Restorative vs. Cosmetic Procedures: What Are the Differences?

Dental implants

You may hear of different types of dentistry and wonder what the differences are. Two common types of dentistry are cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry. Though certain procedures will fall into one or the other category, there is often some overlap between the two. Let’s take a look.


Restorative Dentistry

According to, restorative dentistry involves the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of oral diseases. This can cover everything from a general check-up to major dental work, including work on teeth that are decayed, cracked, chipped, discolored or missing. Restorative dentistry helps maintain the structure and health of the mouth and teeth. Some procedures that fall into this category are fillings, crowns, and implants. These procedures help keep the mouth, gums and teeth healthy or fix an existing problem.


Cosmetic Dentistry

On the other hand, cosmetic dentistry is a method of oral care that focuses on improving and enhancing the aesthetic appearance of the teeth, mouth and smile. Often, cosmetic procedures are elective to make the mouth and smile look better, but other times, restorative benefits are also incorporated. Common cosmetic procedures include inlays and onlays, composite bonding, veneers, whitening and dental implants.


Dental implants

What About Dental Implants?

Dental implants can be considered both a cosmetic and restorative procedure. One of the greatest benefits of dental implants is that they preserve the integrity of your mouth and jaw, and they also look like natural teeth. Dental implants are restorative because the new implant takes the place of a damaged or missing tooth, which keeps surrounding teeth from shifting and prevents jawbone loss. A dental implant also provides the patient with a tooth that acts just as a natural tooth with very little additional care required.

Some may say that dental implants are primarily a cosmetic procedure, though the restorative benefits are clear. On the cosmetic side, a patient may opt for dental implants to improve their smile because dental implants look as good and as natural as any other tooth. Your dentist should be able to match the shade and shape of the replacement tooth to your other teeth. Once the procedure is completed, no one should be able to tell the difference between a dental implant and a natural tooth.

If you are considering any cosmetic or restorative procedures, especially dental implants, please call us at Watkin Dental Associates. We’re experts in cosmetic and restorative procedures, including dental implants. We would love to help make your smile the best it can be!

5 Best Dental Practices for a Healthy Smile

dentistAccording to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, more than half of American adults over age 50 say that a smile is the one physical feature that stays the most attractive as we age. For this reason, it’s important to take good care of your smile. Here are some best practices even dentists would recommend to care for your teeth.

Always brush before bed
Almost everyone knows that you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, and brushing your teeth before bed is the most important time to do so. Saliva helps fight bacteria that can cause cavities, and you don’t produce much saliva when you sleep. This is why you should brush your teeth before bed to prevent acids from eating through the enamel on your teeth and prevent tooth decay.

Enjoy crunchy fruits and veggies
Crunchy fruits and veggies like apples and celery act as nature’s toothbrush as they help clear things from your teeth. Crunchy produce also contains more healthy fiber. Lastly, crunchy produce helps work your jaw, which is good for your muscles.

Avoid things that will cause discoloration
No one wants to have yellow, discolored teeth, but there are things you are putting in your mouth that might be causing discoloration without you realizing it. For example, coffee, red wine, dark-colored juices, and even citrus can cause your teeth to yellow. You should also avoid tobacco. It can not only yellow your teeth, but it can lead to oral cancers and other periodontal complications.

Get your daily calcium intake
Calcium is crucial for the health of your teeth, bones, and gums. Calcium helps keep them strong and in good shape. To get your calcium, you can drink milk and fortified orange juice, and eat yogurt, cheese, broccoli, and other dairy products.

Don’t forget your tongue
Bacteria and plaque can also build up on your tongue. This can lead to bad breath and other oral health problems. Make sure you remember to gently brush your tongue while you brush your teeth. You can also get a tongue scraper to remove countless bacteria that live on your tongue.

Of course, after all these things, it’s important to make regular trips to the dentist. Your dentist will be able to give you a professional cleaning that you can’t achieve on your own, and they can spot problems that you might not notice either. If you care about preserving the health of your smile, you should make an appointment with your dentist today.

I Think I Need a Dental Implant – How Do I Know For Sure?

Dental implantMaybe your dentist has mentioned it, or perhaps you have a gut feeling. Maybe you recently heard about dental implants and think that you may be a candidate. Whatever the reason you’re thinking about dental implants, they may be the right option for you. But how do you know for sure? Are there warning signs? How do you really know if you need a dental implant, and if you do, how do you know your dentist is the best one to perform the procedure? Read on for some valuable insights.


Warning Signs You May Need A Dental Implant

Just because you have a toothache doesn’t necessarily mean you need a dental implant. Usually, an implant is the last resort, and before that, your dentist should try to save your tooth with fillings, crowns or other measures. However, a time may come when all else has failed, and it’s time for a tooth replacement. Here a few warning signs and indicators:

  • You have a severely damaged tooth. Maybe there’s a crack that is beyond repair, or you’ve already tried a crown, but it still needs work. When damage is beyond repair, it may be time for a dental implant.
  • You have dentures and are tired of dealing with them. Maybe you’re tired of caring for your dentures, or you don’t feel confident about your smile any longer. This may be a sign you could use implants instead.
  • You have pain. Again, this is not necessarily an indicator that you need an implant, but according to US News, this can be a sign. Severe and lingering pain could mean your tooth needs to be extracted, and an implant would be a good idea.

If your dentist has recommended a dental implant to you and you’re not sure why; ask more questions. Usually, it should make sense that you need an implant; the bottom line is that the tooth cannot otherwise be saved. Implants are optimal for maintaining good jaw and facial structure, and they act like natural teeth. Whether the implant is to replace an already missing tooth or to take the place of one that needs extraction, your dentist should help you understand how it will benefit and why it’s the best option.


Dental implant

Where Can I Get Information on Dental Implants?

You’ve started in the right place! Please contact us at Watkin Dental Associates for more information and to see what other patients say about us. If you are not close by, talk to your family dentist about the best option for you. Some family dentists do these procedures, and some will refer to you another expert. Remember if you’re still unsure about dental implants, seek a second opinion; there’s nothing wrong with that.

4 Frequently (and Not So Frequently) Asked Questions About Dental Implants

Dental implants are successful and long-lasting tooth replacement option. However, many people may have questions about dental implants. Here are a few common (and not so common) questions related to this procedure.


1. What material is used most often used for dental implants?

Dental implants are usually made of titanium. Titanium is a material that’s both strong and biocompatible, meaning that the human body doesn’t often reject it after surgery. Though some people may be concerned about a foreign material in their body, this metal is very safe. Some dentists use zirconia as a metal-free alternative for dental implants, but the most common material is titanium. This, of course, is something to be discussed with your family dentist before your procedure, and you can get a feel for which option is best for you.


Dental implants

2. Will my dental implant set off metal detectors?

Though you may think that with metal in your mouth, you will set off the detectors at the airport or other places, chances are you won’t. Because of the small amount of metal that makes up the dental implant, there really isn’t enough to trigger the detectors. Plus, titanium is not as dense as some other metals. Some people also believe that the insulation from the jaw and mouth prevent dental implants from setting off the metal detectors. The bottom line is that it is very rare that a dental implant will set off metal detectors or cause problems in the airport.


3. Will people notice that I have dental implants?

One of the best things about dental implants is how much they resemble the natural tooth. Your dentist can implant them, so no one will ever know, whether it is a back or a front tooth. Of course, you’ll want to discuss this with your dentist beforehand to check on his or her procedures and outcomes, but no one should be able to tell you have dental implants. In fact, after some time, you will probably even forget they are there.


Dental implants

4. Can I smoke if I have dental implants?

An article on shares that if you have dental implants and smoke, the failure rate is dramatically increased. A study showed that smokers have a failure rate of 15.8 percent where nonsmokers have a failure rate of 1.4 percent. That is a noticeable difference, and it shows that if you are awaiting dental implant surgery, now may be the time to quit smoking.

When your dentist mentions a dental implant, think about what you want to know. Your dentist should be willing to discuss their procedures and your questions with you beforehand. Please contact us at Watkin Dental Associates, and our gentle family dentistry practice will be more than happy to provide you with more information about dental implants.

What are Mini Dental Implants?

Dental implants are an excellent way to fix missing teeth. This procedure is typically very successful, and a dental implant offers a permanent solution that takes the place of natural teeth nicely. But despite all the benefits of dental implants, some patients are concerned about the recovery time following the procedure. There is an alternative to traditional dental implants, however—the mini dental implant.


What Is the Difference?

A mini dental implant is exactly what it sounds like—it’s a smaller version of the traditional implant. Whereas the post for a mini dental implant has about a 2.5mm diameter, the post for a traditional dental implant is about twice as large with a 4-5mm diameter. The smaller post makes for a less invasive procedure, with less drilling and possibly no incisions or sutures. It also allows the implant to be placed in smaller areas of the mouth, like where an incisor may be.

Dental implant next to a normal tooth

Because a mini dental implant procedure is less invasive and takes less time, the recovery time is shorter as well. You can get back to your normal lifestyle and diet without as much as recovery time or aftercare.



Because mini implants require a less invasive procedure, possibly less visits to the dentist and are a smaller physical piece, they tend to cost less. They may come in at about half the price of a dental implant, according to Because insurance doesn’t always cover these procedures, mini dental implants may be a good option for someone who couldn’t afford a traditional implant.



Another benefit of mini implants is that they can be used to hold dentures in place. In fact, sometimes dentures can be retrofitted, using mini implants to keep them in place. Then there is no more worry of dentures slipping at inopportune moments.

One of the best things about mini implants is it simply puts another option on the table to replace missing teeth. No one wants to have missing teeth, so with options such as dentures, traditional dental implants and mini implants, there’s truly a solution for everyone.

The benefits of having something in place of a missing tooth cannot be overstated—not only is it good for your confidence and well being, but it helps your mouth stay healthy. Dental implants offer a more permanent tooth replacement option than dentures. They keep the jawbone intact and prevent other teeth from shifting; this can preserve the integrity of your smile and oral health.


Talk to your Dentist

If you are looking for a permanent option for replacing a missing tooth, talk to your family dentist about the option of a mini dental implant. It may be the perfect solution.

Here at Watkin Dental Associates, we are happy to discuss any of these options with you and welcome you to our gentle dentistry practice. Please contact us for information.

Are You Brushing Your Teeth Wrong?

fitchburg dentistA recent AACD survey shows that 99.7% of adults agree that having a healthy smile is important for their social lives. One of the easiest ways to maintain a healthy smile, besides visiting your Fitchburg dentist twice a year, is to make sure you’re brushing your teeth properly. Unfortunately, many people don’t brush their teeth correctly. Incorrect tooth brushing can lead to issues like cavities and gum problems. So to help make sure you’re brushing your teeth correctly, this article is going to cover a few mistakes you should avoid when cleaning your chompers.

Not brushing for long enough
Dentists generally recommend that people brush their teeth for two minutes. In today’s fast-paced society, many people fall way short of that time limit. But cutting down on brushing time doesn’t give the fluoride from the toothpaste enough time to do its job. Cosmetic dentistry patients and those with dental implants should be especially cautious of their brushing time, but everyone should be aiming to get those two minutes of quality brushing time in twice a day.

Using the same toothbrush for too long
With being used twice a day every day, toothbrushes go through a lot of wear and tear. Unfortunately, many people fail to ditch their toothbrush when they should. Using a toothbrush for too long can lead to bacteria accumulating on the bristles and handle. So it’s important to remember to get a new toothbrush every two or three months. And when you visit your Fitchburg dentist, make sure to leave with a new toothbrush.

Rinsing after brushing
Most people follow their tooth brushing session with a quick rinse with water to get the toothpaste all out of their mouth. However, this is actually causing more harm than good. Rinsing with water actually cuts down the effectiveness of the fluoride from toothpaste. So instead of water, use a mouth rinse that contains fluoride to ensure teeth are getting the cleaning they need.

No matter how old you are, it can be far too easy to slip up on quality brushing. Because it becomes more and more important to keep up with good brushing techniques as you age, falling into these bad habits can be detrimental to dental health. But by practicing good tooth brushing methods and visiting your Fitchburg dentist on a regular basis, you should be able to keep your pearly whites in great condition

The History of Dental Implants

Dental healthcare has a long and storied history, and thankfully, procedures and technologies have made great strides from what they were long ago. One thing that has come a very long way is dental implants. But surprisingly, this innovative tooth replacement option has been around much longer than most of us may think.


