this, your hygienist will use instruments (known as scalers and curettes) usually made of plastics or resins rather than metal. The hygienist may still use metal instruments on your remaining natural teeth because their enamel can tolerate metal without becoming scratched creating a smoother surface.

While keeping implants clean can sometimes be a challenge, it’s not impossible. Implants on average have a long-term success rate above 95%. With both you and your dentist caring and maintaining these state-of-the-art restorations, you may be able to enjoy them for decades.

If you would like more information on caring for dental implants, 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 “Dental Implant Maintenance: Implant Teeth must be Cleaned Differently.”

By Signature Smiles, LLC
October 03, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers   cosmetic dentistry  

Don’t you want to feel confident showing off your smile to those around you?veneers

Have you ever noticed that the more you smile the happier you feel? Even if you aren’t in the best of moods if you can find a moment to genuinely smile throughout the day this could actually elevate your mood and make you feel better. Of course, if you aren’t proud of your smile then you may find yourself hiding it from those around you. Why not let your smile show? Our Toms River, NJ, cosmetic dentist Dr. Carmela LaFalce can help!

Ask yourself these questions?

  1. Do you have discolorations that even professional teeth whitening can’t treat?
  2. Do you have cracks or chips in multiple teeth that are visible and prominent?
  3. Do you have gaps between teeth, crooked teeth or teeth that slightly overlap one another?
  4. Is your smile asymmetrical or uneven?
  5. Do you have teeth that are worn down due to teeth grinding or jaw clenching?
  6. Do you have some teeth that are badly misshapen or malformed?

If you said “yes” to one or more of these questions then you’ve come to the right place. Our Toms River, NJ, dentist can provide you with the restoration your teeth need to finally have a straight, even smile.

Chances are good that you’ve heard about dental veneers, but how much do you really know? We are here to provide you with a little information to shed some light on why this might be the ideal cosmetic dental treatment to turn your smile around:

  • Dental veneers are extremely thin shells made from porcelain, which means that they aren’t just durable but they also resemble the look and color of natural teeth.
  • Each veneer is custom made based on measurements and impressions taken of your smile. So, whether you choose to get just one veneer or a whole set, you know that these restorations are specially made to fit your smile and your smile alone.
  • Traditional dental veneers require very little tooth preparation compared to other options like dental crowns. During tooth preparation, we will remove a small layer of enamel from the front of your teeth (usually no more than 0.5mm) to accommodate your veneers.
  • Veneers can last years with the proper care.

Turn to Signature Smiles in Toms River, NJ, to get the smile you’ve always wanted. Schedule your consultation today to find out if dental veneers are the right choice for you.

Carmela LaFalce, DMD
Dentist - Toms River
616 Washington St
Toms River, NJ 08753

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