Dental Implants: Frequently Asked Questions

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is a synthetic tooth root, which is anchored into the jaw. The implant holds a replacement tooth for one that has been lost. Generally, implants are placed “in the bone”, or endosteal, and consist of a screw or bolt implanted into the jawbone.

Am I a good candidate for dental implants?

If you need a tooth replacement due to an injury or periodontal disease, or have unattractive teeth that need replaced, you are a potential candidate for dental implants. They can make eating easier, improve the look of your smile, and aid in proper oral care.

Dental implants require healthy gums to fuse properlyto your jawbone. There are a few health conditions, which can decrease the success rate of your dental implant. Talk to Dr. VanderMolen if you are a smoker, have gum disease, diabetes, exposure to radiation or other health issues, to determine if dental implants are a good choice for you.

How long will my implants last?

The length of time your dental implants last will depend highly on your oral health practice, but they can last for decades with proper care. They have a very high success rate fusing to the bone.  Dr. VanderMolenwill monitor your recovery after the implant to ensure proper placement and healing for long-term results.  To increase longevity of your implants, maintain thorough oral hygiene, refrain from smoking, and keep regularly scheduled visits to your dentist.

How much do dental implants cost?

The cost of implants varies depending on the type of procedure you require and the number of teeth that need replaced. Dr. VanderMolenwill determine if you need extractions, abutments, crowns, grafts, bridges, or dentures, to accompany your implants, all of which can alter the price of your implant.

Dr. Matt VanderMolenat Advanced Dental Care of Springfield can help you determine if dental implants are the right choice for you, provide you with an estimate of costs and answer any other questions you have. Call (217) 717-4551 today and schedule your appointment.

FastbracesĀ®: A New Smile in as little as 3 Months

To get on the fast-track to a straighter smile, have a chat with Dr. VanderMolen about Fastbraces®. Unlike traditional braces that can take up to two years to rearrange a crooked smile, Fastbraces® offers a patented design that can get results faster and easier than ever. Typically, results can be seen in as little as three to six months.

Fastbraces® work with mechanics that are very different from traditional brace designs. The Fastbraces®brackets are triangular and employ the use of a single wire during treatment. While traditional braces move teeth in two stages, first the crown and then the root;Fastbraces® move both at the same time. Your teeth start readjusting the first day Fastbraces® are applied. By moving the root and crown of the tooth simultaneously, you can experience less sensitivity and faster results.

The shape of the Fastbraces® bracket is the key to its success. With a triangular design, that has an elevated slot and elbow; it changes how force is applied to your teeth. The elevated slot creates more space for the wire between teeth, which gives it more flexibility while the elbow creates torque on the teeth. The risks are the same as with traditional braces, but studies have shown that patients have less discomfort during the treatment. Because Fastbraces® are typically on for a lesser period of time, the risk of tooth decay and improper hygiene is reduced as well. 

Fastbraces® are a safe and affordable way to straighten your smile. They require fewer visits with the dentist, meaning less money spent and more time to do the things you love. After your Fastbraces® have been removed, you will be required to wear a retainer for some time minutes each day, but typically much less than is required with traditional braces.

Dr. VanderMolen is an authorized Fastbraces® provider. The friendly staff at Advanced Dental Care of Springfieldwill be happy to answer your questions. Call for an appointment at (217) 717-4551 and be on your way to a better smile today.

Bad Breath: Health Problems & Prevention

What are the health problems associated with bad breath and how can it be prevented?

If you have bad breath (known as halitosis), you may not even know it. It’s true, bad breath is an oral problem that often cannot be noticed by patients themselves. All too often, you learn of your bad breath when you have a close friend or family member that makes a comment about it. Bad breath can be caused by a number of issues and it can also act as an indicator of other medical conditions. Just by seeing your dentist for regular dental check-ups, you can avoid health problems associated with bad breath.

Health issues that are often linked with bad breath:

  • Gum diseaseGum disease most often develops from improper brushing. Food particles left between the teeth allow plaque build-up on the surface of the teeth and along the gum line. Over time, this can cause gum irritation and inflammation. The bacteria and food particles can lead to bad breath and change how one tastes other foods.
  • Decayed teeth- Once teeth have become decayed; they can serve as a storehouse for food remnants. These areas become difficult to access with a toothbrush and eventually the food particles cause bacteria build-up and bad breath.
  • Dry mouth- Dry mouth is also known as Xerostomia. Naturally, saliva flushes out the dead cells in our mouth. If saliva production is decreased, the natural flushing process is also decreased. Remaining dead cells undergo disintegration which can generate bad breath. Dry mouth can also be a sign of more serious health problems such as like salivary gland disorders. Certain medications or people who “mouth-breath” regularly can also experience dry mouth and bad breath.
  • Respiratory tract infections– Individuals withinfections like sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, or post-nasal drip can experience bad breath.
  • Metabolic disorders- There are few metabolic disorders like gastro esophageal reflux (GER) that cause bad breath due to stomach regurgitation. Problems related to kidney and liver may also be the cause of foul odor.

