Dental Tips Blog

Aug
9

Advantages of Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are a popular cosmetic dental procedure.  Dental veneers are thin porcelain shells that are bonded to the front surface of the patient’s teeth to improve the appearance of the tooth. Veneers can be a very effective option for many cosmetic issues.

Veneers are an excellent choice for correcting discolored teeth that do not respond well to bleaching or whitening.  Teeth that are darkened or discolored due to stains on the interior of the tooth rather than on the surface generally cannot be bleached with teeth whitening products.  For example, teeth that have turned gray due to tetracycline will not respond to teeth whitening.  Veneers work well to hide these types of dark or stained teeth.

Veneers are also often used as an alternative to orthodontics for moderately misaligned teeth.  Veneers can be shaped so that the teeth appear straight without the time, discomfort, and hassle of braces.  With veneers, the patient does not have to wear a retainer to maintain the position of their teeth.

Veneers can fill in gaps between teeth and provide length and fullness to short or misshapen teeth.  If the teeth are severely worn, a cap or crown may be a better choice than veneers.

Results are immediate and often dramatic with veneers.  Placement generally takes two visits to your cosmetic dentist.  During the first visit, your cosmetic dentist will prepare the surface of your teeth and take an impression which will be sent to a lab where the veneers will be made.  Once the veneers are ready, a second appointment is scheduled and the veneers are bonded to the teeth.  You will walk out of the dentist’s office after the second appointment with your dazzling new smile.

Aug
9

Dental Veneers – Know Before You Go

Dental veneers are a very popular cosmetic dental option for correcting discolored, misshapen, and misaligned teeth.  Dramatic results can be achieved in just two or three visits to a cosmetic dentist without a lot of invasive dental work.  Unlike some other cosmetic dental procedures, you can have a “Hollywood” smile overnight with dental veneers.

Before you take the plunge, be sure to consult with your cosmetic dentist and have a full understanding of the downsides of dental veneers and any alternative cosmetic dental procedures.  Dental veneers are a great option for many patients, but they are not always the best alternative.  Whether dental veneers are right for you depends on your unique situation.

The main downside to dental veneers is that placement requires removal of a thin layer of your natural tooth enamel.  Veneers are thin porcelain shells that are bonded to the front of your teeth. Tooth enamel is removed where the veneer is to be placed so that the tooth will not look or feel “bulky” after the veneer is bonded to the tooth.

While removal of the enamel itself does not typically cause any problems, it means that once you get veneers, you are committed to having veneers for the rest of your life.  Veneers typically only last for five to ten years so you need to be sure that you are willing to incur the expense of replacing old veneers when they chip, break, or wear out.

Also, some patients experience increased dental sensitivity after getting veneers, but in most cases the sensitivity will resolve after a few days.  Your cosmetic dentist will be happy to discuss any concerns you may have about dental veneers and explain your options.

 

Aug
9

Composite Fillings Make Good Sense

Posted in Fillings

Most Duluth GA dentists offer you a choice when it comes to what type of material to use for your dental fillings.  You can choose silver colored amalgam fillings or tooth colored composite fillings.  Amalgam has been the filling material of choice for decades, but composite fillings may be a better choice in many situations

The first consideration is cost.  It takes less time and skill to prepare a tooth for an amalgam filling. In addition, the amalgam material is less expensive than composite resin materials.  As a result, amalgam fillings are less expensive than composite fillings.

Amalgam is also considered a little more durable than composites.  Replacement time can vary widely, but amalgam fillings average around 15 years while composites may need to be replaced after about 10 years.  As composite materials improve, we can expect this gap to get smaller.

If cost and durability were the only factors, amalgam would be the clear choice.  However, composite fillings have some important advantages.  The most obvious advantage is aesthetics.  Composite fillings are tooth colored and do not detract from the appearance of your smile like amalgam.

