Dr. Rob Whicker is a 2002 graduate of the Medical College of Virginia School of Dentistry (Magna Cum Laude). He went on to complete an advanced training fellowship in Tacoma Washington where he worked closely with board certified dentists in each of the specialty areas of dentistry. Dr. Whicker has completed hundreds of hours of continuing education in all aspects of comprehensive and cosmetic dentistry. Rob was born in Roswell, New Mexico and has lived all over the United States. He and his wife Lark are the parents of 3 children. Away from the office, Rob enjoys taking road trips with his wife and kids, reading, hiking, and learning to cook.
Ceramic Dental Implants
Ceramic dental implants are typically marketed as a non-metal, “ceramic” material that is white in color like natural teeth and has all the same advantages as traditional titanium implants. Interestingly enough, Zirconium has an atomic number of 40 making it a transitional METAL. Ceramic implants come in the form of Zirconium Oxide (which is often referred to as Ceramic). Every ceramic has a crystal structure containing both metallic and non-metallic atoms, but the combination is never referred to as a metal. The addition of the oxide changes its composition structure, behavior, and name.
Traditional Titanium implant surfaces are used in Titanium Oxide form, so why are they considered a metal? This is because titanium implants are a grey metal color and Ceramic implants are white. The simple difference in color is one of the main reasons these implants were developed and have gained popularity from the general public. There are many claims of non-esthetic implant restoration caused by the grey color of the titanium implant. However, with proper placement through a 3D guided surgery protocol and utilizing white Ceramic for the abutment material, we can repeatedly get highly-esthetic results for our patients.
Reasons You Might Choose Metal-free Ceramic Dental Implants
Metal-free Ceramic dental implants are increasing in popularity for a variety of reasons. These implants are known to interact well with the bone and gums, and they are a good holistic option for patients who want an implant that will support their overall health. Many people are choosing Ceramic implants over the traditional titanium varieties, and there are several reasons that the trend in dental implants is moving in this direction.
Titanium implants sometimes result in aesthetic issues. This is especially true for patients who experience gum recession or those who have thin gums. When titanium dental implants are put into place, the gums can appear gray. Ceramic is white and not a metal, so it can provide for a more natural look.
The traditional titanium dental implants consist of two metal pieces that are joined together using a fixation screw. When put under extreme pressure, these two pieces can move slightly, and this may result in pockets in which bacteria can colonize. Ceramic dental implants are made from a simple, one-piece design to eliminate this problem. These ceramic components will not shift after implantation, so infection is less of a concern.
Metal implants can be a big problem for people who have allergies. In some cases, sensitivity may not even show up until years after the implants have been put into place. This can result in bone loss and implant failure. Ceramic dental implants are hypoallergenic, so sensitivity and allergy issues are not a problem.
Ceramic dental implants are extremely strong and durable, and their long-term success is one of the most attractive features of the system. These dental implants were designed to withstand great force, and they are known for their superior strength and inflexibility when put under pressure. These are great qualities for a dental implant system to possess.
Many patients who choose metal-free Ceramic dental implants claim that they enjoyed a shorter implant process and greater comfort with their system. The strength of Ceramic also allows for greater function after the surgery, so the odds of having long-term success with these dental implants are quite high.
Titanium dental implants are known to corrode when placed into a wet environment like a mouth, and this process is accelerated if other metal is present in the teeth. When fluoride is added, metal corrosion also speeds up and can attack the implant surface. With Ceramic, which is a biocompatible material, these concerns are less of an issue, as the substance is resistant to corrosion, and it also doesn’t trigger chemical reactions or conduct heat and electricity.
Holistic, Organic, or Biological Dentistry (whichever term you prefer to describe it) involves taking a different approach to the practice of dentistry. It means looking at a patient as a whole person and addressing any issues from that perspective. Many of the things that happen in the mouth affect the whole body and many things happening to the body have an impact in the mouth. A holistic approach means addressing all of these issues in the process of seeking optimal health.
Many of our patients are very conscious about maintaining a natural-healthy-organic Lifestyle. This can lead naturally to concerns about dental materials compatibility, chemical exposure, and treatment options that fit a holistic and organic philosophy. Whether your concerns are about fluoride, mercury fillings, root canals, surgical techniques or biocompatibility we are here to help.
Cosmetic Dentistry is the process of making you feel great about your smile. We call cosmetics the psychological aspect of dental health because it directly affects personal confidence and self esteem. If you feel good about the way you look you are significantly more effective in interpersonal and social interactions. A great smile is one of the most important aspects of personal appearance and can dramatically improve the quality of your life.
Whitening / Bleaching
Tooth whitening or bleaching is the process by which your natural tooth structure is made whiter or lighter. There are two basic methods; take home whitening which utilizes a lower concentration peroxide agent to whiten at home over a couple of weeks and in office whitening which utilizes a much stronger solution in the dental office and accomplishes the process in just over an hour. Both techniques are equally effective the big difference is the amount of time required to achieve the results you want.
Tooth Recontouring / Enameloplasty
Sometimes a beautiful smile is as simple as reshaping the edges of your front teeth. Chipping or wear from parafunction or grinding your teeth can create an irregular smile line. Carefully reshaping the edges can dramatically improve cosmetics. Sometimes recontouring is done in conjunction with Invisalign or dental bonding.
Dental bonding involves reshaping teeth with white filling material. This is done to close gaps or idealize the shape or contour of teeth, or to replace portions of the tooth that have been lost to wear, chipping, or decay.
Veneers replace damaged or discolored enamel on front teeth and are similar to cosmetic crowns. They can be done for cosmetic reasons if for example the teeth are too small and need to be larger to fill available spaces or are discolored or pitted or the alignment or shape of the teeth need to be corrected. Veneers are made of porcelain and are bonded or fused permanently to the teeth.
Crowns are similar to veneers in that they are like new enamel for the teeth. Unlike veneers crowns cover the entire tooth not just the front and are therefore the option of choice when the entire tooth needs to be reshaped. Cosmetic crowns are made entirely of porcelain and mimic natural tooth structure in such a way as to be completely undetectable. Often the edges of the crown are placed slightly below the gum resulting in an invisible natural look.
In cosmetic dentistry, the gum tissue acts like the frame around a picture; when the gums are properly contoured the overall cosmetic appearance of your smile is significantly improved. Sometimes the gum tissue covers too much of the tooth and needs to be trimmed to proper contour. Other situations include recession where the roots of the teeth are exposed and need to be recovered or the gums are unevenly or irregularly positioned around teeth and need to be corrected. When the gum tissue is properly shaped and positioned the appearance of your smile can be dramatically improved.