How Porcelain Veneers are Placed on Teeth

Young business woman smiling

Our patients rely on our dentists to have the best treatment options for their dental needs. Our San Francisco cosmetic dentist makes sure that our patients have access to the top cutting-edge treatments available.

One treatment our patients frequently ask about is dental veneers. Our veneers dentist in San Francisco uses state of the art porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are very durable and can match your existing teeth wonderfully.

Porcelain veneers are a popular cosmetic treatment because they do not involve surgery and can help patients with various issues, including:

• Teeth discolored from medicine
• Chipped or cracked teeth
• Crooked teeth
• Gaps between teeth
• Misaligned bite
• Short teeth

Placing porcelain veneers normally requires that you make three visits to our office.

At your first appointment, you will discuss your treatment goals and our dentist will tell you what porcelain veneers can do to help you meet these goals. We also note the enamel color of your teeth so the veneers will match your natural teeth.

Your second appointment consists of our dentist preparing your teeth for the veneers. This involves removing a minute amount of tooth enamel to allow the veneer to sit properly on your tooth in relation to the gum line. Removing the enamel also helps the veneer adhere to the tooth. Our dentist files off a layer of the enamel; this is a painless process that requires no anesthesia. We take impressions of your teeth to use as a guide for creating the veneers. Finally, our dentist places temporary veneers on your teeth to help protect them since a layer of enamel is gone.

At your third appointment, our dentist double checks the veneers for size and color before using a strong adhesive to hold the veneers in place. The veneers are not considered permanent, because a dentist can remove them. However, porcelain veneers can last ten years or longer.

If you believe porcelain veneers could be a solution to your dental issues, feel free to contact our office. Our staff can give you additional information as well as set up an appointment for a no-obligation consultation to find out how porcelain veneers can help your smile.

Advertisements

Use of Lasers for Whitening Teeth

Attraction

Our staff here can attest to the fact that teeth whitening is more popular than ever. We frequently see patients looking for information about the latest techniques and newest developments to get the whitest. Fortunately, we stay at the forefront of technology and treatments, so our patients get the best treatment possible.

Many patients ask our cosmetic dentist in San Francisco about laser whitening for their teeth. While the United States Food and Drug Association approved lasers for use in dentistry a little less than a decade ago, there are still common misconceptions about the process and how it works.

One of the most common points that confuse people is which treatments use lasers. There are several different whitening procedures that involve the use of light to speed the whitening process, but all of these are not using laser light. If you are not sure which treatment you are having, ask us.

The laser whitening treatment is different from regular whitening procedures that involve light. A laser whitening uses a solution specifically formulated to work with the laser to lift stains from your teeth. This happens when the laser light reacts with the whitener and releases oxygen ions from the solution; these ions create bubbles as they remove stains on the tooth’s surface. The laser whitening process is generally faster than other whitening treatment; some patients spend just 20 minutes while others may need 30 or 40 minutes to achieve their goal. Patients see results after a single treatment, and laser whitening makes teeth up to nine shades lighter.

Laser whitening is a safe alternative to other types of whitening procedures, many of which are known to cause sensitivity in patients. Because the whitening solution used in the laser procedure spends less time in contact with teeth, sensitivity is minimal. Most patients report feeling no post-treatment sensitivity.

If you think laser teeth whitening could be right for you, please contact our office. Our staff can set up a no-obligation consultation with our dentists to help you decide the best path to your dream smile.

Can Teens Benefit from Invisalign?

Aligners Focus - 1

Our patients make inquiries each day about Invisalign. Even though the alignment system is more than 20 years old; it remains one of our most requested treatments.

When Invisalign premiered, patients were eager to try the clear removable orthodontic treatment that had no wires or food restrictions. Unfortunately, teenagers the patients with the strongest interest in Invisalign could not use the system. When Invisalign first arrived, it was not suitable for younger patients. The aligner trays had no way to accommodate growing jaws or erupting molars.

After some time passed, makers of Invisalign, Align Technology, developed the Invisalign Teen system. The aligner trays expand to allow for jaw growth and have tabs to accommodate molars. Additionally, Invisalign Teen comes with a compliance indicator to help monitor the amount of time the patient uses the aligners. To get optimal results in the shortest amount of time possible, a patient must wear the alignment trays between 20-22 hours each day. In a perfect world, this would be a simple task, but in the midst of a busy day, we know it is easy to get sidetracked or forget the aligners. To help keep patients on track, a small blue dot measures how long a patient wears the alignment tray. The dot wears away as the Invisalign tray spends time in use. When the time comes to switch trays, the dot is gone from the tray if worn properly. These adaptations to the original Invisalign system make it ideal for teens as well as for adults.

