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Mission Viejo Cosmetic Dentist Procedures




Bonding
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An alternative to veneers is a process called bonding, in which a tooth-colored material that looks like the enamel of your teeth is molded and shaped, and then hardened and polished. Bonding can be used to improve the color of a tooth, or close unsightly gaps.

Bonding is generally not as permanent a process as veneers, and can be vulnerable to the same kind of staining your natural teeth are prone to. Bonding can also be more prone to chips and cracks than veneers.

Caps are generally preferred to bonding when such a procedure isn't deemed to be effective in the long run.





Cosmetic Contouring
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Teeth can become crooked, chipped, cracked, and even overlap as a result of many factors, including traumatic injury, bruxism (grinding) or even heredity.

Cosmetic contouring and reshaping procedures can remedy, and in many cases, greatly improve these conditions.

For example, an uneven or crooked tooth can be gently reshaped by removing a small amount of enamel, to correct the alignment.





Cosmetic Filings
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There are alternative, natural-looking materials to conventional silver-colored fillings – materials made from porcelain and composite resins, which are colored to match natural tooth enamel. Unfortunately, few materials can match the strength and durability of dental amalgam and such, may need more frequent replacement. Common amalgam alternatives include:

  • Composite fillings -- As stated, composite fillings are just what the name implies: a mixture of resins and fine particles designed to mimic the color of natural teeth. While not as strong as dental amalgam, composite fillings provide a pleasing aesthetic alternative. Sometimes, composite resins need to be cemented, or bonded to a tooth to allow for better adhesion.
  • Ionomers -- Like composite resins, these materials are tooth-colored. Ionomers are made from a combination of various materials, including ground glass and acrylic resins. Ionomers are typically used for fillings near the gum line or tooth root, where biting pressure is not a factor. They are more fragile than dental amalgam, however. A small amount of fluoride is released by these compounds in order to facilitate strengthened enamel in the affected area.
  • Porcelain (ceramic) -- This material is usually a combination of porcelain, glass powder and ceramic. Candidates for porcelain fillings are typically crowns, veneers and onlays and inlays. Unlike ionomers, porcelain fillings are more durable but can become fractured if exposed to prolonged biting pressures.





Crowns and Bridges
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Bridges
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Bridges are natural-looking dental appliances that can replace a section of missing teeth. Because they are custom-made, bridges are barely noticeable and can restore the natural contour of teeth as well as the proper bite relationship between upper and lower teeth.

Bridges are sometimes referred to as fixed partial dentures, because they are semi-permanent and are bonded to existing teeth or implants. Some bridges are removable and can be cleaned by the wearer; others need to be removed by a dentist.

Porcelain, gold alloys or combinations of materials are usually used to make bridge appliances.

Appliances called “implant bridges” are attached to an area below the gum tissue, or the bone.

Dentures are designed to replace missing teeth, and are worn by millions of Americans. Technological advancements have resulted in dentures that are lightweight and mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. Most dentures are made from a combination of metals and synthetic material such as acrylic resin.

Crowns

Crowns are synthetic caps, usually made of a material like porcelain, placed on the top of a tooth.

Crowns are typically used to restore a tooth's function and appearance following a restorative procedure such as a root canal. When decay in a tooth has become so advanced that large portions of the tooth must be removed, crowns are often used to restore the tooth.

Crowns are also used to attach bridges, cover implants, prevent a cracked tooth from becoming worse, or an existing filling is in jeopardy of becoming loose or dislocated. Crowns also serve an aesthetic use, and are applied when a discolored or stained tooth needs to be restored to its natural appearance.

Procedures

A tooth must usually be reduced in size to accommodate a crown. An impression is made of the existing tooth and an impression is made. The impression is sent to a special lab, which manufactures a custom-designed crown. In some cases, a temporary crown is applied until the permanent crown is ready. Permanent crowns are cemented in place.

Crowns are sometimes confused with veneers, but they are quite different. Veneers are typically applied only to relatively small areas.

Caring For Your Crowns

With proper care, a good quality crown could last up to eight years or longer. It is very important to floss in the area of the crown to avoid excess plaque or collection of debris around the restoration.

