Addressing the "Mission Impossible" With Dental Implants

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Feb 18, 2013 3:45:00 PM

Dr. Thomas BalshiAddressing the “Mission Impossible”

By Thomas J. Balshi, DDS,PhD,FACP

Technological advancements have led to superior outcomes for patients, but they have also ensured that experiences in the prosthodontist’s chair are faster and smoother than ever before.

 

The smile is a vital asset to human well-being. The prosthodontist’s professional pride is in building smiles that are worthy of celebration.  Dental implant technology has enabled us to deliver healthy smiles with superior esthetics for virtually every patient. Innovations have reduced the time and trauma from the procedure, permitting remarkable results with minimal treatment time and a smooth recovery.

 AddressingMissionImpossible

The cutting edge of prosthodontic expertise addresses “Mission Impossible” clinical conditions and makes them do-able. This is most particularly evident in patients with severe bone loss. In past times, they often began their journey in a hospital, giving up bone from another site to be later used in the jaw. Today, we may sidestep bone grafting using extraordinary data available from cone beam CT scans to plan in 3D intricate surgeries on a computer and, with computer generated templates, surgically place zygomatic and pterygomaxillary implants. This “No Bone Solutions” protocol completely eliminates donor site morbidity with grafting and provides the patient with immediate gratification by placement of an implant-retained prosthesis immediately following surgery.  Recovery time is drastically reduced and most patients are fully functional the next day.

The combination of surgical technology with zygomatic implants and refined laboratory technology has proven to be a patient-friendly experience that delivers predictably high quality results. The cone beam CT scan and the 3-D planning gives us the opportunity to create the best possible technique for the actual surgery, and allows us to determine both the bone anchorage points for the implants and the prosthetic emergence points for screw retention.

The long-term success of such sophisticated dental implant treatment is critically dependent on the quality of the final prosthesis.  Technology now allows robots to mill exact frameworks to support highly esthetic individual ceramic enamel-like crowns and especially life-like gingival prostheses.  Our use of individual crowns on computer generated frameworks has eliminated screw holes in the crowns, which adds to the natural esthetics of the prosthesis and allows the crowns to maintain maximum integrity. In our practice, this process builds upon the immediate prosthesis “prototype” and permits refinement of the initial plan by skilled dental technicians.  The many advantages of digital design culminate in a prosthesis that fits, functions and appears excellent.

Instead of the eighteen-month plus treatment plan using bone grafting, new technologies allow us to reach the same destination in essentially three visits. Our imaging technology permits 1) placement of implants and provisional prosthesis during one visit, 2) a final impression following implant integration and 3) delivery of the final prosthesis.  Many patients who previously thought the pathway to teeth was impossible today find this technology to be a stepping stone to a dream come true. We are honored and privileged to incorporate it into our everyday care and to build celebrated smiles. We are prosthodontists!

 


About the author

Thomas J. Balshi, D.D.S., PhD., F.A.C.P.

Dr. Thomas J. Balshi is a Diplomate of The American Board of Prosthodontics and founder of Prosthodontics Intermedica, the Pi Dental Center, in Fort Washington, PA. He is also a director at the Institute For Facial Esthetics.  Both his graduate and post-graduate degrees were earned from Temple University School of Dentistry, and he received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Cabrini College.  Dr. Balshi received his surgical and prosthetic implant training directly from Professor Per Ingvar Bränemark, Institute For Applied Biotechnology.  He is a Charter Member and Fellow of the Academy of Osseointegration, a Fellow of the American College of Prosthodontists, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Prosthodontists and the ICP.  He was a Founder and President of the Pennsylvania Prosthodontic Association.  His academic focus is teaching the principles of immediate loading implants combined with digital technology.  Dr. Balshi has developed treatment protocols exclusive to Pi, including Teeth in a Day® for accelerated rehabilitation and No BoneZ Solution™, to eliminate the need for extensive bone grafting.  He is an adjunct professor of both Temple University and Nova Southeastern University.  His team has provided special training programs at The Institute For Facial Esthetics for Prosthodontic and Surgical Residents from Harvard, Maryland, UMDNJ, UCONN, Columbia, Loma Linda, Temple and Nova Southeastern.  His most recent textbook contribution is in Zygomatic Implants – The Anatomy-Guided Approach (Quintessence).

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Tags: dental implants, dental surgery, restorative dentistry, board certified prosthodontist

Spotlight on Dental Implants with Dr. Glenn Wolfinger, Prosthodontist

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Dec 4, 2012 12:22:00 PM

Dr. Glenn WolfingerDr. Glenn Wolfinger, prosthodontist at Pi Dental Center, was interviewed for the November issue of PhiladlephiaLife magazine. 

