4/10/2017 1:52:00 PM | Lavoyger Gies

There are several reasons why you might consider a dental implant.  You may have already lost teeth due to tooth decay or gum disease, or you’ve been told that you have significant gum disease, or periodontitis, and that the loss of one or more of your teeth is imminent. If left untreated, tooth loss will not only affect the appearance of a full smile, but will quickly impact your ability to chew food properly and increase your risk of losing more teeth.

Even once you’ve discussed the need for implants with your dentist, your choices for treatment include single tooth replacement, implant-supported dentures and bridges, or restoring an entire dental arch with implants.

Regardless of the option you receive, there are few alternatives for replacement that come as close to the function and appearance of healthy, natural teeth than dental implants. While other choices such as fixed bridges or complete and partial dentures typically last five to 10 years, implants provide a permanent solution for missing teeth.

The benefits of dental implant technology give you plenty of reasons to consider this option. Primary among these are the ability to enjoy your favorite foods, unhindered, improved confidence in your smile, and the freedom to laugh and participate in the activities you love. This treatment option also assists in maintaining your jawline, as tooth loss can eventually contribute to jaw bone deterioration or resorption.

The role implants play in dentistry has increased and as a result, those who want to recover the functionality of their teeth and improve their smiles have many choices.

Single Tooth Replacement

Dental implants provide many advantages over other single tooth replacement treatments, not the least of which is preserving the health of surrounding teeth. Fixed bridges, the other common option to replace individual teeth, are supported by existing dentition. In order to accommodate this option, the neighboring teeth need to be altered. With implant-retained crowns, you can receive the resiliency of a permanent restoration while maintaining your overall dental health. Additionally, the presence of this sturdy dental replacement allows you to chew food normally and decreases the likelihood of becoming edentulous. 

Implant-Supported Options for Dentures 

For ages, people have struggled to keep their dentures in place. These days are over because there is now a way to make your dentures function more like your genuine teeth - by stabilizing them with dental implants.  Hybrid dentures offer proven treatment success for edentulous patients.

There are many benefits to stabilizing dentures with implants, including:

  • Better chewing function to enjoy a wider range of foods
  • Improved speech
  • Less gum tissue irritation
  • No more denture adhesives
  • Minimally invasive procedure
With so many positives associated with implant-supported options, the question isn’t why one might consider getting a dental implant -- it’s why not?

If you are looking for more information on implant dentistry and live or work in the San Antonio area, call Gies Family Dental to schedule a consultation today!

7/18/2016 1:25:00 PM | Lavoyger Gies

Over the years, different restorations have provided patients with different treatment options for reinforcing damaged teeth. Of these various options, all-ceramic, or all-porcelain crowns have emerged as the most aesthetic treatment solution.

What is an All-Ceramic Crown?

Milled from a solid block of porcelain, all-ceramic crowns offer a more aesthetic alternative to metal or porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns. Often recommended for teeth in the smile zone, porcelain crowns are consistent in color and shape, eliminating the unsightly lines that can accompany PFM or metal crowns and providing patients with a natural looking smile.

While some practices may opt to have their crowns made in a lab, ceramic crowns can be created in a dental practice. At Gies Family Dental, we use the E4D system to create all-porcelain crowns in just one appointment. With this same-day restoration option, patient can come in with a compromised smile and leave with a fully restored dentition within the same day.

Ceramic Restorations with E4D

Traditional crowns can take up to two weeks to create and place. Using computer-assisted design and manufacturing technology, the E4D restorative system is able to cut this time down into just one appointment.

To create a precisely fit crown, a specialized intraoral camera is used to take digital impressions of your dentition. These “blueprints” are then uploaded into the E4D software. With this program, Dr. Gies will create a crown that fits perfectly into your dentition. Once the crown has been digitally created, the design is sent to the in-office milling machine, where the crown is molded from a solid block of porcelain. After your restoration has been milled to the correct specifications, it is placed onto your tooth. Once the process is complete, patients are free to return to their regular routine.

