The History of Dental Implants: From Ancient Egypt to Brighton, MA

As the leading tooth replacement option of today, it seems like dental implants would be a recent technological advancement. The first dental implants, however, date back more than 1,300 years to the ancient Mayans and Egyptians.

Take a look at this timeline to see how dental implantology has evolved over time.

Ancient History: Ancient Mayans and Egyptians hammer teeth-shaped pieces of shell, ivory, and animal bone directly into their gums to replace teeth.

1700s: Lost teeth are replaced using the teeth of human donors, but the process is unsuccessful due to infection from the foreign materials used during the placement of the implant.

1800s: Gold, platinum, and other metal alloys are placed into sockets where teeth had been freshly extracted. Long-term success rates are poor.

1952: Per-Ingvar Branemark, a Swedish doctor, accidentally discovers that titanium can bond with living bone tissue when he places a titanium screw in an animal’s thighbone. He has the idea to use titanium posts to bond dental implants to patients’ jawbones.

1965: Modern dental implants make their world debut! The process of implanting titanium in bone for the purpose of rooting prosthetic teeth begins.

1981: Branemark publishes a paper reporting all the data he had collected about titanium implants.

1982: The Toronto Conference on Osseointegration in Clinical Dentistry creates the first guidelines for successful implant dentistry.

2002: An ADA survey shows that oral and oral and maxillofacial surgeons, periodontists, and general dentists near double the number of implants performed per dentist between 1995 and 2002.

Today: Dental implants are the number one tooth replacement procedure.

Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat will work together to consult with you and plan your implant procedure. Dr. Kondrat will complete and oversee the fabrication and placement of your implant prosthetic. After a short healing period, Dr. Villani will place the crown, bridge, or denture to complete your implant. For your convenience, the entire procedure can be performed at Brighton Dental Group, located in Brighton, Massachusetts, thus eliminating the need for you to go to multiple locations and doctors to get the smile you’ve been searching for.

Call Brighton Dental Group at (617) 562-5210 to reserve your consultation appointment.

All About Baby Teeth!

Baby teeth begin to erupt when a child is 5 or 6 months old — or as late as 1 year. These little chompers will begin to multiply until your child has 20 primary (baby) teeth. Not only are baby teeth great  for chewing new textures of food, but they’re equally important for developing speech. Can you imagine trying to speak without your teeth? Also called milk teeth, primary teeth are a placeholder for permanent teeth that surface in later years. These baby teeth have a lot to live up to!

Dr. Villani and Dr. Kondrat recommend that your child visit the dentist by one year of age. At this “happy visit,” the dentist will talk to you about the oral health of your child and check for any signs of tooth decay or development issues. He can also demonstrate the proper way to clean your wiggle-worm’s teeth. Even though it may seem impossible, it’s not! Some children may like brushing their teeth if they see Mom or Dad doing it.

The earlier you introduce oral hygiene to your little one, the better. Children will know that brushing teeth is something they must do, like taking a bath to keep their bodies clean. Try buying a toothbrush that has a favorite character on it, like Winnie the Pooh or Buzz from Toy Story. Your child may prefer a toothbrush that plays music. Remember, children should not use adult toothpaste. Children under the age of 2 should use fluoride-free toothpaste. Kids tend to swallow toothpaste, and over time, fluoride can cause white, horizontal lines on teeth. These lines are known as fluorosis. So, make sure you purchase children’s toothpaste, as well as a child’s sized toothbrush, for your baby.

After the initial happy visit, Dr. Villani or Dr. Kondrat will want to see your children every 6 months to evaluate their oral health. Call Brighton Family Dental Group at (617) 562-5210 to schedule visits for the smiles closest to your heart.

Keep Your Smile from Showing Your Age, Part 2

Did you know that your age shows in your smile?

Just like with any other part of your body, aging affects your teeth and oral health. Follow these tips to keep your smile healthy and looking great.

Preventing Stains on Your Teeth

Certain foods-especially coffee, tea, and red wine-can stain teeth. Tobacco, both smoked and chewed, also discolors teeth. Avoid getting stains on your teeth by following these steps.

If you still aren’t satisfied with the color of your teeth, talk to the dentists at Brighton Family Dental Group about teeth whitening options.

