The Slippery Slope of Dental Bone Loss

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

Drawing of a slippery slope with a house sliding into the sea.Erosion 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. ( 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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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:

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

Going from 'I Need Dental Implants' to 'I Want Dental Implants'

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Apr 16, 2015 8:13:00 PM


Dental implants have become the state of the art in keeping a smile young and healthy, but until that priceless life asset is firmly intact as a part of you, there can often be a strenuous exercise in hesitation.

First, there is the age-old myth to put to rest. “Save the tooth at any expense” has lost its luster. A dental implant has significantly more longevity than a standard crown, and if the tooth has been repeatedly re-treated and weakened, the crown may be a short term investment of sizable proportion. Smiles built upon dental implants can be very cost effective when considered over lifetime dental care.

The second hurdle is often anxiety. This can be erased if the prospective patient diligently accomplishes their homework in advance. The long range success of a dental implant reconstruction requires the vision of a prosthodontist. This is the dental specialist who spends several additional years rigorously training in the three-dimensional engineering of the perfect occlusion. In the experienced hands and discerning eyes of a board certified prosthodontist, a patient should find the confidence that whisks away anxiety. The Pi Dental Center, with thirty years of experience, proudly publishes our success rate at 98%. Only undetected systemic abnormalities and excessive smoking post-surgically are contraindications to fully restored smiles. Never be afraid to ask questions. The more a patient understands about dental implant care in advance of the treatment, the gentler and more predictable the experience will be.

The third hurdle is time. We are a busy world always over-filling our schedules and not wanting to use leisure time for comprehensive dental procedures. That is why the Pi team perfected our trademark—Teeth in a Day®. We have streamlined the dental implant procedure to make it happen from diagnosis to delivery of the final custom smile in as few as four visits, and only one of these visits will require a day or two of quiet recovery.

The final hurdle and often the most insurmountable one is the cost of dental implants, and unlike other refined areas of new technology, they are unlikely to come down in price. Behind the scenes costs for the prosthodontist are very significant. The materials are high value products, and there are many steps involving many skill sets, not only of human beings but of sophisticated robots. Building a smile that perfectly fits a face, a personality and an expectation is an achievement. At the Pi Dental Center, there is more profit in our profile of success than in dollars and cents, but that is part of our make-up as compassionate, chairside caregivers.

The real thrust for pulling the trigger lies in understanding the value of the smile to human life. Our treated patients tell us everything from it made them feel younger and more vital to it totally changed their lives. A wonderful smile is magnetic. It attracts positive attention and changes the light in which a person is viewed. There is no real measurement for smile power, only that it makes an immeasurable difference that is completely priceless.

This is National Prosthodontics Awareness Week. If you have considered upgrading your smile with dental implants, there is no better time to investigate. Our three Pi prosthodontists are wearing their talent on their sleeves and will welcome your curiosity. A casual, non-threatening visit to the Pi Dental Center might help you make one of the best decisions of your life.

By Joanne Balshi
Pi Dental Center, Fort Washington, PA

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Tags: smile makeover, maxillofacial prosthodontics, board certified prosthodontist

What is Maxillofacial Prosthetics? A Subspecialty of Prosthodontics

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Nov 24, 2014 2:04:00 PM

maxillofacial prosthodontics blog format copy

Maxillofacial Prosthetics is a subspecialty of Prosthodontics that involves rehabilitation of patients with defects or disabilities that were present at birth, sustained following trauma, or acquired following cancer or other disease treatment.  Many patients require replacement of more than just teeth.  A Maxillofacial Prosthodontist is trained to replace bone and tissue with many different types of Prostheses.

Training to become a Maxillofacial Prosthodontist involves completion of a one-year fellowship following a traditional three-year Prosthodontic Residency.  This additional year is usually in a hospital based environment treating patients undergoing surgical treatment, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to cure their disease.  The program provides experience not only treating the defects caused by cancer or trauma, but also provides the tools to help the Prosthodontist better manage the difficult side effects patients must contend with during radiation and chemotherapy.

A Maxillofacial Prosthdontist can routinely replace an eye, ear, nose, or portion of a face, many times in conjunction with an intra-oral defect.  New techniques and prostheses are constantly being devised or improved by Maxillofacial Prosthodontists.  A silicone ear that use to be retained by an adhesive is now retained by implants similar to those used to replace teeth.  The same security patients have with a dental implant reconstruction is also available to Maxillofacial patients.