The single greatest health care advancement that influences the way you practice:

The discovery of dental implant treatment has been the greatest advancement to improve the lives of patients. The ability to predictably replace missing teeth and restore function has been life changing for patients.

One thing you know now that you wish you had known is dental school:

We know now that no patient needs to suffer with removable dentures. Dentistry is capable of providing permanent solutions for almost every patient.

If you had to choose a new career now, other than health care:

Prosthodontics is a blend of dentistry and engineering, computer science and art. No other career is even imaginable.

Dr. Glenn Wolfinger is a Board Certified Prosthodontist practicing at Prosthodontics Intermedica in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.  Dr. Wolfinger is a Fellow of the American College of Prosthodontists and the Academy of Osseointegration.  He graduated from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, completed a general practice residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, and then completed a residency in combined Prosthodontics through the VA-Harvard Program in Boston.  He is currently a member of the Adjunct Faculty at Nova Southeastern University and Co-Director of the Institute For Facial Esthetics.  He is a Past-President of the Pennsylvania Prosthodontic Association, and a member of numerous other dental organizations. He has participated in critical research projects, has lectured internationally, and has had many articles published in refereed journals.

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Tags: dental implants, restorative dentistry, board certified prosthodontist

Sparkling Smiles Are Giant Steps Toward Eating Disorder Recovery

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Sep 14, 2012 2:20:00 PM

Patient photoThe Pi Dental Center in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania has made giant steps in helping eating disorder patients find their way to the path of recovery.  Philosophically uncharacteristic of the dental profession at large, the Pi doctors and staff have immersed themselves in understanding the multi-dimensional aspects of these health issues, and have taken the solid position that quality dentistry and precision esthetics jumpstart the recovery process. 

For years, the dental profession has held a very reserved perspective in applying restorative care to patients with worn away and infected dentitions, requiring patients to show evidence of remission before embarking on major dental reconstruction.  At the Pi Center, board certified prosthodontists believe that the core issues of eating disorders, lack of confidence and lack of empowerment, are significantly eradicated by the introduction of a healthy mouth and a winning smile.  The dramatic change brought by this sudden life enhancement produces such abundant self-confidence and positive energy that it often unlocks the door to recovery. The Pi approach is not to withhold or delay any measure that contributes to the rebuilding of a broken spirit. 

At the Pi Center, ongoing studies of our many treated eating disorder patients clearly indicate that our philosophy generates consistent positive outcomes.  Some patients come to us on the threshold of physical and emotional disaster, holding out the singular hope that a new image in the mirror can actually save their lives. Others come unaware of the value embedded in a new smile, but find themselves newly equipped with functioning tools to begin the recovery process.

At the present time, virtually every eating disorder patient in the Pi Dental Center practice has achieved success, not only dentally from a functional and cosmetic standpoint, but also in revamping eating habits to either reduce or eliminate dysfunction.  We welcome new patients who suffer from the difficult dental symptoms of eating disorders.  We are committed to patient privacy as well as to offering experienced compassion for victims of this difficult disease.

Learn more about dental care at Pi Dental Center.

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Tags: smile makeover, eating disorder awareness and teeth, restorative dentistry, patient self esteem study

Pi Dental Center: A Comforting Environment For Restorative Dentistry

Posted by Thomas Balshi, DDS FACP on Jun 19, 2012 2:35:00 PM

A Comforting Center For Dental Care

A Rare Formula

At Pi Dental Center, discover a comforting, nonthreatening environment—and much more—for all restorative dental care

by J.M. Kovacs


“Pi” officially stands for Prosthodontics Intermedica, a multidisciplinary medical approach to engineering smiles that are comprehensively healthy for a lifetime and sparklingly attractive, distinctively suited to each individual patient.

The professional website pidentalcenter.com highlights numerous other designations for the signature letters, but probably none is more apparent than “Passionate Ingenuity.” Here is where a truly inspired and experienced team will go far beyond the norm to ensure scientific perfection and total patient satisfaction. The Pi team thinks as if with one mind, embraces as if with one heart. Warmth is evident in every genuinely welcoming handshake and professional passion is defined by immeasurable energy to succeed.

Drs. Thomas J. Balshi and Glenn J. Wolfinger have never turned a patient away without a solution. Sometimes “it takes a village,” and the dental village in Fort Washington thrives on their synchronization and their seemingly endless resourcefulness.

