Posts for: October, 2014

By Wilmington Dental Associates
October 20, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures

On his way to the top of the urban contemporary charts, the musician, actor and entrepreneur known as 50 Cent (born Curtis James Jackson III) earned his street credibility the hard way; his rise from youthful poverty to present-day stardom is chronicled in many of his rhymes. So when it came time for the rapper to have cosmetic work performed on his teeth, he insisted on doing it in his own way.

“I told [the dentist] to leave [my front teeth] a little bigger than the other ones, because I need to still see me when I look in the mirror,” he told his co-host on the New York radio station Power 105.1. “Don't give me no whole ’noter guy — I like me!”

We understand how 50 Cent feels — in fact, we think it's a perfectly reasonable request.

Cosmetic dentistry has come a long way in recent years, as we strive to meet the increasing expectations of our patients. We realize that different people have different perceptions of what makes a smile attractive — and that in dental aesthetics, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. That's why, before we begin cosmetic work, we want to hear what you like and don't like about your smile as it is now. In addition, we can also perform what is called a “smile analysis.”

This procedure doesn't cause any discomfort — but it's a crucial part of cosmetic enhancement. In doing the analysis, we look at the various parts of an individual's smile: the spacing, size and alignment of the teeth; the health and position of the gum line; the relationship of the upper and lower jaws; and the relative shape and size of the face. All of these features combine to make a person's smile unique. By looking at them closely, we can help determine the best way for you to improve your smile.

But how can you tell if the cosmetic changes you're contemplating will end up being just right for you? Fortunately, with today's technology, it's easier than ever. Computer imaging offers a chance to visualize the final outcome before we start working on your teeth; it's even possible to offer previews of different treatment options. If you want to go a bit further, we may be able to show you a full-scale model of your new smile.

In some situations, we can even perform a provisional restoration — that is, a trial version of the new smile, made with less permanent materials. If the “temporary” smile looks, feels, and functions just right, then the permanent one will too. If not, it's still possible to make changes that will make it work even better.

Whether you're thinking about having teeth whitening, cosmetic bonding, porcelain veneers, or dental implants to improve your smile, you probably have a picture in your mind of how the end result should look. Will your teeth be perfectly even and “Hollywood white” — or more “natural,” with slight variations in size, spacing and color allowed? Either way, we can help you get the smile you've always wanted.

If you would like more information about smile makeovers and options in cosmetic dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry.”

By Wilmington Dental Associates
October 20, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: laser dentistry  

Lasers have transformed our everyday lives, especially in healthcare. These intense beams of light of a single wavelength have revolutionized all manner of diagnostics and treatments, from general surgery to cosmetic therapy.

Dentistry has also been influenced by the laser revolution. Here are just a few of the areas where they’re growing in use and popularity.

Early disease detection. Laser instruments can take advantage of “fluorescence,” the tendency of bacteria to “glow” when exposed to certain wavelengths of light. This is proving more effective in detecting early tooth decay in pits and fissures (very tiny areas in a tooth’s biting surface) than traditional needle-like probing instruments called dental explorers. Newer lasers can now detect the same fluorescent qualities in soft tissues, which may reduce the detection time for oral cancer and make the difference between life and death.

Dental caries treatment. Lasers have become an alternative to the dental drill in treating teeth with dental caries (decay). Although with larger cavities lasers are somewhat slower than the conventional drill, they truly shine when it comes to early enamel caries and small cavities because they can be quite precise in the amount of tooth structure they remove. This feature allows them to be less invasive than a dental drill.

Periodontal treatment. Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection caused mainly by bacterial plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) that have adhered to tooth surfaces. Lasers are emerging as an alternative to conventional periodontal (gum) surgery to treat voids or spaces below the gum line called periodontal pockets that have formed because of gum tissue detachment as supporting bone is lost. With their ability to target and destroy infected tissue without damaging nearby healthy tissue, lasers can achieve similar outcomes as traditional techniques but with less tissue damage and discomfort to patients afterward.

Research and development into laser technology continues to perfect these and other applications that promise to make dental procedures less invasive and more comfortable for patients.

If you would like more information on the use of lasers in dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Wilmington Dental Associates
October 10, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Untagged

Why Flossing is so Important

The world has not always placed significant emphasis on dental health, and the invention of dental floss seems to prove it. While ancient civilizations up to American settlers had used various implements to clean between teeth, dental floss did not come about until 1815. New Orleans dentist Dr. Levi Spear Parmly instructed his patients to use silk thread to clean between their teeth. However, people of this era preferredFlossing using a toothpick to ferret out hard-to-reach tooth materials. And although they accepted the idea that their teeth may fall out, the idea of putting their fingers in their mouths to floss was considered to be too gross.
A few decades later, dental floss pioneer Asahel Shurtleft created a floss dispenser from a spool of thread that fed new lines of floss to a U-shaped prong. This device looked much like today’s disposable “flossers” purchased at the grocery or drugstore. Shurtleft’s Massachusetts-based company manufactured this first dental floss. A few years later, in 1896, the Johnson & Johnson company began making its own floss and ultimately patented a special kind of silk floss thread doctors had previously used for stitches.
While the silk floss worked to clean between teeth, it was subject to unraveling and didn’t always slide smoothly between the gums. As a result, waxed floss was manufactured in the 1940s and billed as an improvement over traditional silk options. Nylon thread also replaced silk as silk was considered too expensive during World War II.
Today’s floss materials are created to be even stronger than its predecessors. For example, Gore-Tex material that is known for its durability and strength has been used. Floss has also undergone several flavor makeovers and can be flavored to have a mint or bubblegum taste.
Whatever the innovation, flossing often remains the important dental intervention many of our Wilmington Family Dentistry patients forget or don’t feel they have time to do. Flossing does not have to take long, and if done well, can prevent a large portion of common dental conditions that occur due to bacterial buildup in between the teeth. You should floss at least once per day to reap the benefits of this tooth-saving intervention.
For more information on flossing tips or to make an appointment at Wilmington Dental Associates, a family dentistry practice in Wilmington, please call (302) 654-6915.

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