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People who want to improve their smile usually want teeth that are whiter, straighter, and don't have dark or discolored fillings that show when they smile. There are several options, depending on your objectives. Some options are simple and relatively less expensive, and some are more complicated and have a higher fee. However, modern dental care has made even complete smile makeovers much more gentle and easier than ever before. In addition, because we have made long term financing available to our patients, even a complete smile makeover can cost as little as $10 a day. So, don't be concerned about time, discomfort, or even cost as you consider your options.
Today, most people find that teeth which are generally whiter and brighter look more attractive and more youthful. And a better looking smile leads to more self- confidence because you know you are making a better impression.
To have whiter teeth your choices are:
Bleaching is fast, easy, safe, effective and very inexpensive. To be a candidate for tooth bleaching, you need to have teeth that are basically acceptable in shape and alignment, without many fillings that show in the smile zone. If you have teeth that are generally yellow in color, they will bleach better and faster than teeth that are generally gray in color, but almost all teeth can be improved by tooth bleaching.
If you have crowns or fillings that do appear in the smile zone, you would bleach your teeth first and, then, after the natural teeth are white, replace any fillings or crowns that do not match. With bleaching teeth, you cannot pick the exact color you will get, nor can you make the colors of all your teeth match each other. More complicated cases will not get a good result from tooth bleaching. Also, the reasons teeth can be bleached is because they are porous. In other words, there are tiny holes in the surface of the enamel so the stain and dark colors can come out. In the same way, over a few years, the teeth can darken again, depending on habits such as smoking, drinking coffee, tea, red wines etc.
Click here for more information on tooth bleaching and return here to continue.
Porcelain veneers are done by shaving just a millimeter off your teeth and placing a thin custom made shell or veneer of porcelain on your tooth. As a result, you can get the shade you want and the colors will be uniform and will not darken over time.
Porcelain crowns involve more reduction of tooth structure than veneers and are generally done only when necessary due to severe decay or extensive fillings or damage to the teeth that need treatment. The color changes are predictable, uniform and long lasting. Like veneers, the dentist can create subtle color effects and variations is surface finish that make the teeth look as white as you want and still look natural. In many cases, we combine porcelain veneers and crowns depending on what is needed, and you cannot tell which is which. They all look great.
Nothing makes a smile look old and unkempt as fillings in front teeth that do not match or have decay starting under them. Here are your options to solve the problem.
Modern laser-bonded fillings are reasonably strong and hold their color for several years and can come close to a perfect color match for your teeth. Sometimes a perfect match is just not possible and a color variance between the tooth and filling can be noticed at very close inspection. Best results are obtained when the filling is not too big or too visible. Sometimes, people may elect to place these fillings in front teeth as a short term measure and then, later, explore other options such as porcelain veneers or crowns.
In cases where fillings are large, very prominent, very decayed or the teeth are also crooked, porcelain veneers or crowns are the ideal way to fix the teeth and replace the old, worn out, leaking and decayed fillings.
You have two options to straighten your teeth. You can either get orthodontic braces or porcelain veneers. There are advantages with each.
Braces have been used for many years to straighten teeth. The benefit of braces is that it is entirely natural. Your own teeth are moved to make them straighter. Most orthodontic cases take one to two years or more, and you need to see the orthodontist every few weeks for adjustments on your braces. In addition to the cosmetic benefit, the orthodontist can also fix your bite at the same time. If the teeth are dark or have unsightly fillings, they will need to be replaced later and possibly bleached.
Porcelain veneers are a great way to straighten teeth for adults in as little as two visits over a week or two. The advantages of porcelain veneers for tooth straightening is that, at the same time that you straighten your teeth, you can also whiten them and replace any old fillings. You can also compensate for teeth that do not match each other in size, as in a case where there is not enough room without having to extract teeth.
To replace missing teeth, you have three choices. You can use fixed bridgework, removable bridgework or dental implants. Each of them has advantages and circumstances when they work best, so let's look at them one at a time.