Another advantage of composite fillings is that they add support and strength to the tooth because filling material is chemically bonded to the tooth.  Amalgam is pressed into the cavity and held in place using friction and pressure.  In addition, less of the healthy tooth has to be removed to place a composite filling.  There is less drilling necessary and more of the healthy tooth is preserved.

Preservation of the natural tooth becomes particularly important when the filling needs to be replaced years later.  Since there is more health tooth left, it is more likely that the filling can be replaced with another filling instead of needing a cap or crown.

The choice is yours, but unless there is a compelling need to place an amalgam filling, composite fillings are better for your teeth and better looking too!

Aug
8

Is Painless Dentistry the New Norm?

For generations, the term “painless dentistry” was considered an oxymoron similar to “military intelligence” or “jumbo shrimp”, but modern dentistry has come a long way in recent years and most dental work should now be virtually pain free and comfortable.  There is no longer any need to fear going to the dentist or to suffer through an uncomfortable, painful dental procedure.

Modern dental care is far more comfortable than most adults are used to experiencing in part because of advances in dental care and in part because dentists have recognized that pain, discomfort, and dental anxiety stem from the perception that dentistry is supposed to be uncomfortable or painful.  After all, that’s the experience of generations of dental patients who have endured dental care rather than welcomed it.

Dentists have addressed that perception by creating a soothing, comforting environment in the dental office.  Gone is the whine of the air powered drill, replaced by quiet electric drills.  Many dentists offer soothing music or even television for the patient to enjoy during their dental procedure.  Waiting rooms at modern dentists’ offices look and feel more like a waiting room at the spa than a dental office.  Today, dentists understand that a relaxed patient is a comfortable patient.

For many patients, the injection of novocain was the most painful and dreaded part of any dental procedure.  Improvements in injection techniques have made numbing the area to be worked on virtually pain free.  Most dentists use topical numbing agents so patients don’t feel the “stick”.  In addition, the discomfort from the injection is usually due to injecting the novocain too fast and many dentists use computer controlled injectors instead of a syringe so that the novocain is administered slowly and comfortably.

The widespread use of sedation also increases comfort and decreases anxiety.  The attitude in the old days was that sedation was for dental “wimps”, but now most dentists offer nitrous oxide and oral or intravenous sedation as needed to provide a comfortable dental experience.

Aug
6

Affordable Cosmetic Dentistry

If you think cosmetic dentistry is only for Hollywood stars or the rich and famous, you will be happy to know that there is a wide range of cosmetic dentistry procedures that can help you get that glamorous smile you always wanted without breaking the bank.  Millions of Americans are flocking to their cosmetic dentist to take advantage of the  many affordable cosmetic dentistry procedures that can produce dramatic results.

Teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures and for good reason – it works wonders, its inexpensive, and there are few side effects.  Many people use over the counter teeth whitening products, but for the best results a professional in-office teeth whitening is hard to beat.  You will notice the difference in a single treatment and by having the teeth whitening done in you dentists office, you will avoid some of the sore lips and gums common with over the counter teeth whitening products.  In addition, your dentist will coordinate the teeth whitening treatment with other cosmetic procedures for a great overall effect.

If you have unsightly silver amalgam fillings, talk to your cosmetic dentist about replacing them with attractive tooth colored composite fillings.  Composite fillings look just like your natural teeth and since they are bonded in place, they add strength to the tooth.  You should complete your teeth whitening first, then replace your amalgam fillings so your dentist can match the color of your smile.

Adults with misaligned teeth no longer have to suffer years of “metal mouth” to get an attractive, straight smile.  Invisible aligners are the modern way to straighten misaligned teeth without having to endure a mouth full of metal wires and bands.  They work for most moderate alignment issues and no one will be able to tell that you have them.  For faster results, six-month braces focus on aligning just the front teeth and use tooth colored bands and wires to make them much less noticeable.

Talk to your cosmetic dentist about creating an affordable treatment plan to help you achieve the smile you always wanted!

