Stem cells may be key to tooth repair in the future

By — Researchers have discovered a new population of stem cells that holds the possibility of innovative treatment solutions for tooth decay, caries, and trauma in the future.


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Fluoride may contribute to kidney changes in U.S. kids

— Fluoride exposure may contribute to kidney function changes in U.S. children, according to the findings of a study published August 8 in the journal Environment International. The authors cautioned more research is needed to explore a potential link.


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Smartphone use puts kids at risk for dental injuries

— Increased smartphone use is putting children at higher risk for traumatic dental and facial injuries, such as displaced teeth, according to an article published in Dental Traumatology (August 7, 2019).


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How Safe Are Dental Implants?

Sometimes, our oral health gets the best of
us, and a tooth ends up rotting out, or maybe you find yourself with a chipped
or otherwise broken tooth due to an unfortunate accident.

If you aren’t already at the stage where you’re considering having all your teeth pulled out and just going straight to dentures, dental implants are your next best bet. Dental implants are embedded in the mouth through a surgical procedure that is usually done in a variety of steps. People are usually afraid of anything dealing with surgery and immediately think about possible complications, which leads us to the topic of this post: how safe are dental implants?

Common Complications With Dental Implant Procedures

In as simple terms as possible, the dental implant procedure replaces natural structures within the jaw with artificial ones. Instead of roots, titanium posts are screwed into the jaw and then realistic looking fake teeth are placed on these metal posts. The resulting teeth function and look just like the real thing, and are permanent.

This procedure is done in stages. During the first stage, the metal post is put into the mouth beneath the tissue of the gums. Stitching is required to help assist the healing of the gums. At this time in the procedure, the most significant complications that can occur are an infection at the site of the implant or nerve damage which can result in pair in the structures in the jaw.

A sufficiently qualified surgeon that has done their due diligence with obtaining X-rays before the procedure begins and making sure that aseptic technique is practice properly reduces the chances of this occurring immensely, to the point where the risks are in the low single digit percentages, if not under the single digit percentage mark.

After that, a piece called an abutment is added to the post and then the tooth placed on the abutment. The main concern is bacteria colonizing the area around the abutment and the teeth, which can be very effectively mitigated by proper oral hygiene.

How To Reduce The Risk Of Complications

All in all, receiving dental implants is a
very safe procedure so long as certain conditions are met.

First, you need to make sure that the surgeon
doing the procedure is qualified and takes all of the necessary steps before
the surgery begins to know the structures in your face & jaw. Typically
this is done by taking X-rays beforehand, so they know what they are dealing
with and if there are any nerves, they will have to work around to avoid
creating any complications. A good surgeon will also stitch up the area properly
after the initial post is inserted and inform you on how to best reduce your
chances of the site becoming infected.

From there, it’s all about proper oral
hygiene. In the case of dental implants, bacterial colonies will target the
implant much more readily than other teeth, so when brushing, flossing, and
doing other routine work you need to make sure that you give extra attention to
the new implant.


So long as you satisfy the two requirements above, dental implants are an incredibly safe procedure with little room for error. Proper effort must be taken both from the surgical staff and the patient themselves to ensure that the healing process is as quick and simple as possible, but once that’s out of the way it’s smooth sailing.

If you have any more questions about dental implants, our friendly Dental Smiles Unlimited staff is happy to speak to you now.

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Who is Best Qualified to Perform a Dental Implant Procedure?

A dental implant procedure is a surgical
procedure undergone by patients who need to have a false tooth implanted where
a real one used to be.

The procedure is typically an outpatient one
involving anesthesia and a relatively quick recovery time. Most implants are
done in a two-step process in which first a metal post is installed by cutting
open the gums and then drilling a hole into the jawbone; the patient leaves the
office for several months as new bone grows around the post. After that, the
gums are opened once again, and the platform for the false tooth and the false
tooth themselves are installed.

So, who’s able to perform a dental implant procedure and which should you choose? Well, let’s go over who’s qualified first:


A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in
the supporting structures of teeth and how they relate to the rest of a
patient’s oral health as a whole. They have a comprehensive understanding of
what to expect underneath the gumline and how teeth are supported by all other
parts of the mouth.