Certain behaviors such as jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding) significantly shorten the life of a crown. Moreover, eating brittle foods, ice or hard candy can compromise the adhesion of the crown, or even damage the crown.

Crown Lengthening
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People who have a “gummy” smile are afflicted by an appearance that has too little teeth and too much gums. A procedure called crown lengthening is performed to reshape gums and bone tissue. This is done to expose more of the teeth underneath.

In some cases, dentists perform crown lengthening as part of more complex procedure that entails bridge and crown work. For example, a tooth may need to be “lengthened” to make bridge or crown procedure more effective.




Excessive or Uneven Gums
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Many people inherit the problem of excessive or uneven gums.

A cosmetic surgical procedure called a gum lift can be used to correct this problem.

Some abnormalities, as well as advanced gum disease that cannot be treated periodontically or non-surgically, may require application of soft tissue grafts. Such procedures can be used to cover an exposed root or correct uneven gum lines.

Ridge Augmentation
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Ridge augmentation is a procedure that can shore up dents and other abnormalities in your gum line. People who lose a tooth, for example, may eventually develop a small indentation where the original tooth was located; this sometimes creates an uneven or unsightly gum line. Even if the tooth is replaced, the preceding shrinkage of the gum may cause the replacement tooth to look longer than the others.




Grafts
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Soft tissue grafts are small pieces of tissue taken from other areas such as the palate and surgically implanted in the affected area. Grafts can correct dental deformities and other problems such as severe gum disease, as well as cover exposed roots, stop bone loss, the recession of gums, and even reduce pain-causing root sensitivity.

Replacement of Lost Gum Tissue
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Replacing lost gum tissue can restore the natural contour of your smile.

Gum tissue can change or even shrink. There are many reasons for this, including receding gums (from gingivitis or periodontal disease), and loss of one or more teeth (which causes tooth-less gum tissue to shrink).

Gum tissue can be augmented or replaced by a variety of means, including soft tissue grafts, which are small pieces of tissue taken from other areas such as the palate and surgically implanted in the affected area. Gum augmentation procedures can also be used to cover painful, exposed tooth roots.




Implants
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Before development of dental implants, dentures were the only alternative to replacing a missing tooth or teeth. Implants are synthetic structures that are placed in the area of the tooth normally occupied by the root. Implants are anchored to the jawbone or metal framework on the bone and act as a foundation for an artificial tooth or permanent bridge. In some cases, implants can be used to attach dentures.

Not everyone is a candidate for a dental implant. For a successful implant to take hold, a candidate must have proper bone density and have a strong immune system.

Implants are so well-designed, they mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. Implants are usually made of titanium.

In general, good candidates who have dental implants can expect high success rates with the procedure.

The procedure can take several visits. During the first visit, an anchor is placed into the jawbone and the site is allowed to heal for several weeks or months. This gives your tissue time to grow around the anchor to more firmly hold it in place.

During a follow-up visit, an artificial, natural-looking tooth is fitted over the implanted anchor.

Types of implants

Various types of implants include full upper and lower, anterior, posterior, and single-tooth:

Full upper replacements

The upper set of teeth is replaced with implants. Procedure steps include:

  • Missing tooth roots are replaced with implants, which are covered under the gum line.
  • A healing period of up to six months allows implants to take.
  • The implants are uncovered and extensions attached.
  • Replacement teeth are affixed to the implants and extensions.

In some cases, full upper replacements can be removed.

Anterior replacement

Implants are used to replace the front teeth (also called incisors and cuspids). Procedure steps include:

  • Missing tooth roots are replaced with implants, which are covered under the gum line.
  • A healing period of up to six months allows implants to take.
  • The implants are uncovered and extensions attached.
  • Replacement teeth are affixed to the implants and extensions.

Full lower replacement

The lower set of teeth is replaced with implants. Full lower replacement usually only uses four to six implants (near the front), which are used to anchor a denture. This obviates the need for denture adhesive.

Posterior replacement

Implants are used to replace the bicuspids and molars (the back teeth). Procedure steps include:

  • Missing tooth roots are replaced with implants, which are covered under the gum line.
  • A healing period of up to six months allows implants to take.
  • The implants are uncovered and extensions attached.
  • Replacement teeth are affixed to the implants and extensions.

