Frequently Asked Questions

What are porcelain veneers? How can they improve my smile?

Porcelain veneers are individually crafted to cover the front of a tooth, and are made of thin shells of tooth-shaped porcelain. They do not stain and are very durable, which make them a popular solution to restore or enhance the aesthetics of a smile.

Veneers can be used in the following conditions:

  • Damaged or chipped teeth
  • Gaps or spaces between teeth
  • Stained and discolored teeth
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Too large or too small teeth
  • Tooth crowding

The process of applying veneers usually takes two visits. The first visit involves creating an impression of the teeth that require veneers, and then sending the impression to a laboratory where a custom-made veneer is created to match your individual smile.

The teeth are then prepared with light buffing to reshape the front surface of the tooth, which allows for the thickness of the veneer. Then the veneers are fitted and bonded to the surface of the tooth with special bonding cements. This whole process is done with little or no anesthesia.

How can cosmetic dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?

Cosmetic dentistry is a great solution if you’ve been feeling self-conscious about your smile or you just want to improve your smile.

In the last several years, cosmetic dentistry has become popular due to many advances in procedures and the materials available today. In addition, many patients are growing more focused on their overall health, which includes both prevention methods and healthier, more radiant smiles.

When it comes to improving your teeth and enhancing your smile, there are many dental procedures available. This depends largely on the patient’s needs, and can vary from restoring a single tooth to having a complete mouth make-over. Ask your dentist to learn more about cosmetic dentistry and improving the health and beauty of your smile.

  • Teeth Whitening – Bleaching is a procedure used to lighten teeth that have been discolored or stained by food, drink, smoking, or age.
  • Composite Fillings – Composite fillings are now much more widely used to repair teeth with cavities or replace old fillings. Also known as “bonding”, these tooth colored fillings can also be used to repair broken, chipped, or discolored teeth.
  • Porcelain Veneers – Bonded to the front of your teeth to create a beautiful smile, veneers are thin, tooth colored shells that are custom made to fit the individual tooth. They are a simple and quick solution to hid damage, discolored, or poorly shaped and misaligned teeth.
  • Porcelain Crowns – Crowns are similar to veneers in that they cover the tooth, but they are custom made to encase the entire tooth surface. Crowns are usually used to protect and strengthen teeth that cannot be restored in other ways. They are perfect for teeth with advanced stages of decay or large broken fillings.
  • Dental Implants – Implants use artificial roots that are placed into the jaw, and can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. Additionally, crowns, bridges, and dentures can be made to attach to the implants, giving patients a strong solution to removable appliances.
  • Orthodontics – Straightening teeth with orthodontics is becoming much more appealing to adult patients with the development of less visible brackets, or in some cases custom made, clear, removable aligners that require no braces.

How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?

Since the disease is usually painless early on in its development, most people don’t know that they have periodontal disease. In fact, four out of five people have some form of the disease and don’t even know it! The best way to identify the disease early is with regular dental checkups and examinations.

When plaque, saliva, and food debris, are left on the gums for extended amounts of time, periodontal disease can occur. The bacteria creates toxins which inflame the gums around the tooth and can even begin to eat away at the bone. A good way to avoid plaque buildup is by regular flossing and brushing.

Besides poor oral hygiene, below is a list of other causes of periodontal disease:

  • Tobacco Usage – Plaque and tartar buildup on teeth is much more common among tobacco users
  • Tooth or Appliance Conditions – Crowded teeth, defective or damaged fillings, and appliances that no longer fit properly can trap plaque and bacteria
  • Medications – Some medications can reduce saliva, which dries the mouth and makes it easier for plaque to stick to gums and teeth
  • Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty – Changes in hormone levels can make gum tissue more sensitive to bacteria toxins
  • Diseases – HIV/AIDs, blood cell disorders, and diabetes
  • Genetics – A family history of tooth loss is a good indicator that a patient may be predisposed to more aggressive types of periodontitis.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Swollen Gums
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Loose Teeth
  • Receding Gums
  • Bad Breath
  • Gaps Between Teeth
  • Pain or Discomfort
  • Pus around teeth or gums

What are sealants? When are they recommended?

Most food particles and bacteria are removed with thorough brushing and flossing, but the deep grooves on the chewing surfaces of teeth can be hard to reach. This is where more than 75 percent of dental decay begins. To combat this, sealants play an important role.

A sealant consists of a thin plastic coating, which covers the chewing surfaces around the deep grooves on teeth and protects them from food particles and bacteria. Sealants also make these areas much easier to clean, protecting them from decay.

Sealants can be applied to children, adults, and even infants, and the process only takes a few minutes per tooth. After treatment, it is important to avoid chewing on ice cubes, popcorn kernels, or any hard or sticky food substance that could remove the sealant. Combining sealants with regular dental checkups, a proper diet, and good oral care at home is a great way to prevent tooth decay.

How often should I schedule dental exams and cleanings?

The best way to ensure a healthy smile is with regular dental exams and cleanings twice a year, although your dentist may recommend even more frequent appointments. These visits are essential in maintaining the health of your teeth and preventing dental problems from occurring. Besides simply cleaning and checking for cavities, here are a few other things that are reviewed during a regular exam:

  • Medical Review – Checking up on your current medical conditions can give us insight into your overall health and dental health.
  • X-ray Exam – X-rays determine tooth and root positions, but can all detect any decay, tumors, cysts, or bone loss
  • Oral Cancer Screening – We will check the face, neck lips, and all tissue inside the mouth for any signs of oral cancer
  • Gum Disease Evaluation – Close examination around the gums and bone for signs or symptoms of periodontal disease
  • Tooth Decay Exam – We use special dental instruments to check the surface of teeth for any signs of decay
  • Existing Restorations Exam – We inspect all current crowns, fillings, etc.
  • Removal of Calculus(Tarter) – Tartar is the buildup of hardened plaque, which attaches itself firmly to the tooth both above and below the gum line. Tartar can only be removed with special instruments.
  • Plaque Removal – Plaque is a growing colony of living bacteria, saliva, and food particles that produce toxins and slowly eat away at your gums and teeth.
  • Teeth Polishing – This removes the plaque and stains that are missed during regular tooth brushing and scaling.
  • Oral Hygiene – We will review and recommend oral hygiene aids based on your examination.
  • Dietary Habits – We will review your eating habits and make suggestions based on your examination


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