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Whitening

Whitening

Tooth whitening can be a very effective way of lightening the natural color of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface. It cannot make a complete color change, but it may lighten the existing shade.

There are a number of reasons why you might get your teeth whitened. Everyone is different; and just as our hair and skin color vary, so do our teeth. Very few people have brilliant-white teeth, and our teeth can also become more discolored as we get older.

Your teeth can also be stained on the surface by food and drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine and blackcurrant. Smoking can also stain teeth.

‘Calculus’ or tartar can also affect the colour of your teeth. Some people may have staining under the surface, which can be caused by certain antibiotics or by tiny cracks in the teeth which take up stains.

What does tooth whitening involve?

Professional bleaching is the most usual method of tooth whitening. We will be able to tell you if you are suitable for the treatment, and will supervise it if you are. We will put a rubber shield or a gel on your gums to protect them, then we’ll apply the whitening product to your teeth, using a specially made tray which fits into your mouth like a mouthguard.

The ‘active ingredient’ in the product is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the active ingredient is broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel on the teeth and the tooth color is made lighter.

The total treatment can usually be done within three to four weeks.

How long will my teeth stay whiter?

The effects of whitening are thought to last up to three years. However, this will vary from person to person. The effect is less likely to last as long if you smoke, or eat or drink products that can stain your teeth.

Tooth whitening can only lighten your existing tooth color. Also it only works on natural teeth. It will not work on any types of ‘false’ teeth such as dentures, crowns and veneers.

How can I look after my teeth once they have been whitened?

You can help to keep your teeth white by cutting down on the amount of food and drinks you have that can stain teeth. Don’t forget, stopping smoking can also help prevent discoloration and staining.

We recommend the following tips to take care of your teeth:

  • brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste
  • cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks
  • visit us regularly for checkups and consultations
Invisalign

Invisalign

Invisalign are like braces, but are designed to be invisible. Aligner trays made of smooth, comfortable, BPA-free clear plastic are worn over your teeth to subtly and gently move your teeth. X-rays, pictures, and impressions to create a precise 3-D image of your teeth are used to configure your aligner trays accordingly.

Invisalign does have it’s pros and cons, very much like braces.

  • Clear/invisible
  • Treatment time is 22-24 hrs/day for 6 to 18 months, depending on patient needs
  • Cost averages about $5,000
  • Maintenance is the Invisalign Cleaning system, or brushing and rinsing trays in luke warm water
  • Follow up visits are every 2 weeks to change aligner trays and then visits every 4 to 6 weeks
  • Follow up treatment includes ongoing positioner or retainer needs as needed/ongoing, maybe only at night

Some of the pros and cons of Invisalign are:

ProsCons
InvisibleMay have discomfort from tooth movement
RemovableMust remove before eating or drinking anything but water
No issues with food getting caughtMust brush after each meal to avoid staining
No difficulty eating
No discomfort from wires

 

Invisalign is not ideal for patients who have:

  • bridgework
  • back tooth bite issues
  • the need to rotate canines or premolars
  • the need to move teeth vertically
  • lack of discipline to keep trays in for at least 22 hours daily

If you’re an adult, or have a teen, who tends to be self-conscious, Invisalign may appeal to you. And the fact that it’s removable so you can eat, drink, brush and floss more naturally, may sound desirable. But if the idea of having to remove your trays for meals or while drinking anything but water seems inconvenient, Invisalign may not be the best solution for you. Plus remember, you should brush after each meal before putting your trays back in, to avoid staining.

If you need to address issues with your back teeth, need to rotate teeth or move teeth vertically, Invisalign may not even be an option.

Straightening your teeth to improve your smile and overall oral health should not be taken lightly. If you need help deciding whether braces or Invisalign makes more sense for you or your child, consult us today!

Braces

Braces

For most teenagers, getting braces is a rite of passage. If you have crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, regardless of your age, braces are often the best option to help straighten teeth.

Not only do braces provide you with straight teeth, a good bite, and a beautiful smile, but they also prevent long-term tooth damage caused by poor tooth or jaw alignment.

