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Posts for tag: dental implants

By Signature Smiles, LLC
May 11, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental implants  

Dental implants are superior tooth replacements that last for years and years. At Signature Smiles in Toms River, NJ, Dr. Carmela LaFalce performs dental implant treatments including initial evaluation, placement, restoration, and aftercare. Enjoy your complete smile for life!

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are artificial, or prosthetic, teeth. A single-tooth implant has a titanium root, surgically inserted into the jaw and a metal post and porcelain crown. In the case of extensive tooth loss, Dr. LaFalce may place two, four, or six implants to support a full or partial denture.

Dental implants adhere to the jaw bone. This bonding process is called osseointegration, and it is exclusive to implants. Other tooth replacements just rest on the gums. Because of osseointegration, implants chew, bite, and feel like real teeth.

What's the best way to take care of them?

Dental implants look just like natural teeth, and thankfully, routine oral hygiene habits are the best way to care for them. Implant patients must remove at least 85 percent of plaque and other biofilms every day to keep implant sites and surrounding teeth healthy.

Use a low-abrasion toothpaste, strand floss, and/or interproximal picks and mouth rinse as Dr. LaFalce advises. Get your six-month cleanings and check-ups at Signature Smiles, and very importantly, stop smoking. It increases your chances of implant infection and failure.

Additionally, treat all your teeth--both natural and dental implants--with respect. Don't use them to open bottles or chew excessively hard foods such as peanut brittle or caramel apples. Wear a bite guard if you clench or grind your teeth.

What to do if you damage your crown

Dental crowns, while durable, are not indestructible. If you crack or chip your dental implant, come to our Toms River office for repair or replacement. Dr. LaFalce offers CEREC same-day crowns, lifelike restorations crafted and placed in the office in just about an hour.

Find out more

Dental implant placement and restoration are just two of the many dental services we provide at Signature Smiles in Toms River. We look forward to seeing you again and providing for all your preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry needs. In the meantime, call Dr. Carmela LaFalce with any pressing concerns or questions you may have regarding your oral health:(732) 244-4114.

By Signature Smiles, LLC
July 10, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Your best smile depends on your oral health. Any smile gap compromises your speech, biting, chewing and gum and bone structure. At dental implantsSignature Smiles in Toms River, your dentist, Dr. Carmela LaFalce, can determine if you need dental implants and refer you to a periodontist to place the dental implant. Afterward, Dr. LeFalce can restore the implant with a dental crown to complete your restoration. They're today's most popular and effective tooth replacements.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant replaces a tooth lost to injury, decay, infection, or congenital abnormality and weakness such as peg-shaped incisor or small-sized second molar. Different from conventional bridges or dentures, this prosthetic stands in for the entire natural tooth--in other words, from root to crown.

To anchor the custom-fabricated crown of the single-tooth dental implant, the periodontist surgically inserts a titanium screw into the patient's jaw bone. This screw eventually functions as the implant's root and receives an extension post and tooth-shaped crown.

Amazingly, when the periodontist inserts the implant, the jaw bone starts bonding to it almost immediately. This bonding process is known as osseointegration. It takes months to accomplish but guarantees a secure, strong foundation for new tooth.

Can you receive a dental implant?

Millions of Americans have dental implants right now. The American College of Prosthodontists says that number increases by 500,000 new devices each year.

To determine if you and a dental implant are a match, Dr. LaFalce will consult with you about your smile goals, your dentition, and your overall health. 

This alveolar ridge, in which tooth roots lie, must be dense, wide, and high. If bone is lacking, she may recommend grafting treatments to build it up before proceeding with the dental implant process.

Finally, even if you have extensive tooth loss, you may be able to receive implants. They are also used to support bridgework and dentures for beautiful, well-functioning smiles which feel wonderfully natural.

Will you be able to take care of your new smile?

Dental implants have a high success and retention rate--upwards of 95 percent, reports the Institute for Dental Implant Awareness. Also, they develop far fewer complications than do conventional fixed bridges.

However, you must brush and floss carefully each and every day. Also, see Dr. LaFalce and her team at Signature Smiles for six-month hygienic cleanings and examinations to keep ahead of plaque and ensure that implant site is viable and healthy.

Additionally, avoid clenching and grinding your teeth. Of course, stop all tobacco usage. Cigarette smoke actually burns the tender tissues surrounding your implant and your natural teeth, too, leading to destructive gum disease.

Ready to learn more?

Then, call Dr. LaFalce at Signature Smiles in Toms River, NJ, to get all the details on innovative dental implants. Phone your dentist for an appointment at (732) 244-4114.


You have a lot of options for replacing missing teeth, from state-of-the-art dental implants to affordable, but effective partial dentures. But if the teeth in question have been missing for a while, you may first have to undergo orthodontic treatment. Here's why.

While they may feel rigid and firm in the jawbone, teeth are actually held in place by periodontal (gum) ligaments. These elastic tissues lie between the teeth and the bone and attach to both with tiny filaments. This mechanism allows the teeth to incrementally move over time in response to biting pressures or other environmental factors.

When a tooth goes missing the teeth on either side of the space naturally move or "drift" into it to help close the gap. This natural occurrence can reduce the space for a restoration if it has gone on for some time. To make room for a new prosthetic (false) tooth, we may have to move the drifted teeth back to where they belong.

If you're thinking metal braces, that is an option—but not the only one. Clear aligners are another way to move teeth if the bite problem (malocclusion) isn't too severe. Aligners are a series of custom-made, clear, plastic trays worn over the teeth. The patient wears each tray, slightly smaller than the previous one in the series, for about two weeks before changing to the next one. The reduction in size gradually moves teeth to their intended target position.

Many adults prefer clear aligners because they're nearly invisible and don't stand out like metal braces. They're removable, so you can take them out for cleaning or for special occasions. And, we can also attach a prosthetic tooth to the tray that temporarily covers the missing tooth space.

Whichever orthodontic treatment you choose, once completed we can then proceed with restoration to permanently replace your missing teeth. While it can be a long process, the end result is a beautiful smile that could last for years to come.

If you would like more information on your dental restoration options, 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 “Straightening a Smile before Replacing Lost Teeth.”

By Signature Smiles, LLC
November 07, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?

Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?

Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.

Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.

But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?

In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.

Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.

What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.

If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”

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

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?

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

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