WHAT FACTORS AFFECT THE COLOR OF MY TEETH?
Some people are born with teeth that are more yellow than others. Others have teeth that yellow with age. Your natural tooth color can also be affected by many factors. Surface stains (called extrinsic stains by dentists) and discoloration can be caused by:
* Tobacco (whether smoked or chewed).
* Drinking coffee, tea, or red wine.
* Eating highly pigmented foods such as cherries and blueberries.
Accumulation of tartar deposits, which result from plaque that has hardened Internal stains (called intrinsic stains by dentists) can be caused by:
* Treatment with the antibiotic tetracycline during the time when teeth are forming.
* Yellowing or graying of the teeth as part of the aging process.
* Trauma to the teeth that may result in the death of the tooth's nerve, giving the tooth a brown, gray or black color.
* Ingesting too much fluoride when teeth are forming (from birth to age 16), which gives teeth a "mottled" look.
WHAT ARE WAYS TO WHITEN TEETH?
Thorough cleanings by a hygienist will remove most external staining caused by food and tobacco. Using a whitening toothpaste can also help remove these surface stains between dental visits. If stains have been present for years, you may need to have your teeth professionally whitened to remove these more stubborn external stains. Internal stains can be bleached, bonded or capped (crowned). While each of these methods is safe and effective, your dentist will recommend which treatment is appropriate for you.
HOW DOES TOOTH WHITENING WORK?
Whitening can be done either in a dentist's office or at home, using a system dispensed by your dentist. Both methods use tooth-bleaching gels that oxidize out the stain. It's not uncommon for teeth to become slightly sensitive during the whitening process.
At-home whitening is the more popular approach today. Your dentist takes an impression of your teeth and makes a custom-fitted tray, which you fill with a whitening gel and wear up to two hours daily or at night for about two weeks. Many whitening kits prescribed by dentists today contain a solution of 10-35% carbamide peroxide. When done under the supervision of your dentist, at-home whitening is very effective.
Less frequent and more expensive, this procedure takes from 30 minutes to one hour per visit, and you may have to return for several visits to achieve the desired whiteness. To protect your mouth, a gel-like substance may be applied to your gums and a rubber "shield" may be placed around the necks of the teeth. An oxidizing agent (the bleaching solution) is then applied to your teeth. Sometimes, a special light is used at five-minute intervals to help activate the whitening agent.
Do you want a beautiful smile? Whitening your teeth is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your smile and boost your self-confidence. Imagine, a single whitening procedure can counteract years of exposure to coffee, tea, red wine, cola and smoking, giving you the smile you've always dreamed of!
WILL MY NEWLY WHITENED TEETH STAIN?
Any tooth can stain, including the veneers and bonds mentioned above. To help prevent stains from coming back, avoid smoking, coffee, tea, red wine and heavily colored foods. And brush your teeth twice a day with a whitening toothpaste.
CUMMING COSMETIC BONDING
If you have teeth that have stains that cannot be removed by bleaching, and veneers or crowns are not necessary, then cosmetic bonding might be a good option for you. Cosmetic bonding is an affordable, quick and painless way to repair many cosmetic flaws or injuries, including:
* Gaps in teeth
* Spots or stains
* Chipped teeth
Dental bonding sculpts individual teeth without requiring removal of any tooth structure. This technique bonds a composite material that looks, acts and feels like the real thing, to an existing tooth. This procedure usually doesn't require the use of an anesthetic; is relatively quick to apply; gives an immediate result and is less expensive than veneers.
WHAT IS A FILLING?
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. When a dentist gives you a filling, he or she first removes the decayed tooth material, cleans the affected area, and then fills the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay. Materials used for fillings include gold, porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-colored fillings), and an amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc).
WHICH TYPE OF FILLING IS BEST?
No one type of filling is best for everyone. What's right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost. Considerations for different materials include:
* Gold fillings are made to order in a laboratory and then cemented into place. Gold inlays are well tolerated by gum tissues, and may last more than 20 years. For these reasons, many authorities consider gold the best filling material. However, it is often the most expensive choice and requires multiple visits.
* Amalgam (silver) fillings are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, due to their dark color, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not usually used in very visible areas, such as front teeth. They also contain mercury which is why we do not recommend them.
* Composite (plastic) resins are matched to be the same color as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. The ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the cavity, where they harden. Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco, and do not last as long as other types of fillings generally from three to 10 years.
* Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays and are produced to order in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth and resist staining. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth. Their cost is similar to gold.
If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown, or cap, may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated in two ways: through root canal therapy (in which nerve damaged nerve is removed) or through a procedure called pulp capping (which attempts to keep the nerve alive).
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GET A FILLING?
If your dentist decides to fill a cavity, he or she will first remove the decay and clean the affected area. The cleaned-out cavity will then be filled with any of the variety of materials described above.
Until recently, dentists used a silver and mercury amalgam to fill and seal cavities. Because a larger amount of the original tooth must be removed, these types of fillings often weaken teeth. Recent innovations now allow us to replace old silver fillings with composite or porcelain fillings that are stronger, safer and more natural looking. Say goodbye to "metal mouth" and hello to a beautiful new smile.
