Archive for November 2018

Restore Your Teeth With Dental Bonding: Improve Chipped and Fractured Smiles

A minor cosmetic dentistry issue often feels anything but minor if you’re the one afflicted. Cracks, chips, discoloration or gaps can all lead to smile insecurity. Fortunately, dental bonding is a quick and simple solution for minor cosmetic dentistry woes that offers lasting results. There are a handful of benefits to dental bonding in comparison to other cosmetic restoration solutions, such as:

  • Ease of application
  • Affordability
  • Usually only requires one quick dentist visit
  • Removes less tooth enamel

Dental bonding is most effective for areas of the mouth with low bite pressure, like your front teeth, and for those who need only minor repair. If your dental issue is more severe or in an area of high bite pressure, your Ozark, MO dentist may suggest a veneer or crown.

Read on to see if dental bonding may be right for you and what to expect with this simple procedure.

Who Should Get Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding is ideal for those who are looking to:

  • Repair chipped or cracked teeth
  • Restore the appearance of discolored teeth
  • Close gaps between teeth
  • Change the shape of teeth or make them appear longer
  • Protect a tooth’s root that has become exposed due to gum recession

The professionals at Excel Dental use the latest technology and materials to provide dental bonding that offers superior fit, function, and aesthetics.

What to Expect

From start to finish, the entire dental bonding procedure typically takes about 45 minutes per treated tooth. Most people do not experience any pain or discomfort during the procedure, and numbing may not be required. Dental bonding is truly the quick and comfortable way toward a more beautiful smile!

Your Springfield, MO dentist will begin the dental bonding process by gently roughening your enamel to create a surface that is ideal for bonding.

A bonding resin is then color-matched to your natural teeth, making it virtually indistinguishable from your natural enamel. The resin is molded and hardened to fill cracks or chips in your teeth. With the help of a special light, the resin is then set to your teeth until the bonding has adhered perfectly and to your dentist’s satisfaction. Following the procedure, you may feel as though your tooth is thicker with the addition of the resin. Over time, this sensation will eventually subside.

Depending on the treated bite area and your quality of aftercare, dental bonding can last up to ten years.

Maintaining Your Dental Bonding

Ensure your bonding lasts with proper aftercare. Dental bonds are more susceptible to staining and chipping than other forms of cosmetic dentistry, so special care is required to keep your bonded teeth looking natural. Follow these tips to keep your dental bonds looking great:

  • Bonding material does not respond to whitening treatments, so maintain a vibrant smile overall with regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings. Additionally, you might want to consider cutting back on food and drink that can stain enamel, such as red wine, coffee, and tea.
  • If you’re a smoker, there’s no better time than now to quit. (Not to mention, smoking increases your risk of gum disease and oral cancer).
  • Avoid actions that can crack the bonded material, such as using your teeth to open food wrappers, biting your nails, and chewing on hard objects like candies, ice, and pencils.

If you notice sharp edges or if your teeth feel uneven when you bite down, a touch-up or repair may be necessary. Such procedures can be quickly corrected by Dr. Davis or Dr. Matthews at Excel Dental so you can get on with your day quickly!

Form a New Bond!

Form a bond with your new and improved smile. To discover if dental bonding is the right solution for you, schedule an appointment today with the trusted team at Excel Dental, Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri — just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.

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Have a Gummy Smile? The Solution is Gum Contouring.

If your smile shows a greater proportion of gums than teeth, you’re not alone. A “gummy smile” is a very common cosmetic complaint. Technically, a gummy smile is defined as a smile with more than three to four millimeters of gum showing. If you’re self-conscious about the look of your smile, there’s a solution called gum contouring that may be right for you.

Also called gum reshaping, tissue sculpting or gingivectomy, gum contouring can even out your gum line for a smile you’ll be proud to put on display. Although this procedure primarily helps patients whose gums are uneven or cover too much of their teeth, similar procedures can also correct cases where gums have receded, exposing more tooth surface than normal.

Read on to learn more about gum contouring and how this procedure can put your smile back in balance.