For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit. Alleviating and preventing long-term health problems is just as important. Crooked or crowded teeth are difficult to clean and maintain, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease or tooth loss. Poor jaw or tooth alignment can cause abnormal wear of your teeth, an inability to chew efficiently and excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that support your teeth. Braces can make your teeth look better, work better and easy to clean.

With braces you get:

  • Straighter teeth and a more attractive smile
  • Improved oral health and function
  • Prevention of common dental problems caused by crooked teeth or a misaligned bite
  • A boost in self–confidence

Braces work by applying continuous pressure over a period of time, by using a system of wires and brackets to slowly move teeth in a specific direction. As the teeth move, the bone changes shape as pressure is applied. Once the braces are removed (typically in one to two years), you are left with straighter teeth, proper jaw alignment and a dazzling smile.

While braces are typically associated with teenagers, you can get braces at any age. Adult braces are quite a common procedure. It’s never too late to address dental problems caused by crooked teeth and to get that smile you’ve always wanted.

Numerous Options to Fit Your Style

Braces have changed over the years. Today, options range from colorfully cool to nearly invisible. The choice is yours, and you don’t have to come up with the answers alone.

Implants

Implants

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.

Types of Dental Implants

Endosteal (in the bone): This is the most commonly used type of implant. The various types include screws, cylinders or blades surgically placed into the jawbone. Each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth. This type of implant is generally used as an alternative for patients with bridges or removable dentures.

Subperiosteal (on the bone): These are placed on top of the jaw with the metal framework’s posts protruding through the gum to hold the prosthesis. These types of implants are used for patients who are unable to wear conventional dentures and who have minimal bone height.

Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?

The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in good general and oral health. Adequate bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant, and the best candidates have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease.

Dental implants are intimately connected with the gum tissues and underlying bone in the mouth. Since periodontists are the dental experts who specialize in precisely these areas, they are ideal members of your dental implant team. Not only do periodontists have experience working with other dental professionals, they also have the special knowledge, training and facilities that you need to have teeth that look and feel just like your own.

Veneers

Veneers

Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain used to recreate the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel. It is often the material of choice for those looking to make slight position alterations, or to change tooth shape, size, and/or color.

The Hows And Whys of Veneers

Porcelain laminate veneers consist of a compilation of several thin ceramic layers which replace original tooth enamel, and an adhesive layer. To apply a veneer, a very small amount of the original tooth enamel must be removed, usually less than a millimeter. This is essential as it creates room for the porcelain veneer to fit within the mouth and most accurately restore natural tooth function while creating an even better appearance than the original tooth.

The bond between original tooth and porcelain veneer is critical as it not only provides the esthetic perfection desired, but also a strong bond which is essential for correct veneer function. Light-sensitive resin is placed between the original tooth and the veneer and then hardened using a special curing light.

Veneers are a very successful option in many situations where the original tooth has developed poor color, shape, and contours. It is also a good choice for fractured teeth, gaps between teeth, and in some situations where the tooth position is compromised and there are minor bite-related problems. For some people, superficial stains do not respond well to tooth whitening or bleaching. In these situations, a porcelain veneer may be the best option.

The Benefits of Veneers

Since veneers are individually sculpted for each patient, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a veneer and a natural tooth. Unlike natural teeth, custom-made veneers resist coffee and tea stains, and cigarette smoke because they are made of high-tech materials.

With veneers—as opposed to crowns—your natural teeth remain largely intact with only a minimal amount being altered to fit the veneer.

For teeth that resist whitening, veneers can make even the darkest teeth appear bright white.

Potential Veneer Downsides

Because a portion of the original tooth enamel is reduced, a veneer is not considered a reversible treatment. Although adjustments and even new veneers can be made, you can never reliably return to the original condition of the tooth.

Creating porcelain veneers requires some laboratory time, so expect a delay in some cases and more than single visit to have this completed

After the porcelain veneers are attached you will probably have some sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures due to the removal of that thin layer of enamel. This typically disappears within a few days. In a healthy mouth properly treated with porcelain veneers—and where destructive forces are minimized or eliminated—a patient should be able to use porcelain veneers like his or her own teeth. Although they’re very strong, veneers are also brittle. You should avoid the same excessive stresses you would avoid with non-veneered teeth: don’t bite your fingernails, chew ice, or open beer bottles with your veneers!