WHAT ARE CROWNS AND BRIDGES?
Both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.
HOW DO CROWNS WORK?
A crown is used to entirely cover or "cap" a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth. Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used because it is both strong and attractive.
Your dentist may recommend a crown to:
* Replace a large filling when there isn't enough tooth remaining.
* Protect a weak tooth from fracturing.
* Restore a fractured tooth.
* Attach a bridge.
* Cover a dental implant.
* Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth.
* Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment.
HOW DO BRIDGES WORK?
A bridge may be recommended if you're missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Your dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.
Teeth are often restored using silver or porcelain fillings. However, when too much of a tooth's structure is removed to support a filling, a crown or "cap" may be needed. A crown may be needed to:
* Restore a tooth when it is unable to support a large filling.
* Attach bridges.
* Protect a weak tooth from fracturing or restore fractured teeth.
* Cover badly shaped or discolored teeth.
* Cover dental implants.
A crown essentially covers a tooth to restore it to its natural shape and size. This permanent covering fits over your original tooth to strengthen or improve the appearance of the tooth. Fitting a crown generally requires at least two visits to the dentist's office.
Missing teeth can create a host of aesthetic and functional problems including sagging facial muscles, inability to eat certain foods and speak. Dentures may be your best solution if you've lost all your natural teeth due to periodontal disease, tooth decay or injury.
Fitting a patient for dentures does not have to be a traumatic experience. During the preliminary visit, the remaining teeth are removed and a model is made of the patient's jaw. An immediate denture may be fitted so the patient does not have to be without teeth while the mouth tissue heals. Once the mouth tissue is completely healed, the patient is fitted with their custom dentures.
WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that a periodontist places into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.
While high-tech in nature, dental implants are actually more tooth-saving than traditional bridgework, since implants do not rely on neighboring teeth for support.
Dental implants are so natural-looking and feeling, you may forget you ever lost a tooth.You know that your confidence about your teeth affects how you feel about yourself, both personally and professionally. Perhaps you hide your smile because of spaces from missing teeth.
aybe your dentures don't feel secure. Perhaps you have difficulty chewing. If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to smile, speak and eat again with comfort and confidence, there is good news! Dental implants are teeth that can look and feel just like your own! Under proper conditions, such as placement by a periodontist and diligent patient maintenance, implants can last a lifetime. Long-term studies continue to show improving success rates for implants.
WHAT DENTAL IMPLANTS CAN DO?
* Replace one or more teeth without affecting bordering teeth.
* Support a bridge and eliminate the need for a removable partial denture.
* Provide support for a denture, making it more secure and comfortable.
TYPES OF IMPLANTS IN USE TODAY
Endosteal (in the bone): This is the most commonly used type of implant. Each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth. This type of implant is generally used as an alternative for patients with bridges or removable dentures.
ADVANTAGES OF DENTAL IMPLANTS OVER DENTURES OR A BRIDGE
Every way you look at it, dental implants are a better solution to the problem of missing teeth.
Esthetic Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth! Since dental implants integrate into the structure of your bone, they prevent the bone loss and gum recession that often accompany bridgework and dentures. No one will ever know that you have a replacement tooth.
Tooth-saving Dental implants don't sacrifice the quality of your adjacent teeth like a bridge does because neighboring teeth are not altered to support the implant. More of your own teeth are left untouched, a significant long-term benefit to your oral health!
Confidence Dental implants will allow you to once again speak and eat with comfort and confidence! They are secure and offer freedom from the irksome clicks and wobbles of dentures. They'll allow you to say goodbye to worries about misplaced dentures and messy pastes and glues.
Reliable The success rate of dental implants is highly predictable. They are considered an excellent option for tooth replacement.
ARE YOU A CANDIDATE FOR DENTAL IMPLANTS?
The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in good general and oral health. Adequate bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant, and the best candidates have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease.
Dental implants are intimately connected with the gum tissues and underlying bone in the mouth. Since periodontists are the dental experts who specialize in precisely these areas, they are ideal members of your dental implant team. Not only do periodontists have experience working with other dental professionals, they also have the special knowledge, training and facilities that you need to have teeth that look and feel just like your own.
WHAT IS TREATMENT LIKE?
This procedure is a team effort between you, your dentist and your periodontist. Your periodontist and dentist will consult with you to determine where and how your implant should be placed. Depending on your specific condition and the type of implant chosen, your periodontist will create a treatment plan tailored to meet your needs. Click for more information about the treatment options described below.
Replacing a Single Tooth If you are missing a single tooth, one implant and a crown can replace it. A dental implant replaces both the lost natural tooth and its root.
Replacing Several Teeth If you are missing several teeth, implant-supported bridges can replace them. Dental implants will replace both your lost natural teeth and some of the roots.
Replacing All of Your Teeth If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant-supported full bridge or full denture can replace them. Dental implants will replace both your lost natural teeth and some of the roots.
