Posts for: July, 2011
If you've ever looked through a magazine and viewed the perfectly aligned white smiles of celebrities and models, you may be already familiar with the look of porcelain veneers. To achieve a picture-perfect smile, many Hollywood stars choose porcelain veneers (thin-layers of porcelain) that are bonded to the front of teeth allowing for the alteration of tooth position, shape, size and color. By fixing imperfections, as well as whitening them, veneers offer celebrities a perfect smile that, when maintained properly, can last for several decades.
Evaluation: If porcelain veneers sound appealing, our office can help you decide if you're a good candidate for them. We will ensure you have sufficient tooth structure, that your teeth are in more or less a normal position, and that symmetrical gum contours are present, allowing for proper “framing” of the teeth, necessary for a beautiful smile.
The Process: Once it's been determined that you're a good candidate for veneers, our office will begin a smile analysis using computer imaging to digitally replicate your smile and then fabricate a mock-up smile made of tooth-colored wax. We will work with you to determine the right color and shade for your veneers. You can choose the brightest, whitest “Hollywood smile” or opt for a more natural color and enhanced look.
Next Steps: After your initial appointment, it typically takes the laboratory one week to fabricate your porcelain veneers. The insertion of your veneers can be done with or without a local anesthetic. We will place the veneers on your teeth with a light-sensitive resin, which sets with the use of a white light, effectively bonding them to your teeth. While you may initially experience some tooth sensitivity to hot or cold, this will disappear after a few days. Maintaining your perfect smile requires simple brushing and flossing techniques and routine check ups.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss any questions you may have regarding porcelain veneers. Read more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Smile Design, Enhanced by Porcelain Veneers.”
The best method for permanently replacing a missing tooth is with a dental implant. But did you know that there are two main techniques for placing implants? Implants can be placed either using a one stage or a two stage surgical technique, and as their names suggests, one is performed in one step while the other requires a second surgery.
With a one-stage procedure, a healing abutment is placed at the time of surgery. An abutment is a connector that attaches the implant from the bone into the mouth and which protrudes through the gum tissues. Following a 3 to 6 month healing period in which the implant fuses to the bone, a crown is then placed on the implant restoring the immediate appearance of a healthy, normal tooth. One-stage implant systems are generally used when the bone quality is good, guaranteeing good initial implant stability. They are also used when cosmetics is not a concern, such as the back areas of the mouth.
Under special conditions an implant can be placed and a crown placed on top of it at the same time. However, this is a very special circumstance requiring ideal conditions and surgical experience as well as crown fabrication know-how. It is generally safer and wiser not to subject an implant to biting forces until it is fully healed and integrated with the supporting bone.
A two-stage procedure is typically used for replacing teeth where there is no immediate need for a cosmetic solution and when more of a margin of safety is required. With this approach, the implant(s) are placed into the jawbone and the gum tissues cover them. They are not exposed to the mouth, but stay buried and left to heal. Once healed, a second surgery is performed to attach an abutment for securing the crown in place. This approach is used when there is poorer bone quality or quantity. This may make it necessary to regenerate bone around the implant at the time of its placement. There may also be other health considerations dictating that a two-stage approach may be indicated.
Depending on your individual situation and medical status, our implant team will determine which approach is best for you. To learn more about these two procedures, read the Dear Doctor article, “Staging Surgery In Implant Dentistry.” You are also welcome to contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment.
Early Detection of Oral Cancer Increases Survival Rates by 400 Percent! Take This Quick and Easy Self-Test NOW!
As with other forms of cancer, the chances of surviving oral cancer are greatly increased when you catch it in its early stages. In fact, survival rates are as high as 81 percent when oral cancer is detected early, compared to a survival rate of 17 percent or less with late intervention. And while nothing can take the place of a thorough oral cancer screening by a dentist or physician, regular self-exams at home can increase the likelihood that an oral cancer lesion will be detected early.
The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons recommends the following procedure for oral cancer self-exams:
As you examine your mouth, you are looking for the following:
- reddish patches
- white patches
- raised, lumpy, or thickened areas
- a sore that fails to heal within about two weeks, or that bleeds easily
- Use a flashlight or other bright light to see inside your mouth.
- Remove any dental appliances (retainers, dentures).
- Facing a mirror, look and feel inside your lips and at your front gums.
- Pull your cheek out to see the inside, as well as the back gums.
- Tilt your head back and check the roof of your mouth.
- Put out your tongue and check all surfaces, particularly the sides and underneath.
- Feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes in both sides of the neck and under the lower jaw.
Now you know what to look for. Time to start checking.
Other signs of oral cancer include a chronic sore throat, hoarseness, and difficulty chewing or swallowing.
If your self-exam reveals anything suspicious, see your healthcare provider immediately.
Source: The National Oral Cancer Awareness Program