Posts for: January, 2013
When speaking about veneers in dentistry, many people wonder what they are really made from and how they produce such natural results. The answer is dental porcelain...and yes, it really is a type of porcelain or glass. Even though they are made of porcelain, not all porcelains are the same. This is one reason there can be such a wide price range when comparing porcelain veneer pricing from one dentist to another. For example, the quality of the dental porcelain used and the expertise of the dental lab artisans greatly impact the price of a veneer — just like other pieces of fine art, pricing depends upon the materials used and the artistry of the person creating them.
Dental porcelains are used to create veneers because of their near ideal optical properties in mimicking natural teeth in shine, opacity, and translucence. And when you combine these facts with the artistry of the lab technician and your dentist skill's in placing the veneers, you begin to understand how veneers are virtually undetectable in cosmetically-enhanced teeth. Another reason for using dental porcelain is that they can be made in many colors, shades and translucencies to enhance the optical properties and natural beauty of whiter, brighter, and visually appealing teeth. However, do not let the word porcelain, fool you when it comes to durability. While veneers are not as strong as natural teeth they are not so fragile that you should worry about breaking or damaging them with normal wear and tear. However, you should avoid biting into extremely hard substances; using your veneers as a tool in lieu of scissors, tweezers, or pliers (you should not use your natural teeth as a tool either!); and twisting your veneers when biting into harder substances.
When you begin a smile makeover in our office, you are embarking on an exciting partnership with my laboratory technician and me. You should be full of excitement and anticipation — if you have been dissatisfied with your current smile, and you have great expectations for the results of this project. You will really like what you see in your mirror.
Being completely satisfied with your new look depends upon successful communication — between you and me and also between my dental lab technician and me. As you might expect, your perceptions of how your teeth appear are different from a dentist's perceptions. My education leads me to think of factors that untrained individuals probably won't consider, such as crown (tooth) length, midlines (how the teeth line up with other facial features) and the distance from gum to lip.
It is helpful to be able to describe what you like and don't like about your current smile, and what changes you would like to see. Using visual aids is a good idea. Bring photos and magazine illustrations to show what you have in mind. (Remember that we cannot make you look exactly like a celebrity or anyone else. The pictures are guidelines.)
Things to think about:
- The color, size, shape, alignment and spacing of your teeth.
- How much of your teeth and gum tissues show when your lips are relaxed and when you smile.
- Tooth color: bright “Hollywood” white or more natural looking off-white.
Your makeover is more likely to meet your expectations if you get an advanced view of the results. Computer imaging is one way to do this. Another is for us to make a mock-up of the proposed dental work in tooth-colored wax on models of your mouth.
Finally, a “Provisional Restoration” can be used as a test to make sure that what I envision is also what you, the patient, want to see. A provisional restoration, made from temporary materials, gives you a chance to test out the changes and make sure they work for you — that they not only look good, but they are also functional in terms of biting, chewing, speech, and gum health.
If the provisional restoration works, it is used as a blueprint to make durable and long lasting porcelains in the same design. We will take impressions of the provisional restoration and communicate the relevant information to a dental laboratory technician, who will make the final porcelain tooth replicas for your new smile.
Competent communication and a provisional restoration will put you on track to meet your expectations and obtain the most aesthetic and functional result in your Smile Makeover.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about Smile Makeovers. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Great Expectations — Perceptions in Smile Design.”
Dentists often recommend bone grafting to ensure the success of dental implants. And it is likewise common for people to squirm a bit at the thought. Bone graft? That sounds serious. And maybe a bit, well, unappealing. These feelings are completely understandable. After all, this may be something you've never had to consider before. But there's no reason to worry. HereÃ¢Â€Â™s why:
- Bone grafting is not new or experimental. It is actually a very routine part of the implant process, as well as other types of oral and periodontal surgery. And it is very successful when performed by an experienced doctor.
- Bone grafting materials are processed for safety. The grafts used — whether synthetic or from a natural source, such as cow or human bone — have been specially treated for medical use.
- Only a small amount of this bone-grafting material is needed. Once placed in the site of the missing tooth, it serves as a helpful scaffold your body uses to build more of its own bone in that spot.
- Your implant will be more ideally positioned and may work better. It needs a good, strong foundation with which to fuse. But when teeth are lost, this supporting bone is often lost, too. This loss is often unpredictable and bone grafting limits the change that occurs. In fact that's one of the main benefits of replacing missing teeth with implants: they help prevent bone loss just as a natural tooth does.
- Your implant will look so much better! Think about it: Your original tooth was supported to a certain height by the underlying bone. If that bone is now gone, the replacement tooth is going to be much longer because of the missing bone height. It may not look quite right without that additional support.
So if you want the best-looking and best-functioning implant possible, have no fear of bone grafting. And please contact us to discuss any of your concerns, or schedule an appointment for an implant consultation.
You can read more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Can Dentists Rebuild Bone?”
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” or cover that we place over a tooth that is badly damaged from trauma or decay to restore its shape, strength, size and functionality. We also use them for cosmetic reasons to improve a tooth's appearance with natural, life-like results. Crowns are generally handcrafted by dental laboratory technicians using high-quality dental porcelains (ceramic materials) that are made to fit on precise replicas (molds) of the prepared teeth. In our office, we generally make temporary crowns to protect the teeth to keep them comfortable and functional while the permanent crown(s) is being made. And once a crown is placed (cemented into position), it fully encases the entire visible portion of the tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
When Are They Necessary?
There are many reasons a crown may be needed. Some of these include:
- To repair a tooth that is worn down, broken or badly damaged by decay or injury.
- To restore a tooth so severely damaged by decay that the tooth's structure is no longer intact enough to place a filling or where a filling can't restore the tooth to its former strength.
- To protect a tooth that has minor cracks or fractures from further damage.
- To create a bridge to replace a missing tooth, in which the teeth on either side, known as abutments, must be “crowned” to attach to the “pontic” (from the French word, “pont” that means bridge).
- To create the visible part of the tooth that sits atop a dental implant.
- To improve the appearance of a tooth providing a more appealing shape and color.