Occlusal Lock – Let’s Get Digital!

Posted by Chris Raines on Aug 30, 2018 1:52:16 PM

A New Technology used with Teeth In A Day®

Digital dentistry has improved conventional removable denture and dental implant treatment for patients. The automated process of making AvaDent® digital dentures is faster and more precise. The addition of the Occlusal Lock improves the process even more.

Glenn Wolfinger, DMD, FACP, Pi Dental Center, Tim Thompson, President & CEO, Global Dental Science and Stephen Balshi, MBE, Biomedical Engineer and Owner of CM Prosthetics during Tim’s recent visit.

Glenn Wolfinger, DMD, FACP, Pi Dental Center, Tim Thompson, President & CEO, Global Dental Science and Stephen Balshi, MBE, Biomedical Engineer and Owner of CM Prosthetics during Tim’s recent visit.

Pi Dental Center’s digital dentures are engineered by AvaDent® (Global Dental Science), utilizing CAD/CAM technology to create a digital record of the patient’s mouth. The process ensures a precise fit and exceptional strength. The AvaDent® prosthesis can be used for removable or fixed prosthesis.

The Occlusal Lock was developed here at Pi Dental Center. When making dentures to be used in the Teeth In A Day® process, this Occlusal Lock helps us to line up the teeth with great precision.

TEETH IN A DAY®

Teeth In A Day® was also developed here at Pi Dental Center. This procedure allows patients to have stable non-removable healthy teeth in just one office visit. The conventional process for getting an implant begins with the insertion of the dental implant. With traditional treatment, after 3 months, the dentist would start building the teeth. So for a long 3 month period, the patient would suffer with removable dentures while they waited for the bone to heal. Teeth In A Day® has reduced this lengthy procedure to one day.

CONVERSION PROSTHESIS

During Teeth In A Day® treatment, a Conversion Prosthesis, which was also developed at Pi Dental Center, is delivered. The conversion prosthesis is an interim fixed-prosthesis that the patient wears from the time of placement of implants until the final prosthesis is completed. This prosthesis is made from the AvaDent® removable denture. During the implant placement procedure, this removable prosthesis is modified into a fixed prosthesis. It allows the patient to experience the benefits of dental implants immediately after the implants are uncovered.

OCCLUSAL LOCK

The Occlusal Lock is placed onto the Conversion Prosthesis. The Lock fastens the teeth into position so that the prosthodontist can connect the removable teeth to the dental implants.

The Occlusal Lock secures the denture into the opposing teeth. It is a temporary part of the denture that is in place while the doctor installs the implants. The Lock is trimmed away, once the teeth are connected rigidly to the implants. This newer protocol, which replaces an earlier system, is much easier and simpler. It shortens the process and reduces treatment time. Shorter visits and fewer appointments are a real bonus for patients. 

“Our patient was very happy with her Avadent® conversion prostheses. Occlusal Locks were really helpful in positioning the prostheses properly during the Teeth in a Day procedure,” affirms Dr. Glenn Wolfinger.

Dr. Glenn Wolfinger states, “This procedure saves a tremendous amount of time and, in most cases, eliminates the need for an additional wax try-in because teeth line up from the start.”

HOW IT WORKS:

  • The patient has preliminary procedures that include an impression being taken at Pi Dental Center.
  • The prosthodontist provides the dental lab with impressions and an occlusal registration, which visualizes the jaw relationships.
  • The lab digitally designs the denture based on the info that the prosthodontist provided. Once the denture is designed, the Occlusal Lock is added digitally.
  • The design is digitally transferred to the AvaDent® processing center at Global Dental Science in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • The prosthesis is created and returned to Pi Dental Center within 1 ½ to 2 weeks.
  • The patient returns to Pi Dental Center for dental implant placement and delivery of the conversion prosthesis.

The Occlusal Lock is now used in all Teeth In a Day® cases performed at Pi Dental Center.

Photo of Occlusal Lock – When making dentures to be used in the Teeth In A Day® Process, it helps us to line up the teeth. It locks the teeth into position so that we can connect the removable teeth to the implants.

Stephen Balshi, Biomedical Engineer and owner of CM Prosthetics, elaborated, “This process makes the prosthetic procedure more accurate and less time consuming, eliminating future revisions.”

DEVELOPMENT AND PATENT

Dr. Glenn Wolfinger, Dr. Thomas Balshi, and Stephen Balshi, MBE in conjunction with Sjon Grobbee (Vice President of Manufacturing and Technology at Global Dental Science) developed the Occlusal Lock. The process was outlined in a journal article in 2016 and has now been patented.

