Why are dental implants often the first choice and a standard of care compared to other options to restore missing or damaged teeth? 

  • Next best thing to healthy, natural teeth.  Strong and stable, dental implants restore a lost teeth so that they look, feel, fit and function like a natural teeth. Other options can lead to bone deterioration, and may interfere with eating, smiling, speaking and other activities of everyday life.
  • Built to last. Dental implants are a long-term solution. Traditional, tooth-supported dental bridges only last five to seven years, and with proper care often more than 10 years, but at some point they may need to be replaced. While dental implants may need periodic adjustments, they can last a lifetime when properly placed and cared for over time.
  • Enjoy life without worrying about your teeth!  No need to stay home or feel uncomfortable in public, embarrassed because your smile looks different, or worrying that missing teeth will limit your ability to join in the fun or that removable dentures or tooth-supported replacement teeth will loosen or fall out when you talk, eat or laugh. Teeth restored with dental implants are teeth that let you, not your teeth, lead your life.
  • Retain your natural face shape, and smile.  A face without teeth can sag and appear sunken and sad. Dental implants allow you to maintain the natural shape of your face and smile.
  • Protect healthy bone. Leaving empty spaces in your mouth after losing one or more teeth can lead to additional health issues, such as the loss and deterioration of some of your jawbone. When it is not being used to support a natural tooth, the jawbone deteriorates, losing its strength and firmness. Dental implants are the only dental restoration option that preserves and stimulates natural bone, actually helping to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss.
  • Keep your teeth in your mouth – not in a cup. Dental implants allow you to keep your teeth where they belong – in your mouth. And no more worrying that your dentures might slip or fall out. Brush, floss and care for teeth that have been replaced using dental implants exactly the way you would natural teeth – in your mouth.
  • Speak easy.  Adjusting to removable dentures can mean struggling to pronounce everyday words. Not so with dental implants, which function like natural teeth.
  • Eat your favorite foods! Taste and enjoy the foods you love without hesitation. You can bite naturally, eat virtually anything you want and, unlike removable dentures that can feel uncomfortable, you can experience the full taste of the food you eat with dental implants, too.
  • Look Mom, no cavities! Cavities can’t occur in an implant-restored crown, or replacement tooth; however, you will need to visit your dentist as scheduled and clean and care for it and your gums and mouth every day, the same as you would if it were a natural tooth.
  • Keep teeth in place – silently. Dentures may slip when you eat, talk, smile, laugh, kiss, yawn or cough, so that you have to “reposition” them back into place in the mouth. Dental implants are fixed in place and fuse naturally with your jawbone, meaning your replacement teeth won’t move, click or shift. 
  • Protect your healthy teeth. Placing a tooth-supported bridge requires grinding away the teeth on one or both sides of the missing tooth or teeth – thereby damaging healthy teeth to restore those that are missing. The modified healthy teeth are attached to, and support, the bridge. Dental implants go in the jawbone, in the spot where your missing tooth root was, without impacting healthy teeth. They also help prevent healthy, adjacent teeth from shifting as they would if an empty space were left for an extended period of time.
  • More predictable than other repair and restoration methods. Dental implant treatment has a track record of reliable, long-term successful outcomes and is often considered “more predictable” than other treatments to repair or replace missing teeth, including bridgework, removable appliances and retreatment of failing root canal (endodontic) therapy.

For more information on dental implants, give us a call at (615) 890-0474 or visit our contact page to set up an appointment. 

Finalist Best Dentist 2016 Ruthie's Awards

 The Ruthie’s Awards are hosted annually for the past 22 years by The Daily News Journal (DNJ). Local businesses are recognized for being the best in Murfreesboro TN and all of Rutherford County.  In 2016, the DNJ reported the number of votes exceeded 400, 000. Thanks to those who nominated and voted for us. .Dr. Ricafort first received the award back in 2009 for his commitment to dental excellence.



What You Need to Know About Dental X-Rays


Why Do Dentists Need All Those X-Rays?

Dentists are committed to delivering the highest quality care to each patient while applying the latest advances in science and technology to improve the oral health entire of the U.S. population. Guidelines are established to serve as an adjunct to the dentist’s professional judgment of how to best use diagnostic imaging for each patient.

Radiographs can help the dental practitioner accurately evaluate and diagnose many oral diseases and conditions. The dentist, however, must weigh the benefits of taking dental radiographs against the risk of exposing a patient to x-rays, the effects of which accumulate from multiple sources over time.  The dentist, knowing the patient’s health history and vulnerability to oral disease, is in the best position to make this judgment in the best interest of each patient.

In general, radiographs, or x-rays, are needed to “see” what is going on under the gums and bones of a patient – they can reveal a various number of findings. Different types of radiographs help the dentist make the appropriate diagnosis.

  • Panoramic Radiographs - “Pans” are radiographic images that give the dentist a panoramic view of the patient’s upper jaw, lower jaw, and part of the upper neck. By giving the dentist a “big picture” of what is going on in that region of the patient’s anatomy, panoramic radiographs are crucially important. Bony tumors, bony lesions, impacted teeth, alveolar bone anatomy, and neural canals are examples of what a dentist needs to see when looking at a panoramic radiograph. It is recommended that a panoramic radiograph be taken every three to five years and for new patient examinations
  • Periapical Radiographs – This type of x-ray is taken when the dentist wants a close up picture of a tooth. This type of x-ray allows the dentist to focus on one or two particular teeth, providing detailed views of things like cavities. A tooth’s periodontal ligament can also be seen in greater detail, which helps in diagnosing dental abscesses. Periodontal disease can be diagnosed more accurately by looking at a patient’s bony anatomy. Dental root canals can be seen more clearly which helps when performing a root canal procedure. PAs are usually taken as needed to address a specific problem.
  • Bite Wings - The main reason for taking a bite wing radiograph is to see if there is a cavity between two adjacent teeth. Decay between teeth cannot always be seen intraorally during a regular examination. Therefore, radiographs of this type help the dentist to see a problem that is normally covered up. Bite wing radiographs are usually taken once per year.

Are Dental X-Rays Dangerous?

Dental x-rays are one of the lowest radiation dose studies performed. A routine exam, which includes 4 bitewings, is about 0.005 mSv – less than one day of natural background radiation. It is also about the same amount of radiation exposure from a short airplane flight (~1-2 hrs). Proper shielding is also common, which makes the potential risk even lower.

If I Am Pregnant What Is the Risk to My Fetus?

If you are pregnant and have a dental issue the doctor must use his or her best judgment. Factors include:

·       Your dental issue

·       Your health

·       How far along you are in your pregnancy

After considering these factors, they must decide as to whether or not a radiograph is needed.  Much like the risk estimates in adults, fetal risk estimates are not proven with any certainty but are taken very seriously. We know that children are more sensitive than adults, so we assume the fetus is at an even higher risk. If there is any chance you may be pregnant, you must inform your doctor and staff that is performing your study.  

If I Have Cancer, Can Radiation from Dental Imaging Make It Worse?

This is the most common reason patients decline taking dental x-rays. The answer is: NO, radiation from dental imaging cannot make cancer worse. Low dose radiation from medical imaging does not affect known cancer. In fact, high dose radiation is used to treat cancer. It takes decades for exposure from low dose radiation to manifest. However, the information gained from imaging patients with cancer most likely outweighs the small risk of cancer induction many years in the future.

Rest assured that dental x-rays are vitals tools in allowing your dentist to maintain your dental health. It can show if you are healthy or in need of treatment. Also, remember to always ask your dental professional if you have any questions regarding your treatment or examination.   


What is Periodontal Disease and Why Does It Matter?


If you have been told you have periodontal (gum) disease, you’re not alone.  Many adults in the U.S. currently have some form of this disease.  Periodontal disease ranges from a mild gum inflammation (called gingivitis) to a serious disease that can result in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth.  In the worst cases … teeth are lost.  Whether your gum disease is stopped, slowed, or gets worse depends a great deal on how well you care for your teeth and gums every day.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Our mouths are full of bacteria.  These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth.  Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque.  However, plaque that is not removed can harden and form calculus that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove calculus.

How Do I Know If I Have Periodontal Disease?

There is no pain associated with periodontal disease … that is until a tooth becomes so loose that it hurts when it is wiggled.  A dentist can diagnose the symptoms during an examination. A patient’s plaque and calculus level is evaluated, their pockets are measured, and radiographs can show a loss of alveolar bone.  A mild form of periodontal disease is called gingivitis.  A person with gingivitis has swollen gums without bone loss.  More advanced cases will include bone loss, among other symptoms. Other symptoms of periodontal disease include:

• Bad breath that won’t go away

• Red or swollen gums

• Tender or bleeding gums

• Painful chewing

• Loose teeth

• Sensitive teeth

• Receding gums or longer appearing teeth

How Is Gum Disease Treated?

The main goal of treatment is to control the infection.  The number and types of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of the gum disease. Any type of treatment requires that the patient keep up good daily care at home. The doctor may also suggest changing certain behaviors, such as quitting smoking and more frequent cleanings as a way to improve treatment outcome.  Treatment can include scaling and root planing, periodontal flap surgery, and tissue regeneration.

