seacliff dental San Francisco before and after teeth whitening image

Top 5 Cosmetic Dentistry Frequently Asked Questions

People have a lot of questions when it comes to cosmetic dentistry. However, there seem to be some questions asked more frequently than others. Below you will find the top five cosmetic dentistry questions we hear. If you have other cosmetic dentistry questions not addressed in this article, please be sure to reach out to us. We’re here to help!

Question 1: Can whitening my teeth damage them? What are the effects?

Teeth whitening techniques have monitored, evaluated, and improved over the years to make sure teeth whitening is both safe and effective. You can be sure that results obtained in the dental office have over a 90% success rate. As a general rule, yellowed teeth respond better to whitening than brownish stains.

At SeaCliff Dental our dental professionals have worked hard to ensure teeth whitening is both safe and effective. However, there are minor side-effects. There are often three areas of concern after whitening treatment: the gums (or gingiva), the teeth themselves and dental restorations. The extent to which you experience problems in any one of these areas depends on the type of treatment you receive. Your teeth may become more sensitive to cold, heat and sweets.

Before you get your teeth whitened, discuss the possible risks with your dentist. Your dentist is able to go over all your options with you and decide on a whitening program that is both safe and effective for you. Your dentist may even be able to predict if you will have problems or sensitivities to the teeth whitening procedure.

Question 2: Because I used antibiotics as a child, I now have darkened teeth. What can I do to make them white again?

Common causes of intrinsic staining of teeth include treatment with tetracycline antibiotics while the tooth is forming. These dark stains are deep in the tooth tissue. However, you do have options to correct this discoloration of your teeth. There are some teeth whitening procedures that can correct intrinsic stains. You also have the option porcelain laminate veneers or crowns. Your best option in this case is to ask your dentist on what options you might have and what would work best for your particular situation.

Question 3: Why do people’s teeth discolor upon aging ? Is this just a part of aging?

Tooth darkening occurs as a natural effect of aging. As we get older, the enamel, which is the outer hard layer covering our teeth, wears away and exposes the darker dentin beneath it inside the tooth.  Certain medications and years of coffee, tea, tobacco, or red wine consumption can also take their toll on your teeth. You have options available to you to correct this staining of your teeth and get your beautiful smile back. Be sure to discuss your options with your dentist.

Question 4: I am a little scared about laminates. Does it hurt to have my teeth prepared for them ? Can you tell me more about it?

Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain used to recreate the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel. It is often the material of choice for those looking to make slight position alterations, or to change tooth shape, size, and/or color.

Porcelain veneers are a very successful option in many situations where the original tooth has developed poor color, shape, and contours. It is also a good choice for fractured teeth, gaps between teeth, and in some situations where the tooth position is compromised and there are minor bite-related problems. For some people, superficial stains do not respond well to tooth whitening or bleaching. In these situations, a porcelain veneer may be the best option.

Generally getting your teeth prepared for veneers does not hurt a bit. But we still offer anesthesia during this step if you feel you need it. After the teeth preparation there may be some soreness from the pressure on the teeth, which is easily relieved by over-the-counter pain relievers. This procedure is very common in cosmetic dentistry and we are happy to go over all your questions and concerns with you so you can decide what options are best for you.

Question 5:  I would like to know if there are advantages of laminates versus orthodontic treatments. What is the time required for both of these cosmetic dentistry procedures?

These two cosmetic dentistry procedures are completely different.  Orthodontics can take months, or years, and is focused on straightening multiple mis-aligned teeth.  Quality veneers can be completed very quickly, often in just two visits. They are mostly used to cover chipped, cracked, and stained teeth. There may be a case where you need both of these procedures. Both laminates and orthodontics can offer results that will last years, and, in many cases with proper aftercare, for the rest of your life. Each cosmetic dentistry procedure is performed for different dental challenges, and each has a specific outcome. It’s best to get a full dental exam and discuss treatment options with your dentist.

If you have cosmetic dentistry or general dentistry questions, please be sure to reach out to us at SeaCliff Dental. We’re here to help!

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