The Instant Makeover

More and more these days, instant sorts of makeovers are shown on television shows and in the news. It seems that once a person makes the commitment to proceed, they want to get moving quickly. Our practice has noticed that too, and we are doing many more “makeovers” where we finish the entire treatment in a short period of time.

It seems like many people just hit a point where they have “had it” with their smile or their appearance, and decide it’s time to look better. The next steps are important, because how happy a person is with the results, depends on how the treatment is approached and accomplished.

Here is what we do when someone presents with some true esthetic concerns and is ready to do something about them:

 First of all, we interview the patient to determine their true desires, needs and wants. Everything starts with getting a good understanding of what the patient wants and expects.

 We have to do a complete exam to understand the underlying health of the teeth, gum and bone, and how the bite, or occlusion, is working.

 We take photographs, and impressions of the teeth for what we call study models. Sometimes we ask the dental lab to create the desired appearance in an ideal wax smile. It is a fun process.

Once we know where we want to be at the finish, the process of getting there is usually just a couple of long and relaxed appointments.

In the First Visit the teeth are prepared and impressions are taken; the patient leaves with plastic temporary restorations that are an actual preview of the desired end point. These provisional restorations allow us to personalize shape, size and color so that before the final porcelain restorations, we know that the patient is going to love their smile. This works really well, relieving much of the anxiety of someone not knowing how they will look.

The patient generally receives the final restorations in the Second visit, where we take off the temporary crowns/veneers and try in the permanent ones. If they are fitting and looking like we want, these restorations are permanently bonded to the teeth. Subsequent visits are made as necessary for any follow up or adjustments.

Do Natural Teeth Whiteners work?

Would you believe that you can find natural teeth whiteners in your refrigerator? Many people are hesitant to use chemicals or commercial products and therefore prefer natural teeth whiteners. One such example of a simple natural tooth whitener is rubbing the inside of an orange peel on your teeth. While fruits and vegetables can be subtle natural teeth whiteners, their effectiveness doesn’t quite match the hype.

  • Orange Peels: Could an orange peel as a natural teeth whitener be too good to be true? Most likely. While this natural tooth whitener may offer a minimal amount of whitening, it’s not worth the potential damage it can cause your teeth. Because oranges are naturally acidic, using orange peels as a natural teeth whitener can actually cause damage to the enamel of your teeth, weaken your teeth, and have lasting negative effects on your smile.
  • Vegetables: Some claim that a simple way to whiten your teeth is to eat natural teeth whiteners like celery, cucumber, broccoli, and carrots. These crunchy fruits and vegetables work to gently scrub away stains on your teeth and increase production of saliva, which helps reduce plaque-causing bacteria. Unfortunately, while fruits and vegetables may be effective in washing away food particles and reducing plaque, you will have to wait an extremely long time—maybe even your lifetime—in order to see any whitening results. These natural teeth whiteners perform a very subtle role in teeth whitening, therefore the visible effects are minimal. Plus, if you drink coffee, tea, or cola often, you’re easily canceling out any whitening effects of these natural teeth whiteners.
  • Baking Soda: You’ve probably heard about the power of baking soda as a natural teeth whitener. While it’s found in many toothpastes as a natural teeth whitener, it doesn’t have the same effect when applied to your toothbrush and used directly on your teeth. Those who espouse the whitening action of baking soda as a natural teeth whitener claim that all you need to do is wet your toothbrush, sprinkle it with baking soda, and brush carefully. If you don’t brush carefully, you could grind the baking soda into your gums and cause irritation. As a natural teeth whitener, baking soda will provide a tiny amount of whitening, but it is also true that you can get much more dramatic and life-changing effects by using a whitening toothpaste containing baking soda combined with at-home teeth-whitening technology.
  • Strawberries & Baking Soda: A wide variety of household products can be used in combination to make a homemade teeth whitener. A popular homemade teeth whitener you may have heard about is a combination of crushed strawberries and baking soda. Those who swear by this method claim that you just need to crush a cup or so of strawberries and mix with baking soda. Supposedly, this homemade teeth whitener can be used just like regular toothpaste. You are advised to brush gently to avoid irritation to your gums and finish by brushing again with your favorite fluoride toothpaste. Unfortunately, not only is this not very effective as a homemade teeth whitener, this homemade teeth whitener can actually be harmful. Strawberry seeds easily become trapped in the spaces between your teeth. It is best to stay away from this homemade teeth whitener and instead make a small investment of $25-50 in scientifically-backed teeth-whitening technology. Teeth whitening strips from reputable brands provide dramatic teeth-whitening results and have been proven safe on teeth and gums.
  • Brushing, Rinsing & Flossing: Whitening teeth naturally can be challenging in a busy world full of delicious, tooth-discoloring temptations like coffee, tea, red wine, chocolate, and cola. Oral hygiene is an important tool for counterbalancing the effects of these temptations on your teeth and whitening teeth naturally. This includes brushing and rinsing, and last but not least, flossing. However, not even the combination of brushing, rinsing, and flossing is a fool-proof solution for whitening teeth naturally and solving a stained smile. Flossing is an important part of your overall oral hygiene regimen. It helps dislodge food particles that may be stuck in your teeth, which can help reduce bacteria and plaque that lead to tartar build-up and tooth discoloration. But while flossing is an important component of overall whitening teeth naturally and will help prevent future discoloration, it can’t brighten a smile that is already stained and yellow.

