Cosmetic Dentistry

There is no reason for anyone to have to settle for a less than brilliant smile. Today's sophisticated dental care offers a range of options for you to choose from to improve the look of your teeth, eliminate discoloration, and give yourself the smile that you deserve.

Tooth Whitening

All toothpastes help remove surface stains using mild abrasives. Toothpastes that are labeled as "whitening" have special chemical or polishing agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness, based on standards set by the American Dental Association. Unlike bleaches, whitening toothpastes do not alter the basic tooth color.

All bleaching products contain peroxide(s) that literally bleach the tooth enamel. These products typically rely on carbamide peroxide of differnt concentrations as a bleaching agent.

An exam and diagnosis should alwyas be performed prior to whitening your teeth. It is important for you to be educated with the whitening process. We want you to be able to make an informed decision on your way to the brighter smile you have always wanted. We cannot predict how much your teeth will lighten.

We receive many questions about teeth whitening products available over the counter. While many of these systems are harmless, they also will not whiten as well as the professional versions available through our office. Our professional system is designed to fit your schedule. You have the choice of whitening during the day, or overnight using a product that remains active up to 10 hours and will brightenten your teeth much faster than the store bought systems.

Dental restorations such as crowns and fillings will not bleach. Whitening without a dentist monitoring the process can cause a mismatch and may result in the need for expensive restoration replacement. Ideally, whitening should be performed prior to other esthetic dental procedures. We cannot predict how much or how little your teeth will actually lighten. We will match your existing shade so if you opt to wait to bleach at a later date, the fillings that have already been placed may no longer match. It is best to plan ahead and bleach first. Too much whitening can cause some teeth to become translucent, causing the teeth to appear darker. This can also cause metal fillings to show through more. We can help to ensure that you do not over whiten dn that you achieve the smile you want.

Not everyone is a candidate for bleaching. Whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. When this is the case, other options may be a better choice for you.

Bleaching

Bleaching products contain peroxide(s) that literally bleach the tooth enamel. These products typically rely on carbamide peroxide of different concentrations (typically 10, 16, and 22 percent) as the bleaching agent. You may choose to have your teeth bleached with an in-office procedure, or use at-home bleaching method.

In-office Bleaching

In-office bleaching, also called chair-side bleaching, is done in the dentist's office during one or more visits, with each visit taking between an hour to an hour and a half. During chair-side bleaching, the dentist will apply either a protective gel or rubber shield over your gums to protect them from the bleaching agent. The agent is applied to the teeth and in some cases a light or heat source is also used to enhance the bleach's effectiveness.

At-home Bleaching

There are several types of at-home bleaching products available, both from the dentist and over the counter. These whiteners usually come in gel form and are applied using a mouthguard. Some bleaching products are used twice a day for two weeks, others for overnight use for one to two weeks. If you obtain the bleaching solution from the dentist, he or she can make a custom-fitted mouthguard that will fit your teeth precisely. There are also bleaching gel strips available over the counter that mimic the function of the mouthguard.

There is the potential for side effects when you have your teeth bleached. Teeth can become sensitive during the time that you are using the bleaching agent. This is usually a temporary condition that will subside when treatment is concluded. In some cases, gum tissue may become irritated, either from a poorly fitted mouthguard or from the solution itself. If you experience any side effects that concern you, be sure to talk to the dentist about them.

Porcelain Veneers and Porcelain Crowns

Not everyone is a candidate for bleaching treatments. Others may have additional complaints about their teeth than discoloration, such as gaps between teeth or oddly shaped or crooked teeth. In these cases a veneer may be the right solution to correct these problems and create your dazzling smile.

Veneers are thin, custom-made shells made of tooth-colored materials that cover the front side of your teeth. Veneers are considered permanent because part of the application process requires the dentist to remove a small amount of enamel from each tooth to accommodate the veneer. Crowns are similar to veneers except that they cover the entire surface of the tooth.

After applying veneers or crowns, you may need to avoid some foods and beverages that may stain or discolor them, such as coffee, tea, or red wine. Veneers and crowns can sometimes chip or fracture, but for the majority of patients it is well worth it.

Which Option is Right for You?

Before selecting a whitening option, you should talk to the dentist about whether a specific whitening procedure will be effective for you. Whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellowish teeth will probably bleach well, brownish teeth less well, and grayish teeth may not bleach well at all. Also bleaching may not be effective if you have had tooth-colored fillings placed in your front teeth because the bleaching agent will not change the color of those materials, causing them to stand out against the whitened surfaces of your teeth. In these cases, other options, such as porcelain veneers, may be a better option for you.