They used to be the stuff of sci-fi movies but these days your just as likely to find lasers in state-of-the-art the dental offices. Laser light can be focused into a tiny point to do very fine precision work. For treating gums in-between teeth, the laser is used to treat diseased gum tissue. It has a sterilizing effect that allows for a healthier result, especially when used while restoring teeth with tooth decay. Healing is fast with very little if any post-treatment discomfort. Lasers treatment is less invasive and less expensive than traditional gum treatment.
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Cosmetic porcelain veneers have evolved over the years to become one of the most durable, aesthetic and reliable procedures in dentistry today. Thanks to advancements in dental materials science, we can now predictably place high-strength ceramic veneers over the front of teeth and fuse them to the tooth permanently through a chemical process called “bonding”.
While braces may be fine for moving crooked teeth into the correct position, veneers can solve a many different aesthetic and functional problems at once. If teeth are yellowed, stained, chipped, rotated or beginning to wear, veneers can restore teeth to a natural shape, size and color according to the specific needs of each patient.
Veneers are not one-size-fits all. In our practice, the process is enjoyable and frequently our patients bring in pictures of smiles from magazines they want for their own mouth. We custom design each smile according to what each patients wants. While some people desire a dramatic smile makeover, others simply wish to restore their smile to what it once was when they were younger. Color and individual custom characterizations can be placed in the veneers to create a healthy, natural-looking appearance.
Many of our veneer cases serve to restore proper length to worn teeth in order to balance the bite. Veneers do not require aggressive enamel drilling like crowns do. Veneers today can be custom fabricated as thin as half a millimeter. Once bonded to the tooth enamel, they can actually strengthen the entire tooth structure. For most cases we need only roughen half a millimeter across the surface to allow room for the ceramic veneer to be placed, resulting in a natural, non-intrusive feel. And best of all, veneers can be done quickly, in only one or two appointments.
Brushing and flossing are essential to maintaining oral health. But these activities typically will not completely prevent dental decay, as most people believe. Cavities are caused my multiple factors in the mouth including diet, hygiene, gum tissue health, quality of existing dental work and the type and concentration of bacteria in the mouth. Scientists recognize that dental decay happens when a bacterial infection in the biofilm, a clear layer of microscopic bacteria on the teeth, reaches high levels. When levels of the bacteria in the biofilm reach high levels, they cause tooth decay in new areas of enamel or underneath old fillings and crowns. Today, the new standard of care in dentistry calls for diagnosis of this disease and treatment that includes eliminating the cavity-causing bacteria. This new method represents a dramatic shift in treatment from simply filling cavities. So, even dedicated brushing and flossing will not always prevent tooth decay if the biofilm is infected. Treatment today often requires the use of prescription oral rinses that are targeted to kill the decay-causing bacteria in order to restore the mouth to a normal balance.
Orthodontics involves gently pushing your teeth into place over months or years. Today, about one in five orthodontic patients is between twenty and sixty years of age. Invisible braces on the other hand, is a revolutionary advanced technology method for straightening teeth without conventional metal brackets, bands and wires.
Invisible braces uses a series of clear, removable aligners to gradually straighten teeth. They are comfortable, and because they’re made with medical-grade plastic, they’re virtually invisible. No more metal mouth means people spend less time having adjustments that are required for train-track braces. Because aligners are removable, daily brushing and flossing are not affected in any way, and you can eat anything you want.
One big area of concern in my practice relates to new patients who come to my office complaining of ongoing tooth decay problems. It’s not unusual to hear someone new tell me a story that goes something like this: Doc, I am really frustrated. It seems now for years that every time I go to the dentist they find another cavity! They show me the x-rays and sure enough, I have another one. But I really don’t have a high-sugar diet and I brush and floss religiously. What is going on? Very good question.
Contrary to popular belief, cavities are NOT caused solely by eating too many sugary foods and or not brushing enough. Many people who have high carbohydrate diet never get cavities while others who do not consume many sugary foods continue to get cavities year after year. Reality is that cavities are caused my multiple factors in the mouth including diet, dental hygiene habits and the most important, the type and concentration of bacteria found in the mouth.
Excessive amounts of specific ‘cavity-causing’ bacteria can result in tooth decay even if a patient has good dental hygiene and a low-sugar diet. And this issue is more important now than ever because people are investing in keeping their teeth healthy like never before. And don’t think that once you have a filling placed or a crown that you are out of the woods. We are finding that while new cavities in teeth are on the decline in America, there is an alarming increase in the amount of tooth decay forming underneath old dental fillings and crowns. This type of decay is harder to detect from x-rays and is typically painless! So as the old adage goes, don’t wait ‘til it hurts. This is because the bacterial gradually infect the nerve of the tooth over time, increasing the likelihood of a future root canal. Preventing bacterial tooth decay from eroding the integrity of dental work is absolutely essential to protecting the health of teeth long-term.
Of course brushing and flossing are important ingredients and are needed to maintaining oral health. But these activities may not completely prevent dental decay. Recent research has demonstrated that higher levels of aggressive cavity-causing bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans and Lacobacillus are the culprits. These bacteria efficiently convert sugars to lactic acid that gradually erodes the tooth enamel over time, even under dental work. In our office, we treat this problem with prescription oral rinses that are specifically designed to target the cavity-causing bacteria that form in the mouth every day. Such rinses, when combined with proper home-care techniques and professional supervision and maintenance by the dental hygienist can reduce levels of the harmful bacteria to the point where decay no longer threatens teeth.
Next to hair care, teeth whitening, or bleaching, is the most in-demand cosmetic procedure in America. It is relatively inexpensive and much less invasive than nearly any other cosmetic treatment. Everyone from news anchors to housewives to teenagers want brighter smiles. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, teeth whitening has increase 300 per cent over the last five years.
Sometimes patients can have unrealistic expectations about how white they want their teeth to be however. The goal should be a whiter smile, not an unnatural looking smile, but it is a personal preference. Contrary to popular opinion, tooth whitening or “bleaching” is not a coloration process. Instead, a chemical called carbamide peroxide is applied to the tooth enamel with a plastic tray or brush-on technique. This chemical essentially super-cleans the organic material off of teeth, leaving the surface looking whiter and cleaner. Yellow stained teeth tend to whiten to a greater extent than gray toned teeth in general.