Archive for March 2017

Brighter Smile

Getting a Brighter Smile

Whitening: 5 Things to Know About Getting a Brighter Smile

Brighter Smile
Brushing and flossing are everyday ways to keep your teeth bright, white and healthy. Still, if you might feel like your smile is lacking some sparkle or is more yellow than it used to be, you’re not alone. When the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry asked people what they’d most like to improve about their smile, the most common response was whiter teeth. The American Association of Orthodontists also found that nearly 90% of patients requested tooth whitening.

Thinking about teeth whitening? Get the facts first. Here are five of the most commonly asked questions about the process.

Why Did My Teeth Change Color?

Over time, your teeth can go from white to not-so-bright for a number of reasons:

Food and Drink

Coffee, tea and red wine are some major staining culprits. What do they have in common? Intense color pigments called chromogens that attach to the white, outer part of your tooth (enamel).

Tobacco Use

Two chemicals found in tobacco create stubborn stains: Tar and nicotine. Tar is naturally dark. Nicotine is colorless until it’s mixed with oxygen. Then, it turns into a yellowish, surface-staining substance.

Age

Below the hard, white outer shell of your teeth (enamel) is a softer area called dentin. Over time, the outer enamel layer gets thinner with brushing and more of the yellowish dentin shows through.

Trauma

If you’ve been hit in the mouth, your tooth may change color because it reacts to an injury by laying down more dentin, which is a darker layer under the enamel.

Medications

Tooth darkening can be a side effect of certain antihistamines, antipsychotics and high blood pressure medications. Young children who are exposed to antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline when their teeth are forming (either in the womb or as a baby) may have discoloration of their adult teeth later in life. Chemotherapy and head and neck radiation can also darken teeth.
teeth whitening

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Teeth whitening is a simple process. Whitening products contain one of two tooth bleaches (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide). These bleaches break stains into smaller pieces, which makes the color less concentrated and your teeth brighter.

Does Whitening Work on All Teeth?

No, which is why it’s important to talk to your dentist before deciding to whiten your teeth, as whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellow teeth will probably bleach well, brown teeth may not respond as well and teeth with gray tones may not bleach at all. Whitening will not work on caps, veneers, crowns or fillings. It also won’t be effective if your tooth discoloration is caused by medications or a tooth injury.

What Are My Whitening Options?

Talk to your dentist before starting. If you are a candidate, there are three ways to put the shine back in your smile:

Whitening Toothpastes

All toothpastes help remove surface stain through the action of mild abrasives that scrub the teeth. Look for the ADA Seal for safe whitening toothpastes that have special chemical or polishing agents to provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaches, these types of ADA Accepted products do not change the color of teeth because they can only remove stains on the surface.

 

In-Office Bleaching

This procedure is called chairside bleaching and usually requires only one office visit. The dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect your gums. Bleach is then applied to the teeth. A special light or laser might be used to enhance the action of the whitening agent.

At-Home Bleaching

Peroxide-containing whiteners actually bleach the tooth enamel. They typically come in a gel and are placed in a tray that fits on your teeth. You may also use a whitening strip that sticks to your teeth. The concentration of the bleaching agent is lower than what your dentist would use in the office.

Are There Any Side Effects from Teeth Whitening?

Some people who use teeth whiteners may experience tooth sensitivity. That happens when the peroxide in the whitener gets through the enamel to the soft layer of dentin and irritates the nerve of your tooth. In most cases the sensitivity is temporary. You can delay treatment, then try again.
Overuse of whiteners can also damage the tooth enamel or gums, so be sure to follow directions and talk to your dentist.

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Dental Implants

Dental Implant

dental implant

Dental Implant

A dental implant looks and feels like a real tooth, but it is actually a titanium model made to look like a real tooth.

It is inserted into your jaw and held in place with an artificial root. The titanium is biocompatible with your jaw bone, which means that it fuses (This is what we call the osseointegration phase).

