How to Help Your Child Enjoy Going to the Dentist

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Going to the dentist can be a scary prospect—for parents! Fortunately, there are many ways you can teach toddlers and small children that the dentist’s office is nothing to be afraid of. Here’s how to help your child enjoy getting a dental check-up so they can maintain good oral health for years to come.

Build Excitement

Before your dentist appointment, talk to your child about the upcoming event and try to build excitement and understanding. Picture books about teeth and dentists can help prepare children in an atmosphere they are already familiar with. You could also share some interesting facts with them about animal teeth or dinosaur teeth, two topics children love.

Keep Your Cool

Remember that most children do not have much experience at the dentist’s office, and any nervousness or anxiety they feel towards the visit will likely be learned from observing you. So, if you’re worried about tantrums, don’t let that worry show. Similarly, never let a child overhear you expressing fear about your own dentist appointment, or worrying about an upcoming procedure. Your best bet is to stay positive, calm, and optimistic whenever the dentist is mentioned.

Have a Game Plan

If possible, schedule your appointment in the morning, when young children are alert and fresh. Be aware that if your small child becomes fearful or upset while in the dentist’s office, the best course of action might be to reschedule. Forcing the appointment to continue will establish that the dentist office is a place where upsetting things happen, and start a cycle wherein the next appointment provokes anxiety, too.

Know How to Take Care of a Child’s Teeth

The best way to make your child’s dentist appointment go smoothly is to take care of his or her teeth year-round. As your child’s teeth emerge, continue to teach him or her the importance of brushing and flossing, and supervise brushing to make sure that no toothpaste is swallowed. Try to limit sticky, sugary foods, such as candy and gummies, and follow our toothbrushing tips for kids.

Schedule an Appointment at Our Dentist Office in Apex

With proper supervision and frequent dental visits, your child will develop good dental habits that will serve them well for a lifetime. If you’re ready to schedule a dentist appointment for your child, contact Hansen Dentistry here. We can’t wait to take care of your family!

What is Xylitol? Ask a General Dentist in Apex NC

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We all know about the negative health effects of sugar, especially when it comes to teeth. Fortunately, artificial sweeteners don’t have the same effect on teeth as sugar, and can help you have a much healthier smile. One artificial sweetener, xylitol, even has positive effects on teeth. Here’s everything you need to know about Xylitol from a dentist in Apex, NC.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is categorized as a sugar alcohol. That means that it combines traits of sugar molecules and alcohol molecules to create a structure very similar to that of sugar. However, Xylitol has much fewer calories, doesn’t raise blood sugar levels, and actually kills the harms the bacteria that live on your teeth and cause tooth decay.

Is Xylitol Natural?

Despite the pharmaceutical-sounding name, Xylitol is found in many fruits and vegetables, and is even produced in small amounts by the human metabolism. It can also be processed from trees like birch, or from a plant fiber called xylan. For these reasons, most health professionals consider it to be a safe, natural substance.

How Xylitol Helps Your Teeth

Xylitol functions a lot like a “mousetrap” for the bacteria that live on your teeth. Normally, these bacteria ingest sugar and carbohydrates and convert them into acid, which destroys the tooth enamel. After the bacteria ingest xylitol, however, they are no longer able to absorb glucose. With their energy-producing pathway clogged up, they end up starving to death. That’s why many dentists recommend using xylitol-sweetened chewing gum: it’s one of very few things that can actually kill harmful tooth bacteria.

Why Xylitol is Toxic to Dogs

If you buy gum or candy that contains Xylitol, it is very important to keep it away from any dogs in your house. When a dog eats xylitol, its body mistakes it for glucose and starts producing large amounts of insulin. Then, the dog’s cells start absorbing glucose from the bloodstream, which can lead to hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, and even death. Xylitol may also have detrimental effects on liver function in dogs, with high doses causing liver failure.

It only takes 0.1 grams per kg of body weight for a dog to be affected. To put that in perspective, a 6 pound Chihuahua could get sick or die from eating a single piece of xylitol chewing gum.

