What to Expect With Dental Veneers

How Dental Veneers Can Improve Your Smile

Have you ever seen a smile that you won’t forget? Have you ever looked to Hollywood celebrities and wondered how they were born with perfect teeth? Believe it or not, these smiles most likely were crafted by a dentist. Hollywood celebrity smiles are almost all credited to cosmetic dentistry and dental Veneers. All parts of a smile can be changed by cosmetic dentistry with Botox and Juvaderm injectables, dental bonding, Invisalign and clear braces, teeth whitening, implants, and dental Veneers, right in your dentist’s office.

Dental Veneers (sometimes called Porcelain Veneers) are an increasingly popular way to enhance and change the esthetics of your smile by crowning (capping) your existing teeth with vibrant, natural looking Veneer crowns. Depending on what you want through a smile makeover, every tooth, only the top teeth, or only the “smile teeth” (the teeth visible when you smile) can be crowned to achieve a new look. Don’t expect a perfect smile in one visit to your dentist, though. To achieve a “perfect” smile, it requires planning and a good relationship with your dentist. Any parts that you don’t like about your smile or envy about another’s smile can be made for you during planning with your dentist. Tooth color, size, straightness, angle, shape, and even personality, can be chosen when planning the look of your dental Veneers. Try-in or 3D models of your future teeth can be made so that you can actually see a new smile before committing to it.

To permanently seal your dental Veneers, your dental office will schedule you for a few visits. First, there will be a consult where you and the dentist will talk one-on-one to agree on your smile makeover’s product. Secondly, a “Build-Up” appointment will be scheduled, where the dentist gently shapes your existing teeth to properly house your dental Veneers. This feels like a filling or regular crown appointment, and shouldn’t cause anxiety. The dentist will make you temporary crowns until your dental Veneers are ready. Next, an “Impressions” appointment will be scheduled or even on the same day as the Build-Up, where impressions (a mold) of your teeth are taken to send to the lab designing and hand-crafting your dental Veneers. Improvements in dental technology have been to use 3-D scanners and avoid the gooey impression material all together in some offices. After a few weeks, your new smile is ready to be “seated,” as a dentist would say, meaning permanently bonded to your existing teeth to house a new, improved smile.

On the day of your Seat appointment, get ready to get emotional and feel vibrant. In several cases, such as the viral videos of makeovers – people get emotional when they see their new smile – and it’s contagious to the dentist and staff caring for your makeover. Get ready for lots of photos and a perfect smile every time!

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When Teeth are Lost, Bone is Lost

Most people think of bone as rock-solid, but it’s actually a living tissue that’s constantly changing. This has significant implications for your oral health, general health, and appearance — if you are one of the 70% of Americans missing at least one tooth.

Throughout the day, your top and bottom teeth make hundreds of fleeting contacts with each other. These small stresses are transmitted though the periodontal ligament (“peri” – around; “odont” – tooth) that supports each tooth in its socket like a hammock. Think of it as a gentle push on the hammock, which causes the tooth to gently bump the underlying bone. The bone then builds up in the spot that’s receiving stress to counteract it. This constant remodeling of bone is what allows bone to stay healthy and strong.

When a tooth is lost, the bone does not receive that gentle stress. It reacts by literally melting away. Sometimes this happens fairly quickly — in a matter of months. After the tooth-supporting bone is lost, the jawbone itself begins the same process of deterioration. This could eventually change the shape of the face, as the distance from nose to chin can decrease — even if only a few back teeth are missing. The results aren’t pretty. But the good news is, there’s a way to prevent all this.

Dental implants, which function as substitute tooth roots, actually save underlying bone when teeth are lost. They do this because they are made of titanium, which fuses to the bone in which it’s set, stabilizing it. The implant is topped by a realistic-looking crown, which replaces the part of the missing tooth that was visible in the mouth. Together, they look and function just as your natural tooth did.

If you are missing a lot of teeth, implants can also be used to anchor bridges or even removable dentures while providing that same bone-saving benefit. And when you consider that they are so durable they should never need replacement, implants are a great investment.

If you have any questions about dental implants, please contact us, or schedule an appointment for an implant consultation.

You can read more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”

What’s the Best Repair for a Chipped Tooth – Composite Resin or Porcelain Veneer?

When choosing among different ways to solve a problem, knowledge is power. In the case of selecting the best repair for a dental problem, count on your team of dental professionals to advise you. But you as the patient make the final decision, and it helps to thoroughly understand the different options, their advantages and disadvantages. If you have a chipped or broken front tooth, your likely repair options are composite resin or porcelain veneer.

