Top 5 Cosmetic Dental Procedures

“Cosmetic Dentistry”. It’s a phrase that permeates the dental industry, but what does it really mean, and what are the services it encompasses?

Cosmetic dentistry refers to dental procedures that focus on the improvement of the appearance of a patient’s teeth, bite, and gums. These procedures do not necessarily improve the functionality of the teeth, such as the most popular procedure, teeth whitening. Cosmetic dentistry can include: the addition of a dental material to teeth or gums, the straightening of teeth, the removal of tooth structure or gums, or color correction.


Teeth Whitening

Whitening is the most popular cosmetic procedure. It is an option for patients who want to fix discoloration or stains on their enamel. Teeth whitening works solely on natural teeth enamel, so veneers, fillings, or crowns will not change color. There are multiple options for those looking to whiten their teeth, both in-office and at-home solutions are available. In-office procedures typically take 2 hours and provide instant results. Noticeable color improvements can be seen with at-home whitening systems in as little as 10 days.

Tooth-Colored Fillings

Tooth-Colored, composite, fillings have become the material of choice for repairing decayed teeth and are a staple in the dental industry. Since they are bonded to natural tooth structure, they can be placed less invasively than silver fillings. The best part of this cosmetic procedure is the fillings match your teeth so it will appear as if you never had any issue at all!

Veneers

A veneer is an ultra-thin, custom crafted shell of ceramic material that is bonded to the front of the tooth. A patient would choose a veneer if they are looking to close a gap, change the color of a tooth not responding to whitening, or to enhance the shape of a tooth. In most cases, tooth reduction is required first to achieve optimal results. They provide a more permanent change when compared to whitening or bonding, and they are popular with celebrities as a way of achieving the perfect smile.


Dental Implants

Dental implants are the closest match to a natural tooth when a patient is interested in replacing missing teeth. They are not reliant on adjacent teeth to provide support and are cared for in the same way as natural teeth. Implants can be done by themselves, or in a group with the assistance of a bridge or denture.


Crowns

Crowns are helpful for patients with large cavities, silver fillings which have failed, fractures, or a history of root canal therapy. Crowns are made of porcelain, or gold, and completely cover the tooth to strengthen severely damaged teeth. A consultation is highly recommended before making a decision on if a crown is right for you.

 

There are a lot of variables to consider around cosmetic dentistry services. If you think you may need or benefit from one of these procedures, feel free to contact us any time. We’re always happy to discuss your options!

Dental Abscesses

What Are They?

An abscess is a pocket of pus that accumulates around the teeth and gums from bacteria usually found in plaque. As we eat, the bacteria from our foods will cling to our teeth and begin building plaque. Without proper hygiene, such as brushing twice a day and flossing, the risk of an abscess is higher.

They can be found around the tooth but can spread into the cheek, underneath the tongue, throat, and even to the jaw/facial bones. In rare instances, they can block airways causing breathing difficulty.

There are different types of tooth abscess:

  1. Periapical – This form of abscess is found at the tip of the root.
  2. Periodontal – This form occurs around the side of the tooth in the gums.
  3. Gingival – This is only found in the gums.

How Do I Know If I Have One?

The most clear and obvious sign that you have a dental abscess is the pain in your mouth. The symptoms can extend beyond the mouth, though. Some symptoms include:

  • Pain in mouth
  • Swelling in and around the mouth
  • Redness
  • Fever-like symptoms
  • Insomnia

When To See a Dentist

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms due to tooth abscess, come visit us as soon as you are able. (Book an appointment here)

Depending on the severity of the situation, options include:

  • Draining the abscess – A dentist will make an incision in the tooth to drain the pus and clean the area with saline.
  • Root canal – Similar to draining the abscess. Here, the doctor will drill into the infected tooth, then remove the pus and replace the tooth with a crown – usually in a separate appointment.
  • A tooth extraction – If the tooth is too damaged, your dentist will remove the tooth altogether. Then they will drain the abscess.
  • Antibiotics – If the abscess starts to meddle outside the infected area, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to help rid of the infection.

If you cannot get to your dentist or doctor right away, over-the-counter medication such as Advil, or Ibuprofen will do the trick to temporarily relieve the pain. You can also contact us if you have any further questions!

Fluoridated Water — The Great Debate.

Fluoridated water is one of the more polarizing subjects in the realm of oral care. It has profound hygienic benefits but it is technically a toxin. Considering we’re exposed to small doses every day over our lifetime, some very legitimate concerns arise about its impact. We believe knowledge is power, so we wanted to put together a list of facts and myths so you can make educated decisions.

MYTH: Fluoridated Water Leads To Tooth Decay

Studies show that people who drink fluoridated water have greater reductions in tooth decay. The original reason for adding fluoride to water and dental products was for public health. In addition to drinking water, there is fluoride in many different kinds of popular toothpaste and rinses.

MYTH: Fluoride Is Not Found Naturally In Water.

Fluoride is a natural mineral derived from the earth and dispersed all around us. Its presence in natural water sources varies widely. For example, The Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors Fact Sheet on Natural Fluoride in Drinking Water states, “Fluoride in ocean water (96.5 percent of Earth’s water) is typically in the range of 1.2 to 1.4 ppm.”


MYTH: There Is Too Much Fluoride In Our Drinking Water.

According to an article published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, “Toxic dose of fluoride (for children & adults) [is] 5 mg F/kg body weight”. The fluoride in drinking water is closely monitored. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found the suggested amount for fluoride in drinking water to be at 0.7 milligrams per liter. The CDC keeps the fluoride levels for most counties all over the United States public. Right now in Hennepin County, Minnesota, the levels are exactly 0.7 milligrams per liter.

MYTH: Private Drinking Labels Have More Fluoride


According to the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, studies show that only 1% of private drinking water contains excess fluoride levels. Be mindful of the levels in well water or private drinking water. This water is only found in small connections and it is the responsibility of the owner of the well to initiate and maintain regulations for their water.

Concerns and Considerations


Fluoride is a toxin. Long-term exposure to elevated levels of fluoride can cause wearing of the enamel, which has the potential for causing something called dental fluorosis that breeds discoloration, white specs, or streaks. Fluoride can also cause something else called skeletal fluorosis which means that bones harden and lose elasticity, making a person more prone to breaks and joint problems. In extreme cases, fluoride can be known to cause thyroid problems, acne problems, cardiovascular problems, infertility, and neurological problems in babies and children. Extreme levels of fluoride ingestion can be lethal. It is important to note that these scenarios are very rare and extreme.


Benefits and Management

When fluoride is ingested, it strengthens our bones and through this restores minerals into our teeth, creating harder enamel that acts as a barrier between the plaque and sugars that can cause decay.


Other Fluoridated Products and Procedures


Whether most of your intake is from drinking water or dental hygiene products, you may be wondering when it is necessary for additional fluoride to be added to your routine or dental visits. Often, dentists may recommend fluoride treatments for someone who is at high risk for cavities or tooth decay. These treatments include a concentrated rinse, foam or gel trays, or as a varnish application. All of these options contain a much higher dosage of fluoride than is found in water or store-bought fluoride toothpaste and rinses, so a professional dentistry team must manage these procedures.

If you have questions or concerns about the incorporation of fluoride in your or your family’s oral health routines, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help.

Are Same Day Dental Implants Worth It?

These days, instead of dentures, bridges, or flippers, people are taking the safer route of having new teeth directly implanted to replace the missing ones. Having new teeth implanted has become the most popular way of replacing missing teeth. But how long can a procedure like this take?

More and more places want to promise their clients that they can get their missing teeth replaced instantly. Doing so makes it more convenient for the client because it can all be done in one day, but it poses a few risks:

  1. It only works for certain situations. In many situations, the client might not have the healthiest teeth or the strongest jaw bone. Having same day implants for people with these issues is not the best option because it could lead to nerve damage or infection.
  2. The upper jaw implants can cause sinus problems
  3. Implant movement can cause failure
    In order for the same day implant to work, the procedure requires the implant to be installed in such a precise way, that it cannot move.

Same-day implants may be very convenient and less time consuming for the client but poses more risks than benefits. So what do we do instead?

Traditional implants are a safer and more substantial alternative. The health of your teeth is the most important thing to consider in any procedure. When it comes to dental implants, the best way to do this procedure would be to install a screw in the spot of the implant the first day and let it sit for about 4 months to make sure the surrounding gums, nerves, and jaw bone all remain healthy. Once that is complete, your mouth is ready for a new crown. This alternative is our recommendation because it is low risk and is more substantial than same day dental implants.

Contact us for more information!

A History of False Teeth

For a long time, humans have relied on false teeth to make up for their missing teeth. As we get older, tooth decay, gum disease, and even genetics can eventually cause us to lose our teeth. Thank goodness for false teeth! But how did people in ancient times deal with this issue? Over time, humans have changed how they eat which caused detrimental changes to our teeth. Technology to better improve false teeth have always been developing to what we know today.

Ancient Times

False teeth trace back as far as 700BC when Romans in northern Italy were making false teeth out of animal teeth. After the fall of the Roman empire, false teeth reemerged in the 1700s when people were eating more and more sugar. The ancient way was practical and easy but not very durable. They were made from a material called “Ivory” which was found in the teeth of larger animals.

1700s – 1800s

As false teeth began to reemerge, people who needed them realized that they were best made with porcelain, gold, silver, and rubber. These materials were ideal because they were better for eating. Older materials would decay a lot faster from eating.
At the time, dentures were used by the wealthy. George Washington, an early wearer of false teeth, had a full set at age 57 made out of ivory and human teeth, and not wood as many assume.

“Waterloo Dentures”

Waterloo dentures refer to the false teeth manufactured after the battle of Waterloo in 1815. The battle of Waterloo saw 50,000 casualties which led people to begin manufacturing dentures using their teeth. The Waterloo dentures were in high demand for a long time after that.

Modern Times

Even as we advance with modern solutions to maintaining healthy teeth, there is still a need for dentures. And these days, anyone can have dentures. Dentures are now made with materials like acrylic resin, metal, porcelain and ceramics so they are easy and inexpensive to manufacture. Many places are even making 3D printed dentures.
For those who have only one or two teeth missing, they are now able to have those teeth replaced by having an artificial implant. Now more than ever, dentures and dental implants are easily accessible for whenever you might need them.

Dental Sealants- The Protector of Teeth

Although you may have been a young child, most likely you haven’t forgotten the day you realized you had your first cavity. Maybe you bit into some bubble gum and felt the painful zing that shot up into your gums, or maybe the pain crept in over time. Either way, it’s probable that you remember the whole experience wasn’t too pleasant, including the point where you had to get the filling. Thankfully, there is a way for that whole experience to be avoided for your children, and even into your adult life and it’s with the application of dental sealants.

What Are They?

Dental sealants are clear in color, and applied to the chewing surface of the teeth to act as a barrier or guard from all of the plaque that accumulates from the natural acids and food we eat. The molars in the backs of our mouths are especially hard to clean, so sealant can really help with preventing plaque buildup, cavities, and tooth decay. The CDC states that dental sealants prevent 80% of cavities in the first two years and 50% of cavities within the first four years.

This is especially great for children, as they’re not always the best at cleaning their own teeth so they’re prone to more cavities. For this reason, it is recommended that children get sealants as soon as possible. Most commonly, dental sealants can be applied as early as age six. Although it’s recommended for children to get them done as soon as they can, adults can get dental sealants too! Even if a cavity is present, sealants can be applied on top of a filling, preventing future damage to the tooth.

Application

The process is quick, pain-free, and easy. First, the teeth are cleaned and dried. Then a special compound is applied to help the sealant stick. The teeth are then rinsed and dried again, and the sealant is finally applied with a special brush. The bite down may feel a little different due to the added layer, but the sealant will form to fit the shape of the mouth at rest over a few days.

BPA Dangers?

Some people say that dental sealants can be dangerous because they contain BPA. However, a study from the American Dental Association shows that the levels are very low, in fact, the levels tested out to be a mere .09 nanograms. The U.S. Environmental Agency states that the daily exposure for a six year old child should be no more than 1 million nanograms. Furthermore, it is said that we receive more exposure to BPA through things like food, drinks, sunscreen, and cosmetics. With all of that said, the higher risk is cavities, tooth decay, and overall oral health. Dental sealant offers way more benefits than it does any major dangers.

