All posts in Cosmetic Dentistry

Whitening Your Teeth: The Safest Way to Get That Million-Dollar Smile

One of the first features we notice about other people is their smile. It’s no wonder then why nearly 80 percent of Americans report wanting whiter teeth, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Are you one of the majority who yearns for a brighter smile? Many people who wish to whiten their teeth will first turn to at-home solutions, such as whitening toothpaste, mouthwash, or strips. These solutions can work okay for removing surface stains, but often fall short of the dramatic whitening most people wish to achieve. Additionally, off-the-shelf whitening solutions can sometimes be too harsh on tooth enamel, especially for those with sensitive teeth.

For safer whitening results that’ll really get you noticed, we recommend a combination of simple lifestyle changes and a cosmetic consultation with the professionals at Excel Dental. When combined, these solutions will result in a dazzling white smile that won’t compromise your oral health.

Read on to learn how you can safely take your smile from drab to fab in no time.

 

#1: Upgrade Your Lifestyle

What you choose to put in and around your mouth can drastically affect the color of your teeth. Here are some simple tips for keeping the “yellow” at bay!

  • Avoid dark-colored food and drink. This includes red wine, black tea, beets, coffee, soda, and dark-colored juices. Dark-colored beverages and food can turn teeth yellow or brown over time. Carbonated and acidic beverages such as soda pack a double-whammy by eroding your enamel and causing stains to appear more pronounced. If you do decide to indulge in a dark-colored food or beverage, make sure to brush your teeth immediately following.
  • Eat more “detergent” foods. Foods that are firm, crisp, and/or contain naturally-occuring enzymes can help clean your teeth as they’re eaten. Apples are considered “nature’s toothbrush” for this very reason. Other foods that clean as you eat include raw carrots, celery, oranges, pineapples, strawberries, and nuts.
  • Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing twice daily removes surface stains to keep your smile naturally white and healthy.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking cigarettes and cigars will discolor your teeth, period. The buildup of tar and tobacco on your teeth can become especially difficult to remove over time, not to mention the other dangerous oral health risks associated with this habit.
  • Swap your regular toothbrush for an electronic one. Electric toothbrushes are more efficient at removing plaque buildup. To properly clean your teeth with an electric toothbrush, grip the brush like a pencil and place the head at a 45-degree angle against your teeth while gently moving in a circular motion. Make sure to change the head of your toothbrush at least every two to three months.
  • Add some color. For the ladies, try reaching for a medium coral or light red lipstick. These colors tend to make teeth look whiter, whereas lighter-color lipsticks can bring out yellow undertones in teeth.

 

#2: See the Professionals

For a solution that can brighten your teeth several shades whiter, plan to make an appointment with your Ozark, MO dental professionals. Professional teeth whitening treatments produce more effective and dramatic results than over-the-counter solutions alone.

At Excel Dental, we offer our patients a couple ways to take their smile to the next level:

  1. Custom Whitening Trays

This is one of our most popular options. Our dental professionals will begin by making an impression of your teeth to design custom mouth trays. You’ll be given a professional-grade dental bleach for use with the trays as an at-home treatment. The length of time that you’ll be required to wear the trays depends on the degree of staining and your desired level of whitening. Your Springfield, MO cosmetic dentistry professionals will provide you with detailed instructions for wearing your trays so you can achieve the whitening result you desire. The best part about the custom whitening trays is that you can use them for many years so future “touch ups” are quick and easy.

  1. Laser Whitening

 Laser teeth whitening provides instant whitening gratification! One laser whitening treatment typically takes about an hour and can whiten your teeth up to 12 shades. Laser whitening is the use of a laser light to trigger professional-grade bleaching agents and speed up the agents’ whitening effects on the teeth.

The process is fairly simple. Professional-grade whitening gel is first applied to the surface of your teeth. The laser light is then pointed at the bleaching agent to speed up the whitening process (You will be equipped with protected eyewear during this process). Within 60-90 minutes, a drastically whiter smile will be yours. And with proper maintenance, your new smile should last for up to two years.