Sinus Augmentation A key to implant success is the quantity and quality of the bone where the implant is to be placed. The upper back jaw has traditionally been one of the most difficult areas to successfully place dental implants due to insufficient bone quantity and quality and the close proximity to the sinus. Sinus augmentation can help correct this problem by raising the sinus floor and developing bone for the placement of dental implants.
Ridge Modification Deformities in the upper or lower jaw can leave you with inadequate bone in which to place dental implants. To correct the problem, the gum is lifted away from the ridge to expose the bony defect. The defect is then filled with bone or bone substitute to build up the ridge. Ridge modification has been shown to greatly improve appearance and increase your chances for successful implants that can last for years to come.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER TREATMENT?
As you know, your own teeth require conscientious at-home oral care and regular dental visits. Dental implants are like your own teeth and will require the same care. In order to keep your implant clean and plaque-free, brushing and flossing still apply!
After treatment, your periodontist will work closely with you and your dentist to develop the best care plan for you. Periodic follow-up visits will be scheduled to monitor your implant, teeth and gums to make sure they are healthy.
When you lose a tooth, a dental implant may be needed to replace the tooth root and crown. Dental implants are simply "anchors" that permanently support replacement teeth. They are secure and durable and can be cleaned and cared for much like your natural teeth.
The procedure requires a titanium root be fitted into your jaw to replace the lost tooth's root. Once the implant is anchored into the bone, the bone around the implant requires six weeks to six months of healing. Once the bone has healed, a support post and replacement tooth is anchored onto the implant.
If you have been told you have periodontal (gum) disease, you're not alone. An estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of the disease. Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost.
Gum disease is a threat to your oral health. Research is also pointing to possible health effects of periodontal diseases that go well beyond your mouth (more about this later). Whether it is stopped, slowed or gets worse depends a great deal on how well you care for your teeth and gums every day, from this point forward.
WHAT CAUSES PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
The word periodontal literally means "around the tooth." Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth.
Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.
Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless "plaque" on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form bacteria-harboring "tartar" that brushing doesn't clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.
The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria cause inflammation of the gums that is called "gingivitis." In gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. This form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place.
When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to "periodontitis" (which means "inflammation around the tooth.") In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form "pockets" that are infected. The body's immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body's enzymes fighting the infection actually start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. If not treated, the bones, gums, and connective tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
CAUSES OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE
The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. However, factors like the following also affect the health of your gums.
There have been major advances in non-surgical periodontal treatment for chronic periodontal disease. Our state-of-the-art ultrasonic scalers have been designed by a periodontist for maximum effectiveness on root surfaces. Antibiotic gels, which are placed below the gum line, reduce the need for periodontal surgery.
We take every opportunity to help you control your periodontal disease problem non-surgically and then reevaluate to determine the effectiveness of the treatment. If surgical treatment is required, the treatments maximize your comfort and your ability to regrow lost periodontal support.
HOW DOES BONDING WORK?
Bonding uses composite resins or porcelain/ composite veneers to cover the surface of stained teeth and give a nice, even appearance to broken or misshapen teeth. There are two basic bonding techniques:
* Composite bonding
First, the front of the tooth is slightly reduced to prevent the "new" tooth from being too bulky. Microscopic grooves are then etched into the tooth surface with a mild acid. A composite resin matched to the color of the surrounding teeth is applied to the tooth, contoured into shape, set using a curing light, and finally smoothed and polished.
* Veneer bonding
A veneer is made to match the color and shape of your tooth. Porcelain veneers are generally stronger, while composite veneers are less expensive. With porcelain veneers, the dentist takes an impression of the tooth and sends it to the dental lab for fabrication of the veneer, usually after the front of the tooth has been reduced. With either method, the tooth is prepared for bonding by roughening the front surface with mild etching solution. The veneer can then be bonded to your tooth using a dental bonding cement.
While more expensive, a porcelain veneer offers a better color match to your surrounding teeth and typically lasts for five to ten years.
Dental veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are bonded to the front of the teeth, providing a natural, attractive look. They can be used to fix chipped, stained, misaligned, worn down, uneven or abnormally spaced teeth.
TYPES OF DENTAL VENEERS
The two most common materials used in dental veneers are composite resin and porcelain. Both types of veneers can be fabricated by a dental technician in a dental laboratory. Dental veneers that are fabricated in a dental laboratory are bonded to the teeth with resin cement. Porcelain material is brittle; however, when it is firmly bonded to the tooth it can become very strong and durable. Composite veneers can also be fabricated by the dentist inside your mouth at a dental office.
HOW ARE DENTAL VENEERS PLACED?
The dentist would remove a small amount of the tooth surface to permit placement of the veneer. An impression is taken of the tooth and sent to the dental laboratory. The dental veneer is then made to fit the tooth and mouth. The veneer is bonded to the tooth with resin cement.
CLEANING YOUR DENTAL VENEERS
Dental veneers should be cleaned like your own teeth.Flossing once a day and brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste will help to remove food debris and plaque bacteria. Consult your dental professional about the oral care products they recommend to maintain the longevity of your dental restorations.