What You Can Do:

  • Avoid foods that stain teeth.
  • Brush regularly to remove plaque buildup, which will help your teeth resist stains.
  • Have your teeth cleaned professionally every six months. Your dentist or dental hygienist can remove plaque and tartar that a toothbrush can’t reach.

Preventing Gum Problems

Gum disease is the biggest threat to destroying your smile. The risk of gum problems increases with age, especially as pockets form at the gum line where bacteria grow. If left untreated, bacterial infections can cause inflammation that damages connective tissue and even bone, leading to tooth loss.

What You Can Do:

  • Brush and floss regularly to remove bacteria.
  • For added protection, use an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Go to your dentist for a regular checkup every six months. This is very important for detecting gum disease early.
  • Since gum disease is an inflammatory process, eating foods that suppress inflammation may help. Growing evidence suggests that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help dampen inflammation.

Preventing Dry Mouth as You Age

Called xerostomia, dry mouth can drastically increase the risk of decay and gum problems. A healthy flow of saliva helps clean teeth and neutralize acids that otherwise eat away at the tooth enamel.

What You Can Do:

  • A drop in saliva levels can very quickly cause problems. At the first sign of dry mouth, talk to your doctor.
  • A change in prescriptions may help alleviate the problem. If not, your doctor may recommend chewing sugar-free gum, as it increases saliva flow.
  • Saliva-like oral mouthwashes are available to supplement saliva.

Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat are family and cosmetic dentists serving patients in Brighton, Cambridge, Watertown, and the surrounding communities. Call Brighton Family Dental Group at (617) 562-5210 to reserve your appointment.

Keep Your Smile from Showing Your Age, Part 1

Our teeth are incredibly strong. They constantly endure extreme temperature and pressure from chewing, crunching, and biting. Still, everyday wear and tear and the natural aging process take a toll on our teeth.

Follow this advice to prevent your age from showing in your smile.

Preventing Acid Erosion

The biggest threat to your teeth are sugary and starchy foods. These carbohydrates ferment and cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids, which quickly eat away at your tooth enamel. As a result, your teeth become much more susceptible to tooth decay.

What You Can Do:

  • Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks as much as possible.
  • Avoid frequent snacking, which causes acid levels in the mouth to remain high over an extended amount of time.
  • Chew sugarless gum when you get a craving for something sweet. Chewing increases saliva production, which helps cleanse the mouth and neutralize acidity.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes and floss daily.
  • Have regular dental checkups and cleanings every six months.

Preventing Mechanical Wear and Tear on Your Teeth

The main function of your teeth is to bite and chew to break up your food for digestion.

While teeth do not become more brittle with age, continuously using a chipped or cracked tooth to bite can cause serious damage. Teeth that have fillings or have had root canals are particularly vulnerable because they are missing components of their natural structure.

Grinding and clenching your teeth, also called bruxism, is a negative habit that is frequently caused by stress or anxiety. Bruxism can wear down the biting surfaces of your teeth over time.

What You Can Do:

  • Avoid chewing on ice and other very hard foods.
  • Check to make sure that pitted foods have no pits before you bite down on them.
  • Come in for appointments regularly. I can spot cracked or broken fillings that may weaken your teeth. We will also check for signs of bruxism and suggest methods of treatment if necessary.

Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat are family and cosmetic dentists in Brighton, Massachusetts. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Brighton Family Dental Group at (617) 562-5210.

6 Healthy Habits for Optimal Oral and Overall Health

Tooth decay is among the leading causes of tooth loss for Americans, and it can open the door to developing serious overall health problems.

Just as healthy habits can help to ensure your overall well being, healthy dental habits can safeguard against tooth decay and avert other dental problems, as well.

To minimize your chances of developing tooth decay, stick to these 6 healthy dental habits.

1.     Brush thoroughly and frequently. Brushing your teeth is the best thing you can do to protect yourself between dental appointments. Brushing every morning and every night is the minimum to maintain quality oral health.

2.     Floss daily. Brushing your teeth is not enough. Flossing can get in between your teeth and close to your gum line in a way that your toothbrush can’t. Flossing twice a day is ideal, but be sure to floss before you go to bed if you can only do it once daily.

