Minimally Invasive Veneers Can Change Your Smile Says Our Apex NC Dentist

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Minimally invasive porcelain veneers are very thin and designed to cover the surface of the teeth to which they are applied. With this type of veneer, tooth structure is left intact and only altered when necessary.

With all of the available treatment options for people who are unhappy with their smiles, it might be difficult to choose which one is best for an individual.

With all of the available treatment options for people who are unhappy with their smiles, it might be difficult to choose which one is best for an individual.

Common misconceptions about minimally invasive porcelain veneers:

•   Minimally invasive porcelain veneers will make teeth look too big or too long. In almost all cases, some tooth reshaping is necessary to allow the teeth and smile to look better than the smile the patient started with.

•   Minimally invasive porcelain veneers can lead to gum disease. The dentist will finish and polish edges to avoid ledges and to make the veneers smooth. As with all teeth, patients should brush and floss around the veneers.

•   There will be sensitivity after having veneers bonded. With minimally invasive veneers, since the tooth enamel is maintained, sensitivity is very rare.

Always remember to consult your dentist for the option that will best suit you. Ask them all the questions or concerns they might have, and whenever you feel comfortable about the process, then go ahead and start it.

 

Our Apex Dentist Explains the Cons of Online Tooth Alignment Services

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In today’s day and age, you can order almost anything online, from makeup samples and razors to eyeglasses and dog treats. And while retailers haven’t yet discovered a way to ship a dental cleaning right to your door, it is possible to straighten your teeth remotely with brands like SmileDirectClub. But is the convenience and low cost of online aligners worth the risks? Our Apex dentist weighs in below.

What is SmileDirectClub?

SmileDirectClub was introduced in 2014 as an alternative to traditional orthodontic treatment options. Essentially, it is a mail-order system that ships clear aligners directly to patients each month, allowing them to straighten their teeth without in-person visits with a dentist or orthodontist. The brand’s dentists conduct progress checks remotely, by examining “selfie” photos. These “shortcuts” make the entire process cost much less, merely a fraction of traditional straightening methods like braces or Invisalign.

Disadvantages of Online Tooth Aligners

Despite the benefits, many dental and orthodontic professionals are warning against mail-order orthodontic systems as more and more patients come in with poor results from spending months in the aligners. Below are some things to know before you fill out the application for one of these services.

  • Communication is infrequent and impersonal.Remote tele-dentistry assigns you a dentist or orthodontist who checks on your progress every 90 days through your customer account. You are placing your trust entirely in the company to vet your dentist for their skill and experience.
  • Lack of hands-on approach means details can be overlooked. The reason these services can be priced so cheaply is because the dentist is doing less work. But that is really not a good thing when it comes to your teeth. Details like your teeth’s surface texture, your bite pressure, and even your breath can indicate to your dentist that something is wrong—it is much more complex than simply looking at a photo.
  • Errors can occur in the initial impression.If you can’t come to a “Smile Direct Shop” and get a 3D scan in person, you will have to take an impression of your teeth on your own. At a dentist’s office, only a licensed, experienced professional performs this task, resulting in more accurate impressions. If you make a mistake with your impressions, your aligners will not accurately straighten your teeth.
  • They don’t have your records.Smile Direct doesn’t know your dental history, while your dentist knows your medical history and takes that into account while planning your treatment.

Bottom Line: For the Best Results, Visit Our Apex Dentist Today!

Most dentists agree that online alignment services such as SmileDirectClub are simply not worth the risk. Although getting Invisalign or braces at a local dentist office may cost more and take longer, they are that way because you are receiving accurate, thorough, personalized care. Your dentist can take your entire dental history into account; take accurate impressions; track your progress, and alter the course of your treatment if deemed necessary. There are a lot of smart ways to save money in this day and age, but in our opinion, mail-order dental work is not one of them! To schedule an appointment with our Apex dentist office, please click here.

Our Apex Dentist Explains How Hollywood Invented Veneers

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Dental veneers are thin porcelain “shields” placed over the teeth to correct discoloration, chips, and other surface imperfections that don’t require a full restoration. Although today’s veneers help people from all walks of life achieve a straighter, more attractive smile, they were originally designed for Hollywood starlets, in an era where beautiful smiles were hard to come by. Learn more about veneers’ unusual history in today’s Apex cosmetic dentist blog.