Some patients use a combination of these treatments by getting laser whitening and then maintaining that platinum white with custom take-home trays.

Your friendly dental professionals at Excel Dental are best equipped to advise on the optimal whitening treatment for you. And once you’ve achieved your desired level of “wow,” make sure to schedule a regular professional cleaning every six months to further maintain your pearly whites.

Schedule Your Appointment!

Make a big impression with a brighter, whiter smile. Schedule your teeth whitening 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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Get a Megawatt Smile With Veneers

Get a Megawatt Smile With Veneers

What do Miley Cyrus, Tom Cruise, and Demi Moore all have in common? Besides the fact they all share A-list celebrity status, they’re also all rumored to have veneers!

Veneers are the cosmetic dentistry solution for taking any smile from drab to fab. These thin, custom-made coverings can correct a wide range of dental imperfections, including gaps, chips, uneven length, and discoloration. Veneers can give you the beautifully aligned, shapely teeth you’ve always dreamed of flashing for the camera.

In addition to the obvious aesthetic benefit provided by veneers, they also boast certain protective qualities and could be a less invasive solution for correcting your current cosmetic dentistry woes.

Are veneers the right solution for you and your smile? Read on to learn more.

 

What Are Veneers, Exactly?

Veneers are thin pieces of custom-made porcelain coating that are used to recreate the natural look of your teeth. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), veneers also provide strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel. Placing veneers is usually an irreversible process (aka permanent) because it’s necessary to remove a small amount of enamel from your tooth to accommodate for the porcelain shell. That being said, we recommend thoroughly researching the entire process and speaking with one of the cosmetic dentistry professionals at Excel Dental before making your decision about veneers.

 

Who Should Get Veneers?

Veneers can solve nearly any cosmetic dental imperfection. If you suffer from one or more of the following issues, dental veneers could be the right choice for you:

  • Aged Enamel: Over time, your enamel can become worn or dulled. When this happens, the result is a thinned or translucent appearance.
  • Chips and Cracks: Evidence of wear and tear often comes in the form of chips and cracks. Veneers can easily cover these types of dental blemishes.
  • Uneven Teeth: You may notice that some of your teeth are shorter or longer than others, which can interfere with both appearance and bite functionality. Uneven teeth can be the result of genetics or teeth grinding.
  • Gaps: Perhaps you’ve had braces in the past, but your teeth have started to go their separate ways once again. In lieu of braces “round two”, some people instead opt for veneers.
  • Discoloration: Stubborn tooth discoloration may not be fully correctable through teeth whitening alone. In these cases, veneers can offer another viable solution.

So, you have one or more of the above dental issues and you’ve determined you want to proceed with veneers. Great! However, the ideal candidate must also possess good oral hygiene habits. Decay, plaque, and gum disease must first be addressed prior to considering veneers for cosmetic purposes. Your local Ozark, MO dentist will work with you to determine if you’re an ideal candidate for veneer application.

 

The Procedure

Once your Springfield, MO dentist has confirmed you meet the candidate criteria for veneers, here is what you can expect as next steps:

  1. After your initial consultation, you’ll meet with your dentist for a series of x-rays. The dentist will then trim about half a millimeter of the tooth enamel to prepare your teeth for the veneers. Don’t worry — it’s an incredibly thin amount of enamel that is removed.
  2. Next, your dentist will take an impression or mold of your teeth to send to a lab to prepare the veneers. The lab will typically require one to two weeks to develop your veneers.
  3. Once the veneers are ready from the lab, your dentist will check the fit and color and prepare your teeth with a thorough cleaning. The surface of your teeth is then roughened to improve the adhesion of the veneers. The veneers are attached to your teeth with a special cement, then ultraviolet light is used to harden it quickly.
  4. That’s it! Your new star-worthy smile is ready for the paparazzi.

 

Care For Your Veneers

A follow-up visit may be scheduled by your dentist a few weeks after the procedure to ensure the veneers are properly placed and that you are not experiencing any issues. After placement of your veneers, you should follow your regular oral hygiene routine as normal. You should expect your veneers to last for ten to fifteen years with proper care.

