Porcelain Veneers Can Give You a Hollywood Smile

Porcelain Veneers Can Give You a Hollywood Smile

woman with porcelain veneersHave you ever looked at a celebrity smile & wished your smile could be equally perfect. Well, it’s no big secret among dentists that most Hollywood stars were not born with perfect teeth. For many celebrities, their Hollywood smiles are achieved with the help of cosmetic dentistry, particularly porcelain veneers.

Porcelain veneers are a great option if you want to improve the appearance of your smile efficiently & affordably. Compared to other cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as dental implants, crowns or even orthodontic braces, veneers are less invasive & often less expensive. Because veneers are less complex than these other options, they are also one of the easiest options for a smile makeover.

Veneers can be used to repair & beautify cracked or stained teeth, lengthen short teeth & fix gaps between teeth. Veneers are shells made of tooth-colored porcelain that fit over the front of your teeth. They are most commonly used on the front teeth of the upper jaw, which tend to show the most when someone smiles, laughs or speaks.

The entire veneers procedure usually involves several visits. The first visit usually involves a discussion with your dentist about the goals for the design of your new smile. At this visit the dentist may also take an impression (i.e. a mold) & x-rays of your teeth.

At the second appointment, the dentist will prepare your teeth for veneers. The dentist will remove a small amount of the enamel on the surface of each tooth that is going to be covered. This helps the veneers fit properly & securely, however it also means that the veneers procedure is irreversible. The resulting transformation of your smile is well worth it! In the meantime before your next appointment, the dentist may attach temporary veneers to protect your teeth & make them look better.

The veneers are then created by a dental lab technician, based on a model of your smile made from the mold. The color of porcelain veneers is carefully selected to look natural with your existing teeth, though of course they may be whiter in order to improve the appearance of your smile. Porcelain is a great material for veneers because it is durable & its texture is very similar to that of teeth, including how it absorbs & reflects light.

At your last appointment, the dentist will ensure your veneers are ready to fit your teeth, trimming them or making color adjustments as necessary. Veneers are affixed to your teeth using a special dental cement, the color of which can be adjusted to help make sure your veneers look natural. Once the veneer is in place over your tooth, the dentist uses a special light to harden the cement, so it bonds your veneer to your tooth very quickly.

You should care for veneers just as you would care for your natural teeth, by brushing, flossing & visiting the dentist regularly for teeth cleanings. Though porcelain is stain resistant, it’s still a good idea to avoid foods that could stain your teeth, such as coffee, tea, or red wine, as this will help make sure your natural teeth continue to match your veneers.

 

 

The Difference Between Cleanings, Deep Cleanings & Periodontal Maintenance

dentist ready to perform scaling and root planingThere is more than one type of dental procedure that may be casually referred to as a cleaning. For example, there is a regular cleaning & then there is what is referred to a deep cleaning. It’s important to understand that there is a big difference between these procedures & implications that each of these procedures have when it comes to your oral health.

Regular Cleaning or Prophylaxis

A regular teeth cleaning, which is called prophylaxis by dental professionals, is what most people think of when they think of going to the dentist for a checkup. Prophylaxis involves removing plaque, calculus & stains from teeth. (Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up on teeth as a byproduct of bacteria feasting on the food you eat. Calculus, also known as tartar, occurs when plaque & minerals in your mouth harden.) A dental hygienist or a dentist uses a specialized cleaning device, called an ultrasonic scaler, to remove plaque & calculus. This cleaning occurs only on the visible part of the tooth, known as a the crown.

Regular teeth cleaning is only recommended for patients who have generally good oral health & do not suffer from bone loss or gum problems (bleeding, recession, infection, etc.)

Scaling & Root Planing or Deep Cleanings

Root planing is a procedure that involves removing tartar, bacteria, toxic deposits from the root of a tooth, all the way down to where gum & bone meet. While it is sometimes casually referred to as a “deep cleaning”, you should know that this treatment is quite different from prophylaxis. This procedure is required as a treatment for periodontal disease or periodontitis (commonly called gum disease, though it also affects the bone).