Single tooth replacement

Procedure steps include:

  • Missing tooth root is replaced with an implant, which remains covered under the gum line.
  • A healing period of up to six months allows the implant to take.
  • The implant is uncovered and an extension attached.
  • Replacement tooth is affixed to the implant and extension.


Smoking and Implants
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With all of the detrimental effects of smoking, did you know that it also can lead to premature tooth loss?

Numerous studies have shown that long-term tobacco use (cigarettes and chew) can not only cause periodontal (gum) disease, cause gums to recede and bone tissue to gradually disintegrate.

People who have dental implants are strongly discouraged from smoking, because smoking can cause acute tissue inflammation near the place where the implant is anchored to the jaw, which can cause the implant to eventually fail. This condition is called “peri-implantitis.”




Invisilign
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Invisalign's® invisible, removable, and comfortable aligners will give you the beautiful straight teeth you've always wanted. And best of all, no one can tell you're wearing them. Invisalign is great for adults and teenagers.

What is Invisalign®?

  • Invisalign® is the invisible way to straighten your teeth without braces.
  • Invisalign® uses a series of clear, removable aligners to straighten your teeth without metal wires or brackets
  • Invisalign® has been proven effective in clinical research and in orthodontic practices nationwide.

How Does Invisalign® Work?

  • You wear each set of aligners for about 2 weeks, removing them only to eat, drink, brush, and floss.
  • As you replace each aligner with the next in the series, your teeth will move little by little, week by week - until they have straightened to the their final position
  • You'll visit us about once every 6 weeks to ensure that your treatment is progressing as planned.
  • Total treatment time averages 9 - 15 months and the average number of aligners during treatment is between 18 - 30, but both will vary from case to case.

How Are Aligners Made? You'd Be Amazed...

  • The aligners are made through a combination of our expertise and 3-D computer imaging technology.

Visit the Invisalign® website




Odyssey Diode Laser
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As dentists strive to create the perfect smile, they are often compromised by the technology they use in their practice. Respected leaders from the dental profession and dental equipment manufacturers have sought to identify the most practical and least invasive technology available to deliver restorative and preventive care. Today, thanks to continuing efforts by these industry leaders, we have seen the introduction of many new devices that have advanced the dentist's ability to perform at the highest standards. The ODYSSEY 2.4G DIODE LASER represents the latest solid state diode laser technology available for soft tissue modification and preventative care.

Examples of procedures that are routinely performed with the Odyssey Laser are:

  • -Clinical crown lengthening
  • -Soft tissue debridement
  • -Orthodontic tissue control
  • -Frenum release
  • -Biopsies
  • -Cold sore treatment
  • -Implant access





Speciality Dentures
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Dentures are designed to replace missing teeth, and are worn by millions of Americans. Technological advancements have resulted in dentures that are lightweight and mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. Most dentures are made from a combination of metals and synthetic material such as acrylic resin.

Types of dentures

Dentures are generally classified as partial or full. Partial dentures are designed to replace a small section of teeth, and help prevent existing healthy natural teeth from shifting position; full dentures generally replace an entire set of teeth such as upper and lower dentures.

Many candidates for conventional dentures (also called “immediate” dentures) are able to wear the appliances immediately following removal of affected natural teeth.

Before immediate dentures are worn, a mold of the patient’s mouth – specifically the jaws – must be made in order for the dentures to be customized for the individual.

Partial dentures, also sometimes called “overdentures,” are designed to fit over a small section of implants or natural teeth. Partial dentures are characteristic by their pinkish gum-like plastic bases, on to which replacement teeth are attached. Small clasps are used to attach the denture to existing teeth. Some clasps, which can be more expensive, are made of natural-looking material that is hard-to-detect.

In some cases, a crown will be installed on an existing healthy tooth to facilitate a better hold for the clasp.

How are dentures made?

Denture candidates can expect to have their appliances fitted after about five visits. The process takes about a month.

During the first visit after diagnosis, your mouth and jaw are measured and an impression is made. The impression is critical for ensuring proper bite relationship, as well as the proper relationship of the appliance to the size of your face.

After the impression is made, a temporary set of dentures may be applied so the patient can ensure that the fit, color and shape are suitable.

