Changes That Can Improve Your Smile

November 21st, 2014

Dentists today are no longer focused only on looking for tooth decay and correcting oral health issues. Cosmetic dentistry also offers smile makeovers, which is the process of using various procedures and treatments to create a brand new smile.

There are many things that go into an appealing smile. Ideally, your bite should fit together properly, teeth should be straight and white, gums should correspond with your teeth well, and more. When one or more of these factors isn’t there, your smile may not the one you’ve dreamed of having. A smile makeover can take care of all that.

Teeth whitening
Teeth that are yellowed and dingy can make an otherwise nice smile look uncared for and unhealthy. Transforming stained dull teeth into shiny pearly whites can make a huge impact. Professional teeth whitening is a simple and effective way to boost your smile in just an hour.

Reshaping teeth
If your issue involves the shape or size of your teeth, bonding or porcelain veneers can come to the rescue. Teeth that have been worn down from years of use or bad habits can be restored, or the edges of teeth that aren’t uniform can be corrected. Bonding may be done in a short time in one dental visit, and veneers takes a few weeks but can dramatically change your smile.

Gum contouring
Your gums might be too high or too low on your teeth, creating an appearance of teeth that are too large or small. Gum contouring restructures your gums so that they fall in a more appealing place along your teeth, forming a nice line in a better location.

Misalignment
A great smile begins with a proper bite, so making sure your teeth fit together correctly when your mouth is closed is an important element of a smile makeover. If your bite or your teeth need to be realigned, you might choose Invisalign clear aligners. This innovative system provides an alternative to traditional braces and allows correction without cumbersome or embarrassing metal in your mouth.

Smile makeover dentist in Richmond VA

What are Temporary Veneers?

November 14th, 2014

The decision to get dental veneers to transform your smile into one of beauty and longevity is an exciting one. You probably can’t wait to show off your brilliant new smile. However, before you achieve the final results, part of the process is wearing temporary veneers while your permanent ones are being prepared. Luckily it is a short part of the process, usually about two weeks, but it shouldn’t be overlooked.

Most dentists take a mold of your teeth to create a model for your new smile. Each tooth is prepared using wax mock-ups to simulate veneers, which offers an opportunity for you to approve your veneers before the final ones are placed. You can see how they look and feel, and adjustments may be made if you are unhappy with anything before getting the final porcelain veneers. It is more convenient and less expensive to make changes at the temporary veneer stage instead of the final stage.

Although your temporary veneers will be similar to the permanent ones in length, shape, and alignment, the color may be a little different. Since they are made of different materials, temporary veneers often do not look as natural. Rest assured that your final permanent veneers should blend right into your natural smile.

Eating may be a little uncomfortable when wearing temporary veneers. Your teeth may be more sensitive than usual. It is advised to avoid foods that are sticky, chewy, crunchy, or hard to prevent damage to your veneers. Also, color additives can stain your temporary veneers. Eating and speaking may take a little getting used to as you adjust to wearing temporary veneers.

You should not floss your teeth while wearing temporary veneers because they do not have gaps between them. Even if you are careful, these veneers can fall off. See your dentist immediately for replacement to protect your slightly shaven tooth underneath and to reduce sensitivity.

Temporary veneers are a stepping stone to achieving your new smile. If you experience issues or have doubts during this stage of the process, be sure to voice your concerns to your dentist. You can work together to be very happy with your permanent dental veneers.

If you are looking for a cosmetic dentist in Richmond VA, contact our office today.

Home Remedies for Teeth Whitening

November 7th, 2014

It can be difficult to avoid the signs of aging and lifestyle on your teeth. They can become stained or yellowed over the years, but they don’t have to remain that way. You might choose to have your smile professionally brightened at your dentist’s office, but you’ll want to maintain those pearly whites. Here are some tips you can follow at home to keep your smile bright and beautiful.

Eat crunchy foods.
Crunchy foods are often acidic, which means they naturally help clean your teeth. Examples include apples, pears, celery, and carrots. Crunchy foods are also more abrasive, so the cleaner your teeth will become as they are naturally scrubbed during chewing. The cleaning benefit comes with the crunch, so eat them in their whole form instead of cutting or crushing them up.