Meet a patient named Frank, age 28, alone in the world with both parents deceased and no known siblings. Once homeless and damaged by unknown history, he now resides in a group residential home as a ward of the state, befriended by members of a local church. Frank is eager to hold a job but because of missing, misshapen and numerous abscessed teeth, his best efforts to smile often frightened others, causing him to be rejected. His dream of a life well lived had nearly disappeared until his very loving church friends sought to find him a bridge to a better world.

Frank’s case was doubly challenging because his fear of dental treatment was nearly paralyzing. On the day he received his smile, the first hour was devoted simply to helping him grow beyond his fear and making him emotionally comfortable to accept the gift he so desperately wanted.

With that accomplished, three doctors, one anesthesiologist, one registered nurse and six surgical assistants worked in tandem, strategically ensuring that Pi’s trademarked Teeth In a Day™ would imminently happen and magically transform Frank’s life, like it had transformed many others before him.

The staff gently massaged Frank’s neck as he fell into sleep; the Dr. Balshi deftly performed the surgery; while Dr. Wolfinger flew back and forth into the laboratory to fine tune and custom shape the wonderful surprise teeth that Frank would wake to find in his mouth. Not a dry eye was in the “village” as the procedure came to its close.

This is passionate ingenuity. It happens at the Pi Dental Center almost every day.

Although the Pi Dental Center is a nonthreatening and comfortable environment for all restorative dental care, it is also a haven for “Premium Instruction.” Doctors who share the passion for cutting-edge care come from around the world to learn the miraculous strides achievable through implant dentistry, and some of the most prestigious graduate schools in the country send their prosthodontic residents to the Pi Dental Center to be trained.

The blend of skill and compassion at Pi is a rare formula in improving the patients' dental health, but it is evenly applied for the smallest tweak or the most dramatic dental achievement. (Published in SuburbanLife Magazine, June 2012)

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Tags: smile makeover, restorative dentistry, comprehensive dentistry

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.

Tags: Pi Dental Center, restorative dentistry, maxillofacial prosthodontics

Prosthodontics Awareness Week a la Pi Dental Center

Posted by Thomas Balshi, DDS FACP on Apr 11, 2011 2:40:00 PM

Prosthodontics Awareness Week a la Pi Dental Center

April 4-9, 2011

Pi Team At Open House

When the American College of Prosthodontists announced their first designation of a Prosthodontics Awareness Week, the Pi team embraced the idea with gusto.  Here was an opportunity to showcase all that distinguishes a prosthodontic practice from a neighborhood dental office. 

Drs. Thomas Balshi and Glenn Wolfinger


We started with a simple question: Do YOU have a prosthodontist?  We threw it out there on the internet, in the local newspapers, and in banks and restaurants and supermarkets.  Then we elected to answer the question comprehensively by opening our doors to the community.

 

The Pi Dental Center invited prospective patients and all of our patient family to Open House.  We provided tours, question and answer sessions, refreshments, and a rolling slide show of dental trivia, before and after photos, and most importantly, bold statements that defined what a prosthodontist really is. Astoundingly one of the most successful parts of the event turned out to be the conversations between treated patients and those contemplating a whole new smile. The articulated enthusiasm and spirit of “go for it” were overwhelming.  Giveaway bags and a raffle rounded out the day.


Andrea Smiles at Pi Dental Center Open House

Throughout the week, silver trays of decorated cookies in the shape of toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes graced our reception area.  In early March our staff were invited to suggest a clever tag line to write on the cookies.  Twenty-five staff actually submitted forty-six entries.  The judges chose:  Prosthodontics is for smart cookies!


Everyone from the mailman to the last patient on Friday afternoon took home a brush and a tube.


So what does make a prosthodontist different?  Besides his superior training (at least two years of specialty education beyond regular dental school), a prosthodontist has extraordinary vision. A prosthodontist blends science and esthetics, engineering and spatial relations to create natural looking teeth, custom designed for each individual patient, that function with precision and radiate health and beauty. Open House Refreshments It does not matter whether it is one single tooth or an entire upper and lower dentition; a prosthodontist’s eye is geared toward perfection.  He/she is not simply maintaining teeth but rather is building or rebuilding one of humanity’s most powerful assets. A prosthodontist has a sense of pride in smiles that is born of passion and education second to none in the dental profession. When one is contemplating the reconstruction of a smile, the prosthodontist is the specialist that will best manage the delivery of care and provide an outcome that will exceed expectations.   Prosthodontics Week 2011

Tags: dentist, Pi Dental Center, restorative dentistry