Getting used to your denture

New dentures do take some time getting used to. Wearers can expect this period of adjustment to last as long as two months.

Some denture wearers need to wear their dentures without removing them for a certain period of time. This allows your dentist to make the critical initial adjustments for proper fit, and to identify any pressure points that may be causing discomfort.

Care of your denture

Dentures today are made from very advanced materials designed to give you a natural appearance.

However, keep in mind that just like your teeth, dentures should be cared for with diligence. This means daily brushing and regular visits to your dentist for minor adjustments.

Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be cleansed of plaque, food particles and other debris. Keeping your dentures in top shape will also help keep the soft tissues of your mouth healthy; an unclean or malformed denture can cause infections and irritation.

Remember to rinse and brush your dentures after every meal, and soak them in denture solution overnight. This also allows your gums to breathe while you sleep.

Here are some simple techniques for keeping your dentures clean:

  • People can brush their dentures in a variety of ways. Some people use soap and water or a slightly abrasive toothpaste. Popular denture pastes and creams also can be used.
  • Avoid using highly abrasive chemicals or pastes, or vigorously brushing with hard bristled toothbrushes. These can scratch or even crack dentures.
  • Hold your dentures gently to avoid loosening a tooth.
  • Clean your dentures with cool or tepid water over a water-filled sink. Hot water may warp a denture. A small washcloth placed in the bottom of the bowl will ensure that your denture isn’t damaged if it falls.
  • Soak your dentures overnight in any commercially available product like Efferdent or Polident and remember to rinse your dentures before placing them back in your mouth.
  • Remember to use a separate toothbrush to clean your own natural teeth, as well as all of your gum tissues. In lieu of a toothbrush, a soft washcloth may be used to wipe your gums.

Over time, even daily care of your dentures may require them to be cleaned by the dentist. A powerful ultrasonic cleaner may be used to remove hard accumulations of tartar and other substances.

Adjustments

People’s mouths undergo change all of the time. Gums change shape; in many cases, gums tend to shrink over time after teeth have been extracted.

Most denture wearers experience a break-in period of as long as two months, during which the tissues surrounding their extracted teeth must heal. Conventional denture wearers must periodically visit their dentist to have the appliances adjusted. This is because patient’s gums sometimes change shape or shrink; moreover, daily maintenance of the appliances over time may also obviate the need for minor adjustments.

Adjustments are critical because a loose-fitting appliance, or one that has not been adjusted to compensate for gum or jaw changes could cause pressure points, leading to mouth sores and possible infection. Regular dental visits also provide an opportunity to replace or repair loose teeth, or make small repairs to dentures that may have become chipped or cracked.

Over the long run, the base of a denture may need to be “re-lined” because of wear and tear from constantly rubbing against your soft palate or roof of your mouth.

Common concerns

Technology advancements have made dentures very natural looking; however, it is only natural for first-time denture wearers to be self-conscious about their appearance and speech. Over time, a denture wearer’s confidence level increases, and this usually ceases to be an issue.

Like any new thing, caring for dentures takes practice.

Under normal circumstances, denture wearers can eat most foods with confidence that their appliance will not shift. Caution must be taken, however, to avoid certain kinds of hot, hard, crunchy, chewy or sticky foods. During the break-in period, denture wearers are usually advised to eat on both sides of their mouth so the appliances don’t get out of balance, or tip to one side.

Denture adhesives

In general, dentures that fit well may still need a small measure of help staying put. A good quality denture adhesive is acceptable. Older, poorly fitting dentures may damage the soft tissues of the mouth, and should be replaced as soon as possible.




Veneers
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In just two or three dental visits, a veneer can reverse years of stains caused by foods, caffeine and tobacco use.

Special thin laminates, called veneers, can often be used to correct discolored, worn down, cracked and chipped teeth. Veneers can also be used to close unsightly gaps between teeth.

An impression of the tooth must be made and a veneer molded by a lab technician. Because veneers require a small amount of enamel to be removed, they are permanent and non-reversible.

The process involves buffing the tooth, removing an extremely thin layer of the tooth to allow for the thickness of the veneer, an impression of the tooth, and final bonding of the veneer to the tooth with special cement. A special light is used to complete the process.

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