Cosmetic dentistry is using techniques to improve the appearance of your smile. Your new smile should look healthy and natural. There are many factors we as dentists consider when evaluating a patients smile and cosmetic dentistry. We can use a variety of materials to achieve our goals but generally we will use porcelain restorations such as porcelain crowns and veneers. We can take discolored or misaligned teeth and turn them into a beautiful new smile.
Artistry in dentistry is a skill that our office is passionate about. Having a healthy, bright, beautiful smile enhances our appearance and allows us to smile with confidence. A custom Smile Wax-up allows you to see exactly how your teeth can look after cosmetic dentistry. A painless way to see your smile's potential without ever being worked on. And thanks to the advances in modern cosmetic dentistry, the treatments are quick, painless and surprisingly affordable.
When evaluating a patients' smile we look at many factors such as:
- Tooth position – where are the teeth in relation to each other?
- Lip Position – does the patient have a gummy smile and how can we correct that?
- Position of the gum tissue – are the gums symmetrical or are they higher on some teeth than others?
- The placement of the midline – do the front teeth meet where they should in relation to the rest of the facial structures?
- The color of the teeth – what color do we want so the teeth appear natural?
- Balance and Symmetry of the teeth – There are specific height to width ratios that are pleasing to the human eye. The golden proportion applies to the relative position of the teeth as well.
- Relation of smile to the eyes – is the plane of the smile parallel to the line of the eyes?
Only after evaluating all these factors is it possible to create a smile that is esthetically pleasing and functionally stable.
Cosmetic dental treatments can:
- Change the size, shape, and alignment of certain teeth.
- Fill in unattractive spaces between teeth.
- Improve or correct bites. (occlusion)
- Lighten or brighten the color of teeth.
- Repair decayed, broken, cracked, or chipped teeth.
- Replace missing teeth.
- Replace old, unattractive dental treatments.
Bonding is a generic term for composite fillings. Composite is tooth colored filling material. Composite is made up of a resin matrix with silicate filler. Composites come in many different colors so the dentist can custom match your teeth. We first prepare your tooth by removing all of the decay or diseased tooth structure. The tooth is then acid etched, a bonding agent is then applied, and some air is blown on the tooth to thin the bonding agent. The tooth is then cured using a special blue light that activates the bonding agent so the composite will bond to the tooth. The composite can then be layered by the dentist to match the shape and color of the tooth. Each layer is cured to harden the composite filling so that it may function like a normal tooth in your mouth. We then use marking paper to make sure all of the teeth fit together properly. The composite filling is then polished to give it a nice shine!
All-Porcelain Crowns (Caps)
Newer materials and technology allow our office to provide crowns that look as original as your natural teeth, without the use of a metal substructure.
What is a crown?
Crowns are the ideal treatment for a tooth that needs a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.
Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain (tooth colored crown) are the most popular, because they resemble your natural teeth. They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile.
This is the process of chemically bleaching your teeth in order to attain a brighter smile. This procedure can either be done in office in about two hours or through take home trays in about two weeks or a combination of both techniques. A carbamide peroxide solution is used to gently lighten the shade of your teeth. The chemical bleach removes the stains your teeth pick up over time from coffee, soda, red wine, and other colored foods. It is important to maintain a white diet through the process of bleaching so as not to stain your teeth while bleaching them. A list of proper foods will be given to you. Whitening has no known long term negative effects, but can result in some short term sensitivity during treatment. This sensitivity will go away once your treatment is completed. The whitening process is not permanent and does require touch ups every now and then, but with good consumption habits the whitening can last much longer.
Dental implants are a revolutionary treatment for patients who wish to replace missing teeth. Implants provide a very real and cosmetic solution when a tooth is missing or is beyond saving. Instead of dentures, you can now have teeth you won't have to take out at night, can chew all foods with, and are absolutely natural looking.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth (usually titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone. The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient's smile!
Dental implants are very strong, stable, and durable and will last many years, but on occasion, they will have to be re-secured or replaced due to normal wear.
What does getting dental implants involve?
The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.
X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. Dr. Garhardt utilizes a 3D cone beam, a type of CT scan, to evaluate you candidly for implant restorations. It provides a 3D view of anatomic structures, for safer implant placement. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself onto the bone for up to six months. Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the abutment "post" that will hold the artificial tooth in place. With other implants the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.
After several weeks of healing the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete. After a healing period, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.
You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant.
Dr. Garhardt utilizes intraoral camera technology that helps enhance your understanding of your diagnosis. An intraoral camera is a very small camera that allows us to view clear, precise images of your mouth, teeth and gum tissue, in order for us to accurately make a diagnosis. With clear, defined, enlarged images, you see details that may be missed by standard mirror examinations. This can mean faster diagnosis with less chair-time!
Intraoral cameras also enable us to save your images in our office computer to provide a permanent record of treatments. These images can be printed for you, other specialists, and our lab or insurance companies.