Posts for: September, 2020
Orthodontics, veneers and other cosmetic dental techniques can turn a less than perfect smile into a beautiful one—but not always very quickly. For example, porcelain veneers can take weeks from planning to installation, including the meticulous work of an outside dental lab to produce veneers that look natural as well as beautiful.
But you may be able to take advantage of another approach, one that often takes no more than a couple of dental visits. Called direct veneers, it's actually a process of bonding and sculpting life-like composite materials to teeth that are heavily stained, chipped or that contain tiny crevices called “craze lines.”
Unlike the similarly-named traditional method, direct veneers don't involve the creation of layered porcelain veneers fashioned by a dental lab. But this newer process is similar to the older one in that some of the enamel must be removed from the teeth in question to provide a suitable surface for the composite material to adhere. This alteration will be permanent, requiring a restorative covering on the treated teeth from then on.
Right before this preparation, though, a dentist typically makes an impression of the patient's mouth. This will be the basis for creating the procedural plan for the dental work, particularly a “trial smile” from similar composite material that can be applied to the patient's teeth before actual restoration work begins. This temporary application gives both patient and dentist an opportunity to visualize the final look, and make needed adjustments in color and shaping.
Once the work plan is finalized, the patient then returns for the actual restoration procedure. The dentist begins by applying and bonding the composite material to the prepared teeth. Then, using a drill and manual instruments, the dentist shapes and smooths the material into a tooth-like appearance that blends with other teeth. The procedure can take a few hours, but it can usually be completed during a single visit.
Although direct veneers may not last as long as porcelain veneers, the process is less costly and requires less time to complete. Direct veneers could be an economical solution for achieving a more attractive smile.
If you would like more information on direct veneers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic with a firsthand patient account by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “A New Smile With Direct Veneers.”
Have you had your yearly oral cancer screening? If not, then see Dr. Kathleen Geipe and her team in Salisbury, MD. This experienced dentist performs these simple assessments with each routine cleaning and professional exam. As the saying goes, "Forewarned is forearmed." In the battle against this deadly malady, a brief, painless check of your soft oral tissues yields valuable information.
An important medical exam
Of course, you're used to your Salisbury dentist checking many aspects of your oral health. Do you have cavities, gum disease, a poor dental bite, stains, or other problems? Dr. Geipe and her team want to see all patients, regardless of age, every six months to detect and prevent these issues before they run out of control and cause tooth loss.
Oral cancer is one of the problems she looks for. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) says more than 50,000 Americans receive the diagnosis of this potentially deadly cancer every year. In large part, survival depends on early detection. That's where your Salisbury dentist comes in.
Detecting oral cancer
Here's what Dr. Geipe looks for in your semi-annual oral cancer check-up:
- Areas of swelling or discoloration
- White or red patches
- Lumps and structural asymmetry
- Sores which have not healed
She'll inspect your tongue, under your tongue, the back of your throat, and the insides of your cheeks. If she is concerned about a certain area, she may look at it with a special light to differentiate between normal and abnormal tissues. Your screening includes gentle palpation (manual touching) of the lymph nodes in your neck. Any abnormal findings will be reported to your primary care physician for follow-up.
Risks factors for oral cancer
Likely, you can guess at many of them. Many, but not all, are lifestyle-related:
- Cigarette smoking, chewing tobacco, and marijuana usage
- Excessive alcohol usage
- Sun exposure
- Poor oral hygiene
- Age over 45
- Being male
- Exposure to the Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, typically transmitted through sexual activity
- Light skin
- A diet deficient in Vitamin A, fruits, and vegetables
Changing some habits can go a long way in reducing your risk for oral cancer.
Come see us
Knowledge about all aspects of your oral health is so valuable. So, Dr. Kathleen Geipe asks you to come to her Salisbury, MD, office faithfully for your semi-annual cleaning and exam, including your oral cancer screening. Your dentist and her dedicated team want you to have the healthiest possible smile for life. Phone us for an appointment at (410) 543-0599.
Smoking, eating, or drinking darkly colored foods dull your teeth, leaving behind unattractive stains. Teeth whitening, one of the many services and treatments provided by your Salisbury, MD, dentist, Dr. Kathleen Geipe, brightens your smile in just about an hour.
Whitening targets the source of stains
When you sip a cup of coffee or enjoy an ice pop on a hot day, dark or bright pigments in those foods seep into microscopic openings in your tooth enamel. While brushing after meals can help you reduce staining, it won't prevent pigments from drifting into the tiny pores. Eventually, the pigments will make your teeth look dull and stained.
Teeth whitening eliminates stains by breaking apart and removing the pigments that dull your smile. Professional-strength hydrogen peroxide whitening gel used by dentists offers a more effective way to whiten teeth than using over-the-counter products.
You'll only spend about an hour at the Salisbury dental office yet will see a noticeable improvement in your smile. On average, whitening lightens teeth by three to eight shades.
At-home whitening kits are also available. You can use the kits to whiten at home or touch up your professional whitening kits. Your dentist will provide you with trays and whitening gel, which you'll use for a few weeks.