The History of Dental Implants

Ancient Times

Primitive dental implants have been around since ancient times. According to The Dental Geek, the first dental implants were created 4000 years ago, when the ancient Chinese carved bamboo pegs to replace missing teeth.

The Egyptians, 3000 years ago, were known to hammer copper pegs into the upper jaw postmortem to improve the departed’s smile. This is the first indication of a replacement tooth actually fixed to the jawbone.

Dental implants

A false tooth was found among real teeth in a Celtic grave in France 2300 years ago. Again, this was more than likely a postmortem procedure to improve the smile after death. It would have been far too painful to endure otherwise.


More Modern (Somewhat) Developments

In the 1800s, dentists began to work with implant material to replace missing teeth, but the mouth often rejected the foreign body. For success, the replacement tooth and the bone need to fuse together, through a process known as osseointegration (

It wasn’t until 1953 that an orthopedic surgeon found what was needed for successful fusion. He followed up by creating the first titanium dental implant in 1965. This led to more and more advances in dental implants, such as the titanium alloy screw and the healing period allowing for successful procedures.


Today’s Dental Implants

Dental implants have become the most successful and long-term way to replace a missing tooth or teeth. These procedures are typically very successful, and with proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime. Because dental implants fuse with the jawbone, they become part of the structure of the mouth instead of a prosthetic piece.

Not only have dental implants continued to make great strides, but the practice of gentle dentistry has made the procedure much more tolerable. With effective anesthesia, expert dentists and practitioners and comfortable dental offices, dental implant procedures can be relatively painless.

Dental implants

Antibiotics have also increased the success of dental implants to prevent infection and help with the overall healing process. With successful dental implants, the patient can feel good about his or her smile. Not only are the teeth restored, but confidence is restored as well.

Are you interested in learning more about how modern-day dental implants can change your life for the better? Please contact us to us at Watkin Dental Associates for more information and/or a consultation. We’d love to be your dental expert and welcome you to our gentle family dentistry office.

I Have Diabetes: Can I Get Dental Implants?

Dental implants

You hear more and more about the success of dental implants when it comes to replacing a missing or damaged tooth. However, some health issues can stand in the way of dental implant success. Is diabetes one of these issues?

According to The American Academy of Implant Dentistry, diabetes is not a barrier to successful implants. The study followed 117 people with diabetes and dental implants and checked with them at 3, 6, and 12 months after the implants were completed. The implants were all successful, and there was no relationship between elevated blood sugar and complications with the implants. In fact, the successful implants allowed the patients to eat a healthier diet that could actually positively affect their diabetes.


What to Consider if You Have Diabetes and Need a Dental Implant

Now, if you do have diabetes and are interested in dental implant surgery, you do have some things to consider. Talk to your dentist or dental implant specialist about anything you should know, prepare for, and expect. Ask him if there are special considerations that he will take into account during the procedure. Because blood sugar can impact healing, you want to be in your best range when you have the procedure. Discuss timing with your dentist.


Dental implants

Aftercare Tips

After the procedure, your dentist should prescribe a round of antibiotics to you. It’s essential to complete the full course of antibiotics. Talk with your dentist about medications before your surgery to ensure that the antibiotic is something you will be able to tolerate well.

Self-care is also very important. Follow the protocol for taking care of the implant site and the implant itself. You may receive a cleansing rinse to use for a few days after the procedure. Make sure to use this, but don’t rinse too vigorously. Also, make sure to maintain a diet that won’t irritate the site — mostly soft foods for the first week or two.

It’s essential to see your dentist for follow up appointments. He can make sure everything is healing properly and there are no complications following your surgery. This is true for patients who have diabetes and patients who do not!



The good news is that your diabetes should not get in the way of a successful dental implant.  You may have to pay more attention to aftercare, but your chances of a successful implant are very high.

Please contact us at Watkin Dental Associates for more information. We would love to discuss your needs and how we can help. We pride ourselves on our gentle dentistry and successful procedures.