New Computer Technology Makes Invisible Braces Possible

Now you can have straight teeth without braces? We are a certified CLEARCORRECT provider and can provide a new alternative for adults who wish to straighten their teeth, but do not want traditional braces.

This method uses a series of clear tooth aligners to move teeth progressively into alignment. The aligners are virtually invisible because they are made of a thin, clear plastic which snap-fits comfortably over the teeth. Patients wear each set of aligners for two to three weeks, removing them only for eating and brushing. A patient may need as many as twelve to forty sets of aligners to fully straighten their teeth over a six month to two year period.

Orthodontists have been providing minor realignments with this type of appliance for years. Recently however, using 3-D computer imaging technology with the CLEARCORRECT system, these new invisible aligners have been able to straighten even moderately crowded or spaced teeth. Adults who have more severe crowding will still require braces and will be happy to know that we offer ceramic braces.

The CLEARCORRECT treatment is currently available to adults and teenagers. It is a welcome choice to those who feel that braces would not be an option for them, but who do want to have straight teeth. Consultations in our office are always free of charge so ask us, and we will be happy to schedule one for you. We will provide you with an evaluation and advise you if CLEARCORRECT is right for you!

The Right Age To Consider Orthodontics

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that a child first be seen by an orthodontist as early as age 7 or earlier should a parent or the family dentist discover a problem. The timing of orthodontic treatment is extremely important and greatly affects the treatment result. Since no two patients are alike, there is no absolute, specific age that is best to begin treatment.

Many progressive treatments are now available for patients six to eleven years old that provide significant benefits, especially in jaw irregularities. These treatments may also prevent certain conditions from worsening. Treating children during their growth stages enables us to achieve results that may not be possible when the face and jaw bones have fully developed. This early treatment can simplify or eliminate additional treatment.

Early diagnosis and treatment by an orthodontic specialist can help guide facial growth and tooth eruption, thus preventing more serious problems from developing. Our goal is to reduce treatment time in full braces and to provide the best and most stable results possible.

Potential Benefits of Timely Treatment

 Influence growth of the jaws in a positive manner

 Improve the width of the dental arches

 Reduce the need to extract permanent teeth

 Reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery

 Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth

 Correct harmful oral habits

 Simplify and shorten treatment time

 Increase the stability of final treatment results

 Reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth

 Improve speech development

 Improve the position of the first permanent molars

 Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions

 Improve lip closure

 Preserve or gain space for erupting teeth

 Reduce the potential for damage to the Temporal Mandibular Joint

 Better cooperation before the teenage years

Help! I Broke My Tooth!

Almost every day we get a call from a patient who has broken a tooth, and generally it means that to save the tooth, we have to place a crown or permanent restoration over it to keep it from breaking further. Sometimes the tooth can’t be saved and that is a real bummer!

What causes teeth to break? Well, there are several factors, one of which we see in almost all tooth fractures. The most common contributing factor is Silver amalgam fillings- these fillings have the unique property of enlarging as they age. So, there seems to be some outward pressure on the tooth and if someone bites just the right (or wrong) way, you hear that crack!

