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Cosmetic dentistry includes a number of dental procedures aimed at improving the appearance of the teeth and smile.  A very common cosmetic procedure is the dental veneer.

Dental veneers are wafer thin, custom fabricated shells of tooth colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your overall smile and appearance. These custom fabricated shells are adhesively bonded to the front of the teeth. This allows the cosmetic dentist the ability to change your teeth’s color, shape, size, or length.

Dental veneers can be fabricated from dental porcelain or from composite (resin) materials. Dental veneers can be used to create bright, white smiles with beautifully aligned, shapely teeth. Dental veneers also protect the surface of broken or damaged teeth, and may eliminate the need for more extensive treatments. Other advantages of dental veneers include durability, an improved smile, and the need for much less tooth structure removal compared to traditional or porcelain crowns.

Why are Dental Veneers Needed?

Dental Veneers are utilized for a variety of reasons in cosmetic dentistry. These reasons can include:

Crooked Teeth. Some minor modifications can be done, which may eliminate the need for orthodontic movement.

Genetics. Certain people are born with abnormal sized/shaped teeth, or gaps between their teeth that widen with age.

Wear and Tear.  Teeth wearing down is a natural part of aging. Aged teeth are more likely to be small,  have chips, fractures, cracks or a generally uneven appearance.

Worn Enamel. Over time, the thin, hard translucent substance covering your teeth (enamel) may become worn, see through,  dull, or discolored. Such wear and discoloration may be natural or result from a genetic predisposition. However, it often results from consuming soft drinks, tea or coffee, smoking, using certain medications, etc.

Material Used for Dental Veneers

The most commonly utilized materials for dental veneers are composite resins and dental porcelain. Porcelain veneers are the more appropriate answer for severe cases involving dullness, wear, tooth discoloration, extensive chipping, cracking, gaps in teeth or uneven teeth. Composite bonding or just dental bonding is an inexpensive, effective and minimally invasive way to restore and correct small chips, cracks and discoloration in the teeth. Porcelain veneers generally require some reduction of the enamel tooth surface, while bonded dental veneers can oftentimes be done without tooth modification. Porcelain veneers are very strong, and do not change color. Bonded veneers tend to chip and pick up stain over time.

Techniques Used in Dental Veneers

Indirect Technique – This technique means that the composite or porcelain veneers are fabricated outside the mouth by a dental technician in a laboratory.

Direct Technique – This technique means that the composite veneers are created directly on your teeth by your dentist during your appointment.

When are Veneers Good Treatment?

The removal by a dentist of any natural tooth structure is permanent, so modern cosmetic dentistry has moved to offer patients the most minimally invasive options first. If your natural teeth are functionally and cosmetically adequate, dental veneers may not be the right treatment for you.

On the other hand, if you have any of the aforementioned cosmetic issues, your treatment options may  include veneers. Dental Veneers do have the advantage of a proven ability to enhance the appearance of the mouth, smile and other facial features that are better supported by properly shaped teeth.

If modification of the tooth surface is necessary to achieve optimum results, some cosmetic dentists will recommend less invasive alternatives to dental veneers. One such alternative would be, teeth whitening for people with mildly discolored teeth who only want a whiter and brighter smile. If crooked teeth or alignment issues are involved, the teeth whitening alternative may also be combined with orthodontic treatments. Invisalign, full braces, or use of an orthodontic appliance for minor tooth movement may be all that you need to acquire the smile you desire.

Care of Dental Veneers

Care must be taken not to abuse dental veneers because the wafer thin porcelain shells or composite layers can be damaged or break. Your dentist may advise you against grinding, fingernail chewing, and biting directly into things such as carrots or pizza crusts. If you grind at night your dentist  may recommend you wear a night guard while sleeping. It is even more important to have excellent dental hygiene, so that you do not get tooth decay forming under your dental veneer. You should also see your dentist for regular cleanings.

Dental Veneers Conclusion

Dental veneers, whether porcelain veneers or composite veneers, are a great option for those who wish to change their smile. Dental veneers give the cosmetic dentist and patient the ability to change color, shape, and size in an easy manner. As always, before pursuing dental veneers of any kind, please have a thorough dental examination and professional cleaning performed to ensure your mouth is healthy and able to withstand the new treatment.

We all have heard the old saying, “We are what we eat”, but did you know it is just as important for your teeth as it is your body? Your choice of drink has a big impact on your waistline as well as your dental health. Most of the focus regarding the consumption of sugary soft drinks, sport drinks, and fruit juices surrounds obesity and diabetes. It is important to realize that these same drinks can contribute to tooth decay and possibly dental pain if untreated.

The average American consumes over 50 gallons of soda and other sweetened drinks each year. Statistics show that almost 20 percent of all children under the age of 19 have untreated cavities. The sweetened soft drinks and the like are wreaking havoc on our dental health. They work by constantly washing your mouth with sugar and acid allowing for the perfect acidic environment and constant supply of sugar for the bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria then produce more acids that lead to tooth decay by dissolving the enamel that protects our teeth. Sugar also dries your mouth out and makes you thirstier, causing you to drink much larger sized beverages to satisfy your thirst.

Worst Drinks for Your Dental Health

Soft Drinks

The most obvious of the bad drinks for you. This is probably not new information to anyone. Soft drinks are bad for you for two reasons. One is the sugar, but the other is the acidity. Carbonated drinks like Coke and Pepsi use phosphoric acid in their ingredients (Mountain Dew and Sprite use citric acid). The acid breaks down the enamel in our teeth. The enamel is the outer protective layer of our teeth and it also gives us an attractive, shiny smile.

Sports Drinks 

These drinks include Gatorade, flavored water, as well as others. These drinks are not acidic like soda but these come with a double does of sugar. Most of these drinks are great for their intended purpose…recovery from activity. These drinks are

Sports Drinks Marielaina Perrone DDS

Change Drinking Habits for Better Dental Health

generally not used for their intended purpose of severe re hydration, they are consumed as a regular beverage. Over time, when too often consumed, they can easily stain your teeth and cause tooth decay.

Fruit and Energy Drinks

Fruit drinks, and beverages like red bull, also pose a threat to your pearly whites. These drinks are also damaging to your teeth and need to be used in moderation as well. Fruit drinks like Hawaiian Punch and Sunny Delight are nearly as acidic as Coca-Cola. Combine the acid levels with the sugars already in the ingredients and you have a recipe for catastrophe.

How to Minimize the Damage from These Beverages

Brushing. Tooth brushing after every meal is the best way to decrease the chance of developing tooth cavities.

Rinsing. Swish your mouth out with water after drinking these beverages can help decrease the amount of acid contacting the teeth.

Chew Gum. Chewing sugar-free gum or xylitol gum will also help minimize the damage caused by these drinks by increasing saliva production.

Drink at Mealtime. Drink sugary and acidic beverages with meals, and never before bedtime unless you plan to brush your teeth before heading to bed.

Use a straw. This also helps decrease contact of these sugars and acids with the teeth.

-Other drinks that contribute to tooth decay (sugary, acidic, or both): dairy milk, soy milk, energy drinks, protein shakes, wine, beer, tea, coffee, smoothies, all fruit juices, some bottled waters.

Conclusion

Yes, we are what we eat! Be smart about what you choose for yourself and for your family. Many health issues can be circumvented by choosing healthier options and using your educated judgement to make the best choices. Use sweet drinks in moderation, and take care of your dental hygiene in between drinks. As always visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings for better dental health.



Who would not want to use a good mouthwash before meeting that special someone for a kiss? Or just to feel minty fresh as you go about your day?

For years there has been a discussion regarding mouthwash use. This is because people are worried about the health risks associated with the alcohol based mouthwashes.

Mouthwash manufacturers have been touting extra benefits of mouthwash besides minty fresh breath. Many tout themselves as washing plaque away, teeth whitening, as well as bacteria killers and as cavity fighters.

