Tag Archives: porcelain crowns

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.

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.

Do Crest Whitestrips Work?

I have a reunion coming up and would like to brighten my teeth a bit. They’re starting to show their age. I asked my dentist and he said I could just get some of those over-the-counter white strips. He is sort of a bread and butter practice and doesn’t offer many special services. That’s always suited me as I don’t have any complicated needs. I just want to be sure Crest is the right brand to get.


Dear Felicia,

Teeth Whitening Trays
There are many teeth whitening options

When it comes to bleaching your teeth, many things will work, including Crest Whitestrips. There are three important differences in professional teeth whitening and over-the-counter whitening you need to be aware of though, before making a decision.

Teeth Whitening Difference One: Strength

The over-the-counter options will work, but they are by law very weak. It will take a large number of treatments to get anywhere close to the same results you could get with a dental professional. In the end, you’ll probably end up paying more for less obvious results.

Teeth Whitening Difference Two: Coverage

Most white strips you purchase at a store only cover about six teeth. Many, if not most, people’s smiles are wider than that. This will give you an uneven smile. Your first six teeth will be whiter than the adjacent teeth, which will look strange.

The solution to this is to use extra strips on the adjacent teeth. Of course, then you’re talking about having to purchase triple the number of kits. The whitening your dentist provides will whiten every tooth.

Teeth Whitening Difference Three: Protection

There are some things which can go wrong during the teeth whitening process, especially with your gums. When you’re under the care of a dentist, they keep an eye out for signs of problems and take steps to protect you.

Dental Work and Teeth Whitening

One thing to be aware of is any type of bleaching procedure, even professional, will only work on natural tooth structure. If you have a dental crown or any other type of dental work, its color will not change. If you want it to match, you’ll have to replace it after your whitening is done.

Depending on the date of your reunion, you may want super fast results. The take-home trays your dentist provides can take a few weeks to get your teeth as white as they possibly can. If you’re in a hurry, Zoom Whitening is an in-office procedure which only takes one appointment. You’ll come out of the dentist’s office with shiny white teeth.

If you decide to go the professional route, it will not require you to switch caregivers. I’d simply call another dental office which offers whitening and tell them your dentist doesn’t offer this service and you simply want to come there for the one procedure. If you’ve recently had your teeth cleaned, that shouldn’t be a problem. If you haven’t had a recent cleaning they may require it. That’s for your benefit, otherwise your results could be splotchy.

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

Can a Sedation Dentist Help When I Don’t Go Numb?

I had a tooth cause me a great deal of pain. I’m not the best at going to the dentist but this did force me to go in. In a way, I’m glad I did because I found out that not only is that tooth massively infected, but I have two other teeth with decay. I need to repair those before they become infected too. The dentist offered to do it right then because I was his last patient and the infection was so bad. I realize that was incredible of him, but for some reason, he couldn’t get me numb. He did 11 shots. Yes, you read that right. 11 shots. He suggested I see a sedation dentist. He wasn’t certified and said I’d be better off with someone who was. But, what I’m wondering is if going to a sedation dentist will do any good at all if Novocain doesn’t help?


Dear Jamie,

A woman lsleeping in a dental chair from dental sedation
First, I have to say you have an amazing dentist. He puts your well-being above both his personal time and his profits. So many times we receive questions from people who’ve had disastrous dentists. It’s refreshing to have a question from someone with a terrific caregiver.

Your dentist is right that a sedation dentist is your solution. It’s often the case where people with severe dental anxiety, such as yours, are unable to get numb. The reason for that is the anxiety increases your metabolism. An increased metabolism burns off the numbing medication.

You’ll need a strong type of dental sedation, like oral conscious sedation. You simply take a pill. That’s super simple. The pill completely relaxes you. In fact, it will relax you so much that you’ll need someone to drive you to and from your appointment. You’ll be too loopy to drive. That’s to your benefit. You’ll be so relaxed you won’t be anxious. This will allow the Novocain to do its job. Most patients end up sleeping through their appointments.

Your dentist is also right that you’ll want someone who is certified. This is for your safety. Look for a dentist with DOCS Certification (Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation).

Why Dental Sedation is Important for you Right Now

This infection is serious. It will spread. If you think about how close your jaw is to your heart and brain you can see why, even in 2018, people still die from tooth infections. These type of infections are different than other types. You cannot simply take an antibiotic and be done. The dentist does have to physically remove the infected pulp.

Another benefit to you is you’ll be able to get more work done in one sitting. That means you can get to those other teeth suffering from decay and have them filled in the same appointment you get rid of your infection. While the infected tooth will need a root canal treatment and dental crown. The other teeth will only need simple fillings as long as you get to them soon.

Dental sedation will change the way you view your dental care. You’ll be able to get regular checkups done without the anxiety you’ve normally been faced with. Preventative care saves you a ton of money and trauma, because it either prevents problems altogether or catches them so early you only need minimal, non-invasive treatments.

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

Disparity in Emergency Dental Care?

