Aug 7, 2021

Lutherville oral surgeon explains that caring for dental implants is essential. Brushing, flossing, and dental visits are necessary to maintain dental implants.

Concerning dental implants and taking care of them, I tell my patients that one has to take care of dental implants as if they were taking care of their natural teeth. In our office, we spend time talking to patients about proper home care after an implant is placed.

Patients make an investment in their health when they select implant dentistry as a treatment option. With proper care, dental implants can last for decades—sometimes for a lifetime. However, just as one has to be consistent about maintaining natural teeth, dental implants require proper home care, which is very similar to caring for natural teeth, as well as regular visits to a dental office for professional cleanings.

My surgical team spends time reviewing with the patient how to maintain their implants and how to keep them clean. We give patients an instruction sheet on home care, and we make sure that they follow up with their general dentist and in our office.

After the restoration is replaced, I like to follow-up with the patient to be sure they are maintaining the cleanliness of their implant. I have my team well trained to discuss with the patients, once the implants have successfully integrated into the jaw and are about to restored, how the patient will need to maintain their dental implants.

Brushing, flossing and other cleaning aids like little proxy brushes and if needed using different mouth rinses that help preserve the cleanliness of the teeth are all part of the protocol. I will usually see the patient after the first year, and if they are maintaining their implants well, then we just have them follow up with the general dentist after that time.

If you would like to learn more about our dental implant process, please schedule an initial consultation by phone or email.

Dr. Leonard Spector

Jul 10, 2021

Dr. Leonard Spector explains why dental implants offer a more comfortable experience over removable appliances and fixed bridges to replace missing teeth.

Before dental implants, patients had to tolerate removable appliances or fixed bridges, both of which were hard to clean. With regard to removable appliances, patients used to have to tolerate a loose-fitting denture. It was common for food to get trapped under their dentures during meals and the aesthetics did not look natural. However, dental implants have offered options that were not available to patients previously regarding permanent tooth replacements.

We use implants now in many different ways to help retain dentures or to give patients their fixed teeth without having to use a removable appliance.

Dental implants have allowed us to make this change, because before dental implants we were very limited in our choices. You either had to get by with a removable denture or a fixed bridge, and a fixed bridge involved many times having to cut down natural teeth to use those teeth to help bridge the fake teeth between the natural teeth. Many of these teeth then required root canals or would get decayed over time with their bridge work in place, and with bridges, there were always challenges keeping them clean. Also, the implants have allowed us a much more natural look regarding using bridgework.

As time has passed, dental implants have become more mainstream. Implant dentistry is what patients are seeking out now. Many patients will come to our office with that specific request. They want something that not only looks natural but will replace a removable appliance, or will replace a bridge that they have had for many. The dental implants have allowed us to replace these missing teeth with essentially permanent teeth replacements.

If you are interested in exploring your options with dental implants, please contact us at your earliest convenience by phone or e-mail. We will be happy to schedule an informational consultation and answer all of your questions.

Dr. Leonard Spector

May 1, 2021

Dental implants allow patients to eat the foods they choose to eat, not the foods that had been limited to eating. Dental implants look and function like natural teeth.

Dental implants allow patients tremendous benefits in the types of foods they can eat. One of the primary reasons people seek us out is because they are unable to eat certain foods that they had been unable to eat prior to treatment due to tooth loss. What we find is that after the implants are placed, patients can go back on eating foods such as apples, or chewing into different vegetables and foods that they were unable to eat before.

Think of dental implants as replacement tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for permanent or removable replacement teeth that are designed to mimic your natural teeth in terms of appearance and chewing forces.

Some patients just did not have any teeth or too few teeth to chew certain foods properly. With dental implants, patients have very stable prosthetic teeth that function much like natural teeth. They sometimes have replacement front teeth that they can use to bite and replacement teeth in the back of their mouth that they use to grind food.

With dental implants, patients can, for instance, bite into an apple whereas before they would have to cut it into small pieces to eat it.

One of the great benefits of dental implants is that implants are permanent teeth that replace one’s teeth, and they function in the same way. Once someone has dental implants, there are no restrictions on what they can eat. This benefit is particularly noticeable when patients go out to eat in a restaurant. Instead of being restricted to only those foods that they can manage with few teeth, missing teeth, or an old-fashioned denture, they can now—thanks to dental implants—choose the foods they want to eat, not just soft foods they were limited to eating prior to treatment.

The oral health of your entire family is our top priority. We understand many of our patients have fear about visiting a dentist so our staff is here to provide you and your family with the caring, gentle care that you deserve in a comfortable environment.

If you are interested in learning more about dental implants, or would like to schedule a consultation, please don’t hesitate to call or email us today.

Dr. Leonard Spector

Apr 3, 2021

Dental implants are becoming the treatment of choice for patients with missing teeth. They are now placed with minimal time and discomfort.

Many patients delay needed dental implant treatment because they have the mistaken belief that the procedure is going to be a very painful and prolonged. In fact, most implants are placed with very minimal discomfort, swelling or bleeding afterward. Most patients can carry on their daily activities a few days after the implants are placed.