Need a General Dentist in Apex NC? Call Hansen Dentistry

If you are in need of a dental cleaning, oral surgery or other dental service, be sure to contact our general dentist in Apex NC. At Hansen Dentistry, we will do our best to make you feel relaxed and at home while receiving expert dental care. To schedule an appointment, click here.

Teeth and Sugar: Dispelling the Top 5 Dental Myths with our Apex Dentist

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Teeth and Sugar: Dispelling the Top 5 Dental Myths

You’ve heard it since you were a small child: the #1 greatest threat to your teeth is sugar. Turns out, though, there are other things that damage our teeth just as much, and cutting out sugar isn’t always enough to guarantee total tooth health. Here are some of the most common misconceptions people have when it comes to sugar, teeth, and cavities.

Misconception 1: Sipping on one soda throughout the morning isn’t as dangerous as, say, eating 4 frosted donuts in one sitting.  

The truth: It’s actually much worse to expose your teeth to small amounts of sugar throughout the day, than to eat a high-sugar item in one go. It’s the frequency of sugar consumption that damages your teeth, not the amount. If you ate an entire tub of icing in a minute, we’re not saying it would do your body any favors; but your teeth would likely be fine, as the icing would only touch them for 60 seconds or so. Spending four hours working your way through a coke, however, exposes your teeth to an almost constant wash of acid.

Misconception 2: Sugar is bad for my teeth, but carbs aren’t. If I switch to unfrosted mini-wheats for breakfast, my teeth will be fine.

The truth: Simple carbohydrates are actually just as bad for teeth as sugar. That’s because it isn’t really sugar or carbs which are the culprits for cavities; those just happen to be the favorite foods of the bacteria that live in your mouth. Bacteria just love carbs and sugar, and once they’re done chowing down, they convert it into lactic acid, the stuff that erodes your teeth and creates cavities. Therefore, eating a bowl of crackers at your desk hurts your teeth as much as eating a bowl of candy.

Misconception 3: Drinking my coffee black might stain my teeth, but it won’t hurt the enamel.  

The truth: Drinking your coffee black will still damage your teeth, because it is extremely high in acid. Remember that the bacteria in your mouth eat the sugar and then convert it into acid. Black coffee by itself already is an acid, so nixing the sugar isn’t making things much better. (If you can’t kick your coffee habit, drinking it through a straw can help save your teeth from damage and staining.)

Misconception 4: Drinking sugar-free soda, or soda alternatives like LaCroix, will not hurt my teeth.

The truth: Carbonation can badly damage your enamel. Soda water’s pH is around 3 or 4, depending on the brand, making it around 100 to 1000 times more acidic than water. With that said, drinking soda water is better than drinking straight soda, and is often a good middle step to eventually going totally soda-free.

Take care of your teeth with Hansen Dentistry, your local Apex dentist office.

Whether you need preventative dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, oral surgery, or something else, Hansen Dentistry is here to help. Our Apex dentist office is a welcoming, family-friendly, judgement free zone where we only care about one thing: helping you have the healthiest smile possible! To schedule an appointment, fill out our appointment form here.

Apex Dentist Recommends NOT Using Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

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The last time you were browsing Pinterest or Instagram, you might have seen an ad for one of the hippest new health trends: Activated charcoal toothpaste. Made from coal, wood, and other substances, activated charcoal has started popping up as a miracle cure in everything from soap to lotion. But this stuff should never come into contact with your teeth—and here’s why from Dr. Hansen, our Apex NC dentist.

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is made primarily from coal and wood, but can also contain other burned things, like coconut shells and bones. It becomes “activated” when high temperatures combine with a gas or activating agent to expand its surface area. Traditionally, charcoal has been used to treat poisoning and drug overdoses, as far back as ancient times. When a person ingests activated charcoal, drugs and toxins bind to it, keeping them from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Many people believe that it absorbs other “toxins”, too. 

Why shouldn’t charcoal be used on teeth?

There has been very little evidence of charcoal toothpaste’s safety and effectiveness. In September 2017, the American Dental Association (ADA) published a peer-reviewed scientific literature review stating that researchers found little evidence that charcoal reduces bacteria, prevents cavities, or even reduces tooth stains. Researchers even pointed out some possible carcinogenic ingredients in charcoal and in clay that are found in some of these toothpastes that could be damaging to human health.

