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John D. Luker, DDS
997 Clocktower Drive
Springfield, Illinois 62704
Posts for category: Dental Procedures
If you’ve had the misfortune of losing all or most of your teeth (a condition called edentulism), you still have effective options for restoring lost form and function to your mouth. There is, of course, the traditional removable denture that’s been the mainstay for edentulism treatment for decades. If you haven’t experienced significant bone loss in the jaw, though, a fixed bridge supported by titanium implants could be a better choice.
But what if bone loss has ruled out an implant-supported fixed bridge? There’s still another option besides traditional dentures — a removable “overdenture” that fits “over” smaller diameter implants strategically placed in the jaw to support it.
A removable, implant-supported bridge offers a number of advantages for edentulism patients with significant bone loss.
Speech Enhancement. Any denture or bridge supported by implants will have a positive impact on speech ability, especially involving the upper jaw. But patients who’ve previously worn removable dentures may not see a dramatic difference but will still be able to benefit from the greater stability of the denture, particularly if the dentures were previously unstable.
Hygiene. A removable denture allows better access to implant sites for cleaning. Better hygiene reduces the risk of gum disease and further bone loss.
Long-Term Maintenance. Regardless of which type of implant supported restoration is used, it will eventually require some maintenance. A well-designed removable overdenture can make any future maintenance easier to perform.
Aesthetics. For personal satisfaction, this is often the ultimate test — how will I look? As a product of the evolving art of facial aesthetics, removable dentures supported by implants can replace lost tissues and restore balance to the face, and often produce a remarkable smile “makeover.”
To find out which restoration option is best for you, you should first undergo a thorough examination to determine the status of your facial and jaw structures, particularly the amount of bone mass still present. Ultimately, though, the decision should be the one that best fits your functional needs, while fulfilling your desires for your future smile.
If you would like more information on tooth restoration options, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Fixed vs. Removable: Choosing Between a Removable Bridge and a Fixed Bridge.”
Dealing with tooth loss in Springfield, IL? We can help!
Despite maintaining good oral hygiene and regularly visiting the dentist for routine care, millions of Americans still have to deal with tooth loss. Are you one of them? If so, it’s important that you turn to our Springfield, IL, dentist, Dr. John Luker, as soon as possible to discuss your treatment options. After all, the sooner you replace your missing tooth the better! Read below to learn about dental implants, the next best thing to a real tooth.
What is a dental implant?
An implant is an artificial tooth root that is made from a biocompatible metal such as titanium. This small post is placed within the jawbone to provide a sturdy and reliable foundation from which to support a false tooth or teeth. While a dental implant is designed to replace a single tooth, if you need to replace multiple teeth, several implants can be placed along the arches of the jawbone to support dentures and hold them firmly in place so they don’t move or shift around.
Since implants function just like real teeth, you can feel confident knowing that it’s truly the next best thing to maintaining your natural smile.
Who is a good candidate for dental implants?
As with any dental procedure, our Springfield, IL, restorative dentist will need to examine your mouth to make sure that it is healthy enough for a dental implant. We will perform an oral exam to check the health of your teeth and gums, as issues such as decay or gum disease will need to be addressed before getting implants. We will also take X-rays of your mouth to check the health of your jawbone.
We will then go through your detailed medical history to see if there are any health problems that could impact the treatment process. Since you’ll have to undergo minor surgery to get dental implants, it’s important that you are healthy enough for the procedure. Certain conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure could impede the healing process and cause other complications if these conditions aren’t properly managed.
Although this process may sound demanding, the truth is that most people qualify for dental implants, and if complications arise in this screening process, our talented team can often help fix the issues in a timely manner. You'll be on your way back to a full smile in no time!
Interested? Give us a call!
Luker Dental Care in Springfield, IL, is dedicated to providing you with the preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry you need to improve your appearance and feel a renewed confidence in your smile. Call us at (217) 546-8330 to learn more about dental implants and how they can help you!
After a long struggle with dental disease, you have finally lost the last of your remaining teeth.Â Like over a quarter of Americans in their 60s and 70s, this unfortunate development can have a profound impact on your health and self-image.
While there are a number of advanced methods for replacing lost teeth, there's one tried and true option that's centuries old — the removable denture. It's the option millions of people have chosen to lessen the impact of missing teeth.
Fashioned properly, removable dentures restore the form and function you once had with your natural teeth. The prosthetic (false) teeth are precisely placed in an acrylic, gum-colored base that closely follows the contours of your gums. Because they're removable, they're fairly easy to clean and maintain.