Learn More about E4D Today

Our San Antonio dental team is committed to helping patients find natural looking solutions for their smile. From same-day restorations to comprehensive implant dentistry, Dr. Gies and his team offer a wealth of restorative treatment options to patients of all ages. For more information about the health and aesthetic advantages of porcelain crowns and the convenience of same-day restorations, contact Gies Family Dental today.

5/13/2016 12:00:00 PM | Lavoyger Gies

Your gums play an important role in the overall health of your smile. When healthy, the gums help hold the teeth in place, prevent bacteria from attacking the roots of teeth, and ensure a natural, healthy looking smile. If neglected, gums can quickly become damaged, threatening the overall health of the smile. As a result, periodontal health makes up a key component of effective preventive dental care.

What are the Consequences of Unhealthy Gums?
Without proper care, gums are vulnerable to infection. Periodontal disease, which is caused by the buildup up of plaque and tartar around the gum line, can lead to gum inflammation and eventual recession. As the gums are further damaged by periodontitis, the teeth and jaw bone are left vulnerable to absorption and infection. Untreated periodontal disease can also have an impact on an individual’s overall health. In recent years, studies have indicated a link between gum disease and an increased risk of stroke and heart disease.

How Can I Protect My Gums?
Luckily, maintaining healthy gums is simple. Consider implementing the following steps into your daily hygiene program in order to keep your gums healthy.

Floss Correctly: Much of your tooth’s surface area is in the spaces between the teeth. Failing to floss at least once a day leaves individuals vulnerable to developing periodontal disease and other gum related problems. To floss correctly, gently guide the floss between the teeth rather than snap it into the space – this can damage the soft tissue. Once between the teeth, use the index finger and thumbs to gently move the floss around the tooth in a c-shape.

Switch to Electric: In addition to effectively removing plaque from the teeth, electric tooth brushes help loosen debris trapped just below the gum line, allowing for easier removal when flossing.

Stimulate the Gums: Rubber dental piks are highly effective at removing any plaque that may have been left behind by flossing and brushing. Available at most drugstores, this instrument can also be used to stimulate the gums at the base of each tooth, facilitating healthy blood flow to the area.

Visit the Dentist: Visits to Dr. Gies’ San Antonio dental practice every six months can help ensure that your gums are always at optimal health. During these visits, our San Antonio dentist will check the health of your gums and make recommendations for improving your smile as a whole.

Schedule Your Next Appointment Today
At Gies Family Dental, our mission is to provide patients with the tools and knowledge they need to protect their smiles at home. For more information about the importance of gingival health and how to properly care for your gums, contact Dr. Gies today.

4/6/2016 12:00:00 PM | Lavoyger Gies

Thanks to modern innovation, patients now have numerous braces options to choose from. Among these various options, Invisalign® has become a popular choice among adult patients looking to correct their smile without having to wear metal braces. However, is this treatment option the best solution for your braces needs? If you are determining whether you would be a good candidate for Invisalign®, consider the following factors:

Alignment Needs
Ultimately, braces are used to correct the position of misaligned teeth. While traditional braces may be the best solution for patients with extensive alignment problems, Invisalign® is often sufficient for treating cases of overcrowding, tooth rotation, gapped teeth, or relapse from prior orthodontic work.

Patient Commitment
A major advantage of Invisalign® is the removable nature of the braces. This allows patients to perform most treatment at home, visiting their dentist only when necessary. This arrangement is often ideal for adult patients with busy schedules that have a hard time taking off work for a brief tightening appointment. However, the removable nature also requires that patients be diligent about sticking to their Invisalign® treatment plan. While most adults may not have a problem wearing and caring for their braces, younger patients and teens may have difficulty staying compliant.

Current Oral Condition
Patients considering Invisalign® must also consider their current oral health. Healthy teeth and gums ensure successful teeth movement, leaving patients with their ideal results. As Invisalign® does require a more diligent cleaning regimen, individuals with damaged teeth and gums or those who are not dedicated to maintaining a sufficient level of oral hygiene may not achieve their desired results.