Aug
6

Are Your Gums Receding?

When the gum tissue surrounding your teeth begins to recede and expose more and more of your teeth, this is a condition referred to as gum recession.  Gum recession or receding gums is a common dental condition that can be cause by a variety of factors.  Gum disease is one of the primary causes of receding gums.  Bacteria that infects the gums can destroy gum tissue and cause the gums to recede.  Left untreated, gum disease can cause serious health problems and tooth loss.

Brushing too hard can also lead to receding gums.  Brushing twice a day is good for your oral health, but brushing hard only wears down the tooth enamel and gums.  There is no need to brush hard.  On the other hand, not brushing often enough can also lead to gum recession. The naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth will form plaque and tartar that will build up below the gums and cause gingivitis, gum disease, and gum recession. Brushing  gently with a soft bristle brush twice a day and flossing once a day will remove plaque and bacteria and help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and gum recession.  In addition, you should see your dentist regularly for a dental cleaning and checkup.   Some people don’t notice receding gums because it happens slowly, but your dentist will be able to identify it during an examination and treat it before it gets worse.

Other causes of receding gums include tongue or lip piercing, crooked teeth, hormonal changes, and teeth grinding.  Tobacco use, including smokeless tobacco and cigarettes, also contributes to gum recession.  In addition, some people are simply genetically predisposed to gum recession no matter how well they take care of their oral health.

Gum recession can and should be treated to avoid damage to your teeth, gums, and the supporting structures.  Without treatment, gum recession can result in the loss of your teeth.  If you notice your gums receding, consult with your dentist about treatment options.

Aug
6

Treatment Options for Receding Gums

Posted in Uncategorized

Receding gums is a common oral health issue that many people don’t even notice because it happens so gradually.  Once gum recession has been diagnosed, it needs to be treated before it progresses and causes further damage to the gums  and teeth.  Without treatment, gaps form between the teeth and gum line that allow bacteria to build up and cause gum disease that can ultimately lead to damage to the gums and jawbone and result in tooth loss.

There are several options for treating receding gums.  Gum tissue grafts are a common and effective method to replace missing gum tissue.  Your dentist will remove tissue from the roof of your mouth or from nearby healthy gums and suture the tissue to the gums at the gum line.

If pockets have formed, your dentist may recommend a pocket depth reduction. During this procedure, your dentist will open up the pockets that have formed in the gums at the base of the tooth and clean out the harmful bacteria.  The gum tissue will then be securely stitched in place, closing the pocket and preventing harmful bacteria from  entering.

In more serious cases where the supporting bone has been damaged, regeneration is needed.  As in a pocket reduction, the dentist opens the pockets and cleans out the harmful bacteria.  A regenerative material will be applied to the area and the gum tissue will be secured to the root of the teeth.

Your dentist will explain your options and recommend a treatment plan that will best address your condition.   To prevent gum disease from occurring, brush carefully with a soft bristled brush twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist at least annually and better yet, twice a year for a dental cleaning and examination.

Aug
6

Study Finds Sports Drinks Are Bad For Your Teeth

Posted in Fillings

According to a recent study published in General Dentistry, add sports drinks to the list of things that are bad for you.  Sure, sports drinks are great for rehydrating and replacing carbohydrates and electrolytes after physical exercise, but it turns out that sports drinks and energy drinks are terrible for your teeth.

The authors of the study submerged tooth enamel in a variety of sport drinks and energy drinks for 15 minutes followed by submerging the tooth enamel for two hours in artificial saliva.  The process was repeated four times a day for five days.  At the end of just five days, there was noticeable damage to the tooth enamel.

The study concluded that the high level of acidity in sports and energy drinks can damage tooth enamel in just a few days leading to tooth sensitivity and tooth decay.  Energy drinks caused the most damage which was not surprising since the acidity of the energy drinks was higher than the sports drinks.