Length of Protection

Once applied, dental sealants can last for up to ten years. It is possible for them to fall out, chip, or wear away, but that is highly uncommon. As long as the teeth are cared for as usual, the sealant should hold its strength for several years.

Insurance Coverage

Some dental plans cover the expenses for dental sealants or they pay for a percentage of the cost. Check with your insurance company to see what benefits are offered for dental sealants.

Overall, dental sealants are beneficial for oral health. They prevent cavities and tooth decay, are pain free, non-invasive, and are usually covered or discounted by insurance plans. If you are not sure if you or your child should get them, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to go over all it is you need to know further about dental sealants.

Veneers: Common Questions

It is not uncommon for patients to inquire about the appearance of their teeth. Many people are dissatisfied with the way their teeth look aside from the desire to straighten them out with corrective applications, such as braces or clear aligners. Dental veneers just may be the answer to your questions in regards to other aesthetic desires regarding your teeth. If you have thought about getting veneers and aren’t sure about them, no worries, listed below are answers to some the most commonly asked questions.

1. What exactly are veneers?

Dental veneers are made of either porcelain or resin composite materials that are paper-thin and custom made to fit the shape to the exact size needed for your unique, individual teeth. They act as discreet little shells that bond to your teeth and add a very thin layer to magically transform them into shiny, smooth, and aligned pearly whites!

2. What types of dental issues do veneers fix?

Veneers fix many different kinds of dental problems such as:
Discoloration
Enamel wear
Chips
Gaps
Uneven or misaligned teeth

3. Do they hurt?

The adhesion of veneers is considered a pain-free procedure. The gums around the teeth are typically numbed and in most cases anesthesia is not necessary. Once they are on, it is said that your mouth will feel like it always has and it will be a physically unnoticeable change.

4. What does the whole process look like?

In short, you will visit with your dentist for roughly twenty minutes to consult over your desires and needs. They place a molding on your teeth to make an impression that is sent to a lab. A trial set is made for you to try on so you can see exactly what the real deal will look like (this trial can last for about two weeks, so you can wear them until you get the real ones). Once you confirm your liking, the impression is sent back to the lab to make the final product. About two weeks later, your veneers will be done and you will be ready for the procedure. The time spent in the chair the day of the application depends on how many teeth are done. So it can range from one hour to several. Once it’s done, the dentist will have you check back with them a couple of times to ensure all is well, and then you will be good to go!

5. So, once I invest in getting the work done, can the veneers stain?

Depending on the material of choice, porcelain veneers do not stain. If you need to go with the resin composite, they do not stain as easily as natural tooth enamel but can discolor over time. As with anything, proper care can prolong the quality of the investment.

6. Do veneers last forever?

Nothing lasts forever! However, veneers do last a very long time. As long as you are committed to caring for your teeth as usual, get your regular cleanings and checkups, your veneers can last for up to fifteen years!

7. Would I need to add any special adjustments to my normal dental routine?

Nope! It is recommended that you take care of your veneers just as they were your actual teeth. So make sure to keep up on your routine visits.

8. Okay, what will this do to my wallet? Does insurance cover this?

With veneers typically being considered a procedure for cosmetic purposes, insurance does not cover the cost to get them. However, should you need, a lot of practices offer interest-free financing through a third-party partner, so you don’t have to worry about paying in full up front.

9. Can the veneers chip or break? What happens then?

It is rare for the veneers to chip or break, but of course, there are things that can happen as we are offered no guarantees in life. But don’t worry, as it is common for the veneers to be on a five-year warranty plan. So, be sure to ask about warranties.

10. Are there any alternatives to getting veneers?

Yes! Crowns offer an equally beautiful result. Veneers can be considered a less invasive procedure, though, so some may prefer that option. Everyone is unique in their dental needs. Contact us to see what the best option is for you and your individual situation.

The Conclusion

Dental veneers are definitely a great option should you decide you want to make some changes. To have them put on is a pretty standard procedure, does not take long to obtain, does not cause pain, and there are options for your budget. Give us a call find out if veneers are right for you.

Canker Sores

What Is A Canker Sore?

In the dental industry, we like to call them mouth ulcers. They are white, crater-like sores on the inside of the mouth, sometimes accompanied by redness around the white area. They might be found on the inside of the lips, cheeks, on or under the tongue, or even near the throat. They are not to be confused with cold sores, which appear around the outside of the lips.

What Causes A Canker Sore?

Lots of things! Anything from certain acidic foods, spices, injury, or stress to hormone imbalances or immune disorders.

What Should I Do About A Canker Sore?

Most canker sores resolve on their own. They are very common and typically not anything to be concerned about. If a canker sore is unusually large or lasts for more than a couple of weeks, call us up to make an appointment. If a canker sore is accompanied by any other unusual symptoms not related to your mouth (like fever or difficulty swallowing), you should call a doctor right away.

If you have any concerns about a canker sore, don’t hesitate to call us up to schedule an appointment. It’s always best to get it examined if you have any questions or concerns.

A Word to the Wise – All About Wisdom Teeth

“Why do we have wisdom teeth if we always have to pull them out?” you might say. There’s a lot to understand about these fascinating late bloomers in our mouths.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

More commonly referred to as “third molars” by dentists, wisdom teeth are an extra set of teeth in the back of the upper and lower jaw that typically emerge in our late teens or early twenties. They are often removed due to lack of room in the jaw.

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

It’s likely that we developed wisdom teeth long ago when our diets were a lot tougher on our teeth. Without the regular daily dental care we have today, tooth decay and eventual tooth loss were commonplace. These teeth came in later in life after our ancestors had likely lost some of their teeth.

When Will I Get My Wisdom Teeth?

Maybe never! That’s right, some people never develop wisdom teeth. The jury is still out as to why. Most likely, though, if you’re going to get them, they’ll come in between the ages 17 and 25. It’s not unheard of to get them earlier or later, though.

Why Do I Need to Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Unlike our ancestors, our jaws are much smaller and we typically keep our teeth for much longer. As such, there’s not much room for our wisdom teeth. Because of this lack of room, the third molars come in at bad angles (called impacted teeth) or can press up against other teeth in undesirable or potentially harmful ways. To avoid these conditions, a third molar extraction (wisdom tooth removal) is often recommended. However, there are some individuals who have room enough and no procedure is needed. It’s best to consult with a dentist who can look at your individual case and advise you properly.

Is It Dangerous?

Third molar extraction is a very common oral surgery with a high success rate. As with any surgery, complications are always possible, many of which are very treatable and easily avoided (such as dry sockets). If you have questions about the risks, give us a call or schedule an appointment.

Always remember to stop in and visit us if you have any dental concerns, are experiencing any discomfort or unusual conditions. Happy brushing!

BRUSH UP ON YOUR DAILY ORAL ROUTINE

Let’s face it. Daily oral care is easy to overlook. Life is busy, and we’re usually in a hurry. But daily oral care is one of the most important parts of your overall dental health, and it’s the part you have the most control over.

The good news is, it doesn’t take that long and the order of things isn’t as important as just doing it. Don’t get hung up on the small details. Here is what we recommend:

BRUSHING

    • Do it twice a day for 2 minutes at a time. Set a timer if it helps. Don’t cut this short.
    • Use a soft-bristled brush.
    • Don’t be too aggressive. Brush gently in circular motions.
    • Don’t brush too soon after eating or drinking, especially if you had something sugary. Wait an hour or so, and be sure to drink a glass of water.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste.

FLOSSING

    • Preferably do this before brushing, but don’t get too hung up on that. Just be sure to do it.
    • Once a day is just fine.
  • Be gentle.

MOUTHWASH

  • It’s a supplement, not a replacement. Mouthwash can be a great addition to your daily routine, but it is, by no means, a substitute for brushing and flossing.

Remember, stop in and visit us if you have any dental concerns, are experiencing any discomfort or unusual conditions. Happy brushing!