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The Offices of Stephen Schoen

FAQ

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about our office. If you have any other questions, please contact us or call our office directly and someone will assist you as soon as possible!

What is prosthodontics?

Prosthodontics is a dental specialty recognized by the American Dental Association that deals with cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, crowns, bridges, dentures, and temporomandibular joint disorders.

Why choose a prosthodontist?

Choose a prosthodontist because of their extensive experience, advanced knowledge, improved efficiency, and their use of advanced technology. 

Prosthodontists are dental specialists in the restoration and replacement of teeth who have completed dental school plus three additional years of advanced training and education in an ADA-accredited prosthodontic graduate program. 

Prosthodontists provide an extremely high level of care to patients with missing teeth, or having significant damage to their existing teeth. Prosthodontists work with congenital defects as well as problems arising from trauma and neglect. Prosthodontists are highly trained in state-of-the-art techniques and procedures for treating many diverse and complex dental conditions and restoring optimum function and esthetics. These include: crowns, bridges, complete and removable partial dentures, dental implants, TMD-jaw joint problems, traumatic injuries to the mouth’s structure and/or teeth, snoring or sleep disorders, and oral cancer reconstruction and continuing care.

Why do you need a Prosthodontist to restore your missing teeth?

A prosthodontist provides an exceptionally high level of care for patients who are missing teeth many teeth or have considerable damage to their existing teeth. Prosthodontists treat problems relating to trauma and neglect such as patients with advanced gum (periodontal) disease and badly broken down teeth. The prosthodontist can aid in the rehabilitation of a complete dentition. With the advent of dental implants as a viable means of replacing teeth, the prosthodontist’s role has now expanded substantially. The prosthodontist can provide the control and expertise that is necessary to make an implant supported restoration look and function properly.

A prosthodontist will usually treat the more difficult dental problems such as people who are missing many teeth or have significant functional or aesthetic problems. The general practitioner is capable of handling most simple crown and bridge procedures to replace and repair missing teeth. When it comes to restoring an entire arch or the whole mouth, the prosthodontist is indicated for this difficult and complex type of dental treatment.
Patients contemplating dental implants or major changes in their appearance should consult with a prosthodontist to assure that they are gaining the best possible care for their dentition. These difficult treatments require the expertise that is only available by a trained prosthodontist.

Is a prosthodontist different from a “cosmetic dentist”?

The American Dental Association recognizes nine dental specialties, and the ADA does not include “cosmetic dentistry” as a specialty. Prosthodontists receive extensive training and experience in dental esthetics and cosmetics during their graduate programs which currently last three years. Many cosmetic dentists receive training during seminars or a series of courses, but this training is usually limited to weekend or possibly weeklong courses.

Will the prosthodontist complete all of my required treatment?

The prosthodontist is best viewed as the “architect” of your dental project. S/he has the vision of your final outcome, both the esthetics of your smile and the improved function of your bite. Often other dental specialists may participate in your treatment to help establish a solid foundation for your restorations. Every prosthodontist develops a treatment plan customized for each individual patient, and s/he will determine if adjunctive procedures by another doctor are necessary.

What is a Board Certified Prosthodontist?

A Board Certified Prosthodontist has successfully completed extensive examinations by the American Board of Prosthodontics. These examinations involve written and oral examinations in prosthodontic theory and literature, the presentation of three different patient treatments, documented from the beginning to the end of the treatment and examinations over the rationale of this treatment. As a Diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics, the prosthodontist must successfully complete a re-certification examination every eight years.

What is the difference between removable and fixed prosthodontics?

Removable prosthodontics includes replacing missing teeth with appliances that the patients themselves can take in and out of their mouth, such as dentures and partial dentures. Fixed prosthodontics includes replacing missing and/or broken teeth with restorations that the patient cannot take in and out, such as veneers, crowns, bridges, and implants.

What are dentures?

Dentures are removable prosthetic devices designed to replace missing teeth.

What are complete dentures?

Complete dentures are dentures that replace a complete set of missing teeth.

What is the difference between conventional dentures and immediate dentures?

Conventional dentures are dentures that are made and placed after the remaining teeth are removed and the tissues have healed. Immediate dentures are dentures that are placed immediately after the removal of the remaining teeth.

What is an over-denture?

An over-denture is a denture that fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth or implants.

What do dentures feel like?

For a few weeks, new dentures will feel awkward until you become accustomed to them. They might feel loose until the cheek and tongue muscles learn to hold them in position. It is not unusual to feel minor irritation or soreness. The patient needs to see his or her dentist or prosthodontist for regular fit adjustments to relieve any sore areas.

