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Lone Oak Dental

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Cosmetic Dentistry

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Our patients ask us lots of questions, and we think it's great! Questions show that you care about your dental needs and are looking to improve your health. The staff at Lone Oak Dental is very knowledgeable about insurance, preventing dental problems, and numerous other issues. We want to put you at ease by answering the questions that you may have. Remember, there are no dumb questions, so ask away!

Cosmetic Dentistry

Common causes of discolored teeth are old fillings, drinking coffee and tea, and aging.

Let’s be honest, whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes don’t really work. Over-the-counter products like Crest Whitestrips do bleach teeth, but they only work on the front teeth, the effect is short lasting, and the strips move around and are annoying.  

The best way to significantly whiten your teeth is to have custom bleaching trays made in our office. Custom-made bleaching trays are very comfortable and last a long time. These trays are the most effective way to deliver prescription strength whitening products that will give you the fastest and the most reliable results. 

Whitening is most effective when done for longer periods of time, such as 6 to 8 hours. What better time to bleach your teeth than when you are sleeping? The research that has been done on whitening shows that most patients can expect good results in about 3 weeks by using carbamide peroxide in custom-made trays worn overnight. Rare conditions such as tetracycline-stained teeth may take 6 to 12 months.  

Like everything, dental fillings age and can discolor over time. If you have stains around old fillings, the fillings may be leaking and need to be replaced or polished. Often times a great improvement can be achieved by whitening and then replacing the old fillings with whiter and more color-stable restorations.  

Gum recession can make your teeth sensitive to cold, hot and brushing.  Most of the time, the receding gums are caused by brushing too hard.  The plaque and food that accumulates on teeth is soft and therefore does not require firm pressure to be removed.  If you are having to replace your toothbrush often because the bristles are bent or rolled over, you are using too much pressure.  Recession can also be caused by bite abnormalities and gum disease.  

 

When treating gum recession, an important objective is to stop further recession.  In order to do so, Dr. Jordan must determine the cause.  He will take any appropriate x-rays, examine your bite and review your dental history such as if you have had gum disease therapy.  If the area is small and not sensitive, sometimes no treatment is necessary.  For minimal sensitivity and recession, toothpastes such as Sensodyne work well when used regularly.  

 

For larger areas where the root is exposed and sensitive, a filling can be placed to seal the tooth and reduce or eliminate the pain to cold and hot.  However, often the best long term treatment is grafting the area using a gum graft.  This procedure gives the best cosmetic result, covers the root where the sensitivity occurs and does not require removal of tooth structure.  

 

Please contact Lone Oak Dental in Brookings to schedule an appointment about your receding gums.

Many Americans are not happy with their smile.  Some don’t like the shape or size of their teeth, others don’t like the color.  Crooked and overlapping teeth are also a common complaint.

 

The great news is that there are many options to improve your smile!  The technology today has given us clear aligners, Invisalign, and clear braces to straighten teeth.  Orthodontic options such as Invisalign and clear aligners allow us to move teeth into the correct position, get rid of crowding and overlapped teeth.  For chipped, worn and decayed teeth, we have treatments such as white fillings, veneers and cosmetic crowns.

 

Dr. Jordan believes that almost everyone that is unhappy with their smile can benefit from straightening their teeth and whitening.  With that in mind, a great way to start improving your smile is by using over the counter whitening strips.

 

Partial dentures are an option to replace one or more missing teeth.  They have been used for decades after the removal of decayed, broken and loose teeth.    Replacing these missing teeth is beneficial for chewing, stabilizing your bite and appearance.  A partial denture is still a viable option and usually very affordable way to substitute your teeth.  

Other options to replace missing teeth are bridges and dental implants.  Dental bridges require the use of two solid teeth on either side of the empty space.  Bridges require no surgery to the bone or gums and can often be made within 1 month.  At Lone Oak Dental, we use newer materials which ensure that the bridge is strong yet beautiful.  

Implants can be used to replace one, two or multiple missing teeth.  The technology with these prostheses is very advanced and rapidly evolving giving us new options all the time.  Dr. Jordan prefers to replace teeth using dental implants as it does not require removing healthy tooth structure and there is no chance for decay.  In addition, most patients tell us that implants feel more natural than partials and bridges.  

Please contact our office today in Brookings if your partial is in need of replacement or your are considering other options.   

 

 

Silver fillings which are technically referred to as amalgam, have been used since around 1830.  When an amalgam filling is planned for a tooth, the material is mixed and then packed into the area where the cavity was.  Over about 24 hours, the filling sets and reaches its full hardness.  The benefits of silver fillings are that they are less prone to decay at the edge of the filling and that they can tolerate moisture when being placed.   

Composites, or tooth colored fillings, have several advantages such as fewer tooth fractures, are more conservative, the filling is bonded to the tooth and of course, cosmetics as they look natural.  

White fillings must be glued or bonded to the tooth.  This essentially makes the tooth and filling one. Generally this makes the tooth less prone to breaking and cracking.  Silver fillings are not usually bonded to the tooth, hence why we see many more broken teeth that have amalgam fillings.  

When there is decay in a tooth and a white filling is planned, the only portion of tooth that needs to be removed is the decayed area.  With a silver filling, there must be mechanical grooves cut into the tooth to hold the filling in.  

Composites are not just white but they come in many shades of white.  We have about 15 different shades and translucencies in our office to match your tooth.

Dr. Jordan believes that both composites and amalgam have a place in dentistry.  However, most of the restorations he places are composites. 

 

Both veneers and crowns can be used to correct tooth size, shape and color.  Veneers cover 3 sides of a tooth while a crown covers the entire tooth.  When done well, veneers and crowns can look beautiful and dramatically enhance your smile.  Since veneers require less tooth removal than crowns, we prefer veneers whenever possible.  

Many crowns done in the past and today have a black line where the crown meets the tooth.  The black line seen is the metal underlying the white porcelain in the restoration.  While the black line may look bad and be distracting in a smile, it is expected with porcelain fused to metal crowns or PFMs. Occasionally, the metal in the crown may be seen through the gum tissues creating a blue hue.  

 

Most of the crowns done at our Brookings dental office are metal free.  The materials used for crowns today such as e.max, zirconia and zirconia fused to porcelain are very strong and cosmetic.  In fact, the technology of these materials is so advanced that these crowns look better than PFMs and mimic natural teeth. Since these materials are tooth colored when manufactured, they require less of the tooth to be removed which decrease the chance of sensitivity and root canals.  


Another disadvantage of conventional porcelain fused to metal crowns is that the porcelain can break away from the metal.  When this happens, the gray and black metal will be very visible. If food traps in the broken area, it can lead to decay and gum disease.  Please see examples of the metal free crowns and veneers done by Dr. Jordan in our Smile Gallery section.  

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