Cosmetic Dentistry FAQs

 

Dental Bonding FAQs 

What is dental bonding?

Who is a candidate for bonding procedures?

Does the bonding process hurt?

How long does the bonding process take?

How long will the bonding results last?

What's the proper course of care for bonded teeth?

Teeth Whitening FAQs 

What is teeth whitening?

How does it work?

What causes tooth discoloration?

Who are the best candidates for teeth whitening?

How quickly can results be seen?

How long do the teeth whitening results last?

Is the procedure safe?

Are there side effects to the treatment?

Dental Veneers FAQs 

What are porcelain veneers?

Who is a candidate for porcelain veneers?

Does the veneer process hurt?

How long does the process take?

Can veneers damage the tooth structure?

Does the veneer protect the tooth from decay?

How long can porcelain veneers last?

What's the proper course of care for porcelain veneers?

Orthodontic Braces FAQs 

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Do braces harm the teeth?

When do changes become visible?

Who can wear braces?

Are there dietary restrictions that come with braces?

Does it hurt to have braces put on?

Are braces covered under dental insurance plans?

What is a malocclusion?

Can braces be applied to just the upper or lower teeth?

Invisalign® Braces FAQs 

What is Invisalign?

How does it work?

What are Invisalign braces made of?

Do dentists need special training to use Invisalign?

How are teeth repositioned through the Invisalign procedure?

Is Invisalign safe?

 

What is dental bonding?
Dental bonding is a procedure that uses dental composite to correct minor faults in one's teeth.

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Who is a candidate for bonding procedures?
The best candidates are people with otherwise good, healthy teeth that have relatively minor flaws such as cavities, chips, stains, spacing gaps and other cosmetic problems. Teeth that are seriously damaged or decayed often require more complex procedures to enhance their health and appearance.

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Does the bonding process hurt?
No. Some clients may experience discomfort when the tooth is prepared for the dental composite, but any such sensitivity is usually minor and should quickly subside.

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How long does the bonding process take?
Dental bonding can be performed in just one session, unless the case is particularly complicated. The length of the session depends on the condition of the client's teeth and the number of areas to be treated.

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How long will the bonding results last?
With proper oral hygiene, the bonding results can last up to eight years.

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What's the proper course of care for bonded teeth?
Proper care for bonded teeth includes practicing good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing each day); using gentle toothpaste approved for use with bonded teeth; avoiding staining agents that can change the color of the composite material; and avoiding chewing hard objects like paper clips, fingernails, pencils and the like. A qualified cosmetic dentist can explain the care needs for bonded teeth in greater detail.

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What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dentistry procedure designed to reduce or eliminate the discoloration of enamel and dentin in a client's teeth caused by cigarettes, coffee and other staining agents. Although it can be performed at home, results may not be as satisfactory as those achieved with in-office teeth whitening. Keep in mind that the cost of in office whitening is more than that of at home whitening. The cosmetic dentist uses a highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel during the in-office treatment, often accelerated through the use of a low-level laser, or supplies the client with a milder gel and a custom-made mouth tray for the at-home bleaching treatment.

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How does it work?
The cosmetic dentist applies gel to the client's teeth, either by hand or through a mouth tray specifically fitted for the client. As the hydrogen peroxide in the gel breaks down, oxygen is absorbed into the enamel and dentin to bleach the tooth stains. The tooth's structure remains the same even as the color of the tooth becomes lighter. In some cases, when the dentist applies gels to a client's teeth, a laser is used to help the gel penetrate the outer layer of the teeth and hasten the laser teeth whitening process.

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What causes tooth discoloration?
There are many causes, from aging, trauma and old fillings to staining agents like cigarettes, coffee and other dark-colored drinks.

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Who are the best candidates for teeth whitening?
Anyone who has discolored teeth caused by the factors mentioned above is a candidate for teeth whitening. However, teeth whitening is not always the best treatment for discolored teeth, particularly for people who have other oral health problems. A consultation with a board-certified cosmetic dentist can help clients determine the best course of action for their particular needs.

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How quickly can results be seen?
Most clients can see whiter teeth after a 40-minute session that includes several applications of gel and, in some cases, the addition of laser dentistry. Others may require several sessions, including at-home treatments, before results become noticeable. More frequent applications and/or longer wearing periods (for in-home treatment) can bring about faster results.

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How long do the teeth whitening results last?
The duration of the results depends on the individual client, but generally speaking, the teeth will remain whiter than they were. Some clients may require ongoing or follow-up treatments, though, particularly if they continue to smoke cigarettes, drink coffee or use other staining agents.

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Is the procedure safe?
Yes. Research and clinical studies show that teeth whitening procedures involving the use of hydrogen peroxide and performed by a board-certified cosmetic dentist are safe for both the teeth and gums.

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Are there side effects to the treatment?
Some clients experience tooth sensitivity and gum irritations, and mild cases of temporo-mandibular joint disorder and/or nausea or a sore throat from the bleach have been reported in some clients. A large majority of clients report no side effects, though.

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What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain tooth veneers are very thin, ceramic shells that are applied to teeth to repair chips, discoloration, misalignments, gaps and other flaws in the smile. The cost of veneers per tooth can be upwards of several thousands of dollars but the results can be long lasting and natural.

