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Posts for: July, 2012

AreClearAlignersMyBestSolutionforAchievingaBetterSmile

If you are dissatisfied with the way your smile looks, and your dentist is unhappy with the way your teeth fit together — but you don't like the idea of wearing braces — clear aligners may be your best solution. How much do you know about this teeth-straightening alternative? Below are some FAQs on the subject.

What do we mean by clear aligners? Clear aligners are a system for straightening teeth that uses clear plastic removable “trays” that fit over your teeth. As the teeth move to fit the trays, new trays are substituted that are designed to continue to move your teeth into the desired position. This system is an alternative to the traditional system of brackets and wires known as braces.

How can teeth be moved to new positions? The connection that holds a tooth in place in your jaws — the periodontal ligament — is not immobile. It constantly changes its position based on the normal forces of your bite. As the ligament is pushed on one side and pulled on the other, the living cells of your mouth respond by depositing bone and cementum (the protective covering of the tooth's root) on one side and dissolving it on the other. Normally this happens in a balance, maintaining your teeth in their position. We can manage these slight changes by applying constant light forces to move teeth in a predictable way.

How long does it take to move teeth to their optimum position using clear aligners? As with braces, the process is gradual. Total treatment time can range from six months to two years.

Do the trays have to be worn all the time? As you move through the sequence of trays, each is worn for 20 hours per day for two weeks. They may occasionally be removed for important social occasions.

How does an orthodontist design the sequential trays that are used? The trays are designed using a computer, based on an assessment and images of your mouth, teeth and jaws.

What kinds of problems can clear aligners correct? This method works well to correct mild to moderate crowding or spacing. If your back teeth already fit together as they should, the system may be ideal. If you have an extreme overbite or underbite, braces might work better.

Are clear aligners an alternative for everyone? Clear aligners are recommended for adults and recently, teenagers. They are not usually recommended for young children.

Why is it important to have your teeth straightened? Besides the obvious benefit of feeling better about yourself and your appearance, straight and well-aligned teeth work better. You will experience a better-functioning bite and can improve your oral health.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about orthodontics and clear aligners. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Clear Orthodontic Aligners” and “Moving Teeth With Orthodontics.”


By Chauvin & Chauvin, D.D.S.
July 21, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
ldquoPreplessrdquoPorcelainVeneersAreTheyRightForYou

Designing a better smile sometimes requires a change in the size, shape, or color of your teeth. Porcelain laminate veneers (thin layers of dental ceramic material) enhance your appearance by replacing the natural enamel on the outside of your teeth. A veneer is physically bonded to the surface of a tooth, in essence, becoming part of it.

Traditionally, a small amount of the natural tooth enamel is drilled away to allow room for the veneer. But today, in some circumstances, it is possible to use an approach where enamel reduction or preparation is not necessary because the veneers can be bonded directly onto the tooth's natural surface. These are called “Prepless” or “No-prep” veneers, and are used to create aesthetically pleasing and natural looking restorations. An advantage of the prepless procedure is that the process is reversible so that you can give your new smile a “test drive.”

You may be a good subject for Prepless veneers if:

  • Your smile is narrow because the teeth in the sides of your smile are positioned inward and do not show from a frontal view.
  • There is spacing between your teeth, and the teeth appear too small.
  • You have a fairly common genetic condition in which one or both of the teeth directly next to the two upper front teeth are very small and peg-shaped.
  • There is an imbalance between the size of your lips and teeth (large lips and small teeth), which are not in proportion to show off your best smile.

Prepless veneers are probably not for you if:

  • Your teeth are not aligned properly in your bite.
  • Your teeth are very crowded, resulting in poor facial profile.
  • Your teeth are already relatively large or positioned forward.

In these cases you may need to have some form of orthodontic treatment to move your teeth into better position. Sometimes veneers can be used to create an illusion of proper tooth alignment, but some amount of tooth reduction may be required.

We can assess whether prepless veneers are right for you. There is no substitute for an expert dentist's talent and expertise with the various cosmetic techniques available today. These skills combined with a thorough diagnostic evaluation, and a clear understanding of your goals, are the keys to providing you with a successful and beautiful smile.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about cosmetic dentistry. You can also learn more about prepless veneers by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Porcelain Veneers Without the Drill.”