Are you able to eat with dentures?

Eating with dentures will take a little practice. You should start with soft foods that are cut into small pieces. As you become used to chewing, you can return to your normal diet.

Are there foods you should avoid if you wear dentures?

There are only a few eating restrictions for denture wearers. Avoid biting down directly on crunchy or hard foods, like whole apples, hard pretzels, crusty bread, or large sandwiches. They can break because of the angle where the denture comes into contact with the hard surface. Biting is limited only by the stability of the dentures themselves. Insufficient bone structure (shrunken bone ridges covered by gum tissue), old or worn dentures, and a dry mouth decrease stability.

If you wear dentures, are dental adhesives necessary?

Today’s dentures have been significantly improved through advances in both dental and materials technologies. As a result, dentures that fit properly usually do not require adhesives to secure the dentures. When you are just getting used to dentures, adhesives may be advised, but otherwise should not be necessary. A loose denture is a sign that it doesn’t fit your mouth correctly. When first getting used to dentures, you may notice them slipping when you laugh, smile, or cough, which is caused by air getting under the base and moving it. The more you wear dentures, the better you will be able to control their movements in these situations. If your mouth has insufficient bone structure, dentures will be more difficult to retain. Your dentist or prosthodontist may advise the placement of implants. These are placed in the bone and retain the denture with small, precision attachments.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a small titanium screw that serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. The implant is placed in the upper or lower jaw. It will bond with the bone over time and thus serve as an anchor for the replacement tooth. Dental implants can be used to replace a single lost tooth or many missing teeth.

Are dental implants successful?

With more than three decades of clinical experience and over a million patients treated, statistics confirm a success rate of nearly 95 percent for individual dental implants*, even higher for the bridges they support. * Results based on dental implants and bridges remaining and in function over a five-year period.

How much do dental implants cost?

The cost of dental implants will depend on several factors, including the number of teeth being replaced and the number of dental implants required to support your replacement teeth. To obtain a specific fee estimate, it is necessary to have a doctor examine your mouth. After a thorough diagnostic examination, your Prosthodontist or Oral Surgeon will recommend the treatment that is best for you. Call (864.627.9111) for a consultation.

Will dental implants work for me?

Anyone who is missing one or more teeth due to injury, disease or decay is a candidate for dental implants. Using new techniques dental implants can be inserted on almost anyone. Only those patients who are on high doses of steroids and those with uncontrolled diabetes are not good candidates for dental implants.

Old age a problem?

Occasionally, older patients express concern that their age may prevent them from enjoying the benefits of dental implants. However, health is more of a determining factor than age. If you’re healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, you’re probably healthy enough to receive dental implants. Certain chronic diseases may contraindicate dental implant treatment. Your Prosthodontist or Oral Surgeon will determine if you are a candidate for dental implants after a careful evaluation of your dental and health history.

What are the advantages of dental implants over dentures or a bridge?

Improved appearance: When you lose entire tooth – crown and root – shrinkage of the jawbone may cause your face to look older. Dental implants can stop this process. A traditional denture or bridge doesn’t. Maintained natural teeth: With traditional practices, two teeth adjacent to a missing tooth must be ground down to anchor a bridge. Dental implants often eliminate the need to modify healthy teeth. Permanent solution: Fixed Dental Implant crowns or Bridges. There are no loose parts to worry about. The implant is stable and comfortable. No adjustment is need after installation. Normally, it will serve its owner for life.

What are implant supported dentures?

Dentures that are supported by Implants can be quite stable. Adjustments of these dentures may be required from time to time. Attachments need to be changed every 12-18 months. Food can get under the dentures and can cause gum irritations.

What are the differences between an dental implant and a bridge?

An implant acts a natural tooth replacement. An implant allows you to actually feel when you bite, and provides a sense of security that your teeth are in place. The bridge is usually made to attach permanently to the dental implants and replaces any missing teeth you have.

How will dental implants affect my life?

Implant-supported replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth. This means that you can eat and drink whatever you are used to. But most importantly, dental implants often improve quality of life in a very concrete way. People who have felt embarrassed and worried because of their tooth problems are often overwhelmed by what new permanent teeth can do for their self-esteem.

Will my new teeth (i.e., implants) look natural?

When dental implants are used in combination with modern restorative dentistry, their appearance, comfort and function are very likely to exceed your expectations.

