What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry encompasses not only the health of the teeth, but also their aesthetic value. Various products and procedures exist within cosmetic dentistry with the goal of improving both the well-being and visual beauty of the teeth, giving the individual a higher level of self confidence in themselves and their appearance. Read below to learn more about our cosmetic dentistry procedures available to the Toccoa & Clarkesville GA areas.
Veneers are very thin, tooth-colored shells that are custom-fit and bonded to the front of the teeth to give you an attractive smile. Veneers make it possible to correct a variety of color and shape problems.
There are two kinds of veneers:
- Composite veneers: a special plastic is molded and bonded directly to the tooth in one appointment.
- Porcelain veneers: thin shells are custom-made in a lab and applied to the teeth. These require two appointments: one for taking an Impression and a second for buffing down the natural teeth so they will maintain their size with the veneers and then placing the veneers. Lumineers and Vivaneers are new kinds of porcelain veneers that are so thin they don’t require any tooth-buffing before placement.
A crown is a dental restoration that can restore a weakened or broken tooth to its original shape, size and function. Some of the best crowns available today are:
- Lava Crowns: These all-ceramic crowns use translucent zirconia that can be custom colored. Strong enough for long-span bridges, they offer an aesthetically pleasing look and perfect fit.
- Emax Crowns: A relatively new form of ceramic crown, Emax is not only particularly strong, but it can be thinned enough to use with veneers.
- Procera Crowns: An all-porcelain crown, Procera is very attractive aesthetically, but not the strongest material available, making it susceptible to breakage over time.
- Bruxzir Crowns: These crowns are make of solid zirconia without a porcelain overlay, making them resistant to chipping. They also feature a smooth surface, which offers protection from plaque.
Dental bridges are natural-looking tooth replacements that help maintain facial structure, reduce stress on the jaw and fill in the gaps caused by missing teeth. Bridges are either fixedor removable. Fixed bridges are cemented to the existing teeth and do not come out. Removable bridges can be taken out.
The filling of dental cavities with unsightly metal alloys has been used throughout the history of dentistry. Contemporary fillings, however, are usually tooth colored and practically invisible to the untrained eye. These tooth-colored fillings can be used to replace old and worn silver amalgam, gold or other metal fillings for aesthetic purposes.
These new substances have a white color and can be made from several different substances, including composite resin, glass ionomer cement (GIC), and porcelain ceramics. These materials are very resilient and long lasting in addition to their visual advantages, but can become discolored over time. Just like metal fillings, these can be set and cured within one visit to the dentist, although they may take a little bit longer.
Teeth can become stained and discolored for a myriad of reasons. Smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee and taking certain medications can all make our smile less than brilliant. Thankfully, cosmetic teeth whitening can be a solution. Typical kits require nightly use of the product for one to two weeks. The toothpastes generally contain minerals designed to erode the colored food particles and stains on the tooth surface during daily brushing; toothpaste does not alter the intrinsic shade of the teeth whatsoever.
Generally, tooth bleaching is successful in at least 90 percent of patients, though it may not be an option for everyone. Consider tooth whitening if your teeth are darkened from age, coffee, tea or smoking. We offer Zoom!, an in-office whitening system that whitens your teeth and brightens your smile in just one hour or less.
The Zoom! chairside whitening system is a safe, effective and fast way to brighten your teeth in a single office visit. The Zoom! procedure is much more convenient than wearing trays or strips, making it a great choice for our busy patients.
ZOOM! whitening is coupled with our take-home Nite-White system to give you state-of-the-art tooth whitening. We also offer the Rembrandt™ One-Hour Smile Whitening Program. The Sapphire Plasma Arc Light from Den-Mat Corporation is the foundation of the Program. The light is used to individually whiten teeth for uniform shade consistency or for dual-arch whitening.
Dental bonding is a special filling that can restore, reshape and rejuvenate the teeth, improving both the function and the appearance of your smile. By applying a thin layer of tooth-colored plastic to the front of the tooth and sculpting it like clay, your dentist may use bonding to correct chipped or cracked teeth, broken or misshapen teeth, stained teeth or spaces between the teeth.
During the bonding treatment, an etching solution is applied to the tooth, which roughens the surface for a stronger bond between the tooth and the plastic. A thin layer of bonding resin is then placed on the surface of the tooth and sealed in place with a special light. The bonding material is then sculpted to the desired shape and colors to match your natural teeth. The results of the dental bonding procedure usually last for about ten years.
Enamel reshaping is a procedure where a tiny portion of tooth enamel is removed to subtly improve the overall appearance of the teeth and smile. Here are a few issues that enamel contouring can address:
- Teeth that are different lengths. Contouring can provide a more even smile.
- Teeth that are rough or uneven. When teeth have small imperfections, enamel contouring can often smooth things out.
- Teeth that are overlapping. In many cases, we can make it appear as if the teeth are straighter and less crowded than they are.
More About Veneers
What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are very thin, tooth-colored shells of ceramic that are custom-fit and bonded to the front of the teeth. They can give you a bright, white, even and attractive smile. Veneers make it possible to correct a variety of problems, including spaces between the teeth, chips, yellowing or stains and misshapen or crooked teeth. A veneer placed on top of a tooth can quickly and easily help you achieve a beautiful smile!
Will they look like normal teeth?
Porcelain veneers are custom-made in a dental laboratory to look exactly like the patient’s natural teeth, making them virtually undetectable. They are truly among the best of the restorative options when it comes to their similarity in appearance to healthy tooth enamel. Another benefit is that they are resistant to future staining due to coffee, tea or cigarettes. Since veneers are so thin, light shines through them, helping them blend in beautifully with natural teeth.
How durable are porcelain veneers?
With proper care, porcelain veneers are a strong and durable treatment method. They will often last for 10 to 15 years. Our dentists will ensure that your veneers are manufactured from the highest quality of porcelain, fitted with precision and bonded with the most advanced adhesive materials available.
Porcelain veneer placement will require three appointments:
1. Diagnosis and treatment planning:
This initial appointment provides an opportunity for you to take an active role in designing an improved smile. Our dentists will discuss with you the corrective abilities and limitations of this procedure and help you plan the changes you would like to make.
The second appointment will last approximately one hour. Although the porcelain veneers are very thin, the teeth receiving them are lightly buffed to compensate for the added thickness of the veneers. The tooth is typically reduced by approximately one half of a millimeter. This portion of the procedure may be performed with little or no local anesthesia.
Next, an impression is taken of the teeth and sent to the lab for creation of the custom-made veneer. A temporary veneer can be placed if the patient is uncomfortable with the appearance of the natural teeth. The veneer is usually ready one to two weeks later.
At your third appointment, your dentist will initially hold the veneers in place on your teeth with water or glycerin to determine that they are perfect in fit and color. The color of the veneer can still be adjusted at this time by altering the shade of the cement used to adhere it. Once the color is finalized, chemicals are applied to the tooth to optimize the bonding. Dental cement is then applied between the teeth and the veneer and a special light is used to quickly harden the cement. You can expect this visit to take between one and two hours.
Care and follow up
Continue a routine of proper oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily. Return for a follow-up appointment one to two weeks later.
Maintenance of your new veneers
Treat your veneers just like natural teeth and brush and floss normally. You will not damage your veneers by brushing and flossing, although using non-abrasive toothpaste is recommended. Careful home dental care will result in long-lasting esthetic success of your new veneers.
You may experience sensitivity to hot and cold after the placement of your veneers. This is caused by the reduction of enamel on the prepared teeth. Sensitivity is a very common residual effect that typically dissipates in one to two weeks. If sensitivity persists beyond that time, please call the office.
If you clench your teeth and have been diagnosed with bruxism, please inform us. Your dentist may recommend wearing a soft night guard to minimize the amount of stress placed upon your teeth while you sleep.
We hope that your new veneers achieve your goal of improving the appearance of your teeth. With proper home care and regular dental visits, they will surely help you to smile proudly from now on.
More About Dental Crowns
A dental crown is a restoration that covers or caps a tooth, restoring it to its normal size and shape while strengthening it and improving its appearance. Crowns are necessary when the tooth is broken down to the point where a filling won’t be effective.
A dental crown can be used to:
- Hold a cracked tooth together to prevent further damage
- Cover and support a tooth with a large filling where only a little of the original tooth is left
- Attach a bridge
- Protect a weak tooth from breaking
- Restore a broken tooth
- Cover a discolored or misshapen tooth
- Cover a dental implant
What is the dental crown procedure like?
Before we place a dental crown, we first have to prepare your tooth. We will remove part of the tooth so the crown can fit securely and comfortably. The area around your tooth will be numbed throughout the procedure with a local anesthetic.
After the tooth is prepared, we will make an impression of your teeth and gums using a paste or putty. This will be sent to a laboratory in order to make your custom crown, which usually takes two to three weeks. You will be given a temporary dental crown until your permanent crown is ready.
Finally, the temporary crown is removed and the new one is cemented onto the tooth.
What are the different types of dental crowns available?
There are several different methods of crown restoration, each using a different crown material.
- Metal crowns are made entirely of a metal alloy that may include gold, platinum, palladium or other elements. Compared with other kinds of crowns, metal crowns preserve more of the tooth structure. They withstand biting and chewing forces well and rarely chip or break. The biggest drawback of metal crowns is the metallic color.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns can be color-matched to your teeth. Second only to all-ceramic crowns in appearance,porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look like normal teeth. However, the metal underlying the crown’s porcelain can create a dark line. PFM crowns tend to wear down opposing teeth more than metal crowns. The crown’s porcelain portion can also chip or break.
- All-resin crowns are the least expensive type of dental crown. The drawback is that they are more prone to chips and fractures than other crowns and tend to wear down over time.
