How often have you heard "You have a beautiful smile"?
all dentistry falls into one of two groups:
- Functional Dentistry
- Cosmetic Dentistry
Functional Dentistry would include procedures to eliminate toothaches, restore chewing and speaking. Cosmetic dentistry's goal is to improve the appearance of your smile. A person's personality is reflected in their smile. It is one of the major aspects of our appearance that identifies us to other people. It is also true that we are often judges by the appearance of our teeth.
Cosmetic dentistry's goal is to increase self-confidence by building a beautiful smile. The tools of cosmetic dentistry include photographs of the existing smile to make evaluations, bleaching, composite bonding to restore parts of teeth or correct decay, porcelain veneers and crowns to reshape and rebuild individual teeth, implants to replace missing teeth, and orthodontics to straighten crooked teeth.
Using photographs the dentist can check the symmetry, shape, color and position of the teeth based on our current understanding of aesthetics. Bleaching (using carbamoyl peroxide gel on the surface of the teeth) has been one of the biggest smile enhancers in decades.
Composite is the white filling material used to fill cavities, and shape teeth. Different composites have been developed that can be used to fill cavities in both the front and back teeth. They are a combination of ceramic particles in an organic matrix. The material is placed in the teeth and a high intensity light is used to harden the material.
Porcelain must be fired in a furnace and therefore requires additional steps. Porcelain technology has advanced to the point that the finished veneers, crowns or inlays are life like and strong. Implants have been around for almost two decades in the United States and have added significantly to cosmetic dentistry.
Replacing a missing tooth with an implant is a conservative aesthetic procedure. The same technology to fabricate porcelain crowns is then used to make the final tooth on the implant. Cosmetic dentistry has many facets, however the goal remains the same....to build a beautiful smile.
Veneers or Crowns restore worn teeth.
Teeth are made of dentin with a hard coating of enamel. As many people age, the enamel coating on the edges of their front teeth wears off, exposing the dentin. Until the dentin is exposed the teeth usually wear slowly and evenly, but once exposed the edges of the teeth usually chip and wear is accelerated.
To regain a beautiful smile, I would first suggest tooth whitening because white teeth look clean and healthy. Depending on the extent of the wear, it may be possible to rebuild the teeth using composite bonding.
Composite restorative material can be applied to the edges and sides of the teeth to restore length and fill in the gaps between the teeth. Composite can only be used if there is adequate space between the upper and lower front teeth.
Restoring the front teeth with composite is the most cost effective and quick way to change your smile. In most cases the material will last for a few years before wearing or chipping off. The disadvantage of composite is that it can dull over time and cannot be used if your dentist finds inadequate space.
If there is inadequate space, or if you are looking for a more permanent material, porcelain veneers or crowns may be your best choice. Porcelain is stronger, more aesthetically pleasing than composite and allows the dentist more flexibility in cases of inadequate space.
The difference between porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns is the amount of tooth structure that must be removed prior to taking the impression. Both veneers and crowns are made of porcelain by a dental lab and then cemented or bonded onto the teeth at a later date. Using porcelain will require at least four to six weeks of additional lab time to complete the work.
Advances in porcelain technology have developed very thin, strong veneers that can be applied to the teeth, often without removing any tooth structure. In cases of extensive wear, it is often necessary to reduce the tooth and fabricate a crown instead of a veneer.
Veneers applied to upper teeth can make them appear brighter, larger or more youthful. technology now allows the fabrication of porcelain veneers that often do not require prior drilling of the natural tooth. Since the introduction of prep-less veneers, there have been multiple dental labs that have trademarked their brand of veneers. Our office has chosen to use DuraThin Veneers because their precision and quality control in fabrication. Durathin Veneers are very thin porcelain veneers designed to adhere directly to the front of the teeth without removing any enamel. This means that for some people, we can design the smile of their dream without even drilling on their natural teeth.
Teeth Whitening | Veneers | Crowns and Bridges | Dental Implants | Composite Bonding
Your teeth will darken over time. Changes in the color of your teeth can be caused by such factors as the food and beverages consumed (like coffee, tea and soda). Other known factors for discoloration may include childhood medications or illnesses, tobacco use or improper oral hygiene. Restoring your natural white smile is a priority for our dental whitening team. We can provide a variety of options for whitening your smile.
Tooth whitening services are growing in popularity, and it’s one of the most requested services offered by our practice. Everyone sees the growing consumer market focused on whiter teeth. The reality is that over-the-counter, “too good to be true” solutions typically don’t work.
We are trained professionals using industry-approved methods. Our goal is to meet the needs of every patient, and every patient’s needs are different. One of the methods used by our practice is a gentle hydrogen-peroxide gel-activated solution. Our process will whiten your entire smile in one visit. Call us today for a whitening evaluation.
Nothing improves your appearance more than a bright, white smile!
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Veneers are thin, semi-translucent “shells” typically attached to your front teeth. Veneers are customized from porcelain material that is bonded to your teeth. Veneers are a great alternative to otherwise painful dental procedures to improve the appearance of your smile.
Common problems that veneers are used for:
- Spaces between the teeth
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Unsightly, stained or discolored teeth
- Permanently stained or discolored teeth
- Crooked or misshapen teeth
Veneers are a great aesthetic solution to your smile that may even help you avoid orthodontic treatment. Subtle changes to your smile can be achieved with veneers, and in most cases, veneer application is completed in only two office visits.
Please contact our office if you have any further questions on veneers.
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Crowns and Bridges
A crown is a custom-made covering that fits over an original tooth that is either decayed, damaged or cracked. Crowns are made of a variety of different materials such as porcelain, gold, acrylic resin or a mix of these materials. Porcelain generally has the most natural appearance, although it is often less durable.
The treatment plan for a patient receiving a crown involves:
- Numbing the tooth to remove the decay in or around it.
- Re-sculpturing the tooth to provide an ideal fit for the crown.
- Making an impression of your teeth in order to create a custom-made crown (usually takes one to two weeks).
- Making a temporary crown out of acrylic resin and fitting it onto the tooth during the interim period when the custom-made crown is being created.
- Applying the custom-made crown (when received from the lab) by removing the temporary crown and fitting the custom-made one onto the tooth.
- After ensuring that the crown has the proper look and fit, the dentist cements it into place.
This process generally consists of a minimum of two to three visits over a three to four week period. Once the procedure is completed, proper dental hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, is required to maintain healthy, bacteria-free teeth, gums and crowns. This helps in the prevention of gum disease. Given proper care, your crowns can last a lifetime.
A bridge is a dental device that fills a space that a tooth previously occupied. A bridge may be necessary to prevent:
- Shifting of the teeth that can lead to bite problems (occlusion) and/or jaw problems and resultant periodontal disease.
- Bridges safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.
There are three main types of bridges, namely:
- A fixed bridge is the most popular and consists of a filler tooth that is attached to two crowns, which fit over the existing teeth and hold the bridge in place.
- The “Maryland” bridge is commonly used to replace missing front teeth and consists of a filler that is attached to metal bands that are bonded to the abutment teeth. The metal bands consist of a white-colored composite resin that matches existing tooth color.
- The cantilever bridge is often used when there are teeth on only one side of the span. A typical three-unit cantilever bridge consists of two crowned teeth positioned next to each other on the same side of the missing tooth space. The filler tooth is then connected to the two crowned teeth, which extend into the missing tooth space or end.
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Bonding is a common solution for:
- Fixing or repairing chipped or cracked teeth
- Reducing unsightly gaps or spaces between teeth
- Hiding discoloration or faded areas on the tooth’s surface
Often, composite boding is used to improve the appearance of your teeth and enhance your smile. As the name indicates, composite material, either a plastic or resin, is bonded to an existing tooth. Unlike veneers or crowns, composite bonding removes little, if any, of the original tooth.
Composite bonding has many advantages:
- It is a quick process, which typically lasts less than one hour.
- It does not reduce the tooth’s original structure and is relatively inexpensive.
- Composite resins come in many different shades and provide better matching of shades to the natural color of your teeth.
- Composite bonds, however, are not as durable and long-lasting as veneers and crowns and may need to be re-touched or replaced in the future.
Composite bonds stain more easily and therefore require proper care and regular cleaning. In order to ensure the longest possible duration of the bonding, composites should be brushed and flossed daily. Common staining elements include coffee, tea, tobacco, foods and candy.
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