Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Dr. Champagne, why did you decide to get into dentistry and what are your passions in the dental field?
I was actually accepted to both medical and dental school. After living with my uncle, who was head of the Department of Internal Medicine at UCLA Medical Center, I decided that I did not want a career in medicine, so I went to dental school. That was over 30 years ago, and it's been the most wonderful decision I could have made. I have always enjoyed art, I've always done sketches and paintings, and I am equally passionate about science. I genuinely love the combination of the two, the art and science of dentistry.
What are the key differentiating factors that would make a patient select your practice to get the Champagne smile that they deserve?
There are two things. One, we truly treat our patients as if they were honored guests, and our goals are to change overall perceptions of a visit to the dentist, as well as to make each visit an experience that will improve that person’s day. Also, we provide extreme convenience. We are New Jersey's premier dental implant team all under one roof. Patients do not have to go to various offices and locations for dental implant services. We do it all in our office.
Can you explain your passion for dental implants and what it really means for a patient to get complete service in one location?
My passion for dental implants revolves around the fact that dental implants literally change people's lives. Somebody who used to dread going out to a restaurant because their teeth might fall out, or they couldn't eat anything they wanted off the menu, after getting dental implants their world is changed. That provides a level of service to patients that no other aspect of dentistry can provide.Keeping everything under one roof removes the fear of having to trust foreign offices that they've never been to before. Nobody likes change, especially when it comes to dentistry, so we eliminate that fear for the patient. They know that we have control over the whole situation for them from start to finish.
How long do dental implants last?
While implants can last for many decades, there are so many variables that will ultimately determine how long they are of service to you. These factors include genetics, homecare, regular professional care, overall health, smoking, diet, forces that are placed on the implants (especially lateral forces), the type of materials that are placed on top of the implants, among other things.
While there is no simple or easy answer to this common question, it is important to discuss your specific case with your dentist.
It’s been two weeks since I had a dental implant placed and the stitches haven’t fallen out yet. How long should it take for stitches to dissolve?
Depending upon the type of stitches that were placed, they may be expected to last anywhere from one week to several weeks. It is not necessarily an issue that they have not dissolved yet. However, if you have any concerns that the area is not healing properly, have your dentist take a look at the site.
How long after a bone graft would someone have to wait to place dental implants?
How long you should wait to place dental implants after bone grafting has been done depends on the extent of the grafting procedure. In some cases, as little as 12 weeks is all that's required. In cases where the grafting procedure is very extensive, you may need to wait as long as nine months before placing dental implants. Your dental implant dentist can give you a much better idea based on the specifics of your situation.
I am experiencing discomfort with my dental implant. Can I have my implant removed and replaced with a bridge?
A dental implant should not cause any discomfort. If it is causing discomfort, your discomfort may be coming from the way the crown was placed on top, possibly making it difficult to properly clean the gums. Before you consider removing the dental implant, which could be a very extensive procedure, consider having the crown redone or reshaped.
Can I get dental implants if I have severe bone loss?
If you don't currently have enough jawbone to properly place a dental implant, then your dentist may suggest adding back bone with a procedure called a bone graft. If the jaw bone is too narrow, we can typically have great success building out the width. If the height is deficient, it can often be very challenging to increase the height of the jaw bone. With proper x-rays, your dentist will be better able to assess your situation.
Is an implant necessary? Will not getting an implant cause issues later on down the track?
There are a number of reasons for replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant. Not only will it give you greater chewing surface, but it will also keep the adjacent teeth and opposing teeth from shifting. Another very important reason for getting a dental implant is because it will preserve the jaw bone and keep it from resorbing.
However, if finances are a concern, you could consider a removable partial denture. This would help to stabilize the neighboring teeth and it would also provide greater chewing surface.
What does it mean if I don't have enough space for a dental implant because of my root(s)?
It's not unusual for the space above the gum line to be sufficient for an implant to be placed while the space between the roots of the adjacent teeth is insufficient. It typically is not difficult for an orthodontist to realign your brackets and correct this situation so that you can have a dental implant placed.
What would be the best solution to replace missing teeth?
