Monthly Archives: June 2017

A Smile Makeover Depends on Balancing Technique with Beauty

makeover.

“Redesigning” a smile is a lot like remodeling a house: the technicalities of construction must blend seamlessly with what is perceived as elegant and beautiful. The first aspect — the proper materials and techniques to achieve a sound restoration — is absolutely crucial. But the aesthetic is just as important for assuring the final restoration evokes beauty and style.

Balancing these two aspects of a smile makeover requires thoughtful intent and planning. What may be pleasing aesthetically may not be technically feasible; but what may be technically sound may not have that sought-after “curb appeal.”

You and your dentist must work together to achieve the successful blending of these two aspects. That’s why it’s important for you to have full confidence in your dentist: that he or she is both technically skilled and experienced in cosmetic procedures and artistically aware of what will look best aesthetically.

The first step in your makeover is a thorough dental examination to determine the overall state of your oral health. With this “bigger picture,” your dentist will have a better understanding of what’s possible and practical for you and your situation. The exam may also reveal problems that should be treated first before any cosmetic work.

From there, you must communicate clearly to your dentist what you perceive as wrong with your smile and what you would like to have changed. While there are general principles of beauty best followed, your dental work could hypothetically take different paths depending on your desires and expectations. You might prefer a more “sexy” look or one that’s “sophisticated.” Or perhaps you only want subtle changes that still retain features expressing your individuality.

Ultimately, though, your expectations must line up with reality. Much like your house contractor, your dentist will advise you on what’s both practical and possible. And with their experience in smile enhancement, they can also help you determine what will look most attractive given your facial structure and features.

With this preliminary planning, you can be confident as the work proceeds that the end of the project will be both exciting and satisfying. And just as with your newly renovated home, you’ll be more than happy to share your smile with others.

If you would like more information on enhancing your smile through cosmetic dentistry, please contact us by calling (815) 741-1700 for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry.”

Benefits of Seeing a Prosthodontist

prosthodontists.

What do architects and prosthodontists have in common? An architect designs buildings with both function and aesthetics in mind; a prosthodontist designs tooth restorations for optimal function and aesthetic appeal. In fact, prosthodontists are sometimes called “smile architects,” and are able to restore damaged or missing tooth and jaw structures with dentures, crowns, bridges, veneers, and other techniques.

Prosthodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.  This specialty focuses on using oral prosthetics (artificial teeth, for example) to restore your smile in the most aesthetically pleasing way. The benefits of seeing a prosthodontist include:

Extensive training
After graduating from dental school, prosthodontists complete an additional 3-year program that provides in-depth training and clinical practice. Their training includes cosmetic dental procedures; diagnosis and treatment of TMJ/TMD (jaw-joint disorders) and sleep disorders; and facial reconstruction due to oral cancer, an accident or a deformity from birth.

Large-scale experience
Prosthodontists limit their practice to the restoration of teeth, gums and associated oral structures, and have extensive clinical experience in this area. Like other specialists, a prosthodontist is more likely to be familiar with state-of-the-art techniques and technology in this rapidly advancing field. Further, prosthodontists are in close communication with dental laboratory technicians to coordinate the best custom restoration for each patient.

Team leadership
Some oral health problems require multi-step procedures carried out by a team of dental professionals, including oral surgeons, periodontists, general dentists, laboratory technicians and dental hygienists. A prosthodontist is often the point person who devises an overall treatment plan and coordinates the sequence of procedures with the various health professionals.

Attention to aesthetics
In prosthodontics, oral function and cosmetic dentistry go hand in hand. Prosthodontists have a deep understanding of what goes into a beautiful, functional smile—and their clinical training and experience can help you get the best results from dental treatment.

Prosthodontists have special expertise in the treatment of missing or damaged teeth, complex problems that require full-mouth reconstruction, and many other restorative dental procedures. If you have any questions about the specialty, please contact us by calling (815) 741-1700 for a consultation.

Consider Bone Health When Deciding Between Implants and Dentures

bone.

Losing permanent teeth is never good — unlike primary teeth, no natural replacements wait in the wings. But the good news is you have a number of options for replacing them with life-like prosthetic (false) teeth.

Today’s premier choice is dental implants, preferred by dentists and patients alike for their durability and life-likeness. But because of their cost when replacing multiple teeth, many people opt for traditional dentures. And now dentures are easier to wear and maintain thanks to new, advanced materials and designs.

Still, there’s one major area where implants have the definite edge over dentures — long-term bone health. Older bone cells die and dissolve (resorb), replaced then by newly formed cells. Teeth help perpetuate this cycle through the forces generated when we chew that travel through the roots to stimulate the formation of new bone.

But because this stimulation through a tooth ends when it’s lost, new bone beneath the empty socket may not keep up with the resorption rate of older bone. As a result, you could lose as much as a quarter of normal bone width in just the first year after losing a tooth.

This bone loss will continue to accumulate even if you wear dentures, which can’t replicate the bone growth stimulation of natural teeth. What’s more, the constant pressure on the bony ridge of the gums can accelerate bone loss. Eventually, the firm, comfortable fit you first had with your dentures will become looser and less comfortable with the shrinking bone volume.

Implants, on the other hand, can stop bone loss and may even reverse it. This is because the titanium metal of an implant has a special affinity with bone cells that readily grow and adhere to it. This creates the anchorage responsible for the implant’s durability, but it’s also healthy for the bone.

Of course, this doesn’t have to be a binary choice between the two restorations thanks to a new hybrid advancement that combines implants with dentures. We can install as few as two implants to support a removable denture. You’ll enjoy greater stability, fit and durability with your dentures, while also improving bone health through the implants.

So before you decide on a dental restoration, be sure to discuss with us your implant options. Your oral health and appearance could benefit immensely.

If you would like more information on dental restoration, please contact us by calling (815) 741-1700 for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”