What we do know about charcoal toothpaste

While more research might contradict previous studies’ findings, there is something we do know about activated charcoal: it’s extremely abrasive on teeth. That means it can easily damage your enamel, exposing the sensitive dentin beneath. Since dentin is naturally yellow, this means that charcoal toothpaste won’t make your teeth appear white; on the contrary, it will make them look more stained. And once your enamel isn’t protecting your teeth anymore, your cosmetic appearance will be the least of your problems—anything hot, cold, hard, or acidic will be extremely painful! 

Get the best solution for teeth whitening with our Apex cosmetic dentist

If you want to have whiter teeth, the most effective, safe and long-lasting whitening method is using custom whitening trays made by a dentist, or some other professional whitening method. If you use charcoal toothpaste, you might as well brush your teeth with sand—so be sure to book an appointment with our Apex dentist today.

Unpacking Common Dental Myths and Misconceptions – Apex Dentist Office

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When it comes to oral hygiene, there are a lot of common myths and misconceptions that simply aren’t true. If you want to keep your teeth as healthy as possible, here are some of the most common dental myths to watch out for. If you need a teeth cleaning or other dental service, be sure to stop by our Apex dentist office today.

Myth 1: Diet sodas are better for my teeth than regular sodas.

Since diet sodas are low-calorie and low-sugar, many people assume they are better for your teeth than non-diet alternatives. However, this is based on the assumption that it’s sugar which harms your teeth. The element that actually harms your teeth is acid, which is produced by bacteria that feed on sugar and carbohydrates. Diet sodas are actually usually higher in phosphoric acid than regular sodas, and will wear down your tooth enamel more than the acid produced by the bacteria. To keep your teeth healthy, you’re better off skipping the carbonated drinks altogether.

Myth 2: I don’t feel any pain in my mouth, so there’s probably nothing wrong with my teeth.

Many patients come to us because they are experiencing dental pain, and assume that the problem can be easily fixed. However, when dentists hear that someone is in pain, we already begin wondering if it will require a root canal or extraction. By the time you start to feel pain from a cracked tooth or other issue, it has probably been worsening for a while. Furthermore, having pain go completely away can be a sign of the nerve dying, so it’s still important to go in for a dental check-up even if you don’t feel any discomfort.

Myth 3: Having bad teeth won’t affect the rest of my body.

Bad dental care can be a gateway to stomach diseases, heart diseases, and other serious complications throughout your body. Not only does bad dental hygiene threaten your overall health, it can become a problem if you ever need clearance for a surgery. We often see patients who need dental clearance before a surgery because their teeth are an infection hazard. If you take care of your teeth, your overall body will be in better health as you get older.

Myth 4: Fluoride is a chemical, and herbal or natural toothpaste is better for me.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element which combines with the calcium and phosphates in your saliva to help remineralize your enamel. Fluoride is the most important component in toothpaste, and any brand labeled as “herbal” or “natural” toothpaste is not very beneficial to your dental health. Activated charcoal toothpaste is also very dangerous for your dental health.

Get a Professional Dental Cleaning with our Apex Dental Office

If you need a tooth cleaning, dental exam, or other dental service in Apex NC, contact Hansen Dentistry today. Our Apex dental office is passionate about what we do, and we want our patients to feel confident that they will receive the best dental care possible. To request an appointment, click here.

The Dangers of Cheap Veneers – Ask an Apex Cosmetic Dentist

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Dental veneers have soared in popularity in recent years as a fast, easy way to correct worn-out or discolored teeth. But with professional veneer treatments costing in the hundreds or thousands, many people opt for a cheap veneer alternative—and end up sincerely regretting their decision. Here’s why you should only get veneers from an experienced, licensed dentist.

Cheap Veneer Alternatives

There are two basic ways to get cheap veneers, both of which are very risky. The first is traveling to a foreign country and having dental work done there. Another common way is purchasing them from an online retailer and applying them at home. In both cases, good results aren’t guaranteed. It takes artistry and skill to make veneers that are the right thickness, length, and color, and what is promised may not always be delivered. Consider what Benjamin Franklin said: “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten!”

