Monthly Archives: February 2019

Dental Implant Emergency?

I’m a couple of months into my dental implant procedure. I noticed yesterday it started feeling different. When I pushed on the surrounding area it was sort of malleable. I left it alone and decided I’d call on Monday because we were going into the weekend. Today, though, my whole jaw is swollen and I can’t even eat. Is something seriously wrong?

Madison

Dear Madison,

Woman grabbing her jaw in need of an emergency dentist
Pain is always a dental emergency

It sounds like you’ve developed an infection at the dental implant site. Even worse, it sounds fast moving. Your jaw is now affected. Without treatment, this will keep spreading. If you think about how close your heart and brain are to your jaw, spreading to either of those can become life-threatening rather quickly.

Your implant dentist should have an after hours protocol for dental emergencies. This would definitely be considered one of those. Not only does an infection put you at risk, it puts your entire dental implant procedure at risk as well. The leading cause of dental implant failure is an infection.

If You Can’t Reach Your Dentist

If for some reason you can’t actually reach your dentist, I want you to do an internet search using the term “emergency dentist” or “dental emergency”. These are dentists who are willing to treat patients, such as yourself, when they can’t reach their dentist.

While some only treat during normal business hours, others would be willing to meet with you given the situation. Make sure they’ve placed dental implants themselves, however, and have good experience with that procedure. I wouldn’t want an inexperienced implant dentist to mess anything up.

In the absolute worst case scenario where you can’t find anyone, call your medical doctor. They won’t examine the implant site, but they will likely be willing to prescribe an antibiotic which should at least stave off the infection until you can get in to see your dentist on Monday.

This blog is brought to you by Libertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.

Getting a Beautiful Smile

I really want to do a smile makeover. My dentist knows about my desire and is offering to do one for me. The thing is, he’s a general dentist not a cosmetic specialist. How do I know if my dentist can give me a beautiful smile?

Katherine

Dear Katherine,

A dentist standing behind a woman smiling in a dental chair

It’s wise you’re asking this question. Too many patients just forge ahead and end up with a disappointing smile makeover. If you’re going to invest in a beautiful smile, you want to have some way of knowing that’s what you’ll get.

General Versus Cosmetic Dentist

One area of confusion is with the term cosmetic dentist. There isn’t actually a recognized cosmetic dentistry specialty. Every cosmetic dentist is just a general dentist.

The biggest difference you need to look for is if they’ve invested in training for creating smile makeovers. This isn’t something taught in dental school. So, you’ll want to ask them where they studied smile makeovers after dental school.

Getting a Beautiful Smile

There are three specific steps you can take to juggle the odds in your favor. The first is to look at some before and after pictures of work they’ve done. Ask to see their brag book. This should be the cases they’re the most proud of that they’ve completed. If you want porcelain veneers, ask specifically about those cases.

If you don’t like what you see of their best cases, they’re not the dentist for you. Try a different one. If you do like the results, then I’d next ask if they have a beautiful smile guarantee. You’ll want to know they’re willing to stand behind their work.

Finally, I’d check to see what their reviews are like. It’s always good to get to hear from people who’ve actually experienced treatment there. Were they happy with the results? Did they find him (or her) easy to work with? Checking a review can save you a lot of grief.

This blog is brought to you by LIbertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.