What is a prosthodontist?

A prosthodontist is an expert in the restoration and replacement of teeth. That means they have advanced education (beyond a general dentist) to repair teeth that are badly damaged as a result of trauma, decay, or circumstance. It also means, a prosthodontist has the capabilities to design, create, and place a false tooth, or teeth, in the patient’s mouth.

Prosthodontists are dentists too. They’ve completed a four-year, Doctorate of Dental Surgery Degree, and continued on after that, for an additional three years of specialized training and education in an American Dental Association (ADA) accredited prosthodontic graduate program. All of this training ensures they’re highly capable of handling complex cases of oral and maxillofacial (jaws and face) rehabilitation.

To summarize, a prosthodontist has advanced training and education who create optimal oral health, both in function and appearance in cosmetic dental treatments, dental implants, crowns, bridges, dentures, temporomandibular disorders (TMJ/TMD), and more.

What is an Implantologist?

An Implantologist is a dentist with an additional one or two years of training, after graduating from dental school, in the placement of dental implants. It is a small field that is not yet officially recognized by the ADA (American Dental Association).

Implantology is an area practiced by ADA recognized dental specialties like prosthetic dentistry, periodontology, and oral surgery.

What does it mean to be Board Certified?

Board certifications come in many shapes and sizes, but they always signify the distinction of advanced training. All dentists must, first of all, have their license to practice dentistry. They have to have a dental degree from an accredited dental school in the United States, and then additionally attain the state licensure.

A dentist who is board certified has gone through much more experience and training.

When a dentist is board certified, it means they’ve gone above and beyond the basic degree requirements for dental licensure in order to best serve their patients, family, and friends. It is not a requirement for dentists to achieve a board certification, so when you’re working with a dentist who has accomplished this reputable achievement, you’re working with an expert who cares about giving you the best.

Fortunately, among many other distinctions, Dr. Lalonde is a board-certified implantologist, actually, 1 of only 15 board certified implantologists in the state of Indiana. To obtain board certification, Dr. Lalonde had to take several hundred hours of continuing education, pass a written test, pass an oral examination, and present at least 120 cases to the board examiners, to verify his expertise and to earn that distinction.

Do you accept dental emergencies?

Yes, we are available to treat dental emergencies. At Lafayette Restorative Dentistry, we understand how painful a dental injury or infection can be and that it may require immediate attention. We will make every effort to get you in to be seen by Dr. Lalonde as soon as possible.

In general, any dental situation that involves bleeding that won’t stop, severe pain, or saving a tooth that has come out, or is severely damaged, is considered an emergency. It is crucial to be seen as soon as possible if you or your loved one has a broken tooth, a tooth infection, or trauma/injury to the mouth or teeth.

When you call us, try to provide as much detail as possible about your condition.

“I lost 4 teeth in an accident and Dr. Lalonde actually came to see me in the ER late on a weekend! My new implants look just as good as my regular teeth, most people don’t notice a difference at all. Very friendly, text reminders for appointments are helpful, and staff takes the time to make sure they are doing good work. Would recommend to anyone.” – John S. (Google)

Do you accept payment plans for treatment?

We offer personalized insurance benefits check on your first visit, so you will know exactly what your insurance covers before any treatment. We also provide a variety of payment options to fit your situation.

What kind of sedation do you use at your office?

Our compassionate team at Lafayette Restorative Dentistry feels strongly that none of our patients should have to experience anxiety or stress for their upcoming appointment. Please speak with us about your fears and concerns, and we can let you know more about the types of sedation we offer. Following is an overview of what we offer:

  • Our lowest level of sedation is nitrous oxide. You may have commonly heard it referred to as “laughing gas.” It will help you to relax and take the edge off during your procedure. With this level of sedation, you will remain awake and will recover quickly after the procedure (and can drive yourself home, if needed).
  • Oral sedation also referred to as “conscious sedation,” will require you to take a pill before your procedure. You will remain awake for the procedure, but it will significantly relax you, and you will most likely not remember anything after the pill takes effect. We will monitor your vitals during your treatment. Once the sedation wears off, you will probably feel tired for the remainder of the day and possibly the next day, also. You will need to arrange to have a ride home after your procedure.

