3013 N. West St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
Valley Endodontic Specialty Pa
2979 W Elliot Rd # 4
Chandler, AZ, 85224-1641
Endodontics, Allen D.D.S.
10585 N Tatum Blvd # D132
Paradise Valley, AZ, 85253-1073
Kogan, Paul D.D.S.
706 E Bell Rd # 106
Phoenix, AZ, 85022-6641
Church, Justin D.D.S.
550 W 16th St
Yuma, AZ, 85364-4632
Maybe you've thought about cosmetic dental work - but felt a little vain to consider it.
Or the appearance of your teeth never bothered you much, because your dental health is pretty good.
But fixing a small functional problem can sometimes yield wonderful, unanticipated dividends. Mary, for instance, had a few dental imperfections most of us could live with. But she was hampered from time to time by a lispy "s" sound.
Mary had gapped teeth, a diastema, which caused a slight but noticeable speech defect. She also showed evidence of life in the fast lane, too: teeth worn down, probably from nervous clenching of the jaw muscles or grinding teeth.
In Mary's case - and every case is different - porcelain veneers saved the day. Her cosmetic dentist began with a functional and esthetic evaluation to determine what shape and contour would best solve Mary's diastema problem. More tooth length was proposed, to give her a more youthful, proportioned appearance, too.
Impressions were taken, and sent off to the lab for fabrication. On the next visit, her teeth were cleaned and etched chemically, the dental veneers were cemented into place, and "cured" with a special light to seal them.
Mary's speech problem evaporated. Dentistry fixed that. But cosmetic dentistry did more than perfect her speech.
WHEN FUNCTION = BEAUTYLike an acrylic fingernail, veneers cover the front surface of the teeth. Porcelain dental veneers are strong and, by the way, look great.
As an architect of more that 60 years, I have learned that only the beautiful is practical. And universally, anything that is truly practical, functional, and useful is beautiful.
-Frank Lloyd Wright
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