How to Find a Dentist Near Me for Dental Implants

Dental implant specialists standing in dental office with arms crossed smilingDental implants can do wonders for your mouth if you need to replace a lost or damaged tooth. Dental implants mimic your natural tooth, and they allow you to eat without restrictions or worry that they’ll slip out of place. They will keep the integrity of your jawline. Sometimes the hardest part of the whole dental implant process for some people is finding the right dental professional to complete your procedure.


What Should You Look for in a Dental Implant Specialist?

Because dental implants are more invasive than some other routine dental work, not all family dentists perform the procedure. Check with your dentist first, and if he doesn’t do the procedure, he may be able to recommend a reliable dentist who does. If you’re on your own looking for a professional, here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Of course, you probably want to find a dental practice in your vicinity, especially because you will likely make a few trips there. Ask your friends or colleagues if they have had this procedure done and how it went. Sometimes word of mouth from a trusted source is the best way to find someone.
  • Once you find a dentist that performs dental implant procedures, make sure he or she is qualified. Check his or her education, experience and skill level. Make sure they have expertise in dental implant surgery—ask how many times they’ve performed the procedure and request patient testimonials, if available.
  • Meet with the professional beforehand, whether through a chat by phone or a consultative appointment, and beyond the questions about training and education, ask about the procedure, the anesthesia, cost, follow up, emergency care and the length of time it will take. You may also want to ask about materials used and request before and after pictures of their patients.
  • After your consultation, ask yourself a few questions, too.
    • Did you leave with a positive vibe from the office?
    • Were you treated with respect and welcomed by staff?
    • Were the recommendations you received along the lines of what you expected?
    • Do you feel comfortable working with this professional?

Brick business building with glass front

Remember, you’re a good candidate for dental implants if you meet the following criteria:

  1. Your jawbone is healthy and has reached full growth;
  2. You have one or more missing teeth;
  3. You are willing to commit to the process;
  4. You are in good overall and oral health.

Finding the right dental professional to perform your dental implant procedure is a process. But after all is said and done, you’ll be happy. Your mouth and smile will be beautiful for a long time to come.

If you are looking for a gentle family dentistry practice with expertise in performing successful dental implant procedures, call us at Watkin Dental Associates.

Dental Implants: A Step-By-Step Guide For Nervous Patients

dentistsAccording to an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry survey, over half of U.S. adults over the age of 50 agree that a smile is the main feature that remains the most attractive as people age. When someone has a poor smile or missing teeth, they can experience social anxiety or lowered self-esteem. Fortunately, today’s dentists have the ability to help those who are not happy with their smile. One of the most common ways a smile can be improved is by replacing missing or damaged teeth with dental implants. This article is going to provide an overview of the dental implant process.

To start the implant process, a family dentist will evaluate the patient’s current dental situation. This initial evaluation will allow them to determine if the patient is a good candidate for dental implants. During this consultation, the dentist will provide a detailed surgical guide for the patient and will answer any questions or concerns they have regarding the process.

When the decision to get dental implants is made, the next step is removing the current tooth. In the event the patient has a damaged or diseased tooth, this tooth must be extracted before the new tooth can be put in. After the extraction, the area must be given proper time to heal. The extent of the extraction will depend on the individual situation, but generally, it’s a fairly simple procedure.

After the extraction site has healed, it’s time to insert the implant. In order for an implant to be successful, the patient must have strong jaw bone and healthy gums surrounding the implant site. To actually insert the implant, the patient’s gums are cut open to expose the jawbone. Then, the implant is screwed into the jaw bone and the gums are stitched together over the implant. Again, there is a healing process after this surgical procedure.

Once the surgical area is healed, it’s time to attach the crown to the implant. This crown will serve as the patient’s new tooth. This part of the process is less invasive than the initial surgeries. Some dentists place the crown at the same time as the implant, but it’s up to the individual dentists to determine what the best option is for the individual patient.

The process of getting dental implants is not quick. With the extraction site needing to heal between each part of the procedure, patients usually spend months going through the dental implant process. However, the patient’s overall dental health, the number of teeth that are being replaced, and necessary extraction are all factors that impact the length of the dental implant process.

While the process may seem long, it has a huge payoff. Dental implants can relieve discomfort from damaged or diseased teeth and provide a boost in confidence. If you’re missing teeth or are experiencing discomfort from damaged teeth, talk to your dentist to see if you’d be a good candidate for dental implants.