If you have bad breath, you should not take the matter lightly. For treatment of halitosis, the underlying cause will first have to be determined. If a non-oral health problem is causing the issue, you can be referred to a general physician for treatment. If it is related to your oral health, your dentist can help you take steps to fresher breath and a healthy smile. Here are a few Preventative Care tips to keep in mind to help keep dental-related bad breath at bay.

  1. Brushing – It is essential to brush your teeth twice daily, preferably with fluorinated toothpaste. Scrape your tongue with a scraper to remove all the food particles trapped on the surface. Be thorough.
  2.  Flossing- Flossing is just as important as brushing. Daily flossing removes food debris stuck in between the teeth and areas that are inaccessible for the bristles of the toothbrush.
  3. Mouthwash- Use of chlorhexidine mouthwash can be of great help for those with bad breath as the antibacterial action washes off the bacteria and there is a feeling of freshness in your breath.
  4. Diet control- The types of food you eat can affect how your breath smells and the health of your teeth. A healthy diet is key to a healthy mouth.

To learn more about what is causing your bad breath, call (217) 717-4551 for an appointment with Dr. VanderMolen. The team at Advanced Dental Care will guide you to get the healthy mouth and gums you have been waiting for!

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Senior News Article Adventures in Dentures

When I was in the Navy, the slogan was “It’s not just a job – it’s an adventure!”  Through the years, I have come to find those who wear dentures often find themselves in some sort of “adventure” – usually an embarrassing one.

I’ve changed their names, but I’d like to share some real life adventures in dentures.  To anyone who at one time or another has had an embarrassing or unfortunate accident or incident with your dentures, I offer these stories to let you know you are not alone.  If you have dentures or are considering getting dentures, I want you to know there are take steps you can take to avoid these mishaps.  Though humorous, as in most humorous stories, it’s funny when you are not the one involved.

Joe came to my office with a broken lower denture.  I asked him what happened to it.  He said he was leaning out of the window of his truck talking to a female friend at work when his denture fell from his mouth and cracked on the pavement at the feet of his shocked friend.  He had planned to ask her out to lunch.  Instead, he became speechless as he quickly jumped from his truck to pick up the pieces and drive directly to me.  I don’t think Joe got a second chance at that date.

Larry only wore his lower denture for appearance.  He could not manage to eat with it in his mouth.  So he put it aside while he ate.  Apparently, his new dog thought his lower denture was a bone.  Unbeknownst to Larry, his dog was able to steal the denture from the dinner table.  Then he did what dogs do with bones.  He chewed it up and buried it in the backyard!  It took Larry and his wife two weeks to figure out what had happened before he was able to retrieve and bring in what remained of his lower denture.

Mary was visiting her cousin in Florida.  Mary’s cousin did not know she wore dentures.  Mary wasn’t much for going out, but her cousin convinced her to go out dancing.  They were dancing with some men, and “things got kind of wild.”  All of a sudden she was chasing her denture across the dance floor.   She was horrified and felt like time was in slow motion as she scooped up her denture, put it in her mouth and continued dancing!  Needless to say, the rest of that evening was awkward.

Sally said her denture was “okay”, but it was hard to wear all day.  So she would take it out quite a bit throughout the day.  Her three year old grandson was fascinated with her denture.  Unfortunately, he was also fascinated with the workings of the toilet.  Do I really need to finish this story?

So how do you avoid denture mishaps?  First of all, make sure your dentures fit well.  One size does not fit all.  Everyone has unique situations and needs.  If you are seeking a new denture, choose a dentist who focuses on proper diagnosis of your mouth and your face to allow for proper appearance, health, and function.  Be wary of low-cost denture clinics.

If you have had dentures for a while, chances are they no longer fit as they should.  Dentures can be re-fitted with something called a reline, or they may need to be replaced.

If you have a denture that fits well, denture adhesive in the form of a gel or powder can help.  It can give you the security of your denture not popping loose or coming out of your mouth.  It is so important that your denture fits well.  If your denture does not fit well, too much adhesive gets used and the denture still does not stay in place.  Furthermore, you are left with a sticky mess in your mouth.  When you glue anything together, you want a close fit.  If there is not a close fit, the glue fails.

If you haven’t been to the dentist for a while, you might not be aware of dental implants.  With as little as two to six implants, you can replace all your teeth without traditional dentures.  Dental implants are anchored in your jaw, and the teeth are attached to the implants.

A well-fitting denture paired with denture adhesive does work okay for many people.  However, most denture wearers have to compromise with what they can do with their teeth.  The amount of force to chew with a full set of dentures is only ten percent of the force used by people with natural teeth.  People with dentures are forced to limit what they can eat which is often softer and less healthy foods. 

Do you want to eat what you want, or be limited to only eat what you can?  Dental implants allow you to regain bite strength.  This is exciting because now, with dental implants, you can eat what you want.  Go ahead and bite into an apple or crunch on some fresh carrots without giving it a second thought.

Patients who choose dental implants are some of the happiest people I know.  Usually, their only regret is not seeking treatment sooner.  Their “adventures” are made up of positive life-changing experiences – and it is my pleasure to hear them all.

If you are interested in taking charge of your smile, and not falling victim to a dental mishap, I invite you to call our office at (217) 717-4551.  Or you can find us online at

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