Tag Archives: Libertyville Dentist

Are There Metal-Free Dental Implants?

I have lost some teeth in the back of my mouth. I need to repalce them. My dream is to get dental implants and I have the money. The problem is I have severe metal allergies and I know they are done with metal implants. Are there any options which are metal free?


Dear Candace,

zirconia dental implants
Titanium and Zirconia Dental Implants

I’m glad you wrote. There is definitely a way for you to get dental implants, even with your metal allergies. First, I would check to see which metals are an issue for you. Traditional dental implants are made from titanium which are considered very biocompatible.

They’ve been used for years in the human body with things like hip replacements. It may be your body won’t have an issue with titanium.

However, if you are allergic to titanium there is now a metal-free option. Zirconia implants are gaining in popularity. Nicknamed liquid steel, zirconia is very strong.

Titanium Versus Zirconia Dental Implants

Both are strong and can provide for you a healthy tooth replacement. The only real hesitation many dentists have about using them over their titanium counterparts is the fact that they are newer.

We have lots of evidence and documentation on how long the titanium implants will last. They’ve got a great track record.

Because the zirconia implants are new, we don’t have any track record we can refer to. It’s likely they’ll last just as long as their titanium counterparts, but we don’t have the evidence yet.

Cosmetic Considerations with Dental Implants

This won’t affect you, but I’m going to bring it up for the benefit of others who may be reading this. If you are getting a dental implant for a tooth which is visible when you smile, you want to think long term.

The color the dental crown will be made when it is created is permanent. If you’re happy with the color of your teeth than that should be no problem. However, if you’ve considered whitening them, it is important you do the teeth whitening before your dental crown is made. This way it can be made to match the white color of your teeth.

If you wait and whiten your teeth later, the crown will have to be re-made in order to get them to match, costing you more money.

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

Dental Sedation Decision

I’ve avoided the dentist for years. I’m starting to have some problems, like bleeding gums. I know I need to find a way to get back and get the care I need. I’ve had many bad experiences so this has been hard to think about. I’ve done some research and I keep reading that dental sedation is good for someone in my position. I think that is the route I’m going to go. However, there seem to be several different types. How do I know which one is the right one for me to use? Are there many differences between them or do they all pretty much do the same thing?


Dear Amanda,

A woman lsleeping in a dental chair from dental sedation
Dental sedation is designed to give you peace of mind.

I love when I hear stories of patients being brave the way you are. I know, especially considering your bad experiences, that this is hard for you. You should know I admire what you’re doing.

It is also important. Your bleeding gums are a sign you have gum disease. Without treatment, your gum disease will increase leading to you losing teeth. It is much easier to treat gum disease than it is to replace lost teeth.

You’ve picked a great solution for your dental anxiety. Patients who’ve used dental sedation have found it has changed their life, enabling them to finally get the dental care they’ve needed for years.

Types of Dental Sedation

Dr. Potts offers two levels of sedation dental care. Which one you get will be determined by your level of anxiety and the type of work needed.

Level One: Nitrous Oxide

The first level avaiable is for patients with mild dental anxiety. It is most often used for paitents who just need to relax them before getting a local anesthetic. Nitrous oxide is sometimes dubbed laughing gas. You breathe it in through a simple nose piece. You’ll feel a tad light headed and relaxed.

Then, when your procedure is completed, the dentist simply changes the gas mixture back to oxygen and you are completely back to normal in just a few moments. The biggest benefit to nitrous (aside from relaxing you) is you are able to get on with your day without interruption. You can even drive yourself straight back to work if that’s what you prefer.

Level Two: Oral Conscious Sedation

This type of sedation is very strong. You could compare it to I.V. sedation, but you don’t need a needle to administer it. Instead, you’ll take a simple pill before your appointment. However, OCS is so strong that you won’t be able to drive yourself to and from your appointment.

Though conscious, you will feel so completely relaxed that you won’t really care that much about what’s going on around you. Most patients sleep through these appointments. You’ll be loopy and a bit unsteady on your feet. Because of that, you’ll want someone to stay with you after your appointment for a few hours until you are lucid again and able to safely get around on your own.

A side benefit to this type of sedation is you can get much more work done in each sitting, allowing you to catch up on needed dental care much sooner than would otherwise be possible.

Best of luck to you and I’m glad you’re moving forward with your healthcare.

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

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?


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?


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.

Painful Pimple on Gums

I’m hoping you can help me. I’ve had a tooth hurting for a bit. I didn’t see anything wrong with it so didn’t worry. Today, I noticed a pimple on my gum. It is throbbing and hurts like you wouldn’t believe. My doctor thinks it is a dental issue. What do I do about it if I don’t have a dentist?


Dear Craig,

Woman grabbing her jaw in need of an emergency dentist

What looks like a pimple on your gums is actually an abscess. This means your tooth is infected and the infection is spilling out. You should be aware this is a dental emergency. If it’s not dealt with the infection will spread and can turn life threatening. The tooth pain you’ve been feeling was very likely the infection making itself known. Sometimes, there can be no visible decay and you still have some. This is why dentists will do x-rays during your checkups in order to make sure there’s no decay taking place internally.

You’ll need to have a root canal treatment done in order to save your tooth. I realize you don’t have a dentist. Fortunately, there are dentists willing to see non-established patients in the case of dental emergencies. Most of them will even see you that day because of the seriousness of the issue.

Often after a root canal treatment a tooth will need a dental crown. This is to protect the tooth as they can become brittle after treatment. If you like the emergency dentist, you can schedule follow up treatment with him or her. If you don’t, then you can try another dentist.

The important thing is to get this infection dealt with right away. After that you’ll have some breathing room.

A Big Reason People Avoid the Dentist

Most patients avoid the dentist because of serious trauma with a dentist in the past. Usually that was the result of a painful appointment mixed with an insensitive dentist. If that’s you, I have great news for you.

There are dentists who cater to patients with bad experiences. Often, to help with your anxiety, they can even provide some form of dental sedation. If anxiety has kept you out of the dental chair, you may want to find a dentist who treats emergencies as well as offers sedation.

Many patients who previously avoided the dentist at all costs find this simple solution to change their life.

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

Can Patients Order Implant Parts to Save Money?

I have snap-on implant dentures. I often need to replace the male retention caps. My dentist charges me $20 a pop, but I see them online for $20 for a set. I feel I’m being gouged. Is there any way for a patient to order these? The website where I see them only seem to sell to dental professionals.


Dear Brooke,

snap on dentures

I agree that your dentist has quite a markup on those. He may have a lot of overhead and he is trying to make up some of those expenses. While the websites will only take orders from dental offices, it is rarely the dentist who places those orders. It’s usually one of their hygienists or assistants.

Most dentists go into their field because they want to make a difference in people’s lives. The first thing I’d do is talk to your dentist and tell him the expense is making life challenging for you. Ask him if he’d be willing to sell them to you closer to cost.

If he says no, you have two choices.

Call a Different Implant Dentist

You could call around to some local offices who offer dental implants and snap-on dentures to see if you can reach a sympathetic staff member who would be willing to order them for you and let you pay them. You are very likely to find one.

Order Dental Implant Parts on Ebay

You can also get them from Ebay. However, be careful here. These are overseas sellers and some of those countries have very poor regulations. It doesn’t mean their products will be faulty, just make sure you check their reviews.

The other thing about Ebay is you will need to know exactly what you want and how to place them into your denture.

I hope this helped.

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

Is All Dental Sedation the Same?

I’m terrified of the dentist. However, this fear is ruining my life. I’ve been seeing a therapist and he suggested, at least in the short term to try sedation dentistry. He’s worried I’m getting infections because my mouth always hurts. We’re still working on my anxiety, but said this is more like an emergency and the sedation will handle the anxiety part for me for now. I looked it up and there seem to be a lot of different types. Given my personal situation, would one be better for me than the other?


