What Exactly Is A Porcelain Veneer?

Dentists get this question a lot.  While most people have heard of veneers, many do not really know what they are.  In dentistry, a veneer refers to a thin piece of porcelain which is bonded to the front of a tooth (kind of like a false fingernail).  Porcelain is brittle like glass.  But when it is bonded to a tooth, it becomes much harder to break, similar to a slab of glass sitting on a dining room table. I’ve been placing veneers since 1987, and I have one on one of my front teeth which was placed that same year.  Veneers are used for many different situations.  They can be used to repair worn, chipped or broken teeth, as long as there is enough natural tooth left to support them.  They can close gaps between teeth.  They can make small teeth larger.  They can cover dark stained teeth.  And they can make teeth appear straighter than they are.  This is why they are often used in cosmetic dentistry. How thin are veneers?  Well, it depends on what they are being used for.  I’ll discuss more about this in an upcoming blog post. Dr. Steve Dr. Steve Dr. Steven Lee graduated from the UCLA School of Dentistry in 1985. He was a dental examiner on the National Health and Nutrition Exam Survey (NHANES III). And he is the leader of the American River Study Club. Dr. Lee has been practicing general dentistry in Roseville CA for the last 18...

Healthy Teeth and Gums- Prevention is the Key

Healthy Tan Airbrush Tanning Studio in Rocklin just posted a blog which is a slightly edited version of one of our articles on preventing dental disease: http://healthytanairbrushtanning.com/blog/2010/10/october-think-healthy-healthy-teeth-gums-prevention/ Airbrush tanning is a safer alternative to sunbathing.  They are committed to health through prevention, which is why they asked to post this article.  So if you want a healthy tan without the risk of sunbathing or tanning booths, go see them! Dr. Steve Dr. Steve Dr. Steven Lee graduated from the UCLA School of Dentistry in 1985. He was a dental examiner on the National Health and Nutrition Exam Survey (NHANES III). And he is the leader of the American River Study Club. Dr. Lee has been practicing general dentistry in Roseville CA for the last 18...

Tooth Replacement II- Implant or Partial Denture?

Right after posting the blog about “implant or bridge?”, I saw this forum question on About.com about implants versus partial denture.  Here is my response: “I am a dentist in Roseville, CA.  Your questions are good ones.  In general, the three options for replacing missing teeth are implants, bridges (or fixed dentures) and partials (removable dentures).  They all have advantages and disadvantages.  You said you do not want bridges, so we’ll rule that one out. The advantage to implants is that it is like having your own teeth.  They don’t come out, and you can chew normally on them.  But they are the most costly option. The advantage to partials dentures is that they are the most economical option, especially if you are replacing multiple teeth.  But they are removable, which means they tend to trap food underneath them when you are eating and you cannot chew as hard on them, since they are at least partially supported by the gum tissues.  I call them “gum mashers”. Most people adapt well to partial dentures, but there are some people who don’t and end up putting them in the drawer to be found years later.  Unfortunately, the only way for you to tell how YOU will do with them is to get a set. If you do decide to get partials, there are three types.  A metal framework partial is the strongest and longest lasting and you can chew the hardest on them, since the metal framework transfers some of the chewing force to adjacent teeth.  An acrylic and wire partial is the least expensive, but it is strictly a...

Tooth Replacement- Implant or Bridge?

When someone loses a tooth, there are several options for replacing it.  Here in Roseville and Granite Bay, many people can afford a fixed option for tooth replacement.  One of the most common questions dentists get these days is whether a tooth should be replaced with an implant or a bridge.  There is some debate in the dental community as to which is ultimately better.  As with most things, each has advantages which means sometimes an implant is the better choice and sometimes a bridge is the better choice. An implant is an artificial root, usually made of titanium,  which is surgically placed into the jawbone.  When the bone grows around it and is holding it tight, a crown can be placed on it, effectively replacing the tooth.  The main advantages of an implant are: -Nothing needs to be done to the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. -Since it is not attached to the teeth on either side, it can be flossed like a natural tooth. -You never have to worry about getting decay on an implant (but it is possible to get something like gum disease, or bone loss, around an implant). A bridge involves preparing the teeth on either side for crowns.  Then a bridge is made of crowns to cover those teeth with a false tooth attached between them.  The main advantages of a bridge are: -No surgeries are involved. -Less expensive than implants (and dental insurance coverage is better than for implants). -Can be completed in a few weeks, rather than several months. Other factors to consider include: -Do adjacent teeth already...

Guidelines For Baby Teeth

Here’s a good article about baby teeth posted on About.com:Dental Care.  First, and most importantly, they point out that baby teeth are important to keep because they hold the proper space for the permanent teeth to erupt.  In addition, an abscessed baby tooth can damage the permanent tooth forming in the bone below it.  So keep sugar out of your kids’ mouths between meals, especially at bedtime!  Remember that milk sugar and fruit sugar can cause decay in young kids’ teeth as well as table sugar. As for brushing with toothpaste, the most important thing is to control how much toothpaste is being put onto the brush.  Kids are going to swallow some of the paste no matter what you do.  The American Dental Association takes that into account when they revised their fluoride tablet recommendations for people who don’t have fluoride in their water.  So put a pea-sized amount of paste on their brush and let them go to town. We also think it’s important to get kids into the habit of flossing their teeth as young as possible.  The best way to do this is to floss your own teeth at the same time everyday and let them watch.  Create a family flossing time.  This can also be the best way to get parents to floss regularly!  It’s not so important that they do a great job of it, just yet.  Get them into a good habit now, and they can work on technique when they get older. So taking care of baby teeth is important for the normal development of the permanent teeth.  And doing so...

Sports Drinks- Bad For Teeth/Good For Hydration?

It’s summer and as a dentist in Roseville CA I’m constantly reminding people that sports drinks contain enough sugar (about half that of soft drinks) to cause tooth decay.  But do their rehydration benefits outweigh the toll they take on teeth?  Most experts believe that water is actually the best way to rehydrate, especially if your workout is 1-2 hours or less. What about replenishing electrolytes for longer workouts?   Latest research seems to show that regular foods do just as good of a job at replenishing lost electrolytes for those that do long distance training.  Bananas are a good source of potassium, and so are potatoes, orange juice, white beans, yogurt  and raisins.  For sodium, a bag of chips or peanuts will more than do.  As for sugar/carbohydrates, fruit and fruit juices work nicely. There’s no question that from a dental perspective, commercial sports drinks are bad for your teeth.  And there are other, possibly better, ways to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes.  So we strongly advise avoiding them.  What do  you think? Dr. Steve Dr. Steve Dr. Steven Lee graduated from the UCLA School of Dentistry in 1985. He was a dental examiner on the National Health and Nutrition Exam Survey (NHANES III). And he is the leader of the American River Study Club. Dr. Lee has been practicing general dentistry in Roseville CA for the last 18...