Are all these extra benefits possible? Is mouthwash use good for you?………

Advantages of using a Mouthwash

-Fluoride Mouthwashes. Fluoride mouthwashes do have the ability to possibly help reduce cavities. There have been many studies over the years to prove that fluoride can strengthen and reduce the breakdown of enamel thereby reducing the possibility of tooth cavities. This will not work for all but has been proven to be a benefit. Some fluorides are good antibacterials as well and help fight periodontal disease (stannous fluoride).

-Fight Periodontal Disease. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque from bacteria and food that sticks to teeth. As the bacteria feed on the food particles they release acid that will break down the bone and irritate the gum tissue. Our body responds by producing more acids to kill the bacteria. This causes bone loss and inflamed, infected gums. An antibacterial mouthwash may help prevent periodontal disease by lowering the amount of bad bacteria in the mouth.

Listerine Mouthwash - Marielaina Perrone DDS

Listerine Mouthwash

-Help during pregnancy or during a systemic disease process. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene at all times but for certain members of our population it is even more important. For pregnant women it can be critical. During pregnancy, a woman’s hormones are elevated which makes them more susceptible to developing periodontal disease if their oral hygiene is not maintained. Periodontal disease in pregnant women has been linked to pre term and low weight babies. For others it is a matter of survival. Patients with systemic diseases that make them more susceptible to infection like diabetics need to reduce the bacteria they are ingesting. It is even more critical to maintain good oral hygiene and mouthwashes are definitely recommended for those patients.

Disadvantages of using a Mouthwash

Canker Sore Irritant. This is caused when the alcohol content in your mouthwash is too high. It will irritate the canker sore and make it quite uncomfortable to use.

-Masks bad breath but does not remove the cause. Use of a mouthwash can definitely lead to fresher breath but it is usually quite short lived. Only some mouthwashes are formulated to actually neutralize odor causing chemicals, such as Closys. Not maintaining proper oral hygiene, or chemicals from your diet are usually the underlying factor in most people’s bad breath but the mouthwash will just mask it for a short time.

Alcohol based mouthwash. Studies (Listerine) have shown that rinses with alcohol, if used as directed can actually cause saliva production to be stimulated in a semi dry mouth. The alcohol in mouth rinses has historically been used as a way to cause the essential oils (the bacteria killing aspect) in the rinse to keep from separating out in the liquid, and staying mixed. No one wants to rinse with something oily feeling. There are now quite a few alternatives to alcohol to do the job, so alcohol free rinses have become more prevalent. Many people do not like the burning sensation of alcohol, and in people with little to no saliva flow, alcohol based rinses can be quite uncomfortable. The choice is based on personal preferences.

-Tartar dissolving rinse.There is a type of rinse (Periogen) that has been found to dissolve tartar, stains, and plaque. This rinse is a great way to keep your teeth from rebuilding tartar between cleanings. This is a powder that can be diluted with water in a waterpik and tends to be even more effective if a capful of your fluoride rinse is added to it.

Bottom Line on Mouthwash Use

Bottom line is mouthwashes are an aide and not a substitute for maintaining good oral hygiene. This should include proper brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly.

Mouthwash clearly offers certain advantages. But it’s important to know that not all mouthwash is the same. Saltwater rinses can be made at home with warm water and salt, whereas store-bought types contain a variety of ingredients ranging from fluoride (Act) to alcohol (Listerine) to highly specific antibacterial (Peridex).

In the end, each individual must choose the one that is right for them. For patients with periodontal disease, an antibacterial rinse like Listerine would be recommended to reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth. For those patients who are cavity prone, a high fluoride mouthwash would be the choice. These mouthwashes only work effectively if paired with a good oral hygiene regimen. Talk to your dentist about which rinse would work best for you.

 

 

Teeth Whitening the Natural Way
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Teeth whitening strips are a fairly new invention. Teeth whitening strips are sold over the counter in most drug stores. Proctor and Gamble introduced their first line of teeth whitening strips (Crest Whitestrips) in the year 2000. Since then the market has been flooded with similar products. These include Listerine Teeth Whitening Strips or Rembrandt Teeth Whitening Strips.

