Posts for category: Dental Procedures

YouMightAvoidPermanentToothAlterationWithTheseNo-PrepVeneers

If you know anyone with dental veneers, you've likely heard how much they love them. These thin shells of dental porcelain bonded to the front of teeth can hide a multitude of defects—from chips to mild gaps between teeth.

But your friend may also have told you their teeth required some preparation before the dentist bonded the custom veneers. That's because traditional veneers, although relatively thin, can still appear too bulky if applied straight to the teeth.

To help them look more natural, dentists often remove a tiny amount of surface enamel. Even though doing this won't harm your teeth, having less enamel (which doesn't grow back) could leave your teeth vulnerable to disease and sensitivity. Teeth prepped in this manner will require a veneer or some other form of restoration from that point on.

Up until recently, few people could avoid having their teeth permanently altered prior to receiving veneers. Now, though, you may have an alternative: a new, ultra-thin veneer that requires little to no tooth preparation beforehand. These new options are known as no-prep or minimal-prep veneers.

These new veneers are as thin as contact lenses, and have such a low profile that they don't have to fit under the gum line (often the case with traditional veneers and one of the reasons for tooth alteration). The dentist may still need to reshape the enamel using an abrasive tool, but it's much less of an alteration than what may be required of traditional veneers.

And unlike traditional veneers, it's unlikely you'll need local anesthesia during their application, a common practice with tooth prep before veneers. You may also be able to have these veneers removed later without the need for another restoration to cover the teeth.

No-prep/minimal-prep veneers are well-suited for people with small (or those that appear so), worn or slightly misshaped teeth. On the other hand, those with oversized teeth or teeth that jut forward may still need some prep work even with these ultra-thin veneers.

To find out if these new veneers are right for you, you'll need to undergo a comprehensive dental exam. If they are, your teeth may be able to avoid permanent alteration—and still look amazing with your new veneers.

If you would like more information on porcelain dental veneers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “No-Prep Porcelain Veneers.”

TheDisappearingToothGap-MichaelStrahanPullsanEpicAprilFoolsPrank

If you're a fan of former NFL player and current host of Good Morning America Michael Strahan, then you're well aware of his unique smile feature—a noticeable gap between his front teeth. So far, Strahan has nixed any dental work to correct the gap, often saying it was part of "who I am."

But if you follow him on Twitter, you may have been shocked by a video he posted on March 30th of him sitting in a dentist's chair. Calling it a "moment fifty years in the making," Strahan said, "Let's do it." After some brief video shots of a dental procedure, Strahan revealed a new gapless smile.

But some of his Twitter fans weren't buying it—given the timing, they sniffed an elaborate April Fool's Day ruse. It turns out their spider senses were on target: Strahan appeared once again after the video with his signature gap still intact, grinning over the reaction to his successful prank.

The uproar from his practical joke is all the more hilarious because Strahan has let it be known he's truly comfortable with his smile "imperfection." But it also took him awhile to reach that point of acceptance, a well-known struggle for many people. On the one hand, they want to fix their dental flaws and improve their smile. But then again, they're hesitant to part with the little "imperfections" that make them unique.

If that's you, here are some tips to help you better navigate what best to do about improving your smile.

See a cosmetic dentist. A cosmetic dentist is singularly focused on smile enhancement, and particularly in helping patients decide what changes they want or need. If you're looking for such a dentist, seek recommendations from friends and family who've changed their smiles in ways you find appealing.

Get a "smile analysis." Before considering specific cosmetic measures, it's best to first get the bigger picture through an examination called a "smile analysis." Besides identifying the defects in your smile, a cosmetic dentist will use the analysis to gauge the effect any proposed improvements may have on your overall facial appearance.

Embrace reality. A skilled cosmetic dentist will also evaluate your overall oral health and assess how any cosmetic procedures might impact it. This might change your expectations if it whittles down the list of enhancement possibilities, but it may help determine what you can do to get the best improved smile possible.

A great cosmetic dentist will work diligently with you to achieve a new smile that's uniquely you. Even if, like Michael Strahan, you decide to keep a trademark "imperfection," there may still be room for other enhancements that will change your appearance for the better.

If you would like more information about a "smile makeover," please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry.”

DiamondFangsNotYourThingThereareSubtlerWaystoGetaMoreAttractiveSmile

Fashion designer and reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian recently displayed some unusual dental work to her followers on Instagram. The eldest Kardashian sister showed off her new diamond-encrusted canine teeth, which gave her the impression of bejeweled fangs.

We're not sure if this is a permanent enhancement or a temporary fashion statement. Either way, Kardashian's "vampy" vibe shows what's possible in cosmetic dentistry—with a little imagination, you can achieve a smile that gets attention.

Even if you're not channeling Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, dental enhancements need not be as dramatic as Kardashian's. Smile changes can be subtle just as well as they can be bold; and, the lighter touch is often as appealing—and life-changing—as the latter.

Here are a few ways you can make improvements to your smile in more subtle way.