View complete article with photographs and descriptions


By Stephen G. Alfano, DDS, MS, FACP
Pi Dental Center, Fort Washington, PA 


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Tags: restorative dentistry, maxillofacial prosthodontics, board certified prosthodontist

Join Pi for National Prosthodontics Awareness Week Open House

Posted by Chris Raines on Mar 20, 2014 3:13:00 PM

National Prosthodontics Awareness Week

The American College of Prosthodontists supports the valuable role that prosthodontists play on the dental team.

Prosthodontists, like orthodontists, periodontists, endodontists and pedodontists, are specialists in one specific field of dentistry. Their training to provide expertise in restorative treatment has been rigorous, and their day-to-day experience in practice touches every conceivable challenge in delivering smiles with high-level function, maximum comfort and pristine esthetics. A prosthodontist's intensive training beyond the standard norms of the dental degree interfaces them with researchers and clinical experts from numerous other medical disciplines, tending to give them a wide range of diagnostic insight and diversified approaches to oral health solutions.

Imperfect teeth, whether by birth abnormality, traumatic accident or natural decay, can be replaced with attractive, functional teeth in the office of a prosthodontist.

“Pi” prosthodontists are board certified. This means that in addition to completing the program requirements to be held out as specialists in their field, they have also passed a written and clinical examination assessing their requisite knowledge and skill to provide high quality patient care.

Drs. Tom Balshi and Glenn Wolfinger are active members of the American College of Prosthodontists, and are both past presidents of The Pennsylvania Prosthodontic Association. Additionally, they regularly participate in research studies, publish scientific journals, and lecture internationally.

National Prosthodontics Awareness Week focuses on raising public awareness about the critical importance of a healthy mouth.

April 6 – 12, 2014

Join The Team At
Pi Dental Center For Our
Open House

Featuring Tours, One-On-One Discussions With
Our Doctors, Giveaways & More!

 Open House:  April 9, 2014 from 5 – 7 pm
RSVP To Linda M:  215-646-6334

Tags: dental education, restorative dentistry, maxillofacial prosthodontics, board certified prosthodontist

Fox 29 Features Maxillofacial Prosthodontics at Pi Dental Center

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Sep 23, 2013 3:59:00 PM

Fox News Features Pi Dental Center

FOX 29 aired a story featuring the Pi Dental Center on September 28th. Doctors and staff at Pi Dental Center have been treating a young boy named Sisay for the last year. While living in Ethiopia, a wild hyena attacked Sisay, damaging his nose and upper jaw. In conjunction with a maxillofacial prosthodontist and other specialists from Geisinger Medical Center, Pi Dental Center restored his facial defect.


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Tags: maxillofacial prosthodontics, board certified prosthodontist

Pi Dental Center Celebrates National Prosthodontics Awareness Week

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Apr 23, 2012 5:22:00 PM

Happiness is Pi Dental Center

At Fort Washington’s Pi Dental Center, we are celebrating the achievements this week of two board certified prosthodontists.  Dr. Tom Balshi, founder of the center and his partner, Dr. Glenn Wolfinger, are Fellows of the American College of Prosthodontists and are actively involved in cutting edge research, education of the profession and the public, comprehensive patient care, and the promotion of the specialty of Prosthodontics.

Our week kicked off with very special guests to VIEWPOINT, the conference venue at the Pi Dental Center.  Graduate dental students from Harvard University Dental School and from The University of Connecticut School of Dentistry are present for an advanced course in Pi’s trademarked Teeth In a Day™ dental implant protocol.

On Wednesday, Pi will host Open House for the public, with mini-lectures, tours, free consultations, festive refreshments and surprise giveaways. Treated patients will be on hand to share their experiences with prospective patients. Throughout the week all patients and guests will receive our brand new specially designed Pi chocolate bar, a symbol that patients with prosthetic smiles have no fear of candy!

A sparkling, healthy smile can be a life changer.  If a serious smile investment is on your “bucket list,” be sure to find a prosthodontist.  Their training beyond the basic four-year dental degree is rigorous and includes the esthetic and engineering skills required to ensure the long range success of this most important life asset.

Be diligent about researching credentials and asking questions.  Do not rely on sources such as Philadelphia Magazine, where lists of specialists are not monitored by professional organizations and include doctors who limit their practices but have no actual training in a formal prosthodontic program sanctioned by The American College of Prosthodontists.

Unwrap Your Smile

During National Prosthodontics Awareness Week, the Pi Dental Center especially wishes to reach out to anyone with unanswered questions about their dental health.  Our team is prepared to respond online or call us at 215-646-6334.

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Tags: Pi Dental Center, restorative dentistry, maxillofacial prosthodontics