Many people can have periodontal disease & not even know it. Symptoms of the disease include bleeding gums, bad breath, teeth that look longer due to recessed gums, & swollen or red gums. However, many people do not notice any symptoms at all. That’s why it may come as a surprise when your dentist recommends scaling & root planing instead of a regular cleaning. It’s important to understand that this procedure is vital to getting periodontal disease under control & avoid future tooth loss, though other procedures including surgery may be required to treat the disease.

Periodontal Maintenance

Once you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease & have undergone scaling & root planing, periodontal maintenance is what you can think of as taking the place of prophylaxis in your dental care routine. Rather than just addressing the just crowns of your teeth as in prophylaxis, periodontal maintenance also cares for your tooth roots, gums & bone. In other words, think of it as cleaning & maintenance for the tissues affected by your periodontal disease. The frequency of your periodontal maintenance appointments depends on your individual oral health condition & will be determined by your dentist.

The Difference Between Cleanings, Deep Cleanings & Periodontal Maintenance

dentist ready to perform scaling and root planingThere is more than one type of dental procedure that may be casually referred to as a cleaning. For example, there is a regular cleaning & then there is what is referred to a deep cleaning. It’s important to understand that there is a big difference between these procedures & implications that each of these procedures have when it comes to your oral health.

Regular Cleaning or Prophylaxis

A regular teeth cleaning, which is called prophylaxis by dental professionals, is what most people think of when they think of going to the dentist for a checkup. Prophylaxis involves removing plaque, calculus & stains from teeth. (Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up on teeth as a byproduct of bacteria feasting on the food you eat. Calculus, also known as tartar, occurs when plaque & minerals in your mouth harden.) A dental hygienist or a dentist uses a specialized cleaning device, called an ultrasonic scaler, to remove plaque & calculus. This cleaning occurs only on the visible part of the tooth, known as a the crown.

Regular teeth cleaning is only recommended for patients who have generally good oral health & do not suffer from bone loss or gum problems (bleeding, recession, infection, etc.)

Scaling & Root Planing or Deep Cleanings

Root planing is a procedure that involves removing tartar, bacteria, toxic deposits from the root of a tooth, all the way down to where gum & bone meet. While it is sometimes casually referred to as a “deep cleaning”, you should know that this treatment is quite different from prophylaxis. This procedure is required as a treatment for periodontal disease or periodontitis (commonly called gum disease, though it also affects the bone).

Many people can have periodontal disease & not even know it. Symptoms of the disease include bleeding gums, bad breath, teeth that look longer due to recessed gums, & swollen or red gums. However, many people do not notice any symptoms at all. That’s why it may come as a surprise when your dentist recommends scaling & root planing instead of a regular cleaning. It’s important to understand that this procedure is vital to getting periodontal disease under control & avoid future tooth loss, though other procedures including surgery may be required to treat the disease.

Periodontal Maintenance

Once you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease & have undergone scaling & root planing, periodontal maintenance is what you can think of as taking the place of prophylaxis in your dental care routine. Rather than just addressing the just crowns of your teeth as in prophylaxis, periodontal maintenance also cares for your tooth roots, gums & bone. In other words, think of it as cleaning & maintenance for the tissues affected by your periodontal disease. The frequency of your periodontal maintenance appointments depends on your individual oral health condition & will be determined by your dentist.

The Difference Between Cleanings, Deep Cleanings & Periodontal Maintenance

The Difference Between Cleanings, Deep Cleanings & Periodontal Maintenance

dentist ready to perform scaling and root planingThere is more than one type of dental procedure that may be casually referred to as a cleaning. For example, there is a regular cleaning & then there is what is referred to a deep cleaning. It’s important to understand that there is a big difference between these procedures & implications that  each of these procedures have when it comes to your oral health.

Regular Cleaning or Prophylaxis

A regular cleaning, which is called prophylaxis by dental professionals, is what most people think of when they think of going to the dentist for a checkup. Prophylaxis involves removing plaque, calculus & stains from teeth. (Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up on teeth as a byproduct of bacteria feasting on the food you eat. Calculus, also known as tartar, occurs when plaque & minerals in your mouth harden.) A dental hygienist or a dentist uses a specialized cleaning device, called an ultrasonic scaler, to remove plaque & calculus. This cleaning occurs only on the visible part of the tooth, known as a the crown.

Regular cleaning is only recommended for patients who have generally good oral health & do not suffer from bone loss or gum problems (bleeding, recession, infection, etc.)

Scaling & Root Planing or Deep Cleanings

Root planing is a procedure that involves removing tartar, bacteria, toxic deposits from the root of a tooth, all the way down to where gum & bone meet. While it is sometimes casually referred to as a “deep cleaning”, you should know that this treatment is quite different from prophylaxis. This procedure is required as a treatment for periodontal disease or periodontitis (commonly called gum disease, though it also affects the bone).

Many people can have periodontal disease & not even know it. Symptoms of the disease include bleeding gums, bad breath, teeth that look longer due to recessed gums, & swollen or red gums. However, many people do not notice any symptoms at all. That’s why it may come as a surprise when your dentist recommends scaling & root planing instead of a regular cleaning. It’s important to understand that this procedure is vital to getting periodontal disease under control & avoid future tooth loss, though other procedures including surgery may be required to treat the disease.

Periodontal Maintenance

Once you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease & have undergone scaling & root planing, periodontal maintenance is what you can think of as taking the place of prophylaxis in your dental care routine. Rather than just addressing the just crowns of your teeth as in prophylaxis, periodontal maintenance also cares for your tooth roots, gums & bone. In other words, think of it as cleaning & maintenance for the tissues affected by your periodontal disease. The frequency of your periodontal maintenance appointments depends on your individual oral health condition & will be determined by your dentist.

Reasons for Tooth Extraction

dentist and patient discussing tooth extractionTooth extraction is when a tooth is removed from it’s place in the gum & bone of your jaw. Compared to many dental procedures, tooth extraction can sound scary, especially when it’s referred to as “oral surgery”. However, we believe that understanding the reasons that an extraction is necessary will ease your mind if you’ve been told you need a tooth removed.

Damage from Decay or Trauma

Dentists will alway try a conservative approach first when trying to repair a tooth that is damaged. However, if the damage is too severe for the usual  solutions such as a crown or a filling, the dentist may decide to remove the tooth completely. Teeth sometimes shift into the place where the removed tooth used to be, which can cause problems with your bite. For this reason (& your own comfort) we may recommend putting a bridge, partial denture or dental implant in the space where the missing tooth was.

Orthodontics

Tooth extraction can also be a part of orthodontic (or braces) treatment. When teeth are too large for the mouth & are causing problems, teeth may need to removed in order for orthodontic treatment to be completed. The most common reason for tooth extraction in braces treatment is the alleviate crowding, though there are other conditions that may warrant the removal of teeth (such as overbite). Usually teeth are removed symmetrically, so the same 2 teeth in each jaw are removed in order to keep the bite balanced, so a total of 4 teeth would be removed. While tooth extraction for the sake of braces may seem like an extreme choice, but in some cases it is an alternative to more serious surgery to re-align the jaw.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are an extra set of adult molars that usually come in when patients are in their late teens or early 20s. Not everyone’s wisdom teeth cause problems, but it is common for them to be impacted, meaning they’ve come in at a funny angle or have failed to come in at all, & trapped under the gum pressing against other teeth. In some cases, wisdom teeth can become infected or cause abscesses, pain or swelling. Wisdom teeth removal is usually recommended on wisdom teeth that are impacted or have otherwise started to cause problems.

Timely Development in Kids

Sometimes a dentist will recommend tooth extraction of baby teeth (also known as primary teeth or “milk” teeth) that have not been lost in a timely fashion. For example, if your dentist sees that your child still has a baby tooth that most children their age would have lost years ago they may recommend extracting it. The reason for such extractions is usually to ensure that permanent adult teeth come in (or erupt) in the right position.

It’s also important that you understand that dentists never take the extraction of a tooth lightly. Our first choice is always conservative treatment (i.e. “conserving” as many teeth in your mouth as possible), but sometimes health or developmental considerations make keeping a tooth inadvisable. No matter the reason, if we’ve recommended tooth extraction as part of your treatment, we will go over the details of what to expect both during & after the procedure, & what the resulting benefit to your health will be.

