A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain that is bonded to the front part of the tooth to cosmetically enhance a smile by changing the tooth color, shape, size, or length. Porcelain veneers have the shape and texture of a natural tooth, the ability to reflect light, and are custom made to fit over your existing teeth.
Veneers can be used:
- to correct uneven gaps or spacing between the upper front teeth
- to lighten discolored or stained teeth that can not be whitened by bleaching
- to enhance teeth that are too small
- to correct crooked or misshapen teeth
- to correct worn or chipped teeth
A composite (tooth-colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is decayed or broken, to close undesirable gaps, or to improve the shape, size and color of a tooth. Composites can also be used to protect thermally sensitive areas. Because it is tooth colored, the filling can be closely matched to the color of the existing tooth. The main advantage of composites over traditional silver amalgam fillings is to obtain improved esthetics and are an affordable, conservative solution to correct areas of concern.
A crown is a "cap" that is fully encased over a tooth to restore its size and shape. Crowns help to protect and strengthen a tooth that cannot be restored with fillings if there isn't enough tooth structure remaining to hold the fitting. Porcelain (tooth colored) crowns are the most popular as they are matched to the natural teeth and are esthetically pleasing. Gold crowns are also an option.
Reasons for crowns:
- broken or fractured teeth
- decayed teeth
- large fillings
- the tooth has had a root canal
- cosmetic enhancement
- to hold a bridge in place
- to cover a dental implant
A bridge is a fixed, non-removable restoration that is an excellent way to replace one or more missing teeth. Replacing missing teeth is important not only for your appearance but for the proper function of ones' teeth and for overall dental health. The adjacent teeth on either side of the space are crowned and attached to an artificial tooth which fills in the gap created by the missing teeth. These crowned supporting teeth can be natural teeth or dental implants. Bridges are usually made of porcelain fused to metal which resembles the natural teeth and gives a very esthetic result. Gold bridges are also an option.
Implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and an excellent long-term solution for restoring your smile. They are designed to look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Implants are small titanium posts that resemble artificial tooth roots and are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw where teeth are missing. They can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or as an attachment to support a removable prosthesis.
Discoloration of your teeth can be a result of the effects of age, smoking, medications, or certain foods or drinks. Tooth whitening (bleaching) is an easy, affordable, and safe way to enhance and brighten your smile. The most common and effective method of tooth whitening is an at-home system that will dramatically lighten the teeth.
Opalescence is a customized take-home tooth whitening gel system that uses a bleaching tray customized to your teeth. Impressions will be taken of your teeth, which are then used to fabricate clear, soft, plastic custom trays that fit over your teeth. The gel is clear, flavored, and contains 10,15, or 20% carbamide peroxide and is placed in the mouth guard for several hours per day for a few weeks.
Not all types of discoloration can be corrected. Because bleaching only works on natural tooth enamel, tooth colored fillings or crowns will not change in color and may have to be replaced after whitening to match the newly bleached teeth. Tooth whitening is not permanent and may need a touch-up every few years. Should the teeth re-stain over time, the teeth can be re-whitened within a few nights using opalescence.
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