Dear Rose,

A dentist standing behind a woman smiling in a dental chair
Those with dental anxiety CAN have pain-free care again.

You have a very wise therapist. He’s looking out for your mental and physical health. Pain is often a sign of an infection and is considered a dental emergency. Dental infections are different than medical ones. When you’re dealing with a medical infection you can take an antibiotic and almost always that’s enough.

With dental infections, however, if the infection kills the pulp of the tooth an antibiotic won’t help. There’s no longer blood flow to get in the infected part of the tooth. A dentist will have to physically remove the infected pulp. This is known as a root canal treatment.

If left untreated, the infection will continue to spread. If you think about how close your jaw is to your heart and brain, a dental emergency can quickly turn into a medical emergency. Even if it doesn’t, you will begin to lose teeth. If not from decay, then gum disesase. Your teeth will just start falling out.

Depressed yet?

Now for the Good News: Dental Sedation Can Change Your Life

With your high level of anxiety and the amount of work you are likely to need up front, my recommendation is you find a sedation dentist who offers Oral Conscious Sedation. It will be a game changer for you. All you’ll have to do the day of the appointment is take a simple pill. You can spend the rest of your appointment asleep if you want. In fact, most OCS patients end up sleeping through their appointment completely. Others prefer to stay awake but are completely relaxed and in no pain whatsoever.

There is some preparation needed ahead of time. First, you’ll need a consultation with your dentist to go over any medications you are currently taking. This is to ensure the dentist doesn’t give you anything which will have a reaction to something you already take.

You’ll also need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your appointment as well as remain with you for a few hours after your appointment until you’re more lucid. This is for your physical safety.

I hope this brings you the peace of mind you need.
This blog is brought to you by Libertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.

Why Is My Tooth Turning Gray?

I had a toothache that drove me to the dentist. It takes a lot to get me there. I don’t have my own dentist so I went to one who sees people in emergencies. He said my symptoms meant that I cracked a tooth. He crowned it right then which I appreciated. The pain did stop, but now the tooth next to it has turned gray. I don’t know why. Any advice?


Dear Loriee,

Woman grabbing her jaw in need of an emergency dentist

If a tooth has turned gray, means the tooth is either dead or dying. There are a few reasons why this could happen. One of the most common reasons is an infected tooth. Another possibility is there was trauma to the tooth. You didn’t mention whether you recalled any injury which could have cracked your tooth.

If you did, then it’s possible you had trauma to both teeth, but there were no outward symptoms with the tooth which turned gray. Truthfully, this is the most likely scenario.

Another possibility is the dentist diagnosed and crowned the wrong tooth. The only real way to know this with certainty is to take the x-rays you had at your emergency dental appointment and get a second opinion from another dentist. If it was obvious, then you can get a refund on the crown you were already given in order to have the funds you need for the crown you should have received.

Finally, (and I’ll be the first to admit this is unlikely) you had the first tooth injured which is cracked. Then, at a later date, the second tooth was damaged elsewhere and now is showing symptoms. No matter which is the actual cause, the treatment for this is the same. You’ll need to get a root canal treatment and have that tooth crowned as well.

An Alternative to Treatment by Dental Emergency

It sounds like your dental anxiety is keeping you from getting regular dental care. This will keep you going from one emergency dental appointment to another. There is a way to get your dental care without the anxiety you normally feel.

Have you looked into seeing a sedation dentist? They can give you stress-free/pain-free appointments. The two most common types of dental sedation are nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation. Nitrous is mostly used for mild anxiety. If you have serious anxiety, you’ll want to look into oral conscious sedation. You can check out our sedation dentistry page to learn more.

