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inlay / onlayInlays and onlays are used when a tooth cannot be repaired with a filling but the damage is not serious enough for a dental crown. Dental inlays and onlays are used to protect a damaged tooth and allow it to function normally.

The difference between an inlay and onlay is where they are placed. A dental inlay will be placed in the center of the tooth, and a dental onlay will be placed on one or more areas of the bitting surface of the tooth. Dental onlays may also be referred to as “partial crowns.”

A dental inlay or onlay procedure can usually be completed in one or two visits.

Step 1: Preparing the Tooth

Your dentist will begin by preparing your tooth for the inlay or onlay. This includes removing the damaged area of the tooth and filing down the specific areas of your tooth that will be receiving the inlay or onlay.

Step 2: Impressions

Next, your dentist will need to make impressions of the tooth to ensure a proper fit. The inlay or onlay can either be made in a lab or sometimes the dentist can make them in their office.

Step 3: Permanent Inlay or Onlay

If your dentist can make the inlay or onlay in their office, they will be able to get your permanent one ready on the same day. If they send your impressions to a lab, you will receive a temporary one while you wait for the lab to create the permanent one.

When your dentist has the final inlay or onlay created they will remove the temporary one, if necessary, and place the permanent one on your tooth with a strong bonding agent.

Step 4: Adjustments

Once the permanent inlay or onlay is placed, the dentist will make any adjustments to be sure it is comfortable.

Your dentist can offer you local anesthesia during this procedure as some irritation may occur when the dentist is preparing the tooth for the dental inlay or onlay. You and your dentist will also discuss the type of material you would like to use. There are three types of materials that can be used, including:

  • Composites
  • Metal
  • Porcelain

Your dentist will be able to tell you which material best fits your needs. Following your procedure, your tooth may be more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages for a few days and you may experience gum tenderness. If this last for more than a couple weeks, it is important to contact your dentist.

Clearly having whiter teeth is something that is on a lot of people’s minds.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, almost 90% of patients have requested tooth whitening at some point.

Tooth discoloration can occur for a number of reasons.

The first thing you need to do is speak to your dentist. They will be able to tell you if teeth whitening is a good idea. Teeth whitening does not work on all teeth and before you start, it is important to know if you would see any benefits.

So how do dentists whiten teeth?

Professional Bleaching

Whitening Before and AfterOne procedure they use is professional bleaching which can be done in about three to four weeks.

  1. The dentist will start by protecting your gums by placing a gel on them.
  2. Next, a mouthguard-like product that has been fitted to your mouth is filled with a whitening product and will be applied to your teeth.

You will begin this procedure at the dentist office but continue at home by applying the whitening product. The dentist will instruct you on how to do this and how long to keep the product on.

Power Whitening

The more recent procedure that some dentists use is called “power whitening.” This procedure is quicker than a professional bleaching, only taking about an hour to complete.

  1. To protect your gums, a rubber dam is placed over the teeth.
  2. The dentist will then take a bleaching product and coat that on your teeth.
  3. Once the product is on your teeth, a special light is shone on the teeth, this will activate the chemical in the whitening product.

Veneers

Another method your dentist may suggest is veneers. Although veneers are not just for whitening, they can be used to treat tooth discoloration. You and your dentist can discuss the use of a local anesthesia prior to the procedure.

  1. To begin, your dentist removes around 1/2 millimeter of tooth enamel to make room for the veneer.
  2. The dentist will make an impression of the tooth receiving the veneer. This impression is then sent to a dental lab that constructs the veneer specifically for that tooth. Note: Sometimes you may have a temporary veneer placed over your tooth while the lab works on the final veneer.
  3. Once your dentist receives the proper veneer(s) from the lab, they will make sure it fits correctly and is the right shade to match your other teeth. Your dentist can make any adjustments the veneer may need.
  4. Once the veneer is ready, your dentist will clean the tooth and, with the help of a bonding agent, place the veneer on the tooth.
  5. A special light will be applied to the veneer to dry it quickly and bond it to your tooth.
  6. Finally, the veneer will be examined, adjusted, and cleaned to ensure proper function.

Other Methods

There are some at-home whitening products on the market that are popular. It is still important that you speak to your dentist before you begin using these products. The ADA has a list of safe at-home whitening products that you should view before buying.

But remember, the easiest way to keep a healthy smile is through proper dental hygiene at home and routine dentist appointments.

What Are Dental Veneers?

dental veneersDental veneers are thin shells that are meant to cover the front of your teeth in order to improve their appearance. Veneers are bonded to the tooth in order to change their shape, color, length or size. Dental veneers are typically made of resin composite or porcelain. Whether you are getting this procedure to correct discoloration or fix a tooth, veneers are a great option that should be discussed with your dentist.

The procedure for dental veneers is performed by your dentist and typically takes 3 visits to complete.

Step 1: Treatment Options
To begin, you want to speak with your dentist about what you want to accomplish and if veneers would be a good option for your needs.

Step 2: Preparing
Once your dentist has determined that veneers are good for your specific case, they will then begin to prepare the tooth. The dentist will remove about 1/2 millimeter of enamel from the tooth’s surface, which is the thickness of the veneer. Your dentist will also take an impression of the tooth to make sure the veneer fits perfectly on your tooth. The impression will be sent to a lab so the veneer can be created, usually taking 2-4 weeks.

Step 3: Fitting the Veneer
Once your dentist receives the veneer back from the lab, they will temporarily place it on the tooth and make any adjustments needed in order for it to fit correctly.

Step 4: Preparing the Tooth
After the veneer is properly fitted, the dentist will then clean the tooth receiving the veneer and roughen the tooth slightly to make it easier for the veneer to hold.

Step 5: Cementing the Veneer
The dentist will use a bonding agent to cement the veneer on to the tooth. A special light is used to harden the bonding agent, permanently placing the veneer on your tooth.

You will follow up with the dentist after a couple weeks to make sure the dental veneer is holding and to check that your gums are not responding negatively. You should continue proper dental hygiene and treat your dental veneer just like you would your permanent teeth.

What Are Dental Implants?

dental implantTooth loss is a problem that many people suffer from. Removing a tooth may be necessary because of tooth decay, injury, or periodontal disease. When you have a tooth removed, the root of your tooth is also removed. Dental implants are not a replacement for the tooth itself, it is actually a replacement for the root of your tooth.

The dental implant is necessary to replicate the function of one of your permanent teeth. The dental implant will be what holds the dental crown (false tooth). Meaning, unlike dentures that can become loose and make it more difficult to speak and eat, dental implants and crowns are designed to act and function like your permanent teeth.

The Dental Implant Procedure

Step 1: Your Treatment Plan

To begin, you will receive a specific treatment plan that best fits your needs. This plan is created by dental specialists who know what the best options for you involve.

Step 2: Dental Implants

Once the specialists have created your plan, the dental implant is installed in the bone socket of the missing tooth. This implant is made out of titanium. The implant will then need time to heal; usually 1-3 months. During this time of healing, the jawbone will grow around the implant and secure it into the jaw.

Step 3: The Abutment

After the jawbone is healed and the dental implant is secured in the jaw, an abutment is placed on the implant. An abutment is what connects and holds the replacement tooth to the dental implant. Your gums will need a healing period after this as well, but only a week or two.

Step 4: Impression of Your Teeth

When you go back to the dentist after your gums have healed, they will make impressions of your teeth as well as create a model of your bite. These will be used to create your artificial tooth. You will receive a temporary crown while the permanent crown is being made.

Step 5: Placement of the Dental Crown

Then, when the dentist has the permanent crown ready, you will go back and have your temporary crown removed and replaced with the permanent one.

Step 6: After Surgery

After your surgery, regular dental checkups and proper dental hygiene will ensure your dental implant, and your real teeth, remain functional.

During the surgeries, you will be given options of anesthesia to help ease any pain that may be caused. It’s important to remember the steps listed above are a general outline of a dental implant procedure. Some procedures may be different depending on your needs.

What is Dental Bonding?

dental bondingWhen it comes to improving the look of your teeth, bonding is the easiest and least expensive procedure. Bonding is used when one of your teeth has been chipped, fractured, experienced decay, or is discolored. It can also be used to fill in gaps between your teeth.

Tooth Bonding Procedure

The procedure for tooth bonding is very simple and you will likely not need any kind of anesthesia for this procedure.

Step 1: Preparing the Tooth

The tooth that is getting the bonding will be roughened so that the resin can adhere to the tooth. This will be done with a dental tool that acts as a small sander. If the tooth is sensitive your dentist may numb it prior to working on the tooth.

While the tooth is being prepared, the resin will be created to match the color of your natural teeth.

Step 2: Applying the Resin

The resin is applied to the tooth and is sculpted to fix the problem. This includes shaping the tooth, filling in cracks, chips, or covering the tooth due to discoloration.

Step 3: Keeping the Resin in Place

Once the tooth has been fixed, the dentist will use a special light on the resin to harden the material and keep it in place.

Step 4: Adjustments

After the resin has hardened on your tooth, the dentist will make any necessary adjustments, like polishing, shaping, or trimming till the tooth is perfect.

Bonding is an easy procedure that your dentist may recommend to keep your teeth healthy. In most cases, you will only need one visit for your procedure and the procedure is quite painless. It is important to remember that this information gives you a general overview of the bonding procedure. For the most accurate overview of your procedure, consult with your dentist.

what are all-on-4 implantsIf you have missing teeth or severe damage to your teeth, the All-on-4 dental implants procedure may help getwhat are all-on-4 implants your healthy smile back.

Millions of Americans live with missing teeth. Dentures are one option that your dentist may recommend, however, a treatment that continues to grow in popularity is the All-on-4 dental implants. Dental implants are titanium screws that fit into your jaw bone in order to hold a false tooth. The benefit of All-on-4 implants is that a full set of new teeth can be held permanently with just four specifically placed implants.

Before scheduling an appointment, it is important to speak with your dentist or a dental specialist about what you want to achieve. They will be able to determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure. If the All-on-4 procedure is recommended, here is what the procedure generally looks like:

Step 1: Removing Teeth
The procedure begins by numbing the area and removing any teeth that are in the area your new set of teeth will be placed, whether that’s the upper or lower arch of the mouth or both.

Step 2: Inserting the Implants
Once all the unhealthy teeth have been removed, your dental specialist will insert the implants. Two implants will be placed in your gums near the back and two will be placed near the front. These implants are specifically placed to support the new set of teeth.

Step 3: Healing
Before your permanent dentures are placed, the dental implants need to integrate with your jaw bone. This usually takes 3-4 months, but during this time you will receive a temporary set of dentures to wear.

Step 4: Permanent Dentures
Once your all-on-4 implants are properly set and have had time to heal, the temporary dentures are replaced with your permanent set of teeth.

All-on-4 implants offer patients a great way to have a full set of teeth that look and function just like their original teeth. Once you have the permanent set of teeth placed, you will need to brush and floss each day and continue to schedule dental appointments. With proper care and cleaning, the All-on-4 implants can last your whole life.

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