In a fixed bridge, the dentist generally caps one or more teeth next to the space where the tooth is missing and then the missing tooth is joined to the caps to create a replacement. The fixed bridge takes the shape of a natural tooth so it looks and feels normal. It is cemented in place so it is not removed at all and does not move during normal eating and chewing.
In addition, if the other teeth are discolored, crooked, or decayed, the dentist can fix everything at the same time. The process can be completed in as little as a couple of weeks and involves little if any discomfort. Click here to see cases of teeth replaced with fixed bridgework and return here to continue.
(Will Link to fixed bridgework pamphlet)
Dental implants are a very good way to replace from one to several missing teeth. Dental implants are especially advantageous if there is one missing tooth, the adjacent teeth are perfectly healthy straight teeth and the patient is reluctant to cap a tooth like this in order to make a bridge.
Another case where dental implants are especially helpful is in a case where a patient does not have enough healthy teeth to make a fixed bridge. Dental implants can make it possible to replace several, or even all, of a patient's teeth with non-removable, natural looking and feeling teeth.
Removable bridgework is another option when there are missing teeth. It can be used as a temporary economical option to replace just a few missing teeth. It can also be used during the healing stages when a patient is getting dental implants. A removable bridge can also be used as a long term method of tooth replacement in a case where the patient does not have enough teeth for fixed bridgework and does not want, or is not a candidate for, dental implants. Click here to see cases using removable bridgework and return here to continue.
(Will Link to removable bridgework)
The first step in treating gum recession is to notice the problem and discover the cause. Unless you discover and eliminate the cause of the recession, any treatment done to repair the problem will not last.
Gum recession is treated by surgically moving healthy gum tissue into the area where the gum has receded. The procedure is performed in the dental office with local anesthetic (Novocain). The newer gum grafting techniques are quite predictable in their results and make a big difference in reducing tooth sensitivity and enhancing a person's smile.
Bad breath, or halitosis, is a very embarrassing social problem for many people. Besides the obvious problem of it being offensive to other people, bad breath is usually a sign of bacteria build-up in the mouth.
Most bad breath is caused by sulfur gases produced by bacteria in the mouth, under the gum line, or on the tongue. The smell of a rotten egg is actually sulfur gases. Since over 85% of mouth odor comes from the mouth, we suggest you follow these simple steps. If it solves the problem, you are all set. If it does not, you need to pursue it with your medical doctor.
The dental approach to treating bad breath, which will solve 9 out of 10 problems, is to start with regular dental cleanings and any periodontal treatment needed to correct an existing gum infection.
Then, the next step is to reduce the bacteria in the mouth on a daily basis with effective home care using a soft toothbrush and dental floss.
The last step is to directly attack the sulfur gases produced by the bacteria. The best way to do this is with a chlorine dioxide toothpaste and rinse.
The chloride dioxide literally breaks up the sulfur gases that are formed in your mouth. Unlike minty flavored cover-ups, the chlorine dioxide eliminates mouth odors.
Treatment for gum disease depends on the degree of severity. The earliest stage, gingivitis, has infection in the gum tissue but the disease process has not spread down into the bone. More advanced stages, such as periodontitis, where bone damage has occurred, require different treatment. And gum recession, where gum tissue is lost, exposing tooth roots, also requires different treatment.
Gum disease, whether it is the early stage of gingivitis or a more advanced stage of periodontitis, cannot be cured in the same way a disease like pneumonia can be cured. Pneumonia, once successfully treated, eliminates the presence of the bacteria that caused the disease. It is very likely that a person who is successfully treated for pneumonia will never get it again. They don't need to do anything special once the disease is gone, and the bacteria probably won't come back.
Gum disease is very different. The bacteria that cause gum disease cannot be eliminated permanently. They are likely to remain in a person's mouth forever, waiting for their next chance to penetrate the patient's defense systems.
In any stage of gum disease, from earliest to most advanced, the first step is to control the bacteria in your mouth. Unfortunately, you cannot take an antibiotic to kill the germs permanently. Even when the dentist prescribes a course of antibiotics for an acute gum abscess, we know that the germs will start to return within a few weeks. Therefore, the starting point for all patients, and we know you hate it when we tell you, is brushing and flossing to remove the germs from in-between the teeth and along and under the gum line.
