Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By James P. Watts, DMD
January 18, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

A wide range of cosmetic dentistry procedures are available for helping you achieve the smile you desire. Some available procedures include teeth whitening, cosmetic fillings, veneers, bonding, and contouring and reshaping. A dentist can help you decide which cosmetic dentistry procedure is right for you. Depending on your needs, you might even choose more than one procedure to achieve the smile you desire. Dr. James Watts is your dentist for cosmetic dentistry in Mystic, CT.

Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening treatments available through your dentist’s office are an effective way to quickly refresh your smile. Within your first one hour in-office whitening session, your teeth could be several shades whiter with the results lasting for years before additional treatments are needed.

Cosmetic Fillings

Cosmetic fillings are an aesthetically pleasing alternative to other types of dental fillings, such as the traditional silver amalgam fillings. If you prefer a more discreet option for filling cavities, cosmetic fillings might be right for you. Cosmetic fillings help strengthen and restore infected teeth just like other types of fillings, but have the benefit of being tooth-colored so they blend in and look like part of the natural tooth.

Veneers

Dental veneers are an effective way to transform the appearance of teeth with certain types of cosmetic imperfections. Veneers can be used to improve the shape, size, or color of teeth that are misshaped, slightly crooked, chipped, cracked, stained, or discolored. Veneers are thin covers placed against the front surface of problem teeth. Once in place, veneers look and function like natural teeth.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a cosmetic dental procedure that can be used to repair chips and cracks in teeth, as well as other cosmetic problems. A resin material is applied to the problem area. For example, resin can be applied to a chipped tooth to fill in the area that has been chipped off. A special light is then used to dry and harden the resin material, which permanently bonds to the tooth as it dries.

Contouring and Reshaping

Contouring and reshaping is a type of cosmetic dental procedure that can correct the shape of teeth that are misshaped. To contour problem areas, small amounts of enamel are gradually shaved away until the tooth is reshaped appropriately. Your dentist for cosmetic dentistry in Mystic can determine if any problem teeth would benefit from contouring and reshaping.

If you are ready to rejuvenate your smile, there is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that is right for you. For cosmetic dentistry in Mystic, CT schedule an appointment with Dr. Watts by calling the dental office at (860) 536-6446.

Life-likeDentalPorcelainHelpsRestoreSmilesMarredbyUnattractiveTeeth

With its life-like color and texture, dental porcelain can restore a smile marred by decayed or damaged teeth. This durable ceramic material not only matches the varieties of individual tooth colors and hues, its translucence mimics the appearance of natural teeth. But perhaps its greatest benefit is its adaptability for use in a number of different applications, particularly veneers and crowns.

Veneers are thin layers of dental porcelain laminated together and permanently bonded to cover the visible outer side of a tooth to improve its appearance. Crowns, on the other hand, are “caps” of dental porcelain designed to completely cover a defective tooth.

Veneers and crowns share a number of similarities. Both can alter the color and shape of teeth, although crowns are used when more extensive tooth structure has been damaged. They’re also “irreversible,” meaning the tooth must be altered in such a way that it will always require a veneer or crown, though on some occasions a veneer can require no removal of tooth structure and can be reversible.

They do, however, have some differences as to the type of situation they address. Veneers are generally used where the affected teeth have a poor appearance (chipped, malformed or stained, for example) but are still structurally healthy. And although they do generally require some removal of tooth enamel to accommodate them (to minimize a “bulky” appearance), the reduction is much less than for a crown.

Crowns, on the other hand, restore teeth that have lost significant structure from disease, injury, stress-related grinding habits or the wearing effects of aging. Since they must contain enough mass to stand up to the normal biting forces a tooth must endure, a significant amount of the original tooth structure must be removed to accommodate them.

Which application we use will depend upon a thorough examination of your teeth. Once we’ve determined their condition and what you need, we can then recommend the best application for your situation. But regardless of whether we install a veneer or crown, using dental porcelain can help achieve an end result that’s truly life-changing — a new, younger-looking smile.

If you would like more information on dental porcelain restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”

TreatingSmallEnamelCracksCouldHelpyouAvoidaDangerousToothFracture

Teeth can take a lot of force over a lifetime of biting and chewing, thanks to enamel, their outer layer made of the strongest substance in the human body. Unfortunately, they’re not invincible: it’s even possible for you to break or “fracture” a tooth while biting or chewing normally.

Although such a fracture might seem to occur out of the blue, it’s usually related to a condition known as cracked tooth syndrome. It usually occurs in three stages: in the first, miniscule cracks in the outer enamel known as craze lines develop. They’re not immediately dangerous since they only involve the enamel surface; but left untreated they could deepen and progress to the next stage, a larger crack that penetrates the tooth’s underlying dentin.

If allowed to grow, this crack in turn can lead to the third stage, a full fracture that could extend down to the root. A fracture can put the tooth in danger of loss, especially if its inner pulp becomes exposed. To avoid this worst case, it’s best to treat the tooth at the earliest stage possible when craze lines are just developing.

