1708 Manhattan Boulevard Suite C
Harvey, LA 70058
Matherne, Ryan D.D.S.
1301 Eastridge Dr # 1
Slidell, LA, 70458-3026
Saltzman, Marty J D.D.S.
11962 Coursey Blvd
Baton Rouge, LA, 70816-4405
Flint, Thomas M D.D.S.
250 Meadowcrest St # 200
Gretna, LA, 70056-5257
Matherne, Ryan P D.D.S.
170 Moores Rd # A
Mandeville, LA, 70471-2916
In dental materials, composite resins are just about the most exciting thing to come down the pike in a long while. Resins may well symbolize the value of long-term, persistent research. From humble beginnings in 1956, the search for an effective adhesive dental filling has culminated in resin materials - versatile, relatively strong, with cosmetic superiority. Quite a return from plastic mixed with glass beads and such.
What's amazing about filling a tooth with resin (vs. gold or silver amalgams) is the nature of the bond to the tooth. The enamel is first treated with a mild acid to create microscopic pores on the surface of the tooth. Once the resin is applied, a mechanical - not chemical - bond is formed. Sort of like dental velcro. Then the resin can be sculpted, tinted, and polished to look like the real thing.
So what do composite resins mean for cosmetic dentist patients? Let's count the ways.
The best bargain in cosmetic dentistry, and proven cavity fighters to boot, are pit and fissure sealants. Sealants are a composite resin painted on back teeth, where tooth decay typically occurs in children. One sealant session, with check-ups now and then, provides cavity prevention - indefinitely.
Dental bonding is an umbrella term for placing composite resin restorations, from tooth-colored inlays to reshaping chipped teeth. For the right candidate, bonding is a comfortable, quick alternative to dental crowns, and a real boon to simple cosmetic dental care procedures. Less of your healthy tooth is removed, so it's essentially a conservative tooth restoration procedure.
In adults, a receding gum can expose the roots of teeth, an uncomfortable situation at best. Along with other adhesives, we apply resins directly to the root surface to help prevent tooth decay, and make the teeth less sensitive to hot and cold.
Teeth straightening just became easier. We can use resins to bond braces directly to teeth, so heavy bands around teeth, in some cases, can be dispensed with. The new invisible braces, along with bonding, make adult orthodontics an appealing alternative to crooked teeth.
Well, not really. Composite resins may never replace old standby filling materials, especially on back teeth. But resins have taken their rightful place in cosmetic dentistry, complimenting metal amalgams, and they can only get better.
It is not uncommon for teeth to turn darker in color either before or after being treated with a root canal. Deposition of pigment within the tooth from the nerve, usually due to major trauma, can cause the tooth to turn either gray or brown. What happens is a reactive process causing calcification within the tooth can cause it to turn yellow. The treatment to regain your bright smile now depends on both the type and the severity of the color change.
By far the easiest way to correct the color is by dental bleaching the tooth. The procedure for this is different than for conventional dental bleaching, where you are whitening all of your teeth.
The technique involves your dentist or endodontist placing a small amount of extremely strong dental bleaching material inside the tooth where the nerve was. It is placed through the small hole in your tooth through which the root canal was done. A temporary filling is then placed to seal in the tooth whitening material for three to four days.
The tooth will start to lighten almost immediately, and you will often see improvement on the night that it was placed. You will have to return to your dentist to have the dental bleaching material replaced because its effectiveness decreases over time. It usually takes two to three applications to regain your bright smile.
Once the tooth is lightened, a permanent filling will be placed. This procedure is very stable and it works best for teeth that have turned brown or gray. Even though the tooth color is lightened, it is difficult to obtain a perfect match with your other teeth.
Another treatment option is to use a restoration to cover the tooth to mask the color change. The type of restoration needed will vary depending on how dark the tooth is and how much lighter it needs to be.
For teeth that are slightly to moderately dark, the best restoration is a porcelain veneer. Porcelain veneers are thin restorations that, when bonded to the tooth, can change both its shape and color.
Because of the thinness of the porcelain veneers, the color may show through the veneer if the tooth is too dark. Therefore, they are most successful for treating color changes that are not severe. For extremely dark teeth, a crown may be indicated to help mask the color.
It is important to note that although a crown or veneer may mask the darkness from the tooth, there may still be some darkness from the root that can show slightly through the gum tissue. The effect of this will vary depending on how dark the tooth is and the type of gum tissue.
A darker tooth with thinner gum tissue is more likely to have the dark color show through than a lighter tooth with thicker gum tissue. This darkness may not be a factor if the lip does not move up high enough to show the area at the gum line when smiling. If it does show and is an issue, the treatment will most likely need to include dental bleaching of the tooth, as previously discussed, with or without a restoration.
By Greggory Kinzer, DDS, MSD