Posts for: October, 2011

By Infinite Smiles Family Dentistry
October 30, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

In modern society, a bright, white smile conveys optimal health, youth and sound teeth. However, various influences including age, wear, diet, and lifestyle may prevent you from having and maintaining the glistening smile you long to share with the world. Luckily, there are many safe, inexpensive, and successful treatment options for discolored or stained teeth.

We can perform a “power bleaching” in our office to whiten teeth that are severely stained or discolored. This procedure whitens the external surfaces of the teeth by using a high concentration (35-45%) hydrogen peroxide solution, which is sometimes activated by a specialized light. To prevent irritation of the mouth's soft tissue lining during this procedure, we will isolate your gums and membranes with a rubber dam, a silicone or other effective barrier. Professionally applied in-office power bleaching provides control, speed, and predictability capable of lightening teeth up to ten shades in an hour. Don't try this at home! Our staff will take precautions in the office to avoid side effects and possible tooth sensitivity.

We can also provide you with custom-made, vacuum-formed, plastic bleaching trays for use with a take-home whitening application. In this instance, a gel made from carbamide peroxide (4-7% hydrogen peroxide, safe for home use) is delivered to the tooth surfaces in the bleaching trays. You will need to wear the tray for 30 minutes twice a day, which is a longer process than in-office bleaching. The first subjective signs of whitening will occur after three or four sessions, allowing whitening of up to eight shade units.

Another home-based option, whitening strips, essentially look like band-aids for the teeth. They are capable of lightening teeth by about three shades after being worn directly on the surface of the teeth for 30 minutes twice a day for one week.

If you have always wanted whiter teeth, schedule an appointment so we can determine which of these treatment options would work best for you. For more information on the fundamentals of teeth whitening, read the informative Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Whitening: Brighter, Lighter, Whiter...”


By Infinite Smiles Family Dentistry
October 23, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

If you are pleased with your smile except for that one front tooth that appears darker, then we have good news for you. Often a tooth appears darker as a result of trauma that may have occurred years ago. Your tooth may need root canal treatment or may have already had root canal treatment in the past. Regardless, you can whiten this tooth via a process called internal bleaching. And as the name suggests, the tooth can be bleached from the inside out. Here's a brief summary of how this entire process works:

  1. Performing an x-ray exam: The first step is to take a radiograph (x-ray) to make sure that your root canal filling is intact adequately sealing the root canal and the surrounding bone is healthy.
  2. Making an access hole: To apply the bleaching agent, a small hole will need to be made in the back of your tooth to apply the bleach. However, before doing that, the area must be thoroughly cleaned and irrigated.
  3. Sealing above the root canal filling: This step is critical to prevent the bleach from leaking into the root canal space.
  4. Applying the bleach: To obtain the whitening needed, it typically requires between one and four office visits for additional bleaching.
  5. Applying a permanent restoration: Once your tooth has lightened to the desired color, a permanent filling will be placed over the small hole to seal your tooth's dentin. This is then covered with tooth-colored composite resin (filling material) so that the access hole is undetectable to the naked eye.

To learn more about this procedure and see amazing before and after images, continue reading the Dear Doctor article, “Whitening Traumatized Teeth.” Or, you can contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment.


By Infinite Smiles Family Dentistry
October 16, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: braces   orthodontics  

If you are planning orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, you may have heard about different types of orthodontic appliances (braces) and you may be wondering which type is best for you.

Orthodontic treatment is the process used to improve the positioning of your teeth and bite so that you look better and your teeth function properly. Movement of the teeth is accomplished by harnessing the natural regenerative powers of the body to remodel living tissue, in this case, the bone, which adapts to the new position into which the teeth are moved. Orthodontic appliances accomplish the movement by placing small light and constant forces on the teeth to move them into new and better positions.

There are currently three main types of orthodontic appliances to move your teeth. After careful analysis of your bite and needs, we can help you select the best option for your particular situation.

Fixed appliances, commonly known as braces, so-called because they are fixed to the teeth thereby bracing them together, small brackets are bonded to the teeth and light flexible wires are threaded through them. Controlled tension on these wires pulls or pushes the teeth into position.

