October 8, 2014 7:48 PM

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Gulf Dental Center

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Frequently Asked Questions

COSMETIC CARE

A. My old fillings in the front have turned dark, can they be bleached?
B. I have one dark tooth in the front. Will regular at-home bleaching makes it lighter?
C. Will my teeth be sensitive following Bleaching?
D. What's the difference between dental bonding and porcelain veneers?
E. I have a space between my two front teeth. How can it be closed?
F. If I require fillings, what type should I get?
G. I have a “gummy” smile... can anything be done?

A. Unfortunately, dental bondings, composite resin fillings (tooth colored fillings) and old crowns cannot be bleached. Fillings that have discolored indicate that they are either leaking or have secondary decay, so it is best to replace them. A better choice may be to replace them with porcelain laminate/veneers for longer lasting results. Remember; only replace these fillings after bleaching in order to match the new improved color of your teeth. “How long does bleaching or laser teeth whitening really last?” It depends on many factors including your diet, the original color of your teeth, and your personal habits like smoking, drinking red wine, etc. Also darker teeth will need more than one whitening session to achieve the desired result. What's most important is what you do for maintenance. Professional office visits are not enough. You must incorporate an effective maintenance regimen at home such as using whitening toothpaste which is specifically designed to non-abrasively remove surface stains like coffee, tea, tobacco and red wine, as well as remove plaque and bacteria. Also use the touch up kit given by your dentist to keep bleached teeth at their whitest.


B. First of all, the cause of the dark tooth must be determined. It could be due to an earlier trauma to the tooth or previous root canal treatment. In such a case external teeth whitening treatments may not help. Your dentist may try internal bleaching which may take several sessions. If not, consider dental bonding, porcelain veneers, or capping the tooth to mask the darkness.


C. Teeth may be sensitive during the week following the in–office bleaching. This can be dramatically reduced by using Sensodyne toothpaste to brush your teeth the week prior to and the week following the bleaching process. Also, your dentist may recommend fluoride treatment following the bleaching process.


D. Dental bonding is a plastic tooth colored (composite) resin material that is molded onto your teeth and hardened with a blue light. It is usually done in one visit. Little tooth reduction and usually no anesthesia is required. The disadvantages of dental bonding are:

1. They stain over time, may chip and may need to be replaced more often.
2. Porcelain veneers are thin layers of stacked porcelain that are fabricated in the lab and bonded to teeth.
3. It usually takes 2 visits. Little tooth reduction and some anesthesia are required.
4. Porcelain veneers are stronger than dental bondings and less prone to staining.

E. There are several ways to correct it. Your Dentist may advice Dental Bondings, Veneers or Orthodontics. Again, seek the advice of your dental health professional to choose the procedure that's best for you.


F. In the past, Silver or amalgam fillings were extensively used. They are not tooth colored, stain teeth over time and healthier tooth structure may have to be removed to retain them since they do not bond to your teeth. Also, since they are a alloy of silver with mercury, there is a risk of mercury poisoning. Now, depending on the extent of decay and amount of tooth structure that is lost, your dentist may advice composite (tooth colored fillings) or porcelain inlays or onlays. Since tooth colored fillings bond to your teeth, there is no need for removal of healthy tooth structure.


G. With the advent of laser dentistry, this can be done very easily and painlessly in most cases. Tissue sculpting (gingivectomy) is done in adjunct to any required cosmetic work to achieve beautiful, healthy smile.


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