What Causes a “Gummy” Smile?

A gummy smile can be caused by a number of reasons. For instance, some people have a naturally occurring high lip line, which causes their smile to show more teeth and gum. A gummy smile can also be caused by bacterial infections, side effects to medication, certain medical conditions or poor oral hygiene, causing the gums to abnormally swell and appear larger than usual.

Additionally, a condition called “altered passive eruption” can prevent adult teeth from fully protruding, leaving teeth looking unusually small and partially hidden by excess gum tissue.

Hereditary causes of a gummy smile usually don’t pose serious health problems, beyond being a cosmetic concern to some. Health issues do arise, however, when there is too little gum (or gum recession). Besides causing teeth to look elongated or discolored, receding gums expose the roots of your teeth to harmful bacteria and plaque. A higher risk for gum recession is sometimes caused by genetics, but more often it’s caused by overzealous toothbrushing or periodontal (gum) disease.

Your dental professionals at Excel Dental will examine your teeth and gums to determine the root cause of your concern. From there, an appropriate treatment plan will be developed to address your unique gum issue.

How Gum Contouring Works

Before your procedure to treat an excess gum line, you’ll receive a mild local anesthetic to gently numb your gums. While most patients experience little to no pain during this procedure, you may feel some sensitivity in your gums afterward, which can be remedied with over-the-counter pain relievers.

 Once your gums are numbed, a soft tissue laser is used to carefully strip away the excess gum tissue. The laser is used to contour, graft, and then seal the tissue to create a more uniform gum line and prevent excessive bleeding. Careful approximation to bone height and health is very important to this procedure.

 Treatment of gum recession is usually a more involved procedure, which requires grafting your own gum tissue from a nearby tooth or part of the palate in order to cover the recessed area. The surgical site from a gum graft typically takes about six weeks to heal. You can avoid most cases of gum recession by practicing good oral hygiene. Remember to clean your gums as well and often as you clean your teeth to prevent the need for this type of corrective gum surgery.

 In some cases, your Ozark, MO dentist may also recommend a crown lengthening. In this procedure, part of the gum and some of the underlying bone are removed to change the actual anatomy of your teeth.

What to Expect Afterwards

Once your gummy smile has been reshaped, you can smile brighter knowing that your gums not only look better, but are healthier, too! Reshaped gums are healthier because the pocket depths of spaces between the gums and teeth are now shallower and easier to brush clean.

Recovery time usually takes a few weeks, unless your procedure involved a gum grafting, which can take up to six weeks to fully heal.

You also might experience minor swelling, pain, or teeth sensitivity; however, these symptoms will quickly dissipate as your new gum line heals. During the recovery period, you should work to avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and using a straw. It’s also important to maintain your normal oral hygiene routines of brushing and flossing. However, use caution in not brushing or flossing too hard, as this type of abrasive action at the gum site can cause bleeding that may lead to infection.

Your Springfield, MO dentist will provide you with personalized instructions following your procedure. Make sure to follow those instructions carefully for a speedy recovery process. With a little patience and due-diligence, you’ll be debuting your new smile in no time!

Get Your Gums in Shape

If unsightly gums are preventing you from the smile you deserve, schedule an appointment today with the trusted team at Excel Dental, Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri — just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.

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Teeth Sensitivity: How to Relieve The Pain

Teeth Sensitivity: How to Relieve The Pain

Does just the thought of eating ice cream make you cringe? How about a bite of hard candy, or a sip of ice water? If these actions tend to leave you writhing with oral pain, you may be suffering from dentin hypersensitivity, more commonly known as teeth sensitivity. The pain from teeth sensitivity can range from mild to severe, and is often described as being intensely sharp in nature. It’s estimated that nearly half of the U.S. population suffers from some form of teeth sensitivity. If you’re one of the millions who understand the agony of having sensitive teeth, then you’re likely already familiar with the most common “triggers” of your pain: hot, cold, sweet or acidic foods and drinks, and breathing in cold air.

What causes teeth sensitivity for so many people, and what can be done to ease its symptoms? Read on to learn more about this common dental issue and what you can do to treat the pain.