Risk 1: Too Much Enamel is Removed   

To apply veneers, the underlying tooth enamel must be filed down, much in the same way fingernails need to be buffed before artificial nails can be applied. Inexperienced or poorly skilled dentists might grind away too much enamel, preventing the veneers from fully adhering and eventually causing them to fall off. In addition, having over-filed enamel will make biting and chewing very uncomfortable, if not downright painful.

Risk 2: Not Enough Enamel is Removed

Problems can also arise when the dentist doesn’t grind away enough enamel. Since veneers are about as thick as a plastic credit card, they easily can make the teeth look and feel too bulky. Too much thickness can also impede your speech, making it difficult to pronounce words with “m” or “th” sounds. If the veneers extended too far past the natural tooth, they will crack very easily.

Risk 3: The Color Isn’t Right

Quality veneers should not be an opaque white, but translucent, so they reflect light like real teeth. Making veneers the right color and opacity requires some artistry on the part of the laboratory that mixes the porcelain. Overly white veneers can look extremely fake and garish, and can’t be replaced once they have adhered.

Veneers are Not Reversible

Veneers can be redone, and in fact will need to be redone every 10 or 20 years as they weaken or crack. However, since they adhere to your ground-down tooth enamel, they can’t simply be removed if done improperly. That’s why it’s crucial to visit a professional dentist to have veneers. Yes, it is more expensive, but there is nothing more expensive than a job done poorly—especially when it comes to your teeth.

Get Quality Veneers from an Apex Cosmetic Dentist

If you have cracked, chipped, or stained teeth, be sure to visit our Apex cosmetic dentist office for a consultation. It may be that you are qualified for veneers; or it may be the case that another dental solution will work better for you. To schedule an appointment with us, click here.

When To Seek Emergency Dental Care – Apex Emergency Dentistry

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Though inconvenient, a dental emergency is not something you want to ignore. However, you should know the difference between a true dental emergency and a situation that can wait at least for the night. Dr. Rylan Hansen and his team at Hansen Dentistry in Apex, NC are here to provide expert emergency dental care should you ever be in need of immediate treatment. Contact us at (919) 363-8444 to schedule an appointment.

What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

Often, a tooth will break, chip or crack because you bit something hard, such as ice cubes, an apple or hard candy. Opening chip bags, plastic containers or “easy open” pill bottles with your teeth can sometimes result in the same thing. Some dental emergencies are the result of a traumatic injury or accident. Children can fall on the playground or get hurt at practice or you could be involved in a car accident. If the injury is just a chip or minor fracture, you could decide to wait and seek attention when the dental office opens. However, a severe injury is a different story.

Examples of dental emergencies:

  • Severe crack or fracture
  • A large piece of a tooth is missing
  • A tooth has been knocked out completely
  • A nerve has been exposed

What to do in a Dental Emergency

Here are some things you can do if you (or your child) sustain a tooth injury.

Cracked tooth – See the dentist as soon as possible, especially if there is any pain. Even if the tooth looks “okay” you should still be cautious. If the tooth hurts when you drink something hot or cold come in right away, as it could be a sign of nerve damage within the tooth. Another sign of a crack is if the tooth hurts after you release your bite.

 

Broken tooth – There is usually no mistaking a broken tooth. If there is a large fracture, chip or part of the tooth is missing see the dentist ASAP as there could be nerve damage.

Before you go to the dentist:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • If there is bleeding, apply pressure with a small piece of gauze.
  • If the bleeding won’t stop, try using a wet tea bag.
  • Put a cold pack or ice on your lips or cheeks over the area of the broken tooth to reduce swelling.
  • If you absolutely can’t get to the dentist right away, cover the tooth with temporary dental cement from a drugstore.

 

Tooth is knocked out completely – First, try to put the tooth back in the socket. If it will not go back in, clean off the tooth as best you can and store it in a sealed container with milk or your saliva. Apply a cold compress if there is any bleeding.

 

What to do for Tooth Pain

If you develop sudden – or suddenly increased – tooth pain, see the dentist as soon as you can. It could be a sign of tooth decay or damage to the nerve. You can probably wait until normal hours to go in, although it might feel like an emergency if the pain is severe or it hurts when you try to eat or drink.

