Cosmetic Dentistry Blog of Dr Sussman & Pogal

Our Rochester office provides smiles to Rochester, Webster, Greece, Fairport & Nearby Areas of New York

May 27, 2020
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A young woman in a blue shirt holds her hands to her jaw joints because of TMJ pain

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is fairly common among American adults. When most people think of TMJ, they think of a clicking jaw. This is perhaps the most recognizable symptom, but there are others:

  • Headaches
  • Facial soreness
  • Jaw soreness
  • Jaw joint pain
  • Inner ear pain/earache
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Painful chewing
  • Limitation of chewing and limited opening/closing of your jaw
  • Jaw locks in open or closed position
  • Dizziness
  • Jaw crackling/crunching noises
  • Jaw and/or facial muscle spasms

You may experience one of these symptoms or a combination. There could be other signs or symptoms you believe are connected to TMJ disorder. The first step is to get the right diagnosis, so you can get matched to an effective treatment. TMJ disorders are related to the way your jaws meet, and how your bite affects the functioning of your jaw joint.

How is TMJ treated?

The right treatment for you will depend on the cause of the symptoms. If your TMJ disorder originates from clenching and grinding your teeth at night, a custom mouth guard worn over your teeth can prevent those things from happening. If TMJ symptoms are caused by a misaligned bite, then full mouth reconstruction or orthodontics might be a smart approach. Our dentists sometimes use a TENS device to deliver gentle electrical stimulation to tense, over-worked jaw muscles. This treatment provides a relaxing, soothing effect.

With years of experience to guide them, our neuromuscular dentists make sure you get the relief you need and deserve. TMJ symptoms can be much more than inconvenient; these symptoms can interfere with your quality of life. Constant or near-constant pain and clicking can take an emotional toll. Modern dentistry offers solutions to restore your comfort and a well-functioning bite.

Find Out If You Have TMJ

The dentists at our Rochester practice want to help you find relief from troublesome dental symptoms. If you are ready to get to the bottom of your symptoms, please call us at 585-227-4390 to arrange a consultation. Our patients visit us from across our region of New York, including Greece, Fairport and Webster.

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April 09, 2020
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Two childhood siblings smiling and holding toothbrushes with toothpaste up to their mouths

Your at-home dental habits are the bedrock of good oral health. The teeth cleanings and checkups with our dentists are the maintenance that supports your at-home care and catches signs of oral health problems. Below, we look at ways you can keep your teeth in tip-top shape with homecare.

Dental Hygiene Tips That May Surprise You

Perhaps you feel you’ve mastered the basics. Have you considered the following tips?

  • Rinse first, then brush, after eating: Tooth enamel is actually quite sensitive in the first 30 minutes after eating. That’s because acid is produced naturally as you eat. This acid softens enamel, leaving it more vulnerable to decay processes and more vulnerable to the abrasion of toothbrush bristles. Rinse with plain water after eating to get food debris off your teeth. Then brush at least 30 minutes later, once the enamel has re-mineralized.
  • Use feather-light pressure when you brush: Some people believe you must be forceful when brushing your teeth; this is not so! Soft pressure across the upper and lower teeth for a total of two minutes is all that is needed to disrupt the sticky film of plaque that is constantly forming on teeth.
  • Gum can do a good job, in a pinch: Sometimes you don’t have a toothbrush handy after a meal. Sugarless gum with the ADA stamp of approval can help to prevent tooth decay between brushings. As you chew gum, your salivary glands produce saliva, which helps to carry food debris and sugars away from your teeth enamel. Food debris will also stick to the gum itself, instead of your teeth.

And don’t forget the essentials: Brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes each session. Flossing once every day is also necessary. Flossing disrupts the plaque in between your teeth, where cavities also form.

Individualized Answers to Achieving Your Best Oral Health

Our experienced cosmetic and general dentists in Rochester, NY, are 100 percent committed to helping each patient achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. For us, great dental health and beautiful smile aesthetics go hand-in-hand. If you have any questions about dental care, please call the practice of Dr. Meredith Pogal and Dr. Paul Sussman at 585-227-4390.

