Got Questions? We've Got Answers!

Question - My back teeth have a lot of silver and gold. Is there a less obvious way to fill cavities?
Answer - New advances in tooth-colored porcelain and composite materials not only allow fillings to go unnoticed, but are stronger and more wear-resistant than silver and gold.
Question - There's a big gap between my two front teeth. Can that be changed?
Answer - Yes. Bonded veneers can close gaps and help create the smile you desire. Bonded resins generally require one office visit, while porcelain veneering takes two. Bonded veneers, along with good oral hygiene and a healthy lifestyle, are effective ways to enhance a smile. A cosmetic dentist can explain the various techniques and help determine which is the best suited to your specific needs.
Question - How can I make my discolored teeth whiter?
Answer - Tooth whitening, the process for lightening discolored teeth, can be accomplished in the dentist's office or with dentist-supervised, at-home systems. Teeth can be whitened to the desired shade over one office visit. At-home systems should be individually fitted by a cosmetic dentist.
Question - I don't like my teeth or my smile – what can I do?
Answer - A wide variety of options are available to improve how your teeth work and the way your smile looks. Check out our “Cosmetic Dentistry " section to see how other patients with similar problems were helped.

Question - Why do my teeth have stains and discolorations?
Answer - Most stains are caused by age, tobacco, coffee, or tea. Other types of stains can be caused by antibiotics, such as tetracycline; or too much fluoride.
Question - What treatments are used for stained teeth?
Answer - Supervised bleaching procedures that are done in-office and at-home have become among the most popular treatment options. In some cases, the procedure is performed entirely in the office, using a light or heat source to speed up the bleaching process. In other cases, an oral health care professional gets the procedure started during an office visit and then gives you what you need to complete it at home. Still another popular procedure is one that you complete entirely at home. At home procedures, sometimes called nightguard vital bleaching, consist of placing a bleaching solution, usually a peroxide mixture, in a tray (nightguard) that has been custom fitted for your mouth by an oral health care professional. The bleaching solutions may vary in potency and may be worn for an hour, or throughout the night. Your oral health care professional can advise you on the appropriate type of application and the length of time needed to whiten your teeth, based on the severity of tooth discoloration and your specific needs.
Question - How effective are bleaching systems?
Answer - Bleaching is effective in lightning most stains caused by age, tobacco, coffee, and tea. Based on clinical studies, 96 percent of patients with these kinds of stains experience some lightening effect. Other types of stains, such as those produced by tetracycline use or fluorosis (too much fluoride), respond to bleaching less reliably. If you have a tooth-color filling when your teeth are bleached, the filling will stay yellow—dental restorations do not change color when tooth whitener is applied.

Question - What are "dental veneers"?
Answer - Dental Veneers can be a less expensive and less invasive alternative to crowns. They are an ideal choice for people with severe staining and discoloration caused by coffee, soda or cigarettes. They can also be used to correct crooked, chipped, misshapen and oddly shaped teeth. Unlike tooth crowns, Veneers do not require the dentist to remove much of the tooth itself although in certain circumstances removing a part of the tooth might be necessary. Be sure to discuss these requirements with your dentist before the procedure. Veneers will not stain and they are very durable, lasting anywhere from ten to fifteen years and they are perfect for people looking to acquire a pleasant smile. The first step in getting tooth veneers is to have your dentist cast moldings of your teeth. Once these moldings are cast, the veneers themselves are created. Veneers are essentially thin slices of porcelain or plastic molded to the shape of your teeth. The dentist will then lightly buff the outer layer of your teeth to allow for the added thickness of the veneer. In certain cases, he may also have to remove a part of your tooth. The dentist will then use cement to bond the veneer to your tooth. Be sure to request a temporary placement in the beginning to make sure you are happy with the results. Once you are satisfied with your new smile, the dentist will then cleanse your teeth with chemicals and replace your veneers using a permanent cement and a light beam to achieve a durable bond.
Question - What is the difference between resin (bonding veneers) and porcelain veneers?
Answer - Bonding veneers are composed of a resin which is not as durable as the lab processed porcelain veneers and because they are a resin, they do tend to stain/ darken over time. Porcelain veneers are lab processed and are custom made to fit perfectly over the existing tooth. Both procedures require some reduction of the enamel to make room for the veneer or bonding. The porcelain veneers require two visits since lab work is involved; whereas the resin veneers may be performed in one visit.

Question - What is a dental implant?
Answer - Dental implants are titanium bolts which are surgically screwed into your jawbone to allow for a realistic looking crown to be anchored in place. Implants can be a welcome alternative for people missing most or all of their teeth and can also be used to replace a single missing tooth. The procedure requires treatment and, depending on the size and shape of your jawbone, might also require a bone graft. However, once it has ‘taken', the implant will last a lifetime. The crowns anchored to an implant do have to be replaced every ten to fifteen years. There are also a number of variables depending mostly on the shape of the jawbone and the number of implants that need to be placed. The treatment to insert the implant into your jawbone can require a three to six month healing period. In certain cases it might be possible to connect the prosthesis, whether it be a crown, a bridge or a full denture immediately after the treatment, this depends on each individual case. But once the implant has fused with the surrounding bone, the resulting anchor is very strong and durable and makes for excellent results.
Question - What are the dental implant pros and cons?
Answer - Dental implants are a dependable and life long cosmetic dentistry procedure. Compared with bridges that require certain degree of adjacent tooth reduction, and dentures which sometimes feel loose and unstable, they provide a permanent solution that is both functional and natural appearing. Dental implants are Expensive.