Another important factor to consider is patient age. Up until the late teens through early adulthood, the dentition is still growing and has the potential to continue shifting. As a result, traditional braces are recommended for younger patients as it provides dentists with the opportunity to ensure treatment does not hinder development.

Considering Invisalign®? Contact Gies Family Dental Today
At our San Antonio dental practice, Invisalign® is just one way we help our patients improve the look, feel, and function of their smiles. For more information about this clear braces treatment, schedule your consultation with Dr. Gies today.

3/18/2016 12:00:00 PM | Lavoyger Gies

The health of your smile and body are inter-related. Known as the oral-systemic connection, recent studies have indicated that the health of one entity has a tendency to influence the other. As a result, maintaining a healthy smile though trips to Dr. Lavoger Gies not only helps patients retain their oral health but also ensures that individuals stay healthy as a whole.

Identifying the Oral-Systemic Connection
In recent years, a number of studies have observed that dental conditions often yield health consequences for other parts of the body.

For example, untreated advanced periodontal disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and may also make it more difficult for patients suffering from diabetes to control their condition. Untreated tooth infections provide bacteria with the opportunity to enter the bloodstream and affect vital organs and putting patients at risk of blood poisoning. Even the misalignment of the dentition can have a lasting impact on an individual’s overall health. Overcrowding, overbites, and other alignment conditions can have a domino-like effect on the position of the jaw and, increases the risk of temporomandibular joint disorders such as migraines, bruxism, dizziness, and vision problems.

Health conditions can also yield symptoms that manifest within the mouth. For example, while Chron’s Disease primarily impacts the gastrointestinal tract, oral manifestations of the condition can include cobblestone appearance of the lining within the mouth and gum swelling. Similarly, celiac disease may also cause oral symptoms, including canker sores, geographic tongue, as well as tonsil stones. Additionally, medications being taken for certain health conditions may have oral implications such as dry mouth and dry throat.

Why Preventive Dentistry?
To maintain a healthy smile, patients typically visit the dentist at least twice a year and adopt some form of oral hygiene at home. As a number of conditions manifest themselves orally, these regular visits are critical to identifying potential health issues before they can significantly compromise an individual’s overall health.

During your initial visit at our dental practice, our team utilizes state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to monitor the condition of your smile and identify any changes as well as indicators of any health conditions. At our San Antonio office, Dr. Lavoger Gies works closely with other health professionals to ensure patients have access to the appropriate dental care as well as follow-up treatments in the event of a more serious overall health condition. For more information about our comprehensive approach to preventive dentistry, contact our San Antonio dentist today. 

3/11/2016 4:20:00 PM | Lavoyger Gies

In recent years, dental implants have become the ideal restorative solution for patients hoping to restore aesthetics, function, and health to their smile. Used either independently or as part of a larger treatment plan, dental implants and implant-supported prostheses offer versatile treatment that can be personalized to meet your unique needs.

If you are considering dental implants to replace missing or severely damaged teeth, understanding the condition of your smile and how various implants will impact your dentition is the first step to developing a truly comprehensive treatment plan.

For individuals hoping to replace a single tooth:
Isolated tooth loss or damage can be easily remedied with a single dental implant replacement. Consisting of an implant post, a connective abutment, and a single crown restoration, single unit implants do not rely on the surrounding teeth or tissue for support, ensuring that healthy neighboring teeth are left uncompromised.

For individuals missing multiple teeth:
If not handled in a timely manner, patients requiring multiple tooth replacement run the risk of bone deterioration which can spur further tooth loss. Dental implant restorations such as implant-fixed bridges and All-on-4 implants are optimal solutions that help improve bone health as well as replacing missing teeth.

Like single unit implants, multi-unit implants utilize titanium posts and abutments to secure the prosthetic teeth. Depending on the number of teeth being replaced with this restoration, between 2 and 8 implants may be strategically placed in the bone.

For patients seeking full arch replacement:
In certain cases of extensive tooth damage or decay, entire arches may need to be replaced with prosthetic teeth. For these patients, implant-supported dentures and hybrid dentures may be the most effective long-term restoration solutions.

While seemingly similar, there are important differences between implant-supported dentures and hybrid dentures that make them suited to different patient needs. Implant-supported dentures utilize an overdenture that is secured to a series of supportive implants. As the overdenture includes prosthetic teeth and tissue, this full-mouth restoration option is ideal for patients accustomed to the feel, function, and maintenance of dentures. In contrast, hybrid dentures consist of only the teeth and are fixed to supportive implants. Since there is no gum portion of this restoration, hybrid dentures are ideal for individuals with healthy gums.

Schedule Your Implant Consultation

At Gies Family Dental, our San Antonio implant dentist is dedicated to helping all patients find the right treatment for their restorative needs. For more information about dental implants and implant-supported treatments in San Antonio, contact our practice today to schedule your consultation. 

1/13/2016 4:26:00 PM | Lavoyger Gies

Like any other insurance plan, dental coverage has its own unique nuances. As there are a number of different available plans, each of which cover different services and treatments, many may find themselves overwhelmed when it comes to selecting an insurance plan that provides adequate coverage without costing an arm and a leg.

Paying for Dental Coverage
Unlike medical insurance, dental insurance is designed to cover regular preventive care needed to keep the mouth healthy. How dental coverage works is very much reflective of this theme, emphasizing low cost preventive care while requiring greater patient financial responsibility when it comes to more extensive restorative treatments.

As a result, paying for dental care plays a significant role in selecting coverage. Paying for dental services can typically be divided into four groups, based on how much each procedure costs and who pays the services.

With direct reimbursement programs, the patient pays the dental fees and is reimbursed a specific amount based on specific percentage of the overall cost of treatment rather than by the cost of each procedure. Unlike other insurance plans, direct reimbursement allows patients to visit whichever dentist they would like rather than restricting them to a list of approved “in-network” dentists.

Similar to direct reimbursement, usual, customary, and reasonable (UCR) plans allow patients to visit whichever dentist they would like. Fees are set by the dentist and split by the insurance provider and patient based on a predetermined limit. As the dentist sets the fees, the cost of care may vary depending on where you are, making dental care more expensive in one area rather than another.

Table or Schedule of Allowance based programs will pay a certain amount of the procedure, regardless of what the dentist sets the cost of care at. If the covered services are more than what the insurance plan will pay, patients are responsible for the remaining balance. Depending on the insurance plan, patients may find it to be more economically savvy to stay within a network of pre-approved dentists.

Lastly, capitationprograms pay monthly fees to contracted dentists based on the number of enrolled families or patients at the practice. In return, patients can receive treatment at no cost or at a discounted rate, known as the co-payment. However, as treatment needs may vary, available treatments may not fully cover the care needed to address the dental issue, requiring greater out-of-pocket contributions by the patients.

Dental insurance can quickly become complicated and overwhelming for patients unfamiliar with the insurance process. At Gies Family Dental, our dental team can help you determine which coverage works best for your unique needs.

For patients without access to dental insurance, our San Antonio dental office also offers an in-office benefits plan that includes biannual cleanings, twice yearly x-rays, and unlimited emergency care. For more information about our in-office benefit plan, contact our San Antonio dentist today.

12/22/2015 4:25:00 PM | Lavoyger Gies

We're excited to announce the official launch of our Gies Family Dental blog.

We'll be posting helpful dental tips, news from the dental industry, news from our practice, and more about the latest in dentistry.

We built our practice on the notion that we're there for our patients when they need us and we want our online presence to be a reflection of that principle. We hope this blog provides an extra level of service to our current and future patients.

If you would like to stay up to date on the latest from Gies Family Dental, simply click the RSS “Subscribe to feed” link located on our website and subscribe. Our subscribers will be updated when we make a new blog post.

Here's to your best oral health ever!