February 27, 2020
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Cosmetic dentistry is considered “elective” in nature, meaning it’s something you don’t have to do for your dental health. At our Rochester dental practice, we know that even though a cosmetic problem may not impact your oral health, treating it is nonetheless important to mental and emotional wellness. Therefore, it could be incredibly valuable and downright non-elective to you!

As experienced cosmetic dentists, we are here to help you plan your smile enhancement. We believe healthy and beautiful teeth go hand-in-hand, and we provide custom recommendations for your smile. To arrange a consultation, please call the practice of Dr. Meredith Pogal and Dr. Paul Sussman at 585-227-4390.

Value Comes from Treating the Dental Problems that Bother You the Most

Before and after image showing a young man's rejuvenated smile after cosmetic dentistry in RochesterThere are many high-quality cosmetic dental options that provide a good return on investment. The most valuable are those high-quality options that will address the area you want to fix, such as:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Stained teeth
  • Cracked teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Worn teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Teeth that are too short or too small

There may be other issues that concern you. We’re here to listen first, and only then will we be able to make customized suggestions for correcting your cosmetic dental problems.

Is the Cost Worth It?

When talking about value, many patients are wondering if the cost of a cosmetic dental treatment is worth it. Of course only you can answer that question, but we’re happy to help you weigh the various options and consider the factors that may influence whether the cost is worth it, such as:

  • Longevity: How long the particular cosmetic dental results will last
  • Quality: Will the results stand up to chewing, biting and everyday wear?
  • How the results make you feel: If your goal is to feel more confident sharing your smile, does the treatment address the specific problem that is bothering you?

Most of our patients are thrilled with their results. Although it involves an upfront cost, the results can last for many years, continuing to reward you long after your initial investment.

We know that cost is a real factor when choosing these types of options. We do offer payment options, including the following financing:

Cosmetic dentistry has the ability to influence many areas of your life, from your social interactions and professional interactions to your own feelings about your appearance. It can have a really positive effect, which we’ve witnessed first-hand. Our cosmetic dentists are passionate about renewing someone’s confidence by rejuvenating their smile. They have been featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover, giving Amy a glamorous smile that she no longer had to hide. They’ve also donated their services to Give Back A Smile, which is a program linking experienced cosmetic dentists with people whose smiles have been damaged because of domestic violence and sexual assault.

We want each person who wishes for cosmetic dentistry to be able to access it. We hope that the financing options above may be a good starting point for considering how you can receive the rejuvenation you deserve.

Schedule a Consultation with Experienced Cosmetic Dentists in Rochester

If you are searching for a cosmetic dentist in or nearby Rochester, Greece, Fairport or Webster, NY, please learn more about our dentists by calling the practice of Dr. Meredith Pogal and Dr. Paul Sussman at 585-227-4390.

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January 28, 2020
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The foods and beverages you consume not only affect your overall health, but your dental health as well. If you experience tooth sensitivity or yellowing, or if you seem to develop cavities frequently, what you eat and drink may be to blame.

An experienced dentist will help you narrow down the possible causes of dental symptoms. We can make recommendations about which foods to avoid. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are an important way to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Dr. Paul Sussman - Center for Cosmetic Dentistry in Rochester, New YorkWe asked our own dentists and others from across the country to name some of the main culprits when it comes to food that is risky for your dental health.


"Spaghetti and meatballs with light, fresh pasta sauce made from tomatoes could actually contribute to bad breath and cavities. Tomatoes are acidic, and acids can build up in the mouth and can foster the growth of bacteria. Short-term, these bacteria can result in bad breath. They can also increase the risk of cavities long-term without proper dental hygiene.

"One of the best ways to prevent bad breath and decay, is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water rinses out the mouth and keeps bacteria from the foods we eat under control. So, when you're having your next pasta with red sauce, keep a glass of water handy to sip during dinner, and don't skimp on the refills afterward."

