Once Dr. Tran has evaluated the health of your teeth and gums, checked for oral cancer, and treated any decay or periodontal disease, you may want to explore the possibility of improving the appearance of your smile.
We all like to look our best. A bright, white smile, with teeth aligned and the whole impression pleasing to the eye goes a long way toward improving, not only your appearance, but your mood!
Ask Dr. Tran about the many options available today in Cosmetic Dentistry, the branch of dentistry devoted to the way you look.
Dark, stained, or discolored teeth are not a flattering look! You can take years off your appearance by whitening.
At Smooth Dental Group, you have the choice of a chairside whitening session in our office or (for a more economical, do-it-yourself solution) a take-home kit. You can also supplement your in-office whitening with a home follow-up kit.
Home Whitening Kit
Your take-home whitening kit will consist of custom-made mouth trays, a whitening gel solution, and a small tool to inject the solution into the trays. To use, you simply inject the gel solution into each tooth indentation in the mouth trays and then wear the trays for a given amount of time each day. Slowly, but surely, your teeth will whiten and lighten.
Tough Dental Stains
Some of the dental stains you may have or may get in the future are not easily removed by whitening, with or without the aid of the special light. Some difficult stains are:
- Internal medicinal stains, such as those caused by tetracycline.
- Other internal stains, such as those caused by too much fluoride.
- Discoloration caused by accident or injury.
- Older food or tobacco stains that have penetrated into the tooth structure.
- Natural darkening that comes with age, caused by the thinning of the white enamel.
- Discoloration that is grayish or brownish, rather than yellowish.
- Stained dental restorations, such as crowns, bridges, bonding, or tooth-colored fillings
For these more stubborn stains, another cosmetic solution might be more effective. Ask about veneers, lumineers, or dental bonding.
Veneers & Lumineers
Veneers are very thin porcelain shells that are bonded to the fronts of your teeth.
Veneers may be used for cosmetic defects of yeeth that call for more than dental bonding, but less than crowns (caps). For example:
- Chipped teeth
- Crooked teeth (not so bad that they require braces)
- Rough or bumpy tooth surfaces
- Stains on the inside, unreachable by teeth whitening systems
- Medicinal or chemical discoloration, such as those caused by tetracycline or fluoride
- Oddly-shaped teeth that don’t look right next to their neighbors
- Gaps between the teeth, such as the typical gap between the two front teeth
- Discolored fillings or other restorations, which are not bleachable since they are not tooth enamel
A Conservative Approach
Veneers are a less-invasive cosmetic technique than crowns, which used to be the method of choice of Hollywood stars and other celebrities in search of the perfect smile. Though bonding is an even less invasive measure, veneers are more stain-resistant. In addition, veneers have a translucence close to that of natural teeth.
How are Veneers Made?
At Smooth Dental Group, we can make available to you a 3-D physical model for previewing, so you can see in a very real way what the final effect will be. Once you are happy with the look of your new smile, the veneers will be custom-made for you.
A new painless way to a whiter and better-aligned smile is Lumineers, the new state-of-the art cosmetic dentistry procedure utilizing contact-lens thin porcelain.
Veneers or Lumineers?
Unlike traditional veneers, Lumineers require no grinding or shaving of the teeth, allowing your tooth structure to be saved. Traditional veneers require a slight reduction in the size of each tooth, just the thickness of the veneer – the equivalent of a fingernail. The disadvantage of this method is that veneers are irreversible. Lumineers, on the other hand, are reversible, since they do not require this tooth reduction.
On the other hand, Lumineers have a completely different look, so be sure to take advantage of our 3-D preview to make your choice.
Bonding is a great way to repair several kinds of tooth imperfections. This process refers to the use of tooth-colored composites that are attached or bonded to the tooth surface.
When to Use Dental Bonding
Many of our patients live in embarrassment about their chipped or imperfect smiles, without realizing that there is a simple procedure to repair these flaws quickly and inexpensively. Chipped, cracked, worn-down, or broken teeth are all great candidates for the bonding process. Other uses include to correct badly stained teeth that cannot be repaired by professional whitening or even gapped or uneven teeth.
How it Works
Dental Bonding can be completed in one visit, and often doesn’t even require a local anesthetic. The first step is to apply a gentle, painless, phosphoric solution to the surface of the natural tooth, to prep it for the bonding agent. After this agent is applied, the dentist places a resin on the area to be repaired. This resin is specially blended to match the color of the existing tooth.
After it is shaped and contoured to the desired appearance, the resin will be hardened and set. The bonded tooth will then be smoothed and polished until it’s as bright and natural as the surrounding teeth.