Pi DENTAL CENTER BLOG

Chris Raines

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Healthy teeth like diamonds

Posted by Chris Raines on Feb 3, 2017 6:12:58 PM

Strong healthy teeth are like diamonds“A tooth is much more to be prized than a diamond.” States Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra in Don Quixote

Diamonds are greatly valued and the most cherished of all gemstones. Strong healthy teeth have often been compared to diamonds. The word, diamond, is derived from the ancient Greek term adámas meaning indestructible and unbreakable. Both diamonds and teeth are described as sparkling, shiny, bright and gleaming.

Strong healthy teeth help to ensure good overall health. Problems in the mouth can affect the rest of the body. Studies suggest that oral bacteria and inflammation associated with gum disease play a role in certain diseases. Diseases like diabetes and HIV/AIDS can lower the body's resistance to infection, making oral health problems more severe. Read Mayo Clinic Oral Health Page.

An attractive smile is both socially and professionally significant. Your smile is the first thing people see when they meet you. A sparkling smile can improve self-confidence and help you to radiate charm and assurance.


In her book, Smile Your Heart Out, Joanne Balshi says, “We all tend to live up, or down, to the vision we see in the mirror.” Dental restoration often leads to widespread improvements in life. Many of our patients who’ve had complete dental makeover’s find that they look years younger with their gorgeous new smiles. And, in some cases, this dental rejuvenation has prompted them to make needed life changes or take on challenges that had previously seemed impossible. Some have improved their overall health regimens; others have completed higher level education. Some have simply begun to smile widely when photographed.

Many people wonder if they are candidates for dental implants. Today, anyone who is missing one or more of their teeth due to injury, disease, or decay may be a candidate for dental implants. Drs. Thomas Balshi and Glenn Wolfinger are board certified prosthodontists, experts in the restoration of teeth. They have successfully treated patients for over 30 years at Pi Dental Center in Fort Washington with everything from crowns, fillings, dental extractions, removable dentures, to digital dentistry, advanced dental implant treatment with bone grafting and computer guided surgery.

Like a diamond, a beautiful smile lights up a whole room. Call to learn how to have strong healthy teeth like diamonds!

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Tags: dental makeover, dental health, dental health and quality of life, healthy teeth

Can’t Fool Santa or the Dentist

Posted by Chris Raines on Dec 20, 2016 4:18:41 PM

naughty-nice.jpgHe's making a list,
He's checking it twice,
He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice
Santa Claus is coming to town

He sees you when you're sleeping
And he knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake


We’ve all heard the Christmas song, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespi.  This Christmas classic, first sung on Eddie Cantor's radio show in November 1934, cautions children to behave because Santa can magically perceive whether they are naughty or nice.

20161220_100703 copy.jpgSome people try to hide their dental habits from the dentist.  They try to hide their irregular and haphazard oral hygiene by brushing their teeth vigorously right before their dental appointment.  Oral hygiene habits cannot be concealed. Built up stain and food impaction are visible tell-tale signs of poor dental hygiene.  Poor dental hygiene will eventually result in tooth decay, cavities, gum disease tooth loss and can even affect overall physical health.

The dentists at Pi Dental Center recommend brushing after every meal, cleaning between the teeth with dental floss, water flosser or Proxabrush and scheduling oral hygiene cleanings and examination at least twice a year.  Oral hygiene instruction can help patients improve their oral hygiene techniques.

Pi Dental Center’s dentists and hygienists are your partners in dental health, helping you to make sure that your teeth are as healthy and attractive as they can be. Call to schedule your dental hygiene visit.

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Related Subjects:
Tooth Extraction
Bone Remodeling
Maintaining Dental Investment

Tags: dentist, oral hygiene, dental health, dental hygiene

Dental Implant Treatment with an AvaDent Prosthesis: Part 1

Posted by Chris Raines on Nov 8, 2016 11:04:16 AM


ken-post-treatment-smile.jpgKen was diagnosed with rare disorders called Osteogenesis Imperfecta and Odontogenesis Imperfecta
when he was a child. As a result of these disorders, Ken’s dental condition deteriorated over the years requiring frequent dental treatment. 

Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) is a rare disorder affecting the connective tissue and characterized by extremely fragile brittle bones that break or fracture easily, often without apparent cause. The specific symptoms and physical findings associated with OI vary greatly from case to case. The severity of OI also varies greatly, even among individuals in the same family.

Odontogenesis Imperfecta is a developmental disturbance of one or of several adjacent teeth, characterized by deficient formation of enamel and dentin. Such teeth exhibit delayed eruption into the oral cavity.

In an interview, Ken explained how he came to Pi Dental Center and described his viewpoint about the dental treatment he received from Dr. Balshi.