Will I be able to chew with the same force and pressure I use with my natural teeth?

Yes. Following a brief adaptation period, chewing capacity is comparable to that of natural teeth.

How much time is required for an dental implant placement?

Traditionally, the procedure has been performed in two steps. The dentist began by installing the dental implant, which was left for from three to six months to heal and integrate with the jawbone. During the healing period, the patient was given a temporary prosthesis until the permanent crown could be put in place.

Is the dental implant treatment painful?

Just as with any surgery, there can be some discomfort. Anesthesia and patient sedation are used to eliminate any discomfort at the time of the procedure. Most patients report that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they had anticipated. Your doctor will prescribe medications to ease any discomfort that may occur. Many patients report very little discomfort especially with the new minimal invasive techniques.

How will I feel after the dental implant treatment?

It is normal to have some small bruises and swelling in the gum and soft tissues. But usually the discomfort, if any, is treated with an ordinary painkiller. You should expect to be able to work in 2-3 days.

How will I care for my dental implants?

Your new teeth must be cared for and checked regularly, just like your natural teeth. Brush and floss as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist. See your dentist in every sixth months, or more frequently if so advised.

What if I do not have any bone?

Most people have some bone. It’s very rare that you have insufficient bone to insert dental implants.

Do you use zirconium abutments?

Yes. We use them for single implants especially in the front part of the mouth where the aesthetics is most important.

What will replace my tooth while the dental implants are healing?

If you have a few missing teeth a fixed provisional bridge can be attached to the implants while they are healing. Generally, it is recommended that a patient eat a soft diet for at least 6 weeks to allow the healing to take place. If you have one tooth missing which is in the front part of your mouth, we recommend some type of a removable bridge, such as a retainer which will replace the missing teeth during the healing period.

How long does a dental implant last?

With proper care, it is not unreasonable to expect your dental implant to last for the remainder of your lifetime.

What should I do if I have bad breath?

Bad breath (halitosis) can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition. Many of us may not realize that we have bad breath, but everyone has it from time to time, especially in the morning.
There are various reasons one may have bad breath, but in healthy people, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduced bad breath by as much as 70 percent.

What may cause bad breath?

Morning time – Saliva flow almost stops during sleep and its reduced cleansing action allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
Certain foods – Garlic, onions, etc. Foods containing odor-causing compounds enter the blood stream; they are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled.
Poor oral hygiene habits – Food particles remaining in the mouth promote bacterial growth.
Periodontal (gum) disease – Colonies of bacteria and food debris residing under inflamed gums.
Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances – May also contribute to bad breath.
Dry mouth (Xerostomia) – May be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing.
Tobacco products – Dry the mouth, causing bad breath.
Dieting – Certain chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat.
Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals – Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow and washes bacteria away.
Certain medical conditions and illnesses – Diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia are several conditions that may contribute to bad breath.
Keeping a record of what you eat may help identify the cause of bad breath. Also, review your current medications, recent surgeries, or illnesses with you dentist.
What can I do to prevent bad breath?
Practice good oral hygiene – Brush at least twice a day with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gumline. Brush or use a tongue scraper to clean the tongue and reach the back areas. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. If you wear dentures or removable bridges, clean them thoroughly and place them back in your mouth in the morning.
See your dentist regularly – Get a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. If you have or have had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend more frequent visits.
Stop smoking/chewing tobacco – Ask your dentist what they recommend to help break the habit.
Drink water frequently – Water will help keep your mouth moist and wash away bacteria.
Use mouthwash/rinses – Some over-the-counter products only provide a temporary solution to mask unpleasant mouth odor. Ask your dentist about antiseptic rinses that not only alleviate bad breath, but also kill the germs that cause the problem.
In most cases, your dentist can treat the cause of bad breath. If it is determined that your mouth is healthy, but bad breath is persistent, your dentist may refer you to your physician to determine the cause of the odor and an appropriate treatment plan.

How often should I brush and floss?

Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Plaque is a film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva that sticks to the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque convert certain food particles into acids that cause tooth decay. Also, if plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). If plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, causing periodontal (gum) disease.
Plaque formation and growth is continuous and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids.
Toothbrushing – Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
Brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, gently using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth.
Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.

How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?

