DENTISTS & DENTAL PROFESSIONALS
How should you choose a cosmetic dentist?
There are several qualities that make for a great cosmetic dentist. Here are several of the most important attributes in cosmetic dentistry.
The top cosmetic dentists, know that it’s their responsibility to take extensive training, stay up to date on the most current techniques and materials, and work with the top ceramists in the country.
Your cosmetic dentist also needs to have an artistic eye and be a perfectionist. He or she must have creativity and imagination in order to picture what your smile will look like before any work has begun.
Perhaps the most important quality, and one that we take pride in here at Kenwood Complete Dentistry, is the ability to listen. It’s important for your dentist to understand what you want in a smile. What is motivating you to do this now? What are your concerns? Is there someone’s smile that you’ve seen that you just love (or don’t)? Do you want the smile you had when you were younger or a smile you never had? You have to feel like you have an opportunity to talk and truly be heard. We want you to have YOUR best smile.
PROCEDURES, TECHNIQUES & MATERIALS
What is a dental bridge?
Sometimes we recommend a bridge as an option to replace a missing tooth. While implants tend to be the best long-term option, bridges are another alternative. The disadvantage of a bridge is that, in order to replace a missing tooth, the tooth in front and behind the space need to have their enamel removed for crowns to hold at the bridge.
This is a more natural alternative to a removable partial denture because a bridge is cemented in place. The downside is that the adjacent teeth need to be irreversibly altered. You also cannot floss around a bridge like you do with natural teeth or an implant so they are more prone to decay, which is why bridges have a shorter life expectancy than an implant. Dr. Sherman or Dr. Pelchovitz will go over your options and explain the pros and cons of a dental bridge versus an implant in your specific situation.
What is the difference between a porcelain veneer and a porcelain crown?
There are only subtle differences between these two procedures and, when done properly, not even a dentist can look at your smile and tell the difference between a porcelain veneer and a porcelain crown. The true difference is which parts of the tooth are altered to make room for the porcelain itself. With a veneer, only the front of the tooth is altered, whereas with a crown, the original tooth is altered all the way around.
Porcelain veneers tend to be more conservative and are used primarily on front teeth. However, there are times when porcelain crowns are used on front teeth as well. Oftentimes we use a combination of porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns when we are changing a patient’s smile. Dr. Pelchovitz and Dr. Sherman will carefully study your teeth, smile and bite before making their recommendation specific for you.
What is the difference between mini implants and standard dental implants?
Mini dental implants are smaller versions of more standard dental implants. While they have some advantageous uses, rate of failure for mini implants is substantially higher than traditional dental implants. As a result, in most circumstances, we do not use them here at Kenwood Complete Dentistry. The one exception is when we need a temporary implant solution.
Are crowns made out of different materials?
Yes, over time, dental professionals have used many different materials to make crowns. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few of the materials currently used today. Here at Kenwood Complete Dentistry, we help you decide on the best solution based on your dental situation and aesthetic goals.
Also known as lithium disilicate, eMax crowns are the most frequently used material for cosmetic porcelain crowns. In the hands of a talented ceramist, these crowns can look just like natural teeth, or even better.
As white metal, zirconia crowns are great to use on back teeth because of their incredible strength. A newer version, aesthetic zirconia, has allowed us to make back teeth look and feel as good as new.
Porcelain Fused to Metal
This type of crown is made of porcelain attached to a thin layer of gold. The advantage is that these crowns are more aesthetic than plain gold, but they often are not very life-like and the porcelain layer can chip away from the gold.
The advantage of gold crowns is that they are incredibly strong and provide a fantastic fit. However, they stand out and do not blend with your natural smile.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of teeth bonding versus porcelain veneers?
Dr. Pelchovitz and Dr. Sherman usually discuss dental bonding versus porcelain veneers if you have:
· Small teeth
· Discolored teeth
· Chipped teeth
· Gaps between your teeth
Teeth bonding has the advantage of being done in a single visit and is good for fixing minor problems, especially on younger patients. They are also quite a bit less expensive. However, due to the bonding material being made out of resin or composite, it is not nearly as strong as porcelain and more likely to break and discolor.
Porcelain veneers can fix a greater variety of problems and aesthetic concerns and give you a smile that is strong and radiant. Porcelain also looks more like natural teeth due to the depth of color and shine, so this is the choice if you want our smile to look its very best.
DURABILITY & REPLACEMENT
How long do porcelain veneers last?
Because every patient is different, there is no standard answer to this question. In most patients, porcelain veneers can last 10-20 years, or even longer. For most patients, routine maintenance, like brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings, is all that is needed to keep your porcelain veneers healthy and looking their best.
However, like any tooth or dental restoration, decay can develop if they are not taken care of and routine dental cleanings are not maintained. Patients that clench their teeth, bite their fingernails, or use their teeth aggressively (like chomping ice or opening bottles), will also risk damaging their porcelain veneers.
Do porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns stain?
Fortunately, porcelain does not stain or darken over time. Any slight discoloration is usually from tobacco or tea, but can be removed during routine dental cleanings. Unfortunately, whitening or bleaching porcelain crowns is impossible. If we are going to do teeth whitening as a part of your smile transformation, we will do this before any porcelain crowns or veneers so we know exactly which shade of porcelain to use to match the rest of your smile.