Ken began by describing his early dental treatment, “I went to a cosmetic dentist. We had tried braces when I was very little.  It wound up making most of my teeth very loose.  So we took the braces off and went through the entire process of letting them get reaffirmed.  So that was the last time my mom, my dad, or I tried to fix it, because of the Osteogenesis Imperfecta. At least that is what we were told.”

“I started reading about dental implants. I went to a dentist who said, ‘No, this is not the way to go.’ He suggested crowns, a million dollar smile and said I would be good for the rest of my life.  They were not.”

Indicating Pi Dental Center, Ken said, “That was when I sought you out.  I started doing research, and my sister-in-law, who worked for Dr. Balshi, said that is exactly what he does, he pioneered it. That summed it up for me.”

Ken had six implants placed in the maxillary arch using the guided implant surgical procedure and All-On-Four® treatment in the mandible.  Pi Dental Center provided AvaDent Tissue Integrated Prostheses (TIP) for the upper and lower arches.

Mr. Swinehart talked about the look and comfort of his final teeth in comparison to his temporaries, “Esthetically everything is fantastic.  The most significant thing for me was how the teeth felt. With the temporary prosthesis, I used to be able to feel flex, whether it was eating pizza or steak.  Not movement, just flexing.  I don’t feel any of that now.  Where I thought it couldn’t feel any better than it did, it feels that much better. I don’t feel that flexing anymore.”

“These feel like they have been my teeth since birth.  I’ve had absolutely no issues. I’ve gone through plenty of steak, lots of beef brisket, when I was down in Memphis, corn on the cob, you name it. I don’t feel hampered by anything.  Including some of the frozen stuff that I was known for breaking my temporary appliance for, I’ve been able to get through without any damage. Steve told me, ‘Go do everything.’  Chocolate chip ice cream - I went through the whole gamut.”

“I am happy for myself and I am happy that I found the doctor who could fix my issues.”

Dr. Balshi mentioned, “It’s not just the doctor, it’s the entire team including the staff, the laboratory support, the engineering, the behind the scenes, the stuff that’s going on in Scottsdale with AvaDent, and in the Netherlands with the AvaDent technology. It takes a lot to put this all together including the robots.”

Ken agreed, “But you’re right, it does take a team. I have never ever felt better or in better hands as a patient regardless of who I saw while I was here.  Be it yourself, or Dr. Wolfinger, or Stephen, or whoever has come into the room.” 

“There is one thing that sticks out, that my parents wanted me to tell you that they’ve seen.  I’ve always thought that I’ve been self-confident to the point of cocky, regardless of what my smile looked like.  The one thing that they’ve picked up on, that I wouldn’t see from the inside out, is the self-confidence and the amount of smiling that I do now versus before. Before, I was just very restrained because I was so insecure of my smile. I was looking for ways to cover it up, glass in front of the mouth, napkin in front of the face, or hand over the mouth, whatever had to be done. I don’t do that stuff anymore. I know I’m not doing that stuff anymore.  So, now, there is an outward self-confidence that I don’t think people see as cockiness. Because people can see that I’m smiling. I’m 46 years old, if I don’t do it now, I never will.”

To learn more about AvaDent Dental Implant Supported Prostheses, treatment for people with congenital dental disorders or guided dental implant treatment, contact us.

WATCH VIDEO:


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More about Osteogenesis Imperfecta:

http://www.oif.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Dental

Tags: All-On-4 dental implant treatment, osteogenesis imperfecta and dental implants, Odontogenesis Imperfecta and dental implants, AvaDent with dental implants

When Looking For Dental Implants, How Does The Dentist Measure Up?

Posted by Chris Raines on Oct 11, 2016 12:04:50 PM

Drs. Balshi and Wolfinger lecturing to students and dentistsEach morning, the Pi Dental Center mailbox receives a new batch of emails from people looking for the best dental implant specialist. The other day, we received an email asking if our doctors were as good as Doctor So-and-So in Las Vegas.  

Before responding, I did a little research to learn about So-and-So. I learned that Dr. So-and-So had almost nothing to back up his glitzy persona.

I’ve had the pleasure of working at Pi Dental Center for 29 ½ years for Drs. Thomas Balshi and Glenn Wolfinger! One of my tasks is to document every research article on our website. I document every book they write, every course they teach, every lecture they give, every poster-presentation they produce and every award they receive.  Documenting their distinguished careers is almost a full time job.