Composite resins are synthetic materials that can be colored to match your natural teeth. The material is bonded to the tooth surface using adhesives that become part of the tooth structure, strengthening the original tooth. The repair looks as good as, or even better than, your original tooth. Such repairs can be used to restore small to large chips and other damage caused by decay or trauma.

Since the composite resin repair is applied directly to the tooth in the dental office, the repair can be made in a single appointment. You do not need to use a temporary repair while waiting for the final replacement to be made at a dental laboratory. This also means that the repair will cost less.

Another advantage of composite resin is that less of the healthy tooth needs to be removed to prepare the tooth to receive the replacement, since it bonds directly to the original tooth structure.

Porcelain veneers are very thin layers of tooth-colored porcelain that are also bonded to the tooth. They are usually recommended in situations with more serious injury or risk to the tooth, such as teeth that have been fractured, treated for root canal, or injured in contact sports.

Application of porcelain veneers may require more tooth preparation (in which more of the original tooth material must be removed) before the restoration can be bonded in position. Bonded porcelain veneers are likely to be longer-lasting than composite resins. They must be fabricated in a laboratory, so they require more than one visit and cost more.

All of the above are factors to consider in choosing composite resin or porcelain veneer to restore your chipped or damaged tooth. As usual in making such decisions, the final choice will depend on your individual situation.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about bonding to repair chipped teeth. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Artistic Repair of Front Teeth with Composite Resin.”

What Scientific Studies Reveal About Smile Makeovers

A generation ago, hearing the term, “smile makeover,” would most likely have resulted in questions and puzzled looks. However, through the power of both the media and celebrities, today it has become a common household term with over 70% of all inquiries coming from people in the 31 to 50 year old age group, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). While some people seek cosmetic dentistry purely to boost their self-esteem, others pursue it to improve first impressions during business and social interactions, as many studies have revealed that first impressions are the ones that typically last the longest.

The AACD study also revealed other interesting statistics that support why a smile makeover is a wise choice that can yield a life-changing return on your investment — you!

  • 99.7% of Americans believe a smile is an important social asset.
  • 74% feel an unattractive smile can hurt chances for career success.
  • 50% of all people polled were unsatisfied with their smile.

Another important study recently conducted by Beall Research & Training, Inc., an independent marketing research firm, used before and after photos of smile makeovers for polling purposes. The research found that people who have had a smile makeover are viewed by others as more attractive, intelligent, happy, successful in their career, friendly, interesting, kind, wealthy, and appealing to the opposite sex. This evidence clearly proves just how important a first impression can be as well as what it can silently communicate about you.

Want to learn more?

Contact us today to discuss your smile makeover questions or to schedule a consultation. We look forward to meeting with you to learn about your specific concerns and to show you what we can do for you. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctorarticle, “The Impact Of A Smile Makeover.”

What Is A Dental Implant?

While the first recorded attempts at dental implant were recorded around 600 AD during the Mayan civilization, today they have become a normal and integral tool that we use to replace teeth and restore full functionality to dental and oral health. In fact, many dentists now refer to dental implants as a person’s third set of teeth, and they are the optimal choice for permanently replacing missing adult (permanent) teeth.

To help you visualize, think of your teeth as having two main parts: the crown or the part that can be seen above the gum tissues and the root, the portion that is suspended in the bone by the periodontal (gum) ligament that keeps the tooth in place. A dental implant is actually a root replacement, but unlike a tooth’s root, it is anchored in the jawbone. However, an interesting fact is that the dental implants being used today actually fuse with or integrate in to the bone to become one. This process is called “osseo-integration.”

For the most part, dental implants are made from commercial-grade, pure titanium. This metal is “osteo-philic” or literally a bone loving metal that has been used for many years by both the medical and dental professions because it is not rejected by the body. For these reasons, these dental implants are very successful and can last for a lifetime.

Implant placement is a surgical process that requires prior planning involving collaborative efforts between the implant surgeon, dentist, and a laboratory technician. Periodontists, oral surgeons, or general dentists with advanced training in implantology and surgery normally “place” them. To learn more about dental implants and the entire process, read, “Dental Implants, Your Third Set Of Teeth.” Or if you prefer, you can contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment.

We may Need to Remove one or More Teeth Before Applying Braces

“To gain something, sometimes you have to give up something else.”

No, that isn’t the latest viral meme on the Internet. It’s actually a practical consideration that could arise in orthodontics.

In this case, the “something” to gain is a straighter, more attractive smile; the “something” you may have to part with is a few teeth. This may be necessary if there are too many teeth on a dental arch for its capacity, a situation called crowding. A lack of space is the main reason teeth come in misaligned.

Before we can correct this, we’ll need to free up space to allow for tooth movement by removing one or more of the existing teeth. The ideal candidates are those that are near to the teeth we wish to move but not highly visible. The first bicuspids are the most frequent choices for removal: they’re located behind the cuspids or eyeteeth (the pointed teeth right under the eyes).

Ideally, we’ll remove the target teeth some time before we apply braces to give the gums a chance to heal. At the same time we want to preserve the bone that once supported the teeth we’ve extracted. This is because when we chew the forces generated by the teeth stimulates bone replacement growth. When a tooth is no longer there the supporting bone doesn’t receive this stimulation and may ultimately reduce in volume.

We may try to prevent this by placing a bone graft in the empty socket immediately after removing the tooth. The graft serves as a scaffold to encourage new bone to grow. Hopefully when we’re ready to apply braces, the bone will be strong and healthy to handle the movement of the teeth.

As the teeth move under the influence of braces, they’ll begin to fill up the space created by tooth removal. Once it’s completed, the extracted teeth won’t be missed — the other teeth now straightened will completely fill out the smile.

The different steps in this process must be carefully planned and executed precisely, and it will take months or even years to complete. In the end, though, this complicated bite problem can be corrected and replaced with an attractive, straight smile.

If you would like more information on correcting a poor bite, 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 “Tooth Removal for Orthodontic Reasons.”

Veneers: Not Just for Woodworking

You may have heard the term “veneer” with reference to woodworking, where it means a thin layer of attractive wood that covers and enhances the surface of a piece of furniture. Exactly the same principle applies to porcelain veneers used in dentistry: A thin layer of ceramic material is used to cover parts of a tooth in order to improve its structure and appearance.

Porcelain is a non-metallic ceramic material that is fired in an oven at a high temperature to make it hard and durable. Dental porcelain veneers are thin layers of ceramic that can be applied to the outside of the tooth so that the end result mimics the natural color and translucency of tooth enamel. The underlying tooth structure has to be prepared by removing a small amount of the enamel, about 1 mm, which the veneer replaces. The veneer is then bonded to the prepared surface using a light-sensitive resin.

In woodworking, a veneer may be used to match the grain between the left and right sides of a piece of furniture, creating a beautiful effect on a curve, or simply to bring the appearance of expensive wood to a backing that is less expensive.

Just as a wood veneer improves the appearance of a dresser or table, porcelain laminate veneers may be used to improve teeth that have a number of cosmetic and functional problems. These include staining that cannot be removed by tooth whitening, teeth that are too small, misshapen, chipped or spaced too far apart. After an assessment of your teeth and your smile, we can create a mock-up using temporary tooth-colored materials so you can decide whether the suggested changes will work for you, or you can make suggestions for further improvements.

Porcelain laminate veneers may not be the best solution for you if your teeth are severely stained or damaged. In cases where a large proportion of the original tooth must be replaced, porcelain crowns may be the best solution. The crown is the part of the tooth that is visible above the gum line, and it can be covered with a porcelain crown that looks exactly like a tooth in shape and color. After studying your needs, together we can decide on the most satisfactory method to restore your most attractive smile.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about porcelain veneers. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Porcelain Crowns and Veneers.”

Veneers may Offer a Less Invasive Way to Transform Your Smile

If your smile is, to put it mildly, “unattractive,” you may think only extensive and expensive dental work can change it. But depending on your teeth’s actual condition, you might be able to obtain a new smile with a less-invasive option: porcelain veneers.

As their name implies, veneers are thin layers of dental porcelain bonded to the front of teeth to cover imperfections. They’re custom designed and manufactured by a dental technician to match the natural color, shape and size of the teeth they’re covering and to blend with neighboring teeth.

Veneers are quite effective for heavily stained, chipped or moderately misaligned teeth that are otherwise healthy. They can even be used to address slight gaps between teeth and restore worn teeth to make them appear larger and more youthful.

Overall, they’re less invasive than other dental restorations. That said, though, most veneers will still require some alteration of the affected teeth. This is because although quite thin they can still appear bulky after they’re bonded to the teeth. We can minimize this by removing a small amount of a tooth’s outer enamel. While this alteration is modest compared to other restorations, it’s nonetheless permanent– your teeth will require some form of restoration from then on.