These implants act to stabilize the jaw, which helps to prevent bone loss and keep the jaw’s shape.

Implants, unlike dentures, never come out of your mouth – which allows your mouth to get used to them, so they are more comfortable. Eating and talking will be easier because there isn’t any messy cement or pesky wires, which will naturally eliminate gagging, poor alignment, and the dreaded sore spots.

What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?

Dental Implant

There are many advantages to dental implants, including:

  • Improved appearance. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.
  • Improved speech. With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.
  • Improved comfort. Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
  • Easier eating. Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
  • Improved self-esteem. Dental implants can give you back your smile and help you feel better about yourself.
  • Improved oral health. Dental implants don’t require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
  • Durability. Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
  • Convenience. Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.

How Successful Are Dental Implants?

Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care (see below), implants can last a lifetime.

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Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain used to recreate the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel. It is often the material of choice for those looking to make slight position alterations, or to change tooth shape, size, and/or color.

VENEER CONSULTATION

Communication with Dentcare dentists and asking about veneers is the first step in determining if veneers are the right option for you, or if there are alternate solutions available. Also you can ask about what you want corrected is critical for a successful result. Spend time clearly identifying what cosmetic improvements you want to accomplish.

You’ll often hear people say that celebrities have veneers and this may seem like the best way to replicate picture-perfect teeth, but each mouth is different and veneers need to be carefully researched.

Your dentist will most likely begin with a smile analysis to determine what steps are necessary
to achieve the smile you desire. In addition, your dentist may create a diagnostic mock-up
that will allow you to “try on” veneers and other procedures to see if the final result is actually what you’re looking for.

Your dentist may also show you a photo of how your new smile will look. This is called cosmetic imaging.

Deciding that porcelain veneers will create the look you want is only one step in the process. There is much more to learn before proceeding further.

THE HOWS AND WHYS OF PORCELAIN VENEERS

Porcelain laminate veneers consist of a compilation of several thin ceramic layers which replace original tooth enamel, and an adhesive layer. To apply a veneer, a very small amount of the original tooth enamel must be removed, usually less than a millimeter. This is essential as it creates room for the porcelain veneer to fit within the mouth and most accurately restore natural tooth function while creating an even better appearance than the original tooth.

The bond between original tooth and porcelain veneer is critical as it not only provides the esthetic perfection desired, but also a strong bond which is essential for correct veneer function. Light-sensitive resin is placed between the original tooth and the veneer and then hardened using a special curing light.

Porcelain veneers are a very successful option in many situations where the original tooth has developed poor color, shape, and contours. It is also a good choice for fractured teeth, gaps between teeth, and in some situations where the tooth position is compromised and there are minor bite-related problems. For some people, superficial stains do not respond well to tooth whitening or bleaching. In these situations, a porcelain veneer may be the best option.

THE BENEFITS OF VENEERS

Since veneers are individually sculpted for each patient, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a veneer and a natural tooth. Unlike natural teeth, custom-made veneers resist coffee and tea stains, and cigarette smoke because they are made of high-tech materials.

With veneers—as opposed to crowns—your natural teeth remain largely intact with only a minimal amount being altered to fit the veneer.

For teeth that resist whitening, veneers can make even the darkest teeth appear bright white.

Dentists may also recommend veneers to quickly fix minor twists, overlaps, and small gaps.

POTENTIAL VENEER DOWNSIDES

Because a portion of the original tooth enamel is reduced, a veneer is not considered a reversible treatment. Although adjustments and even new veneers can be made, you can never reliably return to the original condition of the tooth.

Creating porcelain veneers requires some laboratory time, so expect at least a week before they’re ready to be applied.