Can a fixed dental bridge be repaired?
Sometimes dental bridges have issues that need to be addressed, such as decay under the abutment teeth (the anchors of the bridge), chipping of the porcelain, or the bridge becoming loose. All of these situations need care, but your dentist will help determine what steps will best help your specific situation. Here are a few example scenarios:
· If there is just a small chip in a non-aesthetic or non-functional area, we can just smooth the porcelain.
· If the bridge has become loose because of an issue with the cement, the fixed dental bridge can be re-cemented.
· The main problem with bridges is when decay forms underneath the bridge, usually due to improper home care and/or diet. This can present as pain or discomfort with one of the abutment teeth, the bridge becoming loose or becoming dislodged, or have no symptoms at all and are found at your routine dental exam.
Depending on the situation and how early the problems are detected, the solutions vary from simply removing the decay and cementing the bridge back in place to having to remove the entire bridge and the supporting roots. If this happens, Dr. Sherman and Dr. Pelchovitz will discuss other options including a larger spanning bridge, a removable partial denture, or dental implants which are stronger and not affected by decay.
PRICING & INSURANCE
How much do porcelain veneers cost?
This is one of the most common questions in regards to porcelain veneers. The cost varies from case to case because of several factors. Here are some of the aspects of the procedure that will affect pricing:
· How many veneers are needed?
· What’s the complexity of shading needed to have a natural look?
· Is your dental situation straight forward or more complex?
At Kenwood Complete Dentistry, we are committed to using only the finest materials and talented porcelain veneer ceramists. There is a cost involved with this level of quality. We never tout ourselves as being the lowest cost veneers, because we are not. We are also not the most expensive either. We feel that using lower quality materials and ceramists is absolutely not worth the cost savings when it comes to your smile. Your smile–and your confidence–are a few of your greatest assets, so we only accept the best for you.
How much do dental implants cost?
There is an incredible range in the cost of dental implants. Here are some considerations that affect pricing:
· How many implants need to be placed?
· Is grafting needed?
· What type of temporary tooth or teeth are needed while the implant(s) heal?
· What will be the type of final restoration (implant crown, implant bridge, implant overdenture, all-on-four dental implants, fixed hybrid implant denture, etc.)?
Before beginning any sort of procedure, we’re happy to sit down with you and create a customized financial plan based on your wants and needs. We strive to make sure every step of the implant process is as comfortable as possible, including financial planning.
Are porcelain veneers covered by dental insurance?
This is a difficult question to answer because there are literally thousands of dental insurance companies and plans out there and each one is different. However, for the vast majority of plans, porcelain veneers are not covered by insurance because it is considered a cosmetic procedure. Our team members are happy to sit down with you and develop a customized financial strategy specific to your needs and budget. This is often one of the times when using CareCredit or Lending Club is most advantageous. Find out more about our financial options.
DISEASE, SAFETY & OTHER CONCERNS
What are the risk factors for oral cancer?
The two biggest factors that increase your risk for oral and oropharyngeal cancer are tobacco and heavy alcohol use. Nearly 80% of people with oral cancer use tobacco (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and snuff) and 70% of people with oral cancer are heavy alcohol users. Other common factors include frequent exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light and poor nutrition, specifically low quantities of fruits and vegetables.
What are the warning signs of oral cancer?
There are many warning signs, which is why we include an inspection for suspicious lesions as part of our routine hygiene and new patient exams. Some of the most common warning signs of oral cancer are:
· A persistent mouth sore that doesn’t heal
· A white or red patch on the side of the tongue, gums, tonsils, or lining of the mouth
Are silver (amalgam) fillings safe?
The concern with amalgam fillings is due to the mercury content in the filling material. So are amalgam fillings safe? There is some evidence that the mercury vapor leeches out and gets into the blood stream, leading to kidney, brain, urological, fertility, neurological, and kidney problems. This evidence is disputed by the American Dental Association, which is why these fillings are still placed in other offices and clinics.
However, at Kenwood Complete Dentistry, we understand the health concerns, but also want teeth to look natural. Due to both of these factors, we do not place silver fillings. We do, however, remove amalgam fillings and replace them with tooth-colored fillings.
What are the symptoms of TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder)?
TMD, more commonly known as TMJ (which actually refers the joint itself), will present with different symptoms in different people. Oftentimes, patients will come in with pain the jaw muscles, neck, and shoulders. This can lead to muscles stiffness, headaches, and ear pain. TMD also has a direct effect on your teeth and smile. We frequently see patients with teeth that are worn down, cracked, chipped, loose, or broken due to TMD.
Will professional teeth whitening make my teeth sensitive?
The general answer to this is no. At Kenwood Complete Dentistry, we make custom teeth whitening trays specific to your mouth. How does that help? The bleaching gel stays on your teeth and not your gums, which is a major cause of sensitivity. With the Opalescence teeth whitening system that we use, you only need to bleach once a day for 30 minutes. If you tend to have sensitive teeth, you can bleach every other day or even put a desensitizing toothpaste (Sensodyne) in the custom whitening trays to help reduce your sensitivity.