Cosmetic dentistry can completely change the appearance of your smile, and often make you look years younger. Severely worn teeth and deep discolorations can be difficult or impossible to correct with conservative bleaching. When people think of Cosmetic dentistry they usually think of porcelain veneers or bonding. These beautiful and strong restorations are not without their limitations, and the biggest failures of treatment we see are in this category. It is my belief that a thorough evaluation of why and how your teeth came to be in their current situation is a critical part of any cosmetic care. We apply the same evaluation procedures to our cosmetic cases as we do to our full mouth reconstruction cases. This comprehensive approach is characterized by accurate diagnosis and high quality restorations with the goal of your teeth being not only beautiful but healthy and long lasting.
For some basic information about some of the procedures we provide, please see the options below.
Porcelain Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are bonded over the front surface of your tooth. These porcelain facings can be used to restore lost parts of your tooth due to trauma or grinding, and to improve the appearance of your teeth by changing the shape, color and texture of your teeth.
The porcelains we have today are truly beautiful and strong. With these materials we can improve your smile to the point where people can’t help but notice your beautiful teeth. We believe in natural beauty and live by the principle that people should notice your teeth, not that you have veneers.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays can be viewed as a crown’s more conservative cousins. They are typically longer lasting and are more robust than direct fillings, and require less tooth structure to be removed than a crown. Typically these restorations are made out of solid gold alloy or solid porcelain. When there is adequate tooth structure available, these are excellent options. They are a little harder to prepare than crowns, and take a dedicated commitment to precision, but are well worth it when completed.
A gold onlay requires two appointments (similar to a crown) so that the restoration can be fabricated by a lab. You will have a temporary restoration on the tooth in between the two appointments. Gold restorations such as these have incredible lasting power, often lasting 20 to 30 years, and they have many other benefits. One of the biggest benefits to gold is that it wears down and responds to hot and cold almost identically to how your natural tooth does, making it the kindest material to your other teeth.
Porcelain inlays and onlays are a newer more advanced solution to moderately broken down teeth and have the advantage over gold of being white. The other advantage is that we can usually do these restorations in one day using the same technology as our “crown in a day” materials. Modern porcelains are both strong and beautiful, making for a restoration that will last a long time and keep your smile beautiful.
Tooth Colored Fillings
Composite Resin Restorations have been around for a long time, but the newer materials have brought a level of longevity to these restorations we have not seen in the past. In areas visible to other people they are the standard restoration, and can be used to replace dark and discolored Silver fillings. They are typically used to restore small cavities where the structural integrity of the tooth has not been compromised.
Teeth Whitening is the easiest and most cost effective option for improving the appearance of your teeth. Generally the products provided by a dentist for use in a custom fit tray are the most effective and longest lasting option. Over the counter products like Crest White Strips work well, and we recommend these products for our patients also. However, they are not usually as strong so they take longer, and their one size fits all trays or delivery systems can increase the amount of irritation to your Gums. We also offer in office teeth bleaching for those situations where you need an improvement in the appearance of your teeth fast. Please call for a consultation.
Important things to remember when whitening, regardless of what products you are using:
- Fillings and Crowns will not change color, so if you have these types of restorations in your front teeth I suggest you have a consultation prior to using bleaching materials – even the over the counter ones.
- You may experience some irritation in your gums. This is usually temporary, but if it lasts for more than 24 hours you should discontinue bleaching for a while.
- Sensitivity to cold is a common side effect for your teeth. The stronger the bleaching solution, the more sensitivity you may experience. This is a good reason to consider the over the counter products, however with custom made trays we can provide a desensitizing solution to use after bleaching that usually helps with this.
Bonding is an a very conservative alternative to veneers, and can be used as a restorative procedure for teeth that are chipped, cracked, or discolored. It is usually completed in a single visit. During this appointment the surface of your tooth will be prepared to receive the resin restoration, and then Dr. Scherer will hand shape and mold the resin to produce an attractive tooth form.
Bonding is best used when only one or two teeth need modification, and those modifications are small. As the bonding becomes more involved and larger, the longevity of the procedure typically is reduced and a porcelain veneer is a much better option.
If you have questions about whether bonding or veneers are better in your situation, please call and schedule a consultation.
If you live in the Sonora, Twain Harte or Groveland area please give us a call for a consultation.