Veneer Maintenance

Maintaining porcelain veneers is actually quite simple: Treat them as you would your original teeth, with routine brushing and flossing. Using non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste is typically recommended

One week after your veneers are placed, you may be required to return to the office for a follow-up visit and evaluation so we can see how your mouth is reacting to the veneers. Even if you feel the veneers are a success, this appointment is beneficial to your future oral health.

If you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, you may be fit with a nighttime bite guard so you do not damage your veneers.

You should also return for regular professional maintenance because porcelain veneers should be polished with a specially formulated, non-abrasive paste, and they should be inspected for any sign of potential failure.

Partial & Complete Dentures

Partial & Complete Dentures

Missing teeth can cause a number of problems with regard to overall dental health and aesthetics. This is especially true when a person is missing multiple teeth. Thankfully there are plenty of solutions to consider. When you meet with a skilled dentist, you can go over all of these matters in much greater detail.

Problems Associated with Missing Teeth

When you are missing many teeth, there’s more to worry about than just smile aesthetics. The area around your lips and cheeks may appear sunken in or hollow since there is no tooth structure in place anymore. Eating certain foods can be very difficult, requiring major changes to your diet. You may also notice speech impediments as well.

If you are missing many teeth in a row, these are all compelling reasons to consider getting dentures.

Ideal Candidates for Dentures

The best candidates for dentures are people who are missing multiple teeth in a row along their dental arch. They should be in otherwise good dental health and understand the denture treatment process and what it entails.

About Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are dentures that are designed to replace a few missing teeth in a row. They will latch onto the remaining gumline in order to stay in place.

About Full Dentures

Full dentures are dentures that are designed to replace all of the teeth along the dental arch when a person has experienced major tooth loss. Like partial dentures, full dentures latch onto the remaining gumline in order to stay in place.

Which option is right for me?

The right option for you and your needs will really depend on the extent of tooth loss that you’ve experienced. For people missing many teeth along the dental arch but not all of them, a partial denture would be more ideal. For patients missing all or almost all of their teeth along the dental arch, full dentures may be the right solution. Your dentist will make this determination during the consultation process.

Bridges

Bridges

Missing teeth can cause a number of serious problems such as the shifting of remaining teeth, or additional tooth loss. We can provide dental bridges at our office to restore the structure and function of your smile, and to renew your self-confidence. If you are interested in dental bridges or another of our restorative dentistry services, contact our office today.

Understanding the Procedure

Dental bridges are natural-looking porcelain restorations that are anchored either by a dental implant, or by the two adjacent teeth. Having dental bridges placed usually requires two office visits. During your first visit, the two anchor teeth will be gently filed down to make room for dental crowns. We will create a mold of those teeth as well as the gap, which will be used to create your permanent restorations. While we wait for your bridge and crowns to return from the laboratory, we will fit you with a temporary restoration to maintain the aesthetics of your smile.

We will invite you back to our office when your dental bridge is ready to be tried in. Your second appointment will involve a thorough check of the fit of the bridge to ensure a successful result. After a few weeks, we will schedule a follow-up appointment during which we will assess your gums and teeth and their adaptation to your new restoration.

Aesthetic Benefits

One of the greatest aesthetic benefits of dental bridges is the ability to improve the appearance of your entire smile with a single appliance. Missing teeth can make it difficult to laugh and smile with confidence, but dental bridges can give you the beautiful, complete smile you deserve.

Oral Health Benefits

Dental bridges can prevent your existing teeth from shifting out of place, as well as providing important balance and function in your smile. If you have a more involved medical history, dental bridges can be a great option as they do not usually require implantation surgery or extensive downtime.

Candidacy

Dental bridges may be right for you if you need to:

  • Close the gaps left by missing teeth
  • Prevent your teeth from drifting
  • Restore the appearance of your smile
  • Restore your ability to chew and speak normally
  • Replace a partial denture with a more permanent solution

There are many different types of dental bridges, all of which will be discussed in detail during your consultation. We are dedicated to finding the most relevant treatment for your individual needs and will go to great lengths to educate you about your dental condition and treatment options.