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Who is a candidate for porcelain veneers?
The best candidates are people with otherwise strong, healthy teeth that have relatively minor flaws such as stains or other discolorations, chips, gaps between the teeth, or slightly misaligned teeth. Seriously damaged or decayed teeth usually require more involved cosmetic dentistry procedures to restore the teeth to good health and better appearance.

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Does the veneer process hurt?
No. Some clients may experience minor discomfort when the tooth is buffed down, but any such sensitivity can be resolved with regular, over-the-counter pain relievers.

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How long does the process take?
Clients will need to make just two visits of up to 90 minutes each. During the first visit, the dentist will make an impression of the treated tooth and apply a temporary veneer. During the second session, the dentist and client will make sure the veneer fits and is the right shade before the dentist attaches it permanently.

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Can veneers damage the tooth structure?
In the vast majority of cases, the tooth structure is not at risk. Generally speaking, less than half a millimeter is removed from the front of the tooth to allow room for the veneer, and the porcelain is strong enough to protect the treated area.

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Does the veneer protect the tooth from decay?
No. The veneer itself won't decay, and the surrounding tooth isn't under any additional risk of decay, but clients will need to practice proper oral hygiene, just as on any other tooth, to prevent any decay.

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How long can porcelain veneers last?
With proper oral hygiene, porcelain veneers can last for 10 to 15 years.

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What's the proper course of care for porcelain veneers?
Proper care for porcelain veneers includes practicing good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing each day); keeping the veneers away from excessive forces such as biting hard objects; avoiding the clenching and grinding of teeth, which can chip or crack veneers; avoiding staining agents that can affect the cement beneath the veneer; and staying away from sharp impacts (blows to the mouth). A qualified cosmetic dentist can explain veneer care needs in greater detail.

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How long does orthodontic treatment take?
It varies according to individual needs. Treatment can focus on moving a single tooth or realigning an entire line. Clients typically wear their braces for 6 months to two years, with adjustments to the wires made every 4 to 8 weeks. Once the braces come out, clients may need to wear a retainer for up to 18 months.

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Do braces harm the teeth?
There's a very slight risk of damage to the teeth and gums, but overall, braces are considered very safe.

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When do changes become visible?
Many clients can see changes start to appear within the first 3 to 6 weeks after braces have been installed.

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Who can wear braces?
Any teenager or adult who is in otherwise good periodontal health can use braces to straighten his or her teeth and/or correct flaws in his or her bite. In fact, the number of adults over the age of 30 who wear braces has continued to grow in the last few years. If you are missing teeth or have recently undergone wisdom teeth removal, your orthodontic treatment may be impacted. This can be determined during your consultation.

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Are there dietary restrictions that come with braces?
In general, clients can enjoy many of their favorite foods, although dentists recommend softer foods in the first week or two after the braces have been installed. Foods that should be avoided are gooey, crunchy, hard and sticky foods, like taffy, caramel, apples, carrots and the like. Gum should also be avoided. A qualified dentist will explain any food restrictions to the client.

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Does it hurt to have braces put on?
The procedure for putting braces on a client's teeth isn't painful and doesn't require Novocain or other anesthesia. After the braces are on, people usually feel some discomfort for a few days, due to the pressure from the wires. That discomfort can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers, and it usually subsides within a week.

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Are braces covered under dental insurance plans?
Many dental insurance plans will cover orthodontic treatment for children up to age 18, but not for people over that age.

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What is a malocclusion?
"Occlusion" means "bite" and refers to how the teeth in the top and bottom jaw make contact with each other. A malocclusion refers to a bad bite, i.e., a bite that isn't working properly.

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Can braces be applied to just the upper or lower teeth?
Most clients have braces put on both rows of teeth, but clients whose bite problems or crooked teeth are centered on just one row can have braces put on either the upper or lower teeth rather than both. (How much do braces cost?) A qualified dentist will determine the proper course of treatment for each individual.

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What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a teeth straightening procedure that uses invisible, removable aligners to straighten a client's teeth through a series of gradual steps, without any need to install metal or wires in the client's mouth.

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How does it work?
Through 3-D computer imaging technology, the dentist can design a full treatment plan, from the client's original alignment all the way to the final, desired alignment. A series of client-tailored, invisible "aligners" are created, with each one moving the client's teeth another step closer to the final, desired result. Clients wear each aligner for a couple of weeks before replacing it with the next in the series until the desired results are achieved.

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What are Invisalign braces made of?
The Invisalign braces are made out of clear, resilient, virtually invisible plastic.

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Do dentists need special training to use Invisalign?
Orthodontists and dentists who wish to treat clients with Invisalign are required to undergo training before performing Invisalign procedures.

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How are teeth repositioned through the Invisalign procedure?
The Invisalign braces reposition teeth by applying an appropriate level of force on the teeth. By creating a series of Invisalign aligners, the dentist can control each step of the process, focusing only on certain teeth during each individual step, based on the needs of each client.

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Is Invisalign safe?
Yes. The Federal Drug Administration approved the Invisalign procedure in August 1998.

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