Consume dairy products.
Foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt contain minerals such as phosphorus and calcium. These mineral help strengthen your teeth and make them whiter. Your smile will be more appealing and healthier when you include dairy in your diet.

Don’t forget strawberries.
The malic acid in strawberries helps reduce tooth discolorations, and the rough texture of the fruit buffs your tooth enamel. This creates a smoother and brighter look. In addition to eating strawberries, you can also crush them to mix with a half teaspoon of baking soda and a bit of lemon juice. Apply this mixture onto your teeth for five minutes to improve their appearance.

Try baking soda.
As mentioned above, baking soda can help clean teeth if used in moderation. Rub a pinch of baking soda onto your teeth and then rinse it away, or mix it with hydrogen peroxide and salt to naturally brighten your smile.

Use a straw.
If you can’t eliminate dark beverages like wine or colas from your diet, drink them from a straw so that the liquid goes straight into your mouth instead of over your teeth.

Get an electric toothbrush.
Stubborn stains on tooth surfaces are often more responsive to cleaning with an electric toothbrush instead of a manual one.

Teeth whitening dentist in Richmond VA

The Debate About Amalgam Fillings

October 28th, 2014

At one time, metal fillings were the only choice to repair tooth decay. Now, many dentists have switched to composite resin fillings, which match natural-tooth color so they don’t compromise the appearance of your smile. Tooth-colored fillings have gained popularity, and many dentists only offer this option. In recent years, there has been a strong push to eliminate amalgam fillings all together.

Amalgam fillings are made of several metals, with up to a 50 percent composition of mercury. It is widely known that mercury is toxic to the body. Some of the concern about amalgam fillings is the affect mercury has on the body, including:

  • Causing damage to the kidneys
  • Contributing to infertility
  • Impacting the nervous system
  • Interfering with the function of the thyroid and pituitary glands
  • Posing unknown risk to a fetus
  • Weakening the immune system

Because each person is different, you may have no reaction to the amalgam fillings. Over time, though, these restorations may change shape or crack, which can cause them to leak. If the fillings don’t hold up, the area may become susceptible to additional damage or decay.

At your checkup, have the dentist evaluate any old fillings to make sure they are still in good condition. You can also discuss the benefits of replacing amalgams with composite fillings. The newer restorations blend with your natural tooth coloring and require less removal of health tooth structure, which allows for a more conservative repair.

Replace your old filling at our Richmond VA dentists office.

Breaking Down Dental Visits

October 21st, 2014

If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may not recall the process for a regular checkup. These visits are an important part of your oral health care. If you are in good dental health, your dentist will probably suggest twice-yearly visits. Individuals with gum disease or other oral health concerns may need to schedule more frequent appointments. Feel free to ask your dentist questions or raise concerns at the visit.

Your dental checkup will usually include:

  • Full Health History
    Because oral health affects your overall wellness, your dentist will want to have a complete picture of your whole situation. A member of the dental team will ask you questions and gather relevant details about your present status. Make sure to provide helpful information like current medications and any pressing issues.
  • X-Rays
    Typically, your dentist will take X-rays about once a year. These images provide a clear view of your teeth and gums. Often, X-rays will identify problems, like impacted teeth, cysts, abscesses, or decay between teeth that might otherwise go undiagnosed.
  • Complete Evaluation
    During your checkup, the dentist will perform a periodontal assessment, bite analysis, and tooth-by-tooth inspection. If the dentist discovers a problem, your provider will make treatment recommendations to address the issue and restore your oral health.
  • Thorough Cleaning
    If everything checks out, the hygienist will typically remove plaque and tartar build-up from your teeth. At this time, the hygienist may also polish and floss teeth to refresh your smile.

Schedule a visit to our Richmond dental office

Root Canal Therapy: The Warning Signs

October 14th, 2014

When your tooth pulp that is located in the center of each of your teeth becomes damaged or infected, the best way to save the tooth is to have root canal therapy. This safe and effective treatment is not as painful as its reputation, and should not be avoided. Watching for signs that your tooth pulp has been compromised is an important step in saving your tooth, so that treatment may be performed before your condition becomes too advanced.