Dr. Paul Sussman
General & Family Dentist in Rochester, New York
Center for Cosmetic Dentistry


Dr. Nathan Tenney, Dentist at Desert Smiles in Glendale, Arizona"Sugar: We’ve heard since we were kids that sugar will rot your teeth. The bacteria in our mouths metabolize sugar as their fuel source. This produces an acid byproduct that breaks down teeth. Just like in kids, it can happen in adults. If you are enjoying a decadent dessert, sip water afterwards to help dilute the acid. The sooner you can brush your teeth after a meal, the better.

"Acidic foods like lemons and tomatoes: Acid melts away tooth structure. A dentist almost always knows when a patient loves lemons because you can visibly see the effects on the teeth. After eating acidic foods, drink water to help cleanse the mouth.

"Hard foods: Nuts, seeds, shells, olive pits, chewing ice etc can break or chip teeth. Most patients admit they had a feeling they shouldn’t be eating 'xyz' right before they broke their tooth. Excessively hard food can break the teeth which could result in needing crowns or fillings to restore dental health.

"The most important thing is everything in moderation. I’m not the kind of dentist that hands out toothbrushes at Halloween, but I do believe daily habits can contribute to or hinder oral health. Taking time to dilute sugary and acidic foods with a drink of water is a simple way to take care of your teeth."

Dr. Nathan Tenney
Dentist in Glendale, Arizona
Desert Smiles


Dr. Elisa Mello, dentist at NYC Smile Design"The biggest culprits are sugar, acids and length of contact time these are on your teeth.

  • Apples: surprisingly high in acid, which can erode your enamel and expose the underlying softer dentin, leading to teeth decay. Drinking or rinsing with water after eating an apple rinses off the acid.
  • Hard candy: hard structure can chip or fracture your enamel, tooth structure or restorations. The sugar in them can contribute to dental decay
  • Ice: while not exactly a food, many people consider it a healthy snack. But, like hard candy, it can chip or fracture your teeth, tooth structure or restorations.
  • Citrus foods/drinks: they are acidic, and the acid in them can erode your enamel which will expose the softer inner part of your tooth called dentin. Your teeth will then be more susceptible to decay and sensitivity.
  • Coffee and coffee beverages: These can stain your teeth and the sugar we add to them can lead to decay. Caffeine can also dry out your mouth, which can be uncomfortable.
  • Pickled vegetables: made with acidic vinegar and often sugar.
  • Sticky foods: dried fruits are considered by many to be a healthy snack, but their sticky consistency causes them to adhere to the tips and in between your teeth longer than crunchy food that is thoroughly chewed and then swallowed or smoother foods. Other foods that do this are starchy foods like bread, rice, potato chips and nachos. Peanut butter (which also often has sugar added to it) and jelly and jams fall into this category as well. They also act like a glue for bacteria. Since they are trapped on your teeth longer and break down into sugars, these can potentially damage your enamel, causing tooth decay and even periodontal (gum) problems due to plaque buildup.
  • Popcorn: this is a double whammy. It’s a sticky food with hidden hard kernels you can inadvertently bite down on and chip, fracture or break your tooth or restorations.
  • Seltzer water: is all the rage now! However, acidity from the citric and phosphoric acid used to create the bubbles can erode enamel as discussed above with acidic foods.
  • Soda/sports drinks: are usually sipped. Those containing sugar, then, are bathing your teeth in acidic water and sugar for a long period of time. This can really cause severe breakdowns in your enamel. Regular soda and diet sodas are still acidic, as they are made from seltzer water and can cause damage even if they do not contain sugar. The caffeine in colas can also dry out your mouth.
  • Alcohol drinks: dry out your mouth and can cause salivary flow reduction. Over time this can lead to dental decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Long-term heavy alcohol use will also increase your risk for oral cancer.
  • Salad dressing: uses acidic vinegar and sugar to flavor it."

Dr. Elisa Mello
Dentist in New York City
NYC Smile Design


During your routine exam, your dentist looks for early signs of problems, helping you address those issues before they worsen. To learn more about the experienced dentists at our Rochester practice, please call our team at 585-227-4390.

