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Posts for: August, 2018

By Signature Smiles, LLC
August 29, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: retainers   orthodontics  
ARetainerHelpsYouKeepYourNewSmileAfterBraces

Moving your teeth to a more functional and attractive alignment is a big undertaking. You can invest months — even years — and a lot of expense to correct a bad bite. But all that effort could be for nothing if your teeth return to their original positions.

The very aspect of dental physiology that makes orthodontics possible can work against you in reverse. Your teeth are not actually rigidly fixed in the bone: they're held in place by an elastic gum tissue known as the periodontal ligament. The ligament lies between the tooth and the bone and attaches to both with tiny fibers.

While this mechanism holds the teeth firmly in place, it also allows the teeth to move in response to changes in the mouth. As we age, for example, and the teeth wear, the ligament allows movement of the teeth to accommodate for the loss of tooth surface that might have been created by the wear.

When we employ braces we're changing the mouth environment by applying pressure to the teeth in a certain direction. The teeth move in response to this pressure. But when the pressure is no longer there after removing the braces or other orthodontic devices, the ligament mechanism may then respond with a kind of “muscle memory” to pull the teeth back to where they were before.

To prevent this, we need to help the teeth maintain their new position, at least until they've become firmly set. We do this with an oral appliance known as a retainer. Just as its name implies it helps the teeth “retain” their new position.

We require most patients to initially wear their retainer around the clock. After a while we can scale back to just a few hours a day, usually at nighttime. Younger patients may only need to wear a retainer for eighteen months or so. Adults, though, may need to wear one for much longer or in some cases permanently to maintain their new bite.

Although having to wear a retainer can be tedious at times, it's a crucial part of your orthodontic treatment. By wearing one you'll have a better chance of permanently keeping your new smile.

If you would like more information on caring for your teeth after braces, 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 “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”


By Signature Smiles, LLC
August 19, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
JohnnysTeethArentRottenAnyMore

Everyone has to face the music at some time — even John Lydon, former lead singer of The Sex Pistols, arguably England’s best known punk rock band. The 59-year old musician was once better known by his stage name, Johnny Rotten — a brash reference to the visibly degraded state of his teeth. But in the decades since his band broke up, Lydon’s lifelong deficiency in dental hygiene had begun to cause him serious problems.

In recent years, Lydon has had several dental surgeries — including one to resolve two serious abscesses in his mouth, which left him with stitches in his gums and a temporary speech impediment. Photos show that he also had missing teeth, which, sources say, he opted to replace with dental implants.

For Lydon (and many others in the same situation) that’s likely to be an excellent choice. Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement today, for some very good reasons. The most natural-looking of all tooth replacements, implants also have a higher success rate than any other method: over 95 percent. They can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch (top or bottom row) of teeth. And with only routine care, they can last for the rest of your life.

Like natural teeth, dental implants get support from the bone in your jaw. The implant itself — a screw-like titanium post — is inserted into the jaw in a minor surgical operation. The lifelike, visible part of the tooth — the crown — is attached to the implant by a sturdy connector called an abutment. In time, the titanium metal of the implant actually becomes fused with the living bone tissue. This not only provides a solid anchorage for the prosthetic, but it also prevents bone loss at the site of the missing tooth — which is something neither bridgework nor dentures can do.

It’s true that implants may have a higher initial cost than other tooth replacement methods; in the long run, however, they may prove more economical. Over time, the cost of repeated dental treatments and periodic replacement of shorter-lived tooth restorations (not to mention lost time and discomfort) can easily exceed the expense of implants.

That’s a lesson John Lydon has learned. “A lot of ill health came from neglecting my teeth,” he told a newspaper reporter. “I felt sick all the time, and I decided to do something about it… I’ve had all kinds of abscesses, jaw surgery. It costs money and is very painful. So Johnny says: ‘Get your brush!’”

We couldn’t agree more. But if brushing isn’t enough, it may be time to consider dental implants. If you would like more information about dental implants, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implants” and “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?


By Signature Smiles, LLC
August 09, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: partial denture  
CantAffordDentalImplantsConsiderPartialDentures

We’ve come a long way in our ability to restore missing teeth. Today’s top choice is dental implants, prized not only for their close resemblance to real teeth but also their durability.