Now this tooth broke in several planes at once, and had to be removed; there wasn’t enough sound tooth structure to save it! So an implant or bridge needed to be done.

This is a more common sort of fracture. The inside aspect of the tooth just shears away. Luckily, this tooth can be saved with a crown, after first making sure there is no decay present.

The second common factor is bruxism- the habit of grinding or clenching the teeth. Many bruxers break teeth that don’t even have fillings in them, but they always have a higher percentage of broken teeth than people who don’t brux or clench.

If you or someone you know does grind their teeth and are worried about a tooth or some teeth, don’t hesitate to give us a call and we will be glad to check it out for you! Don’t wait until it hurts!

Child’s First Visit To The Dentist

We would like to see your child as soon as the first tooth erupts (around six months of age). The most important goals of this first visit are to introduce your child to the office surroundings and to develop a trust in the dentist and our staff. We view this visit as an icebreaker. If your child is too frightened, uncomfortable or uncooperative, we may have to re-schedule several short visits. You will be charged a reasonable fee for the time. Please do not try to explain the first visit yourself. Do not use phrases like “Be brave!” or “Don’t be afraid”. Don’t offer them a bribe with special treats to get them to the office. Rather be positive and reassuring that the visit will be fun and one in which to look forward.

The appointment should be 15-30 minutes and may include necessary x-rays, a gentle, comprehensive examination of the teeth, gums, jaws, bite and oral tissues. This is both to observe any problems and to establish a baseline so we can monitor your child’s growth and development. Depending on your child’s age and cooperation, we may also clean and polish their teeth and apply a topical fluoride. Please bring to this first appointment any of your child’s medical records. We will try to discuss and answer any questions you may have at that time. Our objective is to be gentle and patient so your child develops a positive attitude towards the dental office and their own oral he

Gums Don’t Discriminate

 Gum disease might seem like something only adults suffer from but it affects people of all ages. So, while teens may feel – and often appear to be – indestructible, their gums tell a different tale.

TeenHealth.com reports that 60 percent of 15-year-olds already have gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. Even more sobering, other studies show that teenage girls may be at higher risk of gum disease due to their hormonal changes.

This is bad news for teenagers, who may have bad breath or sore gums as the result of gingivitis. But there’s also good news: gum disease can easily be treated and prevented.

Treatment of gingivitis usually involves a scaling and root planing treatment (SRP) – also known as “deep cleaning” – to remove plaque and tartar buildup below the gum line. Just one SRP treatment can reverse the signs of gingivitis and prevent gum disease from progressing.

After SRP treatment, prevent gingivitis from returning by: brushing at least twice daily, flossing at least once daily, getting dental cleanings twice a year AND eating healthy foods. The last one might be the biggest challenge since eating tooth-and-gum-friendly foods trip most teens up; sweets, sodas, energy drinks and sports drinks are all heavily marketed to and largely consumed by teenagers.

You can make it easier for your teen to choose healthy options for their teeth and body by ensuring the refrigerator is always stocked with things like fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese and water.

If your teen suffers from gingivitis, or you’re concerned about his or her oral healthcare habits, give us a call for an appointment. We’re definitely here for you and serve as an essential barrier against gum disease.

A Beautiful Smile Is Precious And Priceless

 Did you know that the shape, shade, length and spacing of your teeth could significantly affect your smile? And our smiles can greatly affect our self-esteem and confidence?

Common conditions that impact your smile negatively include:
• Broken, cracked or worn teeth
• Discolored teeth
• Missing teeth
• Crooked teeth
• Decayed teeth
• Gaps between teeth
• “Gummy smiles”
The good news is that, thanks to modern technology and improved materials, these physical issues can be dramatically changed to create natural, long-lasting and beautiful smiles.
Each patient, along with his/her unique circumstances, must be evaluated individually. Factors such as occlusion [bite], oral habits, available space, health of the gum tissue, severity of the problem and patient expectations must be taken into consideration during the makeover planning process.
Depending on the situation, there are a variety of treatment options to achieve excellent esthetic outcomes. For whiter natural teeth, in-office or at-home bleaching [whitening] techniques are available. Repairing teeth or closing spaces may be accomplished with tooth-colored composite resin bonding, porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns.
These procedures vary in time and cost along with differences in longevity and appearance. If you’re not satisfied with your smile, or you want to learn if you’re a good candidate for any of these remarkable techniques, call our office today for a consultation.

