Teeth Whitening | Veneers | Crowns & Bridges | Dental Implants |
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.
There are a number of different ways to whiten your teeth. Our goal is to meet the needs of every patient, and every patient’s needs are different.
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 and permanently 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 permanent covering that fits over an original tooth that is either decayed, damaged or cracked. Generally the dentist will recommend a crown when the damaged area is too large to be repaired by a simple filling. Certain teeth such as molars and premolars that have had root canals performed on them also require crowns once the root canal has been finished. Placing a filling in a tooth that actually needs a crown will frequently lead to the tooth fracturing or splitting. This often results in the need to extract the broken tooth. 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 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.
- Making a temporary crown out of acrylic resin and fitting it onto the tooth during the interim period when the permanent custom-made crown is being created by a lab.
- Applying the permanent crown (when received from the lab) by removing the temporary crown and fitting the permanent 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 2 visits over a two to three 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. Most crowns last an average of 15-20 years. However, given proper care, some crowns can last a lifetime.
If you are missing any teeth you may be able to replace the teeth with a bridge. A bridge consists of several crowns that are attached together. You can replace one or several missing teeth with a bridge. The bridge is attached to the teeth that are adjacent to the space that is missing a tooth or teeth. Generally, you need a good solid tooth on either side of the space to create a bridge. A cantilever bridge can sometimes be used when you have no tooth on the back side of a space but two good teeth on the other side. In cases were several teeth are missing you may need to involve more than two good teeth in the bridge to assure that it has adequate strength and support. The procedure for a bridge is the same as the procedure listed above for a crown except that it involves more than one tooth. Once completed, the bridge is cemented in place. It is not removable by the patient.
If you are missing too many teeth or have large spaces that do not have teeth on both sides of them, you may still be a candidate for an implant bridge.
Leaving spaces where teeth have been extracted can, over the long term, contribute to the following problems:
- The shifting of the remaining teeth
- The fracture of remaining teeth due to biting forces being spread out over fewer teeth
- The loosening of the remaining teeth
- TMJ and other jaw problems
- Occlusion problems
- Gaps opening between the front teeth
There are three main types of bridges, namely:
- Fixed bridge- this 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 can be used to replace missing lower front teeth and consists of a filler tooth that is attached to metal bands that are bonded to the backs of the abutment teeth. These are rarely done because they can frequently come off.
- 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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Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements that were first developed half a century ago by a Swedish scientist named Per-Ingvar Branemark.
The root implant, by far the most popular, is the most effective because it mirrors the size and shape of a patient’s natural tooth. The implant or artificial root is placed into the jawbone under local anesthesia, then allowed to heal and integrate with the bone. Once the healing process is completed and the bone has grown in around the implant, the patient returns to the dental office where the implant is fitted with the new tooth in the form of a crown or bridge.
On an x-ray, the implant appears as a screw shaped cylinder, about the size of a natural tooth root. The placement procedure is not painful and is fairly quick. You do not need to be sedated or put to sleep for this procedure. Local anesthesia is completely adequate for the placement of the implant. Once the numbness wears off there will be minimal discomfort and there is generally no need for anything stronger than over the counter pain medicines like Ibuprofen, Naproxen or Tylenol. The inner portion of bones do not contain sensory nerve endings so you will not be able to feel the implant in your bone.
While the implant looks like a screw, it is actually a hollow cylinder. During the healing process a flat healing cap is fitted onto the top of the implant to prevent food from going down into it. The healing cap sits flat along your gumline. You will have only a couples millimeters of the implant sitting above the gumline in the form of the healing cap.
Once healing is complete you will return to your dentist and he will remove the healing cap. An abutment that acts like a tooth is then fitted into the inner portion of the implant. An impression is then taken of the abutment and sent to a lab. The lab then creates a crown or bridge that is attached to the abutment. This entire fitting process is quick, painless and requires no anesthesia. In fact, most people that have had an implant placed to replace a tooth, or several teeth, say the process is much easier and less painful than having a regular crown or bridge performed since you are not having your own tooth drilled on.
Implants can be used to replace single or multiple teeth. Long span bridges can also be placed on implants, as well as dentures. Your dentist can discuss your options with you.
Post Implant Care
You cannot get a cavity on an implant but it is still important to brush and floss around your implant(s) like you would your regular teeth to prevent gum inflammation. Patients are advised to visit their dentists at least twice a year to ensure the health of their teeth and implants. Dental implants can last for decades and even for the rest of your life when given proper care.
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Bonding is a common solution for:
- Fixing or repairing chipped or cracked teeth
- Reducing unsightly gaps or spaces between the front teeth
- Hiding discoloration or faded areas on the tooth’s surface
Often used to improve the appearance of your front teeth and enhance your smile. As the name indicates, tooth colored composite resin material, is bonded to an existing tooth. Unlike veneers or crowns, composite bonding removes little, if any, of the original tooth and is much less expensive than a crown or veneer. However, this type of restoration is not as durable and long lasting as a crown or veneer and will eventually have to be redone.
Composite bonding has many advantages:
- It is a quick process, which typically takes less than one hour.
- It does not reduce the tooth’s original structure and is relatively inexpensive.
- Composite resins come in many different shades to match the natural color of your teeth.
Composite bondings can accumulate stain more easily and therefore require proper attention to 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 and certain foods.
White Tooth Colored Fillings
Our dentists only use white tooth colored filling material. In fact, we have not performed any silver amalgam metal fillings in this office since 1998. A recent poll showed that only about 45% of dentists still offer amalgam fillings as an option. This number has been going down for many years.
There are a number of advantages to white fillings. In most cases less drilling on your tooth is required to place a white filling. This conserves tooth structure and reduces the risk of tooth fracture in the future. The result is a smaller filling and less removal of healthy tooth structure.
White fillings actually bond to your tooth and strengthen the remaining tooth structure. This also reduces the risk of the tooth fracturing in the future.
These type of fillings are made of a composite resin material that comes in many shades. This means that in most cases the dentist can place a filling that matches your existing tooth shade. Your filling will be invisible to other people, unlike the old silver fillings that often turn black over time.
Silver amalgam filling materials contain mercury. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin. Extremely old amalgam fillings have actually been shown to emit small amounts of mercury vapor once they start breaking down. If you have ever heard the phrase “Mad as a Hatter” you are aware of the effects of too much mercury. Back in the day, hatters used to line the inside of hats with mercury. They would rub the mercury into the hats with their bare hands. Since mercury is absorbed directly through skin it would accumulate in their bodies eventually causing them to go mad after many years handling mercury. Luckily, only small amounts of mercury are ever released from your metal fillings and no studies, to date, have shown a link between metal fillings and any health problem. There is no need to rush to your dentist to have all of your metal fillings replaced. Your dentist will notify you when it is necessary to replace a broken down metal filling. Rest assured, your new, white composite resin filling contains no neurotoxins.
Finally, in many situations, white fillings reduce the chances that you will one day need a crown on your tooth when compared to the comparable silver amalgam filling. The opposite can be said of silver amalgams.
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