December 11, 2019
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Middle aged man holding his hand up to his TMJ joint and wincing in painWhile the mildest of jaw pain that occurs once in a blue moon may not be a cause for concern, most people suffering from TMJ disorders can benefit from treatment. The key is to find a dentist who treats the root cause of the disorder. At the practice of Dr. Paul Sussman and Dr. Meredith Pogal, we offer several ways to relieve TMJ symptoms. Our experienced dentists will find the right combination for you.

Getting Tailored Treatment for Your Symptoms

For the most part, no, TMJ symptoms will not go away on their own – not completely, anyway. It's normal for the symptoms to increase and decrease over time, going away for a while before returning. But most likely they will never go away for good without treatment. That's because TMJ disorders have certain causes. If the cause is unaddressed, it stands to reason that the symptoms will be unaddressed as well.

For teeth grinding while you sleep: A customized mouthguard relieves tension and pressure that may be causing your symptoms. Often worn while the person sleeps, the mouthguard prevents TMJ fatigue caused by teeth clenching and grinding.

For a misaligned lower jaw: A customized orthotic device looks like a mouthguard, but it's designed to move the lower jaw into an aligned position with the upper jaw. Sometimes it is bite misalignment that causes an unbalanced or damaging TMJ position.

For uneven, worn or misshapen teeth: Damaged, crooked or misshapen teeth may be causing bite misalignment. If that is the case, our dentists will utilize various dental restorations and treatments to create a balanced bite. Examples include fillings, crowns, orthodontics, dental implants and dentures.

For excessive muscular tension in the face: TENS therapy delivers a gentle electrical current through the skin, down to the tense muscles in your face. It is this muscular tension that may be causing your symptoms. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and it's completely safe and painless. The electrical current stimulates the nerves and relaxes the muscles.

A group of people holding their hands up to their jaws because they have TMJ pain

Preventive Measures

Stress can aggravate TMJ symptoms. You may clench your jaw, grind your teeth or otherwise exert your facial muscles when you feel stressed. This can happen when you're stuck in traffic, trying to make a deadline at work, getting into an emotional argument or feeling stressed for some other reason.

When TMJ pain is caused by stress, you may be able to perform self-care that will temporarily relieve your symptoms:

  • Practice stress reduction
  • Exercise regularly, which will help with stress reduction
  • Use a cold compress when the jaw feels sore or pained
  • Stop using chewing gum if the chewing seems connected to TMJ pain

These things can temporarily relieve TMJ symptoms, to some degree. If the cause of the symptoms goes beyond stress alone, then you may need to talk to our dentists about one of our professional dental treatments.

Discover Your Treatment Options

To arrange a TMJ treatment consultation with our experienced dentists in Rochester, New York, please call the practice of Dr. Meredith Pogal and Dr. Paul Sussman at 585-227-4390. During a consultation and evaluation, they will determine your diagnosis and help you decide if one of these treatments is right for you.

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November 14, 2019
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Sleep apnea is a condition in which the body's natural breathing mechanisms are interrupted during sleep. This causes people who suffer from sleep apnea to awake numerous times during the night, which leads to chronic sleep deprivation as well as greater and even more problematic health problems.

Many Rochester-area residents may be among the roughly 20 million Americans who suffer from sleep apnea,and may choose to treat the condition by wearing a type of ventilator while they sleep known as a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, CPAP.

But the CPAP is not comfortable or feasible for all sleep apnea suffers. That's why our dentists feel strongly about educating the public regarding sleep apnea signs to watch for as well as the availability of alternative sleep apnea treatments.

How Do You Know if You Suffer From Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea causes daytime fatigue for this Rochester NY professionalBefore considering the breadth of sleep apnea symptoms, it's important to understand the different ways in which this condition may manifest.

Sleep apnea sufferers generally experience one of the following three varieties of the condition:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the throat muscles relax so excessively that they partially or completely block the airway. This is the most common diagnosis among the three types of sleep apnea.
  • Central sleep apnea means the victim's brain fails to effectively communicate with the throat and craniofacial muscles; impaired breathing is the result.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome is a mixture of both types.

There also are conditions that may signal the emergence of sleep apnea. These other common sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Loud, consistent snoring
  • Frequently awaking during the night
  • Waking to the feeling of breathlessness, and the sensation that air is stuck in one’s throat
  • Chronic dry mouth
  • Frequent headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic sleepiness during waking hours
  • Attention deficient
  • Marked moodiness or irritability

These symptoms alone can make life difficult. Even more disturbing is the fact that sleep apnea, when left untreated, can contribute to the emergence of such life-threatening afflictions as heart disease and diabetes.

How Do Our Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea?

Cosmetic and restorative dentists are uniquely suited to help treat sleep apnea because the condition involves the craniofacial muscles and systems with which these doctors are so familiar. Not only can our dentists help diagnose sleep apnea, they also can help patients secure and become accustomed to a tailor-made dental appliance that facilitates breathing and subsequently enables the restorative rest that sleep apnea sufferers so desperately require.

The MicrO2® dental appliance is custom-fitted for you and manages to position the jaw in such a way that establishes an open, clear airway during sleep. Our dentists prefer the MicrO2® because this device is customized for each patient, and because wearers report that it is both comfortable and easy to wear.

If you live in or around Rochester, Webster, Greece or Fairport and are ready to talk with an experienced dentist about whether our unique sleep apnea treatment might be right for you, please dial 585-227-4390 to schedule your appointment with the experienced dentists at the Center for Cosmetic & General Dentistry.

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August 14, 2019
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Dental implants are a top choice when it comes to replacing missing teeth. The experienced dentists at our Rochester, NY practice can help you decide if they're right for you.

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July 15, 2019
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Reality vs. Myth typed on paper with the word "Myth" circled by a red pencilAre you attempting to make an informed decision about dental implants? If you are, we applaud you! There are many options out there for replacing missing teeth, and we believe it's important to do your homework. After all, it's your smile and your dental health, and you deserve results you are satisfied with in all of the years ahead. Dental implants have the potential to last decades, even a lifetime, so it's a good idea to make sure they are a good match for your expectations.

MYTH: Dental implants are really expensive.

The real story: It's true that the up-front price of dental implants tends to be more expensive than the upfront price of dentures or dental bridges. When comparing costs, it's helpful to also compare longevity, durability, appearance and quality. With proper dental hygiene, dental implants are likely to last longer than a denture or bridge, so the cost of dental implants continues to pay dividends in the decades ahead. You may also have some coverage from your dental benefits, which we will help you determine. There is also financing available. Talk to our patient coordination team to determine if the cost of dental implants is worth it for you.

MYTH: Dental implants are a hassle to maintain.

The real story: Dental implants require the same great dental hygiene as your natural teeth. Brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist every 6 months is the extent of maintenance, unless there is a special circumstance or an issue with the implant that requires special care, but such situations are uncommon.

MYTH: A dental implant looks fake in your smile.

The real story: Dental implants are designed to look like natural teeth, and the design is quite successful. Under the supervision of our experienced dentists, the implant will be made to fit seamlessly into the color and appearance of your other teeth. No one will be able to see the dental implant in your smile.

MYTH: Dental implant surgery is painful.

The real story: It's true that any dental procedure involves pressure on the teeth. Because all the tissue is numbed, the procedure is not painful for our patients. Some patients are more nervous than others, and we'll do everything we can to make you feel more comfortable. Any post-surgical pain following surgery can be managed with medications, which we will advise you about beforehand.

MYTH: Dental implants require dietary restrictions.

The real story: Dental implants – once fully fused with the bone in which they are embedded – make it possible to continue to enjoy all of your favorite foods, even the crunchiest. Dental implants offer a stable, secure chewing surface because they are embedded within bone. It is true that you will need to stick to soft foods in the days following surgery, but we'll make sure you have complete instructions beforehand.

MYTH: Only an oral surgeon can determine if a dental implant is right for you.