There are not always signs associated with a tooth that requires root canal therapy. Sometimes only examination, X-rays, and other tests will reveal problems. This is one reason regular dental visits are important. In other cases, symptoms are present to indicate pulp damage. Some typical signs include:

  • Pain that is often related to inflamed tooth pulp, which can be caused by deep decay, chipped or cracked teeth, repeated dental procedures, faulty crowns, infection, tooth grinding, or periodontitis. Inflammation increases pressure inside the pulp cavity and triggers the tooth’s nerves. The pain may be in the tooth itself, or it can be referred to other areas in your mouth. Pain when eating or sensitivity to hot or cold is also common.
  • Gum swelling near the damaged tooth
  • Facial swelling
  • Tooth loosening
  • Pus around the damaged tooth
  • Tooth discoloration, which usually occurs over a longer period of time. Discoloration can take weeks, months, or years to appear. This is another reason for regular dental checkups.

If you experience any of the symptoms above, or if your dentist identifies problems upon examination, it’s time to consider root canal therapy. Saving your natural tooth is almost always better than having to replace a lost tooth. Root canal therapy can help you keep your smile intact, as well as its function. Your natural sensations of a real tooth remain, as well as normal biting abilities. Don’t shy away from treatment; take care of tooth pulp problems when they arise.

Root canal dentist in Richmond VA

Smile Makeover Quick Fixes

October 7th, 2014

Not everyone has the advantage of a perfect smile. A smile makeover can help you transform your look into what you’d like it to be, and it doesn’t have to take a long time. You can walk away from just one appointment with a better smile. Here are some of the fast treatments using non-invasive techniques that are available.

Whitening teeth
If you’re considering making over your smile, one of the quickest and simplest places to start is teeth whitening. In as little as one hour in a professional setting, you can transform your look by brightening your smile more effectively than trying it at home. Whitening products sold for home use are not as strong as professional methods, so it takes a longer period of consistent use to brighten your teeth only a shade or two. Professional whitening uses stronger concentrations of bleaching agents and a special light to hasten the process, and achieves dramatic results.

Removing white spots
Unsightly white spots that you might see on your teeth are signs of demineralization under your tooth enamel. A smile makeover can include using resin infiltration, which is a non-invasive procedure that can effectively treat white spots. You can say goodbye to the spots in as little as thirty minutes of treatment time. Teeth whitening is not advised, as it can make white spots even more noticeable.

Reshaping teeth
Minor flaws like chipped, cracked, or misshapen teeth can be corrected with contouring. Small areas of your teeth can be shaved or tooth-colored resin can be applied to alter the length or shape of teeth. Tooth contouring can take as little as a half hour, and is great for those with healthy teeth that just need slight alterations for appearance purposes.

Repairing chips or gaps
Dental bonding is a simple procedure that hides gaps, chips, stains, or spacing problems. Tooth-colored resin is sculpted onto the tooth to provide a more appealing smile in only about an hour.

Smile makeover dentist in Richmond VA

Stress and Its Connection to Teeth Grinding

September 28th, 2014

Modern lifestyles can be extremely stressful as many people have to deal with deadlines, demands and other frustrations that make up daily life. This can be an issue if you’re constantly under stress as it may affect your health. There are numerous health conditions that can be affected by high stress levels, and one of these is teeth grinding.

What Is Teeth Grinding?
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a condition that causes you to clench and grind your teeth together. It normally occurs during sleep so you may not even realize you have bruxism. This condition is likely to be identified by your family dentist in Richmond VA due to teeth becoming worn down and chipped, or quite often a sleeping partner will complain about the grinding noise during the night.

What Does Stress Have To Do with Bruxism?
Teeth grinding has been linked to high levels of stress and anxiety. It’s been shown that people under stress are more likely to grind their teeth, particularly if they don’t have any coping mechanisms.