Reasons for Tooth Extraction

dentist and patient discussing tooth extractionTooth extraction is when a tooth is removed from it’s place in the gum & bone of your jaw. Compared to many dental procedures, tooth extraction can sound scary, especially when it’s referred to as “oral surgery”. However, we believe that understanding the reasons that an extraction is necessary will ease your mind if you’ve been told you need a tooth removed.

Damage from Decay or Trauma

Dentists will alway try a conservative approach first when trying to repair a tooth that is damaged. However, if the damage is too severe for the usual  solutions such as a crown or a filling, the dentist may decide to remove the tooth completely. Teeth sometimes shift into the place where the removed tooth used to be, which can cause problems with your bite. For this reason (& your own comfort) we may recommend putting a bridge, partial denture or dental implant in the space where the missing tooth was.

Orthodontics

Tooth extraction can also be a part of orthodontic (or braces) treatment. When teeth are too large for the mouth & are causing problems, teeth may need to removed in order for orthodontic treatment to be completed. The most common reason for tooth extraction in braces treatment is the alleviate crowding, though there are other conditions that may warrant the removal of teeth (such as overbite). Usually teeth are removed symmetrically, so the same 2 teeth in each jaw are removed in order to keep the bite balanced, so a total of 4 teeth would be removed. While tooth extraction for the sake of braces may seem like an extreme choice, but in some cases it is an alternative to more serious surgery to re-align the jaw.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are an extra set of adult molars that usually come in when patients are in their late teens or early 20s. Not everyone’s wisdom teeth cause problems, but it is common for them to be impacted, meaning they’ve come in at a funny angle or have failed to come in at all, & trapped under the gum pressing against other teeth. In some cases, wisdom teeth can become infected or cause abscesses, pain or swelling. Wisdom teeth removal is usually recommended on wisdom teeth that are impacted or have otherwise started to cause problems.

Timely Development in Kids

Sometimes a dentist will recommend tooth extraction of baby teeth (also known as primary teeth or “milk” teeth) that have not been lost in a timely fashion. For example, if your dentist sees that your child still has a baby tooth that most children their age would have lost years ago they may recommend extracting it. The reason for such extractions is usually to ensure that permanent adult teeth come in (or erupt) in the right position.

It’s also important that you understand that dentists never take the extraction of a tooth lightly. Our first choice is always conservative treatment (i.e. “conserving” as many teeth in your mouth as possible), but sometimes health or developmental considerations make keeping a tooth inadvisable. No matter the reason, if we’ve recommended tooth extraction as part of your treatment, we will go over the details of what to expect both during & after the procedure, & what the resulting benefit to your health will be.

Reasons for Tooth Extraction

Reasons for Tooth Extraction

dentist and patient discussing tooth extractionTooth extraction is when a tooth is removed from it’s place in the gum & bone of your jaw. Compared to many dental procedures, tooth extraction can sound scary, especially when it’s referred to as “oral surgery”. However, we believe that understanding the reasons that an extraction is necessary will ease your mind if you’ve been told you need a tooth removed.

Damage from Decay or Trauma

Dentists will alway try a conservative approach first when trying to repair a tooth that is damaged. However, if the damage is too severe for the usual  solutions such as a crown or a filling, the dentist may decide to remove the tooth completely. Teeth sometimes shift into the place where the removed tooth used to be, which can cause problems with your bite. For this reason (& your own comfort) we may recommend putting a bridge, partial denture or dental implant in the space where the missing tooth was.