What is a Mouthguard?

A mouthguard is a flexible appliance that is worn in athletic and recreational activities to protect teeth from trauma. The dental profession unanimously supports the use of mouthguards in a variety of sports activities.
Why should I wear a mouthguard?
A mouthguard can prevent serious injuries such as broken teeth, jaw fractures, cerebral hemorrhage and neck injuries by helping to avoid situations where the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw. Mouthguards are effective in moving soft tissue in the oral cavity away from the teeth, preventing laceration and bruising of the lips and cheeks, especially for those who wear orthodontic appliances. They may also reduce the severity and incidence of concussions.
In what sports should I wear a mouthguard?
Anytime there is a strong chance for contact with other participants or hard surfaces, it is advisable to wear a mouthguard. Players who participate in basketball, softball, football, wrestling, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, in-line skating and martial arts, as well as recreational sports such as skateboarding and bicycling, should wear mouthguards while competing.
Why don’t kids wear mouthguards?
Parents are sometimes uninformed about the level of contact and potential for serious dental injuries involved with sports in which the child participates. Some, though not all, schools reinforce the health advantage of mouthguards for their contact sports. Cost may be another consideration, although mouthguards come in a variety of price ranges.
What are the different types of mouthguards?
Stock mouthguard: The lowest cost option is a ready-made, stock item, which offers the least protection because the fit adjustment is limited. It may interfere with speech and breathing because this mouthguard requires that the jaw be closed to hold it in place. A stock mouthguard is not considered acceptable as a facial protective device.
Mouth-formed mouthguard: There are two types of mouth-formed mouthguards. The first is a shell-liner mouthguard that is made with an acrylic material that is poured into an outer shell, where it forms a lining. When placed in an athlete’s mouth, the protector’s lining material molds to the teeth and is allowed to set. Another type is a thermoplastic, or “boil-and-bite,” mouthguard. This mouthguard is softened in hot water and then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth by using finger, tongue and sometimes biting pressure.
Custom-made mouthguard: The best choice is a mouthguard custom-made by your dentist. It offers the best protection, fit and comfort level because it is made from a cast to fit your teeth.
 
How should I care for a mouthguard?
  • Clean your mouthguard by washing it with soap and cool (not hot) water.
  • Before storing, soak your mouthguard in mouthwash.
  • Keep your mouthguard in a well-ventilated, plastic storage box when not in use. Make sure the box has several holes so the mouthguard will dry.
  • Heat is bad for a mouthguard, so don’t leave it in direct sunlight or in a closed automobile.
  • Don’t bend your mouthguard when storing.
  • Don’t handle or wear someone else’s mouthguard.
  • Call your dentist if there are any problems.

Root Canals: Planting A Lasting Image

For a severely infected tooth, there are often only two treatment options: root canal therapy or tooth removal. In most cases, a root canal is the preferable choice, because it’s the only way to save a tooth. Extractions are the treatment of last resort.
A root canal consists of the dentist making a small hole in the tooth and then removing the tiny nerves and blood vessels within the root(s). The roots are then shaped, disinfected and filled with an inert material.
While root canals are the most feared of all dental procedures – largely due to lingering stories of outdated treatment methods, which paint the wrong picture – today this procedure can be performed with minimal discomfort. Furthermore, the success rate is quite high; 90% of patients experience no further complications after the procedure.
In the rare instances where a root canal fails, there are still options available. In many cases, the root canal can be performed again. If this isn’t possible, a procedure called an apicoectomy can be performed. An apicoectomy involves the removal of the root’s tip and then placing a filling over the severed root tip. If these measures fail, the tooth may have to be removed.
However, please remember that modern root canal therapy is both safe and overwhelmingly effective. Plus new techniques continue to build upon the already high success rate.
Call our office today if you experience severe tooth pain. We will examine your tooth and advise on the most appropriate course of treatment.