How can I tell if I have gum disease?

The signs and symptoms of gum disease, or periodontal disease, include:

  • Swollen, red, and/or bleeding gums
  • Receding gums (will make teeth look longer)
  • Gums that have pulled away from teeth causing a pocket
  • Teeth align differently when biting
  • Pus coming out from gums
  • Bad breath or taste in the mouth

Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gums as a result of bacteria in plaque. Everyone accumulates plaque, which is a sticky, colorless film that adheres to our teeth. We can remove much of the plaque we have by brushing our teeth twice daily and flossing each night. Additionally, it’s imperative to have professional dental hygiene cleanings at least yearly, and best every six months to remove tartar (plaque that has hardened) that was not removed by brushing and flossing.

When the plaque and tartar are not removed, over time it will become infected, and the onset of periodontal disease will begin. If left untreated it can progress to a more severe stage. However, when detected early, periodontal disease is very treatable.

How long should dentures last?

With proper care, traditional dentures can last anywhere between 5 and 10 years. Your overall health and age can affect the longevity of the dentures. Dentures, whether an implant or traditional, should be evaluated by Dr. Lalonde each year.

What Kind of Chewing Gum is Best for My Teeth?

You might have heard the myth that chewing gum is bad. That’s not an entirely wrong statement. It does matter what kind of gum you chew. We want to help you prevent damage to your teeth, and here’s one way you can do that!

Gum chewing dates back to pioneer days, but they didn’t chew the same gum we do today! Sap from gum trees provided them with that little bit of sweet taste and a sugary energy boost. Chewing gum has come a long way since then. Now, most ingredients inside chewing gum are synthetic, which is why you’re not supposed to swallow it! The real kicker, however, is the sweetener inside the gum. Sugar, even from the sap, can lead to cavities. The constant presence of sugar in the mouth gives the bacteria a constant source of food, which produces the harmful acid that causes tooth decay. Yuck! You don’t want that. Fortunately, more recently there are plenty of sugar-free options, allowing the option to chew gum and prevent tooth damage!

Artificial sweeteners, aspartame, are one option in your chewing gum habits. They don’t damage your teeth. There’s a natural sweetener out there, though, that can actually prevent tooth decay in the mouth. According to Dr. Peter Milgrom, a dentist at the University of Washington, “Xylitol is antimicrobial — so it’s acting against the bacteria [in the mouth] themselves. So it helps prevent tooth decay.” However, the amount you chew does matter. He says, “You have to chew at least two pieces, three times a day to have an effect.” According to the ADA, right after you eat is the best time! Here’s why: “The physical act of chewing increases salivary flow in the mouth; if chewed after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on teeth.”

Very interestingly, Xylitol produces its action by causing a mutation in the main cavity-causing bacteria, Streptococcus mutans, and this mutation produces much less acid than the non-mutated form.

Regardless, chewing sugar-free gum is better. However, chewing gum sweetened with Xylitol is best. Active tooth protection is the way to go. At Lafayette Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry, we offer preventative care such as cleaning or x-rays, and Dr. Lalonde will be glad to answer any questions you might have about oral care. We’d be happy to help you live a life with healthy, oral options.

Why is it important to replace missing teeth?

A missing tooth in your mouth can cause several problems for your oral health. First, your teeth are meant to function together so you can successfully chew, speak, and smile. These can be difficult to do when a tooth or teeth are missing. Secondly, teeth play an essential role in forming your facial features. When a tooth or teeth are missing, the other teeth will eventually shift, causing the face to move or droop, which could result in an older appearance.

Dr. Lalonde highly recommends dental implants for anyone looking to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are the only treatment that restores both portions of a tooth above and below the gum line, which makes them the most reliable, durable, and natural-looking tooth replacement available today. Whether you are missing a single tooth or need a full denture, nothing compares to dental implants for tooth replacement.

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