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

Sink Your Teeth Into This One! Pi Dental Center is Serving “the Capital Smile”

Posted by Joanne Balshi, Director of Public Relations on May 23, 2016 2:25:01 PM

Sink your teeth into a sumptuous steak dinner (Photo from Bridget's Steakhouse)

After thirty years courting revolutionary exploration of prosthodontic possibilities, The Pi Dental Center is proud to announce another new concept in smile building. Because we can now engineer superior durability with no sacrifice to translucent, natural esthetics, we are naming the ultimate Pi dental restoration our “Capital Smile.”

The name comes from the complaint most often brought to the Pi Dental Center — “I can’t eat anything that tastes good.”  Taking that to the highest level solution, it is our goal that our patients can enjoy the most sumptuous premium steaks at establishments like The Capital Grille with no worries.  No pain. No motion.  No chewing issues.  No breakage.  Just pure dining pleasure.

Capital GrilleThe specialty of Prosthodontics has been impacted over the years with ever changing science and technology leading to a man-made third set of teeth.  The first giant steps were cosmetic. Laboratories developed artistic ways to shape and color teeth so that crowns and veneers no longer appeared horsey, and in the hands of a skillful clinician became indistinguishable from natural teeth.  Later the advent of dental implant restorations with CADCAM technology made the architecture of the smile more solid and functional, promoting longevity of the restoration prosthesis.  Seemingly the profession was on the threshold of the ideal smile, even if a bit costly for the average pocket.

Halfway through 2016, it’s an intensely blended dedication of engineering, product development, cosmetic experience, fresh ideas and collaboration with the worldwide expertise of Global Dental Science, Inc., headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, creator of AvaDent digital removable dentures. Pi has always been about providing our patients the highest quality in the shortest time possible with consideration of the investment. The “Capital Smile” will upgrade technology, increase durability and longevity, and become a more cost effective way to sport a young, healthy smile.

Look for it first at Pi Dental Center, home of Teeth in a Day® dental implants. Consider dental implant treatment so that you can sink your teeth

 Ask A Dental Question Or Schedule An Appointment

* Photo of steak dinner graciously submitted by Brian Forrest

Tags: tooth replacement, dental implants, removable dentures, dental health, teeth, Teeth In A Day, sink your teeth

Timing is Everything -- Maximizing Dental Insurance Benefits

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Sep 15, 2011 1:18:00 PM

Discuss Dental Insurance BenefitsAt the Pi Dental Center, October thru December is the busiest time of the year. Patients with dental insurance benefits want to maximize their value for each calendar year and often wait for the end of the summer vacation season to schedule an appointment.  Others simply seem to have new energy for smile makeovers once the crisper air comes in.  The arrival of holiday catalogs resplendent with sparkles spurs many to be as attractive as they can be for the holiday season. Patients seek everything from whitening sessions to the replacement of longtime missing or decayed teeth.  It is as if the smile takes on more important value as the year winds to its end.

Smart shoppers do not wait until Black Friday to get ready for the holidays and smart dental patients schedule early to ensure that their needs can be met at the times they most desire.  The Pi staff will do everything possible to accommodate the annual end of the year rush; however, the early callers will secure the optimum appointment times.  Schedule soon to accomplish your dental goals for 2011.

Call 215-646-6334 to discuss treatment or schedule an appointment. For questions regarding dental insurance, contact Kathleen Koch at extension 304.

Tags: tooth replacement, maximize dental insurance benefits, dental insurance benefits, dental insurance

ABC News Investigates Denture Adhesive Health Issues

Posted by Chris Raines on Mar 4, 2011 11:46:00 AM

Pi Dental Center

In May 2009, Pi Dental Center’s newsletter exposed a problem caused by excessive use of zinc in denture adhesives.  Recently, ABC News began their own investigation of zinc in Fixodent and described the class action lawsuit started by users who have experienced devastating side effects.

Denture AdhesiveIn the twentieth century, the common prosthetic solution for severely compromised dental conditions was extraction of decayed and periodontally hopeless teeth and the application of removable dentures.  Never an ideal, dentures prescribed by a skilled clinician and manufactured by a quality laboratory, could at least be somewhat esthetic and fairly functional.  Removable teeth that sleep in a glass stood for decades as a viable solution, and smart denture wearers sought out the best adhesives for assistance in keeping their teeth comfortably snug by day.

ZINCRecent widespread consumer alerts stating that excessive zinc in denture adhesives may damage nerves, weaken limbs and disturb proper balance have denture patients clearly on edge.  Product manufacturers insist that with proper use of these products, they are totally safe and that only in circumstances where dentures are loose or ill fitting and excessive denture cream is used, could a patient’s overall health be at risk.

QuestionsThe American College of Prosthodontists recommends that denture patients visit their dentist to ensure that the denture is relined to fit the anatomically changing ridge as best as possible.  This can minimize the need for large doses of adhesives in the mouth and reduces the risk of injury.

Removable DentureDrs. Tom Balshi and Glenn Wolfinger, board certified prosthodontists at the Pi Dental Center in Fort Washington, take the recommendation one step further. Twenty-first century state of the art smile solutions with dental implants completely eliminate both the need for removable dentures and the dependence on adhesives.  New very affordable permanent smiles can be achieved with minimally invasive treatment in a single clinical visit, rejuvenating the face as well as providing non-removable teeth that look and function sometimes even better than the natural born smile.

For additional information about dental implant care or a learn how to completely avoid excessive zinc intake via adhesives, contact the Pi Dental Care Center.

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Tags: tooth replacement, dental implants, dental implant treatment, denture adhesive, smile makeover

A Cost Effective Approach for Rehabilitation with Dental Implants

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Feb 8, 2011 2:26:00 PM

Facial Rehabilitation Using The All-On-4 Mandibular Prosthesis

Robert, a 49-year-old journalist came to Pi for an opinion on his smile.  His profession required frequent face-to-face interviews.

His chief complaints were the embarrassment he experienced when smiling, painful chewing, very poor aesthetics and highly mobile teeth. He wrote in his medical history, “It would be nice to smile again”.  Robert was in a severe automobile accident in 1980, which left him with a chronic painful condition in his neck, his back and his jaws.    

Robert’s initial clinical examination noted multiple fractured teeth, extensive dental decay, several abscesses, and extruded teeth, which created a severe malocclusion.  There was a heavy plaque and calculus accumulation, which combined with smoking, contributed to advanced periodontal disease. 

At his initial visit, he smoked one pack of cigarettes a day, but wished to stop. Robert was advised of the effects of smoking, not only for his general health, but also for his dental condition.  He was strongly advised to quit smoking immediately.  Robert did admit he was “a very bad dental patient” due to his high level of anxiety.

Historically, extensive periodontal therapy followed by prosthodontic treatment may have been indicated to maintain and restore Robert’s natural dentition.  However, with all the clinical findings and the current condition of the patient’s teeth, traditional dental treatment had a poor prognosis.  With his advanced periodontal disease and his poor compliance, orthodontics to improve the dental malocclusion was not a viable option.  

Robert was presented with a treatment plan addressing all his concerns in an expedient manner. Cost was a consideration for the full mouth reconstruction.  Some doctors would recommend less expensive prosthetic treatment using an implant overdenture.  At Pi Dental Center we have found that patients are rarely satisfied with the removable implant overdenture as they are with fixed implant prostheses. At Pi Dental Center, we have found that there are many additional visits, as well as added costs associated with maintenance of the overdentures.  Recent studies have collaborated our findings.

The philosophy at Pi Dental Center is to provide patients with the most effective and efficient approach to solving their dental problems.  The Teeth In A Day® dental implant procedure is an excellent alternative for patients with a failing teeth who need to make the transition to an implant-supported prosthesis.  Historically, it would take several months or even years to see the benefits of implant treatment.  Fifteen years of research, pioneered at Pi Dental Center, has enabled patients to enjoy the benefits of immediately loading the implant-supported teeth on the same day that their decayed teeth are removed and the implants installed.  This accelerates the entire clinical process.

The early research for Teeth In A Day® was accomplished in patients where larger numbers of implants were placed to provide a very predictable solution for prosthesis stability.  Recently, studies have been published that show comparable predictability using fewer implants.  The latter may prove to be a more cost effective treatment approach for patients in need of implant-reconstruction.  

For Robert’s treatment all the periodontally compromised teeth were extracted, six implants were placed in the maxillary arch, four implants were placed in the mandibular arch and prostheses for both arches were put into immediate function following the Teeth In A Day® protocol.  While the patient was encouraged to adhere to a soft diet for the first three months, the temporary teeth proved to be much stronger than Robert’s natural teeth.  The aesthetic improvements were immediate.  Three months after the surgery the bone healing had stabilized and the  final implant reconstructions were delivered.

The patient went through a complete makeover to improve his overall aesthetics.  Dr. George Zavitsanos, a board certified plastic surgeon, provided improved facial aesthetics by surgically correcting the deviation in Robert’s nose in conjunction with multiple soft tissue enhancements.  Following facial surgery healing and the Teeth In A Day® treatment, Robert agreed to a style makeover and experienced his first hair cut since 1969.  A new prescription for corrective lenses offered yet another cosmetic improvement with his stylish new glasses.  Robert’s satisfaction with the Teeth In A Day® procedure is extremely high.  He has noticed a dramatic improvement in his psychological well-being and has found it easy to smile and be more outgoing.  As a news journalist for a Washington, DC newspaper, he feels more comfortable at press conferences in the highly political public eye.

From a dental standpoint, the periodontal disease has been eliminated and the patient now has a completely healthy, functional, stable and aesthetically pleasing reconstruction.

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Tags: tooth replacement, dental implants, dental implant treatment, dentist, cost effective dental treatment, board certified prosthodontist

Single Tooth Dental Implant Study Article

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Feb 1, 2011 12:48:00 PM

A prospective analysis of immediate provisionalization of single implants.

Thomas Balshi DDS, Glenn Wolfinger DMR, Dr. D. Wulc D, Stephen F. Balshi

Published in Journal of Prosthodontics 2011 Jan;20(1):10-5. 2010 Nov 18

The purpose of this prospective study was to evaluate the viability of immediately provisionalized single-tooth implants. One hundred forty patients (86 female, 54 male) with a mean age at implant placement of 45 years needing single-tooth dental implants replacement, were treated between July 1999 and December 2004. Single-tooth implants were placed and provisionalized the day of the surgery. All implants were manufactured by Nobel Biocare and had multiple diameters and configurations. The majority of the implants used in this study had oxidized titanium surfaces. The contours of the restorations were designed to mimic the original teeth and root forms. The morphology of the restorations provides support of the labial gingiva. Results: Over 5.5 years, 164 implants were placed and immediately provisionalized. Sixty-four implants were placed immediately post extraction. Seven implants failed, yielding an overall survival rate of 95.73%. Conclusion: The application of an immediate provisionalization protocol to a single implant can be successful if the proper precautions are taken in achieving passive occlusion.

Link to article on Pi Dental Center Web Site

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Tags: tooth replacement, dental implant treatment, immediate loading of dental implants, Nobel Biocare, single tooth implant, Brånemark dental implants