 

Emergency Dental Care at Hansen Dentistry

Tooth pain can interfere with your ability to eat, drink, work, sleep and even think. A cracked, broken or missing tooth constitutes a real emergency that requires care as soon as possible. Dr. Rylan Hansen and his team at Hansen Dentistry in Apex, NC are here to help, with extended hours, same day emergency appointments, and Saturday appointments. Even if you are not in pain from a cracked or lost tooth, it is still important to come in as soon as possible. The first several hours can mean the difference in saving your tooth. If you ever need emergency dental care, contact us at (919) 363-8444 to schedule an appointment. 

What are Dental Veneers? Ask an Apex Cosmetic Dentist

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Have you ever wondered if dental veneers could help you achieve the smile you have always dreamed of?  It is important to find an Apex Dentist who can help you understand if you are a good candidate for dental veneers and answer all of your questions.  Here are a few to get you started!

What exactly is a veneer?

Veneers, also known as porcelain veneers or porcelain laminates, are super thin shells of ceramic porcelain which are bonded to the front of teeth.  The procedure is often considered “cosmetic” because there is typically little or no decay present.  The goal is to improve your smile!

Why choose a veneer?

Veneers are an excellent choice of dental treatment in many situations. They can often provide a conservative alternative to dental crowns.  This is because the thin shells only need to cover the tooth enough to change it’s color, size or shape, rather than to remove dental decay.
Veneers are can improve a smile in many different ways, such as
-repair teeth that were chipped and broken from an injury.
-filling gaps between front teeth
-masking a tooth that turned gray after a root-canal procedure.
-masking undesirable defects, such as teeth stained by tetracycline
-masking genetic dental defects, such as peg laterals
-masking discolored fillings in front teeth.
It is important to have an initial consultation with your dentist so that all of your questions can be answered.  It is very important for your Apex Dentist to understand all of your objectives.  Are you trying to close a gap or fix a chipped tooth, or both?  Do you want your veneers to match the current shade of your teeth or do you want to whiten your teeth first and then match your veneers to your new pearly whites?  It is critical that your dentist allows you to be an active participant in planning your new smile.

What happens during the procedure?

First your Apex Dentist will prepare the teeth for veneers by lightly buffing about a half of a millimeter of the outer enamel.  As a result you will likely recieve a local aesthetic. After the teeth are prepared your dentist will take an impression in order for the veneer to be fabricated.  If your dentist has the technology to do a digital impression through the use of CEREC technology, you will be able to receive your new veneers in one appointment. This is because as the veneers can be created in the dental office the same day that the teeth are prepared.  After the veneers are created, the teeth are cleaned with a solution that will allow them to achieve an adequate bond. Then the cement is applied and a light cures (or hardens) the cement, attaching the new veneers!
Maintaining your veneers is easy…just treat them the way you treat the rest of your teeth. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups are vital to protecting your investment as well as maintaining your overall oral health.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  See if dental veneers can help you put your best smile forward!

The CEREC System: State-of-the-Art Technology from an Apex cosmetic Dentistry

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If you have ever dreaded the idea of visiting the dentist or have postponed scheduling dental work you knew you needed, you are not alone. Dental procedures have changed for the better, and at Hansen Dentistry in Apex, NC, we blend proven techniques with outstanding customer service.

Would you believe us if we told you that you could receive customized, natural looking crowns or bridges that fit perfectly, in a single office visit? Believe it! Dr. Rylan Hansen and provides custom dental crowns and bridges using the CEREC system: where old school service meets state-of-the-art technology.

What is CEREC?

CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic. Like the name suggests, each restoration the system produces is made from ceramic (read: no more metal!).

If you opt for a CEREC crown or bridge, you will not need to endure traditional putty impressions that often cause gagging. Instead, Dr. Hansen will use a 3-D imaging system to gather all the data necessary. You also will not wait days or weeks while a lab technician creates your restoration, then return for a second visit to have the restoration placed. Even better, you won’t need to wear a temporary crown that could come loose and cause embarrassment or hassle.

How does CEREC work?