Drs. Balshi and Wolfinger are both board certified prosthodontists. Prosthodontists are dentists who specialize in diagnosis, planning, rehabilitation, and maintenance of the teeth and mouth with special emphasis on the patient’s oral comfort, facial appearance, and dental health. Prosthodontists treat patients with congenital conditions, missing teeth and complex dental problems. Prosthodontists receive two or three years of additional training following dental school through an accredited American Dental Association program.

To become board certified, prosthodontists must successfully pass a rigorous examination conducted by the American Board of Prosthodontics. These specialists are subjected to recertification every eight years to insure their clear understanding of current practices that affect the specialty.

Teeth In A Day Course presented by Drs. Balshi and Wolfinger in 2016

Drs. Balshi and Wolfinger’s 118 research articles are available online.

A quick way to learn doctor’s accomplishments is to look at their Curriculum Vitaes. Here is the link to Dr. Balshi’s lengthy Curriculum Vitae  and Dr. Wolfinger’s comprehensiveCurriculum Vitae.

Dr. Balshi has been America’s Top Dentist and International Congress of Oral Implantologists Diplomate. He’s been awarded for 40 continuous years of service by the American College of Prosthodontists, received the Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry Gallery of Success Award and the American College of Prosthodontics Founders Award. He was named Top Prosthodontist by the Consumers’ Research Council of America. Dr. Balshi earned the United States Army Medal of Commendation, a Freedom Foundation George Washington Medal of Honor, and has been recognized in the Congressional Record of the United States of America.

Both Drs. Balshi and Wolfinger have been at the forefront of dental implant research and development since the 1980’s. Their research has helped to take the journey to fixed teeth from a difficult year-long ordeal that involved many steps to a relatively pain-free one-day procedure.

Drs. Balshi and Wolfinger trained graduate and postdoctoral students from Harvard, Tufts, Loma Linda, Nova Southeastern, Temple, University of Connecticut, University of Maryland and other dental schools and lectured worldwide on surgical and restorative aspects of dental implant treatment.

Pi Dental Center’s prosthodontists successfully provided dental implants to patients with countless complicated problems from diabetes, Cleidocranial Dysplasia, Ectodermal Dysplasia, advanced periodontal disease, congenitally missing teeth, and traumatic injury. 

Some of Drs. Balshi and Wolfinger’s Scientific Accomplishments:

Patients have willingly and readily provided positive reviews for Drs. Balshi and Wolfinger.  The whole team has been commended for their professionalism, caring friendly manner and beautiful result.

Drs. Balshi and Wolfinger are the real deal. Dr. So-and-So — not so much.

If you are looking for a dentist or have questions about dental treatment please feel free to contact us.  We look forward to helping you regain your magnificent and healthy smile.

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Chris Raines
Web Site Administrator
Information Systems Manager

 

 

Tags: dental implants, dentist, choosing a dentist

Is NICE a valid criterion for choosing a dentist?

Posted by Chris Raines on Sep 14, 2016 5:34:28 PM

Dr. Balshi, dentist and prosthodontist, shows care and concern, explains thouroughly, and listens to the patient.Would you say that your dentist is nice? And if so, what qualities would contribute to that opinion? And is “nice” valid criterion in choosing a dentist? The answer is, “That depends.”

Reasons “nice” might not be valid criterion:

  1. The dentist says what the patient wants to hear, whether it is the best advice or not.
  2. The dentist says the condition of the patient’s mouth is good, when it’s not.
  3. The dentist offers an easy and mediocre solution that will not stand up to time or the strong biting forces of the mouth.
  4. The dentist does not encourage the patient to follow a strict hygiene regimen.

Criteria that is both “nice” as well as valid:

  1. The dentist shows care and concern for the patient.
  2. The dentist and staff are polite.
  3. The dentist listens closely and takes time to hear all of the patient’s concerns.
  4. The dentist thoroughly explains treatment options.
  5. The dentist describes treatment procedures clearly and thoroughly.
  6. The dentist offers the best treatment options that are long lasting, attractive, functional and healthy.
  7. The dentist and staff instruct the patient in the most effective home care techniques.
  8. The dentist checks to make sure that the patient is doing well following surgical treatment.
  9. The dentist and staff instill confidence and help the patient to feel safe.
  10. The dentist and the patient are a team working toward a goal of optimal dental health. Collaboration will assure positive results.

Dr. Wolfinger mentioned, “Listening carefully to a patient’s concerns and creating predictable treatment options based on those concerns is important in developing a good doctor patient relationship.

Consumer reports states, “Growing research suggests that people who have a strong relationship with a physician not only report greater satisfaction with their care but also may enjoy better health.” The same can be said for a dentist.

At Pi Dental Center, a good doctor/patient relationship is essential to successful treatment. This rapport is established during the first visit and maintained through each and every appointment.

During the initial visit, the dentist listens closely to the patient’s concerns and asks pertinent questions.  This in depth conversation is an integral part of the comprehensive diagnostic evaluation.

Review:  “Friendly, informative, clinically careful, and most of all, honest about what is involved. They eagerly answered any and every question!”

The relationship contributes to the patient’s successful treatment outcome. The choice of a dentist can be a challenge.  You can trust and rely on the dentists at Pi Dental Center.

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Tags: dental treatment, doctor patient relationship, choosing a dentist, good doctor/patient relationship

Phlebotomy and PRP at Pi Dental Center

Posted by Chris Raines on Aug 26, 2016 3:52:26 PM

Pi Dental Center Staff Hone Phlebotomy Skills for PRP Procedure with Patients

Pi Dental Center clinical team attends phlebotomy training.Pi Dental Center’s clinical staff recently took part in a Phlebotomy training program to perfect their skill in drawing blood, which they do for the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) procedure. PRP accelerates healing and enhances bone growth, which in turn stimulates osseointegration of dental implants.

Phlebotomy

Phlebotomists are trained to draw blood from patients for clinical or medical testing, transfusions, donations, or research.  Pi Dental Center’s clinical department participated in a course given by an approved provider of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science. This phlebotomy course consisted of an online tutorial followed by small-group training with a certified instructor in our office. The online portion included lessons and quizzes. The hands-on course included placement of the tourniquet, proper techniques for finding a vein and inserting the needle, patient safety and comfort. Participants even practiced drawing blood on one another.

Pi Dental Assistant, Amy Gambone, felt that the course was quite valuable, stating, “Taking the phlebotomy course helped me tremendously. Safety and making the patient feel confident that they’re in good hands are essential. I feel more confident doing a blood-draw.”

Clinical Director, Martha Mendez discussed the phlebotomy course, “I learned the appropriate technique to draw blood, how to prioritize veins and most importantly, safety.  This course will improve our safety protocol for drawing blood and also ensure that our patients’ experience at Pi is as painless as possible.”

PRP

Andrea and Martha discuss the online portion of the phlebotomy training program.During the PRP procedure, a small amount of blood is drawn in preparation for dental implant treatment. 

PRP is a by-product of blood that is rich in platelets. Platelets are irregularly-shaped, colorless bodies that are present in blood. Their sticky surface lets them, along with other substances, form clots to stop bleeding. Platelets contain growth factors (GFs), which serve as effective inducers of normal tissue repair.

PRP allows the body to take advantage of the normal healing pathways at a highly accelerated rate. During the healing process, the body rushes many cells, including platelets, to the wound to initiate the healing process. Platelets perform many functions; one of which is the release of GFs into the wound. These GFs function to aid the body in repairing itself by stimulating mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to regenerate new tissue. The more GFs sequestered into the wound, the more MSCs are stimulated to produce new host tissue. Simply, PRP permits the body to heal faster and more efficiently.

Correct use of  the syringe is described during Phlebotomy training program at P Dental Center.An article in The International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry detailed a study regarding use of Growth Factors in molar sites with bone defects.  It advocated the use of Growth Factors in immediate placement of implants at the time of tooth removal. This is because of the high degree of predictability for successful treatment, preservation of bone and soft tissue form, the reduced period that a patient must live without teeth and superior esthetic results.

Dr. Glenn Wolfinger states, “PRP is used to stimulate and accelerate the healing process in the Teeth in a Day® protocol.  We strongly believe that PRP is a critical component of the high success of this protocol.”

As stated in the Journal of Oral Implantology, “Integrating this technique into common practice provides important benefits for patients regarding esthetics, without the risk of infection or transmission of diseases.”

To learn more about PRP click here.

More about bone and healing:

To ask us about dental implant treatment, PRP, or to schedule an appointment:

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Terminology:

Phlebotomy:   the practice of drawing blood

Osseointegration: The biological process by which living bone (osseo) fuses with the titanium dental implant to form a man-made tooth root.


Articles:

Immediate Postextraction Implant Placement Using Plasma Rich in Growth Factors Technology in Maxillary Premolar Region: A New Strategy for Soft Tissue Management. Oral Implantology, Vol. XXXIX, No. One, 2013.

Platelet-Derived Growth Factor – Mediated Guided Bone Regeneration in Immediate Implant Placement in Molar Sites with Buccal Bone Defects, The International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry, Vol. 35, No. 6, 2015.

Tags: dental implants, PRP for dental surgery, Teeth In A Day

More Mobile Phones Than Toothbrushes? Fact or Fiction

Posted by Chris Raines on Aug 3, 2016 2:14:28 PM

More Mobile Phones Than Tooth Brushes? Fact or Fiction

Did you ever hear there were more mobile phones than toothbrushes?  We wondered whether this startling statement was actually true. The Mobile Marketing Association of Asia originally reported this data, stating that, ‘out of 6 billion people on the planet, 4.8 billion have a mobile phone while only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush’ Link to article. 

Jamie Turner of 60 2nd Marketer attempted to determine the validity of this statement.  A Google search using the phrase, “number of mobile phones worldwide,” showed that there are 4.6 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide. Yet, the true number of phone owners is more complicated than it seems. In some parts of the world, people have more than one subscription. When this variable was considered, the number of mobile phone owners dropped to 4.2 billion. 

Mr. Turner had even more difficulty determining how many people own toothbrushes. Colgate reported having 34 percent of the market share in manual toothbrushes. Oral-B stated the yearly toothbrush market is $5 billion. By calculating the cost of toothbrushes on Amazon, he determined an average cost to be $3.00 in the US, but closer to $1.55 worldwide.

Ultimately, Mr. Turner concluded that approximately 3.22 billion toothbrushes were sold last year. And although it is almost impossible to determine the actual numbers of toothbrushes or mobile phones, the statement that there are more mobile phones than toothbrushes seems to have some validity. 

3.22 BILLION TOOTHBRUSH OWNERS < 4.0 BILLION MOBILE PHONES OWNERS

Regardless of the exact number of toothbrushes or mobile phones, the real issue is the state of people's oral hygiene and dental health. Is oral hygiene protocol satisfactory to maintain good oral health? 

Recently, ABC News broadcasted an Associate Press story claiming that the medical benefits of dental floss are unproven and challenged the dental profession's recommendation to floss daily.

The American Dental Association has affirmed flossing as an essential part of tooth and gum care and has a web page outlining the benefits of flossing along with an instructional video.

Do the doctors and dental hygienists at Pi Dental Center recommend flossing? 

Dr. Glenn Wolfinger, Board Certified Prosthodontist at Pi Dental Center states, "For most dental implant patients, a toothbrush and Waterpik may be the most ideal method for oral hygiene.  For those with natural teeth, brush and flossing is recommended. Flossing not only removes debris between teeth, but if done properly, could provide positive stimulation to the gingival tissues."

Daily oral hygiene home care can include dental floss, oral irrigators, proxabrushesConnie Hartranft, RDH at Pi Dental Center, affirms, “As a Dental Hygienist who has worked in the field for over twenty years, I do find it surprising that there are limited long term studies on the effectiveness of flossing.  It is accepted that brushing reduces the sticky matrix, filled with bacteria known as plaque on teeth and gums when done properly. Brushing, however, cannot reach the areas between the teeth and slightly below the gum line where quite a bit of bacteria accumulates.  After spending countless hours treating patients, I feel that I have the practical knowledge to state there is a definite difference in the health of the gums and teeth when flossing is done properly in conjunction with brushing.” 

Ms. Hartranft continues, “Many dental hygienists and dentists agree that flossing is not the only way to remove plaque. Other aids include interproximal brushes, water flossers, air flossers, interdental sticks and end tufted brushes. I continue to strongly recommend the importance of removing plaque between teeth to our patients, whether through flossing or other interdental aids.”

Registered dental hygienist, Dolly Kituskie, suggests that patients brush at least twice daily, in the morning and evening. She goes on to recommend replacing the toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.  Using a soft toothbrush is advisable.  Things like floss, mouthrinse, interdental cleaners and tongue scrapers help to reduce plaque and control malodor.  The teeth and oral cavity should be checked by your dentist at least twice yearly. People with periodontal disease or those who are prone to cavities, should see their dental hygienist three to four times a year.

An individualized home care regimen should be developed by the oral hygienist and patient.  A dental cleaning should include oral hygiene instruction to ensure that the patient is using the correct technique.  Routine dental checkups help the patient determine that their home care regimen is sufficient to maintain their dental health.

Please feel free to call us at 215-646-6334 or contact us via the web, if you are due for oral hygiene or have a question.

 

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Tags: Dental Hygienist, oral hygiene, teeth, periodontal disease, toothbrushes

Prosthodontist Dr. Balshi Earns Dan Gordon Lifetime Achievement Award

Posted by Chris Raines on Jul 29, 2016 1:12:11 PM

Dr Balshi awarded Dan Gordon Lifetime Achievement AwardDr. Thomas Balshi will receive the Dan Gordon Lifetime Achievement Award from the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP) this October at the ACP Annual Session in San Diego. 

Dr. Balshi describes the Dan Gordon Award, “It is given for lifetime achievement in the specialty of Prosthodontics, reflecting on the patient care, research, teaching, and development of new concepts and for participation in the growth of the field of prosthodontics.”

The Dan Gordon Lifetime Achievement award is presented to ACP members who have significantly contributed to the welfare and advancement of the College and to the field of Prosthodontics including outstanding contributions to dentistry, exceptional service to the college, and advancements to the sciences and health professions. The award recognizes the lifetime achievement of members who have provided education to the public about new treatment modalities and provided innovative specialty education in prosthodontic resident programs.

Prosthodontics is a dental specialty recognized by the American Dental Association. Prosthodontists are dentists with advanced training in esthetic restoration and replacement of teeth including two to three years of additional training in an ADA-accredited prosthodontic graduate program. They are experts in restoring missing and compromised teeth with veneers, dental implants, crowns, bridges, dentures and treating problems of the jaw. Their skills range from partial tooth restoration to full mouth reconstruction. These dental specialists are experts in digital dentistry and CAD/CAM dental implant treatment.

Dan Gordon Lifetime Achievement AwardDr. Thomas Balshiis a board certified prosthodontist with over forty years of experience in education, research and clinical expertise.  His worldwide roster of lectures and his abundant publication of research serve to underscore his innovative prosthodontic skill.  Dr. Balshi would define himself by his passion for dental implant achievements leading to two trademarked protocols, Teeth in a Day® and No BoneZ Solution™. His most prized professional milestones are his honorary PhD in science from Cabrini College (2010), his United States Army Medal of Commendation, and the Freedom’s Foundation George Washington Medal of Honor and in 2014, Dr. Balshi was named to Temple University’s Gallery of Success. (View CV)

The American College of Prosthodontists is the official sponsoring organization for the specialty of Prosthodontics. Founded in 1970, the ACP is dedicated to enhancing patient care, advancing the art and science of Prosthodontics, promoting the specialty of Prosthodontics to the public, dentists and healthcare professionals, ensuring the quality of Prosthodontic education and providing professional services to its membership.

A prosthodontist is an excellent choice for your dental care. If you are looking for a dentist specializing in prosthodontics to diagnose and treat you, please feel free to call 215-646-6334 or click below to schedule an appointment.
American College of Prosthodontists President, Dr. Carl Driscoll presented the Dan Gordon award for life time achievement in the specialty of prosthodontics at the 46 Annual Scientific session of the college last week in San Diego CA.

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Tags: dental implant treatment, American College of Prosthodontics, dental implant research, board certified prosthodontist

July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness Month

Posted by Chris Raines on Jul 18, 2016 5:40:40 PM

July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness MonthJuly is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month and Pi Dental Center is educating the public about these birth defects.

Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that occur when a baby’s lip or mouth do not form properly during pregnancy.

Cleft Lip:

The lips form between the fourth and seventh weeks of pregnancy. Body tissue and special cells from each side of the head grow toward the center of the face and join together to make the face, as the baby develops during pregnancy, forming the facial features. If the tissue that makes up the lip does not join completely before birth, a cleft lip occurs, resulting in an opening in the upper lip. This opening can be a small slit or a large opening that goes through the lip into the nose. A cleft lip can be on one or both sides of the lip, or in rare cases, the middle of the lip. Children with a cleft lip also can have a cleft palate.

Cleft Palate:

Between the sixth and ninth weeks of pregnancy, the roof of the mouth is formed. A cleft palate occurs if the tissue that makes up the roof of the mouth does not join together completely during pregnancy. In some babies, both the front and back parts of the palate are open. For others, only part of the palate is open.

Cleft lips and palates can cause problems with feeding and speaking clearly. Dental problems, frequent ear infections, and hearing problems are also common.

The fourth most common birth defect in the U.S., cleft lips affect one in 700 babies annually. Clefts occur more often in children of Asian, Latino, or Native American descent. Twice as many boys than girls have a cleft lip. But, twice as many girls have cleft palate without a cleft lip.

While most scientists believe clefts are due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, the actual cause of orofacial clefts is unknown. The CDC recently reported findings from research studies about factors that increase the chance of having a baby with these birth defects. They include women who smoke during pregnancy, women who have been diagnosed with diabetes prior to pregnancy, and women who used certain medicines to treat epilepsy during the first three months of pregnancy, such as  topiramate or valproic acid. Other medications that can increase risk include anti-seizure/anticonvulsant drugs, acne drugs containing Accutane, and methotrexate, a drug commonly used for treating cancer, arthritis, and psoriasis.

The prosthodontists at Pi Dental Center recommend a coordinated approach to care for patients with orofacial clefts by a team that consists of experienced dental professionals, qualified physicians and health care providers from several different specialties.  


Here are some of the specialists that the team includes:

  • a plastic surgeon
  • a prosthodontist
  • an oral-maxillofacial surgeon
  • a craniofacial surgeon
  • a neurosurgeon
  • a pediatric dentist
  • an orthodontist
  • a speech-language pathologist
  • an audiologist
  • a geneticist
  • a pediatrician
  • a psychologist, social worker or other mental health specialist
  • an ophthalmologist 

Prosthodontists are part of the team that helps cleft palate patients. Prosthodontics is a dental specialty recognized by the American Dental Association. A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the esthetic restoration and replacement of teeth and has completed dental school plus three additional years of advanced training and education in an ADA-accredited prosthodontic graduate program. A prosthodontist is the best specialist to choose to make a dental prosthesis. 

Infant with cleft lip and cleft palateBoth of Pi Dental Center’s Board Certified Prosthodontists, Dr. Thomas Balshi and Dr. Glenn Wolfinger treat cleft defect patients. Dr. Balshi states, “We cater to adolescents and adults who have had the cleft surgically repaired. If they have not had it repaired, we can refer them to a number of good plastic surgeons who work with us.”

“Once the soft tissue is closed surgically and the lip heals, we can take care of the dental component using various forms of prosthodontics. Orthodontic treatment may also be needed, since most cleft palates are missing a tooth in the area of the cleft, and the palate collapses inward reducing the diameter of the arch form.”

A maxillary obturator is one type of prostheses produced at Pi Dental Center that is commonly used for patients with cleft defects. At Pi Dental Center, doctors also replace congenitally missing teeth with dental implants, design prostheses and provide ongoing complex treatment as patients grow into adulthood.

Three of the leading organizations that raise awareness for cleft lip and cleft palate conditions include The American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association (ACPA), the Cleft Palate Foundation and Smile Train.

ACPA is an international non-profit medical society of health care professionals who treat patients and perform research on oral cleft and craniofacial conditions in children and adults with cleft lip, cleft palate, and craniofacial anomalies. Read More: http://www.acpa-cpf.org/

The Cleft Palate Foundation (CPF) serves individuals and families affected by cleft lip, cleft palate and other craniofacial conditions by team coordination, education, and patient support.  CPF, founded in 1973, benefits millions of children in developing countries who live with untreated clefts. Cleft repair surgery is simple and the transformation is immediate. Their sustainable model provides training, funding and resources to empower local doctors in over 85 developing countries to provide free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own community’s public service arm of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. http://www.cleftline.org/

Smile Train is an international children’s charity that helps millions of children in developing countries who have untreated clefts by providing training, funding and resources empowering local doctors in more than eighty-five developing countries to provide free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft treatment. http://smiltrain.org

If you know someone who is struggling with the dilemma of choosing specialists to treat cleft defects, feel free to contact Pi Dental Center.

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Terminology:

Palatal Obturator – A palatal obturator is a prosthesis that can be used to close defects such as an opening in the roof of the mouth. They are similar to dental retainers. Openings in the hard and soft palate may affect speech or cause nasal regurgitation during feeding. A palatal obturator can improve speech, proper air flow, eating, reduce regurgitation. People who use palatal obturators must be monitored regularly by their prosthodontist to insure continued effectiveness and comfort of the prosthesis.

Palate - The roof of the mouth

For More Information About Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate and Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness Month:

CDC – Cleft Palate Information: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/cleftlip.html

Web MD –Information: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/cleft-lip-cleft-palate

Resources by Location: http://www.cleftline.org/parents-individuals/team-care/state-listings-p/

Information about Choosing a Cleft Palate or Craniofacial Team: http://www.cleftline.org/docs/PDF_Factsheets/Choosing_Team.pdf

Cleidocranial Dysplasia And Dental Health: http://dentalimplants-usa.com/cleidocranial-dysplasia-and-dental-health/

Pi Dental Center Stories:

Monique’s Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMg0RTmpsAA

Patient photos of Monique who was born with a cleft lip and palate:
http://dentalimplants-usa.com/patients/gallery/12a05d7basicgallery.html

Tags: board certified prosthodontist, Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness Month

The Slippery Slope of Dental Bone Loss

Posted by Chris Raines on Jun 22, 2016 2:45:15 PM

Illustration of Destruction of a Home from Beach ErosionErosion of the earth and dental bone loss in the human mouth share some similarities.  Both are devastatingly damaging; both are financially costly; and both have similar solutions.

We have all seen images of hillside homes toppling from cliffs in California and heard about the destruction of beaches at the New Jersey shore.  Erosion has frequently been reported in the news.  Watch Dramatic Video Showing Effects of Erosion

Erosion of the Earth:

The word erosion comes from the Latin word "erosionem" which means "a gnawing away."  Erosion is the process by which the surface of the earth gets worn down. There are many different forces in nature that cause erosion. The three main forces that cause erosion are water, wind, and ice.

