Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is prosthodontics?
A: As one of only nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association, a prosthodontist is the most qualified specialist in dentistry, excelling in the restoration and/or replacement of missing or damaged teeth and adjacent structures. Prosthodontists emphasize re-establishing an aesthetic smile, proper oral function and comfort. They use restorative procedures, including: dental implants, crowns and bridges, porcelain veneers and removable prostheses. As experts in this field, prosthodontists serve as the architects of the dental treatment plan, collaborating with general dentists and other specialties to find solutions to your dental concerns.
Q: Why do I need a prosthodontist?
A: The vast majority of general dentists are untrained in treating complex cases dealing with multiple missing teeth, damaged or malposed teeth or missing teeth, and other structures damaged due to trauma or disease. Prosthodontists are uniquely trained and qualified to restore these complicated situations. Ask your general dentist or other dental specialist for a referral to a prosthodontist.
Q: Why do our teeth turn yellow?
A: While our teeth start out pearly white, they can discolor through the years as our enamel wears down. The wearing down of enamel allows dentin, a yellow color substance that makes the core of our teeth, to show through. This is what gives our teeth a yellowish tint.
Q: What are the different types of teeth whitening options?
A: Below are the three most popular teeth whitening options available today:
In-office Teeth Whitening
In-office teeth whitening works by producing a significant color change in your teeth in a short amount of time, usually within an hour. The procedure is done at the dentist's office, by applying a high-concentration peroxide gel on the teeth after they have been protected with a special shield.
Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Kits
These whitening kits are purchased from your doctor for use at home. The strength of the gel used in these kits is lower than that used for in-office bleaching, and thus the gel can be applied for longer periods of time. Usually the trays are worn a couple hours a day or overnight for a few days or weeks, depending on the product.
Over the Counter Whitening
Over the counter teeth whitening kits are store-bought and use a lower concentration gel than both in-office bleaching and take-home kits purchased from your doctor. While they are cheaper, they typically are less effective than methods that can be performed by your dentist because of the low concentration gel. Additionally, over the counter trays are not custom fit for your teeth, which can result in irritation to your gums while wearing the trays.
Q: How long does teeth whitening last?
A: Teeth whitening usually lasts from one to three years, before darkening of the teeth is noticed. Additionally, once your teeth have been initially whitened, typically only "touch ups" are required to maintain the whiteness.
Q: Are implants the right decision for me?
A: Implants are made of titanium, a biocompatible material. They are used to replace one or more teeth, and can be an attractive option for most people. Some benefits to implants include:
Q: Are implants or bridges a better choice?
A: A missing tooth would historically be replaced by a bridge. A bridge requires the neighboring teeth of the space to have the majority of external tooth structure removed. With an implant, you only need a crown made on top of the implant itself to restore it, leaving the neighboring teeth undisturbed and completely intact.
Q: Can implants be used to restore multiple teeth?
A: Implants can also be used to restore multiple teeth, a full set of fixed or removable teeth or even a complete denture. If you experience tooth loss, the bony ridges in your mouth start to decrease and be lost as well. Implants are placed and prevent bone from shrinking, leaving you many future options for tooth replacement not available otherwise.
Q: Are implants expensive?
A: To replace a single tooth an implant is usually less expensive than any alternative in our office. The cost of implant care increases with the complexity of the case, the history of tooth loss and the position of the implant in the mouth.
Q: How long do implants last?
A: Research has shown that implants are 98% successful: a higher success rate than almost anything else in dentistry! Under professional care, implants have a potential for lifetime durability. Ask us about our warranty.
Q: What if I do not have enough bone in my jaw for implants?
A: Minor grafting can improve and restore the bone lost from your extraction years ago. We do this in the office frequently where additional bone is required for success of our implant care. It is possible to have an implant for virtually any situation with expert care and planning.
Q: When an implant is surgically placed, how long until I get my new tooth?
A: For front teeth we strive to place teeth the same day in a temporary form. Posterior teeth are often left to rest 6-8 weeks prior to placing a functional chewing force on them. In cases where there is uncertainty about the strength of the bone, more time may be required to ensure longevity (7-10 months). In every case, clinical experience along with the prevailing research guides our decision to finalize the implant restoration. We always plan for long-term success and we do not rush.
Q: How can I get a full set of teeth in one day?
A: With the use of CAT scan planning we can plan for immediate teeth replacements and the ultimate in surgical precision. Planning takes all the time in these cases, however we can deliver exceptional care quickly and never leave you without teeth, regardless of your particular need or treatment.
Q: What are veneers?
A: A porcelain veneer is a thin shell of porcelain that covers the front, the edge, and a small portion of the back of an anterior tooth. Veneers are used for cosmetic as well as reconstructive purposes; to cover up stained and worn down teeth, as a means to straighten slightly crooked teeth, to change the shape and color of your teeth or to restore teeth with failing older, unsightly white or mercury fillings.
Q: How much of my tooth is removed with veneers?
A: Compared with older fashioned crowns, you don't have to take away a lot of enamel with veneers, and some veneers don't require any removal of tooth structure at all! Proper planning and expertise always leads to the optimal aesthetic success and beauty.
Q: Will my veneers change color?
A: Porcelain doesn't stain like most other dental materials or even natural teeth, keeping the shade of the veneers stable for their lifetime.
Q: How long does it take to get a set of veneers, or even just one?
A: We can work quickly if that is your request, or we may take a longer period of time to ensure your satisfaction with the aesthetic result. Cosmetic dentistry is an art as well as a technical exercise. The beauty that is in your mind's eye is not always easy to arrive at. We take the time necessary to produce exquisite smiles. We can also work as quickly as one week from start to finish, if that is the request.
Q: How many veneers do I need?
A: This question is best answered by looking into your own smile. If you check out your upper smile from the side as well as the front, a veneer candidate will frequently count from 8 to 10 teeth that matter in the display of a good smile. The lower teeth may matter less, or even more so to some people. Frequently a full makeover entails 20 teeth. A conservative plan considers 4 to 8 for a moderate change.
Q: How long do veneers last?
A: Veneers can chip or break under severe conditions, and may have to be replaced. In my experience only the strongest materials we have today are more durable than the teeth they are restoring! We stand by our work unconditionally for 2 years.
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