3.     Have regular dental checkups. Having regular dental exams and checkups every 6 months is a crucial part of your oral health. In addition to cleaning your teeth, you will be screened for early signs of serious oral conditions, such as oral cancer and gum disease.

4.     Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks. Sweets stick to your teeth and can lead to tooth decay when bacteria feed on them and form acids. If you eat something sugary, be sure to brush your teeth and/or swish your mouth with water immediately to rid your teeth of bacteria.

5.     Drink tap water. Though bottled water may seem more convenient and healthier, it’s lacking something very important for your teeth: fluoride. Many areas of the U.S. have fluoridated water, so simply drinking it will help to protect your teeth.

6.     Get sealants. Sealants are used to coat and cover the back teeth to build a barrier that bacteria cannot penetrate. Dental sealants are recommended for children to promote lifelong dental health.

The team at Brighton Family Dental Group wants to do everything they can to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you live in Brighton, Watertown, Cambridge, Brookline, or Newton, call today at (617) 562-5210 to reserve your appointment time.

A Few Facts About Fluoride

Dental fluoride is a routine part of most dental cleanings and exams at many dental offices. For some time, however, the use of fluoride has been a debate among dental and health professionals.

The question remains: Is fluoride good for you and your teeth, or not?

Well, the answer is yes. Fluoride contains a protective component for your teeth, but it can be harmful in certain circumstances, as well.

If you are over the age of 8, wear braces, have dry mouth, or have difficulty brushing and flossing your teeth properly, fluoride treatment benefits you the most. Fluoride in small amounts strengthens your tooth enamel, the number one protector of your teeth. Without fluoride, and other helpers such as saliva, your tooth enamel would not reharden after eating and drinking and would leave your teeth exposed to plaque and decay-causing bacteria.

On the other hand, fluoride in large amounts can be very harmful, especially for young children. Fluorosis is a condition caused by over-exposure to fluoride that can cause softening and crumbling of your enamel and permanent discoloration to your teeth.

The bottom line: Don’t be afraid of fluoride.

It’s safe to assume that you use fluoridated toothpaste. Most people do, and it’s unlikely that a toothpaste will get the ADA seal of approval if it contains no fluoride at all. Many areas of the U.S. have fluoridated water, so it’s likely that you ingest small amounts everyday. Between the fluoride in your toothpaste and drinking water, it’s enough to promote healthy teeth and gums, but not enough to harm you.

Also, if your dentist gives you a fluoride treatment, don’t be afraid to take it. Just be sure not to swallow it, as pure fluoride is much more harmful than diluted fluoride when ingested directly.

I’m Dr. Tom Villani, a family dentist in Brighton, Massachusetts, and my team and I make it a point to keep our patients informed so that they can make sound decisions about their dental health. Call my dental office at (617) 562-5210 for more information or to schedule dental appointments for you and your family.

You Fell in Love with His Smile, so Let’s Bring it Back

It’s proven that women tend to smile more than men. In fact, some studies show that women smile up to 8 times more than men daily.

While this number is more equal among men and women in similar careers, a Business Media Networks study shows that female smiles greatly outnumber male smiles on social networking websites.

The question must be asked: Why are men so hesitant to flash a big grin?

Factors such as culture and age are partially responsible, but the real reason runs much deeper. Men don’t tend to notice when they are being observed throughout the day, while women are constantly aware when eyes are on them.

If you wish the man in your life smiled more, try to figure out what’s holding him back. Maybe he’s stressed or self-conscious about his appearance.

If it’s the latter, cosmetic dentistry may be the way to put a big smile on your guy’s face. The goal of cosmetic dentistry is to give you a beautiful, natural-looking smile and, in turn, boost your confidence. With a multitude of cosmetic services, ranging from porcelain veneers, to teeth whitening, to dental implants, it is easier than ever to achieve a picture-perfect smile.

Depending on his smile goals, your guy’s smile can be touched-up or completely made over at Brighton Family Dental Group. If you live in Brighton, Watertown, Cambridge, Brookline, or Newton, we invite you to call our dental office at (617) 562-5210 to schedule an appointment.

We hope you find a home at Brighton Family Dental Group!

Choosing a dental care provider is a big decision. You want to go to a dentist that has your best interests at heart and wants to work with you to build and maintain a lifelong, healthy, beautiful smile. A dentist that will care for your children’s’ smiles is an added plus.

The team at Brighton Family Dental Group can do all that and more. Dr. Villani, Dr. Kondrat, and the team of dental professionals look forward to giving your entire family a lifetime of healthy smiles by providing quality dental care.

If you’re looking for a general dentist, you’ve come to the right place. We provide regular and routine dental checkups and cleanings, as well as root canal, gum disease, and endodontic treatment. We also offer cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as porcelain veneers, and restorative dentistry, including composite dental fillings and crowns, in our dental office in Brighton, Massachusetts.

If you live in Brighton, Watertown, Cambridge, Brookline, or Newton, we invite you to call our dental office at (617) 562-5210 to schedule your first appointment at Brighton Family Dental Group.

Your initial visit builds the foundation of our relationship with you, so we take great care to make sure your appointment goes smoothly. We request that all new patients arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to complete all insurance and health information forms. Please also bring a photo ID and your dental insurance card. All insurance coverage and eligibility will be confirmed prior to your initial visit for your convenience.

Plan on being at our office for approximately one hour. Depending on your dental health, you can expect to receive an exam from Dr. Villani. We will notify you of any concerns or necessary dental treatment at this time. Then, we will ask you about your dental goals and address any concerns you may have so that we can devise a treatment plan that is specific to your needs.

We look forward to hearing from you, and we hope you and your family will find a home at Brighton Family Dental Group!

The Anatomy of a Root Canal

The words “root canal” often evoke fear in dental patients, but the dentists at Brighton Family Dental Group have some good news for you.  Modern root canal therapy is less invasive, more precise, more comfortable, and more effective than in years past.

Inside each of your teeth, a canal houses dental pulp, also known as the nerve of your tooth. This pulp is extremely important. It keeps your tooth alive by bringing nutrients to the tooth, removing waste, and keeping the tooth alive and functioning.

If a deep cavity or fracture occurs in your tooth and it’s deep enough to cut into the sealed canal, your tooth pulp can become infected.

This can be very serious and very painful. As bacteria build up in the canal, it creates pressure and can result in an intense toothache. In very severe cases, a tooth with an infected internal canal may need extraction, but often, the tooth can be salvaged with root canal therapy.

To perform a root canal, Dr. Villani will administer anesthetic to completely numb the affected tooth. Then, he’ll use fine, precise tools and technique to remove the infected pulp and leave as much of your natural tooth structure intact as possible. A 100% safe, manmade substance is inserted into the tooth’s canal before a dental crown is secured on top, giving your tooth unwavering strength and a natural appearance. Without pulp, the tooth is no longer alive, but it can remain intact if it remains infection-free and well cared for.

If you experience tooth pain, it’s possible that you may need a root canal to keep your tooth intact. Please call our dental office in Brighton, Massachusetts at (617) 562-5210.

Are you a good candidate for dental implants?

A dental implant is a dental prosthetic used to replace missing teeth. Made from a titanium implant post and a ceramic dental crown, dental implants are designed to function and look like natural teeth, as well as fit and blend in with your natural tooth structure.

Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general and oral health who have lost one or more teeth due to periodontal disease or an injury. Candidates for dental implants need to have healthy gums and adequate bone density to support the implant.

While most adults can be quality candidates for dental implants, there are a few common reasons why your implants may not work. Smokers and those with uncontrolled chronic diseases or systemic problems may not be good candidates for this procedure. Smoking impairs the mouth’s ability to heal and can reduce the likelihood that the implants will be successful. People with diabetes may not be good candidates as well, due to healing problems within gum tissue.

Having a consultation is the first step in your smile transformation. If you appear to be a good candidate for dental implants, Dr. Kondrat and Dr. Villani of Brighton Family Dental Group will consult with you and plan your implant procedure. If you decide to proceed with treatment, Dr. Kondrat will complete and oversee the fabrication and placement of your implant prosthetic. After a short healing time, Dr. Villani will place your crown, bridge, or denture over your implant.

From start to finish, your entire implant procedure can be completed in our dental office in Brighton, Massachusetts. If you live in Brighton, Watertown, Cambridge, Brookline, or Newton, call us today at (617) 562-5210 to reserve your appointment time.