Posts for: October, 2017
There are many reasons why teeth may need a whitening treatment to achieve an appealing brightness: what we eat and drink, natural aging, genetics, and the lack of dedication to oral hygiene can all play a role in how we look.
For vital (living) teeth, there are basically three different options for teeth whitening, and we’d be happy to help you decide which is right for you:
- In-office tooth whitening: The fastest way to get your smile radiant. A high concentration of a peroxide gel solution is applied directly to the tooth surface. Gums and other soft tissues are completely protected for your safety. This technique is excellent for whitening deep surface stains as well as general tooth whitening. This professional treatment requires the least amount of time to achieve the desired whiteness.
- The professional take-home option: Custom-made bleaching trays are prepared by our office. This technique is convenient and less expensive, but the desired whiteness will take longer to achieve than the in-office option.
- Over-the-counter products: These offer the least expensive option but use weaker whitening agents. For example, whitening strips, like the ones advertised on television, are popular and easy to use but will generally take the most time to achieve the desired success. Also, even agents that are not the strongest available may cause damage to teeth if used inappropriately and without professional supervision.
While there are normally no serious side effects after professional whitening treatments, there is a potential risk of tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. If either one or both of these occur, it should disappear within a few days.
It should come as no surprise that bleaching is not permanent. The whiteness will fade eventually depending on your diet, habits, hygiene, etc., but it usually will last at least six months — more often up to two years. Obviously, if you avoid drinking coffee, tea, or red wine, don’t smoke, and have a diligent oral hygiene routine your results may last longer.
Advertisements for teeth-whitening products are everywhere. If you have any questions about what you see, or simply want to do a reality check on their claims, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Whitening: Brighter, Lighter, Whiter...,” and “Important Teeth Whitening Questions Answered.”
Your gums not only support and protect your teeth they also help present them in a visually attractive way. But some people’s gums seem to stand out too much — what’s commonly called a gummy smile — which diminishes their smile appeal. There’s no precise definition, but as a rule of thumb we consider a smile too gummy if four or more millimeters (about an eighth of an inch) of the gums show.
Fortunately, there are some techniques to improve a gummy smile. Which technique is best for you, though, will depend on why the gums are prominent — and causes vary. For example, you could have a gummy smile because your teeth appear too short compared to your gums.
Permanent teeth normally erupt to about 10 mm of visible length. But less than that, say 8 mm, could skew the visible proportion of gums to teeth too much toward the gums. Teeth can also appear shorter due to accelerated wear caused by grinding habits. Another cause could be the amount of upper lip rise when you smile. The lip may rise too high in a condition called hypermobility. This could reveal too much of the gums when you smile.
It’s important then to match the treatment to the cause. For example, we can enhance the appearance of shorter teeth through a surgical procedure known as crown lengthening.Â During this procedure a surgeon reshapes the gum tissues and underlying bone to expose more of the tooth’s length.
For upper lip hypermobility, we can restrict movement with Botox, a drug that paralyzes tiny parts of the involved muscles. This approach, though, will wear off in a few months — a more permanent solution is surgery to reposition the muscle attachments so as to prevent excessive movement.
If you’re concerned about a gummy smile, see us for a full examination and consultation. Once we know the reason why, we can offer a solution that will make your smile more attractive.
If you would like more information on enhancing the appearance of your gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Gummy Smiles.”
Do you like to smile? Most people do, and research from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry shows that our smiles project our personalities to the world. Unfortunately, smile gaps often dictate how much you want to smile and even in what situations. Dr. Steven Christensen at 4 Dental Health wants his patients to smile broadly as much as they wish. So he offers innovative dental implants in his Layton, UT office. After all, a complete, healthy smile is a happy smile.
What is a dental implant?
The American Academy of Periodontology says that a dental implant is an artificial tooth that replaces one lost to injury, decay or gum disease. Preferable to conventional tooth replacements such as partial dentures or bridgework, dental implants improve gum tissue and strengthen the jawbone. Unlike conventional prosthetics, implants reside in the jawbone, just as natural tooth roots do. So dental implants provide patients with superior stability and oral function. Plus, patients love their natural feel and appearance.
Why do they work so well?
The answer to that lies in biochemistry. Implants are made of titanium, a naturally-occurring metal. Amazingly, human bone loves titanium and bonds right to it. So when your dentist inserts a titanium implant device in your jaw, the bone itself begins a bonding process called osseointegration. Osseointegration keeps the implant in place for decades and ensures the jawbone stays strong.
Is the restorative treatment difficult?
If you have good oral health--no decay or gum disease--and have sufficient bone density, you should be able to receive a dental implant to replace your missing tooth. In fact, Dr. Christensen even uses dental implants for patients who have lost multiple teeth in Layton.
The treatment happens right at 4 Dental Health. After a full exam and X-rays, you'll get a simple local anesthetic for a single implant. More complex replacements may need oral sedatives to maximize comfort.
To begin the procedure, Dr. Christensen opens the gums and drills a pilot hole in the jaw. Then, he inserts the titanium implant device, closing the gums with a few sutures. You'll go home to allow the implant and bone to meld together. This may take several weeks, but in the end, the bond will withstand the substantial forces of biting and chewing.
Subsequently, the dentist places a metal extension post and customized porcelain crown on the implant, and the process is complete. Aftercare is just what you've been doing: brushing twice a day, flossing daily and getting six-month hygienic cleanings and check-ups at 4 Dental Health.
How long will you have your implant?
These artificial teeth are so successful that you'll likely have yours for the rest of your life, says the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. So say goodbye to smile gaps, and say hello to the best tooth replacement option out there--the dental implant. For a consultation with Dr. Christensen, call 4 Dental Health at (801) 889-1044.