To further extend the life of your new pearly whites, you may also consider avoiding certain foods and beverages that can tarnish the color of your veneers over time, including beets, coffee, tea, and red wine. Of course, make sure to continue seeing your dentist yearly as another way to preserve the health of your new smile.

Veneers are relatively simple to maintain in comparison to other cosmetic dentistry solutions. Brush regularly, use floss, and eat a healthy diet for a new smile that will last!

 

Lights, Camera, SMILE!

A gorgeous smile can be yours with the help of veneers. Make an appointment today with your cosmetic dentistry experts 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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Removable Partial Dentures For a Full Smile

Do you have only a few missing teeth? Are the rest of your natural teeth relatively healthy? A removable partial denture might be the right choice for restoring the beauty and functionality of your smile.

Did you know? The number of U.S. adults needing dentures is projected to increase from 33.6 million in 1991 to 37.9 million in 2020, according to research published in The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry.

Removable partial dentures, also known as “artificial tooth appliances”, “partial dentures” or “flippers” use gum-colored plastic bases that give the appearance of natural teeth. And because a removable partial denture is custom-designed for your mouth, you’ll feel confident and comfortable wearing it every day.

Read on to discover the benefits of a removable partial denture, what to expect with the procedure, and answers to some of your most pressing questions.

Benefits of Removable Partial Dentures

There are a handful of options for replacing missing teeth. Some of these options include implants, bridges or dentures. While each solution offers its own unique pros and cons, removable partial dentures provide several unique benefits:

Natural appearance. Removable Partial dentures blend seamlessly with the rest of your natural teeth, providing a complete and beautiful smile.

Less Invasive. Removable partial dentures are attached to your teeth in a way that is considered less invasive than other options. Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews at Excel Dental will secure your partial denture to your teeth in one of the following ways, depending on your situation:

  • Clasps and a metal framework
  • Natural looking connectors
  • Precision attachments
  • Crowns with attachments
  • Implant locaters

Cost-effective. Typically, removable partial dentures are lighter on the pocketbook than other options.

Improves mouth function and health. Most patients find that after a couple weeks, removable partial dentures soon make it much easier to comfortably speak and chew. Further, by filling the gap in your mouth, removable partial dentures will help maintain the shape of your face and ease stress in the jaw.

Flexible. Additional teeth can usually be added to your removable partial denture, should you lose more adjacent natural teeth over time.

Tooth Stability.  Removable partial dentures can hold remaining teeth in the correct place.  This will keep the teeth from incorrectly tipping forward or an opposing arch tooth from “over-erupting”.

What to Expect

Following a consultation with your local Ozark, Missouri dentist, a removable partial denture will be custom-designed for your mouth and specific needs.

As with any new hardware in the mouth, it may take a few days to become accustomed to wearing your removable partial denture; inserting and removing the piece will require practice. Never force the denture into position by biting down, however, as this could result in serious damage to the hardware.

Try to wear your removable partial denture as much as possible those first few days in order to quickly identify areas that may need adjustment. If you encounter any sore areas in your mouth, call your local dentist for an adjustment. Remember, your dentist’s goal is to optimize both the functionality and comfort of your new removable partial denture.

Questions & Answers

Can I eat while wearing removable partial dentures?

Yes. In fact, many people find that eating becomes a more pleasant experience with their removable partial dentures. Ease into eating by starting with soft foods that are cut into pieces. Try to chew on both sides of your mouth to keep even pressure on both sides. Eventually, you should be able to once again enjoy most of the foods you once loved. There are some foods you’ll want to avoid, though, including anything sticky or hard like candies and chewing gum.

Can I sleep with a removable partial denture in my mouth?

Most dentists agree that you should not sleep with your removable partial denture in place. Wearing your removable partial dentures to sleep is not recommended for a few reasons:

  1. If you’re wearing your removable partial denture to sleep, that means you’re missing the opportunity to properly clean the appliance. Removable partial dentures are designed to be cleaned outside the mouth. Sleeping with your removable partial denture in place provides the perfect environment for bacteria to fester, which could lead to gum inflammation and over time, periodontal disease.
  2. Your gums need the ability to rest and recover just as much as the rest of your body. Removal of your removable partial denture at night allows the gums to do just that.
  3. Some people tend to clench their teeth during sleep (often times without even knowing it!). This pressure can cause damage to both your natural teeth and denture.

How should I care for my removable partial denture?

With proper care, your removable partial denture should last approximately 5 to 8 years. Denture care differs from natural tooth care, so make sure to follow these important steps:

  • Lightly brush your removable partial denture daily to remove food particles and plaque buildup. Look for a soft-bristled toothbrush; hard-bristle brushes can damage your denture. 
  • Your local dentist will recommend a professional denture cleaner. Toothpaste is too harsh for use and some will scratch the acrylic.
  • Clean your removable partial dentures by moistening the brush and applying the denture cleaner. Brush all surfaces gently to avoid damaging the plastic or bending the attachments.
  • It’s important to keep your removable partial denture moist when not in use. Soak your removable partial denture in solution or water overnight. In the morning, make sure to thoroughly rinse the denture before placing back into your mouth.
  • Never chew, swallow or gargle with denture cleansers.

At Excel Dental, we’ll recommend the proper method for keeping your removable partial denture in tip-top shape.

My removable partial denture isn’t fitting quite right. Can I fix it myself?

Can you? Yes. Should you? No, and here’s why. Our bones, gum ridges and mouth structure naturally change as we age. As a result, your removable partial denture may need an adjustment over time to ensure optimal fit. If you find yourself with a removable partial denture that suddenly doesn’t feel as comfortable as it used to, do not attempt to fix it yourself. Do-it-yourself kits can damage the hardware beyond repair, costing you a pretty penny for a brand new appliance. Over-the-counter glues often contain harmful chemicals that are not advised for use in or around your mouth. Call your dentist immediately if your partial denture becomes painful, breaks, cracks or chips.

Fulfill Your Smile With Removable Partial Dentures

Are removable partial dentures the right choice for you? Make an appointment with Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews at Excel Dental to find out. We’ll partner with you to determine the best solution for optimizing your smile. Find us in Ozark, Missouri—a short 10 minute drive from Springfield—where a full, healthy smile awaits.

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Treat Yourself to a White Smile This New Year

Springfield, MO – Are you embarrassed by your less than white smile? Smile bigger than ever before by treating yourself to tooth whitening and enter the new year happy to show off those pearly whites.

Clean Teeth“There is no reason to be dissatisfied with the color of your teeth,” says Dr. Tracy Davis of Excel Dental. “Tooth whitening is an easy way to correct the color of your teeth, making your smile more beautiful than ever before.”

There are several reasons why a patient may choose tooth bleaching. Perhaps the patient has spots on their teeth due to excessive fluoride intake at the time their teeth were developing. Or perhaps the daily cup of coffee a patient enjoys has left her teeth stained. And sometimes the outer layer of enamel on our teeth just begins to show its wear, resulting in a less than white appearance.

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Do I Need to Repair My Child’s Baby Teeth?

Springfield, MO – Your child’s dentist just told you he found a cavity. But since that tooth is just going to fall out anyway, do you really need to repair it?

Missing tooth“This is a question we hear a lot,” says Dr. Tracy Davis, one of the Ozark dentists at Excel Dental. “”The short answer is yes. Those baby teeth play an important role in your child’s oral health, as well as his or her self-esteem.”

Parents also wonder why the affected baby tooth can’t just be pulled. Dr. Nick Matthews explains why your dentist will tell you no.

“Baby teeth have several important roles, one of which is to guide the placement of permanent teeth,” says Dr. Matthews. “If a baby tooth is removed before it is ready to come out, that can affect how the permanent teeth come in. Those teeth can shift into holes left open by baby teeth that should still be in place, leading to the need for orthodontic work in the future.”

