Composite (Tooth Colored) Fillings
You have a cavity or need to replace an old filling. In the world of modern, high tech dentistry, there are several choices of materials that can be used. So that you can make a more informed decision, we will discuss the most state of the art materials and their use in specific applications. We do not place silver/amalgam fillings because they are subject to fracture; turn the tooth dark, and separate from the tooth.
The advanced technology materials which include composites and porcelains and also gold, bond to the tooth making it stronger as well as making it look so much nicer. These materials are used because of their strength, longevity and esthetics. Keep in mind that the stronger materials last longer and, while the initial investment is somewhat more than silver amalgam, you will have the piece of mind that your tooth is restored with great durability and pleasing esthetics.
Composite, direct placement restoration
This one appointment, composite restoration is made from a mixture of porcelain particles and resin and is matched to the color of your tooth. Composite material is very strong and ideal in small to medium cavities where there is adequate tooth structure remaining to retain the internal filling.
A major reason for amalgam filling failure is breakdown at the tooth-filling margin. After a few years, the amalgam separates from the tooth creating a gap or crevice, which causes leakage and bacterial formation under the filling resulting in tooth decay. The picture at left shows an old amalgam filling with small and large gaps around it. Also note the rough, pitted surface.
Composite material when used with bonding actually create a tight seal between the filling and the tooth that makes leakage impossible and prevents fluids and bacteria from entering inside your tooth, thus reducing the possibility of recurrent decay.
This bond created between the filling and the enamel of the tooth adds great strength, which prevents the filling from coming out or breakage of the tooth. The picture at right is the same tooth as above restored to beauty and strength.
Veneers and Cosmetic Bondings
There’s no reason to put up with gaps in your teeth or with teeth that are stained, badly shaped or crooked. Today a veneer placed on top of your teeth can correct nature’s mistake or the results of an injury and help you have a beautiful smile.
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells crafted of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front side of teeth. They’re fabricated in a dental lab just like onlays and crowns.
It is easy to get overwhelmed or even confused by the different tooth whitening systems available today. However, there are only two main categories of whitening products. Over-the-Counter, store bought products like Crest White Strips™ and Prescription strength whitening products that you can only get through your dentist. Prescription strength whitening systems can be further categorized in two types. These are “take home” products, like bleaching trays, or “in office” whitening systems like Zoom 2 ™and other highly concentrated bleaching methods administered by the dentist in one visit.
OTC (over the counter) whitening products
These products are fine to use for some people, but safety regulations mandate that they can only be so strong. This means that individuals with darker teeth will not usually see the desired results. Our doctors usually recommend these products to patients who have bleached their teeth before with fairly good results and who are just looking for a “touch up”. Another thing to consider is that many of these OTC products do not cover the entire dental arch, but mainly the front teeth since there is no custom made tray to deliver the product safely to all of the teeth.
Prescription strength whitening systems
Our doctors make treatment recommendations based on an individual patient-by-patient basis. They consider the patient’s age- because teeth get a little more stubborn to whiten with age. Also, our doctors look at past bleaching experiences. For example, how light or dark are the patients teeth now? Was the patient satisfied with past whitening attempts? How compliant will the patient will be with our recommendations, especially for take home products? Are the patient’s teeth sensitive now or have they ever been in the past?. These are just some of the basic questions that need to be considered by your dentist before the best whitening program can be prescribed. A “one size fits all” approach just doesn’t come close to working for most people.
The main differences with “prescription take home”and “in-office” whitening systems are the concentration of the bleaching chemicals. The “in- office” systems are typically much higher in bleaching concentrations and require a trained professional to apply the product only after extreme safety precautions have been taken, like careful isolation of the lips, tongue, and cheeks. These higher concentration systems do get teeth whiter faster, but they do usually have a little more sensitivity associated with them. Used alone, the patient may notice dramatic differences right away, but these results can fade quicker as well
An onlay is a tooth conserving procedure requiring minimum reduction of your tooth, in contrast to a crown that requires much more tooth removal. After an impression is taken, our dental laboratory will custom make this durable, composite material to exactly fit the mold of your tooth.