There is a difficulty, though, with detecting craze lines — they’re small, too small to detect normally with x-rays. We, therefore, rely on other methods such as using an instrument called an explorer to feel for cracks, having the patient bite on a stick or rubber pad to replicate pain symptoms or using fiber-optic lighting with special dye stains to highlight possible cracks. Endodontists, specialists in root canals, can use microscopic equipment that’s quite adept at detecting craze lines.

There are also some signs you can be on alert for that might indicate a craze line or crack. If you feel a short, sharp pain — a “wince” — when chewing and releasing food, you could have a crack that hasn’t yet affected the nerves. If a true fracture occurs, the pain will intensify and you may notice pieces of the tooth coming off. If the crack extends to the root, the pain will become greater and more chronic.

It’s important then that you see us for any recurring pain symptoms as soon as possible. If it’s a crack, the sooner it’s treated the better your tooth’s chances for survival.

If you would like more information on cracked tooth syndrome, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cracked Tooth Syndrome.”

By James P. Watts, DMD
November 18, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: bonding   chipped tooth  
WhyBearaChippedTooth

Having a chipped tooth certainly can make life more difficult. It not only keeps you from wanting to smile, but it may also make it harder to eat your favorite foods. And that can be a major problem — especially if you need to eat up to 80 pounds of bamboo every day to stay healthy.

Just ask Bai Yun, the female giant panda at the San Diego Zoo. The 23-year-old animal recently chipped one of her lower canines, and her keepers were concerned that it might impair her ability to get good nutrition (pandas spend as many as 12 hours a day munching on the woody plants). So they decided it was time for a little dental work!

What followed was not unlike a regular visit to the dental office… except that, instead of sitting in a chair, the 227-pound panda reclined on a large table. After being anesthetized, the patient’s teeth were examined, and x-rays were taken. A composite resin was applied to the damaged tooth, and it was cured with a special light. After the repair work was done, her teeth were given a professional cleaning. When the anesthesia wore off, Bai Yun was released in good health — and ready to eat more bamboo.

Tooth bonding with composite resin is the restoration of choice in many situations. This method can be used to repair small chips or cracks in the teeth, and to clear up some spacing irregularities. The resin itself is a mixture of tough, translucent plastic and glass components that can be made in a number of different shades, which look remarkably like the tooth’s natural enamel coating. And the bonding material links up so well with the tooth structure that this treatment can be expected to last for years.

Another benefit of bonding is that it can be done right in the office — there’s no lab work involved (as there could be for veneers or crowns, for example). That makes it a relatively simple and economical treatment that can typically be completed in a single visit. It’s ideal for fixing minor flaws that don’t involve a great deal of tooth structure. It’s also a cost-effective solution for teenagers who need cosmetic dental work, but must wait until they have stopped growing to get more permanent restorations.

While it isn’t usually as long-lasting as restorations like crowns and veneers, cosmetic bonding is a minimally invasive, reversible treatment that can keep your smile healthy and bright for years to come. And that’s important — whether or not you spend most of your day eating bamboo and posing for snapshots at the zoo.

If you have questions about whether cosmetic bonding could help your smile look its best, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Artistic Repair Of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”

By James P. Watts, DMD
November 09, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental ImplantsHave you been thinking about replacing missing teeth with dental implants but have a few questions about the process? The latest restoration options offer several benefits that can make it an appealing choice. Mystic, CT, dentist Dr. James Watts helps his patients care for and improve their smiles with dental implants and other treatments.

How do dental implants work?

Dental implants are designed to become a permanent part of your jawbone. The titanium posts replace your natural tooth roots and are placed in small openings made in the bone. Once in place, the posts begin to osseointegrate, or bond, to your jawbone. Osseointegration ensures that your synthetic root can provide a stable foundation for the dental crown that will be attached to it.

After the crown is attached, your new tooth will act just like your natural teeth. You'll be able to eat anything you want and won't experience any slippage or irritation, even if you take a bite of a hard apple or enjoy a juicy steak.

Are implants the best choice for me?

Before you make your decision, you'll need to consider a few factors, including:

  • Longevity: Dental implants usually never need to be replaced, unlike bridges and dentures. If you're looking for a long-term replacement option, implants are an excellent choice. Keep in mind that you will need to replace the crowns on top of the implants approximately every 10 to 15 years due to wear.
  • Versatility: Implants are the only restoration option that can replace an unlimited number of lost teeth. If you've lost all of your teeth, you may want to consider implant-supported dentures. The dentures can be secured with as few as four implants per arch.
  • Biting Power: Unlike removable dentures, implant-supported dentures don't significantly reduce your biting power or limit your food choices.
  • Strength: Without stimulation from your roots, your jawbone will eventually begin to shrink. This shrinkage, called resorption, can cause your teeth to drift, lead to further tooth loss and even cause facial sagging. Dental implants provide the constant stimulation needed to prevent resorption.
  • Depth: Your Mystic dentist considers jawbone depth when deciding if you're a good candidate for dental implants. If your bone is too shallow, it won't be able to support the implants. In many cases, adding bone grafts to your jawbone will increase the depth and allow implants to be placed.

Restore your smile with dental implants! Call your Mystic, CT, dentist Dr. James Watts at (860) 536-6446 to schedule an appointment.