Common Dental Questions
What is aesthetic dentistry?
The dictionary defines the word aesthetic as “the guiding principle in matter of artistic beauty and taste.” Cosmetic dentistry is the combination of art and science to create a world of possibilities to enhance your life. It utilizes the most advanced techniques and materials to create a natural look and feel.
I just do not like my smile, what are my options?
Smiles are unique and personal. Our goal is to create a smile that is personal and designed for your specific needs. Factors we look at are:
- Mismatched, unattractive, or failing previous dentistry
- Crooked, missing, poorly shaped, or discolored teeth
- Uneven or excessive display of the gum tissue
- Worn, chipped, or broken teeth
- Excessive space between teeth
What can be done if I have stained or discolored teeth?
If the only thing you wish to change regarding your smile is to make it brighter, one of the different available whitening procedures may be your answer. We currently use the Nite-White bleaching system, which produces awesome results within just a few days.
When I smile, my gums are very prominent and uneven. How can this be corrected?
Artistic sculpting of the gum tissue can take a smile from good to great. A child’s teeth are naturally covered by gums; with age, the gums recede to reveal a beautiful smile. For some people, it does not happen, and the gums hide the teeth. The treatment is to remove and sculpt the gums to frame the teeth. We have different solutions to correct this problem, one of which includes the use of a Biolase diode laser.
What is the difference between a veneer and bonding?
A veneer is usually fabricated from a non-porous porcelain material in a dental laboratory. It is a thin wafer, no thicker than a fingernail. They are the most elegant and versatile way to improve your smile. They can change the color, spacing, alignment, length, or shape of your teeth. The shade can be customized to your specific taste and will last for many years. Bonding is a procedure using composite resin. It can also change the color, improve spacing, and repair broken teeth. Bonding, while beautiful and functional, is a porous material that will discolor over time. The durability is also less than with a porcelain veneer. It is a great short-term solution for many people.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a small titanium fixture that serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. The implant is placed in the upper or lower jaw. It will bond with the bone over time and thus serve as an anchor for the replacement tooth. Implants can be used to replace a single lost tooth or many missing teeth. We currently use the Nobel Bio-care system.
What can you tell me about amalgam or silver fillings?
Amalgam fillings, sometimes referred to as silver fillings, are the most commonly placed filling material according to a survey done by the American Dental Association in 2000. The main reasons given were its cost effectiveness, ease of placement, and longevity. We chose, in 1995, to no longer place amalgam fillings for the following reasons:
- Amalgam fillings expand with time and tend to fracture teeth from the inside, similar to splitting wood with a wedge.
- The material typically contains 50% mercury, and even though the ADA has deemed this level safe, it is still considered a toxic and hazardous material outside the mouth. Several European countries have banned the use of the material and the city of Norman, where we are located, requires that dentists remove the amalgam debris from the waste water leaving the dental office. (Even though we don’t place amalgam fillings, we remove old ones, which generates the mercury waste).
- Amalgam fillings are very unaesthetic, and because of corrosion, they typically turn dark over time.
While these reasons are enough not to use amalgam or silver fillings, there is simply a better material available. Today’s technology has created a bonded metal-free material that requires less natural tooth removal, a bonded, moisture-free barrier between the restoration and the tooth, and a better aesthetic appearance.
What can I expect on my first visit to your office?
You can expect an experience unique to your specific needs and concerns. If you have been away from the dental office for a while, you will receive a very thorough exam, which will include cancer screening, periodontal exam, decay detection, digital radiography scan, and a smile evaluation. Many people, however, have been receiving regular dental attention and for whatever reason are just making a change. We attempt to retrieve former dental records and proceed with regular maintenance as needed. Whatever your reason for your first visit, we conduct a personal private interview to gather medical and dental history. We address your concerns before moving forward with the visit. You can expect to be in our Norman dental office for approximately 1-2 hours.
My denture is loose, moves around when I eat, and looks unnatural. What is available for me?
The advances in denture design are phenomenal. Long-time denture wearers who have lost underlying bone structure now have the most advanced systems ever available. Implant placement now allow for the stability of natural teeth, along with the removal of the palatal acrylic which restricts the taste of many foods. You can not only chew your food with ease but taste each and every morsel. Due to our aesthetic training, we use the same techniques in denture design we use in smile design. Your denture can have the same natural appearance of even the most beautiful smile.