The material is heat and pressure cured for added strength and then bonded to your tooth at the second, short visit, making your tooth very strong. Porcelain is also used as an alternative material for the onlay. The picture at left shows old existing amalgam fillings that have weakened the inner and outer walls of the teeth. Also note the gaps or crevices shown as dark lines between the filling and tooth that have allowed decay to form inside the tooth.
The purpose of the onlay is to “cap or overlay” the biting surfaces of the tooth to protect the tooth walls from breakage. This overlay acts as a brace or cast to protect the weak tooth walls.
The dentist will choose a color that matches very close to your adjacent teeth which gives the finished product a very natural appearance. In the picture at right are the same two molar teeth as the above picture. Which fillings would you rather have in your mouth?
The answer is obvious; the ones with the onlays, which have restored the teeth to esthetic beauty and have made them strong and durable for many years.
Lab fabricated gold onlay
The strongest and most durable material available in dentistry is gold. Like a composite onlay, gold restorations require two appointments. Gold is much more aesthetic than amalgam/silver fillings because it maintains its color and polish unlike amalgam which darkens, cracks and develops a pitted, rough surface. Amalgam will also darken and stain the surrounding tooth enamel, while gold protects the enamel and does not darken the tooth.
Some people may not care for the look of gold, while others are more interested in the added strength. Gold is the most durable material that can be used. It will never crack, chip or break and rarely wears out, even after many years in the mouth. If the onlay is in an area of the mouth that does not show when you smile, such as the last molar teeth, gold is an excellent choice.
The picture above shows gold onlays on a tooth in front of the first molar and one on the last molar tooth. As you can see, there are several choices of materials to restore your teeth. Our doctors can advise you of which material will work best for your particular need. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask our doctors or team members.
We are here to help restore your mouth to health with the best materials available in dentistry today. Your mouth will feel and look great and bring back the confidence that you can again feel good about yourself because of the investment you made in restoring your teeth.
Snap-On Smile is for just about everyone!
Snap-On Smile is an affordable and life-changing solution for people of all ages. Getting a Snap-On Smile simply requires two, short, painless visits with no drilling, no shots and no change in tooth structure.
It is an excellent choice for:
• Gaps, crooked, stained or missing teeth
• Those who are not candidates for bridges or implants
• Anyone who would like a Hollywood smile without the expense and discomfort of complex and invasive dental procedures
• Anyone who has an old-fashioned removable partial denture and wants a beautiful, more comfortable alternative
For more information and before/after photos, please visit www.snaponsmile.com
The Damon braces system, sometimes referred to as “fast braces”, is today’s most advanced technique. Damon braces are esthetic and comfortable because of the gentle yet efficient wires that move the teeth with less force and with greater speed than the old steel wires.
The Damon technique works especially well for both children and adults with moderate to severely crowded teeth and in most instances, does not require extraction of any teeth. The reason the teeth move so quickly and with little discomfort is that the Damon brackets slide on the soft, gentle wires with practically no friction and the teeth align more quickly and comfortably.
With traditional orthodontics, heavy friction is created because the brackets are tightly secured to the wire by steel or elastic ligatures. This creates more discomfort and slows down the movement of the teeth.With Damon, the end result is a beautiful smile created 40 percent faster than with traditional braces. Visit www.damonbraces.com to learn more about this remarkable , innovative system.
Another popular and technologically advanced way of straightening teeth is Invisalign. This technique utilizes a series of clear retainer trays that are worn continuously for two weeks. After that time, the old tray is discarded and a new tray is worn for the next two weeks.
As many as 15 to 30 trays are made in advance by computer driven technology that calculates step by step the exact tooth straightening process from start to finish. Average time to straighten teeth is three months to over a year depending on the extent of crowding.
Invisalign is only indicated for mild to moderate crowding of the teeth. An excellent indication for Invisalign is to retreat the crowding that has occurred in patients who had previously worn braces. The advantages to Invisalign are esthetics and comfort, and the trays can be removed to eat and brush the teeth. Your smile can be created without anyone knowing it since the trays are virtually undetectable. Find out more by visiting www.invisalign.com.
A vital part of excellent oral health is straight teeth. We all want to look the best we can, and with Damon braces or Invisalign, you can have a healthy mouth with a great looking smile, comfortably and fast.