By Chauvin & Chauvin, D.D.S.
July 13, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: orthodontics   braces  
HowAnEarlyOrthodonticEvaluationCanPreventaProblemfromDeveloping

We in dentistry, advise parents to have an orthodontic evaluation some time before your child is 7 years of age. At this time, some of your child's adult teeth have come in and some primary (baby) teeth remain. This is a good time to check for developing problems. Treatment that begins while your child's teeth are coming in is called “interceptive orthodontics.” It provides an opportunity to achieve the best results in orthodontic treatment.

Once this evaluation takes place, it may mean that orthodontic treatment may need to take place in two-stages. A first phase of orthodontic treatment may prevent, intercept or minimize future orthodontic treatment. The first stage may be a process of guiding the growth of the jawbones that support the teeth. This is called “growth modification.” Then when the adult teeth have erupted through the gums, it may be time to do the second and final stage.

If a second phase of treatment is necessary it will probably require braces. These are small metal brackets that are bonded to the teeth. Thin flexible wires are threaded through them, and the wires are designed to push or pull on the teeth to provide a small amount of pressure that makes the teeth slowly reposition themselves within the jawbone. A light and controlled force pulling on a tooth causes new bone and ligament (the fibers that hold teeth in place) to be formed. These are living tissues that are constantly changing and remodeling themselves.

If you wait until your child's permanent (adult) teeth have all come in to start this process, it will be too late to correct some types of orthodontic problems, such as some types of malocclusions (“mal” – bad, “occlusion” – bite). It's better to work together with your child's stages of growth and development in order to have an optimum correction, both in looks and function.

You may be wondering whether a two-stage treatment costs twice as much. In fact, it is likely to be less expensive than a late one-stage treatment would be. Sometimes, the first stage may correct an underlying problem and make further treatment unnecessary. If a second phase is needed, it is likely to be easier and less costly.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about orthodontia for your child. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Preventative & Cost Saving Orthodontics.”


By Chauvin & Chauvin, D.D.S.
July 05, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants   bridgework  
TestingyourKnowledgeDentalImplantsvsBridgework

When it comes to replacing missing teeth, we have numerous options. However, two of the most common treatment options include bridgework and dental implants. See how much you really know about dental implants and bridgework by taking our quick and easy true/false self test.

  1. When it comes to costs, dental implants may initially cost more than bridgework but are less expensive than bridgework over a lifetime.
    True or False
  2. Both bridgework and dental implants can last a lifetime when properly maintained.
    True or False
  3. Prior to placing a three-unit fixed bridge, if the surrounding teeth have crowns, they must be redone so that the bridge fits and wears properly.
    True or False
  4. Replacing a single tooth with a three-unit bridge, requires removing the enamel on the adjacent teeth even if these teeth are disease-free.
    True or False
  5. In addition to being permanent tooth replacements, another advantage of dental implants is that they don't decay like teeth supporting bridgework.
    True or False
  6. It is not uncommon for root canal treatment to be required to save teeth that support bridgework if they have been subjected to severe decay and their nerves become infected.
    True or False
  7. Placing a dental implant requires more time when compared to placing a three-unit bridge.
    True or False
  8. Both bridgework and dental implants require minor surgery to replace a missing tooth.
    True or False
  9. Dental implants are more desirable than bridgework because placing them does not affect the adjacent teeth.
    True or False
  10. Studies indicate that bridges are only 67% successful at 15 years whereas dental implants have success rates into the 90s.
    True or False

Answers: 1) True. This fact shocks many people. 2) False. This is more commonly true for dental implants. 3) True. 4) True. This is one of the disadvantages of bridgework. 5) True. This is just one of the advantages of a dental implant. 6) True. 7) True. 8) False. Dental implants require surgery to be placed. 9) True. This fact is a significant advantage for dental implants. 10) True. Your results may vary; however, this statistic represents what you might expect.

To learn more, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Implants vs. Bridgework.” Or, you can contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions.