Renew Your Smile with Porcelain Veneers

If chips, stains, or gaps between your teeth make you feel self-conscious about your smile, consider porcelain veneers. Made from fine dental porcelain, veneers can cover flaws and revive your smile. Because the porcelain mimics the translucency of tooth enamel, no one will notice your veneers, only your stunning, new image.

Porcelain veneers can be used to:

  • Close gaps
  • Create a uniform appearance
  • Hide permanent stains
  • Restore cracks and chips

To begin the process, you will have a consultation with your dentist. Many patients bring photos of smiles they like to this appointment. Your dentist may show you Before and After shots of other cases to help determine your preferences. After listening to your goals and reviewing different options with you, the dentist will create a detailed plan for your custom restorations.

Usually, the dentist can update your smile in two to three visits. First, the dentist will prepare your teeth for the veneers as well as take impressions that are sent to the dental lab. Often, patients wear temporary veneers, providing a trial run of their new smiles. A skilled ceramist will handcraft your porcelain veneers and send them back to the dental office. You will then return for any minor adjustments and permanent placement.

Your veneers will provide years of beauty with proper care. Routine brushing and flossing are critical to protecting your restorations. Make sure to schedule regular checkups so that your dentist can examine your whole mouth and check the status of your veneers.

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Questions and Answers about Gum Disease

Conservative estimates suggest that about 80 percent of adults in this country have some level of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. In many cases, people don’t realize they have a problem because the initial symptoms are so mild. Without treatment gum disease can lead to pain, bone degeneration, and tooth loss.

What is gum disease?
An infection of the gums surrounding the teeth, periodontal disease is caused by plaque and bacteria along the gum line. Gum disease is actually the number one cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S. The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis, which presents as swollen, bleeding gums. As the disease progresses to periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease, pockets form and the gums separate from the teeth.

What are some signs of gum disease?
Often, gum disease begins with red, swollen gums. You may also experience bleeding when you brush. Other symptoms include receding gums, pain, and chronic bad breath.

Are there certain risk factors for gum disease?
One of the main causes of periodontal disease is poor hygiene. Brushing and flossing regularly, as well as routine checkups, can go a long way to preventing gum disease. Certain lifestyle choices, like tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption, as well as genetics and medication side effects can make you more susceptible to gum disease.

How do you treat gum disease?
If you have gingivitis, your dentist will likely recommend a thorough cleaning and improved home habits. For more advanced gum disease, you may need scaling and root planing, which removes the infection and helps promote healthy gum tissue.

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Protecting Your Teeth and Dental Work

Even with good home care, you will probably need a filling at some point. Restorative work of any kind, including inlays, onlays, or crowns, can renew the strength and beauty of your smile. Once you have dental work completed in your mouth, you need to make choices that will preserve these restorations. The following helpful hints will allow you to enjoy a bright, lasting smile:

Avoid hard substances
Chewing certain candies, foods, and ice can damage natural tooth enamel, which means these items can have an even greater impact on dental work.

Choose toothpaste wisely
Stay away from toothpastes that contain harsh abrasives. These substances can cause your restorations to look dull and faded.

Make cleaning a priority
Areas with dental work can provide an easy target for cavity-causing bacteria, so make sure you brush and floss regularly.

Watch for signs of teeth grinding
Also called bruxism, teeth grinding is often a subconscious action that can wear down your teeth. Your dentist can evaluate your mouth and determine if you need a night guard, a custom oral appliance to keep you from grinding your teeth.

Schedule dental checkups
For optimal oral health, you should visit the dentist every six months. At these appointments, your dentist can evaluate your restorations and make sure they are holding up well. The hygienist will also clean and polish teeth, restoring your smile’s vibrancy.

Contact the dentist if you have trouble

You may have a filling chip or a crown break despite your best efforts. Call the dentist’s office right away so that they can repair the area and prevent more damage.

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The Pros & Cons of Dental Bonding

Dental bonding can make a broken, chipped, or stained tooth look new again. This cosmetic dentistry procedure involves adhering a tooth-colored material to a tooth, sculpting it into shape, allowing it to harden, and then polishing it. Depending upon your situation, there are both advantages and disadvantages to consider with bonding.

Pros

  • Cost – fees for dental bonding range may vary, but some insurance plans may cover portions of the cost. Dental bonding is usually quite a bit less than other cosmetic dentistry alternatives.
  • Speed – often only one office visit is required, and takes an hour or less per tooth.
  • Ease – bonding usually doesn’t require anesthesia and requires little enamel removal.

Cons

  • Stains – bonding material may discolor over time, so patients should avoid staining liquids such as coffee and red wine. For smokers, it’s a good time to quit since bonded teeth will yellow from cigarette smoke.
  • Durability – dental bonding material isn’t as long-lasting or strong as porcelain veneers and crowns, and may chip. Bonding usually lasts three to seven years with proper care.

Choosing Dental Bonding
For minor cosmetic dentistry, dental bonding may be right for you. It is useful for cracked or discolored teeth, gaps between teeth, or altering silver fillings to tooth-color. Bonding can’t be used to whiten your whole smile, but it’s a good choice for smaller repairs that will enhance your smile.

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