Posts for: October, 2016
Transforming your smile doesn’t necessarily require complex treatments like orthodontics, dental implants or porcelain veneers. Sometimes a little brightness can mean all the difference in the world.
Bleaching (or teeth whitening) is a proven method for dealing with tooth discoloration and staining. Nearly all whitening products, whether home or professional, contain the bleaching agent carbamide peroxide or its breakdown product hydrogen peroxide. These agents effectively diminish staining deep within a tooth (intrinsic) or on the enamel surface (extrinsic), although intrinsic staining will require a more invasive office procedure.
If you have extrinsic staining you have three basic options: dental office bleaching, a retail home kit or a kit purchased from a dentist. Again, you’ll find the same basic bleaching agents in each of these versions. The difference will be the concentration: home kits contain about 10% agent by volume, while the office application will be a much higher range of 15% to 35% (which may also employ specialized lights or lasers to increase the bleaching effect). As a result, an office bleaching may take only a visit or two to achieve the desired brightness while a home kit about two or three weeks.
Whitening is a more economical route for smile enhancement of otherwise sound teeth than other measures. But there are other considerations you should weigh before undergoing a procedure. Whitening isn’t a permanent fix — the brightness will diminish over time, optimally six months to a year in what dentists call the “fade rate.” You can slow this process by avoiding or limiting foods and habits that cause staining.
If you have other dental work — crowns, bridgework or fillings — it may be difficult to achieve a tint level that matches these restorations, especially at home. And while whitening is relatively safe (as long as you’re using your kit as directed), you may experience tooth sensitivity, gum irritation or other minor oral side effects.
Before you decide on whitening, visit us first for a complete dental examination. From there we can advise you on whether whitening is a good smile enhancement choice for you.
If you would like more information on teeth whitening, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Whitening.”
Improving your smile is as simple as adding a few porcelain veneers to your problem teeth. Dr. Ashley Lloyd, your Raleigh, NC dentist, explains how you can revitalize your smile with veneers.
Veneers are a simple, effective cosmetic dentistry option
Porcelain veneers provide an excellent way to change the appearance of your teeth. Veneers consist of thin porcelain shells that are only attached to the fronts of teeth. They're a good choice if one or more of your teeth are a little too round, square, pointy or just oddly shaped. Years of grinding your teeth can cause one or more of them to become shorter than surrounding teeth. Porcelain veneers restore length and improve the symmetry of your smile.
Do you have an unsightly chip on a tooth? Veneers cover imperfections and discolorations easily. They're equally effective at hiding a discoloration caused by a filling as they are brightening your entire smile. If you're unhappy with the results of teeth whitening, veneers offer a better option. Since porcelain veneers are available in an almost limitless array of shades, you can choose the exact shade of white you prefer.
Gaps between your teeth can make you feel self-conscious every time you smile. Veneers effectively hide spaces between teeth and look completely natural. If you have large gaps, orthodontic treatment may be a better option.
What can I expect during my porcelain veneer appointments in Raleigh?
Before you receive your permanent porcelain veneers, your dentist must slightly file the front surfaces of your teeth. Filing ensures that there are no fit issues with your veneers. After filing your teeth, she'll make an impression of your mouth, which will be used by the dental lab that will create your custom veneers. You'll be given a set of temporary veneers to wear until your permanent veneers are ready in just a few weeks. Once your new veneers arrive, you'll return to the office, where they'll be bonded to your teeth. In just two visits, you'll have a brand new smile.
Transform your smile with porcelain veneers! Call Dr. Lloyd, your Raleigh, NC dentist, at (919) 828-1001 to schedule an appointment to learn if veneers are a good choice for you.
In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.
When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”
Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.
There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.
By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.
So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.
If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.