Orthodontics

Tooth extraction can also be a part of orthodontic (or braces) treatment. When teeth are too large for the mouth & are causing problems, teeth may need to removed in order for orthodontic treatment to be completed. The most common reason for tooth extraction in braces treatment is the alleviate crowding, though there are other conditions that may warrant the removal of teeth (such as overbite). Usually teeth are removed symmetrically, so the same 2 teeth in each jaw are removed in order to keep the bite balanced, so a total of 4 teeth would be removed. While tooth extraction for the sake of braces may seem like an extreme choice, but in some cases it is an alternative to more serious surgery to re-align the jaw.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are an extra set of adult molars that usually come in when patients are in their late teens or early 20s. Not everyone’s wisdom teeth cause problems, but it is common for them to be impacted, meaning they’ve come in at a funny angle or have failed to come in at all, & trapped under the gum pressing against other teeth. In some cases, wisdom teeth can become infected or cause abscesses, pain or swelling. Wisdom teeth removal is usually recommended on wisdom teeth that are impacted or have otherwise started to cause problems.

Timely Development in Kids

Sometimes a dentist will recommend tooth extraction of baby teeth (also known as primary teeth or “milk” teeth) that have not been lost in a timely fashion. For example, if your dentist sees that your child still has a baby tooth that most children their age would have lost years ago they may recommend extracting it. The reason for such extractions is usually to ensure that permanent adult teeth come in (or erupt) in the right position.

It’s also important that you understand that dentists never take the extraction of a tooth lightly. Our first choice is always conservative treatment (i.e. “conserving” as many teeth in your mouth as possible), but sometimes health or developmental considerations make keeping a tooth inadvisable. No matter the reason, if we’ve recommended tooth extraction as part of your treatment, we will go over the details of what to expect both during & after the procedure, & what the resulting benefit to your health will be.

Make the Most of Your Dental Insurance Before the Year Ends!

use dental insurance benefits before the end of the yearAs your dental clinic, it’s our responsibility to help guide you through your oral health care so it is as easy & affordable as possible. As a result, we’re dedicated to helping you make the most of your dental insurance, ensuring you get the care you need & you take advantage of every benefit available to you.

Did you know that your dental benefits don’t roll over from year to year? Once you reach the end of the calendar year, your annual dental benefits disappear for good, whether or not you’ve used them.

What do we mean by dental benefits? One of the best examples of a dental insurance benefit are the preventive care services that are usually covered between 80% to 100%, meaning the insurance company pays 80%-100% of the cost of the service . For example, most dental insurance plans give you two teeth cleaning visits each year covered at 100%, meaning you pay nothing out-of-pocket for your dental hygiene visit. Most insurance plans also fully cover at least one set of full mouth x-rays each year.

However, if you’ve visited the dentist for one teeth cleaning this year, that doesn’t mean you get three teeth cleanings next year! Instead, that free cleaning that you skipped goes away at the end of the year & you never get it back!

Another example of your insurance benefits is your annual maximum, meaning the maximum amount that your dental insurance company will pay toward your dental care each year. Annual maximums vary greatly, but say your plan’s maximum is $2,500. If you’ve only used $500 of that $2,500 by the end of the year, the remaining $2,000 disappears & you never get to use it. Essentially, you’re leaving money on the table!

So what should you do if the year is almost up & you still have some of your annual maximum left? Well, this is why the end of the year is a great time to start recommended treatment. First of all, if you haven’t had both your teeth cleanings this year, call us as soon as possible to schedule your second cleaning before the end of the year!

As another example, imagine we told you that you need a crown on one of your molars but you haven’t actually completed the treatment yet. If you continue to put off getting the crown until the beginning of next year, you’ll be throwing away your remaining annual maximum for this year & using up next year’s benefits early instead. That means if you need any other treatment during the course of next year, you will have already used up your annual maximum & will have to pay out-of-pocket for it. Using up this year’s insurance maximum could actually save you money next year by ensuring you don’t hit your maximum too early!

So if you have dental treatment recommendations from us that you haven’t completed yet, give us a call as soon as possible so we can schedule your visit before the end-of-year rush. We’d be happy to help you check to see if you’ve hit your annual maximum yet & help you make the most of the money you have remaining on your insurance plan.

Dental Crowns 101

Dental Crowns 101

creating dental caps or crownsDental crowns, or caps, are one of the most common restorative dental procedures that dentists perform. If you’ve been told you need a crown, there’s no reason to worry. Dental crowns allow us to restore your smile both functionally & aesthetically, & modern techniques mean we can complete the procedure faster than in the past.