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

Bad Breath with Dental Implants

My husband was in an accident which caused him to lose a tooth. He chose to replace it with a dental implant because he wanted the best replacement possible. He’s in a very public job and appearance is important. About a month after he had the implant done I started noticing his breathtaking a turn for the worse. He’s very diligent with his oral care so I thought maybe it was just a one-day thing, but it’s been a week and it’s getting steadily worse. Is this normal with dental implants or should I bring it up with him? I only want to bring it up if there’s something he can do about it. I don’t want to make him self-conscious.


Dear Kelly,

Dental Implant Diagram

You sound like a loving wife. I’m glad you noticed this about your husband’s breath because this is not a normal side-effect of getting dental implants.

If you are certain nothing has changed with his oral hygiene habits then he may be looking at the beginning of an infection. If it’s not dealt with quickly, he could be looking at dental implant failure and having to start completely over on the procedure.

You could start out by asking him how the implant has been feeling. This way you’re not bringing up his breath. He may mention that it feels weird or he has a bad taste in his mouth. In that case, you can tell him to see his implant dentist in order to have it looked at.

If there is an infection and he loses the implant, starting over will require an additional procedure of bone grafting to get it done. Make sure he stays on top of this.

Dental Implants and Teeth Whitening

I’m only mentioning this part because you said your husband has a very public job and his appearance is important. If he plans on whitening his teeth, make sure he does it before it is time to make his implant crown. That way, he can have the porcelain crown made to match is whiter teeth.

Once the crown is done, the color won’t change, not even with professional teeth whitening. He’s likely a very busy man with his job, so let him know with Zoom Whitening it can be done in just one appointment.

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

Sedation Dental Work without Permission

I don’t know what to do. I’d developed some pretty severe anxiety and have been neglecting some important things as a result, including my dental care. I’ve been seeing a therapist and one thing he suggested just to get my oral health back on track was to see a sedation dentist until I’ve got my anxiety more under control. I thought it was a good idea. I saw a dentist and they listed out all the work I’d need. It was more than I anticipated so we set up a schedule where we’d do something called phased treatments. I’d do so much each visit and can take a break to save up for the next visit. Everything seemed to go fine with my first visit and I really thought this was going to be my answer. He was supposed to do a root canal treatment and crown along with three fillings. When I got home I was thrilled because I didn’t even remember the appointment so there was no trauma to increase my anxiety. However, the next morning, they called to tell me he was able to fit in a second dental crown in the time they had and they want submit the additional payment. I mentioned we had a set schedule for the work and I wouldn’t have the money for the additional procedure until the next scheduled time. She threatened not to bond the permanent crowns once they came in. I’m not sure this is fair because we had an agreement. What do I do?


Dear Odessa,

A woman lsleeping in a dental chair from dental sedation
Dental sedation is designed to give you peace of mind.

This is highly unethical on the part of your dentist. In fact, I’d go so far as to say he could get into legal trouble for his actions. A dentist is to have your express permission before doing any dental work. There’s no way he can obtain your permission while you’re under sedation.

I’d call and ask to speak directly to the dentist. Remind him you had a schedule for the work and did not approve the additional crown. Let him know what the front office threatened. If he has integrity, he’ll agree to place the crowns and not charge you for the one done without your permission.

If he gives you any problems with that, feel free to tell him you’ll be speaking with the dental board. That should put things back into perspective for him.

Find a Different Sedation Dentist

You should not allow this office to continue to do your care. I wouldn’t trust them. They’ve already violated dental ethics on a couple of levels. There are plenty of legitimate sedation dentists out there who are worthy of your trust. I’d not waste another moment on a practice which isn’t.

Make a list of dentists who offer the services you need in your area. Then, be certain to check their reviews to see what type of service patient’s have received from them. If they check out, then give them a try. Your current dentist is required to turn over all notes, x-rays, etc., that will be useful in your continued care. Though, this dentist should place the permanent porcelain crowns for you.

Please don’t let this one bad apple spoil you off getting the care you actually need.

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