My Blog

Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Kathleen M. Geipe, DDS, PA
September 19, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns   celebrity smiles  
HowCelineDionOvercameHerSmileObstacle

For over three decades, Celine Dion has amazed audiences and fans with her powerful singing voice. Best known for her recording of "My Heart Will Go On," the theme song for the movie Titanic, Dion has amassed global record sales topping 200 million. In her early singing days, though, she struggled with one particular career obstacle: an unattractive smile.

The Canadian-born performer had a number of dental defects including crooked and discolored teeth, and—most prominent of all—abnormally large cuspid or "canine" teeth (located on either side of the four front incisors). They were so noticeable that one Quebec celebrity magazine gave her the unflattering nickname "Canine Dion."

This isn't an unusual problem. Since human canines are already the longest teeth in the mouth, it doesn't take much for them to stand out. Our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors needed these large, pointed teeth to survive. But with the evolution of agriculture and industry, canine teeth have become gradually smaller—so much so that when they're abnormally large, they don't look right in a smile.

So, what can be done if your canines embarrassingly stand out from the rest? Here are some of the options to consider.

Reduce their size. If your canines are just a tad too long, it may be possible to remove some of the enamel layer in a procedure called contouring. Using this technique, we can reduce a tooth's overall size, which we then re-shape by bonding composite resin to the tooth. It's only a good option, though, if your canines have an ample and healthy layer of enamel.

Repair other teeth. The problem of prominent canine teeth may actually be caused by neighboring teeth. When the teeth next to the canines are crooked, the canines can appear more prominent. Alternatively, other teeth around the canines may be abnormally small. Braces or clear aligners can correct crooked incisors, and applying porcelain veneers to smaller teeth could help normalize their length.

Apply dental crowns. In some instances, we can reduce the canines in size and then bond porcelain crowns to them. This is the option that Dion ultimately chose. The natural teeth are still intact, but the crowning process transforms them into properly proportioned, life-like teeth. There is, however, one caveat: The alteration to these teeth will be permanent, so they will need a crown from then on.

Besides crowning her canine teeth, Dion also underwent other dental work to straighten and whiten her other teeth. As a result, this superstar performer now has a superstar smile to match and so can you if your teeth are less than perfect. These or other cosmetic enhancements can give you the look you truly desire. All it takes is an initial visit with us to start you on the road to a transformed smile.

If you would like more information about various cosmetic solutions for your smile, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Porcelain Dental Crowns.”

By Kathleen M. Geipe, DDS, PA
August 30, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  
DentalImplantsCouldHelpPreserveBoneAfterToothLoss

Losing teeth can make it more difficult to eat, not to mention the effect it can have on your smile. But that could be just the beginning of your problems. Missing teeth can contribute to extensive bone loss within your jaws and face. Here's why.

Bone is like any other living tissue—cells develop, function and eventually die, and new cells take their place. Forces generated during chewing stimulate this new growth, helping the jawbone maintain its normal volume and density.

But you lose this stimulus when you lose teeth. This can cause a slowdown in bone cell regrowth that can eventually diminish bone volume. And it can happen relatively quickly: you could lose a quarter or more of jawbone width around a missing tooth within a year.

As this loss continues, especially in cases of multiple missing teeth, the bone can eventually erode to its base level. This loss of dental function can make chewing more difficult, place more pressure on the remaining teeth and adversely affect facial appearance. It could also prevent an implant restoration to replace missing teeth.

Dentures and other forms of dental restoration can replace missing teeth, but not the chewing stimulus. Dentures in particular will accelerate bone loss, because they can irritate the bony gum ridges they rest upon.

Dental implants, on the other hand, can slow or even stop bone loss. Implants consist of a metal post, typically made of titanium, imbedded into the jawbone at the site of the missing tooth with a life-like crown attached. Titanium also has a strong affinity with bone so that bone cells naturally grow and adhere to the implant's surface. This can produce enough growth to slow, stop or even reverse bone loss.

This effect may also work when implants are combined with other restorations, including dentures. These enhanced dentures no longer rest on the gums, but connect to implants. This adds support and takes the pressure off of the bony ridge, as well as contributes to better bone health.

If you've lost a tooth, it's important to either replace it promptly or have a bone graft installed to help forestall any bone loss in the interim. And when it's time to replace those missing teeth, dental implants could provide you not only a life-like solution, but a way to protect your bone health.

If you would like more information on dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”

By Kathleen M. Geipe, DDS, PA
July 11, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: smile makeover  
HeresHowtoGetaSmileMakeoverThisSummer

Play a round of word association with "summer," and you'll probably come up with "vacation," "camping," or "beach" just off the top of your head. But the slower pace of this sultry season offers opportunities for other pursuits—like home improvement projects. If you're in a "fixer-upper" mood, you might consider something out of the box: a smile makeover.

Changes to your dental appearance start a lot like the typical home renovation—you're not satisfied with how things look. And, like home projects, you can go little on smile enhancements (akin to maybe repainting the bedroom) or go big (that shiny new addition).

