Family & Cosmetic Care in a Comfortable, Relaxed Environment.

Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

There are many questions when it comes to dental procedures. Why do we need certain treatments?, What does the dentist look for besides cavities?, Are x-rays safe?, etc. While you may know the answers to some of the questions, there are many questions asked by patients on a daily basis that relate to the ones mentioned below.

-Are You Ever Too Old For Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is about more than just looking good. It is not suggested to do cosmetic dentistry until after growth and development have ended, beyond that there is no age limit. Cosmetic dentistry will often repair and restore our teeth’s function along with improving esthetics. Cosmetic dentistry has also been shown to improve self esteem and how others see you. Whether it be the use of porcelain crowns to rebuild lost tooth height from years of use or dental implants to replace missing or badly damaged teeth, cosmetic dentistry can give you the smile you have desired and need to live a full, happy life.

-What Are Dental Sealants?

Sealants are a thin, plastic-like coating that is applied onto the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent tooth decay. Dental sealants are usually placed on the premolars and molars. The sealant flows into the grooves of the teeth and are set using a special dental light so they harden forming a protective shield.

It is generally recommended that children have sealants placed on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as the erupt into the mouth. However, it is also recommended for anyone with deep grooves and pits in the enamel of the biting surfaces of back teeth. Sealants generally last about 2-10 years depending upon wear and seal strength, but they should be routinely checked to ensure they have not fractured or chipped off exposing the tooth structure underneath.

-What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Oral Cancer?

While oral cancer is usually believed to be associated with those who drink and/or smoke, more then 25% of all oral cancer cases are of those who do not smoke and only drink alcohol on occasion. Oral Cancer signs and symptoms include:

-Development of white or red patches in the mouth.

-Development of sores that do not go away within 2 weeks.

-Unexplained pain or tenderness around the face and neck.

-Development of unexplained numbness in the face and neck.

-Chronic sore throat or voice changes.

-Ear pain.

-Change in the “bite” of your teeth.

It is important to remember that early diagnosis of oral cancer gives you the best chance for full recovery.

-How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?

This has been a hot topic with many in the media and many families. We are exposed to radiation all day long going about our daily lives. This includes radiation from the sun and appliances in our homes. Luckily, these radiation levels are extremely small. A full set of dental x-rays is similar to the normal radiation we are exposed to on a normal day outside.

Dental x-rays have improved dramatically over the years. Modern x-ray units limit radiation to a small area using a single beam and use higher speed film to require a shorter exposure time. It is important to remember that radiation exposure is cumulative over the course of a lifetime. Dental x-rays are a necessary part of maintaining dental health. The ADA has standards of care in regards to acceptable diagnostic radiographs (x-rays) for all dentists to follow.

-I Have A Gap In My Front Teeth. Can That Be Fixed?

The procedure to close a gap between teeth is called dental bonding. Dental bonding is a cosmetic dentistry procedure using a tooth colored material that is applied to your natural teeth to close the space. The final product will look natural and match color perfectly. No one should know but you and your dentist. The procedure can be completed in as little as an hour.

-Are Teeth Whitening Toothpastes Effective?

Toothpastes contain mild abrasives and are generally effective at removing light surface stains. However, over time the staining goes deeper and more difficult for toothpaste alone to remove. Teeth whitening toothpastes are more effective at removing surface stains but the most effective way to whiten teeth is through your dentist using bleaching agents that can go deeper than just the surface. Whitening toothpastes can lighten your tooth’s color by about one shade. In contrast, light-activated whitening conducted in your dentist’s office can make your teeth three to eight shades lighter.

-When Is The Best Time To Remove Wisdom Teeth?

When the removal of wisdom teeth is determined necessary, it is best done when the roots are approximately 2/3rds formed, usually in the teenage years. Removal at this time allows for an easier procedure and decreases the risk of damage to the nerves in that area.