Dental cleaning. Although sessions with your dental hygienist are primarily about disease prevention, a dental cleaning could also make those pearly whites look better. Clearing away dull, dingy plaque and tartar often reveals the shiny enamel beneath, especially after polishing. You can also help keep your smile bright—and your teeth and gums healthy—by brushing and flossing daily.

Teeth whitening. While a dental cleaning can help your teeth shine, you might also turn to this dental procedure to maximize your smile's brightness. We can apply a controlled bleaching solution, usually in one sitting, to help you obtain the level of brightness with which you're most comfortable: from all-out Hollywood bright to a more subdued shade of white.

Teeth bonding. Your otherwise beautiful smile has a few chips or cracks in it. We can usually repair these in just one visit with a dental bonding procedure. We use a composite resin material formed into a putty that we apply in layers to the defective area of the tooth, sculpting it as we go. Once we attain the desired shape and color for the tooth, we cure it to give it resilience. With dental bonding, your teeth can look perfect as well as beautiful.

Veneers. There are other mild to moderate flaws like heavy staining, misshapen teeth or gaps that might exceed the capabilities of dental bonding. Porcelain veneers bonded to the visible surfaces of teeth can hide these imperfections and truly transform your smile. There is some permanent tooth alteration we must perform beforehand, but otherwise veneers are only lightly invasive.

Even if diamond-encrusted canines à la Kardashian aren't your thing, the field of cosmetic dentistry is broad enough to meet whatever your expectations for an improved smile. Visit us for an assessment of your smile, and what we can do to make it even better.

If you would like more information about your options for enhancing your smile, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”

TreatingDecayedBabyTeethProtectsFuturePermanentTeeth

Primary ("baby") teeth may look cute and adorable, but they're a big player in your child's dental health. A primary tooth lost prematurely could eventually lead to a major bite problem.

Primary teeth fulfill a number of functions, most notably enabling young children to eat solid foods, speak and relate to people with a normal smile. But they also serve as placeholders and guides for future permanent teeth developing within the gums.

Problems arise, though, when a child loses a primary tooth early due to disease or trauma, leaving an open space on the jaw. Nearby teeth tend to drift in to fill the space intended for the permanent tooth, leaving little to no room for it when it's time to erupt. This can cause it to erupt out of position, which in turn could force other teeth out of alignment. The end result is a poor bite.

You can, however, avoid this costly outcome by either treating and preserving a decayed baby tooth, or preventing other teeth from drifting into a vacancy left by a lost primary tooth until the permanent tooth comes in.

Depending on the level of decay, treating a diseased primary tooth can include fillings, crowns or modified root canal therapy. For children at high risk for decay, a dentist may also apply sealant to the teeth to inhibit plaque buildup. Although some of these procedures can be extensive, they're often worth the time and effort to prevent a poor bite.

If, on the other hand, we eventually lose the tooth, we can still intervene by installing a space maintainer. This is essentially a loop of wire securely attached to a tooth on one side of a gap, while the other end of the loop butts up against the tooth on the other side. This prevents either tooth from migrating into the space until the permanent tooth is ready to come in.

Primary teeth may not seem all that important, but in the greater picture, they truly are. By taking care of them, you'll be doing your child's soon arriving permanent teeth a favor.

If you would like more information on pediatric dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Importance of Baby Teeth.”

EvenifYoureanAdultYouCanStillHaveaStraighterSmile

As you get older, you may find yourself regretting things from your youth: getting that tattoo with your (ex) lover's name; giving up on piano lessons; or, not investing in that fledgling, little company called Facebook. Here's another thing you might regret: Not having your crooked smile straightened when you were a teenager.

We can't advise you on your other life issues, but we can on the latter—stop regretting your less than perfect smile and take action, because you still can! Even several years removed from adolescence you can still straighten your smile. Age makes no difference: as long as you and your mouth are relatively healthy, you can undergo bite correction even late in life. And, you'll be joining the current 1 in 5 orthodontic patients who are adults.

Straightening your teeth—what some call "the original smile makeover"—can radically transform your appearance and boost your self-confidence. But orthodontic treatment could also boost your dental health: Misaligned teeth are harder to keep clean, so realigning them reduces your risk for dental disease.

You're sold…but, one thing may still hold you back: you're not crazy about how you, a grown adult, might look in braces. You may, however, have a more attractive option with clear aligners.

Clear aligners are a series of clear plastic mouth trays computer-generated from measurements of your teeth and jaws. During treatment, you'll wear each tray for about two weeks before changing to the next one in the sequence. The dimensions on each tray vary slightly so that they move your teeth gradually, just like braces.

Because they're nearly invisible, they don't stand out like braces. And unlike braces, you can also remove them for meals, oral hygiene, or special occasions (although to be effective, you'll need to wear them most of the time).

If you'd like to know more, visit your orthodontist for a complete exam and consultation. After reviewing your options, you may decide to bid adieu to at least one life regret—and get the perfect smile you've always wanted.

If you would like more information on orthodontic treatments, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Orthodontics for the Older Adult.”