  1. Scaling and Root Planing – The most common treatment is for the dentist, periodontist, or dental hygienist to remove the calculus through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing.  Under local anesthesia, the dental professional scrapes off the calculus from above and below the gum line, gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps remove bacteria that contribute to the disease. 
  2. Periodontal Flap Surgery - Surgery might be necessary if inflammation and deep pockets remain following treatment with deep cleaning and medications.  This common surgery involves lifting back the gums and removing the calculus underneath.  The gums are then sutured back in place so that the tissue fits snugly around the tooth again.  After surgery the gums will heal and fit more tightly around the tooth. This sometimes results in the teeth appearing longer.
  3. Tissue regeneration - In addition to flap surgery, your dentist may suggest procedures to help regenerate any bone or gum tissue lost to periodontitis.  Bone grafting uses natural or synthetic bone that is placed in the area of bone loss, can help promote bone growth.  Growth factors – proteins that can help your body naturally regrow bone – may also be used.  In cases where gum tissue has been lost, your dentist may suggest a soft tissue graft, in which synthetic material or tissue taken from another area of your mouth is used to cover exposed tooth roots.  Since each case is different, it is not possible to predict with certainty which grafts will be successful over the long-term. Treatment results depend on many things, including how far the disease has progressed, how well the patient keeps up with oral care at home, and certain risk factors, such as smoking, which may lower the chances of success. Ask your dentist what the level of success might be in your particular case.

More Facts About Periodontal/Gum Disease

Studies have shown that those with periodontal disease, when compared to people without gum disease, are more likely to develop heart disease, have difficulty controlling blood sugar, and, in pregnant women, are more likely to deliver preterm, low birth weight babies.  

Fortunately, it can be easily prevented with good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dental professional.  Regular visits to the dentist should be part of everyone’s routine for leading a long healthy life. Call 615-890-0474 or visit our contact page today to schedule your regular cleaning and examination.

Flossing: Why It Is Important?


Every time we come in for our dental visit, the dentist or the hygienist will stress the importance of flossing. But most patients simply listen in one ear and then the message goes out the other.  The reason for this may be that there is no instant gratification from flossing. Patients don't feel that it does anything.

What Exactly Does Flossing Do?

But flossing does about 40% of the work required to mechanically remove plaque from teeth.  The build up of plaque creates acids, causing tooth decay and leading to gum disease.  The use of floss is the only thing that can really get into that space between the teeth and remove bacteria.  Many times people who brush well, but do not floss, get decay between teeth.  This decay can only be seen in x-rays as they are not apparent when glancing in a mirror or seeing someone head on.  Flossing can also keep a youthful appearance to your smile.  Gum disease can ruin the aesthetics of your smile by eating away at gums and teeth. It also attacks the bones that support your teeth and the lower third of your face. People who preserve the height of that bone by flossing look better as they age.

What Type of Floss Should You Use?

There are many types of floss available commercially.  Buy the one that you will use.  Some floss are thin and are better for people with tight spaces. Some floss are flat and wide and are better for people with wider gaps in their teeth.  Some floss have wax or are Teflon coated to help he floss squeeze in between tight spaces.  There are other floss that look more like pipe cleaners and have a wide brush-like quality to them.  This type of floss helps clean under bridges or between really wide gaps. And don't forget ... there are pre-packaged floss holders that can be used if your hand dexterity is compromised.

How Do I Floss?

Use a piece of floss around the length of your arm.  Wrap the floss around each hand's ring finger to take up the slack. Use your index finger to guide the floss between your teeth.  Wrap the floss around the sides of the tooth forming a "C" shape with the floss.  Slide the floss up and down taking debris out from between the teeth.  If you gums bleed don't worry about it. This is a condition known as gingivitis.  It just means that the gum is irritated and inflamed caused by debris between your teeth.  Improved hygiene, including proper brushing, will reduce the bleeding over time.   Know that continued gum bleeding, or even spontaneous bleeding from the gums, is a sign of periodontal disease and needs to be addressed differently than gingivitis.

Any More Questions?

The more you floss, the more you will realize how much you need to continue flossing.  Everything simply feels much cleaner once debris from between the teeth is removed on a regular basis.  If you have more questions about flossing please consult your dental professional.  They will be able to address your questions specifically.  

If you liked this article, and wish to further your understanding of your own dental health, check out another of our articles What is Periodontal Disease and Why Does it Matter?