After the porcelain veneers are attached you will probably have some sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures due to the removal of that thin layer of enamel. This typically disappears within a few days. In a healthy mouth properly treated with porcelain veneers—and where destructive forces are minimized or eliminated—a patient should be able to use porcelain veneers like his or her own teeth. Although they’re very strong, veneers are also brittle. You should avoid the same excessive stresses you would avoid with non-veneered teeth: don’t bite your fingernails, chew ice, or open beer bottles with your veneers!

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Dental Bridge Vs. Implant

Dental Bridge Vs. Implant: Which Is Better?

Teeth replacements have come a long way in the last 30 years. Missing or extracted teeth raise common concerns of infection, but the proper replacement is the key to a confident smile. Today, however, the questions you need to ask your dentist or prosthodontist are a bit different: What’s the difference between a dental bridge vs. implant? Which treatment option is right for me? Very often the dental implant is ideal, but numerous factors will need to be considered first, including if your tooth loss is recent or happened years ago.

PRACTICAL REASONS FOR BOTH

In the past, a bridge was your only choice, and still involves more than just the missing tooth. The adjacent teeth need to be “prepped” by removing most of the enamel in order to fabricate the bridge. With dental implants, however, the dentist replaces just the individual tooth for a result that is stronger and permanent. Nonetheless, a dental bridge may be your best option if the neighboring teeth have large fillings and need crowns or caps in the future. And if the tooth or teeth have been lost for a long time, the gum and bone will have receded and procedures beyond the implant are required before placement. The advantages and disadvantages to both procedures can ultimately be discussed with your dentist.

DURABILITY

Dental implants are more durable than bridges, allowing them to provide protection that lasts a lifetime. The implant’s metal cylinder is normally made of titanium, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), and this material fuses with your jawbone naturally through a process called osseointegration. Because it’s made of such a strong metal, they are very resistant to decay and gum problems. The average life of a dental bridge, on the other hand, is approximately 10 years. A portion of your natural tooth remains beneath it and normal wear may cause the bridge to fail more easily over time. In general, the remaining tooth structure continues to be susceptible to decay and gum disease.

AESTHETICS

What about aesthetics? There isn’t always a simple answer, but your dentist or prosthodontist – the latter specializes in crown, implants and bridges – will be able to advise you. Often the implant will provide the most pleasing result, as your dentist can make the final tooth look just like your natural enamel. Sometimes, an implant can be placed immediately after a tooth extraction, preserving the natural level of bone and improving the final appearance of the dental work.

DENTAL BRIDGE VS. IMPLANT COST

The cost of the dental bridge is initially less, but it may need to be replaced at some point in the future. Implants – from preparation to final placement – may seem more expensive, but over time can be more cost-effective. Fortunately, most dental insurance providers are paying for a portion of or all of the steps involved. In addition, implant treatment can be more flexible, allowing patients to budget the cost in increments. After extraction, for example, a bone graft is sometimes needed. This graft typically has to heal for several months before implant placement, at which point osseointegration can take anywhere from three to six months before the process is complete.

So, dental bridge vs. implant? Make this decision after consulting with your dentist. He or she knows your mouth best and has the tools and knowledge to guide you through what’s best for it. Although bridges are an older procedure, dental implants have become more commonplace over the years, and in most cases are the preferable treatment both in time and expense.

Dental Bridge Vs. Implant

Dental Bridge Vs. Implant

Advantages of Dental Implants

  • Esthetic, functional, predictable, reliable
  • Does not affect adjacent teeth
  • Does not decay
  • Less likely to develop gum disease

Disadvantages of Dental Implants

  • More expensive
  • More planning time
  • Requires minor surgery
  • Requires healing time before permanent tooth replacement

Advantages of Bridges

  • Esthetic, functional, predictable, reliable
  • Less costly
  • Requires less time for final result

Disadvantages of Bridges

  • Requires enamel removal of adjacent teeth
  • If adjacent teeth have crowns, they must be redone
  • Tooth decay is potential problem
  • Root canal treatment may be required if nerves are affected
  • Greater tendency for gum disease
  • Less longevity than implants
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