Posts for: February, 2015

By Wilmington Dental Associates
February 23, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Veneers  

VeneersDental veneers, like the ones you can have done by your family dentist at Wilmington Dental Associates, are made out of a thin piece of porcelain. The porcelain can be either white or slightly off-white - whatever color will look most natural inside your mouth. Porcelain veneers mimic the natural look, feel and texture of your original teeth.

Porcelain veneers offer several benefits. They are very realistic and natural looking, so no one has to know that you have them. They can be used to correct a number of dental problems, including discoloration, slight crookedness, chips, cracks or gapping. They can even be used to change the shape of the teeth, making them look less pointy or short. Because veneers cover your original teeth, they can be used to cover a wide range of problems with ease.

Porcelain veneers are stain and cavity resistant. This doesn't mean that you don't have to take care of your teeth or that you'll never have to visit your family dentist at Wilmington Dental Associates again, of course, since the rest of your teeth and your gums still depend on you to take care of them, but it can help alleviate worries about how your teeth will look in the future.

Of course, porcelain veneers do have a few drawbacks as well. For one, the process is not reversible due to the fact that your teeth must be shaved down slightly in order to apply the veneers. Secondly, the process of getting veneers can require some time. It typically takes around a week until your new veneers are ready. Lastly, while veneers are strong, they can be brittle, so you will need to avoid actions that stress your teeth such as biting your fingernails and chewing ice.

If you are tired of seeing your chipped, gapped, misshapen or discolored smile every time you look in the mirror, stop hiding it and fix it! Visit your family dentist at Wilmington Dental Associates today to find out if veneers are right for you!

By Wilmington Dental Associates
February 23, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

“Break a leg” is a well-known theatrical expression for wishing good luck to an actor about to go on stage. Singers should have one of their own…“Chip a tooth”! Apparently collisions between microphones and pearly whites are an occupational hazard for crooners. Taylor Swift became one of the latest casualties during a concert in Pittsburgh while belting out her hit “I Knew You Were Trouble.” The consummate professional, she didn’t miss a beat and kept on singing despite seeing a tooth chip hit the floor.

After all, while chipping a tooth is an inconvenience, it’s not a permanent smile wrecker. Modern dentistry offers several options for restoring a damaged tooth to its original symmetry and luster, or even better!

Dental cosmetic bonding is the quickest and lowest-cost option to repair a chip. This involves application of a composite filling material that is colored and shaped to match the original tooth. Bonding material can be used to replace the lost portion of tooth or to seamlessly reattach the lost portion if it has been preserved and is otherwise undamaged. Little to no removal of existing tooth surface is needed.

A veneer can be used for slightly larger areas or discolored teeth. This is a thin, custom-made shell placed on the front of the tooth to give it a new “face.” Some removal of existing tooth surface may be necessary to fit a veneer so it is flush with the surfaces of surrounding intact teeth.

When a relatively large portion of the tooth is missing, a crown is often the better choice. It fully encases the visible portion of the remaining tooth above the gum line and is shaped and sized to match the original. It can be made of tooth-colored porcelain fused to metal crowns or all-ceramic (optimal for highly visible areas). A small amount of the existing tooth surface will be removed to allow the crown to fit over it.

If you would like more information about repairing a chipped tooth, 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 “Artistic Repair of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”

By Wilmington Dental Associates
February 13, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Implants are highly regarded by both dentists and patients for their versatility and durability. But it’s their life-like appearance that “seals the deal” as the restoration of choice — not only mimicking an individual tooth, but emerging from the gum line and blending indistinguishably with other teeth in color and symmetry.

To achieve this result, we must consider a few factors beforehand, particularly the amount of bone available at the intended implant site. An implant requires a certain amount of bone to properly position it for the most natural crown appearance. The bone present around adjacent teeth can also affect your appearance: in the absence of adequate bone the papillae, triangular shaped gum tissue between teeth, may not regenerate properly between the implant and the natural teeth. This can leave a noticeable void, what dentists call “black hole disease.”

Bone loss is a significant problem particularly after tooth loss. It’s quite possible for you to lose a quarter of the bone’s width in the first year after tooth loss. To avoid this, we often use bone grafting techniques immediately after extraction to lessen bone loss; if it’s already occurred we may be able to use similar reconstructive techniques to rebuild and encourage renewed bone growth. In the end, though, if there remains a significant level of bone loss it may be necessary to consider another option for tooth replacement other than implants.

The thickness of your gum tissue, a genetic trait, can also have an impact on the implant’s ultimate appearance. Thicker gum tissues are generally more resilient and easier to work with surgically. Thinner gum tissues are more susceptible to recession and tend to be more translucent, which could cause the underlying metal implant to be visible. Thus, working with thinner gum tissues requires a more delicate approach when trying to achieve a visually appealing result.

All these factors must be balanced, from implantation to final crown placement. But with careful planning and attention to detail throughout the process, many of these issues can be overcome to produce a satisfying result — a new and appealing smile.

If you would like more information on the aesthetics of dental implants, 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 “Matching Teeth & Implants.”

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