Clear brackets are a second, more aesthetic type of fixed appliance. While they are less visible, they tend to be more fragile.

Use of fixed appliances, whether brackets are metal or clear, is usually recommended in more complex cases because they enable the orthodontist to accomplish more complex three-dimensional tooth movements in the most efficient and predictable manner. Please note that, during treatment, you should avoid eating hard foods or participating in extreme contact sports so you will not damage your teeth or the appliances.

Clear aligners are a third, more recent option for repositioning teeth. They are removable appliances, generally used in situations that are milder in nature and easier to correct. After careful assessment, a series of computer-generated, custom made clear plastic trays are made to move the mal-aligned teeth. Tooth movement is progressive with each successive aligner or tray, moving the teeth minutely, until the new desired position(s) is achieved. Clear aligners are usually used for simpler or tipping movements of teeth.

With any of these options, simple movements of teeth may take a few months, and more complex movements take up to two or three years.

Orthodontic treatment is an ingenious scientific discovery that has allowed the dental profession to accurately and precisely move teeth for improved aesthetic appearance and functional position. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about orthodontics. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”


By Infinite Smiles Family Dentistry
October 09, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

For many brides and grooms, planning for their wedding is something they start weeks, months or even years in advance. Obviously for most couples, these plans include finding the perfect location, dress, reception area, florist and caterer. However, a growing number of couples (and parents of the bride and groom) are also looking to cosmetic dentistry prior to the wedding. A smile makeover to correct an issue and boost self-confidence makes sure that your wedding pictures are truly memorable.

If this sounds like you, take the first step towards the smile you have always wanted. To create your ideal smile, we will first meet with you to hear your concerns, goals, expectations and wedding day timeline. Feel free to bring in photos or magazine images of smiles that illustrate exactly what you want, do not want, as well as images of smiles that you consider beautiful. We will give you a thorough examination, review photos you bring with you and ensure that everyone understands and agrees with your smile makeover treatment decisions. You will also be informed about what you should expect immediately prior, during, and following your treatment.

We pride ourselves on using the latest technologies and techniques to restore natural-looking smiles. Our smile makeovers have a two-fold design plan in that we artistically create the cosmetic look you want while ensuring you obtain optimal functionality and oral health. After all, we all on the same team for helping you achieve the look you want for your wedding and maintaining your smile for years to come.

Want to learn more?

Contact us today to discuss your smile makeover questions or to schedule an appointment. You can also learn more when you continue reading the Dear Doctor article, “Wedding Day Smiles.”


By Infinite Smiles Family Dentistry
October 02, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral health   root canal  

Root canal, or endodontic (“endo” – inside; “dont” – tooth) treatment, is often wrongly perceived as a highly unpleasant experience and one that causes tremendous pain. However, the truth is that the procedure actually relieves the pain being caused by an infected and inflamed tooth pulp (inside of the tooth). Advances in dentistry have made treatment virtually pain free and it can be completed relatively quickly, usually in a single visit. Left untreated, infection can spread into the bone immediately around the tooth's root, so prompt attention is the best course of action.

If the term “root canal” still sends shivers down your spine, don't despair. Here is some information that should help put your mind at ease.

  • Root canal treatment is necessary when deep decay or trauma has caused the inside (pulp) of the tooth to become inflamed or infected. Symptoms of infection can include sharp pain when biting down, lingering pain after consuming very hot or cold foods, a dull ache and feeling of pressure near the infected tooth, and tender gum tissue surrounding the infected tooth.
  • After a local anesthetic is administered to numb the infected tooth and its surrounding area, we will make a small opening on the chewing surface of the tooth. This will allow us to remove dead and dying tissue from the pulp and to then clean and disinfect the root canals. Using small instruments, we will shape the canals and seal them with biocompatible filling materials.
  • You may feel slight tenderness at the treated site for a few days, but this is quite manageable and can be relieved with over-the-counter (OTC) non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen. You should refrain from chewing on the treated tooth until your follow-up appointment. A crown or other restoration may be needed to protect the tooth and restore it to full function.

If you think you might be a candidate for a root canal treatment, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If you would like to learn more about the process of root canal treatment, please read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Common Concerns About Root Canal Treatment.”




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