Posts for: July, 2017
Some people are lucky — they never seem to have a mishap, dental or otherwise. But for the rest of us, accidents just happen sometimes. Take actor Jamie Foxx, for example. A few years ago, he actually had a dentist intentionally chip one of his teeth so he could portray a homeless man more realistically. But recently, he got a chipped tooth in the more conventional way… well, conventional in Hollywood, anyway. It happened while he was shooting the movie Sleepless with co-star Michelle Monaghan.
“Yeah, we were doing a scene and somehow the action cue got thrown off or I wasn't looking,” he told an interviewer. “But boom! She comes down the pike. And I could tell because all this right here [my teeth] are fake. So as soon as that hit, I could taste the little chalkiness, but we kept rolling.” Ouch! So what's the best way to repair a chipped tooth? The answer it: it all depends…
For natural teeth that have only a small chip or minor crack, cosmetic bonding is a quick and relatively easy solution. In this procedure, a tooth-colored composite resin, made of a plastic matrix with inorganic glass fillers, is applied directly to the tooth's surface and then hardened or “cured” by a special light. Bonding offers a good color match, but isn't recommended if a large portion of the tooth structure is missing. It's also less permanent than other types of restoration, but may last up to 10 years.
When more of the tooth is missing, a crown or dental veneer may be a better answer. Veneers are super strong, wafer-thin coverings that are placed over the entire front surface of the tooth. They are made in a lab from a model of your teeth, and applied in a separate procedure that may involve removal of some natural tooth material. They can cover moderate chips or cracks, and even correct problems with tooth color or spacing.
A crown is the next step up: It's a replacement for the entire visible portion of the tooth, and may be needed when there's extensive damage. Like veneers, crowns (or caps) are made from models of your bite, and require more than one office visit to place; sometimes a root canal may also be needed to save the natural tooth. However, crowns are strong, natural looking, and can last many years.
But what about teeth like Jamie's, which have already been restored? That's a little more complicated than repairing a natural tooth. If the chip is small, it may be possible to smooth it off with standard dental tools. Sometimes, bonding material can be applied, but it may not bond as well with a restoration as it will with a natural tooth; plus, the repaired restoration may not last as long as it should. That's why, in many cases, we will advise that the entire restoration be replaced — it's often the most predictable and long-lasting solution.
Oh, and one more piece of advice: Get a custom-made mouthguard — and use it! This relatively inexpensive device, made in our office from a model of your own teeth, can save you from a serious mishap… whether you're doing Hollywood action scenes, playing sports or just riding a bike. It's the best way to protect your smile from whatever's coming at it!
If you have questions about repairing chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin” and “Porcelain Veneers.”
What do you like about your smile? Or, is this a better question: what don't you like about it? Likely, the things that you dislike about your teeth and gums are noticeable to others, too. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry says that your smile speaks about your personality, ambitions and more. Dr. Richard Lestz, a cosmetic dentist in Forest Hills, NY, encourages you to explore the benefits of this creative branch of dentistry and learn how your smile can change for the better.
The particulars on cosmetic dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry has gained popularity since the 1980s, and it is a bona fide dental specialty. Dr. Lestz and his professional colleagues have increased their knowledge and skills through taking continuing education courses in this expanding field, giving patients multiple ways to improve how their teeth and gums look.
When evaluating an individual for a smile makeover, Dr. Lestz first does a complete oral examination to ensure the patient's mouth is free from gum disease and tooth decay. He then considers factors such as the shape, color and size of the individual's teeth, how wide the smile is, any bite or alignment issues, the patient's age and gender and most importantly, what the patient expects.
Patient expectations shape any smile makeover--from the simplest enhancements to complete reconstructions. Dr. Lestz encourages his patients to formulate realistic goals. In other words, cosmetic treatments should help the individual feel more confidence in his or her natural looks.
For instance, a patient may want her gum line evened, or she may like some small gaps between her top teeth filled. Another individual may be self-conscious about dark stains on his front teeth or in the appearance of dark metal fillings.
Frankly, there is no cookie-cutter approach when it comes to cosmetic dental treatments. Their goals and execution are as individual as the persons who seek them. It's important, however, that smile goals be clearly communicated and agreed upon before starting treatment.
Offered cosmetic treatments
Your cosmetic dentist in Forest Hills gives recommendations that make sense for each patient. He carefully considers the individual's budget and time commitment, too. Dr. Lestz offers these aesthetic services:
- Composite resin bonding to fill small flaws such as hairline cracks
- Tooth-colored fillings to restore decay seamlessly
- Orthodontics for children and adults, including conventional braces and clear aligners
- Porcelain veneers to conceal larger defects such as gaps, chips and deep stains
- Laser gum surgery to remove excess gum tissue and reveal more tooth structure
- Professional teeth whitening (both in-office and at-home versions) to improve tooth color by several shades
A final word
Cosmetic dental treatments benefit more than self-confidence. They help oral health, too, by strengthening weak enamel (bonding), making teeth easier to clean and improving tooth alignment (orthodontics).
So if you want to pursue the advantages of cosmetic dentistry, contact Dr. Lestz today for a consultation. You'll get your questions answered in a calm, reassuring way so you can enjoy your very best smile. Call (718) 544-9100.
Since their introduction over thirty years ago, dental implants have become the most popular choice for dental restoration. Their large variety of shapes and sizes — a far cry from the limited choices of the 1980s — has only served to increase their popularity.
In recent years there's also been an expansion in their applicability. Most people recognize them as replacements for individual teeth — but they can do much more. They're now playing a pivotal role in other dental restorations or situations.
Here are 3 of those “cutting edge” ways implants could change your dental health and smile for the better.
Fixed bridgework. In a traditional bridge, prosthetic (false) teeth use the natural teeth on either side of the empty space for support. In this updated version, implants become the support base for the bridge. For example, a bridge as small as three crowns can be supported by two implants attached to the outside crowns of the bridge. Four to eight implants can support a bridge as large as an entire arch of teeth.
Over-dentures. In cases of significant bone loss, a full or partial denture may be a better option than a fixed bridge. Traditional dentures, though, can contribute to even more bone loss, which can cause the dentures to eventually lose their fit. Implants not only can help stop further bone loss but can also stimulate increased bone density. Two or more standard or mini-sized-sized implants can support a full or partial denture.
Orthodontics anchorage. People with missing teeth aren't the only ones who can benefit from implants. While most bite repairs only require the back teeth to provide anchorage for braces, certain complex bites may need a different point of anchorage. Orthodontists can create a more feasible anchorage point with an implant or a temporary anchorage device (TAD) imbedded in the jaw. This can help isolate teeth that need to be moved from those on the arch that don't.
If you would like more information about how dental implants could improve your dental health and appearance, 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 “Dental Implants: Your Best Option for Replacing Teeth.”