Water is the main cause of erosion and is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. Rainfall can cause erosion both when the rain hits a surface, called splash erosion, and when raindrops accumulate and flow like small streams. Rivers can create a significant amount of erosion over time. They break up particles along the river bottom and carry them downstream. Ocean waves can cause the coastline to erode. The shear energy and force of the waves causes pieces of rock and coastline to break off changing the coastline over time. Large floods can cause erosion to happen very quickly acting like powerful rivers. Beach erosion occurs when waves and currents remove sand from the beach system. The loss of sand causes the beach to become narrower and lower in elevation. Storm waves carry the sand offshore, depositing and storing the sediment in large sandbars.

An eroded stream bankA Solution to Soil Erosion:

One way to limit erosion is by planting trees and vegetation. Watch this YouTube Video demonstrating how erosion occurs and how the process is reduced when plants are present. (https://youtu.be/im4HVXMGI68). Notice that roots keep the water from eroding the soil by holding it in place. The deeper the roots reach into the soil, the more effectively they reduce erosion.

Dental Bone Loss:no-bone-solution.jpg

Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures around the teeth, including the gums, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. A healthy mouth includes bones and teeth surrounded snugly by connective and gum tissue. In the case of periodontitis, bacteria gradually eat away at the underlying jawbone and at the periodontal ligaments that connect tooth to bone.

Bone loss occurs when lost teeth are not replaced. The jawbone melts away with removable dentures or no teeth at all. In the first year after tooth extraction a whopping 25% of bone is lost, and this bone loss continues as each year passes.

Replacing teeth with removable dentures doesn’t solve the problem of bone loss. This is because dentures exert less than 10% of the chewing pressure on bone compared to that of natural teeth. People who wear removable dentures can experience another severe consequence of bone loss: collapse of the lower third of their face.

Removal of the molars in the upper jaw can cause additional resorption of the bone due to expansion of the sinus cavity. With no teeth in place, the air pressure in the sinus cavity causes resorption of the bone lining the sinuses.

A Solution to Bone Loss:Illustration of the similarities between a natural tooth and a dental implant

A proactive approach can help to ensure a healthy mouth.  “Preventing bone loss with good oral hygiene and follow-up is more ideal than trying to rebuild the defective site,” states Dr. Glenn Wolfinger, a board certified prosthodontist at Pi Dental Center.

Bone loss can be prevented by replacing a tooth with a dental implant because an implant acts like a natural tooth root exerting similar pressure as real teeth. An implant can be placed during the same surgical procedure as the tooth extraction.  By replacing single teeth with dental implants or by using a fixed implant-supported bridge, bone loss is minimized.

A single-tooth implant, or a dental bridge supported by dental implants, provides a chewing power that can exceed the bite force of natural teeth.  A prosthesis, secured with dental implants, such as our Teeth In A Day® procedure, provides significant biting force and helps considerably in preventing bone loss.Illustration of facial collapse due to bone loss and restoration of facial proportion following dental implant treatment

While maintaining our beaches, streams and properties supports a healthy Earth, preserving bone in the jaw helps to preserve a healthy mouth and maintains a healthy appearance.

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Terminology:

Alveolar Bone: The bone of the upper jaw or lower jaw that surrounds and supports the teeth.

Dental Implant: Dental implants are replacements for your natural teeth. Natural teeth are connected to biologic roots inside the gum and bone tissue. When they become decayed or compromised and unable to function properly, the best solution is recreating teeth that most closely resemble nature. Dental implants are synthetic roots. The scientifically proven ones are made from titanium, a substance that is compatible with bone tissue and in just a few months’ time, bone actually bonds to the titanium surface of the implant. They become the sub-structure for a whole new set of non-removable teeth.

Edentulous: Without teeth. Patients may be described as fully edentulous when they are missing all their teeth, or partially edentulous when they are missing some of their teeth.

Bone Resorption: Resorption is the process or action by which something is lost or taken away. Bone resorption is a process by which areas of bone structure are lost due to activation of the body's innate capacity to remove mineralized tissue, as mediated via cells such as osteoclasts.

One More Cool Video:

Erosion Video with Bill Nye the Science Guy:    https://youtu.be/J-ULcVdeqgE

View Scientific Articles about Bone Loss, Dental Implants, and More.

 By Christine Raines
Web Site Administrator
Information Systems Manager
at Pi Dental Center

Tags: dental implants, No Bone Solution, bone loss, maxillofacial prosthodontics, periodontics