- All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns provide the best natural color of all the dental crowns. They are not as strong as PFM or gold crowns, and they may wear down opposing teeth more than metal or resin crowns. Because they are the most cosmetically pleasing, they are usually used for the front teeth.
What are the potential problems patients may experience after getting a dental crown?
You may experience increased sensitivity immediately after the procedure, particularly if the crowned tooth still has a nerve in it. For sensitivity to heat and cold, you may want to try toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Pain or sensitivity from biting down usually means that the crown is too high on the tooth. If this is the case, we will be able to fix the problem.
- Porcelain crowns may chip. Resin can be used to repair the remaining crown. If the chipping is extensive, the entire crown may need to be replaced.
- Dental crownssometimes become loose if the cement washes out from underneath. Bacteria can then leak in and cause decay. If your crown feels loose, contact our office.
In some cases,a dental crown may fall off entirely. If this happens, contact us immediately so we can walk you through the proper maintenance of your teeth and crown until you are able to come in for an appointment. We may be able to replace the crown; if not, a new crown will be made.
More About Dental Bridges
What do dental bridges do?
A dental bridge can be used to:
- Restore your smile
- Reduce your risk of gum disease
- Restore your ability to bite and chew
- Improve your speech
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
What types of bridges are there?
There are three main types of bridges:
- Traditional bridges: also known as fixed bridges, traditonal bridges are used to replace one or more missing teeth. The procedure involves creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic (false tooth) in between. Unlike dentures, fixed bridges cannot be taken out of your mouth. These are the most common type of dental bridge and are made either of porcelain fused to metal or of ceramics.
- Resin bonded bridges: also known as Maryland bonded bridges, resin bonded bridges are primarily used for your front teeth. They are less expensive than fixed bridges and are best when the teeth are healthy and do not have any large fillings. A false tooth is fused with resin to metal bands that are bonded to the adjacent teeth and hidden from view. Resin bonded bridges require minimal preparation of the adjacent teeth.
- Cantilever bridges: are used in areas of your mouth that are under low amounts of stress, such as your front teeth. Cantilever bridges are recommended when there are teeth on only one side of the open space.
What is the dental bridge procedure like?
There are several steps that need to be taken in order to create your bridge:
- First step: the adjacent teeth must be prepared. This involves removing some of the enamel to allow room for the crown to be placed over them.
- Second step: impressions of your teeth are made. These will be sent to a laboratory so we can create the bridge, pontic, and crowns to fit your unique mouth. This may take 2 to3 weeks. While your bridge is being made, you will be given a Temporary dental bridge to protect the exposed teeth and gums.
On your next visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and replaced with the new, permanent bridge. Your doctor will make sure the bridge fits properly and then cement it to your teeth.
What can I expect after the dental bridge placement?
Replacing missing teeth should make eating easier, but until you get used to the bridge, it is recommended that you eat soft food cut into small pieces. For a few weeks after receiving a bridge, it is common to experience increased sensitivity to extreme temperatures. You should start noticing a difference when you speak, as your speech will become clearer.
How long will my dental bridge last?
With good oral hygiene, you can expect your dental bridge to last from 5 to 15 years, sometimes longer. You must remember to practice proper oral hygiene to prevent the build-up of bacteria on your teeth and gums.
More Aout Dental Bonding
What is the dental bonding material made of?
The dental bonding material is a composite resin (plastic) that hardens and fuses to the tooth when your dentist shines a special light on it. Once in place, the bonding material is shaped to correct the specific problem at hand, colored to match your natural teeth, and polished until it’s smooth.
What is the dental bonding process?
Step One: your dentist applies an etching solution to the tooth or teeth that will be receiving the bonding material; this gently roughens the surface of the tooth for a stronger bond between the tooth and the plastic.
Step Two: your dentist places a thin layer of the bonding resin on the surface of your tooth and seals it in place using a special light. Several layers of resin may be added and hardened in turn. Each layer takes only a few minutes to harden.
Step Three: your dentist sculpts the bonding material to the desired shape and colors it to match the shade of your natural teeth. Finally, the bonding material is polished until it is entirely smooth.
The dental bonding procedure takes one to two hours. Its results last about ten years.
What are the different kinds of dental bonding available?
There are two main kinds of dental bonding:
- Simple fillings like the ones described above that can be done in a single appointment
- Complex fillings that require at least two appointments and the placement of a temporary filling while the custom-shaped and -colored filling is made in a lab.
Although they take longer, custom-made porcelain fillings are more natural-looking, stain-resistant and durable than ordinary bonded fillings.
Will people be able to tell I’ve had dental bonding done?
Bonded teeth look and function just like your natural teeth. The dental bonding material can be colored as well as molded, so it is often possible to match the shade of your teeth. When bonding is performed by an experienced dentist, people will not be able to tell that you’ve had cosmetic work done on your teeth- other than seeing how good your smile looks!