Question - What is a "tooth crown"?
Answer - There are a variety of factors that may contribute to the deterioration of teeth over the course of time. Age, tooth decay, defective fillings, improper bites and chewing patterns all play a role in the eventual wearing down and cracking of teeth. Dental crowns can reverse the effects of time by covering the entire visible surface of a tooth with enamel and porcelain to both strengthen the tooth and increase its durability. Crowns also improve the appearance of worn down and damaged teeth. Your dentist can tell you which problem areas in your mouth might be helped by the placement of a crown. Crowns come in two basic types: porcelain fused to metal and full porcelain crowns. Porcelain fused to metal crowns are an option in cases where extra resistance is needed for any given reason. Full porcelain crowns are very popular as they can be made to closely resemble natural tooth color and transparency. Advancements in composite resin materials and bonding technology have also limited the need for metallic crown anchors that hold the crown in place.

Question - What is the dental bridges procedure?
Answer - A dental bridge is basically a false tooth (also known as a pontic) which is placed in the space left by a missing tooth. Porcelain crowns on either side of the tooth are bonded with resin to the pontic in what is known as a fixed bridge. This procedure can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. Bridges reduce the risk of gum disease and help correct some bite issues. They can last for a long time.
Question - What are the pros and cons of dental bridges?
Answer - Bridges appear natural and blend in well with your existing teeth. They can also usually be set in only two office visits to your dentist. With a regimen of good oral hygiene they can last as many as ten years or more. The biggest risk in having a dental bridge is the possibility of gum disease if a serious commitment to oral hygiene is not made. Another minor side effect is a mild sensitivity to extreme temperatures during the laboratory process, while you are wearing your temporal crowns.

Question - What is the dental bonding procedure?
Answer - Dental bonding is a procedure that uses a composite resin to restore and reshape damaged and decayed teeth in a variety of manners. Bonding can be used for everything from removing stains to closing gaps in teeth to correcting crooked or misshapen teeth. A cosmetic dentist will apply a bonding material to your tooth, shape and sculpt it and then harden the material using a high-intensity light. The resulting new surface is then finely polished. Composite bonds can last from seven to eleven years. Minor dental bonding procedures can usually be completed in one office visit for small fixes and for replacing fillings. More complicated bonding procedures can require additional time and visits and may involve the casting of a mold and the use of temporary fillings while the permanent bond is cast by the lab. These types of bonds are usually made of porcelain, color-matched to your existing teeth and provide a durable and stain resistant solution to your problem.
Question - What are the pros and cons of dental bonding?
Answer - Dental bonding is an alternative to the use of silver fillings and has many advantages over them. Since the composite resin used for bonding can adhere directly to the tooth, bonds are more structurally sound. Also, composites can be color-matched to existing teeth and are therefore useful for fixing minor cracks, chips and gaps. The only disadvantage to using composites for dental bonding is the additional cost involved.

Question - How long will dentures last?
ANSWER - With normal wear and care most dentures should last 5-7 years. In fact, we recommend replacement after that time due to the wearing down of the acrylic and tooth materials. Plus, the bone and tissue in your mouth change as you age, so your denture just won't fit your mouth as well as it should anymore. When a denture is not fitting properly, health problems often result.
Question - How will dentures affect my appearance?
Answer - A new, properly fitted denture will help you look better by providing the support your lips need, and by giving your face and smile a more natural appearance. Having good-looking teeth also gives you the confidence and freedom to smile and live life to the fullest. A tell-tale sign that it's time to replace your dentures- when you notice sagging facial muscles, excessive wrinkling and protruding lower jaw.
Question - Will people know I wear dentures?
Answer - Our dentures are custom-crafted by hand to ensure a natural, life-like appearance. The acrylic has fibers throughout so it looks like real gum tissue. Plus, we provide our patients the choice of teeth in different shapes and sizes with shading and blending that mimics natural tooth enamel. We also work hard to provide you with the best possible fit to avoid slipping, clicking and slurred speech. The only thing people will notice is your beautiful, natural looking smile.
Question - What is a partial denture?
Answer - Partial dentures are removable dental appliances for patients who need to replace just a few missing teeth. (Full dentures replace all of your teeth, either upper, lower or both.) Arches are made consisting of replacement teeth and are attached with clasps to the remaining natural teeth for support and retention. Partial dentures can be used on the upper or lower arches.

Question - What is a root canal?
ANSWER - Dentists use the term “root canal” in referring to the tiny, narrow passageways that branch from a central, hollow space in your tooth (called the pulp chamber) down to the ends of the tooth roots. The term can also be used as a shorthand for “root canal treatment” — that is, the procedure used to save the tooth if the soft tissue deep inside of it (called pulp) becomes acutely inflamed or infected.
Question - Why do I need root canal treatment?
Answer - If tooth pulp becomes acutely inflamed or infected — because of decay or injury for example — the tissue will need to be removed in order to save the tooth and stop the infection from spreading. As an adult, you don't actually need the pulp — its primary use is to aid in tooth development during childhood.
Question - Is there an alternative?
Answer - You could have the whole tooth extracted, but it's always better to try to save it — especially since root canal treatment is routine and has a very high success rate (over 90%). Saving the tooth can prevent other troubles from occurring later on; these could include bite problems from teeth shifting position, difficulty eating, and loss of jawbone volume and density.
Question - Is root canal treatment painful?
Answer - The procedure normally causes no more discomfort that a filling would. Root canal treatment may have a bad reputation, but it is undeserved; in this case it's the disease that's to blame and not the cure. In other words, the infections that make the treatment necessary in the first place are often painful because they are inflaming tissue that has lots of nerves and therefore is very sensitive. Root canal treatment actually relieves this pain!