Visiting the Dentist
Does the thought of visiting your dentist's office give you the heebie-jeebies? You're not alone. "About 50% of Americans admit some fear of dental procedures and about 10% have so much fear and anxiety that they actually avoid dental care," says Sheela Raja, PhD, director of clinical behavioral sciences at the Colleges of Dentistry and Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
What’s even scarier than dental procedures?
Skipping out on important treatments so that you end up doing more damage to your dental health
. If your dental phobias are threatening your tooth health, read about these “terrifying” procedures that actually aren’t that terrifying — and find out how to ease the discomfort and quell your fears.
Dr. LoPour is trained in conscious sedation. For more information, call for a consult to discuss your options.
While traditional dentistry
focuses on oral hygiene and preventing, diagnosing and treating oral disease, cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of a person's teeth, mouth and smile. In other words restorative, general and/or family dental practices address dental problems that require necessary
treatment, whereas cosmetic dentistry provides elective – or desired – treatments or services.
Cosmetic dentistry may also provide restorative benefits. For example, dental fillings are a common procedure used to treat decayed teeth. Previously, most dental fillings were composed primarily of gold, amalgam and other materials that left visible dark spots on the teeth.
Today, dental fillings may fall into the category of cosmetic dentistry, because you can select fillings made of porcelain or composite materials that closely match the color of your teeth, thus maintaining the natural appearance of your teeth and smile. Many people may choose to have their older fillings replaced with newer, tooth-colored fillings to enhance their oral appearance.
Cosmetic Dentistry Trends
Technological advancements in natural-looking, tooth-colored dental materials make today's cosmetic dental treatments more durable and predictable than in years past. Additionally, dentists are now using more conservative cosmetic dentistry techniques to preserve as much of your natural tooth structure as possible, depending upon your specific clinical situation.
Cosmetic dentists may also use such technologies as lasers in order to perform some procedures necessary for cosmetic treatments in their own offices – without the need for referrals to specialists. This makes cosmetic dental procedures such as smile makeovers more comfortable and convenient for patients, as well as helps to reduce recovery time.
Smile enhancement can have dramatic effects on your overall appearance; even the smallest step can boost your confidence, self-esteem, and make you want to smile more according to the Amercan Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).
With modern advances in dentistry, cosmetic procedures can range from a basic color correction to replacing missing teeth and everything in between. Explore your options by setting up a consult with your dentist. Visit www.aacd.com for more information on all cosmetic procedures available in modern dentistry.
Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments
Cosmetic dentistry treatments currently in use include:
Cosmetic dentistry offers many options for people who are unhappy with their smile. If you are one of these people, we encourage you to call and set up a 30 minutre sit down consultation with us. We would love the opportunity to meet you and talk about available options. For further information please visit The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) at www.aacd.com where you can read comprehensive cosmetic procedure articles to learn about the various treatments available to beautify your smile.
Cosmetic dentistry costs vary widely. Usually dental insurance doesn't cover cosmetic dentistry. But some dental plans may cover part of the cost of certain procedures, such as crowns, especially when the main purpose is to repair a structural problem that could affect the overall health of your mouth. Usually, functional and restorative dentistry is covered in part by insurance, while cosmetic dentistry is seldom covered.
If treatment is not covered by your dental insurance policy, or if you don't have insurance, you may be able to enlist the services of a third-party financing company like CareCredit or Capital One. Qualified candidates can work with a financing company to develop a monthly payment plan that best fits their budget.
Cosmetic Dentistry FAQ
Q. What causes the discoloration of a tooth?
A. Tooth discoloration is a normal part of aging. As people age, enamel wears down, and teeth take on a duller appearance. Teeth can also become discolored from smoking and heavy consumption of coffee or tea. Other causes of tooth discoloration include side effects of medications (specifically certain antibiotics) used during the developmental phase of the teeth, an individual's genetic makeup, and excessive fluoride consumption (fluorosis, seen in both children and adults). Teeth whitening and veneers offer a cosmetic dentistry solution for people with discolored or dull-looking teeth.
Q. Are any side effects associated with teeth whitening?
A. Dentists take protective measures to prevent discomfort during teeth whitening procedures. Typically, a protective gel or rubber shield is used to prevent bleaching agents from damaging gum tissue. The most common bleaching agents used by dentists are approved for use by the American Dental Association, ensuring safety and effectiveness. After the whitening procedure, you may experience minimal tooth sensitivity for a short period of time
Q. Does teeth whitening work for everyone?
A. No. In cases involving severe discoloration, teeth whitening may not result in a bright, white smile. Individuals with severe tooth discoloration should consider other options, such as porcelain veneers or composite bonding.
[Read more about teeth whitening.]
Q. Are there special considerations for dental veneers?
A. The factors to consider when evaluating a veneer procedure from an esthetic point of view include:
You should also consider the artistry of the dentist who designs the specifications and ultimately places the veneers. Veneer materials are universal, but the artistic skill of the dentist, as well as that of the lab technician who crafts the veneers, plays a major role in the esthetic appeal of the final product.
[Read more about dental veneers.]
Q. How do I know whether a cosmetic dentist is good or not?
A. One of the first questions you should ask is what type of training he or she has for the particular procedures you're interested in. Not all dentists know and perform all cosmetic dentistry procedures. As such, cosmetic dentists often involve other specialists (orthodontist, endodontist, lab techs, etc.) in treatment planning and execution. It is important to know exactly who will be involved in your treatment and what they will be doing.
