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!

Everything You Need to Know About Dental Sealants from a Family Dentist in Apex

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What is a sealant?  

A sealant is a tooth-colored resin material that is placed on chewing surfaces of teeth to help them stay cavity-free.

crack

Why do teeth need sealants?

Molar and premolar teeth often have very deep pits and fissures.  While bacteria can easily enters these groves, toothbrush bristles are often too large and therefore ineffective.  As a result, these areas become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to multiply which can lead to dental decay. A sealant does just what its name suggests…it seals off the grooves so that bacteria can’t enter.  After a sealant is placed these areas can no longer harbor bacteria and your tooth brushing once again becomes effective.

tooth-groove

What teeth need sealants? 

Any teeth that have deep groves or pits can benefit from sealants.  These are most often found on molar and premolar (teeth right in front of the molars) permanent teeth, but varies from one individual to another.  One person might benefit from sealants on all molars and premolars (16 teeth), while another may only need their molars (8 teeth) sealed.

Once a tooth has a dental filling in it, it no longer benefits from a sealant.

People often think that only children benefit from sealants.  That is because sealants are typically placed on a child’s molars when they first erupt.  The reality is that any teeth with deep pits and fissures (that do not already have fillings) can benefit from sealants because they  will help prevent future cavities.

How is a sealant applied?

No tooth structure is removed in order to place a sealant.  Instead it is kind of like painting your fingernails: resin material is only added, nothing is taken away.  The tooth is thoroughly cleaned with a pumice and etch.  The tooth is then washed thoroughly. Finally, the sealant material is applied and then cured with a light in order to harden it.

before-after-sealantHow long do sealants lasts?

Sealants typically last two to five years.  Although, it is not uncommon to see sealants in adults that were placed in childhood and are still intact.

Avoiding sticky, chewy, and hard foods can potentially prolong the life of a sealant.

If a sealant is no longer fully intact then it is no longer effective and should be replaced by your dentist.  If it has been less than two years since the sealant was placed, ask if your Apex family dentist offers a warranty for sealants.