First, let’s review the anatomy of a tooth. Each tooth comprises two parts: a crown, which is the visible part outside your gums, & a root or roots, which are embedded in your gums & jaw bone. Sometimes when you hear a dentist say the word crown, they’re referring to the visible part of your tooth, & other times they may be talking about an artificial crown that is used to repair a tooth.

Most of the time, when your tooth is damaged by decay or an accident, a filling or bonding is all that you’ll need to restore your tooth. However, sometimes tooth decay or damage is extensive enough that the dentist will recommend replacing the entire outer structure of your tooth. This restoration is what we call a crown (also commonly called a cap).

The dentist will start by removing some of the outer structure of your tooth. Then, they will attach the crown using a permanent adhesive cement. This crown will have been made ahead of time to match the shape, size & even the color of your tooth.

In the past, the only option for dental crowns was a metal restoration, made from precious metal, semi-precious metal, or a metal alloy. These days, however, dental materials technology has advanced to the point that there are several kinds of tooth-colored crown materials available. Most of these crown materials are some kind of porcelain, which can be made to resemble tooth enamel both in color, texture & the way it reflects light.

Commonly, these modern tooth-colored crowns will be manufactured by a dental laboratory that your dentist works closely with. The dentist will match the crown to the color of your tooth using a guide, then pass this information on to a laboratory technician, who handcrafts your custom crown.

Alternatively, modern 3-D scanning & milling technology has allowed dentists to bring this process in-office. Instead of sending information to a lab & having them send back a custom crown, computerized scanner & computer-controlled milling machines located right in the office can carry out this process. The use of this state-of-the-art technology means that dental crowns can be created & placed in your mouth much faster than ever before.

If you’ve been told you need a dental crown, keep in mind that because there are many types of materials available to make crowns, you can have some control over the price of your tooth restoration. However, we must emphasize that your dentist will always encourage an option that returns your tooth to the function & appearance of your original tooth. When cared for using a standard dental hygiene routine of brushing, flossing & 6-month checkups, a crown is expected to last a lifetime.

The Many Ways We Provide Gentle Dental Care

The Many Ways We Provide Gentle Dental Care

teddy bear dentists providing gentle dental careWhen we talk to patients about dentistry, one of the main concerns they bring up is whether the dental care they receive will be gentle. As dentists, our main concern of course is your health, but we understand the desire to have a gentle dental care experience. We know it’s not everyday you have to let another person look around your mouth, so we strive to do all we can to make sure your visit & your treatment comfortable, & we mean this in the broadest sense possible.

Gentle Dental Hygienists & Dentists

We pride ourselves on having brought together a team of dental professionals who always use a gentle touch when treating patients. Our dentists & dental hygienists provide meticulous teeth cleanings & take care & time when navigating the delicate structures of your mouth, such as your gums. And we are always happy to make accommodations for you if you have specific sensitivities. If you are uncomfortable in any way, please let us know! We prefer hearing feedback to worrying that you might have endured some kind of discomfort in silence!

Gentle Dental Care Through the Latest Technology

Advances in dental technology, procedures & materials mean that we can take a more conservative approach to dental care than ever before. Plus, many of the technological advances we use at our office result in quicker, more comfortable processes & procedures. Even taking x-rays has become a faster & more efficient process now that we use digital radiograph technology. Technology means being able to catch problems early when they’re easier to fix & shorter recovery times for procedures that were more invasive with the limited instrumentation of the past. We’re living in a bright new future of dentistry & we’re happy to bring all of the best advances in smile care here at our practice.

Gentle Impact on Your Daily Schedule

We know one of the roughest parts about going to your regular teeth cleanings is fitting the visits into your busy schedule. We don’t want anything to stand between you & regular preventive dental care. That’s why we offer teeth cleaning appointments that fit around your work schedule, so you don’t have to take time off to see us. We will always do our best to learn your availability & schedule you into an appropriate time slot in the first place. However, please let us know if an appointment time conflicts with another obligation in your schedule. Asking to reschedule is always preferable to a last-minute cancellation. Seeing you consistently for cleanings is vital to keeping your smile healthy for the long run.