The bacteria that cause gum disease will always be in your mouth. But it is only when they form clumps between the teeth and under the gum line that gum disease occurs. The same bacteria that cause gum disease cannot cause a problem on your lips and tongue because they don't build up undisturbed. Also, the tissue is thicker and stronger on the outside of your gums than the thin delicate tissue under the gum line.
Brushing and flossing is usually sufficient for patients whose gums are healthy or who have the earliest stages of gum disease, as long as they are effective in removing the plaque. However, some patients just aren't as effective with brushing and flossing. Also, patients with more advanced gum disease or gum recession might need some extra help with controlling the germs in the plaque in their mouth. Also, some patients have orthodontic braces or fixed bridgework that make effective flossing harder to do. These patients can benefit from a Rotadent toothbrush, an end-tufted brush, a proxi brush, super floss, floss threaders, or a Hydrofloss dental irrigator.
As a patient, your job is to use the devices recommended by your dentist or hygienist to control the plaque on a daily basis at home. Second, you must come for dental cleanings and inspection visits every three months so the dentist and hygienist can remove any plaque you might miss and monitor your progress. Remember, gum disease cannot be cured. It can only be controlled.
As you have learned, some people have lower resistance to gum disease. Some people's mouths provide a friendlier environment to the germs that cause gum disease.
Anyone who has had gum disease is never cured. We refer to them as a “healed perio patient”. That means that, although they do not have active gum disease in their mouths right now, we recognize their heightened susceptibility and their need for meticulous home care coupled with regular and consistent professional supervision.
We might add here that not all dentists have the training to provide these services and not all dental offices have the equipment and personnel to do this.
Click here to learn about the Dental Team and our concept of Seamless Dental Care here at Dental Care of Stamford and return here to continue.
(Will Link to Seamless Dental Care)
Now, let's look at the procedure the dental office must provide in order to treat active gum disease.
In the case of earlier gum disease, such as gingivitis or early periodontitis, the first course of action by the dentist or hygienist is Scaling and Root Planing, abbreviated as SRP. The objective of SRP is to eliminate bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar) build-up deep under the gum line, where home care and even regular cleanings won't reach. In addition, it is designed to eliminate the infection and gum pockets so the gums can heal.
If the gum disease is too advanced for SRP to completely heal the pockets, then a surgical procedure to remove infected gum tissue or to recontour the gum line may be needed.
In addition, more advanced procedures such as bone grafting may be needed to manage the bone loss of advanced gum disease.
(Link to bone grafting)
And lastly, there are procedures to graft receded gum tissue as well. Sometimes they are done in conjunction with bone grafting and sometimes they are done separately.
There are three aspects to fixing cavities.
First, the decay or rotting tooth structure must be removed. If decay is not removed, like cancer, the destruction of the tooth will continue.
Second, the cavity has to be sealed so that food and bacteria cannot re- enter the cavity and start the decay again. This is very important because while the exterior of a tooth can be brushed and flossed free of bacteria, the inside of a cavity cannot. That is why a leaking filling or open cavity must be cleaned out and sealed.
Third, the repair of the cavity must replace the missing tooth structure for chewing and be strong enough so it does not break open and start to leak. In fixing cavities, the choice of what to do is based on selecting the best material to seal the cavity and restore the missing tooth structure. The analysis of a cavity is based on how big it is. Bigger cavities need stronger material. Smaller ones do not need great strength as much as they need a good seal. To simplify this, we classify cavities as very small, small, medium, large and very large. The very small and small ones can be repaired with laser-bonded composite restorations. They have good strength and provide an excellent seal.
The large cavities, because of the amount of missing tooth structure, need something stronger than a filling, so we recommend custom-cast onlays. These can be made of gold or, today, more commonly, tooth-colored ceramic porcelain. The very large cavities, where most of the tooth structure has been destroyed, need complete crowns to fix them. The medium-sized cavities, depending on the specific tooth involved and the biting forces on the tooth, can sometimes be fixed with a laser-bonded filling, and sometimes need an onlay.