The rise of implants, though, hasn’t put older restorative methods out to pasture—many continue to offer patients a viable and affordable choice for tooth replacement. One example is the removable partial denture (RPD).

Once quite common, RPDs’ popularity has only slightly diminished with the advent of implants. They’re a fair option in terms of dental function and appearance, and much less expensive than implants or fixed bridges.

Similar to a full denture—a removable appliance that replaces all the teeth on a dental arch—a RPD can replace multiple missing teeth in a variety of configurations. A traditional RPD is usually constructed of vitallium, a lightweight but strong metal alloy, which allows for a very thin and comfortable frame. It’s covered in a gum-colored resin or plastic with prosthetic (false) teeth precisely set at the missing teeth’s locations. The appliance stays in place through a series of clasps that attach to the remaining teeth.

 Each RPD is custom-made to fit a patient’s mouth contours and the locations and patterns of the missing teeth. The top design goal for each individual RPD is to minimize any rocking movement during chewing; achieving that goal will depend not only on how many teeth are missing and where, but also what type of teeth are being replaced. For example, teeth missing from the back would require a different support design than teeth missing from the side or front.

RPDs’ biggest benefits are comfortable fit, effective dental function and good appearance. However, their means of attachment can create difficulties keeping remaining teeth clean of disease-causing bacterial plaque. Furthermore, an ill-fitting or unstable RPD could damage or even loosen natural teeth. It’s therefore essential for wearers to diligently practice daily hygiene (including cleaning the RPD) and undergo regular fit monitoring with their dentist.

Even with these constraints, a RPD can do an acceptable job providing dental function. What’s more, it can definitely improve your smile.

If you would like more information on options for dental restoration, 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 “Removable Partial Dentures: Still a Viable Tooth-Replacement Alternative.”


By Signature Smiles, LLC
August 08, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

Cosmetic DentistryDiscover what specific cosmetic dentistry treatment could meet your smile needs.

You want to feel confident in the way you look and you realize that the best way to do this is to improve your smile. Sure, your teeth are healthy but they need to look healthy too, right? You may find that discolorations, chips, and other issues are keeping you from your dream smile. Our Toms River, NJ, cosmetic dentist, Dr. Carmela LaFalce, can give you the smile you are looking for with these popular and most commonly used cosmetic treatments:

Teeth Whitening

We know that having a white, radiant smile is important for most people, if not everyone. Of course, it’s natural for our teeth to dull over time. If you are someone who loves red wine or coffee then you may also be dealing with some rather unpleasant yellow stains, as well.

While there are over-the-counter methods that could help you get a whiter smile, if you want to get a visibly whiter smile in just one whitening session and you want to do it quickly there is no better option than professional in-office teeth whitening. We can easily remove stubborn stains and get smiles several shades whiter in an hour or less.

Dental Bonding

The same tooth-colored moldable material used for dental fillings can also be used solely for cosmetic purposes, as well. This material can be applied to one or more teeth to cover everything from discolorations and chips to cracks, gaps between teeth and even worn teeth. Bonding is a great, easy, and non-invasive way to treat minor-to-moderate cosmetic flaws. Bonding takes anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour to complete and can be performed at your next dental cleaning.

Porcelain Veneers

If you have more serious cosmetic flaws that bonding can’t tackle our Toms River dentist will most likely recommend dental veneers. This is how a lot of Hollywood celebrities have gotten their beautiful smiles. These thin, tooth-colored shells are bonded just to the front of your teeth to improve the shape, size, color, and even the alignment of your smile. That’s right; veneers can even give you a straighter smile without ever needing braces.

Dental Implants

If you are missing one or more teeth and you are looking for a strong, durable restoration that could last decades while functioning just like a real tooth then look no further than dental implants. Implants are small metal posts that are placed into the jawbone where they naturally meld together with one another. Once the jawbone and implant are one, you now have a permanent and stable foundation from which to support a dental crown. Multiple implants can also be placed to support a full set of dentures.

Do you have questions about getting cosmetic dentistry in Toms River, NJ? If you said “yes” then it’s the perfect time to schedule a consultation with us to find out how we can meet your smile needs. Call Signature Smiles today!




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

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