8 Options for A Great Grin

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If you feel like your pearly whites need some help to enhance your smile, then you have an array of options to choose from at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs. These range from changing the shape of your teeth to closing gaps in your smile; from making them whiter to removing plaque and taking care of cavities.

Here are 8 common dental procedures that will help you have a happy, healthy smile!

Teeth Whitening

Over time, your teeth often lose their shade of white because of the chemicals in the food and drink that you consume. Lehigh Valley Smile Designs can create a customized mouthpiece tray that makes sure you’ll get the correct amount of whitening solution on your teeth when you use the tray.

Crowns

Crowns are designed to completely cover your tooth, giving it a normal appearance and shape. Crowns – also called caps – are used by the team at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs for a variety of dental problems. These range from using a crown to cover a large filling to providing a weak tooth with added protection. Crowns are also used after a root canal procedure, to cover a dental implant, or hold a dental bridge in place.

A variety of materials can be used to make a crown, including metal, porcelain fused to metal, resin, or ceramic materials. Although more costly than some other dental procedures, permanent crowns can have a long life if you take good care of them.

Bonding

If you have teeth with extra space between them, or teeth that are broken, stained, chipped or cracked, then bonding might be the answer to your dental problem. Bonding can often be done in one office visit and involves applying an etching solution to the tooth and then adding tooth-colored materials (often a composite resin) to the tooth’s surface. Bonding usually lasts for several years, but is more likely to chip or become stained vs. other restoration types.

Veneers

Veneers are usually made of porcelain and are designed to cover the front of your tooth to alter the color and shape. They last longer than bonding and give your tooth a better appearance. They are usually a bit cheaper than crowns. Veneers can help teeth that have spaces between them, are permanently stained, are chipped or worn, are slightly crooked, or are shaped poorly. When you come in for your initial visit, the dentist at  Lehigh Valley Smile Designs will take a tooth impression. On your second visit, the dentist will prepare the tooth before cementing the veneer on the tooth. The dentist then uses a light beam to harden the cement.

Enamel Shaping and Contouring

This procedure can help alter the shape, length or position of your teeth. The dentist uses dental enamel to enhance your teeth’s appearance. Reshaping and contouring often is used to correct overlapping or crooked teeth, irregular and chipped teeth, or minor bite problems. It is often used in conjunction with bonding.

Bridges

Often a dental bridge is called a fixed partial denture. It is used to replace teeth you are missing with artificial teeth and can be made of porcelain, gold, alloys or a combination of materials. Dental bridges are anchored onto other teeth after preparing them for crowns. Then a false tooth joins to the crowns and the bridge is cemented onto the prepared teeth.

Braces

If you have crooked teeth – or suffer from an underbite, overbite, or other problems with your jaw or teeth - braces are often your best solution. It can take a few months to several years depending on the severity of your dental issue. Braces can be made from ceramic, metal or plastic, with wire connecting them. The process is often uncomfortable, but the end result is worth it to many people

If the problem you need correcting is not severe, you may be able to use clear aligner trays to address your problem. This approach is more convenient and less painful, but often more expensive. But for many people, the cost is worth the outcome.

Implants

While implants can be one of the more expensive dental procedures, they are one of the best solutions to dental problems because of their permanence and stability. Many people prefer them to removable dentures (which can fall out easily). Your dentist at  Lehigh Valley Smile Designs surgically connects the implant to your jawbone. The result is strikingly realistic looking teeth that won’t lose their shade of white. There are multiple steps involved in putting in an implant, so you’ll need to visit your dentist several times over many months.

Of course, many of the solutions we’ve outlined aren’t needed if you take care of your teeth through proper oral hygiene, Be sure to brush twice daily, floss daily, and visit  Lehigh Valley Smile Designs every six months for a check-up and dental hygiene cleaning.

Sources: Worldental.org, WebMD

Veneers Are An Easy Way to Fix Flawed Teeth

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If you’re not happy with your smile because of discolorations in your front teeth, or you just want to have a brighter smile, then veneers may be your solution. What are veneers? They are very-thin shells made of ceramic (porcelain) or composite resin material. The dentist bonds them to the front of your teeth to improve your smile. You will require very little (or no) anesthesia for this procedure.

Veneers can often be a good alternative to crowns because they offer a more conservative solution to changing your tooth’s color, shape and size. Plus, they have shown to last for many years if done by one of the dentists at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs.

So what types of problems can be fixed with dental veneers? Teeth that are broken or chipped; worn down teeth; misaligned, uneven or teeth that are irregularly shaped; or to fix gaps between your teeth.

It usually takes multiple appointments for the entire veneer procedure. This includes diagnosis, planning the treatment, preparing the teeth, and bonding. You’ll need to be actively involved in “designing” your smile. You’ll also need to understand that the procedure can’t fix every problem perfectly. But it can certainly improve your smile.

So what is the procedure like to attach veneers? First, the teeth are buffed lightly to provide room for the thickness the veneer will add. This usually means about half a millimeter of the tooth will be removed (this may mean you’ll need a local anesthetic). If you’re getting a composite resin veneer, then your dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs will carefully bond and sculpt the composite material onto your teeth. If you are getting porcelain veneers, then your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and then the veneers are fabricated in a lab, which may take a couple of days.

Once your porcelain veneers are back from the lab, your dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs will place each veneer on its tooth to make sure they fit properly and are the right shade or color you selected. Your dentist can still adjust the veneer’s shade at that point by choosing a certain type of cement to use. The veneer is then cleaned with a specific set of chemicals to make sure the cement used to bond the veneer to your tooth works properly. The final step involves a light beam being directed at the veneer to harden the cement.

You won’t have to take any “special care” of your new veneers. You’ll need to continue to follow good oral health practices – brushing and flossing daily – and your dentist will want to see you several weeks after the veneers are put on your teeth for a checkup.

What are the advantages of dental veneers?

  • They provide a natural tooth appearance.
  • Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well.
  • Porcelain veneers are stain resistant.
  • The color of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that it makes dark teeth appear whiter.

What are the disadvantage of dental veneers?

  • The process is not reversible.
  • Veneers are usually not repairable should they chip or crack.
  • Because enamel has been removed, your tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.

Be realistic about veneers. Like natural teeth, you will see slight color variations if you examine them closely. But veneers can still go a long way to brightening your smile and making you more confident about your teeth.

Sources: Worldental.org, KnowYourTeeth.com, WebMD