You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year, though your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more frequent visits.
Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. At these visits, your teeth are cleaned and checked for cavities. Additionally, there are many other things that are checked and monitored to help detect, prevent, and maintain your dental health. These include:
Medical history review: Knowing the status of any current medical conditions, new medications, and illnesses, gives us insight to your overall health and also your dental health.
Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for sometime and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line, and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
Teeth polishing: Removes stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during toothbrushing and scaling.
Oral hygiene recommendations: Review and recommend oral hygiene aids as needed (electric dental toothbrushes, special cleaning aids, fluorides, rinses, etc.).
Review dietary habits: Your eating habits play a very important role in your dental health.
As you can see, a good dental exam and cleaning involves quite a lot more than just checking for cavities and polishing your teeth. We are committed to providing you with the best possible care, and to do so will require regular check-ups and cleanings.

Why is it important to use dental floss?

Brushing our teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, except in between the teeth. Unfortunately, our toothbrush can’t reach these areas that are highly susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that cause cavities and irritate and inflame the gums. Also, when plaque is not removed above and below the gumline, it hardens and turns into calculus (tartar). This will further irritate and inflame the gums and also slowly destroy the bone. This is the beginning of periodontal disease.
How to floss properly:
Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
Daily flossing will help you keep a healthy, beautiful smile for life!

Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?

Over the years there has been some concern as to the safety of amalgam (silver) fillings. An amalgam is a blend of copper, silver, tin and zinc, bound by elemental mercury. Dentists have used this blended metal to fill teeth for more than 100 years. The controversy is due to claims that the exposure to the vapor and minute particles from the mercury can cause a variety of health problems. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), up to 76% of dentists use silver containing mercury to fill teeth. The ADA also states that silver fillings are safe and that studies have failed to find any link between silver containing mercury and any medical disorder.
The general consensus is that amalgam (silver) fillings are safe. Along with the ADA’s position, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, the FDA, and others support the use of silver fillings as safe, durable, and cost effective. The U.S. Public Health Service says that the only reason not to use silver fillings is when a patient has an allergy to any component of this type of filling. The ADA has had fewer than 100 reported incidents of an allergy to components of silver fillings, and this is out of countless millions of silver fillings over the decades.
Although studies indicate that there are no measurable health risks to patients who have silver fillings, we do know that mercury is a toxic material when we are exposed at high, unsafe levels. For instance, we have been warned to limit the consumption of certain types of fish that carry high levels of mercury in them. However, with respect to amalgam fillings, the ADA maintains that when the mercury combines with the other components of the filling, it becomes an inactive substance that is safe.
There are numerous options to silver fillings, including composite (tooth-colored), porcelain, and gold fillings. We encourage you to discuss these options with your dentist so you can determine which is the best option for you.

How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Unlike tooth decay, which often causes discomfort, it is possible to have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms. Having regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important and will help detect if periodontal problems exist.
Periodontal disease begins when plaque, a sticky, colorless, film of bacteria, food debris, and saliva, is left on the teeth and gums. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that inflame the gums and slowly destroy the bone. Brushing and flossing regularly and properly will ensure that plaque is not left behind to do its damage.
Other than poor oral hygiene, there are several other factors that may increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
Smoking or chewing tobacco – Tobacco users are more likely than nonusers to form plaque and tartar on their teeth.
Certain tooth or appliance conditions – Bridges that no longer fit properly, crowded teeth, or defective fillings that may trap plaque and bacteria.
Many medications – Steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure meds, oral contraceptives. Some medications have side affects that reduce saliva, making the mouth dry and plaque easier to adhere to the teeth and gums.
Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty – Can cause changes in hormone levels, causing gum tissue to become more sensitive to bacteria toxins.
Systemic diseases – Diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV / AIDS, etc.
Genetics may play role – Some patients may be predisposed to a more aggressive type of periodontitis. Patients with a family history of tooth loss should pay particular attention to their gums.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.
Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth.
Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.
Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

How can cosmetic dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?