After imaging your teeth, Dr. Hansen will use CEREC software to design your custom restoration, for a secure fit and balanced bite. He will insert a CEREC Block that matches the shade of teeth surrounding the location of the restoration in your mouth. The CEREC Block will be turned, sculpted, and contoured in the system’s milling unit. This process takes about an hour.

After the dentist provides a local anesthetic to numb the affected area, he will seat the custom-made crown or bridge. Once he determines that your bite is properly aligned with the new restoration, Dr. Hansen will permanently cement it in position. Your CEREC restoration will look and feel totally natural, and it will endure for many years to come.

With same-day service, you will save time and leave your first visit with a restored smile. No metal, no waiting, no fuss. This is certainly not your father’s dentist!

Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic (CEREC) is changing the way we think about restorative dentistry. CEREC is an effective, affordable service that brings together the customer service and care that patients expect and the high-tech performance and outstanding results they want.

Give CEREC a try.

Ready to give our CEREC same-day service a try? Contact us at (919) 363-8444 to schedule your appointment. Let us answer your questions and explain the details about CEREC.

Dr. Rylan Hansen and our team at Hansen Dentistry proudly serve our patients, listening carefully to all concerns, and providing solutions for great oral health. Learn more about the variety of dental services we offer, including family and pediatric dentistry, along with cosmetic, restorative, and surgical procedures. Our office is located at 800 West Williams Street, Suite 240, in Apex, NC.

How Cosmetic Dentistry Gives You More Confidence – Apex Dentist

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brunette woman hiding smile behind handsIt’s nice to imagine a world where looks aren’t important, but we don’t live there, do we? The truth is, the majority of the population will initially judge us based on our appearance. The first attribute most people notice is the eyes, followed closely by the smile. Crooked, discolored, or missing teeth send the message that a person does not take good care of himself. An unattractive smile also conveys poor health and can make you look older than you are.

Fortunately, we live in the age of cosmetic dentistry, when a visit to Dr. Hansen’s Apex, NC dental office could change your smile and the impression you make.

What They’re Really Thinking

These aren’t just assumptions. They’re facts. The American Association of Cosmetic Dentistry has published polls telling us that with an appealing smile, a person is more likely to be thought of as healthy, confident, wealthy, and friendly. A study by Kelton Research went further to state, after teeth whitening, job applicants were more likely to be hired and receive a higher salary.

Strip the emotional sting of being judged by looks out of the equation, and it makes sense to improve your smile’s appearance if you don’t naturally have an appealing smile.

What is an “attractive smile?”

The traditional attractive smile in the United States has:

  • No missing teeth
  • Straight teeth
  • White teeth
  • Teeth with the traditional tooth shape, no imperfections
  • No chipped or cracked teeth
  • No metal dental work
  • Teeth have natural reflectivity (don’t look dull or fake)
  • Teeth that are proportionate to the facial features
  • Symmetrical teeth, right and left
  • Only a small amount of gum tissue showing above top teeth
  • Healthy gums
  • Fresh breath

How can cosmetic dentistry help?

Correcting your smile’s imperfections is possible with cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Hansen will need to talk with you about what you love and hate about your teeth, and he’ll also conduct a thorough oral health examination. All cosmetic restorations should be build upon a healthy foundation, so they’ll endure the test of time. Oral health is also paramount to overall health, and your health is of utmost importance to us.

Dr. Hansen will suggest the appropriate cosmetic dentistry procedures to brighten, straighten, and correct your teeth. He may also recommend a periodontal (gum tissue) procedure, if appropriate. You will have options. For instance, porcelain veneers can correct the size, shape, alignment, and color of your teeth. However, you may opt for dental bonding instead. Bonding does not last as long as veneers, but it also does not cost as much. However, porcelain veneers cover the entire front surface of a tooth and can look new for many years. Dr. Hansen will inform you of the pros and cons of various treatment options, so you and he can devise a practical treatment plan that will deliver the smile you want.

Schedule a Smile Consultation Today

Are you ready to discuss the potential for your smile? Call our Apex, NC dental office today at 919-363-8444 today. With the Hansen Dentistry Membership Savings Plan, you could save 20% on some cosmetic and restorative procedures.