Enhancing the smile's aesthetic appearance can lead to increased self-confidence, improved social skills, and even a more positive outlook on life. Modern cosmetic dentistry merges advanced technology with fine art, and can often produce amazing results in less time than you would expect.
Tooth Whitening (Bleaching)
Though regular dental cleanings will remove external stains from coffee, tea and smoking, only bleaching your teeth will actually change the color of the enamel itself. Many people have naturally yellow teeth and others may have acquired dark enamel from the use of tetracycline as a child or other sources. In the past, crowns, veneers and bonding were the only ways to correct the problem (very expensive and invasive).
We offer two forms of tooth whitening:
- Customized trays are filled with a prescription strength whitening gel and worn in the mouth for as little as 2 hours per day (most people choose to sleep with them for even faster results).
- We have also had very good results with the professional strength version of Crest Whitestrips. The low cost makes this an excellent choice for most patients.
Alternative Bleaching Methods
Light-activated in-office bleaching has become very popular. Dr. Laurie feels that the results are less predictable and patients usually feel that their teeth are not white enough. Patients opt for either additional treatments or the use of custom trays afterward. We do not feel that the added expense of in-office tooth whitening is worth it.
Many people are choosing to use over-the-counter bleaching products. Many of these products do work, however they say on the package that the effects only last about 9 months (in contrast, 75% of patients who use prescription strength bleach from their dentist maintain the same shade for at least five years with no touch-ups).
Use whitening toothpastes cautiously. They are very abrasive and only remove external stains. They can cause damage to your teeth and gums.
Teeth that are chipped, discolored, uneven, stained or gapped.
Bonding with composite resin. The composite resin used in bonding is a tooth-colored material that is applied directly to the enamel of teeth and shaped to correct the patient's aesthetic concern. When exposed to a special ultraviolet light, the resin hardens into place.
Porcelain veneers and crowns, while more expensive, last considerably longer than bonding.
Teeth that are chipped, discolored, uneven, stained, gapped, crooked or worn.
Customized, wafer-thin veneers (also called porcelain laminates) are cemented onto the front of the tooth, resulting in a natural appearance that covers any irregularities or aesthetic concerns.
Veneers are not an ideal choice for patients with tooth decay, advanced periodontal disease, or severe misalignment. In cases where veneers are not advisable, orthodontic treatments and porcelain crowns may be better choices.
Teeth that are broken, cracked, badly decayed, or otherwise weakened.
Porcelain Crowns maintain the aesthetic appearance of teeth by covering the entire visible surface of the tooth, while adding significant reinforcement and protection to the tooth. All-porcelain crowns are extremely natural looking, virtually indistinguishable from other teeth, making them an ideal choice for front teeth. When back teeth need a crown, they require more strength to handle the forces of chewing. We recommend porcelain crowns that have a gold alloy under the porcelain.