 Conclusion

An educated patient armed with dental health knowledge is going to be able to ask good questions regarding their dental care. You should know what options are available to you treatment-wise, why treatment needs to be done, and whether or not it specific treatments will work for you. The next time you are at the dental office, ask questions. Your dentist and hygienist will be happy to answer your questions and help you make informed decisions.

Cosmetic dentistry is not just about the outward appearance of a smile. There are many aspects that go into creating a beautiful and healthy smile. There are also many benefits to having a great smile that many of us do not really think about. Below are some of the effects cosmetic dentistry can have on your overall well being.

Cosmetic Dentistry More Than Meets The Eye

It may come as a surprise to some patients, but cosmetic dentistry procedures can actually help patients realize improvements in overall health. Specifically, patients who elect to have certain cosmetic procedures can significantly improve physical, mental, and emotional well being.

-Improved Physical Health. For patients who suffer with Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ) pain, bite alignment issues, and other craniofacial conditions, cosmetic dentistry can help to reshape affected areas in a way that is optimal for physical health. Examples include:

*Stronger teeth. Dental Bonding, dental implants, and porcelain crowns can be used to restore chipped, cracked, damaged, or missing teeth. The goal of any good cosmetic dentist is to preserve as much natural tooth enamel as possible while still developing a smile any patient can be proud of. When cosmetic dentistry treatment is complete, patients will experience a stronger, fuller, and more properly aligned smile that stays healthier, longer.

*Healthier gum tissues. A smile free of periodontal disease is important to maintaining optimal overall health. Recent research has linked periodontal disease to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Cosmetic dentistry should never be performed on a patient with progressive periodontal disease or poor at home maintenance. Without a proper foundation, any cosmetic dental care will be doomed to fail over time.

*Realignment of the jaw and/or TMJ, reducing joint pain and preventing teeth from becoming misaligned over time.

*Natural realignment of the airway and oral soft tissues, making it easier for the body to breath at night. Such procedures have been shown reduce snoring, curb sleep apnea, and improve overall quality of sleep.

-Increased Self Confidence. Cosmetic dentistry can improve how we perceive ourselves. An increase in self confidence and self esteem will give ourselves a greater self image. Research has shown that an increase in self esteem is vital to physical health.

-Increased Smiling. With a new-found smile, you will find yourself smiling more. This will make you more attractive to others whether in love or business. Research has also indicated that those who smile frequently often live longer and lead a higher quality of life.

Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures To Change Your Smile

-Teeth Whitening. This has become a billion dollar cosmetic dentistry business with products ranging from in office whitening to at home whitening with customized dental trays, whitening strips,  paint on gels and even whitening toothpastes. The differences between the types has to do with speed and depth of whitening. Teeth whitening can have a dramatic effect on almost anyone’s smile for a relatively low cost and minimal time involved.

-Dental Implants. Missing teeth can make you feel uncomfortable with smiling, socially awkward, or may make you look older than you are. Replacing lost teeth can be done with very natural results. Dental implants are a great way to achieve cosmetics, strength, and durability.  Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth. The best part is, once restored, the dental implants should last a lifetime.

-Dental Bonding. This cosmetic dentistry procedure involves using tooth colored materials that can be bonded to teeth to change shape, color, and length. This same material can also be used to fully cover the front surface, (called a composite veneer). Dental bonding can generally be completed in one visit.

-Porcelain Veneers. While the initial cost is higher than the other cosmetic dentistry options, this may be cost effective if extensive changes need to be made. Porcelain veneers can change shape, color, length, and even correct minor misalignments of teeth. This will last a long time, will not stain, and is a very strong, natural looking material.

-Porcelain and Zirconia Crowns. These types of crowns are the strongest and most cosmetic options available. They are made from modern dental porcelains that range in strength and esthetics. If done properly, no one should ever be able to tell a porcelain crown from a natural tooth. Modern porcelains possesses strength, color properties, and light reflection properties that very closely mimic our natural teeth. Porcelain crowns can be used to change bite alignment issues as well as change alignment of front teeth which are more extreme such as those issues that porcelain veneers alone cannot fix. More natural tooth structure needs to be removed in preparing a porcelain crown vs a porcelain veneer.