Learn More about Dental Bridges

If you have decaying, damaged, or missing teeth that you want to replace with brand-new, white teeth, we have the solution for you. To schedule a consultation for dental bridges, contact our office.

Crowns, Inlays/Onlays

Crowns, Inlays/Onlays

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are a secure way to fill gaps and help restore your smile if you have missing or damaged teeth. A crown can also help you bite and chew better, which can positively impact other systems in your body, such as a your digestive system.

Martinez Family Dental offers a variety of handcrafted crown styles. We will will help you determine what crown is best for you based on your requirements.

What is a crown?

A crown is a cover or “cap” that is put on a tooth. The crown restores the tooth to its normal shape, size and function. The purpose of a crown is to make the tooth stronger or improve the way it looks.

You may need a crown if you:

  • have a cavity that is too large for a filling
  • have a missing tooth and need a bridge
  • need to cover a dental implant
  • have a tooth that is cracked, worn down or otherwise weakened
  • have had root canal treatment—the crown will protect the restored tooth
  • want to cover a discolored or badly shaped tooth and improve your smile!

What are inlays/overlays?

Inlays/onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or a composite resin. These pieces are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay (which is similar to a filling) is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An overlay is a more substantial reconstruction (similar to the inlay), but extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth.

Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays/overlays. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color which can potentially match the natural color of your teeth.

How are inlays/overlays applied?

The filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or overlay. To ensure proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth is made. Then apply a temporary sealant on the tooth. The temporary sealant is later removed. The inlay/overlay is then tested to make sure it fits correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, the inlay/overlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished for a smooth finish.

Extractions

Extractions

When A Tooth Can’t Be Fixed…

It needs to be removed. Your dentist may recommend extracting a tooth if:

  • Your tooth is too damaged by a fracture or deep cavity to repair.
  • You have a sizable infection that cannot be resolved by a root canal alone.
  • You have teeth that are blocking other teeth from coming in. These may be extra teeth or baby teeth that have not fallen out yet.

Wisdom teeth, which typically come in during your teens or twenties, may need to be extracted if they are decayed, infected, or causing pain. They may get impacted—stuck underneath other teeth—which also requires extraction.

Types of Extraction

Most visible teeth can be removed with a simple extraction, where we loosen the tooth, then remove it carefully with forceps. This procedure typically requires just a local anesthetic (an injection).

A surgical extraction may be needed if:

  • The tooth has broken off at the gum line.
  • The tooth hasn’t come in yet (wisdom teeth, for example)
  • The tooth has especially large or curved roots

Both procedures are virtually painless. You might feel pressure or pulling, but no pain.

Tip: Don’t smoke on the day of surgery, as it can increase the chance of dry socket, a painful condition that occurs when a blood clot doesn’t form in the hole, breaks off, or breaks down too early.

Post-Extraction Care

Directly after the extraction, you’ll be asked to keep gauze on the extraction site to help the blood clot. It’s important to protect this clot as the wound heals. Eat soft foods, and don’t smoke, use a straw or spit, as these actions can dislodge the clot.

Most people feel some discomfort after having a tooth extracted. You can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen to help relieve the pain.

You can also use icepacks to decrease any swelling. If your jaw is still stiff after any swelling has subsided, try warm compresses.

In general, swelling and bleeding last only a day or two after the extraction, and any pain should go away after a few days.

Nightguards

Nightguards

Do You Clench Your Teeth?

Studies suggest that as much as 30% of the adult population grind or clench their teeth to some degree while sleeping. Not only is sleep lest restful this way, but this practice can have long-term harmful effects on teeth, gums, bones, and the TMJ (temporomandibular joint). The sooner that this practice is discovered and corrected, the more discomfort and damage may be eliminated.

What Is A Nightguard?

A simple device may be prescribed to reduce or eliminate grinding and clenching teeth at night. Stock mouth guards may be purchased in many places, but they are not usually as comfortable and effective as what we will create for you.

We will make an impression of your teeth. We will get a custom-fit guard molded just for you. This device will fit in your mouth while you sleep and provide a protection for your teeth and the soft tissue of your mouth. It will discourage you from grinding or clenching your teeth in your sleep and help eliminate the side effects that come from this practice.