There are several factors that will determine what your best solution is to replace missing teeth. You'll need to discuss with your dentist if the space that currently exists is sufficient to place an implant as well as your current risk for cavities and gum disease. Another important consideration is the condition of the teeth that are adjacent to the space. You would want to take into consideration whether these adjacent teeth are virgin or have already received treatment.
Is there an age restriction for getting dental implants placed?
Age aside, it really comes down to comfort, aesthetics, and your ability to properly chew food. If you don't feel the need to replace the tooth that was extracted, then there is really no need to consider an implant. One consideration, however, it that, if there is a tooth directly below it, it may start over erupting and may eventually need to be extracted.
What are the primary reasons why a patient would choose you for dental implants?
My initial training in dentistry was as a cosmetic dentist working on natural teeth. I have now adapted those skills and that knowledge to dental implants, so we can create highly cosmetic dental implant restorations. We also offer four levels of sedation, from super light to super deep, so patients do not have to fear having their dental implant procedures. And, of course, we provide everything under one roof from start to finish.
What is the difference between an osteotome sinus lift versus lateral wall sinus lift?
Typically, a lateral wall lift can improve the bone height over a much larger area and to a large extent. It is, however, more invasive, more expensive, and has a longer post-operative healing time. The osteotome lift is indicated for only a single implant site and typically cannot achieve as much improvement in the height of the jawbone.
Can I transition or "upgrade" to an implant bridge for the full arch?
The wonderful thing about dental implants is that you can start with a few and add more as finances allow. That means that you could start with an implant overdenture on four dental implants and, in the future, add more dental implants so that you can enjoy an All-On-6 prosthesis.
Can a four-tooth bridge supported by two natural teeth as posts be reused on two implant replacements?
Unfortunately, no. There is no way to properly retrofit a tooth-supported bridge onto dental implants or reuse the bridge in such a manner that it won't create an unhealthy result.
What are the four levels of sedation?
Level one is laughing gas, which just makes patients feel a little bit lighter and not quite as nervous. Level two is laughing gas and valium, which I describe as relaxing a patient so their shoulders go from being near their ears back down to a relaxed position. It makes them feel almost like they’re at happy hour. They're really relaxed.Level three is called oral conscious sedation, and it involves a combination of medications that are given under the tongue. No needles are involved, and it's extremely safe. We monitor the entire dental visit with a Criticare monitor. Although patients are semi-awake and alert, they have no memories of the visit the next day. This is by far the most commonly chosen sedation level. Level four is general anesthesia, the same as would be used in a hospital setting, administered by one of the licensed anesthesiologists on our team.
What is cosmetic implantology?
With my background and training in cosmetic dentistry, I have an eye for how the smile should look even before we start the process, which is extremely important because there are no unimportant steps in dental implantology. Every part of the implant process will impact the final result.During the planning phase, we need to know how various details interrelate: how healthy is the bone where the implant needs to be placed? how will the connector piece, called the abutment, get placed onto the implant? And of course, how will the crown be shaped for optimum esthetics and function. We plan everything with computers, and we design the implant restorations digitally. The patient can be as much or as little a part of this smile design process as they desire. We give each patient the opportunity to sit down with one of our in-house dental designers to see their design before it has been fabricated.Additionally, all of our patients get to see prototypes on their teeth before the final crowns are made. This gives them the opportunity to preview the esthetics and to be certain that the design is comfortable.
Most dental practices refer patients to periodontists for their implant work. Why would a patient want to see you instead of a periodontist?
While periodontists and oral surgeons are very well trained to place dental implants, the problem is, who plays quarterback on the dental implant team? I used to refer patients out of the practice to have their implants placed, but what I discovered was that sometimes, the exact placement of the implant did not allow me to create an ideal final restoration.My goal in creating our “all under one roof” strategy was to have one office where everything was controlled from start to finish. Now, we know exactly how the final restoration will look before we even start any procedures. The restorative dentist gets to play quarterback and is literally in the office with the surgeon for both the consultation as well as the surgical portion of the treatment. This ensures that the final restoration will come out beautifully.