It has long been known that sugar and sugary drinks cause tooth decay, but it’s not the sugar that damages the tooth enamel.  Naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth break down the sugar and the process creates acids that eat away at the tooth enamel.  Sports drinks and energy drinks have high levels of acidity that attack the teeth directly.

The problem is most widespread among teenagers who consume sports and energy drinks to enhance performance and energy levels.  Sports and energy drinks are seen as healthier alternatives to soft drinks, which may explain the higher rate of cavities and dental fillings noted in children recently.  Dental experts recommend avoiding sports drinks as a way to limit damage to your teeth.  However, if you or your teenager are going to drink sports drinks, wash them down with a drink of water to help reduce the amount of acid that sits on the teeth.

 

 

Aug
6

Preventative Dental Care Saves Money

Millions of Americans do not get the dental care they need in part because they believe they cannot afford it.  This idea is understandable, especially given that about half of all Americans are not covered by dental insurance and even those who have coverage often have high deductibles and co-payments.

However, the reality is that dental care can be much more affordable than most people think and there is some dental care such as preventative dental care that you simply cannot afford to skip.  In fact, dental care is one of those areas where you have to spend a little to save a lot.  Many people make the mistake of trying to save money by not going to the dentist for regular dental cleanings and checkups.  They only go to the dentist when they have a problem and their teeth or gums are sore and bleeding.

This is a huge mistake not only for your dental health but also for your finances. More than anything else, you can save big on dental care by having your teeth cleaned and examined by your dentist at least once and preferably twice a year.  Regular cleanings and checkups avoid tooth decay and gum disease.  In addition, if any tooth decay or gum disease starts to form, your dentist can take care of it easily and inexpensively when it is caught early.

By waiting until your teeth hurt to see the dentist, all you are doing is guaranteeing that you will need extensive costly dental treatment.  By the time tooth decay causes your teeth to hurt, you are likely to need more than a simple filling.  You may need a crown or a root canal to restore the tooth or you may have so much damage due to gum disease that the tooth cannot be saved.

At this point you will need treatment for gum disease followed by dental implants, a bridge, or a partial denture.  All of these are far more costly than what you would have paid for regular, routine dental care.  Do yourself and your wallet a favor-get regular preventative dental care and save money while enjoying excellent oral health.

Aug
1

Paying For Adult Braces

Posted in Braces

More and more adults are turning to orthodontics to help them achieve a more attractive smile.  Braces used to be almost exclusively limited to teenagers, but the number of adults with braces has increased rapidly in the past few years.  Part of the increase is likely due to the many new alternatives for invisible or less visible braces.

Invisible aligners such as Invisalign can correct moderately misaligned teeth in adults without unsightly metal bands and wires.  There are other less visible options including tooth colored braces and accelerated six month braces, an orthodontics system that gets the job done in about six months by focusing on straightening just the front teeth.

All these options give adults a lot of flexibility when it comes to adult braces, but paying for them continues to pose a challenge for many patients.  Cost varies depending on the patient’s needs and the type of braces, but expect to pay between $3,000 and $7,500 for a complete course of orthodontic treatment.

Unfortunately, most dental insurance plans don’t cover adult braces.  There are a few that cover it so if you have dental insurance, check your policy. Even if you are lucky enough to have a dental insurance policy that covers adult braces, it will probably only cover about half the cost. If you are among the majority without dental care insurance or whose insurance does not cover adult braces, consider using your flexible spending account (FSA) to pay for the braces.

Braces are an allowable expense for flexible spending accounts and by paying for your braces from your flexible spending account, you can reduce the cost by amount of your marginal tax rate.  If you are in the 20% tax bracket, that’s a 20% savings on your braces.

Most dentists accept payments during the course of treatment and most treatment plans take two or three years.  Consider contributing enough to your FSA each year to cover that year’s costs.  By spreading out the payments and paying through your FSA, the cost will be less of a burden and you can enjoy your straight new smile!

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