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Monthly Archives: January 2013

How to Care for Your Dental Implants

Dental implants are meant to function like your natural teeth, and just like your natural teeth they are subject to gum disease or “peri-implantitis” (the destructive inflammatory process that will affect the soft and hard tissues surrounding dental implants).

The main difference between natural teeth and implants is that the portion of the implant that lies beneath the gum line is made of titanium instead of a natural root.

To properly care for your dental implants, please follow these tips:

At-Home Care

Dental implants are just as susceptible to infection as natural teeth, because the area between the implanted tooth and the gum traps food and bacteria. Therefore, the best way to remove it is with regular flossing and brushing twice a day. Pay special attention to cleaning your back teeth and removing food particles from in between your teeth.

Although there are whitening agents that can safely be used on dental implants, they are like natural teeth in that they can also become stained. So be sure to watch your coffee and tea intake, and be sure to brush well after you drink either of these. Smoking can also stain dental implants.

An electric toothbrush may be more helpful than a regular toothbrush for keeping your teeth clean because the vibration can better remove plaque below the gumline. Mouthwash or salt water is also highly recommended for removing bacteria on implants.

The main concern is being careful not to scratch the titanium surface of the implant that is below the gum line, as this can sometimes cause the implant to fail.

At the Dentist

Regular dental cleanings and checkups are important for the health of your new implants. It is important to have your teeth cleaned at least twice a year, but depending on your condition, I may recommend a cleaning every 3 to 4 months. You may require X-rays each year in order to check the health of the bone around the dental implants.

Please contact my cosmetic dentistry practice by calling (310) 273-0111. I will be happy to meet with you for an appointment and further discuss how to keep your dental implants healthy implants for life!

The Differences Between Teeth Whitening Methods

Teeth WhiteningWith so many options available for teeth whitening these days, the selection process can be overwhelming. Some treatments cost more, some are safer, and some take weeks instead of minutes to show results. At my Beverly Hills cosmetic dentistry practice, I offer many whitening treatments that can help you the dazzling smile you’ve always dreamed of. Here are the pros and cons of each method:

Zoom!® Teeth Whitening

Let’s face it – when there is a big event coming up, most of us don’t have the time or self-discipline to keep up with at-home teeth whitening. One of my most popular procedures here at my Beverly Hills practice is Zoom!® teeth whitening. It has helped both celebrities and common folk alike achieve a bright smile – up to eight shades whiter – in record time. The Zoom!® system is different from other whitening products because it uses a special ultraviolet light to enhance the whitening gel. This forces the gel deeper into the tooth enamel to remove stubborn stains. The light is specially designed to cover all the teeth at once, unlike other laser treatments, which uses a narrower beam of light. The Zoom!® bleaching lights also filter out infrared emissions, which helps to minimize the amount of heat the patient’s teeth are exposed to.

Gum irritation and tooth sensitivity is minimal with Zoom!®, but if you have hypersensitive teeth or gums, a less concentrated, over-the-counter whitening product is a better option. Zoom!® works best on yellow or brown staining. Patients with grey shading from tetracycline or Fluorosis are not likely to get promising results from Zoom!® or laser whitening treatments, and should consider porcelain veneers.

The process is done in just three 15-minute sessions. Though it costs more than over-the-counter whitening trays and gels, Zoom!® teeth whitening may be worth it for you if time is not on your side.

Porcelain Veneers

If you have very deep stains that are resistant to high-concentration bleaching, porcelain veneers may be a better option for you. Porcelain veneers are thin sheets of porcelain that are bonded to the surface of the teeth. Sometimes teeth that have received this treatment – especially the naturally thin, front teeth – can become transparent with age. Transparent teeth cannot be whitened, but can be covered with porcelain veneers or replaced with dental implants. If the dentin within your tooth is a darkened or grey color from trauma, tetracycline or Fluorosis, in-office or over-the-counter bleaches will not work to whiten your teeth.

Laser teeth whitening

Laser teeth whitening uses heat to brighten the teeth in order to activate the peroxide gel that is applied. With laser teeth whitening, the light used does not typically filter out infrared emissions from the light. If not done properly, the laser can overheat the teeth during the procedure and ultimately lead to nerve damage. Patients who are light-sensitive, are undergoing photochemotherapy, or have melanoma should consider an over-the-counter whitening method instead. Laser teeth whitening takes just under an hour to complete and provides results similar to Zoom!®. With both Zoom!® and other types of laser tooth whitening, there is a risk of damage done to the skin or gums if those sensitive areas are not covered properly during the whitening process.

Bleaching Trays

Over-the-counter or custom-fit bleaching trays can give you the same results as Zoom!® or laser teeth whitening, but they require time and consistency in order to get comparable results. You must wear trays one to two hours every night for about two weeks in order to see the same eight-shade difference you would get with Zoom!® in just under an hour.