The real story: A dentist with experience and training specific to dental implants can advise you about these restorations. It's important to choose a dentist who has been providing dental implants routinely, for years. Our dentists can determine whether implants will work for you, and foresee any challenges, risks or issues you should know about.

Your Consultation with Experienced Implant Dentists

At the Rochester, NY, practice of Dr. Paul Sussman and Dr. Meredith Pogal, we provide a complimentary consultation with one of our dentists! This way, you can meet us, get to know your options and decide if dental implants are right for you. We are proud to serve our region, including patients from Greece, Fairport and Webster. To arrange your appointment, please call our staff at 585-227-4390.

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June 19, 2019
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Do you think you may be suffering from a disorder related to the temporomandibular joints? Your jaw joints are involved in biting, chewing, speaking, smiling, and otherwise opening and closing your mouth. When they are strained, stressed, or when unbalanced pressure is exerted upon them, that's when you may notice some of these symptoms. Of course, the only way to know for sure is to consult our experienced dentists. We have been practicing in Rochester, New York, for many years, and our entire team wants you to love your smile and to enjoy a comfortable, healthy bite. To arrange a consultation to discuss TMJ treatment, please call us at 585-227-4390.

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May 23, 2019
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Calculating the cost of dental implantsComparing dentistry options usually involves comparing prices. If you are like most people, you probably want to find the absolute best way to replace your missing teeth, but are also looking for a budget-conscious option that fits with your expectations.

Implant dentistry provides an effective, aesthetically pleasing and optimally durable way to replace teeth. You may have heard that dental implants are expensive. The cost varies by patient. There's no way to provide you with a cost quote prior to an exam and consultation. For some people, though the upfront cost of dental implants may end up being higher than their quote for dentures, they love the long-term benefits of implants. In the long run, you may decide the cost is well-worth the value of these durable teeth replacements.

Determining Your Specific Cost

The exact cost is influenced by several factors, including:

  • How many dental implants are needed
  • The location where teeth are being replaced
  • Type of implant
  • Additional procedures to prepare the tissue for dental implants

At the time of your consultation, you'll meet with one of our experienced and friendly dentists, Dr. Paul Sussman or Dr. Meredith Pogal. After looking at your teeth and seeing which teeth need to be replaced, they will let you know if tooth implants, dentures or a dental bridge are options for you. We discuss the pros of each option so that you can decide. If you are interested in implants, we provide you with a cost estimate and discuss payment options. If you are interested in financing, you may qualify for a plan through CareCredit, Lending Club, iCare Financial or Wells Fargo Health Advantage.

Cost vs. Value

For many people, dental implants end up being the right choice because of the tremendous value they add:

  • Long-lasting. It's possible your dental implants will last a lifetime. With proper care and good dental hygiene, they should last for decades. Dentures and dental bridges typically require replacement, sometimes within several years to a decade. Therefore, consider that the upfront cost of dental implants will probably not be repeated. You'd have to pay to replace your dentures or dental bridge.
  • Highly durable. Once placed and completely healed, the dental implants are unlikely to break or move around in the bone. The implant fuses with the bone in which it is placed, so it is very durable. You'll be able to chew, bite, smile and speak with the confidence of a lifelike tooth replacement.
  • Jawbone benefits. Normally, the bone below the site of a missing tooth will begin to deteriorate. It needs the presence of a tooth root to sustain it. An implant literally replaces the missing root with a titanium post, so it will keep the bone there healthy.

As with any dentistry procedure, it's useful to consider the return on the investment. Weigh these benefits of dental implants as you consider their expense. As experienced implant dentists, Dr. Sussman and Dr. Pogal can help you weigh the advantages against the cost. They are fully committed to helping you choose a tooth replacement that you will be happy with for years to come, dental implants or otherwise.

Discuss Costs at Your Consultation

We want to tell you about all of the ways you can replace missing teeth. You deserve a healthy, bright and complete smile that you feel good about. To learn more about implant dentistry and teeth restoration, please call our practice in Rochester, NY, at 585-227-4390.

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