Headaches are one of the most commonly reported ailments and there are many causes of headaches. Pain in the head and neck can be due to a fever, sinus infection, an infection in a tooth or gum abscess, true migraine, a tumor in the head, high blood pressure and countless other possibilities, including
The National Headache Foundation says that the vast majority of headaches are what they refer to as episodic tension type headaches. These types of headaches are often caused by prolonged muscle contraction. It is the muscle contraction-type pain that we are focusing on here. This type of pain is often caused by tooth clenching and grinding. The tooth clenching and grinding is, itself, caused by an uneven bite. Here is where we, as dentists, can help with headache problems.
Dr. Jerry Simon has been successfully treating patients with headaches for over twenty years by eliminating a conflict between the patient's bite and their jaw joints. Dr. Simon's focus is exclusively on people whose head and neck pain can be proven to be caused by a conflict between their teeth and jaw joints. Even though his focus is on only one of many possible causes of head and neck pain, many studies have shown that over 25% of the population suffers from it.
Dr. Simon recognizes that there are many possible causes of head and neck pain and many doctors who treat these specific problems. As a result, there is intense controversy, even among professionals, about the role of the teeth and bite in head and neck pain. Due to the intense controversy in the field,
Dr. Simon specifically defines TMJ dysfunction syndrome as the pain or dental problems that can be proven to be caused by a conflict between the teeth and jaw joints. If we can prove that your pain is due to your bite, you have TMJ dysfunction syndrome and we can help you. If we cannot prove that your pain is due to a conflict between your bite and jaw joints, you do not have TMJ dysfunction syndrome and Dr. Simon will not attempt to treat you for your pain.
The problem in the profession has not really been whether treatment works or not. The problem really has been that a simple, easy and consistent method to diagnose the cause of the pain has not been available to medical doctors and dentists.
As a result, Dr. Simon has invented his patent-pending Best-Bite Discluder, already approved for marketing by the FDA, that is designed to help diagnose and prove whether your bite is the cause of your pain.
If you have head or neck pain, and the Best-Bite Discluder takes the pain away, we know your bite is the source of the pain. Then Dr. Simon can treat your bite with virtual certainty that your pain will be helped. If the Best-Bite Discluder does not relieve the pain, you probably do not have pain caused by your bite, so Dr. Simon does not recommend treating your bite as a solution to your pain.
As a result, Dr. Simon's success in treating pain patients is nearly 100%. The Best-Bite Discluder pinpoints those people who can, and probably cannot, be helped by treating their bite.
Dr. Simon's book, Take The Bite Out of Headache Pain , is due to be published later in the year. Many people successfully treated by Dr. Simon were incorrectly diagnosed as having stress, tension, sinus and even migraine headaches, when, in fact they were actually suffering from TMJ dysfunction syndrome.
If you get head or neck pain and have not had a satisfying resolution to the problem, we urge you to seek out a dentist trained in TMJ dysfunction syndrome. The solution to your pain problems may be a lot closer than you think.
First, the fillings are made of approximately 50% mercury, which we know is a hazardous material.
Click here to see a directive from the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs telling dentists that they must treat these materials as a hazardous waste, and then return here to continue.
Second, the metal fillings expand and contract at a different rate than the tooth, resulting in cracks opening between the tooth and the filling. These openings let bacteria get in and start decaying.
Third, the silver amalgam fillings expand over time, like ice cubes in a tray. As a result, dentists often see teeth break with no apparent cause. And fourth, these fillings are ugly and unnatural looking. If you have unattractive silver amalgam fillings, you can replace them with natural looking laser-bonded fillings and onlays.
In addition, we find that many of these old fillings have a lot of decay under them.
Now that dentists understand the problems associated with silver mercury amalgam fillings, and there are excellent alternatives, there is no reason why anyone should have those old-fashioned, ugly fillings in their teeth anymore.
Please come by our office for a consultation for help with your specific problem.