When you visit our office for Invisalign Teen, you are in good hands. Our dentist has extensive training with Invisalign and serves on Align Technology’s panel of expert dentists helping advise the company. Our San Francisco dentist has years of training in various orthodontic treatments including Invisalign.

If your teen is interested in learning more about Invisalign, contact our scheduling staff for a consultation appointment. This is a no-obligation visit to help you and your teen understand the Invisalign system.

How to Clean Teeth with Veneers

Beautiful woman with a whiten perfect smile

Our office sees many delighted patients showing off their gorgeous smiles after receiving dental veneers. Watching these patients beam with happiness is one of the best parts of working with a cosmetic dentist in San Francisco.

Our

places hundreds of dental veneers each year. The procedure is painless and normally requires no kind of anesthetic. Our dentist will design your veneers, which are thin shell-like pieces of porcelain that permanently bond on top of your natural teeth.

Because the bonding process is permanent, it is important for patients with dental veneers to understand how to care for their teeth and keep them looking great.

TIPS TO KEEP YOUR VENEERS LOOKING GREAT

• Excellent dental hygiene is essential. Just as you should care for your natural teeth, you should brush and floss your teeth twice a day. It is best for your veneers if you use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a gel toothpaste. It is best to avoid harsh abrasive substances and hard bristled toothbrushes. These can rough up your veneers making them vulnerable to stains and removing the sheen.

• Avoid biting hard objects such as pencils, ice, or hard candy. These sorts of things can crack your veneers as well as your teeth.

• Stay away from products containing alcohol as it can weaken the bonding of your veneers and your teeth.

• Minimize the number of sugars and acids you consume. This will keep your veneers looking great as well as your teeth healthy.

• Avoid teeth grinding as this is damaging to your veneers as well as your natural tooth enamel.

• Visit our dentist regularly. This ensures that your teeth, gums, and veneers are in great shape.

If you have dental veneers, and you would like more information about the most effective way to care for them, feel free to contact our office. Our dentists and staff are happy to explain and demonstrate the best strategies for keeping your beautiful veneers looking their best.

Steps in Getting Same Day Crowns

Beautiful woman with a whiten perfect smile

At our office, we understand that you are busy, and your time is valuable. We do everything we can to make sure the care you receive is thorough and efficient. We are pleased to let you know that you are able to get same day crowns in our office.

Our dentist invested in one of the latest technological advances to make same day crowns possible. The system is known as CEREC. (This stands for Ceramic Reconstructions.) It takes advantage of state-of-the-art computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) to create crowns in just one visit.

What sets the CEREC system apart from other dental instruments is the computer assists in a large portion of the process. Using scanning technology eliminates the need for our dentist to make impressions of your tooth and send them to a dental lab. Because you do not need to wait on your new crown to arrive from an offsite dental lab, you can skip the temporary crown which you typically wore for two weeks. The CEREC unit uses a single block of durable ceramic material and crafts your crown in our office.

The process condenses what was once a two or three visit procedure into a few steps.

• The process for same day crowns starts with our dentist clearing away the problematic filling or any dead or decaying tissue from your tooth. Patients usually get a local anesthetic, so they are numb during this removal of the filling or the decaying material.

• Our CEREC device’s camera scans your tooth and makes a three-dimensional image of your tooth.

• CEREC uses the image to design plans for your new crown.

• Once the plans for your restoration are complete, the CEREC milling unit crafts your new crown from an individual ceramic block.

• Our dentist double checks the crown and its fit, and then the crown is affixed to the tooth with a permanent bonding agent. Your new crown is complete.

Our patients are extremely happy with crowns in a single visit. If you would like to get more information about the procedure or the technology, contact our office and our staff will gladly assist you.

Steps in Getting Invisalign

smiling girl with tooth tray

In 1998, our San Francisco dentist began sharing the advanced technology of Invisalign with our patients. As one of the first in the area to become a certified by Invisalign’s creator, our dentist is an expert in Invisalign treatment. Since that time, countless patients trusted our dentist to guide them through the Invisalign process.