-Snap On Smile. This is a modern, conservative way to improve your smile without any permanent dental work. All that is required is having your dentist take impressions of your teeth, choosing a color, and the dentist sending them to a lab to have your snap on smile fabricated. Once the snap on smile is made, you simply clean your teeth, apply a fluoride gel inside, and slip it on over your teeth. You can talk, eat and smile with it all day long.

-Gum Contouring. For those with a gummy smile, this can be a real confidence booster. This cosmetic dentistry procedure is generally done in one visit and can give incredible results for many with an overly gummy smile. Gum contouring simply removes the excess gum tissue and reshapes the gums to ensure you obtain the desired look. For some, this may require reduction of bone, in this case, it is recommended that you see a periodontal surgeon.

-Tooth Recontouring. Changing the shape or alignment of teeth in a minor way can have a dramatic effect on a persons smile. Tooth recontouring involves removing small amounts of tooth structure from edges of teeth to correct a tooth that might be misshapen or slightly misaligned.

-Orthodontics. Minor tooth movement can be utilized by your cosmetic dentist to bring your smile in line and allow for a better harmony between your smile and function.

Cosmetic Dentistry Conclusion

 A well trained, experienced cosmetic dentist can not only transform your smile but your entire well being. Your cosmetic dentist can improve the outward appearance of your smile but also bring it back into balance.

It is important to remember first impressions last and one of the first things people notice upon meeting is a smile. You should feel good about your smile, and smile often. When we think of a perfect smile we have to remember that we all have our own idea of what that may be. It may be whiter teeth, straighter teeth, or even just healthier teeth. Each individual can look in the mirror and find what they want changed about their smile.

How Can Cosmetic Dentistry Help?

A well trained experienced cosmetic dentist can help remove or diminish those flaws using various procedures ranging from porcelain veneers to teeth whitening. Your cosmetic dentist can change the shape of your teeth, alter your gum tissue (for those with a gummy smile), or even fix chips on your teeth. Luckily, for the consumer not all of these cosmetic dentistry procedures are very expensive. While a complete smile makeover would be cost prohibitive for many, there are still many changes your cosmetic dentist can provide that will not break the bank. And while many may desire a complete smile makeover, it is not recommended for everyone. Cosmetic dentistry is very much an art, focusing on each individuals existing smile and needs.

Cost Effective Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

-Teeth Whitening. This has become a billion dollar cosmetic dentistry business with products ranging from in office whitening to at home whitening with customized dental trays, whitening strips,  paint on gels and even whitening toothpastes. The differences between the types has to do with speed and depth of whitening. Teeth whitening can have a dramatic effect on almost anyone’s smile for a relatively low cost and minimal time involved.

-Gum Contouring. For those with a gummy smile, this can be a real confidence booster. This cosmetic dentistry procedure is generally done in one visit and can give incredible results for many with an overly gummy smile. Gum contouring simply removes the excess gum tissue and reshapes the gums to ensure you obtain the desired look. for some, this may require reduction of bone also, in this case it is recommended that you see a periodontal surgeon .

-Dental Bonding. This cosmetic dentistry procedure involves using tooth colored materials that can be bonded to teeth to change shape, color, and length. This same material can also be used a full face veneer (called a composite veneer). Dental bonding can generally be completed in one visit.

-Snap On Smile. This is a way to improve your smile without any permanent dental work. All that is required is having your dentist take impressions of your teeth, choosing a color, and the dentist sending them to a lab to have your snap on smile fabricated. Once the snap on smile is made, you simply clean your teeth, apply a fluoride gel inside, and slip it on over your teeth. You can talk, eat and smile with it all day long.