Teeth whitening is perfect for young patients who have healthy, cavity free, unrestored teeth (no fillings) and gingival tissues. Studies have shown that patients with yellow tones to their teeth respond best to teeth whitening, whereas gray and see through teeth do not. But this cosmetic procedure is not recommended for everyone. That is where teeth whitening strips come in. They are far less expensive than other options including in office teeth whitening treatments.

Teeth Whitening Strips – What Are They?

The idea behind teeth whitening strips is quite simple. They give a person a way to perform a gradual effective teeth whitening treatment on their own. Teeth whitening strips are very thin, virtually invisible strips, that are coated with a mild peroxide based whitening gel. By wearing the strips as noted on the product packaging, the gel comes into contact with the surface of your teeth and works to slowly take away surface staining. They also remove some stains from within the enamel. The strips are recommended to be applied twice daily for 30 minutes for 14 days. Initial results can be seen in as little as a few days and final results are maintained for about 3-4 months.

The peroxide gel on the teeth whitening strip works by slowly bleaching your teeth. Most teeth whitening strips come in a larger size for the upper teeth and a smaller size for the lower teeth. The patient is instructed to press the teeth whitening strips around your teeth to make a tight contact. The gel then contacts your enamel and begins its work when it heats up to body temperature. Various products contain different amounts of peroxide so usage instructions will vary from brand to brand.

Over the counter teeth whitening strips contain roughly between 3% to 10% hydrogen peroxide. Professional teeth whitening strips (available only through a dentist) usually contain somewhere in the neighborhood of 15%-30% hydrogen peroxide. Teeth whitening procedures conducted in dental offices contain hydrogen peroxide in the range of 20%- 38%. So as you can see by those numbers the rate of effectiveness will vary for each technique.

Teeth Whitening Strips – Are They Effective?

Yes! Teeth whitening strips can be very effective at what they do. Remember, they will not whiten fillings or crowns, so be careful not to over do it and make dark crowns, fillings stand out. It is always important to remember to follow all instructions on the packaging. Choose the teeth whitening strip that fits you and your lifestyle. If you feel that using strips twice a day for 30 minutes at a time seems like a long time then you need to consider other options. Like a 1 hour in office procedure.
It is always best to talk to your dentist first before starting any tooth whitening regimen. Some types of dental work such as bonding, crowns, veneers or bridges will not whiten, leaving an uneven appearance. Some stains will not whiten well with teeth whitening strips, such as Tetracycine stains and fluorosis (brown or white spots).  Also, some types of stains are the result of unhealthy teeth, whitening can exacerbate an already delicate oral health situation. Any teeth whitening procedure works best immediately following a thorough professional dental cleaning. An appointment with your dentist is the best way to start any teeth whitening process, saving you time, money, and helping you get the best results.

Disadvantages of Teeth Whitening Strips

Teeth whitening strips are a one size fits all entity. So they may not fit everyone exactly the same. Again, read the packaging carefully to find the right size for you. You need to think about how many teeth you need to whiten based on your smile for the length of the strips.

In comparison, dentist observed custom tray systems are molded to fit your mouth perfectly. These leaves zero coverage issues and gives a more uniform end result with consistent bleaching throughout the mouth.

While teeth whitening strips are effective, dentist observed treatments are more effective. They give a more uniform bleaching of teeth as well as give you the convenience of finishing treatment faster.

Side Effects From Teeth Whitening Strips

Crest Whitening Strips

Crest Teeth Whitening Strips

Two main complaints regarding teeth whitening strips are tooth sensitivity and gingival irritation. Teeth sensitivity generally correlates with the strength and amount of peroxide in the bleaching gel. If you have had a history of tooth sensitivity in the past it is best to choose a lower dose peroxide teeth whitening strip. The major cause of gingival irritation occurs when patients apply the strip over the gums or part of the gums. If either of these occur you should stop use of the whitening strips for 24-48 hours. This should be enough time for the sensitivity and irritation to resolve itself.

In conclusion, teeth whitening strips are an effective alternative to the traditional dentist observed teeth whitening systems. As always remember to maintain a good dental hygiene program and visit your dentist and hygienist regularly.

 

Teeth Whitening Strips – Good Or Bad?.
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