If you're up for this kind of makeover this summer, here are a few suggestions for improving your smile.

Teeth whitening. Stained tooth enamel can make your smile look dull and dingy—but you can reverse this with a professional whitening treatment. Using a precisely formulated bleaching solution, we can give you a brighter smile at just the level of brightness you want. And with good care and occasional touchups, your bright and shiny smile could last for years.

Dental bonding or veneers. Chips, stains that resist whitening or an unsightly gap can detract from an otherwise attractive smile. We can repair many minor defects by bonding tooth-colored composite material to your teeth. For more extensive defects, we can also cover teeth with custom dental veneers, thin layers of porcelain that hide dental flaws.

Orthodontics. Straightening misaligned teeth is primarily beneficial to your long-term dental health. But it can also transform a smile, earning it the title, "The Original Smile Makeover." And braces aren't your only choice—depending on your particular bite problem, you may be able to use nearly invisible clear aligners, which you can also remove for meals and hygiene.

Dental implants. Nothing downgrades a smile like missing teeth. But you can replace those teeth with dental implants, a highly popular and effective restoration. Implants have two outstanding qualities: They provide a life-like appearance that's indistinguishable from a natural tooth and they're quite durable—over 95% are still in place after ten years.

You can receive these and other cosmetic dental measures as standalone procedures or grouped with others in a comprehensive smile makeover. Some—like teeth whitening—can often be done in a single visit, while others—like teeth straightening or implants—can take months or even years.

What's important, though, is that you get the ball rolling with a comprehensive dental exam. From there, we can lay out your options and help you decide on your specific makeover plan. It could be one of your best summer projects ever!

If you would like more information about smile makeover options, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry.”

By KATHLEEN M. GEIPE, DDS, PA
July 07, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures

Brushing, flossing, and good nutrition are instrumental in keeping tooth decay away, but sometimes cavities can occur even if you have great oral hygiene.

If you have developed a cavity due to inadequate dental care, genetics, aging, health problems, or other reasons, there is no need to be embarrassed. Dr. Kathleen Geipe in Salisbury, MD, can fill your cavity with a tooth-colored filling to restore the health and appearance of your tooth.

What is a filling?

Fillings are sealants, used to cover the void from a cavity. Your dentist at our Salisbury, MD, office will begin by removing the cavity and cleaning out the tooth before a filling is cemented in place. A filling prevents the decay in a cavity from causing bacterial growth and spreading it to the neighboring teeth and gums.

What are fillings made of?

Tooth-colored fillings can be made from composite, porcelain, or glass ionomer.
Composite fillings are made from plastic and glass and are easier to put in as they require less drilling. Porcelain fillings offer stain resistance and are undetectable to the eye, but generally cost more than composite. Glass ionomer fillings, made from a blend of acrylic and glass powders, are usually the most affordable tooth-colored filling but don't last as long.

Why should I choose a tooth-colored filling?

A cavity needs to be filled in order to restore the health and function of your tooth and protect the rest of your teeth. While any filling can accomplish that, a tooth-colored filling does so discreetly. Amalgam fillings, while strong and less expensive, are visible and may require more drilling. If you are looking for discreetness, a tooth-colored filling is your best option. As with any filling, your dentist will make sure it fits perfectly so you can bite and chew comfortably.

If you need a filling, call our Salisbury, MD, office at (410) 543-0599 to book an appointment with Dr. Geipe.

By KATHLEEN M. GEIPE, DDS, PA
July 01, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  

If you're searching for a safe and effective way to brighten your smile in a short amount of time, Dr. Kathleen Geipe recommends teeth whitening to eligible Salisbury, MD, patients.

Tooth stains are divided into two categories: intrinsic (inner) and extrinsic (outer). Intrinsic discoloration lies under enamel in the dentin, while the outer ones lie on the surface, making them a bit easier to treat. Both often result from poor oral hygiene, excessive plaque and tartar build-up, tobacco products, or excessive consumption of highly acidic foods and beverages. Hereditary disorders, medications, decay, and periodontal disease may also be the cause. 

The After Care For Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is performed at home or in our Salisbury, MD, office using a concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel. This gel sits on the teeth for approximately 60 minutes and has the potential to whiten enamel up to eight shades. Once Dr. Geipe applies the gel, routine upkeep is necessary to achieve desired and long-lasting results.

To prolong whitening effects, you might want to avoid some of the foods and beverages that stain teeth and add a whitening toothpaste to your oral care regimen. You'll also benefit from brushing at least twice a day or once after every meal. Flossing at least once a day, and visiting our dentist for professional cleanings and checkups twice a year are also important.

Remember that sensitivity is a common side effect of teeth whitening. Therefore maintaining good oral hygiene practices are essential.

Don't be insecure about your smile any longer. Consider a consultation with our dentist to determine which cosmetic procedure best suits your needs. For more information about teeth whitening and other services provided by Dr. Geipe, visit our website. If you live in the Salisbury, MD, area and would like to schedule an appointment, please call (410) 543-0599.