I offer many whitening treatments at my Beverly Hills practice, and can help determine which would best fit your aesthetic needs. Please call to schedule an appointment today!

Advantages of Invisalign

Although braces are commonly the go-to option for straightening crooked teeth, more and more patients are choosing Invisalign for its many advantages. The custom-fit, invisible teeth straightening device has improved significantly over the years. Once used only for minor problems, such as slightly crooked lower teeth, Invisalign can now make more advanced improvements. This includes closing gaps, correcting a deep bite, and straightening over-crowded teeth.

An obvious reason why one would choose Invisalign versus metal braces is because of its “invisibility.” There’s no question braces are less popular for those who are long out of high school, so the option to straighten teeth without the evidence of wearing braces may be a great confidence- boost for adults.

Food limitations also drive some to choose Invisalign over braces. Popcorn, chips, bagels, nuts, apples, and corn on the cob are a few foods that should be avoided by those who wear braces. Eating these foods can cause the brackets to break or the wires to bend, which can affect the way the braces move the teeth. Because Invisalign can be removed, there is no limit to what you are able to eat.

The ability to remove Invisalign also makes for easier oral hygiene. Brackets and wires trap food, which requires that you brush your teeth more often in order to avoid excess plaque buildup or tooth decay. With Invisalign, you can brush your teeth as you normally would because you can remove the device. This also makes the entire straightening process much more comfortable than metal braces because there is no risk of wires and brackets causing pain or soreness in your mouth.

Invisalign is also becoming more common because it costs about the same amount as braces. For the same cost, you can get the same results from Invisalign without all the limitations that come with braces. However, if you need severe bite correction, tooth rotation, or if your teeth need to be moved vertically, braces are a much more effective option. At my Beverly Hills practice, I offer both metal braces and Invisalign, and can help you determine will help you achieve a beautiful, new smile! Please feel to schedule an appointment today.

Invisalign® vs. Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain VeneersBoth Invisalign and porcelain veneers can greatly help straighten a person’s teeth, and provide life-changing results.

Invisalign® works much like metal braces except it is a removable, transparent device that is adjusted every two weeks in order to slowly straighten the teeth. Many adults who do not want to wear metal braces opt for Invisalign. Because the device is removable, there are no food restrictions required, and the teeth can be straightened in a relatively short period of time.

Porcelain veneers are a more permanent solution to crooked teeth. Thin, shell-like pieces of porcelain are bonded to your teeth to make them appear straighter. In addition to creating a brighter smile, veneers can also be used to correct chipped teeth and discoloration; however, they do not correct underlying periodontal problems like Invisalign can. Veneers are used especially for damaged teeth and are often used as an alternative to false teeth. Unlike Invisalign, porcelain veneers are purchased on a tooth-by-tooth basis and may need to be replaced over time. Depending on how many veneers you have, this can cost significantly more than Invisalign or metal braces. In some cases, permanent changes must be made to your natural tooth so that the veneers can fit appropriately.

Whether you choose Invisalign or porcelain veneers, regular oral hygiene techniques should be practiced in order to maintain the health of your smile. The best way to determine which option is right for you is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sands at his Beverly Hills practice. He can help you weigh the varying factors to consider, including costs, your oral health history and your desired results.

Do Dental Implants Stain?

toothbrushDental implants have proven to increase the confidence of those who have lost teeth. A major advantage for those who get dental implants is they never run the risk of developing tooth decay. Still, oral hygiene is still very important. You should treat your dental implants as if they are your natural teeth – brushing them twice daily and flossing regularly – and you should take special care when considering the type of products you use in order to prevent staining.

Unlike regular teeth, staining on teeth that are supported with dental implants typically only occur when the glazed finish on the implants becomes compromised. Polishing them with abrasive materials or treating them with acid fluoride can strip this important layer and lead to a rough surface that is susceptible to discoloration. Although regular fluoride toothpaste does not harm dental implants, you should avoid toothpastes that contain high amounts of abrasive ingredients such as baking soda and silica. These ingredients are what make natural teeth appear whiter, but over time they can strip the enamel from natural teeth and cause the yellow dentin beneath to show through.

Staining along the gumline is also common with dental implants. This is because the bonding material that is used to fix the implant to the new titanium root beneath your gums is not a natural material. Regular visits to your dentist to clean and polish this area can keep stains along the gumline in check.

You can also minimize stains on your dental implants by avoiding certain food and drinks such as coffee, tea, berries, red wine, and dark-colored soda. Smoking and tobacco chewing also causes staining.

If you are considering dental implants in the Beverly Hills area, please contact Dr. Sands to schedule an appointment.

Tel: (310) 273-0111

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Contact Dr. Sands

Request an appointment for a complimentary consultation with cosmetic dentist Dr. Sands, or feel free to call our Los Angeles (north of Orange County) office at (310) 273-0111 for more information.