How Could Teeth Grinding Affect Me?
Teeth grinding can have more of an effect than you might imagine. It can cause teeth to become cracked, sensitive or even loose. Excessive grinding can damage the gums and bone surrounding your teeth, or may cause a painful disorder called TMD. This affects the jaw joints or temporomandibular joints, and can cause headaches, earache and facial pain.

How is Bruxism Treated?
Your dentist in Richmond VA is likely to recommend a custom-made night guard which is worn while sleeping to protect your teeth and jaws from any further damage. It works through preventing your teeth from coming into contact. Additionally, you may be prescribed a muscle relaxant to help prevent clenching. It can be helpful to reduce stress levels through various measures which can include exercise, yoga, meditation or stress counseling.

How to Keep a Healthy Smile for Life

September 21st, 2014

Your smile is a valuable asset, but needs care to ensure it maintains its beauty. It’s essential to brush at least twice a day and floss once a day, but other factors can influence oral health. The following pointers could help you maintain a healthy smile for life.

Book Regular Dental Checkups
Most dentists recommend patients visit them twice a year, although some people may benefit from more frequent checkups. These visits are essential for your dentist in Richmond VA to examine your mouth, and can help detect any early signs of disease before they become a problem.

Watch Your Diet
A healthy balanced diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as lean proteins and low-fat dairy products. This will help provide your teeth and gums with all the nutrients needed to keep them strong and healthy, and promotes overall good health.

Quit Using Tobacco Products
Smoking or using tobacco products is well known for causing stained and discolored teeth, and smokers are more likely to have bad breath. In addition, smoking makes it harder for your gums to heal and increases the risk of oral cancer.

Quit Bad Oral Habits
Using your teeth to open packets, chewing on ice cubes and pens, and biting your nails can all cause small fractures and chips in your teeth. Your dentist can offer useful advice on quitting these habits.

Don’t Ignore Any Early Signs and Symptoms
If you develop toothache or notice your gums bleed when you brush or floss, contact your dentist in Richmond VA right away. These diseases are far easier to treat when detected early. Ignoring tooth sensitivity that could indicate a small filling is needed might mean you’ll eventually need a root canal, or even that you lose the tooth completely.

Protect Your Mouth
Popular activities such as football, soccer, basketball and hockey can all cause facial injuries. Even noncontact sports such as skateboarding may be hazardous. Your dentist can provide you with a custom-made mouth guard that will help protect your teeth and jaws during sports.

Treating Gum Problems

September 14th, 2014

Depending on the degree of gum disease you have been diagnosed with, treatment can vary extensively. It can range from having a regular teeth cleaning and paying more attention to dental hygiene, to complex and often painful surgery. If you’ve been told you have a problem with your gums, seek treatment immediately.

Your dentist will perform a gum exam to decide the best treatment plan. This includes measuring the gum pockets around your teeth, noting inflammation, and checking gum recession. If gum pockets are extensive, it may mean you have bone loss. In that case, your dentist might refer you to a gum specialist called a periodontist.

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. All that may be required is a thorough professional cleaning, better oral hygiene, consistent checkups, and allowing time for gums to heal. If gum problems have advanced, a deeper professional cleaning called scaling and root planning may be needed. Medications might be prescribed to treat infection. If the areas don’t respond to these treatments, gum surgery can be performed to remove diseased tissue, save the remaining gums and bone, and allow a better environment for good future oral health.

Receding gums sometimes are not severe enough for any treatment, but cosmetic concerns may warrant a gum graft procedure. It involves surgically removing tissue from another area of the mouth and grafting it onto the receded area. Another issue might be a gum abscess, which requires deep cleaning to remove diseased tissue and any pus that is present. Antibiotics will likely be needed for the infection. Once the abscess is cleared, further treatment may be needed to avoid a recurrence.

As you can see, there are a variety of possible treatments depending upon the severity of your gum problems. Of course the best solution is to avoid gum issues in the first place by maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups.


If you have gum problems and you live in the Richmond VA area our dentists have over 20 years of experience in helping patients regain there smile.

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804-754-4161

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