- February 17, 2010
COLLEGEVILLE AND PHILADELPHIA, PA – We all want a bright white “toothy” smile to show off, but what happens when you are born with congenitally missing teeth?
Thanks to modern periodontics, Williamsport periodontist Dr. David DiGiallorenzo is able to alleviate this problem for patients, often in just one visit.
The condition of congenitally missing teeth also is referred to as tooth agenesis. Studies show that nearly 3 percent of people in the United States are born with missing upper lateral incisors. Slightly more than 3 percent are missing second molars, and almost 20 percent of the American population is born without third molars, according to dental health Web site.
“This condition can really have an affect on people’s self-esteem,” said DiGiallorenzo, a Williamsport dental implants expert. “When patients are missing their upper lateral incisors, that is noticeable when they smile or talk, and it makes many people cover their mouths when they smile, or learn to smile without showing their teeth.”
Correcting the problem typically begins with orthodontic treatment to align the teeth. Once that is completed, permanent tooth replacement options can be considered.
Dental implants provide a lifelike solution that also preserves the bone and gum, said DiGiallorenzo, who performs dental implant procedures at his Williamsport periodontics practice. Dental implants and porcelain crowns often can be placed the same day to restore the patient’s healthy, beautiful smile.
While traditional implants may take up to six months to integrate themselves into the jawbone, the unique shape of immediate load implants enables them to withstand pressure at the time of placement, requiring no healing time for the surrounding bone, he said. A dental implantologist can place the implant and put a tooth on it in one visit.
The best time to evaluate a patient for tooth replacement options is in conjunction with the patient’s orthodontist and as soon as it is determined the teeth are missing.
“You do not want to wait until the patient is 18 years old,” DiGiallorenzo said. “This is too long to wait for a complete diagnosis and treatment plan, because a preliminary bone and soft tissue procedure often must be completed prior to the implants being placed.”
He said implants save a lot of money in the long run as a result of their longevity, provided the patient is healthy and follows good oral hygiene practices.
Sometimes patients inquire about cheaper options, such as bridges. DiGiallorenzo is not a fan of this option, saying that bridges “turn a one tooth problem into a 3 tooth problem.” Bridges require a healthy tooth on either side of the missing tooth to be filed down, removing the enamel and leading to a lifetime of additional dental care. Bridges may require replacement every seven years, and future root canals may be necessary, which only serve to weaken the teeth, further compromising the healthy adjacent teeth that were filed down.
Maryland bridges are another option, but DiGiallorenzo said they don’t offer sufficient function over the long term. A Maryland bridge bonds a porcelain tooth to a metal framework. That framework then is bonded to the adjacent teeth from the back, according to information posted on My New Smile, a cosmetic dentistry site.
Because this option involves bonding porcelain to metal to create the false tooth, and bonding metal to the back of natural teeth to secure it in place, this is not considered by many dental professionals to be a viable aesthetic option. Natural teeth have a natural translucence about them, so bonding metal to the back of them gives them a darker, unnatural appearance, DiGiallorenzo said.
If you would like to learn more about congenitally missing teeth from the Williamsport periodontists at Dr. David DiGiallorenzo’s office, you would like more information on dental implants, or you wish to schedule a consultation, please call 610-228-4366 in Collegeville; 570-505-6908 in Williamsport; or visit his Web site: http://www.perioimplants.us/.
About Dr. David Digiallorenzo
Dr. David Digiallorenzo, or “Dr. D,” graduated from Temple University School of Dentistry in 1993 and completed a specialty in periodontics and dental implantology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995.
He is a past associate clinical professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Periodontics. He teaches nationally and internationally and is a regular contributor to dental literature.
Dr. D’s private practice in suburban Philadelphia concentrates on periodontics, dental implantology, advanced reconstructive case management and TMJ treatment. It is a unique dental spa with two full-time massage therapists that specialize in reflexology, reiki, massage, aromatherapy and homeopathy. This combination creates a relaxed, optimal healing response.
Dr. D has two office locations: 184 W. Main St., Ste. 200, in Collegeville, PA; and 121 E. Fourth St. in Williamsport, PA.
© 2010 Sinai Marketing and Dr. David Digiallorenzo.