Industrialization and Tooth Decay  

In the silent movie era, all a star really needed to make it big was facial beauty–vocal quality and line delivery were unnecessary. Unfortunately, in the 1910s and 1920s, the Western world was at a bit of a low point in terms of oral health. This is primarily because during these decades, refined sugar leapt from being an expensive delicacy to being an affordable household staple. And instead of living off on an agricultural diet of vegetables, meats, and dairy products, the new industrial workforce gravitated to starchy items that could be quickly shoved in a pocket or eaten in-between shifts (i.e. cookies, biscuits, and sandwiches).

Our oral health habits, unfortunately, were slow to catch up to this new carb-laden, sugary diet. The concept of regular, twice-daily tooth brushing and flossing would not really take hold until the World War II era. It’s estimated that two to three times as many people lost their teeth during this era as do today–possibly why no costume of a 1920s hobo is complete without a few blacked-out teeth.

Without the need for on-screen talking, most actors could get away with having less-than-glamorous-smiles. But things changed with the advent of the “Talkies” in 1928. Many silent movie stars that had formally shone bright could no longer pass the muster, and a new solution was needed.

The Invention of Movie Cosmetics – and Veneers

Enter Maksymilian Faktorowicz, a Polish businessman, beautician, and entrepreneur. You may recognize the shortened version of his name, Max Factor, which is now a major international cosmetic brand. But in 1909, Mr. Factor had just moved to Los Angeles to provide wigs and makeup to film industry stars. Greasepaint, which had been used in the theatre for centuries, was too thick and harshly-colored for the new film medium, so Factor began experimenting with various compounds in an effort to develop a suitable substitute. By 1914, he had perfected the first cosmetic cream specifically created for motion-pictures. Unlike theatrical cosmetics, it would not crack or cake as actors moved about the set. Factor’s “flexible greasepaint” made him an overnight sensation, and a much-sought-after authority on movie cosmetics. He personally applied his products to the likes of Jean Harlow, Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Clara Bow, and Mae West.

Factor had become the industry’s go-to hair and makeup expert, so naturally, producers needing to fix the teeth problem came to him, too. Factor then asked dentist Charles L. Pincus to correct what his makeup couldn’t. Pincus created thin, prosthetic dental “fronts” that could be temporarily adhered to the teeth using denture powder. These first porcelain veneers were very fragile, and were lucky to last for a single movie shoot (by contrast, modern porcelain used in dental restorations can lasts for 10 or even 25 years, depending on care and maintenance).

A Long Journey to Success

After that, it took many cosmetic dentists many years to move those early, brittle veneers to the ones we use today. Pincus himself moved from using porcelain to acrylic, and a porcelain-acrylic composite, in 1938, but the veneers were still temporary. In the 1950s, Dr. Michael Bunocore pioneered a way to permanently bond veneers to the teeth, called “etching,” in which the dentist applied a type of acid to the teeth to open up the pores of the enamel, creating a greater surface area for dental cement to cling to.

Then, in 1982, R.J. Simonsen and J.R. Calamia developed a process that allowed veneers to become a practical cosmetic solution for patients. After nearly 40 years of continual refinement, veneers now offer a safe and reliable cosmetic solution for damaged, worn, or discolored teeth.

Need A Cosmetic Dentist in Apex?

At Hansen Dentistry, we use medical-grade porcelain to achieve incredible, natural-looking results. With proper care and maintenance, the modern dental veneers we make can last for several decades. If you would like to learn more about whether or not you qualify for this procedure, please click here to schedule an appointment!

Dog Owners: Watch Out for These Household Items Containing Xylitol 

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We have written before about xylitol, a sugar alcohol that has excellent benefits for dental health. Although xylitol is highly recommended for fighting tooth decay in humans, however, it poses a significant risk to dogs. When a dog ingests xylitol, its body releases a massive surge of insulin, and this rabid influx can quickly become life-threatening. Therefore, it is important to look out for the following common household products which contain xylitol, and keep them out of your pup’s reach. 

Sugar-Free Gum

Dentists love when our patients chew sugar-free gum containing xylitol. Not only is the ingredient deadly to harmful tooth bacteria, the action of chewing stimulates also saliva production, which further helps cut down on bacteria. However, xylitol-containing gums can cause serious problems for your dog. In fact, the Pet Poison Helpline cites gum as the source of nearly 80% of xylitol poisoning cases. The solution? Keep all of your gum in a closed cabinet or high place. If your dog does get its teeth on some gum, be sure to note the brand and your best guess at the amount ingested. Since different gums contain different amounts of xylitol, this is crucial information for your vet. 