Oral Surgeons/Maxillofacial Surgeons

These are surgeons who specialize in surgeries of the mouth, including but not limited to dental implants. They have a strong understanding of all structures in the mouth and face and how to best work with them to achieve patient results.

General Dentists

General dentists are permitted to perform dental implant surgery, but usually, if they do so, they have also undergone additional training. Without this additional training, a general dentist does not often have the surgical experience or understanding of the deeper structures within the mouth and face necessary for successful dental implant surgery.

Here at Dental Smiles Unlimited, we have general dentists and surgeons to handle a wide variety of our clients needs.


Specialists who work on placing the false
teeth on the implants themselves are referred to as prosthodontists. Typically,
a prosthodontist will work with a periodontist and step in once the implant has
been installed.

Should You Choose for Your Dental Implant Procedure?

Most often, general dentists do not perform
the dental implant surgery themselves as it is a specialized surgery that they
might not have all of the required knowledge or experience to undergo. It’s
important to ask your dentist how often and how many times total they have
performed dental implant surgery and how often they do so, as well as their
typical results. A general dentist should only be chosen if they are
comfortable and experienced with this type of procedure.

Oral/maxillofacial surgeons are more adept
than general dentists at surgeries involving the mouth than a general dentist. Typically,
they are very well versed in the placement of dental implants. However, they
also deal with many more types of surgeries than dental implants and aren’t
necessarily part of the dentistry profession. They are more closely related to
surgeons than they are dentists.

Periodontists or a periodontist/prosthodontist
team are often most qualified to perform dental implant surgery. They have
specialized knowledge of the underlying structures of the teeth and how the
jawbone affects how well the implant will take and have often performed the
procedure many more times than any other option on this list.


While many of the professionals on this list
are capable of performing the surgery and many from all disciplines can do so
well, the best bet is on a periodontist. Their specialized knowledge of all of
the underlying parts of the teeth and jaw make them prime candidates for the
procedure, plus the fact that they very often deal with the area and dental
implants specifically.

Talk to your dentist if you are unsure, do
your own research, and best of all, read up on reviews from other patients who
underwent the same procedure before making a decision.

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What to Expect During a Dental Implant Procedure

When a tooth is missing or needs to be replaced, dental implants are often the first choice made by dental practitioners to rectify the issue.

This process essentially involves clearing out the area the new tooth is to be placed in, if it hasn’t been already, and then putting in some artificial structures meant to mimic the natural ones typically found in the mouth.

The end result is a porcelain tooth securely placed into the mouth that looks, feels, and works just like all of the natural ones in a patient’s mouth. If installed and taken care of properly, a dental implant will last for the entire lifespan of the patient without any complications to speak of.

So, if you are considering this procedure,
it’s important to be educated as to what will occur. Let’s go over the entire
process from beginning to end, so you fully understand what to expect:

The Planning Process

Before you’re put under the knife, your dentist will do several things to prepare the area the tooth will be installed in. Firstly, expect to have a comprehensive examination of your entire set of teeth. Usually, this involves X-rays and other 3D images. Some practices go as far as even to make a model of the teeth to understand better how your particular biology is made up.

The X-rays are useful to the dentist to see if
any nerves may prove problematic during the procedure. Avoiding nerve damage is
one of the biggest things a doctor looks out for, so essentially this part of
the procedure is the doctor getting a lay of the land, in this case, your

The dentist will also go over your medical
history to see if you have any conditions or are on any medications that may
complicate the anesthesia process. Certain medications don’t mix with certain
types of anesthesia, so it’s essential that your doctor knows which to use to
keep pain at a minimum.

Finally, the doctor will then discuss the entire treatment plan that will go over how many dental implants are to be installed and any other oral health concerns they think are necessary to mention. After that, you’re ready for the procedure.

The Dental Implant Procedure

Next comes the actual procedure. It is an
outpatient procedure done in multiple steps, which means that after each step
you will be sent home until it is time to see the dentist again.

In the first step, the gums surrounding the
area where the implant is to go are cut open surgically to expose the bone
underneath. After that, a hole is drilled into the bone where a long metal post
will be inserted into the bone. This post will serve as the artificial root of
the tooth. Don’t worry; you won’t feel a thing, thanks to general anesthesia.