Also, the expense of implants used to be a reason not to have implants, but we have made it more available to our patients by offering different types of financing and also being able to work with any applicable insurance coverage to keep the cost down.

As technology has developed over the past 10 to 15 years, dental implants have become much more mainstream, and much more acceptable to patients and also to referring dentists. The technological breakthroughs help many patients who have been wearing either complete dentures, or partial dentures or nothing at all to replace their missing teeth. In these cases, the dental implants allow them to have permanent teeth again.

The impact on the patient is very positive. When they smile, they feel much more confident, and they tend to smile more. They are happier and much more secure in everything that they do in their daily lives. From a functional standpoint, dental implant treatment also allows them to eat certain foods that they were unable to eat before. After implant dentistry, they have substantially increased chewing capacity and efficiency.

Overall there is a tremendous degree of satisfaction in these patients. We have been able to take many of these patients from having significant dental problems and given them a new life with a new set of teeth.

Patients who delay dental implant treatment and then finally move forward often comment that they wish that they had done it years earlier.

If you think dental implants may be a good fit for your smile, please do not hesitate to give us a call and make an appointment.

Dr. Leonard Spector

Mar 20, 2021

Dental implants allow 65-year-old-man to have fixed dental implants after wearing removable dentures for over 25 years.

An excellent way of discussing the benefits of going from a removable denture to permanently fixed dental implants is to give an actual example. One of my patients was a 65-year-old man who for 25 prior years had been wearing a removable partial denture – an appliance that comes in and out and connects to one’s real teeth.

This patient had lost his back molar teeth on either side, and he found it increasingly difficult to eat certain foods without food getting trapped under his denture. The denture was also doing harm to the other teeth by putting too much pressure on the teeth that held the denture in place.

After reviewing his case, taking x-rays and finding that he had adequate bone for implants, I placed five lower implants these were restored by his dentist with permanent single teeth. At this point, he did not need to wear his denture again because he had a full complement of lower teeth.

As permanent tooth replacements, these teeth acted just as his natural teeth. He was able to chew and to eat foods that he had not be able to eat for many years due to the movement of his denture. Now he has teeth that are as close to his natural teeth as possible.

After treatment, he told me that he cannot discern the difference between the implants and his natural teeth, which is a comment I frequently hear from dental implant patients. He also said that the dental implants feel so natural that when he bites it seems as though he is biting on his natural teeth.

His dental implants also allow him to grind food with his molar teeth—something that he was unable to do very efficiently before with his removable partial denture. Also, he now has much more confidence when he smiles, speaks, and socializes.

Dr. Leonard Spector

Mar 6, 2021

Dental implants are used to replace congenitally missing teeth. Left untreated, patients may also have periodontal issues, malocclusion and reduced chewing ability.

I once had a patient who was a 25-year-old female. Although the patient was very attractive, it turns out that she had not formed her upper lateral incisor teeth at birth. We call these congenitally missing teeth or hypodontia because she did not lose them. They just never formed.

This condition, which often results in an unfavorable appearance, is common and required, in the past, very costly treatment. Left untreated, patients may also suffer from periodontal damage, malocclusion, reduced chewing ability, insufficient alveolar bone growth, and other conditions.

When my patient smiled, she showed lots of her teeth, and we wanted to give her a very natural looking result with dental implants, something that cannot always be attained using conventional fixed bridgework.

After she had orthodontic treatment to straighten and align her teeth, two dental implants were placed. Three months later the implants were restored by her general dentist as single crowns. The result looked so natural that it will be difficult to tell which teeth are implants and which are her natural teeth. So, what we were able to give her were permanent tooth replacements, something that could not be achieved without dental implants.

The simplest way to think of dental implants is replacement tooth roots. Implants provide the foundation for both permanent and removable replacement teeth that are fashioned to match your natural smile.

That is a very crucial point in dental implant treatment. It is not just the matter of replacing a tooth with an implant but also being able to mimic nature and having a result that is esthetically natural-looking.

Dr. Leonard Spector

Feb 20, 2021

Dental implants benefit older patients, Dr. Leonard Spector explains. He talks about an 83-year-old lady who is now able to eat all the foods she loves.

I am going to tell you a story, a very typical story, about how dental implants can have very predictable outcomes and benefits in older patients. This story begins with an 83-year-old female who was referred to me by her general dentist. This lovely lady had an inability to wear her dentures. She had had all her teeth removed approximately 20 years before visiting my office. Due to long-term denture wear, she had lost a lot of the bone in her lower jaw. So, she was unable to wear her denture due to the severe bone loss, and that limited the amount of food and types of food she could eat.

After meeting with her and discussing treatment with her dentist, I recommended that two dental implants be placed in the lower jaw to help retain a clip-on lower denture. This procedure was successfully performed in my oral and maxillofacial surgery office under local anesthesia. Three months later, after the implants were placed, her dentist made her a new lower denture that clipped onto the implants and allowed her to eventually eat the foods that she wanted to eat, which included biting into an apple that she was unable to do before. This little thing, of course, made her euphoric and allowed her to have as close to having permanent lower teeth again.

You can imagine after 20 years of not being able to eat the foods she wanted how gleefully happy she was after successful dental implant treatment.