Food Items  

More and more consumers are checking the calories in food items before making their purchases, so in order to keep the calories low, many companies are forgoing natural sugar in favor of xylitol. These items, sometimes marked as “low-sugar” or “sugar-free,” are much more dangerous than other items on this list, because they contain a much higher amount of sweetener. Therefore, pay close attention to the ingredient list on all foodstuffs you buy, and never let a dog snack on human food, no matter how cute their begging face might be. Ketchup, peanut butter, protein bars, and pudding are all common culprits of doggy xylitol poisoning. 

Lotions, Gels, and Deodorants

While xylitol is used in food as an artificial sweetener, it also has great humectant properties, or the ability to help a product retain its moisture. For this reason, many lotions, gels, toothpastes, and liquid or “meltaway” medications contain it. Like everything on this list, your best course of action is to keep such products out of reach of your four-legged friends. Even if you think it’s unlikely your pooch will take a bite out of your deodorant, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Hansen Dentistry is a family dentist located in Apex, NC. We provide dental exams, dental cleanings, cavity fillings, oral surgery, same-day crowns, and more to our Apex and Cary patients. To schedule an appointment, please click here

Our Apex Cosmetic Dentist Explains the Top Benefits of Invisalign 

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You may have heard of Invisalign, a newer method of straightening the teeth that doesn’t involve the wires, brackets, or rubber bands used by traditional metal braces. If you are curious about this procedure, and are considering getting Invisalign aligners in Apex, here are some of the top advantages they can give our patients.    

Removable 

If you had braces as a child or teenager, you may remember how irritating—not to mention unsanitary—it was to get food particles stuck between your teeth. One of Invisalign’s main benefits is that the trays can be removed while you eat or drink, then placed back on when you’re finished. 

However, note that this same removability makes Invisalign a poor choice for some people, especially children and young teenagers. Teeth straightening, though not painful, will usually cause some discomfort, so you will need strength of will to keep yourself from removing the aligners if you choose this method. 

Discreet 

The main benefit of Invisalign (or other brands of clear tooth aligners) is that they are discreet. Unless someone sees you removing the aligners to eat, they will never know that you are straightening your teeth. Many adults often avoid straightening their teeth because they feel that metal braces will make them look juvenile, so Invisalign is a great option for anyone with that concern. 

Comfortable

While metal braces are tougher and more aggressive in straightening the teeth, they can rub against the lips, mouth, and gums, causing discomfort for the patient. Although the metal brackets can be covered with wax, this can be time-consuming and irritating. Invisalign aligners have no brackets, and are therefore much easier to wear. However, note that this same benefit also means they are less powerful and take longer to create optimal results. 

Easy to Clean

Cleaning in, around, and underneath metal braces is challenging, since they are firmly attached to the teeth. But since the Invisalign aligners can be totally removed, they can be simply soaked in lukewarm water and brushed with a special cleaning agent, or even regular toothpaste. This in turn decreases the chance of developing cavities and keeps your mouth smelling and feeling fresh. 

Want Invisalign in Apex NC? 

While Invisalign is not often the best option for correcting all misalignments, as long as the misalignment is mild, it is a gentle, discreet, clean option that will allow you to gain a beautiful smile with none the wiser. However, if you are experiencing a more complex, unique, or severe dental issue, tougher measures may be required, i.e. metal braces. The only way to know for sure is to head into our Apex NC dentist office for an exam and consultation! To request an appointment, click here

Get a New Crown in One Day at Our Apex Dentist Office!

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One of the best things about the world of dentistry is that it’s constantly changing. Safer, better dental technologies are constantly being developed to help improve the patient experience. One of the best innovations to come about in recent years is the CEREC in-office milling machine, which allows dentists to mill crowns, inlays, and other restorations in just one 90-minute appointment. Below is more information about our Apex same-day crown services. 

What is a CEREC Machine?

CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. Some dentists might refer to it as a “Ceramic Restoration” machine. Whatever you want to call it, this cutting-edge piece of equipment is able to digitally scan a patient’s mouth, design a replacement restoration, and mill the final product on the spot. Since the patient does not need to wait for results to come back from a dental lab, he or she can walk in needing a crown, and walk out wearing the final product, without having to wear a temporary crown for two weeks, as is the traditional procedure. 