Causes of Teeth Sensitivity

Sensitive teeth are usually caused by worn tooth enamel or exposed roots. Sometimes, however, the discomfort is fueled by other factors, such as plaque buildup, teeth grinding, or gum disease. The following are just some of the reasons why you may be experiencing teeth sensitivity:

  • Brushing too hard. Over time, brushing your teeth with too much gusto can wear down the protective layers of your teeth to expose microscopic canals that lead to your dental nerves. When this damage is exposed to extreme temperatures, acidic or sticky foods, teeth sensitivity and discomfort can result.
  • Acidic foods. When the pathways to your nerves are exposed, acidic foods such as tomato sauce, citrus fruits, or pickles can cause discomfort.
  • Teeth grinding. Grinding wears down the enamel in your teeth, exposing the dentin, which contains the hollow canals that lead to your nerves. If you tend to grind your teeth at night, consult with your local Ozark, MO dentist who can help you find a custom-fit mouth guard that’ll put a stop to your grinding.
  • Certain mouthwashes. Some over-the-counter mouthwashes contain alcohol and other ingredients that can heighten your teeth sensitivity — especially if your dentin is already exposed. Try neutral fluoride rinses instead, or ask the professionals at Excel Dental for a recommendation that’s personalized to your needs.
  • Gum disease. Receding gums are increasingly common with age, leading to root sensitivity. If you suffer from gum disease or gingivitis, your Springfield, MO dentist will work with you to determine an appropriate treatment plan.
  • Excessive plaque. Excessive buildup of plaque can cause tooth enamel demineralization. As your teeth lose that critical layer of protection, sensitivity can result. Make sure to practice good daily dental hygiene and schedule a professional cleaning at Excel Dental every six months or as frequently as advised by your dental professional.

Treatment

If you believe you’re suffering from sensitive teeth, the first step is to make an appointment to see your dentist. He or she can help determine the root cause of your sensitivity and rule out any underlying issues that may be causing your pain.

From there, your dentist may recommend one or more of the following treatment options, based off your individual needs:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste. Desensitizing toothpaste uses specially-formulated compounds that help block the pain associated with sensitive teeth. Your Ozark, MO dentist can help recommend the best product that can work for you. Patience is key when starting a desensitizing toothpaste regimen; it may take several applications of this toothpaste before you start to notice a difference.
  • Fluoride. Another treatment option is the application of fluoride varnish to the sensitive areas of your teeth. The fluoride varnish helps to strengthen the surface of your teeth and reduce pain.
  • Desensitizing or bonding. In some cases, exposed root surfaces can be treated by applying bonding resin to the sensitive root surfaces.
  • Root canal. If your sensitive teeth cause severe pain and other treatments have proven ineffective, your dental professional might recommend a root canal to treat the core of the problem deep within your dentin. Although a root canal may seem like a significant procedure, it’s considered one of the most successful techniques for permanently eliminating sensitivity.

Your local dentist is best equipped to diagnose the cause of your sensitivity and determine an effective treatment plan.

Prevention

The number one way to avoid teeth sensitivity is to maintain a proper oral care routine, including brushing twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush, using fluoride toothpaste, and flossing twice daily.

 You may also want to consider making changes to your diet. Acidic foods and drinks (citrus fruits and juices, soda, wine) should be avoided, as they tend to remove small amounts of tooth enamel minerals over time. Should you want to consume the occasional glass of orange juice or carbonated beverage, use a straw to limit the acidity making direct contact with your teeth. Drinking milk or water after consuming an acidic food or beverage can balance the levels of acid in your mouth.

 It’s also important to remember to wait to brush your teeth at least 20 minutes after you’ve eaten. This is because acid softens enamel, so brushing while the acid is still active can actually make your teeth even more vulnerable.

Sensitivity Shouldn’t be a Pain!

Teeth sensitivity can be a real pain, but it doesn’t have to be. Schedule a consultation appointment today with the trusted team at Excel Dental, Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri — just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.

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