3013 N. West St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
Johnson, Randall J D.D.S.
7600 E Camelback Rd # 4
Scottsdale, AZ, 85251-2106
Pace, Scott D.D.S.
7972 W Thunderbird Rd # 103
Peoria, AZ, 85381-4903
Dr. Jonathan M. Gutman, Dmd
310 N Wilmot Rd Ste 102
Tucson, AZ, 85711-2626
Dental Specialty Assoc
3923 E Camelback Rd
Phoenix, AZ, 85018-2609
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Is the reflection you see not quite what you used to see? Do you say to yourself, "I don't feel any older, but I see an older person." Getting older is an inevitable process, but you don't have to look older, too.
When it comes to looking younger, there are all sorts of products and procedures available so you can look your best (such as anti-wrinkle gels, cosmetics, skin treatments, facelifts and day spas). One of the procedures that is the least emphasized, but can have a profound yet subtle effect, is an improved smile from a dental makeover.
It's typical that most adults don't realize that their smile is not as bright as it used to be. Coffee, tea, red wine, smoking, and the normal, and sometimes heavy, wearing away of tooth enamel have cumulative effects on the teeth. As we age, our smile begins to look a little discolored.
Old dentures can become yellow or gray, which will make your smile appear older. In fact, dentures will naturally pick up stains and wear down faster than our natural teeth. If you have had the same dentures for more than six years, they require a dental makeover. New dentures should be made every six to ten years and relined every three to five years.
The fastest and easiest way an esthetically minded person can get a dental makeover is through bleaching or tooth whitening. It can be achieved either through an at-home or in-office process. Now, there are over-the-counter products that will whiten your teeth; however, for safe and predictable changes with dramatic results, there is no substitute for the dental office.
Bleaching is usually the first step to achieving a more youthful appearance to your smile. Not only can you brighten your smile through bleaching, but the physical appearance of your teeth can also be improved. Applying composite bonding, porcelain veneers or crowns to your teeth is the ultimate in dental makeover and cosmetic dentistry enhancements.
When these options were presented to one patient, she couldn't envision the immediate change the procedures would have on her smile. In front of a mirror, I showed her the gradual changes that had occurred over time due to the wearing and staining of their tooth enamel. The patient decided to have her teeth whitened and her front teeth artistically rejuvenated with porcelain veneers. When the patient went to work after the procedure was complete, her coworkers noticed a difference, but couldn't exactly identify the change in her overall appearance. They thought that she did something different to her hair or was losing weight. No one guessed that subtle improvements had been made to her teeth.
It's never too late to care more about your smile and make immediate improvements with a dental makeover. A small change today can enhance your smile for years to come.
By Benjamin O. Watkins, III, DDS
The appearance of your teeth is heavily impacted by the position of the surrounding gum tissue. In a normal situation, two teeth that are side by side in your mouth have contact with each other. Below this contact, the area is filled in with gum tissue in the shape of a triangle. This triangular-shaped gum tissue is called the papilla. It is not uncommon to have an empty space in the area where the papilla is supposed to be. If this occurs, the result is perceived as a black space.
They are caused by a loss of the gum tissue itself or by the shape and/or position of the teeth. For any black space that is present, the first thing that needs to be done is to diagnose what caused it to occur. Once this is done, the restorative dentistry treatment choice can be made. The best decision will be the most conservative treatment that corrects the black space.
One of the most common causes of loss of gum tissue is due to the gum disease known as periodontitis. This gum disease acts on the supporting bone around the teeth, causing a loss of bone. This loss of bony support causes the papilla to slump and flatten, creating a black space between the teeth. The first step in treating the resulting black space in this situation is to treat the cause. Once the gum disease is under control, the black spaces can then be addressed with restorative dentistry.
To remove the black spaces, the teeth need to have restorations placed that will change the shape of the teeth and fill in this space. The type of restorative dentistry can vary depending on whether or not there are any other problems with the teeth. The simplest and most conservative restoration is composite, a tooth-colored filling material. It can be bonded directly on the tooth in the area of the black space. Since it is placed only in the affected area, the situation where this is used requires that the overall appearance of the tooth is acceptable and does not need to be changed.
If the overall appearance of the tooth needs to be altered, then a different type of restorative dentistry needs to be used. The choice is either a dental veneer or a dental crown. The choice between the two depends on both the appearance and the structural changes that need to be done. Usually, to correct a black space, both teeth on either side need to be restored. In doing this, the symmetry between the teeth will remain the same. If you restored just one tooth, you would end up with one tooth being wider than the other. The advantage of using restorative dentistry to correct black spaces is that it usually results in a shorter treatment time.
Another cause of the black space is due to the position of the teeth themselves. One example is teeth that are tilted towards each other. When this occurs, the area for your gum tissue to fill becomes too large for the amount of tissue you have. This same concept may occur with certain types of tooth shapes. In these instances, the restorative dentistry treatment of choice is to use orthodontics (braces) to align the teeth. The advantage of doing this is that the black space will disappear without having to do any restorations on the teeth.
By Greggory Kinzer, DDS, MSD