This story just goes to show that with implants over the past ten years or so that the procedure has become more mainstream. People are seeking dental implant treatment because they hear from their friends, from colleagues, from other professionals how predictable implants are and how they can benefit them in many cases.

Dr. Leonard Spector

Nov 28, 2020

Havre de Grace oral surgeon Dr. Leonard Spector explains how dental implants secure dentures and give patients total confidence when they eat and smile.

One of the most frequent types of cases I am asked to evaluate is a patient who has been wearing conventional dentures for many years. Due to this long-term denture wear, they have lost the supporting bone in their mouth to retain a denture. This problem can occur in the upper or lower jaw or in both jaws.

The two ways we use implants to secure a denture is by using two or four implants in the in the jaw and having retentive attachments on the denture that clip onto the implants. This allows the patient, when they are wearing the implant-retained denture, to have a secure denture that enables them to eat or smile naturally. These dentures also have the benefit that they can be taken out to be cleaned and then clipped back on to the implants.

One of the best ways of using implants, though, is to support a fixed bridge, one that is screwed onto the implants and cannot be removed except by a dentist. The fixed bridge is the most predictable and, by far, the best and most natural way of giving teeth back to people who have lost all the teeth in their jaw.

Another great benefit with either type of implant-supported denture is that patients can eliminate the use of dental adhesives. This benefit is made possible because implant-supported teeth are securely attached to the implants and there is no need for messy denture adhesive. People who wear conventional dentures often worry that their denture is going to fall out when they laugh or when they eat. These worries are justified because even the best denture adhesive cannot hold a conventional denture in place the way that implants can secure a denture.

We always review options with patients and work with the patient and their dentist to determine the best type of implant-retained denture that will best suit the patient.

Dr. Leonard Spector

Oct 31, 2020

Dental implants are successfully used in patients who do not have sufficient bone due to new technology that enhances bone growth and healing.

It was not that many years ago that some patients were told that they were not good candidates for dental implants because they did not have sufficient bone. During my 32 years in practice, the technology has advanced so that I am now able to treat patients with dental implants that I was not able to treat 10 to 15 years ago. There are a number of growth factors that we routinely use in our practice today to enhance bone growth. One is platelet-rich plasma or PRP, which is prepared from blood drawn from the patients prior to surgery.

We use the patient’s own blood and we have the technology in the office to separate the platelets that are in that blood sample from the rest of the blood and to prepare a solution called platelet-rich plasma or PRP. These platelets have growth factors that enhance the healing of bone. The platelet-rich plasma is added to freeze-dried bone that is from a bone bank to reconstitute this bone.

This bone is then grafted into the bone defect in the jaw. In my experience the bone/platelet-rich plasma mix tends to dramatically increase bone volume and the healing of the bone. I routinely use platelet-rich plasma in cases with large defects in the bone, to wrap around the dental implants, and in sinus grafting procedures in which we can add bone to the flora of the sinus to gain height in the back part of the upper jaw to prepare the sites of dental implants.

Another way to build bone is to use the synthetic bone protein called bone morphogenetic protein. This protein is also mixed with bone. I use the bone morphogenetic protein in cases where we may need larger areas of bone growth in a more predictable way.

These growth factors are very beneficial to patients, and today many patients can benefit from dental implants who could not have taken advantage of implants in the past due to our ability to enhance bone.

Dr. Leonard Spector

Oct 17, 2020

Dental implants are a conservative, cost-effective option for replacing missing teeth according to Havre de Grace oral surgeon Dr. Leonard Spector.

There are a number of disadvantages to having a single missing tooth replaced with an old-fashioned three-unit bridge:

  1. The dentist must cut down natural teeth to support a bridge.
  2. These natural teeth, once they are prepared and cut down, may require root canal therapy.
  3. The patient may have to wear a removable appliance that most people find unacceptable.
  4. It is extremely difficult for the patient to clean under a bridge. As a result, the patient is more susceptible to tooth decay and periodontal disease.
  5. Bridges need to be replaced every seven to ten years.
  6. Bridges often look like false teeth.
  7. Patients tend to get bone loss in the area around bridges.

The advantages of replacing a single missing tooth with a one dental implant are many:

  1. I regard an implant-supported tooth as a permanent tooth replacement With proper home care and regular dental visits, a dental implant can last for decades or even a lifetime.
  2. They are easy for the patient to maintain with good daily dental hygiene habits.
  3. Dental implants stimulate bone and prevent bone loss.
  4. Dental implants look, feel, and function just like natural teeth.
  5. There is a great benefit of improved appearance. A conventional bridge often looks artificial but dental implants look very natural.
  6. A person’s quality of life is enhanced because implant supported teeth are like new, natural teeth. People can eat, smile, laugh—basically go about their daily lives with complete confidence.
  7. Dental implants are a great investment in one’s health. Because they are natural looking, long-lasting, and can be easily maintained with daily hygiene and regular visits to the dentists, dental implants are much more cost-effective in the long run than bridges that cause problems and need to be replaced when they wear out.

For all these reasons, I tell my patients that dental implants are now the modern standard of care for replacing missing teeth.

Dr. Leonard Spector