You should also ask to see before-and-after photos of patients who underwent those procedures. Ask questions about their cases and the strategies the dentist used to improve their smiles.
Additionally, ask if the dentist is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). Accredited members undergo extensive continuing education and rigorous testing to ensure that their skills using composite bonding, porcelain veneers and other cosmetic restorations and procedures are exemplary and worthy of accreditation status.
[Read more about how to choose a dentist.]
Q. What cosmetic dentistry procedures are available for people who are missing teeth?
Is your dry mouth temporary or a chronic problem?
A. Although dentures are not considered a cosmetic dentistry procedure, they provide a cosmetic benefit for people who have lost all or some of their teeth. People who are missing only certain teeth, or rows of teeth, may be better served by a dental bridge or dental implants. It is best to have your situation evaluated by a dental professional in order to establish candidacy for any of these procedures.
Q. May I choose to be sedated during cosmetic dentistry procedures?
A. Yes. The level of sedation necessary for cosmetic dentistry procedures depends on several factors, including:
- Your health and medical history.
- The procedure being performed.
- Your dentist's familiarity with sedation modalities.
Most people do not require a high level of sedation during cosmetic dental procedures.
[Read more about sedation dentistry and selecting a sedation dentist.]
Q. Why can't smokers undergo certain cosmetic dentistry procedures?
A. Smoking is a leading cause of tooth loss. Smokers also have an increased risk for periodontal disease (gum disease), leukoplakia, loss of bone structure, inflammation of the salivary gland, and development of lung, throat, or oral cancer. Smokers therefore face an additional set of considerations when exploring cosmetic dentistry treatment.
One restriction for smokers involves dental implants. Smoking increases the risk that a dental implant will fail to integrate with bone tissue (osseointegration). Smoking also affects gum health, and unhealthy gums can lead to dental implant failure. If you smoke, you need to quit before having an implant.
Another restriction involves teeth whitening. If you whiten your teeth but continue to smoke, the whitening effect will not last as long, because smoking stains the teeth.
[Read more about smoking and dental care.]
Q. Are dental implants suitable for children?
A. Dentists indicate that implants cannot be considered until bone growth has completed. This typically occurs during adolescence, but may vary from one child to the next. Implants placed prior to bone growth completion may shift out of place and cause severe problems. If a child loses a tooth before bone growth has completed, an orthodontic device called a "space maintainer" may be used to prevent an abnormal growth of surrounding teeth. Once bone growth has completed, the space maintainer can be removed and the missing tooth restored using an implant or bridge.
[Read more about dental implants.]
Q. Are veneers my only option if I want a smile makeover?
Is your jaw pain the sign of a serious problem?
A. No. Your cosmetic dentist will determine the cosmetic dentistry procedures that would be the best for you. The dentist's suggestions will be based on your desires and a thorough examination to determine the condition of your teeth and what problems, if any, may require dental treatment. Therefore, your smile makeover could involve teeth whitening, crowns, composite bonding, gingival sculpting, inlays and onlays or any other combination of cosmetic dental procedures that your dentist determines is right for your cosmetic treatment plan.
[Read more about cosmetic dentistry.]
Q. I want a smile makeover because I think I have ugly teeth, but I don't have any cavities or anything else wrong that needs to be fixed. Can something be done to make my smile look better?
A. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your smile, the first step is to do your homework and investigate the level of cosmetic dentistry experience for each cosmetic dentist you consider before setting up a consultation appointment. We suggest that you read How to Choose a Cosmetic Dentist for information about questions to ask and other criteria that can help you in selecting the cosmetic dentist that is right for you.
The cosmetic dentist will help you discuss what it is about your smile that you don't like. Then, based on your needs, your cosmetic dentist will develop a cosmetic treatment plan that is right for you.
If you are concerned about the removal of healthy tooth structure, the good news is that dentists have conservative techniques available to enhance the look of your smile, including teeth whitening and composite bonding, as well as minimal and no-prep veneers.
[Read more about smile makeover.]
Q. Are there cosmetic dentistry procedures that can be performed on children or teenagers?
A. There are many reasons why children and adolescents may want a better looking or prettier smile, such as for better socialization, enhanced self-esteem and greater confidence. Depending on your child's age and where he or she is in the development of his or her teeth and dental arches, some cosmetic dental procedures may be suitable if there is a specific problem that needs correcting.
For example, some children and adolescents may have severely discolored teeth as a result of taking certain medications. Or, the front teeth may have been fractured due to an accident or sports injury and require composite bonding or veneers. In other instances, there still may be slight gaps or spaces between the teeth even after orthodontics, so perhaps composite bonding would enhance the look of the smile.
If your child or teenager is concerned about the appearance of his or her smile, make an appointment to see your dentist. He or she will suggest the most appropriate course of action based on your child's age, oral condition and desires, as well as possibly refer you to a cosmetic dentist for consultation. (The above information is found on www.yourdentistryguide.com)
Replacing Old Amalgam "silver" fillings
We offer tooth-colored, composite resin fillings to replace old amalgam “silver” fillings. The old, metal amalgam material is being phased out of dental offices. Many patients enjoy the new tooth colored, metal-free, more esthetic look of the composite fillings and opt to have the old silver fillings replaced with the new tooth colored fillings. It’s the easiest way to change your smile to a healthier look as people won’t be able to tell you have had cavities at all!