What Should I Expect at a Same-Day Crown Appointment? 

When a patient comes into our Apex cosmetic dentist office for a new crown, veneer, or inlay, the first step is scanning the area of the mouth where the restoration is needed. Dr. Hansen or a member of his team will use a highly sensitive precision wand to digitally scan the area and build a virtual model of the mouth and teeth. One of the coolest part of this process is that the patient can watch the model being built on the screen!

Next, Dr. Hansen will inspect the virtual model to make sure it is an accurate representation of the patient’s teeth. If the model needs to be tweaked, he is able to perform alterations until it represents the patient’s mouth exactly. Once the digital model has been approved, the CEREC machine designs the crown, veneer, or inlay, and sends it to an in-office milling machine, which which creates the restoration out of color-matched porcelain. This restoration is final, not temporary, and is of the same quality we would expect to receive from a traditional dental lab.

Finally, the restoration is test-fitted to the area, final adjustments are made, and the restoration is permanently bonded to the tooth. The patient is able to achieve a perfect restoration in just a single visit.

Benefits of CEREC Crowns

Needless to say, CEREC is an amazing improvement over traditional dental methods, which typically require patients to wear a temporary restoration while waiting for the final result to be milled. Temporary crowns often become dislodged, and can then easily be swallowed or lost, leaving the tooth unprotected and at high risk for more damage. Plus, it’s just inconvenient to have to return for another appointment! The CEREC procedure allows patients to get fast dental restorations almost as soon as they are needed.

Get Same-Day Crowns in Apex from Hansen Dentistry! 

If you live in Charlotte and are in need of a dental restoration, stop by Hansen Dentistry today. We can’t wait to meet you and help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile for life! 

What are Veneers? Ask Our Apex Cosmetic Dentist

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If your teeth are cracked, gapped, chipped, or stained, veneers are an excellent non-invasive dental procedure to consider. Veneers are simply a thin shield of synthetic material, either composite resin or porcelain, that are bonded to the front of the teeth, recreate the natural look of enamel. Below is some more information about veneers from our Apex general dentist office!

What Can Veneers Correct?

Veneers are able to correct discoloration, fractures, gaps, chips, and stains in teeth. They are also able to close small gaps and correct small misalignments. Veneers can accurately change the color, size, and strength of a tooth without requiring dental surgery.

Who Does Not Qualify for Veneers?

Unfortunately, dental veneers are not appropriate for all candidates. Situations which may exclude the possibility of veneers include:

  • Unhealthy teeth which have been eroded by gum disease and decay
  • Weakened teeth which lack the necessary amount of base enamel
  • Teeth that are severely misaligned

Only a qualified dentist can determine if veneers are an appropriate choice for your teeth, so be sure to consult a professional before purchasing cheap online alternatives!  

How are Veneers Made? 

If your veneers will be made of composite resin, your dentist will usually be able to sculpt and bond them on-site during your second appointment. However, the majority of veneers are made of porcelain, because it is more durable, long-lasting, and impervious to stains. For porcelain veneers, your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and send it to a laboratory for fabrication. If your teeth are extremely stained or damaged, your dentist will be able to place a temporary veneer for you to wear during the waiting period.

How are Veneers Applied?

Once your veneers are ready for application, your dentist will lightly buff your teeth so that they can adhere to them more easily. Usually, about one millimeter of the tooth surface will be removed. Then, your dentist will carefully place each veneer over your teeth to verify that the fit and color match those of the original teeth. When your dentist is satisfied with the veneer’s fit and appearance, he or she will apply a cement bond beneath them, and cure the cement with a light beam for about 60 seconds.

Schedule an Appointment with Hansen Dentistry in Apex NC

Veneers are one the most effective, least invasive ways to correct dental blemishes and enhance your smile. If you’re ready to begin the process of applying your veneers, contact Hansen Dentistry in Apex today!

Am I a Candidate for Invisalign? Ask Our Apex NC Cosmetic Dentist

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You may have already heard of Invisalign, a modern alternative to traditional orthodontic braces which uses a series of clear plastic aligners to move the teeth. Since Invisalign has many significant benefits over traditional braces, many of our patients are interested in the treatment. However, not every smile is a good fit for Invisalign, and certain circumstances might require the traditional method.

Only your dentist can determine whether Invisalign is right for you, but here are some signs we look for when assessing whether a patient is a good candidate.

