Frequently Asked Questions

I would like to improve my smile, but I am afraid to see the dentist. What can be done to make me feel more comfortable about seeing the dentist?
Our office is especially cognizant of the fearful patient. Making your experience with us a truly calm and comfortable one is our priority. We understand that each patient’s experiences, both past and present, are truly unique. A patient manner and gentle touch can be expected by all members of our team. In addition, we offer music CDs, DVD movies, pillows, blankets, and live satellite television to help our patients get the comfort they want and need.
What if I have missing teeth?
There is no reason to live with missing teeth. A full set of teeth improves self-esteem, speech, digestion, and sense of taste. It makes all the other teeth last longer by reducing the stress on the remaining natural teeth. Those patients who suffer from temperomandibular disorders (TMD) often are unable to become pain free without a full set of teeth to balance musculoskeletal and dental forces.
What is better, a bridge or an implant?
They each have advantages and disadvantages. Since any cosmetic situation that involves a missing tooth presents its own challenges and circumstances, careful and well-thought-out plans will give the best outcome. The advantage of an implant is that it will permanently replace a tooth since it’s anchored in the bone with a crown placed on top of it. A disadvantage of implants is that the process can take at least 6-8 months to complete. Bridges are not anchored into the bone like implants are, but they are anchored to adjacent teeth. This will require preparation of teeth for crowns. If you have teeth that do not have any fillings in them or are minimally restored you might not want to put crowns on them for a bridge. In this case it would be better to do an implant. But, the advantage of having a bridge as opposed to an implant is that it is fairly quick and can be completed in a few short weeks. Bridges can be done with an all porcelain system so that they can look beautiful. If the adjacent teeth are getting weak from poor bone support or excessively large fillings, having a bridge in place will give the teeth more support. With the all porcelain systems, teeth can be prepared for bridges more conservatively than before.
What is the difference between porcelain fillings and composite fillings?
Porcelain fillings also known as inlays and onlays, are laboratory processed and therefore require two visits to complete. They are extremely strong and durable and they seamlessly blend with the tooth. Composite fillings, on the other hand, are placed directly over a tooth and won’t require a second visit. They are the perfect filling material in a replacement of a small metal filling or small cavities. They are also less costly than porcelain inlays and onlays. However, since they are a plastic mixture filled with small glass particles, they cannot withstand heavy biting forces or be used as a replacement for large metal fillings. They can chip or fracture in these situations. If this is the case, the best filling material would be porcelain inlays and onlays since they have improved fracture toughness and are more capable of withstanding daily chewing forces.
What are a cap and a crown and what is the difference?
A cap is the same as a crown. They refer to complete coverage of the tooth.  They are generally necessary to protect teeth that have been weakened from previous large fillings or to support teeth that have previously fractured. Crowns are also placed on top of implants or on teeth that have had root canal treatment. Crowns are placed to make a bridge.
How can I make my teeth whiter?
We find that many of our patients are displeased with the color of their teeth. While enamel is the strongest substance in our body, it is porous and can stain. Culprits include (but are not limited to) coffee, tea, cranberry juice, red wine, soda, berries, soy sauce and smoking. Trauma to the teeth, tetracycline, nerve degeneration or simple aging can change the color of teeth. Whitening toothpastes are effective surface stain removers but they won't brighten your teeth. Some contain titanium dioxide, a white pigment in paint, giving a temporary appearance of lightening. They also consist of abrasives and may wear down enamel and expose yellow dentin, the vital tooth structure that lies beneath the enamel. With long-term usage, this may actually then give the appearance of yellowing teeth. Bleaching whitens teeth by placing a bleaching solution on the enamel to remove deep stains. If you have natural teeth and are pleased with their shape and position, bleaching may be your best option. We are proud to offer custom bleach trays and ZOOM in-office bleaching.

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