Veneers also require special consideration while biting. You’ll need to exercise care and avoid biting hard items like candies (or using your teeth as tools) or the veneer could break. Similarly if you have a teeth grinding habit, you may want to consider having a custom guard created that you wear at night to prevent solid contact between your teeth. The excessive force generated while grinding or clenching teeth could also shatter veneers.

Veneers may not be the answer in all cosmetic dental situations, such as extensive disfigurements or bite problems. To know for sure if your particular dental condition could benefit, see your dentist for a complete dental examination and discuss whether obtaining veneers is a viable option for you. If so, you may be able to gain a much more attractive smile from this less invasive but no less effective option.

If you would like more information on porcelain veneers and other dental restorations, 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 “Porcelain Veneers: Strength & Beauty as Never Before.”

Veneers an Affordable, Low Impact Way to Achieve a More Attractive Smile

There are a lot of ways to improve the appearance of your teeth. Some methods can be quite involved like crowns or bridgework, which require extensive alteration of teeth to accommodate them.

Other methods, though, can achieve stunning results with less tooth reduction or alteration to your teeth. Porcelain veneers are one such alternative that literally puts a new face on your teeth. A dental veneer is a thin layer of restorative material (usually porcelain) that is bonded to the outside of a tooth to cover blemishes. They’re an excellent choice for dealing with otherwise healthy teeth with mild to moderate chipping, wearing, staining or slight misalignment.

Veneers can be fashioned to match the shape and texture of the prepared tooth, as well as coloring that blends with neighboring teeth. They’re created by skilled dental lab technicians who use porcelain powder mixed with water to create layers of pliable porcelain laminated together to achieve the appropriate thickness and shape. The veneer is then oven-fired to produce a strong, durable product.

Their use in various dental situations does require some tooth preparation, though normally not as much as other restorative measures — usually no more than 0.5 mm of surface enamel. Removing this small amount will ensure the veneer doesn’t look too thick and bulky once bonded to the tooth.

There are some situations, though, where veneers aren’t the best choice: because they’re mainly a cosmetic solution, they can’t remedy problems like poor tooth position and bite or large discrepancies in root position. And teeth that are heavily decayed may require more extensive dental work to repair and preserve them.

In the right situation, though, veneers can make a huge difference to your smile and last for years, as long as you practice effective oral hygiene and don’t subject them to abnormal biting force (no cracking hard shell nuts with them — they can shatter). In skilled hands, veneers can transform your teeth from embarrassing to dazzling.

If you would like more information on porcelain veneers, 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 “Smile Design Enhanced with Porcelain Veneers.”

Understanding the Importance of Pain-Free Dentistry

No one wants to experience pain when they go to the dentist. However, are you aware that anesthesia is beneficial to both you and your dental professionals? It enables us to concentrate on doing our best work with the assurance that you are perfectly comfortable. In fact, local anesthesia has literally revolutionized pain control; it is one of the most effective tools in dentistry and medicine.

But before we continue, let’s cover a few of the basics. “Anesthesia” (“ana” – without; “esthesia” – sensation) literally means without feeling or pain. “Local” refers to the site at which the anesthesia is used, in other words, where the action (and pain relief) is needed. Local anesthetics come in two varieties: topical and injectable.

We use topical anesthetics to numb just the top surface of the gums or oral lining surfaces of the mouth to provide surface comfort during procedures such as a superficial teeth cleaning. We apply them in a variety of ways: with a Q-tip, cotton swab, adhesive patch or a spray. Most importantly, we use them before administering injections (shots) so you don’t feel a thing.

Injectables deliver medication though a needle that will briefly block the sensation of pain from the teeth, gums and bone. They accomplish this by temporarily blocking the conduction of electrical impulses along the nerves that supply the gums and teeth with feeling so that you can be treated comfortably. They are especially important for treatments such as filling a deep cavity, tooth cleaning or extraction, or for gum surgery.

So which anesthesia is right for you?
Depending on the type of treatment or procedure we are performing, we will select the most suitable anesthetic. However, if you normally feel anxious about your dental visits, please let us know this in advance when scheduling your appointment. Having this knowledge in advance, we can ensure that your experience is free of both anxiety and pain — a result that will make both of us happy!

To learn more about this topic, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Local Anesthesia For Pain-Free Dentistry.” Or you can contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions.