Frequently Asked Questions
How can cosmetic dentistry help me improve my smile?
If you’re self-conscious about 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 due to advances in cosmetic dental procedures and an increased focus on improving overall health. Having a healthier, whiter, more radiant smile is a finishing touch that everyone will notice.
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 smile restoration.
- Teeth Whitening: Bleaching lightens teeth that have been stained or discolored by age, food, drink, and smoking.
- Bondings: Composite fillings or “bondings” are now widely used instead of metal fillings to repair teeth with cavities. These tooth-colored fillings are also used to repair chipped, broken, or discolored teeth.
- 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.
- Porcelain Crowns: Crowns are tooth-colored, custom-made coverings that encase 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 when compared to temporary dentures.
What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?
Since teeth whitening has become very popular, 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.
Teeth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up may be needed every several years to keep your smile looking bright.
What factors contribute to the long term success of dental implants?
Long-term success depends on multiple factors. Firstly, success will depend on the quality and quantity of bone. The better the bone and the more available, the greater the chance of long-term success. Secondly, the experience and ability of the dental surgeon will be a factor. As with any surgical procedure, there is no substitute for the experience and talent of the dentist. And finally, the quality of the restoration placed on top of the implant will play a big role in long-term success. If the design of the implant, crowns or overdentures are poorly constructed, and biting forces are not balanced, even the best-placed dental implant will have a compromised survival rate.
Who can place a dental implant in my mouth?
A prosthodontist, an oral surgeon, or an implantologist places dental implants. The prosthodontist and oral surgeon are teamed with a restorative dentist. They will place the implants and then the patient will be seen by a restorative dentist for completion of the crowns or overlying appliance. An implantologist is trained in both dental implant surgery and restoration of the dental prosthesis. An implantologist will do both the surgery and the restoration, and there will be only one dentist during the course of treatment.
Who can restore the teeth on top of the dental implants?
A general dentist trained to restore implants, an oral implantologist, or a prosthodontist can restore teeth. It is the choice of the patient to use a ‘one doctor approach’, whereby the oral implantologist does both the surgery and the restoration, or the ‘two doctor approach’, whereby the surgery and restoration are performed by two different clinicians.
Are there any age limitations for dental implants?
No. Any person at any age can have dental implants as long as there is enough bone available in which to place the implants.
What might be some factors that would prevent me from being an implant candidate?
There are some medical factors that might prevent a person from being a good candidate for dental implants. Some of these may be uncontrolled diabetes, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, parathyroid disorders, blood disorders, rare bone disorders or bone marrow cancer. Some physical factors may include insufficient or poor quality bone, low sinuses or nerve bundles.
How often will I need to have my implants checked?
The success of your implants will depend greatly on how well you maintain them. They will need to be professionally cleaned by a hygienist at least every 6 months. Also, brushing and flossing daily is absolutely necessary for long-term success.
Is dental implant surgery painful?
No. An effective local anesthetic is used during the surgery so that you do not have any discomfort during the placement of the implants. The mild discomfort you might experience after surgery can be controlled with medications.
When can I return to work after implant surgery?
You can go to work the next day, unless some particular surgical circumstance arises.
What is a periodontist?
A Periodontist is a dentist who works to prevent and treat diseases of the gums and bone around the teeth. Most periodontists are also involved in the placement and maintenance of dental implants.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a serious, chronic bacterial infection that attacks the gums and bones that support your teeth.
What causes periodontal disease?
The major cause of periodontal disease is the buildup of plaque, which results from the overgrowth of the mouth’s naturally occurring bacteria. In order to prevent the development of periodontal disease, an individual needs to maintain sound hygiene practices by brushing and flossing daily.
What are the treatments for periodontal disease?
If periodontal disease is caught at an early stage (when it has not progressed beyond the point of gingivitis), it can be treated with scaling and root-planing (removing plaque around the tooth and smoothing the roots’ surfaces). If the disease progresses to a later stage, the patient may need surgical treatment, which involves cutting the gums, eliminating the hardened plaque build-up, and repairing the damaged bone.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums around the roots of the teeth. It marks the early stage of periodontal disease, and it is characterized by red, swollen gums.
What is prosthodontics?
Prosthodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with the restoration and replacement of missing teeth and parts of the jaw (often using dentures or bridges).
What is a prosthodontist?
A Prosthodontist is a dental professional who creates, restores, and replaces human teeth. After completing four years of dental school, a prosthodontist has completed three additional years of additional training in a postdoctoral program.
What are dentures?
Dentures are a partial or complete set of artificial teeth used to occupy the upper or lower jaw, usually attached to a plate. Simply put, dentures are a set of false teeth.
Who needs dentures?
If you have lost most or all of your teeth, you are a perfect candidate for complete dentures. If you still have some natural teeth remaining, a partial denture is recommended to help improve chewing ability, speech, and support for facial muscles.
What is an oral surgeon?
An oral surgeon is a dentist who specializes in different aspects of surgery in and around the mouth. He / she performs simple extractions and difficult, complex extractions, including the removal of wisdom teeth. Most oral surgeons are qualified to install dental implants and perform jaw realignment procedures. They usually have about four years of advanced education after finishing dental school.
What is oral/ maxillofacial surgery?
Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of defects, injuries, and diseases involving the head, mouth, teeth, gums, jaws, and neck.
Who needs to have their wisdom teeth extracted?
Anyone who is in danger of developing impacted wisdom teeth (third molars that only partially erupt or get trapped or stuck in the jaw) should have them removed so that they do not damage adjacent molars and cause other oral problems. In addition, anyone who is getting dentures should have their wisdom teeth removed.
Do oral surgeons treat TMJ?
Yes. Oral surgeons treat Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.