-Porcelain Veneers. While the initial cost is higher than the other options, this may be cost effective if extensive changes need to be made. Porcelain veneers can change shape, color, length, and even correct minor misalignments of teeth. This will last a long time, will not stain, and is a very strong, natural looking material.

-Tooth Recontouring. Changing the shape or alignment of teeth in a minor way can have a dramatic effect on a persons smile. Tooth recontouring involves removing small amounts of tooth structure from edges of teeth to correct a tooth that might be misshapen or slightly misaligned.

-Minor Tooth Movement. Sometimes the only thing making you uncomfortable to smile may be a small misalignment of one or a few teeth. A simple orthodontic appliance may be able to move your teeth into a more favorable position in a few months.

Cosmetic Dentistry Conclusion

While cosmetic dentistry may not be for everyone, it is good to know the options available to you. Having a perfect smile is not a goal of everyone, but if you are looking to improve your smile, seek out the help of an experienced, well trained cosmetic dentist for a full evaluation. This cosmetic dentistry evaluation can give you valuable information to make an informed decision about possible treatment options available to you. Smile with confidence, it not only makes you feel good, it makes others smile too.

Many celebrities are known by the gap in their teeth (Madonna, David Letterman, Michael Strahan). They smile with confidence… they seem to just, “own it”. There are some cultures in which a space between teeth is considered very attractive. For many others, it may cause less smiling and embarassment due to a lack of self confidence in their smile. In reality, most gaps between teeth can be fixed quite easily using cosmetic dentistry and/or  simple orthodontics.

Gap Closure Procedure

The first step in any treatment is an evaluation by the dentist. Let him/her hear your concerns and evaluate the amount of space reduction needed to close the gaps between teeth. Common questions your dentist will ask themselves during this evaluation include:

-Will the closing of the gap cause any unforeseen bite issues?

-Using x-rays, are the roots of the teeth in good position and healthy enough for movement into proper position to close the gap?

-Will closing the gap cause new gaps between other teeth?

-Has the gap formed due to bone loss related to gum disease?

-Are the teeth large enough to fill the spaces, are other teeth missing?

-Was the gap caused by a habit, such as an involuntary tongue thrust issue, playing a reed instrument, biting pencils?

-Are the surrounding teeth and gums healthy and disease free?

Once a thorough examination is completed. Your dentist will discuss the various treatment options that are right for you.

Treatment Options

-Dental Bonding. This cosmetic dentistry procedure involves the use of a tooth colored material to close the spaces. This  material adhesively bonds to the teeth to close the gap. If the gap is too large, the result may be oversized teeth. The other drawback to this is that bonding can break or stain over time. Some advantages to bonding are preserving tooth structure by not cutting the teeth down, correction of size and shape can be done quickly( This procedure can be completed in as little as an hour in the dental office),It may last a long time if taken care of properly.

-Porcelain veneers or crowns. Closing the gap with porcelain is another great option. The nice thing about porcelain is that the color does not change or stain over time. The porcelain is also stronger than bonding allowing it to last a very long time. The downside is that the teeth generally need to be prepared by the dentist by removing surface enamel. The procedure also requires a second visit and the need to wear temporary veneers or crowns while the lab makes the final restorations.

-Orthodontic Retainers. A simple orthodontic procedure that can give amazing results. These retainers use springs, wires, and screws to slowly bring the teeth together. This procedure could take a few months with weekly adjustment visits to see the results you are looking for.

-Traditional Orthodontics. This includes brackets and wires. This may be needed when extensive gaps are present, teeth are missing, shifting has occurred in more than one location, the bite is off.

-Invisalign. This is a more modern form of braces. These are removable and made of clear plastic, and can also correct larger spaces.

Conclusion

You may choose to have” the gap” become a signature part of your smile. You may not. There is no shame in in either choice, but whatever you choose should be the decision that makes you feel happy and confident. Smiling is an important part of life and the way we show others how we feel. We should be able to smile with confidence! If it is something that has always bothered you it is worth exploring the dental options available to make your smile everything you want it to be.