Getting Invisalign is straightforward, but it does involve a few steps.

• Consultation-
During your no-obligation consultation with our dentist, you can ask questions and find out more about the Invisalign treatment system. At the same time, our Invisalign dentist in San Francisco will evaluate you to be sure that this is the best orthodontic treatment for your teeth. You will also discuss what you can expect going forward with Invisalign.

• Impressions and Registrations-
To create your care plan, our dentist will take optical impressions of your teeth. These go to the Invisalign lab, where they are the basis for your alignment trays. At this time our dentist also takes what is called a bite registration. This is an image of how your teeth fit together. It is valuable information which will help guide your care plan. Your information then goes to Invisalign where they create your custom aligners.

• Getting Your Invisalign Alignment Trays-
In approximately 4-6 weeks your aligners are complete and ready for you to wear. While the exact number of trays depends on individual circumstances, most patients receive between 20-30 sets of upper and lower aligners, although 25 is the average number of aligner trays for most patients.

• Fitting and Instructions-
Our dentist will give you the first alignment tray while you are in the office. This helps him be sure that the fit is correct and that you are comfortable with the trays. You will also get written instructions regarding the care and use of your Invisalign aligners. Our dentist will also attach tiny tooth colored buttons to several of your teeth. These align with small holes in the alignment trays and help to keep aligners securely attached.

You will visit our office periodically for quick check-ups and your newest alignment trays. If you have any questions about any aspect of your Invisalign treatment, do not hesitate to contact our office.

Teeth Whitening Options

Beautiful young couple relaxing

When it comes to teeth whitening today, there are options for just about every smile. Whether teeth have mild, superficial stains or deeper stains inside the structure of the tooth, the right teeth whitening method can eliminate the stains and transform the smile. Our cosmetic dentists offer a variety of teeth whitening options to help our patients get the smiles they want.

The Causes of Discolored Teeth

Most discoloration develops in one of two ways. First, enamel can thin over time due to acid erosion, aggressive brushing or age. As the enamel becomes thinner, it allows more of the darker underlying dentin layer to show through, and this makes teeth look dark and dingy. Second, foods and drinks can also stain teeth. Microscopic cracks in the enamel allow color-depositing substances to pass through, and the stains can penetrate deep into the enamel where brushing cannot reach. Common staining substances include coffee, wine, tea and nicotine.

Teeth can also become discolored due to internal factors. Called intrinsic stains, these factors can include medicine, excess fluoride consumption and dental trauma.

Whitening Options

Whitening Toothpaste

A whitening toothpaste typically contains abrasive substances designed to scrub away superficial stains. Used consistently, whitening toothpaste can help keep teeth brighter, but it cannot penetrate the enamel to break up the stains inside.

Whitening Strips

Over-the-counter whitening strips are a popular choice. The thin plastic sheets are coated with peroxide at attached to teeth daily for up to two weeks. They are convenient and easy to use, but they can only lighten teeth one or two shades.

Tray-Based Whitening Systems

These systems are professionally supervised, which means that patients can enjoy more customized results. The tray is typically fit to the patient’s teeth, and it is used with a prescription-strength whitening gel. Patients will wear the trays daily for one to three weeks. The process takes longer, but patients can enjoy a gradual lightening of five or more shades.

Laser Teeth Whitening

This in-office procedure offers the fastest, most effective results and is professionally administered. Our dentist applies the whitening gel directly to teeth and uses a special laser to activate the gel. This type of whitening can penetrate far into the enamel and break up even long-standing stains. After a single one-hour treatment, teeth can be up to eight to 10 shades lighter.

Contact our teeth whitening dentist in San Francisco today to schedule a teeth whitening consultation.

Do Porcelain Crowns Get Stained?

If you’re the recent recipient of one or more new dental crowns, chances are you have many questions regarding the best way to maintain them. While our cosmetic dentist has probably already gone over many of the basics with you, one frequent point of confusion is whether they are easily stained.

 

Crowning is a popular method of tooth restoration. It involves the use of a small cap, or crown, designed to emulate the look of a real, natural tooth. The fractured or damage tooth is cleaned and filed down to allow the incoming replacement to fit snugly in its place. After being reshaped, a physical impression is taken and sent to a dental lab, where the cradle of the crown will be customized. At that point, an appropriate false tooth will be sculpted out of ceramic and fired in a kiln. In two to three weeks, you’ll be brought back into the office and the crown will be tested against your bite, adjusted, aligned, and affixed permanently in place. You may be given a temporary crown to protect the raw, exposed original in the meantime.