If you’re feeling somewhat self-conscious about your teeth, or just want to improve your smile, cosmetic dental treatments may be the answer to a more beautiful, confident smile.
Cosmetic dentistry has become very popular in the last several years, not only due to the many advances in cosmetic dental procedures and materials available today, but also because patients are becoming more and more focused on improving their overall health. This includes dental prevention and having a healthier, whiter, more radiant smile.
There are many cosmetic dental procedures available to improve your teeth and enhance your smile. Depending on your particular needs, cosmetic dental treatments can change your smile dramatically, from restoring a single tooth to having a full mouth make-over. Ask your dentist how you can improve the health and beauty of your smile with cosmetic dentistry.
Cosmetic Procedures:
Teeth Whitening: Bleaching lightens teeth that have been stained or discolored by age, food, drink, and smoking. Teeth darkened as a result of injury or taking certain medications can also be bleached, but the effectiveness depends on the degree of staining present.
Composite (tooth-colored) Fillings: Also known as “bonding”, composite fillings are now widely used instead of amalgam (silver) fillings to repair teeth with cavities, and also to replace old defective fillings. Tooth-colored fillings are also used to repair chipped, broken, or discolored teeth. This type of filling is also very useful to fill in gaps and to protect sensitive, exposed root surfaces caused by gum recession.
Porcelain Veneers: Veneers are thin custom-made, tooth-colored shells that are bonded onto the fronts of teeth to create a beautiful individual smile. They can help restore or camouflage damaged, discolored, poorly shaped, or misaligned teeth. Unlike crowns, veneers require minimal tooth structure to be removed from the surface of the tooth.
Porcelain Crowns (caps): A crown is a tooth-colored, custom-made covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. Crowns protect and strengthen teeth that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations. They are ideal for teeth that have large, fractured or broken fillings and also for those that are badly decayed.
Dental Implants: Dental implants are artificial roots that are surgically placed into the jaw to replace one or more missing teeth. Porcelain crowns, bridges, and dentures can be made specifically to fit and attach to implants, giving a patient a strong, stable, and durable solution to removable dental appliances.
Orthodontics: Less visible and more effective brackets and wires are making straightening teeth with orthodontics much more appealing to adult patients. Also, in some cases, teeth may be straightened with custom-made, clear, removable aligners that require no braces.
Thanks to the advances in modern dentistry, cosmetic treatments can make a difference in making your smile shine!

What are porcelain veneers and how can they improve my smile?

Porcelain veneers are very thin shells of tooth-shaped porcelain that are individually crafted to cover the fronts of teeth. They are very durable and will not stain, making them a very popular solution for those seeking to restore or enhance the beauty of their smile.
Veneers may be used to restore or correct the following dental conditions:
Severely discolored or stained teeth
Unwanted or uneven spaces
Worn or chipped teeth
Slight tooth crowding
Misshapen teeth
Teeth that are too small or large
Getting veneers usually requires two visits. Veneers are created from an impression (mold) of your teeth that is then sent to a professional dental laboratory where each veneer is custom-made (for shape and color) for your individual smile.
With little or no anesthesia, teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the front surface of the teeth to allow for the small thickness of veneers. The veneers are carefully fitted and bonded onto the tooth surface with special bonding cements and occasionally a specialized light may be used to harden and set the bond.
Veneers are an excellent dental treatment that can dramatically improve your teeth and give you a natural, beautiful smile.

What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?

Since teeth whitening has now become the number one aesthetic concern of many patients, there are many products and methods available to achieve a brighter smile.
Professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel, and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Over-the-counter products are also available, but they are much less effective than professional treatments and may not be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears away, eventually revealing a darker or yellow shade. The color of our teeth also comes from the inside of the tooth, which may become darker over time. Smoking, drinking coffee, tea, and wine may also contribute to tooth discoloration, making our teeth yellow and dull. Sometimes, teeth can become discolored from taking certain medications as a child, such as tetracycline. Excessive fluoridation (fluorosis) during tooth development can also cause teeth to become discolored.
It’s important to have your teeth evaluated by your dentist to determine if you’re a good candidate for bleaching. Occasionally, tetracycline and fluorosis stains are difficult to bleach and your dentist may offer other options, such as veneers or crowns to cover up such stains. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is also important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. before bleaching begins. Once the bleaching is done, your dentist can match the new restorations to the shade of the newly whitened teeth.
Since teeth whitening is not permanent, a touch-up may be needed every several years to keep your smile looking bright.
The most widely used professional teeth whitening systems:
Home teeth whitening systems: At-home products usually come in a gel form that is placed in a custom-fitted mouthguard (tray), created from a mold of your teeth. The trays are worn either twice a day for approximately 30 minutes, or overnight while you sleep. It usually takes several weeks to achieve the desired results depending on the degree of staining and the desired level of whitening.
In office teeth whitening: This treatment is done in the dental office and you will see results immediately. It may require more than one visit, with each visit lasting 30 to 60 minutes. While your gums are protected, a bleaching solution is applied to the teeth. A special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent while the teeth are whitened.
Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity after having their teeth whitened. This sensation is temporary and subsides shortly after you complete the bleaching process, usually within a few days to one week.
Teeth whitening can be very effective and can give you a brighter, whiter, more confident smile!