My husband and I ended up having simultaneous toothaches. We don’t usually go to a dentist, which is probably why we ended up with toothaches to begin with. We saw separate emergency dentists because we both wanted to be seen right away. Somehow, even though we had the same symptoms, I ended up with a root canal treatment and dental crown and he just received a simple filling. What’s up with the disparity of treatment? Did I get an overtreatment?


Dear Angela,

Woman grabbing her jaw in need of an emergency dentist

There are a lot of reasons for a toothache. It’s very likely you both received the perfect treatment from your emergency dentists because you had different causes for your pain. A root canal treatment and crown are usually the result of a dental infection. Your husband may have just needed a filling. I do realize he had a toothache as well. But, everyone has a different pain threshold. Maybe your problem had been brewing for a while, but your tolerance for pain is much better than your husband’s. That gave your decay more time to spread, reaching the pulp and requiring a root canal treatment.

I’m a tad concerned that neither of the dentists you went to seemed to have explained your diagnosis or why you needed the treatments they provided. This should be standard procedure. While I’m glad you received timely treatment when you needed it, I don’t think either of these dentists are ones you’d want to settle with as your permanent dentists.

The Easiest Way to Avoid Needing an Emergency Dentist

You mentioned that neither of you regularly see a dentist. In my experience, there are usually two reasons that people avoid seeing a dentist regularly. The first is financial. Without insurance, it can be hard to afford dental care. If you’ve found yourself in that situation, I’d do an internet search for an affordable dentist. They’re usually more willing to work with patients on payment options. But, be careful, don’t confuse cheap with affordable.

When talking about affordability, the sooner a problem is caught the less expensive the treatment. For instance, regular checkups catch decay early enough where you can have a small filling. If you wait, then the decay can become too large for a filling requiring a dental crown. If you wait even longer, it becomes an infection requiring a root canal treatment. If you wait longer, you’ll either lose the tooth requiring an expensive tooth replacement or lose your life because the infection spreads to your heart or brain.

The second reason people avoid the dentist is fear. Often dental anxiety stems from a traumatic experience in the dental chair as a child. If either of you get a tiny bit unsteady and nervous about the idea of a dental exam or if you have trouble getting numb, then you probably have some degree of dental anxiety.

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution. Try going to a sedation dentist. This will give you a stress-free and pain-free appointment. Many who’ve feared the dentist for years find it completely changes their outlook and they’re able to go to the dentist without the fear they’ve battled for years.

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

What’s the Difference Between a Grill and Dental Implants

My friend says I’m getting a grill because I’m getting dental implants. He says Lil’ Wayne has grills. I don’t think they’re the same thing. Who’s right?


Dear Marcus,

Libertyville Dental Implants

Normally, this would be a straightforward, easy answer. But, you added Lil’ Wayne into the equation which muddies the waters a bit. Lil’ Wayne has gone on the record saying they are not a grill. In fact, he said that he’s dying with them because changing them would require surgery. You can see the conversation in the video below. That would imply that he has dental implants.

So why is that muddy? Because his dentist implied it’s a grill on his website. Though, since then, all articles he had on his site about Lil’ Wayne have been removed. So, either, his dentist wasn’t honest about what happened, Lil’ Wayne just didn’t like him using him to drum up business, or Lil’ Wayne has no idea which procedure he actually had. I do know whatever he did cost him over $150,000, which unless he’s wearing real diamonds, would make me think it’s implants.

A Grill versus Dental Implants

But, to answer your original question. A grill is removable and just goes over your teeth. Dental implants are surgically implanted and are permanent. In fact, they’re as strong as natural teeth.

You can still get them decorated like a grill if you wanted to. It just increases the price for you. Also, unless you’re getting dental implants on all your teeth (which would be ridiculously expensive) make sure you whiten your teeth first. For whatever color your implant crowns are made is permanent. If you want white implants, you’ll want them to match white teeth.

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

Emergency Dentist Refuses to Repair Another Dentist’s Mistakes

Three months ago I had a crown done. I’ve been back every week since then trying to get it adjusted because it’s hurt from the beginning. Today, though, it broke off and a piece of it shattered off. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t trust the dentist who did the crown, so I decided to try an emergency dentist. The great thing was they got me in that day. I just wanted them to re-bond it on. I didn’t even care about the chunk that broke off because the tooth isn’t visible. But, the emergency dentist refused. He insists the crown has to be entirely replaced. Is he just doing this because it’s someone else’s crown?

Pamela W.

Dear Pamela,

Libertyville Emergency Dentist

I don’t know the dentist, so I definitely couldn’t tell you his motive. What I can tell you is something is seriously wrong with that crown and it is more likely that it actually does need replacing. Even if the broken piece isn’t visible, it is broken. You’ll have rough, possibly even jagged, edges that can cut you. More than likely, there’s a tiny opening somewhere that material can get into the crown. That will lead to decay and then instead of needing a new crown, you’ll need a tooth extraction and dental implant to replace the tooth.

A porcelain crown should last a minimum of five years. Yours didn’t even make it half a year. The first thing you can do is go back to the original dentist and have him replace the crown free of charge. That’s a perfectly reasonable demand because your crown is not functional. I understand that you don’t trust the dentist who did the crown. So that may not be an option you’re too keen on.

Aside from having him do another crown, you have two choices. The first is just pay the emergency dentist to create a new crown for you. Crowns aren’t a difficult, advanced procedure. Every general dentist knows how to do one (Well, maybe except your dentist). If the tooth were visible, you would need to make sure the dentist was an artistic cosmetic dentist. But, you said the tooth isn’t visible so just a decently attractive functional crown will be fine.

If paying for a second crown is a hardship, you are within your rights to ask your dentist for a refund on the dysfunctional crown he provided. Even if it’s not a hardship to pay for the second crown, you should ask for a refund out of principle. If he doesn’t do even minimally adequate work he needs to be held accountable.

I know it’s been a frustrating experience for you but hopefully, a properly made crown will take some of this stress away. I’m certain you’ll at least feel better physically.

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

Why Dentures Cause Facial Collapse

I’ve had a lifetime of problems with my teeth. Two days ago I went to my dentist and told him I just want him to remove all my teeth and for him to make me dentures. ┬áHe told me it was a horrible idea and at my age, my face would collapse. I’m just so discouraged. Can you explain to me why it would make my face collapse?

Stacey A.

Facial Collapse illustration
Getting Dental Implants Will Prevent Facial Collapse

I understand how frustrating it can be to have teeth which constantly cause problems. But, let me assure you no matter how many problems your natural teeth are giving you, it will still be better than what you’ll face with dentures.

What your dentist referred to is facial collapse. It’s a term dentists use to describe what happens after so many years of wearing dentures. Once your teeth are removed, recognizing you no longer have roots to support for your teeth, your body begins to reabsorb the minerals in your jawbone to use where they’re needed most. At some point, you’ve lost so much jaw bone that your face takes on a collapsed appearance, as you can see in the photo above.

They have many other drawbacks too. Even the best fitting dentures reduce your chewing capacity by 50%. Plus they’re not anchored, which allows them to slip and slide, and even fall out. Fortunately, there are alternatives.

Libertyville Dental Implants

Your first step will be to save as many teeth as can be saved. Some may just need crowns to protect them. If you get porcelain crowns, a skilled dentist can make them look absolutely beautiful. Of course, you may have teeth which can’t be saved. In that case, I’d highly recommend dental implants. As you can see from the image above, a prosthetic root is implanted into your jawbone, then a dental crown is placed above it. They’re totally secure, look natural, and are like having your own natural (but healthy) teeth back.

One of the biggest benefits of dental implants is the fact that they will prevent facial collapse. Even though your teeth were removed, because you have the prosthetic roots your body leaves the minerals there to help support the dental implant. It’s a much better option.

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

Will Dental Implants Give Me Teeth Like Jamie Foxx?

I lost a couple of teeth in a car accident. I’ve been seriously depressed over this, but just read that Jamie Foxx had a tooth knocked out for a movie role. He looks like he has great teeth. If I got dental implants would my smile look that nice?


Dear Cecilia,

I did some research to try to figure out what type of dental work he had done. I’ve pasted a picture below to show a progression with his teeth.

In his early years, he had a tooth gap. The gap was closed at some point, but I think that was done with orthodontics.

An interview revealed he had a tooth “chiseled” for his role in the soloist. It wasn’t clear whether that meant knocked out or just part of the tooth structure. If it was knocked out, he’d likely get a dental implant to replace it. If it was just chipped, he’d likely get a dental crown to make up for the lost structure.

The final picture shows he’s had cosmetic work done. The beauty of the work hints to me of a combination of porcelain veneers and dental implants (or crowns).

If you get a dental implant, it can be made to look beautiful with a good cosmetic dentist. It can look just like your natural teeth. If you’re wanting to improve your smile (and I’m not saying you need to) you can get a smile makeover, even with a dental implant. The veneers and implant can match exactly.

You won’t need to be depressed. Accidents happen and you’ll have a gorgeous smile.

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

Whitening dental crowns

I’ve got four dental crowns. Two of them are in the back and are not visible. But two of them are my canine teeth which are very visible. They’ve gotten kind of stained over the years. I wanted to whiten my teeth anyway. So would I just be able to whiten my crowns with regular teeth whitening or do crowns need a special type of teeth whitening?

Alethia- Bartlett, TX


You have asked a great question. Professional teeth whitening will do a great job in giving you brilliantly white teeth, however it will not whiten your dental crowns (or any type of dental work such as bonding or veneers) at all.

Here is my recommendation. You mentioned that your dental crowns are stained. I don’t know how long you’ve had these crowns, but it may just be time to replace them. BEFORE you replace them, you should whiten your other teeth. Don’t worry about your crowns because the whitening gel will not negatively affect them.

Give the whitening about two weeks to settle, then you can have your crowns replaced. When you do replace them, I highly suggest you get all porcelain crowns. I don’t know what kind of crowns you currently have, but the porcelain will absorb and reflect light the way your natural teeth do. They also are more natural looking. A good cosmetic dentist will be able to match your crowns to your new white teeth with ease.

Please let me know if your dental crowns are not very old. If that is the case then it means the glazing on them was damaged, which is why they are stained. With the proper glazing, dental crowns will last for many years and retain their brilliant color without picking up any stains.

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