If you’re under local anesthesia, expect this
part of the procedure to be mildly uncomfortable at worst, but not painful. If
you aren’t completely numbed by the time the dentist begins, you should let
them know so they can administer more if necessary or give the anesthesia more
time to kick in.

Once the post is inserted the gums are
stitched up, and the first part of the procedure is finished. Sometimes a
denture is provided to the patient that can fill in the gap while they go about
their day.

There is some initial rawness and mild pain
associated with having the gums stitched, but it is relatively minor. There is
now a waiting period where the gums are allowed to heal, and bone starts to
grow back around the metal implant post. This part of the process may take
several months but is entirely necessary for the metal root to be secure inside
your jawbone.

Once that is complete, the abutment will then be put on the implant. Sometimes this is completed in the first step, sometimes not. The abutment gives the crown (false tooth) foundation to sit on, at the final step. Whether or not the abutment is added in the first step is typically up to the patient, the abutment will be visible above the gum line while the bone grows around the metal post, so if the patient isn’t comfortable with that, the dentist will typically incorporate it into the second step.

To put on the abutment, the gums are reopened to expose the metal post. From there, the abutment is placed onto the metal post, and the gums closed around the abutment and the abutment itself will sit above the gumline.

The gums will then be allowed approximately 14
days to heal before the false tooth, or crown will be attached.

After this impressions will be taken of your
mouth and a false tooth created. It will be up to your discretion to choose
whether you would like a permanent or removable. Once the jaw is strong enough
to accommodate the artificial tooth, it is then attached to the abutment.

Post Procedure

Now that the procedure is finished, the
recovery process begins. There is usually some minor pain associated with this
stage in the dental implant process, but it can typically be managed with only
over the counter pain medication taken on an as-needed basis.  Patients can expect to be resuming their
normal activities within a day or two and complications at this stage are rare.

Be sure to talk to your dentist about what you
can and cannot eat while you are in recovery. Most alcohol, smoking, hard
foods, and sipping through a straw are frowned upon, as they may tear stitching
in the mouth.


Overall, the pain associated is very low, most
dentists consider getting dental implants to be less painful than tooth removal
based on patient reports. The process itself may take several months to
complete, with the lag time between the two steps being the longest period, but
there is relatively little disruption to the patient’s daily life, and once the
procedure is completed they’ll be able to use their new teeth within a few

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Are Dental Implants Covered by Insurance?

Sometimes, an event occurs in someone’s life
that results in a tooth or multiple teeth becoming unusable or otherwise in
need of replacement. In this case, a patient will typically seek out a dentist
to have dental implants placed into their mouth.

It’s a straightforward procedure that involves placing a metal post into the gums that is given time to set into the jaw bone, and from there, a false tooth that looks and works just like the real thing is placed on top. The question is though, just how much do dental implants cost? Depending on where you are receiving your service, a single dental implant can range from $1500 to $8000, not chump change by any means.

However, receiving dental implants is
essential to returning normal function to your life in the departments of
eating and being able to smile without any insecurity. So, is there a way
insurance will cover the procedure?

Insurance Companies & Dental Implants

Most run of the mill medical insurance companies will refuse to cover dental implants in their basic plans as they consider them to be an elective and “cosmetic” procedure. Anyone who actually needs a dental implant knows that that is far from the truth, but it doesn’t mean they’re out of options.

There are ways to have the entirety or at least a major portion of the surgery covered so long as proper due diligence is done beforehand.

Typically, teeth that are entirely missing
before the policy was purchased aren’t eligible whatsoever to be covered by any
insurance plan.

Types Of Insurance To Look For

Indemnity Dental Insurance

One method of having your implants subsidized is to look for indemnity dental insurance, although this is only a route you can take if you can afford to pay out of pocket initially and then have some of the procedure reimbursed to you at a later date.

Dentists are very flexible and can make a payment plan while you wait for the insurance company to review your claim. A deductible is paid on the insurance, and then the insurance company will pay for a portion of the surgery ranging from 50-80% of the average costs and 100% of the preventative care.

It’s essential that you do your research and know exactly what kind of dental implant procedures will be covered before you go all the way, as you don’t want to be saddled with a massive bill after discovering they don’t want to cover your dental implants due to a technicality.

Specific Dental Insurance

There are insurance providers that offer plans
that cover all aspects of dental care from cleaning to bridges to inlets, and
even dental implants themselves. These plans all come with a monthly premium,
and the most commonly chosen companies have something in the realm of a $100

The only implants they won’t cover are those
for teeth that are already missing before the policy comes into effect.


In short, if you think you might need dental implants in the near future or that it’s highly likely some harm might come to your teeth in the coming years, it’s recommended that you get specific insurance that covers dental implants far before the teeth show any signs of needing the surgery. The premiums are usually quite agreeable, and you could end up saving yourself thousands of dollars when you need it most.

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How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?

The cost of dental implant surgery can be one
of the most significant barriers people have to overcome before they can
actually move forward with the procedure.

It’s a fairly involved procedure that will require general anesthesia, time spent under the knife, and of course some recovery time. All of these things plus the knowledge and time of the dentist doing the procedure adds to the total cost of having dental implants at the end of the day.

Most people don’t fully understand just how costly this procedure will be before they start shopping around. The price, however, is relatively low when you consider the fact that adequately maintained dental implants can last for a lifetime. On that note, let’s get into how much dental implants actually cost.

The Real Cost Of Dental Implants

Remember to not think of purchasing dental
implants the same way you would buy a regular product, purchasing dental
implants also involves paying for the service of having them installed. On that
note, dental implants typically range from $1500 to $8000 dollars per tooth.

So, if you have multiple teeth that require
replacing, the costs will begin to add up quickly. Choosing the lowest priced
option may not be the best option though, as an improperly installed dental
implant can cause issues for years to come resulting in an even more expensive
procedure to have them removed & properly reapplied.

Be wary of any practice that charges extremely little or far too much per implant. Typically, a single implant shouldn’t cost more than $2000-$2500 dollars all inclusive.

If the process needs to be more involved than the typical implant and needs additional steps, such as a bone graft, then an increase in price is to be expected.

Those who charge too much are merely taking advantage of people, and those who charge too little probably aren’t taking the time to properly install each and every implant, as the procedure can be considered equal parts art and science.

The Cost of Materials

Something else that factors into the price is the cost of the raw materials. The porcelain tooth, the abutment it sits on, and the titanium post all cost money and need to be made to specific quality standards if they are expected to be functional. Depending on where you live, this might affect the price of your dental implants.

The entirety of the cost is leveraged by
considering the value of the base materials, the costs associated with the
procedure (X-rays, lab equipment), personal choices made by the dentist, and
how complicated your specific procedure will be. That’s why there is so much
variance in the cost of a dental implant procedure.

However, as mentioned earlier a single implant
shouldn’t run you more than $2500 and will more likely be closer to $2000 than
anything else.


The cost of a dental implant might seem prohibitive to some, but life is much more complicated without a full set of teeth. Besides aesthetic considerations, it can prove challenging to eat as well as cause complications in oral health with the gap between teeth. At the end of the day, the entire cost is but a small price to pay to get yourself back in good health. Plus, most dentists offer easy pay-back plans to help soften the blow of an expensive commitment.

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The Different Types of Dental Implants You Should Know About

A dental implant is a procedure done by
dentists to replace a lost or broken tooth with an artificial one that will
function and have the aesthetics of a natural tooth.

Not all dental implants are the same, however. While the general idea is to replace the lost natural structures with false ones that look and function the same as the other real teeth, how dentists accomplish this feat is done usually with one of two ways.

Before the procedure, it is sometimes necessary to do a bone graft to allow enough room in the jawbone for the process to set correctly, but in general, there are two types of dental implants. These are referred to as endosteal and subperiosteal implants.

Endosteal Implants

Endosteal implants are the most commonly used
type of implant and involve putting the implant directly into the jawbone of
the patient. During this procedure, the gums are cut open to expose the jawbone
underneath. A hole is drilled inside the jawbone, and a titanium screw is
placed in this hole (this is what is created to mimic that of a tooth root).

The jawbone is then given time to heal while
new bone forms around the post. After some time, a platform (abutment) is then
installed and the false tooth itself is placed on top of this platform. Most
patients have a sufficient enough jawbone for this procedure to be chosen and
it has a very high rate of success.

Subperiosteal Implants

This type of procedure is much less common and
is chosen for patients who don’t have a strong enough jawbone to have a hole
drilled into it and don’t want to undergo reconstructive surgery to make the
jawbone strong enough. Instead of drilling a hole and placing a screw inside,
in subperiosteal implants a metal framework is installed under the gums but
above the jawbone. Small screws protrude from this metal framework and function
as the base on which the oral surgeon will attach the implant to. Sometimes,
these types of implants are chosen for people who are missing several teeth in
a row, so they don’t have to have several holes drilled into their jawbone.
While more complicated and requires more gum tissue to be manipulated, this
procedure is typically very successful with low rates of infection or other


Essentially the differences between the two
implants are that one (endosteal) is placed directly into the jawbone whereas
the other (subperiosteal) is positioned above the jawbone. The dentist will
choose which is a better fit for the patient. Endosteal implants are extremely
strong and firm and are a perfect choice for replacing a single tooth on an
otherwise orally healthy person. Subperiosteal implants function more like a
saddle on which the tooth to rest on; they are a better choice for people who
are having multiple teeth installed at once or who have a jawbone that won’t be
able to withstand the stress associated with the endosteal procedure.

In the end, both procedures are more or less
equally as effective, but the endosteal process is considered to be a more
straightforward procedure to perform and recover from.

Be sure to talk to your dentist about single dental implants vs. dental bridges (which can replace two or more teeth that sit together in the mouth at once). There are also different materials that can be used during the procedure, which can either drop or heighten your overall bill. Talk to your dentist about what process will be best for you and your smile.

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What is Plaque and How to Get Rid of It?

Plaque is a sticky film that accumulates on your teeth, if
it’s not brushed away. It also contains tons of bacteria that could aid in
creating sickness in the body. Brushing is usually your first defense, but
there’s more you can do to keep plaque at bay. If left unchecked, these
bacteria can cause tooth decay and gingivitis or the beginning stages of gum

An excess of plaque can also lead to bad breath and even stained or yellow teeth. Plaque can even be a precursor of chronic inflammation and other diseases. Fortunately, having a healthy lifestyle and good oral hygiene is plaque’s worst enemy.

Brush and Floss Regularly

Brushing and flossing are the best ways to help prevent
plaque buildup. There are also mouthwashes and oral rinses that can help
diminish some of the bacteria that contribute to the buildup of plaque.
Brushing will clean your teeth and also help wash away unwanted buildup.

There are quite a few tools in your arsenal to help keep your mouth clean and fresh. Brushing has come a long way. Using a clean, fresh toothbrush with soft bristles is a great way to begin tackling the substance. Also, you can invest in an electric toothbrush that has micro bristles that will help clean between your teeth and your gum line.

Fighting Plaque Takes More Than Just Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing alone isn’t usually enough to get all of the
buildup between your teeth and gums. Fortunately, flossing is a great way to
remove any buildup that’s between your teeth and gums. There’s a technique to
flossing, so it’s essential to communicate with your hygienist, and make sure
that you’re actually flossing in the most productive way possible.

You can also help combat unwanted bacteria and buildup on your teeth by using mouthwashes or oral rinses. Not all are made the same, and depending on your particular oral situation, it’s a good idea to consult your dental professional and find out what will work best for you.

The Important of Dental Checkups and Cleanings

Of course, one of the best ways to stay on top of your oral hygiene is to have regular dental checkups and cleanings with a dental hygienist. It’s easier, more effective, more affordable, and painless to stay on top of your oral hygiene.

What you don’t want to do is to neglect your oral hygiene
and have more serious complications down the line. This doesn’t mean it’s too
late to see a dental professional, but the sooner you take care of your oral
hygiene, the easier the process. The good news is whatever the condition of
your teeth, there’s the modern dental treatment that’s effective and painless.

Don’t hesitate to talk to your dentist and hygienist about
your oral hygiene. Regular checkups, regular cleanings, and a sensible at-home
routine will keep your teeth looking and feeling amazing. Your smile is a
reflection of your personality, and you want it to be as bright as possible.

If you do have any signs of gingivitis or gum disease, there are still treatment options. There are deep cleanings and laser treatments that can help stop the progression of any damage that has occurred. The best way to keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy is to visit your dentist regularly and practice good oral hygiene.

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