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10 Habits That Can Wreck Your Smile

Oral CareSpringfield, MO – There are common habits many of us have that might be doing damage to your pearly whites. If you have any of these habits, the Ozark dentists at Excel Dental encourage you to stop before you wreck your smile.

1. Using your teeth as tools.
If you find yourself unable to open a package, do you move it to your mouth and try to rip it open with your teeth?

“You aren’t alone in this habit, but it’s one you should stop now,” says Dr. Tracy Davis. “It can lead to broken teeth, or teeth that chip or crack. Your teeth should only be used for chewing food – never as tools.”

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Tips to Avoid Staining Your Teeth

Teeth whiteningSpringfield, MO – The things we eat and drink affect not just the health of our bodies, but the health and look of our smiles, too. So what are the biggest culprits when it comes to staining teeth, and how can we keep our smiles white and beautiful?

“Coffee is the most common culprit for dulling our smiles,” says Dr. Tracy Davis of Excel Dental. “It’s easy to tell someone to avoid drinking coffee to keep from staining their teeth, but for those of us who love our daily cup of joe, that’s much easier said than done! But, there are a lot of other foods and beverages that can affect our smiles.”

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Why Are My Child’s Teeth Discolored?

Ozark Family DentistrySpringfield, MO – Have you noticed that your child’s baby teeth seem to be stained? Are discolored teeth a cause for concern? The expert Springfield dentists at Excel Dental explain more.

“There are several reasons why your child’s teeth may appear to be discolored,” says Dr. Nick Matthews, an Ozarks family dentist with Excel Dental. “It is possible for baby teeth to develop cavities, so if you notice discoloration in your child’s teeth, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us. We can examine the teeth to determine if decay is causing the problem, or if it might be due to another issue.”

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Seniors Face Unique Oral Health Issues

Springfield, MO – As you age, you’ve probably noticed new health issues creeping up. Issues with your oral health can begin to appear, too, but by understanding issues unique to seniors, you can take better care of your teeth and mouth.

seniors couple“Senior citizens face a host of unique oral health issues,” says Dr. Nick Matthews, one of the Springfield dentists at Excel Dental. “Our bodies change, and you may once again become susceptible to cavities. In many cases this is because of a condition known as dry mouth.”

Dry mouth doesn’t go hand in hand with aging, but it does go hand in hand with many medications – in fact, there are more than 500 medications that can cause it. And as we age, more health issues begin appearing, so chances are great that you may be prescribed a medication that can lead to dry mouth. If you’re on medication for high blood pressure, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s diseases, pain, or a host of other issues, it’s important to understand possible side effects. It’s also important to share all medications you are currently taking with your dentist. This way, he or she can understand why you may have dry mouth and then properly address it.

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How to Care for Teeth During Pregnancy

Springfield, MO – Taking proper care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy is important. Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy increase the risk of developing gum disease, which can then affect the unborn baby. Periodontal disease in pregnant women has been linked to low birth weight babies and premature birth.

“If you’re planning to become pregnant, it’s a good idea to schedule a check-up with us,” says Dr. Tracy Davis, Springfield dentist. “That way, we can properly clean your teeth and assess the health of your mouth, and tackle any issues before they might become a bigger problem.”

young pregnant womanBut once you become pregnant, what should your prenatal dental care look like?

First, it’s always important to inform your dentist if you may be pregnant. This is necessary because there are some dental procedures that should be avoided during certain times of your pregnancy. The first trimester and second half of the third trimester are especially crucial times in fetal development.

“It’s best to schedule check-ups before pregnancy, and then during months four and six,” says Dr. Nick Matthews. “This is the safest time in fetal development for us to properly work on your teeth, but if you require certain procedures, we may need to discuss them with your obstetrician before.”

During pregnancy, hormonal changes can bring on pregnancy-induced gingivitis. Bleeding gums can be a normal sign of pregnancy, however, because of the intimate link between periodontal disease and premature birth, bleeding gums should be taken seriously.

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