The Fast Magic of Dental Bonding

woman color matching for tooth bondingIf you need a chipped tooth repaired or want a fast and relatively affordable way to change the look of your smile, dental bonding is the solution. Most people are familiar with dental bonding as a procedure to repair a chipped tooth after an accident, but it can be used for cosmetic purposes too.

Dental bonding is when the dentist permanently bonds a white or tooth-colored composite material to one of your teeth. First, the dentist will use a chemical to slightly roughen the surface of the tooth that needs the bonding. This will help the material stick better. Then the dentist will apply the composite, which starts out as a malleable putty. The dentist will sculpt and shape the composite into the appropriate shape, then cure it with a high-powered light. This light-curing makes the composite hard, like your real teeth.

Dental bonding can be used to replace the missing part of a tooth that has been chipped due to an accident or broken due to tooth decay. In these cases, tooth-colored composite replaces the missing part of the tooth, restoring it to its original shape and function, while also protecting the exposed soft inside of your tooth from further damage.

Dental bonding can also be used as a purely cosmetic procedure to change the way your smile looks. For example, if you have a tooth that is smaller than the others (sometimes called a peg tooth), dental bonding can be used to make it bigger. If you have gaps between your teeth but don’t want to invest in braces, material can be added to widen your teeth
slightly so the gap is reduced. Dental bonding can also be used to lengthen teeth that look too short or are not even with your other teeth.

While cases involving tooth decay may include other treatments as part of a larger treatment plan, dental bonding is generally a quick procedure that takes about an hour. Because it is non-invasive, dental bonding doesn’t require anesthesia and doesn’t cause any post-procedure pain or recovery time.

Teeth that have had dental bonding don’t need any specialized care after the fact, just keep up a good oral health routine and treat them like regular teeth. If you’re interested in bonding as a way to improve or repair your smile, start a conversation with the dentist next time you visit us!

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3 Ways to Re-Shape Your Smile Without Braces

smile makeover without bracesWhen people think of a smile makeover, many people think of braces. And it’s true that braces can create a very powerful before and after image. However, not every smile makeover involves braces. There are quite a few ways to re-shape your smile that don’t involve as much time or investment as braces.

Straightening & Whitening With Veneers

Veneers were originally invented as a quick fix for the teeth of Hollywood stars, and they’re still a great way to re-shape your smile quickly and easily. Veneers are thin porcelain sleeves that are slipped over your natural teeth and permanently cemented in place. Veneers can be designed to fix gaps between teeth, make them more uniform in shape and size, or cover teeth that are stained or discolored in a way that cosmetic whitening can’t fix. Placing porcelain veneers is a fairly fast process that mostly involves preparing your natural teeth so the veneers fit securely. Getting veneers is painless and doesn’t require any healing time.

Fixing a Gummy Smile With Gum Contouring

A gummy smile, where the gums cover more of the tooth than normal, can make teeth look small and make a person’s smile look more juvenile that they’d like. Luckily, cosmetic gum contouring (also called a gum lift) can re-shape gums, revealing more of the tooth crown to make teeth appear longer without actually having to change the shape or position of your teeth. Gum contouring can also make a gumline more uniform, for example, if gum tissue covers more of one of your front teeth than the others, making your teeth appear to be different sizes. Because gum contouring involves removing gum tissue (usually with a special dental laser), the dentist will use local anesthetic to numb your mouth during the procedure. There is some healing time after gum contouring during which your gums may be sore or sensitive, but this usually subsides within a few days. Like veneers, a gum lift is a fast way to dramatically change the appearance of your smile.

Fixing Gaps & Tooth Shape With Aesthetic Bonding

Aesthetic bonding is the process of adding composite resin or porcelain to a tooth in order to change its shape. Bonding is most commonly used as a way to repair chipped teeth, but this treatment can also be applied for aesthetic purposes. For example, if you have a large gap between your front teeth, instead of shifting the teeth using braces, the dentist can used bonding to make the teeth a little wider so there isn’t as big of a gap. Bonding can also be used to make an usually small tooth (sometimes called a peg tooth) that didn’t develop properly the same size as your other teeth. Best of all, bonding is not an invasive procedure so it requires no anesthetic and no healing time afterward. Bonding usually only takes one visit and is very affordable compared to some other smile makeover treatments.

You May Still Need Braces

If you’re thinking of changing the appearance of your smile, it’s best to talk to the dentist about your options. While many people get their teeth straightened with braces for cosmetic purposes, braces are primarily used to treat poor alignment, which can lead to other oral problems or jaw problems. If in addition to crooked teeth you have a bad bite (your top and bottom teeth don’t like up correctly), the dentist may recommend that you get braces after all.

Whether you’re a good candidate for veneers, gum contouring or bonding may also depend on other aspects of your oral health. Ask us today for a cosmetic consultation to discuss which smile makeover treatment is right for your oral health situation and your goals for your smile!

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Do Drugstore Teeth Whitening Products Work?

results from drugstore teeth whitening productsThe most effective and best teeth whitening treatment you can receive is a professional teeth whitening session at the dentist. The dentist has access to specialized whitening products and knows how to whiten teeth quickly and effectively. However, if you aren’t ready to invest in a professional teeth whitening, you may be tempted to buy an at-home whitening kit at your local drugstore or pharmacy. But do these kits really work?

The quick answer is yes. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products use the same chemicals as professional teeth whitening products at the dentist. The difference is the store-bought kits have these chemicals in much lower concentrations, so they are less powerful.

The bleaching agent in most kits is peroxide, which can remove both surface stains and deeper stains. Professional whitening technology also relies on peroxide-based bleaching agents. The difference is that the dentist uses a high concentration of bleaching chemicals over a brief amount of time, and the at-home kit uses a low concentration of bleaching chemicals over a longer period of time. Bleaching at the dentist usually lasts less than an hour and is often accelerated by a shining a special light on your teeth. Bleaching at home usually involves wearing strips, trays filled with gel, or a painted-on gel for a few hours per day, over the course of several days or weeks.

One common problem that makes at-home whitening less effective than professional teeth whitening from the dentist is inconsistency in applying the treatments. Many people start the treatments and repeat them on a regular basis for a while, then forget or stop when they don’t see an immediate difference. The key to ensuring the whitening treatments work is following the directions and doing the treatments as frequently as you’re supposed to.

A good way to ensure you actually complete your at-home teeth whitening process is to set a white teeth goal on your calendar. By this we mean: pick a special event coming up in the near future and make yourself a promise to have whiter teeth by then. Choosing an event where you’re likely to get your photo taken a lot is a good idea, such as a birthday, anniversary, or a wedding. For brides especially, we recommend whitening your teeth before the big day. Nothing will make yellow teeth stand out quite like a white dress!

Before you go out and buy an at-home whitening kit, it’s a good idea to have a chat with the dentist. Only a dental professional will be able to tell you whether teeth whitening, whether professional or from the drugstore, will work the way you want it to.

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