Dr Wolfinger, Balshi, SFB and Grobbee and caption: The named inventors on the Occlusal Lock patent are Dr. Glenn Wolfinger, Dr. Thomas Balshi, Stephen Balshi MBE and Sjon Grobbee.The named inventors on the Occlusal Lock patent are Dr. Glenn Wolfinger, Dr. Thomas Balshi, Stephen Balshi MBE and Sjon Grobbee.

The Occlusal Lock is just the newest of many Pi Dental Center accomplishments. Pi Dental Center has been at the forefront of dental implant and prosthetic technology since it was founded in 1986. Throughout the years, our board certified prosthodontists and specialized dental team have designed new devices, perfected procedures, improved protocols and developed methods to make the patient experience more comfortable and less time-consuming. Pi Dental Center has completed many research projects and published numerous articles. We continue to track every implant that we place. We have placed and tracked over 22,872 implants with a 98+ percent success rate.

For patients, this is significant. Superior skill, attention to every technical detail and a deep interest in improving the specialty of dental implant treatment, translates to more efficient patient care, better prostheses, more exact fit, improved color matching, and a higher implant success rate in a comfortable and expedient manner.

Contact Pi Dental Center to learn more about the dental implants with the Teeth In A Day® procedure.

Ask A Dental Question Or Schedule An Appointment 

Chris Raines
Web Site Administrator
Information Systems Manager
Marketing and Information Technologies Departments

Tags: AvaDent digital dentures, AvaDent with dental implants, Occlusal Lock

Should I have my tooth extracted?

Posted by Chris Raines on Aug 27, 2018 4:20:11 PM

Sometimes it seems like extracting a tooth is the simplest and least costly option when a tooth is damaged or decayed.

Flow Chart Describing Tooth Extraction Considerations

Your prosthodontist can help you to determine which options are available and will provide the best long-term solutions. The first step is to schedule your dental appointment for a thorough examination with x-rays. You and your doctor can make a decision based on the doctor’s professional judgement and your personal preferences.

Considerations:

  • Is deep decay present?
  • Does the tooth hurt?
  • Is there a deep filling?
  • Is the tooth cracked or broken?
  • Does the crack extend below the gum line?
  • Is the tooth loose?

It is important to have a decaying tooth treated because decay can spread to the tooth’s pulp. If the tooth becomes infected, the infection can spread to the surrounding teeth.

If a tooth is cracked, broken or badly infected, has a deep cavity or trauma, either a root canal or extraction may be recommended. The tooth will then need to be restored with a filling, crown, removable prosthesis or dental implant supported restoration.

Root canal treatment, usually performed by an endodontist, repairs a damaged or infected tooth by removing the damaged area of the tooth’s pulp, disinfecting it and then filling and sealing it. The term "root canal" comes from cleaning of the canals inside the tooth's root.

Sometimes repair of a natural tooth is not possible or practical. A large cavity that weakens the root’s structure may not be repairable. When a tooth fracture extends below the gumline, removal of the tooth may be necessary.

When a tooth is removed, it is important consider replacing it. When a tooth is not replaced, the adjoining teeth will begin to shift toward the empty space. The opposing teeth can also shift and move upward to fill the missing space. All of this tooth movement can cause problems with your bite, make chewing difficult and change your facial appearance.

Dental implants have proven to be the best option for permanent tooth replacement. Dental implant treatment is a functional, natural looking, long-lasting, reliable and comfortable option for replacement of missing teeth. All-On-4® is an economical non-removable dental implant treatment option. The number and type of implants that are needed to restore the teeth depends on the quantity and quality of bone in the area where the implants will be placed. If there is enough bone, the All-On-4 Protocol may be considered.

In the upper jaw, if there is considerable bone loss, computer guided treatment using zygomatic implants may be required.

Regular dental checkups will help you maintain a healthy mouth, alert you and your dentist to any issues that require treatment and correct them in a timely manner.

Call Pi Dental Center to schedule your dental examination, extraction or replacement of a missing tooth.

Ask A Dental Question Or Schedule An Appointment

Related Article: Can this tooth be saved?

Chris Raines
Web Site Administrator
Information Systems Manager
Marketing and Information Technologies Departments

Tags: replace missing teeth, tooth extraction

Is Do-It-Yourself Dentistry a Good Choice?

Posted by Chris Raines on Aug 20, 2018 10:20:03 AM

 Caveman saying, "What if I just hit myself in the mouth with a rock?"

Finding a fast and simple solution can be quite tempting. Snap-on-veneers provide the instant gratification that many people seek. New dental labs now bypass the dentist with a cheap, “Do It Yourself” product.  These removable veneers cover the teeth to hide a world of dental health problems.

Traditional dental veneers that are made in a dental office are a viable option in some dental situations. They are thin shells made of porcelain or composite resin that are bonded to the front of the teeth. These custom veneers improve the appearance of the teeth. They are purely cosmetic and do not provide support or coverage but simply hide imperfections.

Snap-on-veneers are a type of removable prosthesis that fit on top of the teeth to change their appearance.

Some dentists make snap-in-veneers. They can be a reasonable short-term solution in certain situations, provided that patients receive quality dental care and necessary treatment in a timely manner.

But there are now dental labs that attempt to cut out the dentist altogether and promote the idea that patients can successfully treat themselves “in the comfort of their own homes” with no dental visit. These labs advise the public not to fix their teeth, but instead, cover up the problem.

One company refers to their snap-in-veneers as “dental contrivances.” The definition of a contrivance is “a device that gives a sense of artificiality.” While an artificial appearance may be one drawback of these phony snap-in-teeth, there are other significant issues to consider.

Here are some of the problems that customers have been reported with Do-It-Yourself Snap-In Veneers:

  • People have reported that the teeth keep falling out.
  • Customers have discovered the teeth were the wrong shade.
  • Some people cannot talk while wearing them.
  • Others cannot eat with them.
  • They have been referred to as “Joke Shop Teeth.”
  • They sometimes curl at the gum line to expose the underlying natural teeth.
  • The plastic material can be prone to degrade when exposed to UV radiation, such as sunlight.
  • Some of the companies have been unresponsive to customer complaints.

These dental labs purport that these “contrivances” are affordable options; however, the long term cost of ignoring necessary dental care is economically expensive and unhealthy. Ignoring dental care can lead to periodontal disease and the loss of teeth, which in turn affect overall health.

"Do it yourself dental treatment can produce hazardous results"

Dr. Wolfinger states, “Do it yourself treatment can produce hazardous results. A proper diagnosis is essential prior to embarking on dental treatment. Dentists are properly trained to make a diagnosis and recommend treatment options. Overlooking disease to simply mask the problem could lead to more serious problems. Teeth may be discolored due to an abscess or decay. Teeth may be mal-positioned due to bone or gum disease. It is essential to do a thorough dental examination including radiographs and a clinical exam to fully understand the etiology of the problem and to determine the proper treatment.”

Lab technician, Toni Robinson, quipped, “Hiding decay and disease will eventually catch up to you … and usually at the most inconvenient time!”

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the appearance or health of your teeth.

Ask A Dental Question Or Schedule An Appointment

Chris Raines
Web Site Administrator
Information Systems Manager
Marketing and Information Technologies Departments

Tags: dental veneers, do it yourself dentistry

Eight Reasons to Replace a Missing Tooth

Posted by Chris Raines on Aug 8, 2018 3:37:04 PM

A Missing Tooth Is Like a Fork That's Missing a Tine. Here Are Eight Reasons to Replace a Missing Tooth

A healthy mouth should not be underestimated.

A missing tooth may seem like a small issue that can be ignored, but it negatively impacts your life. Here are eight reasons to consider replacing that missing tooth.

  1. Reduced Quality of Life
  2. Difficulty Eating and Dietary Inadequacy
  3. Discomfort and Pain
  4. Jaw Problems
  5. Crooked Teeth
  6. Your Appearance
  7. Self-Confidence
  8. Overall Health

Would you eat with a fork that’s missing a tine? You probably wouldn’t … if you had a choice. So why tolerate a missing tooth? There are many good reasons to replace a tooth and, usually, several options for replacement.

Your teeth are supported by the teeth around them. A missing tooth weakens the structure of the mouth and can eventually result in the loss of other teeth. When a tooth is missing, the remaining teeth shift in an attempt to fill in the gap left by that tooth. This change in tooth alignment can affect the jaw. Maintaining the alignment of teeth will protect the integrity of the entire mouth.

Replacing a missing tooth can give you a beautiful and functional smile that improves your overall health, attractiveness and self-confidence. Today there are effective and predictable methods for permanent tooth replacement. Dental implants have been proven to be safe and successful in restoring your smile.

A missing tooth can be replaced with a Single Tooth Implant restoration using the Teeth In A Day® protocol.

Teeth in A Day®, developed at Pi Dental Center, is our trademarked procedure. It allows patients to have stable non-removable healthy teeth in one office visit. In the conventional process, getting an implant took more than 3 months for the patient to have non-removable teeth. During that long 3 month period, the patient would suffer with a removable denture while they waited for the bone to heal. Teeth In A Day® has reduced this lengthy procedure to a single day.

Pi Dental Center utilizes a sophisticated approach to dental care with up-to-date treatment protocols and equipment. Contact Us To Schedule An Evaluation.    

Ask A Dental Question Or Schedule An Appointment

Chris Raines
Web Site Administrator
Information Systems Manager
Marketing and Information Technologies Departments

Tags: single tooth implant, Teeth In A Day, replace missing teeth, permanent tooth replacement

Is It Important To Replace A Missing Back Tooth?

Posted by Glenn J. Wolfinger, DMD, FACP on Jun 25, 2018 3:00:20 PM

Glenn J. Wolfinger DMD, FACP, Board Certified ProsthodontistTooth loss is one of the most common ailments affecting individuals today.  It is estimated that 120 million people have at least one missing tooth. 

While a missing front tooth is an obvious problem that most people are quick to address, missing back teeth do not seem to raise as much concern.  

When a patient loses a tooth, the adjacent and opposing teeth can shift and move, and this can later create difficulty in replacing that tooth.  Studies have shown that patients with missing teeth have a decreased capacity to function and this can contribute to significant medical issues, including cardiovascular disease, digestive problems, diabetes and many other diseases. 

Studies have even shown a higher mortality rate among people with missing teeth.  Tooth replacement can be easily accomplished by a number of methods including removable dentures, fixed bridges and implant-supported restorations. 

 A Board Certified Prosthodontist is a specialist in the restoration and replacement of teeth and can provide all of the options available to address this important issue. 

Glenn J. Wolfinger, DMD, FACP
Board Certified Prosthodontist

Related Article: Can this tooth be saved

Tags: tooth replacement, dental medical health connection, tooth loss, replace missing teeth

Don’t Let Dental Woes Be Your New Normal

Posted by Chris Raines on Jun 5, 2018 10:50:37 AM

Pi Dental Center's Patient Relations Team
It’s funny how things can creep up on you.
Something that seemed fine one day has turned into a major dilemma the next. You realize that there have been warning signals for quite a while, but you’ve been ignoring them.

These situations that creep up on you can occur in every area of life. They can happen in your home, your automobile, your body and even your mouth.

When it comes to our health, it’s amazing how much we can ignore and reason away. A small pain gets a little worse gradually. You tell yourself, this isn’t too bad. You might think it will go away if you just wait it out. Finally, that chronic pain becomes your “New Normal.”

Dental health issues such as chronic mouth pain or gradually deteriorating dental health can easily turn into a “New Normal.”

Tooth loss is an example. First one tooth is lost, and then another, and another until you are only able to chew on one side of the mouth. With the loss of each tooth, chewing becomes harder and harder. Eating becomes a major hassle and it’s impossible to enjoy a meal. Eating in front of other people is embarrassing. Chewing “calisthenics” is a “New Normal” that you don’t need.

You need not tolerate dental pain or tooth loss. Advances in dental care mean that most conditions can be successfully treated more quickly with greater patient comfort than ever before.

  • The overall success rate for dental implant treatment has improved significantly.
  • A greater number of people are candidates for dental implants than in the past.
  • Teeth In A Day® allows patients to have implants placed and leave the office with fixed teeth in one visit.
  • Improved diagnostic imaging pinpoints dental issues accurately.
  • Expert lab techniques mean attractive crowns and dentures with exacting tooth shades.
  • Digital impressions make crown and bridge treatment much easier for patients who have a strong gag reflex.
  • With new digital technology, removable dentures are comfortable and fit better.

Finding the right dental facility to handle your treatment is essential. Pi Dental Center is a leading dental center in the Philadelphia region. Board Certified Prosthodontist*, Glenn J. Wolfinger, has advanced training and experience in dental care. Every member of the Pi “team” is specially trained to provide the best care. Our patients’ well-being is our number one priority.

Patient relations representative, Mini Galluppi, states, “We take great pride in helping our patients. We aim to be the reason someone smiles today.”

It is not necessary to endure dental pain or missing teeth. Call 215-646-6334 to discuss your dental care needs or click the link below to request information. Pi Dental Center’s patient relations representatives are will be happy to answer all of your dental questions and help you to schedule an appointment.

Ask A Dental Question Or Schedule An Appointment


* A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the restoration or replacement of teeth. It is an ADA-recognized specialty. Prosthodontics pertains to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes.

Chris Raines
Web Site Administrator
Information Systems Manager
Marketing and Information Technologies Departments

Tags: dental implants, dental health, tooth loss