is a term usually used to describe procedures to improve the appearance of your
front teeth. It uses the tooth colored
composite filling material to fix cracks or chips in the front teeth. It can also be used to close gaps between
teeth, change the appearance of slightly misaligned teeth, and repair
discolored teeth that can't be whitened. The teeth are prepared by the dentist, etched to accept the bonding
agent, and the composite is applied and shaped by the dentist. The procedure is completed in one visit.
Porcelain veneers are similar to bonding, but usually yield a stronger and more cosmetic result. Veneers take two visits to complete. At the first visit, the dentist prepares the teeth and then takes an impression (mold) of the teeth. You may or may not require temporary veneers after this appointment. The mold is sent to a dental lab where the veneers are fabricated. At the second appointment, the dentist checks the fit of the veneers, adjusts them as needed, and then bonds them to the teeth with a special resin cement.
Bonding is less expensive than veneers, and is usually indicated in instances where minor cosmetic changes are needed. Bonding is usually easier to repair if needed. Porcelain veneers are stronger, longer lasting, and more cosmetic. Over time, veneers may come loose and need to be replaced. Both bonding and veneers require your teeth and gums to be healthy. A tooth with pre-existing large fillings may be better restored with a crown. Both bonding and veneers can chip, break or dislodge under pressure, so one must be careful with things like biting your fingernails, chewing on a pencil, etc. In addition, bonding and veneers may not hold up well in people who clench and grind their teeth.
In situations where a back tooth needs a larger filling and the patient does not want the silver filling material, a ceramic (white colored) inlay or onlay can be used. They require two appointments to complete, same as fabricating a crown or a veneer. These restorations are considerably more expensive than a filling, but can be very durable. However, in some instances a crown may be a better restorative choice than an inlay or onlay.
"bleaching", there are several ways to whiten your teeth. Many over
the counter products will work if used properly. However, do not expect much
from whitening toothpastes or rinses as they are not in contact with your teeth
long enough to provide great results.
Our office uses a take home whitening system. In this system, we take impressions (molds) of your teeth and from these molds we fabricate custom fitted bleaching trays that fit over your teeth. We will then provide you kits with a bleaching gel to apply to your teeth in the trays. The custom fitted trays keep the gel in close contact with your teeth so the whitening will occur. The length of time the whitening will last is variable and highly dependent on personal factors such as smoking and diet (for example, heavy coffee or tea drinkers.) However, once your teeth are whitened, keep the trays-they can be re-used to whiten the teeth again in the future.
Most people will experience some tooth sensitivity to temperature and/or sweets while doing any tooth whitening. The sensitivity is usually transient and will disappear after the whitening process is complete.