Does teeth whitening damage the teeth?

No. When carbamide peroxide, the active whitening agent, contacts water, hydrogen peroxide is released which whitens the teeth. Bleaching does not soften, demineralize or weaken the teeth.

Do over-the-counter bleaching products work?

There is some evidence that over-the-counter bleaching products do whiten teeth, however, many of the products are too abrasive and can damage the teeth with extended use or misuse.

What causes my jaw to pop when I open it?

There is a pad or disk that separates the jaw bone from the base of the skull. The primary cause of the “popping” occurs when you open your mouth too wide and the jaw bone “pops” off the pad or disk. Treatment is not required unless pain is associated with the “pop” or the jaw locks.

What causes tooth decay?

Tooth decay is caused by plaque in your mouth reacting with sugary and starchy deposits from food. This reaction produces acid which damages the enamel over time and weakens the tooth.

What can be done for ulcers or canker sores in the mouth?

Ulcers are very difficult to treat. There is no proven technique that will eliminate ulcers or speed the recovery time once they appear. There are a few medications that will give temporary relief from the pain, but they need to be started as soon as symptoms appear. Ulcers will generally diminish and disappear in 7-10 days.

How can I stop grinding my teeth at night?

Grinding your teeth can be very damaging to the teeth and also difficult to stop. If vigorous grinding occurs at night, teeth can be worn down to the gumline because the instinctive reflex to stop does not work while you are sleeping. Grinding due to stress can only be cured by removing the stress trigger. If grinding continues, a nightguard may be prescribed to prevent ultimate damage to the teeth.

Are there any alternatives to dentures?

Dentures are no longer the only way to restore a mouth that has little or no non-restorable teeth. Strategically placed support, or implants, can now be used to support permanently cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. The cost tends to be greater, but the implants and bridges more closely resemble the “feel” of real teeth. Dental implants are becoming the alternative of choice to dentures, but not everyone is a candidate for implants. Call your dentist for advice.

Are x-rays a danger to my health?

Radiographs, or x-rays, help your dentist determine the presence or degree of periodontal disease, abscesses, and many abnormal growths such as cysts and tumors. They can help pinpoint the location of cavities and other signs of disease that may not be possible to detect through a visual examination. All health care providers are sensitive to patients’ concerns about exposure to radiation. Your dentist has been trained to prescribe radiographs when they are appropriate and to tailor the radiograph schedule to your individual needs. By using state-of-the-art technology, such as digital radiography, and by staying knowledgeable about recent advances, your dentist knows which techniques, procedures and X-ray films can minimize your exposure to radiation.

Is flouride a danger to my health?

Fluoride is a compound of the element fluorine, which is found universally throughout nature in water, soil, air and in most foods. Fluoride is absorbed easily into the tooth enamel, especially in children’s growing teeth. Once teeth are developed, fluoride makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization, which aids in repairing early decay before the damage is visible.

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a procedure done to save the damaged or dead pulp in the root canal of the tooth by cleaning out the diseased pulp and reshaping the canal. The canal is filled with gutta percha, a rubberlike material, to prevent recontamination of the tooth. The tooth is then permanently sealed with possibly a post and/or a gold or porcelain crown. This enables patients to keep the original tooth.

When is the best time to remove wisdom teeth?

When the removal of wisdom teeth is determined necessary, it is best done when the roots are approximately 2/3rds formed, usually in the adolescent years. Removal at this time allows for an easier procedure and decreases the risk of damage to the nerves in that area.

What is the difference between a cap and a crown?

There is no difference between a cap and a crown.

Do water irrigation systems replace the need for flossing?

Water irrigation systems should not be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing. These devices are effective in removing retained food from hard to reach areas, but do not remove plaque. Dentists frequently recommend these devices with the addition of antibacterial solutions to maintain the oral health of periodontal patients.

What is root planing and why is it done?

Root planing is a technique performed in a dental office to stop the adverse affect of periodontal disease. The procedure cleans below the gumline and smooths the roots. When the roots are smoothed, the gums will usually reattach to the root stopping the bacteria from spreading. This stops and reverses some of the damage done by periodontal disease.

My gums bleed when I brush, what does it mean?

Bleeding gums is an early indicator of gingivitis, or swollen gums,usually caused by plaque and/or calculus accumulated under the gumline. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to bone loss and eventual tooth loss. Gingivitis can be reversed by proper brushing and flossing within a few weeks. If bleeding persists two to three weeks, consult your dentist.

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