They do have a disadvantage, though, and it's related to bone health after tooth loss. Like other living tissues, bone has a life cycle: as older cells die, new cells form to take their place. The forces your teeth generate when you chew stimulate new bone growth. But without teeth to provide this stimulation, new bone won't keep up the pace of replacement at a healthy rate. As a result you may gradually lose bone, as much as a quarter of its normal width within a year of losing a tooth.
Dentures don't transmit any stimulation to the gum and bone from chewing. Furthermore, the compressive forces transmitted to the gum and underlying bone tissue contributes to bone loss. As the bone continues to diminish, your denture fit becomes looser to the point you will eventually need them relined with new acrylic material or have a new set made.
There is another alternative when patients loose all of their teeth: an implant-supported removable denture. Dental implants can be used to keep the dentures more secure and can also slow or even halt bone loss where the implants are placed. In this case we strategically place a few implants to serve as supports for a removable denture. The denture has connection points that join up with the implants to hold it more securely in place. As few as two implants are needed in the lower jaw, while the upper jaw does better with three or four implants.
Losing all your teeth can be traumatic, but there are effective ways to overcome it. With new technology, the traditional restoration of removable dentures may be the vehicle for achieving that.
If you would like more information on restoring missing teeth with dentures, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Removable Full Dentures.”
Once upon a time, celebrities tried hard to maintain the appearance of red-carpet glamour at all times. That meant keeping the more mundane aspects of their lives out of the spotlight: things like shopping, walking the dog and having oral surgery, for example.
That was then. Today, you can find plenty of celebs posting pictures from the dentist on social media. Take Julianne Hough, for example: In 2011 and 2013, she tweeted from the dental office. Then, not long ago, she shared a video taken after her wisdom teeth were removed in December 2016. In it, the 28-year-old actress and dancer cracked jokes and sang a loopy rendition of a Christmas carol, her mouth filled with gauze. Clearly, she was feeling relaxed and comfortable!
Lots of us enjoy seeing the human side of celebrities. But as dentists, we’re also glad when posts such as these help demystify a procedure that could be scary for some people.
Like having a root canal, the thought of extracting wisdom teeth (also called third molars) makes some folks shudder. Yet this routine procedure is performed more often than any other type of oral surgery. Why? Because wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums) around age 17-25, have the potential to cause serious problems in the mouth. When these molars lack enough space to fully erupt in their normal positions, they are said to be “impacted.”
One potential problem with impacted wisdom teeth is crowding. Many people don’t have enough space in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars; when their wisdom teeth come in, other teeth can be damaged. Impacted wisdom teeth may also have an increased potential to cause periodontal disease, bacterial infection, and other issues.
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed; after a complete examination, including x-rays and/or other diagnostic imaging, a recommendation will be made based on each individual’s situation. It may involve continued monitoring of the situation, orthodontics or extraction.
Wisdom tooth extraction is usually done right in the office, often with a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation.”Â Here, the patient is able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli (such as verbal directions), but remains free from pain. For people who are especially apprehensive about dental procedures, anti-anxiety mediation may also be given. After the procedure, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used for a few days. If you feel like singing a few bars, as Julianne did, it’s up to you.
If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
Many people wait until something goes wrong to see a dentist, whether that "wrong thing" is pain from a decayed or infected tooth, bleeding gums from gingivitis (early gum disease), or trauma from a sports injury or accident. Despite this attitude, seemingly healthy teeth and gums still need regular attention and improvement as the normal wear and tear of your lifestyle and the natural effects of aging process can lead to cosmetic damage. Dr. John Luker, a dentist in Springfield, IL, offers a number of cosmetic dentistry services to get your smile looking and feeling better than ever!
Cosmetic Dentistry in Springfield, IL
Even when you do everything right in terms of your oral health, there are still factors beyond your control that can affect the cosmetic quality of your smile. Cosmetic dentistry comes in where factors like lifestyle and genetics leave off.
What Cosmetic Dentistry Can Do
One of the most common cosmetic complaints is stained and discolored teeth. The most common culprits are food and drinks like tea, coffee, red wine, sauces, and dark berries. Smoking is also a major contributor to dental staining, and can also lead to serious oral and general health problems as well. Certain medications, genetics, or traumatic injuries can also cause stains at the dentin layer (known as intrinsic stains).
Cosmetic dentistry procedures are also used to change the size, shape, and spacing of damaged, missing, or misshaped teeth.
Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
There are a number of procedures that can improve and makeover damaged or unattractive teeth, some of which are minimally invasive and can be completed in as little as one or two trips to the dentist. Some of the most common cosmetic dental procedures include:
- Porcelain veneers
- Tooth-colored fillings
Find a Dentist in Springfield, IL
For more information about the benefits of cosmetic dentistry and to find the procedure that is right for you, contact Luker Dental Care by calling (217) 546-8330 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Luker today!