What you can expect during your whitening appointment
If your teeth haven't been cleaned recently, a dental cleaning will be the first step in the whitening process. Cleaning removes plaque and tartar, two substances that not only cause tooth decay and gum disease but also interfere with a whitening treatment. Hydrogen peroxide can't penetrate plaque and tartar. If the substances remain on your teeth, your smile may look mottled.
Your Salisbury dentist will also take two precautions to ensure your comfort during whitening. First, she'll spread a protective gel over your gums and roots, then she'll place plastic retractors in your mouth. The retractors prevent your lips and cheeks from coming in contact with the whitening gel.
The whitener is applied with a small brush that makes it easy to spread the gel evenly. After the gel is removed at the end of your session, you'll see a remarkable improvement in your smile.
Renew your smile with teeth whitening! Call your dentist in Salisbury, MD, Dr. Kathleen Geipe, at (410) 543-0599 to schedule your appointment.
Love at first sight—it's an endearing notion found in movies and novels, but perhaps we're a little skeptical about it happening in real life. Then again, maybe it does once in a blue moon. According to supermodel Gisele Bündchen, something definitely happened the first time she met pro quarterback Tom Brady in 2006. And it all began when he smiled.
“The moment I saw him, he smiled and I was like, 'That is the most beautiful, charismatic smile I've ever seen!'” Bündchen said in an article for Vogue magazine. That was all it took. After a three-year romance, they married in 2009 and have been happily so ever since.
Both Brady and Bündchen have great smiles. But they also know even the most naturally attractive smile occasionally needs a little help. Here are three things our happy couple have done to keep their smiles beautiful—and you could do the same.
Teeth whitening. Bündchen is a big proponent of brightening your smile, even endorsing a line of whitening products at one point. And for good reason: This relatively inexpensive and non-invasive procedure can turn a dull, lackluster smile into a dazzling head-turner. A professional whitening can give you the safest, longest-lasting results. We can also fine-tune the whitening solution to give you just the level of brightness you want.
Teeth straightening. When Bündchen noticed one of her teeth out of normal alignment, she underwent orthodontic treatment to straighten her smile. Rather than traditional braces, she opted for clear aligners, removable trays made of translucent plastic. Effective on many types of orthodontic problems, clear aligners can straighten teeth while hardly being noticed by anyone else.
Smile repair. Brady is a frequent client of cosmetic dentistry, sometimes due to his day job. During 2015's Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks, Brady chipped a tooth, ironically from “head-butting” his Patriots teammate Brandon LaFell after the latter caught a touchdown pass. Fortunately, he's had this and other defects repaired—and so can you. We can restore teeth as good as new with composite resin bonding, veneers or crowns.
This superstar couple, known for their advocacy of all things healthy, would also tell you a beautiful smile is a healthy one. You can help maintain your smile's attractiveness with daily brushing and flossing to lower the risk of staining and dental disease, regular dental visits, and “tooth-friendly” eating habits.
And when your teeth need a little extra TLC, see us for a full evaluation. You may not be in the spotlight like this celebrity couple, but you can still have a beautiful smile just like theirs.
If you would like more information on ways to enhance your smile, please contact us or schedule a consultation.
On the way to adulthood, permanent teeth steadily erupt until, if all goes normally, you have a full set of teeth. Sometimes, though, one or more teeth may fail to form. This not only can affect your dental health, but it could also diminish your smile.
For example, if the lateral incisors on either side of the central incisors (the two teeth front and center) don't develop, it could create a smile that's “not quite right.” But we can vastly improve such a smile in one of three unique ways.
The first is to fill the resulting gap through canine substitution. This is an orthodontic method in which we use braces to move the pointed canine teeth, which normally position on the other side of the missing laterals, closer to the central incisors. This choice is determined by the size of the canine teeth. If they are slim in width, they can be re-shaped to make them appear more like a lateral incisor, and the gums possibly reshaped as well around them through cosmetic surgery.
We can also install a dental bridge, an appliance that fills the missing lateral space with prosthetic teeth. A traditional bridge requires the teeth on either side of the gap to be reduced in size, which becomes a permanent alteration to accommodate these crowns. This is a disadvantage in a young person. We can also use a “bonded bridge” which uses adhesives to attach extended pieces (or “wings”) of dental material from either side of the prosthetic tooth to one or more supporting teeth. These wings are behind the permanent teeth. Though not as durable as a traditional bridge, it does avoid altering the support teeth.
Finally, we can replace the missing teeth with dental implants. In this method, we install titanium metal posts into the jawbone at the missing tooth locations and then attach a life-like crown to each one. Implants may be more costly than other restorative methods and can take several months to complete. But they are life-like, highly durable, and don't require any alteration to other teeth. A disadvantage is that you should wait until at least 19 years of age to consider this option. What many people do is use a temporary solution until the proper age to do a dental implant.
Each of these methods have their advantages and disadvantages, which should be thoroughly reviewed in consultation with your dentist. And each may also require other dental work, such as initial orthodontics to open adequate space for a restoration. But any of these methods for correcting a missing lateral tooth can be effective and help restore both a healthier mouth and a more attractive smile.
If you would like more information on treating congenital dental defects, 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 “When Permanent Teeth Don't Grow.”