2525 Kimberly Road Suite 3
Bettendorf, IA 52722
2700 Hydraulic Road
Charlottesville, VA 22901
12359 Sunrise Valley Drive, Ste 330
Reston, VA 20191
204 3rd Ave Nw
Mandan, ND, 58554
Dr. Michael S. AffleckD.D.S.
6287 S Redwood Road
Salt Lake City, UT, 84123
RONALD BESHEARS D.D.S.
720 W MAIN ST STE B
JAMESTOWN, NC, 27282
GEORGE T WARD D.D.S.
112 W SAINT JOHN ST
TARBORO, NC, 27886
If you require a dental crown to be placed, it is a good idea to talk to your cosmetic dentist about how you feel about the color of your existing teeth before beginning the process. If you like the color of your teeth, your cosmetic dentist will then find a color that matches the crowns.
On the other hand, teeth bleaching may be an option for you. If you feel you would like to whiten or lighten your teeth, it is a good idea to communicate this to your cosmetic dentist beforehand. Once the final restorations are made, it will not be possible to change their color without redoing them.
If you desire whiter teeth before the cosmetic crowns are placed, the best way to achieve this is to talk to your cosmetic dentist about at-home teeth bleaching. With this procedure, custom-fitted plastic trays will be made for your teeth and you will be given some small tubes of teeth bleaching material.
Your cosmetic dentist will show you how to place a small amount of teeth bleaching material in the tray and then place the tray in your mouth. If any excess material squirts out of the tray onto your gums, you will want to remove it with your finger or a toothbrush.
The tray is then worn for one to two hours in the evening, depending on the type of teeth bleaching material. The biggest advantage of this method of teeth bleaching as compared with procedures that are done in your cosmetic dentist's office is that you are the one that can control how white you want your teeth to be.
Since you are the one in control, you can stop the teeth bleaching whenever you feel you have achieved the desired color. The typical teeth bleaching time is one and one-half to two weeks, but it may be longer.
You may experience that your teeth become sensitive to cold air or liquids during the teeth bleaching process. This is normal and will subside and finally go away when you stop the teeth bleaching.
There are a couple of things you can do to decrease this sensitivity if it arises during the teeth bleaching process. One is to only bleach every other night. By taking a break after each night of teeth bleaching, your teeth will not be as sensitive.
The other is to have your cosmetic dentist prescribe you a fluoride gel that you can place in your custom teeth bleaching trays every other evening. The fluoride acts to decrease the sensitivity by coating or sealing the tooth surface and it will not affect the color of your teeth. This is the most reliable way to decrease sensitivity while you bleach.
Once you get your teeth to the desired color , your cosmetic dentist will have you wait about three to four weeks before taking a color match of your teeth in order to make the final restoration. During this time, the color of your teeth is stabilizing.
Teeth bleaching is very predictable, but the results will not last forever. Since the restorations were placed when your teeth were at their whitest, you will most likely find that in one and one-half to two years, the restorations may begin to appear lighter than your natural teeth.
This result is to be expected. It is not caused by a change in color of the restorations, but rather by your own teeth getting darker. At this point, all that is required is to, once again, bleach your natural teeth until the color is evened out. Usually, this only requires teeth bleaching a couple of times.
After the color is evened out, you can then expect to have the color stability last for another one and one-half to two years. On the other hand, if no restorations were placed by your cosmetic dentist after your teeth bleaching, you will most likely not notice the teeth changing color because there is no reference to help judge this change.
By Greggory Kinzer, DDS, MSD
Throughout history, dentists have tried to recreate the function and beauty of natural teeth when tooth structure has been lost. Restoring function used to be the main goal of a dentist because prior to the 1970's, dentistry lacked the proper technology to achieve fine esthetics as well as function. Dentists could only predictably offer patients a restoration that would simply "fill" the empty space. Today, dentistry has more advanced dental materials and newly developed techniques that allow dentists to offer artistically-recreated, natural-looking crowns and modern tooth bonding that would fool even the most critical eye.
Before you can understand how crowns and tooth bonding can mimic teeth you must understand why natural teeth appear as they do.
It is a common mistake for patients to think that their teeth are all one color. Your teeth are never just one color. They are a series of superimposed translucent layers of varying shades. Teeth also have different surface textures that reflect light in ways that affect the color of your teeth.
Your teeth are made up of three layers: pulp, dentin, and enamel. Each layer has a specific thickness, composition and structure. Additionally, the way light reflects off of or transluces through the layers gives you the color of your teeth. Using knowledge about the three layers of teeth allow dentists and dental technicians to recreate natural-looking dental crowns and tooth bonding.
Dental crown technicians are the true artisans in dentistry. Dentists begin the crown-making process by reducing the size of the tooth, making an impression of the reduced tooth, and selecting the proper shades of the tooth. This information is then transferred to the dental technician so a crown can be made.
Dental technicians blend science with artistic knowledge to recreate natural-looking teeth. Artistically, they use frame and reference, proportion and idealism, perspective and illusion as well as symmetry to mimic nature. Understanding the language of colors and using new dental materials and techniques has allowed the dentist to not only "fill" missing spaces but create cosmetic dentistry artwork from crowns and tooth bonding as well.
By Benjamin O. Watkins, III, DDS