Dental Issues Helped by Invisalign

Generally, Invisalign is best-suited for patients with mind dental and orthodontic issues, such as:

  • Mildly crooked teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Mild overbites
  • Mild underbites
  • Wide gaps in the teeth
  • Overcrowding of teeth
  • Mild open bites (teeth that do not touch when the mouth is closed)
  • Mild crossbites (when the upper and lower teeth are misaligned)

When Invisalign May Not the Best Choice

Invisalign is usually not recommended for harsher dental issues, especially issues that require the jaw alignment to be corrected, such as extreme overbites and underbites. .  Invisalign aligners can move crooked teeth, but they do not have the ability to actually shift a person’s jaw into a different position.

Invisalign is also generally not recommended for children. This is because juvenile teeth are still growing and have not reached their final stage of development. Children also generally do not have the dedication or self-control to successfully finish the Invisalign treatment. Since the Invisalign trays can be easily removed at any time, and since all tooth realignment will cause some soreness, it is usually very difficult for children to keep the trays in for the recommended 22 hours per day they should be worn.

Get Invisalign and More at our Apex NC Dentist Office

If you live in the Raleigh, Cary, or Apex NC area, and are interested in correcting your smile with Invisalign, stop by Hansen Dentistry for a consultation. Dr. Hansen will examine your teeth and determine whether Invisalign is a good treatment option for you. Remember that only an experienced dentist should make this decision—if you have already decided that you don’t qualify for Invisalign, you might be wrong!

To schedule a dentist appointment with us, click here.

Our Apex Dentist Explains Why Overbites are More Than a Cosmetic Issue

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More than a cosmetic issue: How malocclusions harm your teeth

If you have been to the dentist lately, you may have learned that you have a malocclusion—in layman’s terms, an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or other type of situation that prevents the upper and lower teeth from aligning correctly. While many people believe that their underbite or overbite is simply a cosmetic issue, malocclusions affect far more than your appearance. Below are some ways dental malocclusions harm your teeth.

Tooth decay

There are three categories of malocclusion. In Class I, the teeth may be rotated, crowded, or too spaced-out for the upper and lower jaw to meet properly. It’s that second issue, overcrowding, that can lead to tooth decay. Because crowded teeth are much more difficult to clean properly, patients may struggle with oral hygiene despite their best efforts. Flossing can be challenging if teeth are grouped too tightly, and brushing might not reach all the hiding places where bacteria live. Therefore, fixing crowded teeth isn’t just a matter of having a pretty smile; it’s actually a matter of preserving your long-term oral health.

Worn tooth enamel 

If your teeth are not properly aligned, or if some teeth jut out higher than the others, they will get worn down over time from normal talking and chewing. This is problematic because your enamel protects the sensitive dentin beneath it, and once it’s gone, your teeth will be more susceptible to cavities and bacteria (not to mention, a lot of pain and discomfort.) Re-aligning your teeth into their correct positions helps ensure long-term protection (and no painful, expensive procedures in the future!)

Jaw pain (TMJ)

The human jaw has evolved to operate based on one type of tooth arrangement. Uneven teeth can impact the muscles of the jaw, causing long-term problems usually referred to as TMJ, or Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. This condition is characterized a pain in the jaw joint; head and neck pain; facial pain; ear pain; frequent headaches; a jaw that is locked in position or difficult to open; problems with biting; and jaw clicking or popping sounds when the patient bites. While you might not develop severe TMJ from a misaligned jaw, you are certainly at risk for it, and it is probable you will develop at least one of the symptoms, such as jaw clicking or headaches.

Speech impediments 

The shape of our mouths is critical when it comes to forming words and communicating. Malocclusion can lead to speech problems, especially for young children just getting a grasp on language. Speech problems can have a significant impact on an individuals self-esteem, social interactions, and job or school performance—so it’s not a minor thing! If your teeth are interfering with the way you communicate, it’s important to have them corrected.

Avoid these issues with our Apex Dentist today! 

As much as Dr. Hansen and the rest of the team at Hansen Dentistry want you to have a beautiful smile that looks great in pictures, we are much more concerned about preserving your long-term oral health! Correcting crooked, misaligned, or gapping teeth is primarily about keeping your teeth strong and cavity-free over the course of your lifetime. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using Invisalign trays to move the teeth into alignment. To learn more about how Invisalign can help you, call us now for a consultation!

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.