Having an imperfect smile can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. A missing or cracked tooth can have people hiding their smiles and affecting their self-confidence. Rockville, MD cosmetic dentist Joe Kravitz, DDS is an expert in implant dentistry, as he spent 14 years in school, which is more than most dentists, but he craved more knowledge about his craft to help people feel like their best self, and no longer hiding their smile. “There’s nothing like an implant. Nothing,” says Dr. Kravitz. “It doesn’t feel like a fake tooth. It doesn’t look like a fake tooth. It doesn’t act like a fake tooth.” He fills us in on all things implants, and by the end of this article, you may be booking an appointment.
Why are some patients hesitant to get implants?
“The top two reasons I find that patients don’t want to get treatment is because they feel there’s no hope and there’s no help. So my message to them is that there is hope, and there is help, and it doesn’t have to take a long time, and it can look gorgeous, and all that treatment can be done without judgment. There’s no judgment for whatever happened in the past.
What is a dental implant?
“A dental implant is an artificial replacement for the root of a tooth. The purpose of a dental implant is to prosthetically support a natural-looking artificial tooth.”
Who is a good candidate for dental implants? Who might not be?
“Patients with missing teeth. People with cracked teeth, a deep cavity, failed root canals, crooked teeth, poor-fitting dentures, failed bridges. Patients with xerostomia—that is a term for a dry mouth. If people have a dry mouth, they have a very high cavity rate, and dental implants do way better versus fillings and crowns. Fillings and crowns fail quickly because there’s no saliva. So people that have no saliva, implants do fantastic. Their whole quality of life changes.
There’s no absolute contraindications to implants, but people with higher risk are people that smoke and people don’t listen to instructions. Smoking doubles the failure rate.”
What are the benefits of dental implants versus other options?
“They last for decades, it’s the most long-lasting dental technology available in dentistry today. Dental implants can’t get cavities, so they can’t rot through. They can get gum disease, but it’s easier to manage gum disease on an implant than on a natural tooth. The biggest advantage is that you can’t get cavities anymore.”
Have there been any advancements in recent years to implant dentistry?
“Oh yeah, big time. The more recent advancements are in sound waves and lightwave technologies. You can use sound waves at different frequencies to encourage bone and gum tissues to grow back, reducing the need for bone grafting. Then with the lightwave technology called photobiomodulation can make it relatively pain free. So you can have zero pain and discomfort from the needles and drilling because you can use wavelengths of light to stop the mitochondria from secreting acids that cause pain.”
What should a patient expect during the procedure?
“Four things. One is safety—it’s got to be safe, but two is comfort. Three is kindness. I find that kindness goes a long way. When you speak to the patient in a kind manner, their anxiety goes way down, and they feel better about it. The fourth thing is that they leave with an absolutely gorgeous tooth. It’s quick—it’s under an hour with local anesthesia.”
What makes your implants special?
“We have an in-house lab. You have very good dentists in your magazine, and usually they have in-house labs too, but most dentists don’t have an in-house lab. People like us have made the investment to have the best for the patient because every patient is different. We don’t send the tooth out to a factory lab, so it’s not factory made. It’s made right in the office. We show the patient the tooth before they leave and make sure that they like it.
With the addition of the lights and the sound waves, it heals quicker and in half the time, so if it would take four months for it to heal, now it’s only two months. But the whole time, they have a tooth. Most people in the country that get implants walk around without a tooth for years before they get the final tooth. But people like me, or other doctors in your magazine that have cross-training like me in surgery and teeth can speed up the process.”