 

Porcelain is generally regarded as the best material to use in tooth restoration, especially in places where the replacement will be seen easily.  Unlike composite resin, porcelain is quite resistant to damage and discoloration. However, there are many ways in which your new porcelain crowns can acquire an undesirable cast. Overly abrasive toothpaste, for example, can erode the surface of the crown in a way that is incongruous with real teeth that surround it. Cigarettes, acidic foods and beverages, excessive vomiting, and other such environmental factors can contribute to this process significantly.

 

Unfortunately, bleaching and other traditional whitening methods are not effective on porcelain; in fact, attempting to whiten them will probably set the off-color crown even more at odds with the surrounding teeth as they respond to treatment and the fake one does not. Porcelain dental fixtures, however, are more expensive for a reason: out of all the options available to you, porcelain is the one that is most resistant to both damage and staining. Avoiding habits that can stain your crowns is always the best preventative measure. Aging and normal wear and tear can still cause porcelain crowns to lose their luster over time and even become damaged. In instances like this, our dentist will need to clean them professionally and in some cases even replace them entirely.

How to Take Care of Porcelain Veneers

Young business woman smiling

Porcelain veneers are a versatile cosmetic restoration that can correct chipped, crooked, stained, cracked or gapped teeth. The porcelain imitates the look of natural dental enamel and gives you an aesthetically pleasing smile. Our cosmetic dentist in San Francisco can determine your candidacy for veneers and help you design the smile of your dreams.

Once veneers have been applied, they do need to be maintained to maximize their lifespan. While you don’t need to implement any special routines to keep them looking beautiful, you do need to take care of them. Chewing on nonfood items such as pencils, fingernails or ice can damage them just like it can damage your natural teeth. Inconsistent brushing and flossing can lead to plaque and tartar buildup, which can decay the teeth underneath them and weaken the bond, leading to premature failure of the veneer. Schedule regular dental cleanings to remove the buildup in the areas that are harder to reach.

“Dental veneers have a highly glazed and polished outer surface. You need to choose a toothpaste that in non abrasive and stay away from tartar control toothpastes as they can create micro scratches on the surface of the veneers, which can lead to future staining of the veneers” says our dentist.

Porcelain veneers are highly stain-resistant, so you can keep eating and drinking your favorite foods. Skip alcohol-based mouthwashes, which can damage the bonding securing the veneers to your teeth, and use a fluoride mouthwash or other recommended mouthwash. Call our office today to schedule a consultation with our porcelain veneers dentist in San Francisco.

Common Dental Emergencies and How to Prepare for Them

0428

Accidents tend to happen when you least expect them, so being prepared for the most common dental emergencies can ensure that you have the best chance of preserving your smile. Your first step is to assemble a dental first aid kit with over-the-counter pain medication, salt for salt water, clean gauze to stop bleeding, and a tooth preservation kit. You should also make sure that you have the phone number for our office so that you can call our San Francisco dentist in both your kit and your phone. Here are the steps you should take in these common emergency situations.

1.    Chipped or broken teeth
Teeth are strong, but they can be damaged when you bite down on something hard, experience a hit in the mouth, or fall. You cannot repair a chipped tooth at home, but you can rinse your mouth with salt water to relieve discomfort. Take over-the-counter pain medication if the tooth is painful. Call us right away to schedule an appointment. The tooth will need a filling or crown.

2.    Soft tissue injury
Biting your tongue, lip, or another part of your mouth hurts, but this is rarely a serious dental emergency. Use a cold compress to reduce swelling, and rinse your mouth if necessary. The bleeding should stop on its own, but if it does not, call us.

3.    A knocked-out tooth
This is an uncommon, but very serious dental injury. Pick the tooth up by the crown and carefully rinse it. If you can put it back in its socket, do so. Otherwise, put it in milk or a tooth preservation kit, and then get to our office as soon as possible. The tooth may be able to be saved, but if it cannot, we can restore your smile with a dental implant or similar option.

If you have a dental emergency in San Francisco, call our office right away to see our dentist and save your smile.