Porcelain vs Composite Veneers

Whether you’re looking to have only a few teeth or all of your front teeth covered by dental veneers you might be wondering; which material is the best, composite or porcelain? Dental veneers can be used alongside other cosmetic dental procedures to dramatically change the look of your smile. It’s an important question, so let’s dive in.

Porcelain vs Composite Veneers: Lifespan

The lifespan of any type of dental veneers depends upon a number of factors. The most important of those is hygiene and overall oral health. Under ideal conditions, if a patient follows brushing, flossing and twice annual dental checkup recommendations, both porcelain and composite veneers can last for many years. A common estimate for the lifespan of composite veneers is between 4 to 10 years. Porcelain veneers are estimated to last between 10 to 15 years if not longer.

Porcelain is generally fragile but after it is bonded to a tooth it becomes extremely durable. Composite materials are strong as well but once attached are more prone to chipping than porcelain. However composite veneers can be repaired, similar to fillings for normal tooth enamel, while porcelain veneers must be replaced entirely if they are damaged.

Porcelain vs Composite Veneers: Cost & Time

Composite veneers have the advantage of a faster application process compared to porcelain. Composite veneers can be fabricated in-office and can be applied during the same visit in which your teeth are prepped for them. Any dental veneers require some tooth material to be grinded away to make room for them. With composite veneers your dentist can complete that work, fabricate your veneers and apply them all in the same visit.

Porcelain veneers generally require at least two appointments. Your dentist will remove the necessary material from your teeth, take an impression mold, and then will have to wait for a special lab to fabricate your veneers. Temporary veneers are available between appointments, so it’s not like you will walk around with obviously incomplete dental work, but if time is a factor this is worth considering. At your second appointment, your porcelain veneers will then be applied.

Porcelain veneers are also generally more expensive than composite. Because porcelain veneers cannot be fabricated in-office and are of a higher quality material they cost more to create and apply. The initial cost of porcelain veneers compared to composite often becomes equal over time however when considering the upfront costs versus repair and replacement costs over the lifetime of each material.

Porcelain vs Composite Veneers: Look

Porcelain veneers compared to composite veneers look more natural. The way that thin porcelain catches light mirrors a white tooth very closely. Composite veneers still look quite natural but when considering cosmetics porcelain does have the edge. Porcelain is also more stain resistant, related to its general durability edge, compared to composite.

Because composite veneers can stain that does mean they will naturally wear and change color just like your other teeth. Porcelain veneers on the other hand may start to stick out more over time compared to the teeth surrounding them. This might me you will need to consider whitening your teeth to match the shade of your porcelain veneers as time goes on.

Which Dental Veneers are Best?

There are pros and cons to both composite and dental veneers. The best material for your veneers is ultimately something you will need to decide yourself based on your lifestyle and preferences. There’s a question of lifespan, upfront versus lifetime costs, look and time to consider when deciding between the two. If you’re still not sure, our dentists and staff are happy to help guide you through the decision-making process. There’s yet more information that can be provided to you, and guidance that can be tailored to your specific needs and unique oral health situation.

Halloween Tips-for-Teeth

Halloween can seem like a kid’s ultimate daydream. But for their dental health, it can actually be their greatest nightmare. Just because Halloween has the potential to be bad for teeth doesn’t mean you should only let your children eat apples and carrots. 

That doesn’t mean that all candies are the same. There are certain candies that you need to pay a little extra attention to this Halloween season.

Good Candy

One of the best candies you can let your child eat is chocolate. Because it is soft, it easily dissolves off of the teeth after eating, which minimizes the risk of developing cavities.

Another good candy for your dental health are certain kinds of gum. Chewing gum after eating greatly reduces the risk of developing cavities. It can help clean the mouth out and promote the production of saliva, a natural cavity fighter. The best gum to chew is anything that is sugar-free.

The “Be Mindful” Zone

Certain candies are worse for teeth than others. Anything that is sticky can linger on the teeth longer, allowing bacteria to grow and create cavities. It can also pull out any fillings in the teeth, causing painful and potentially deeper cavities.

Hard candy can chip or crack teeth if you try to chew them. Make sure that your child sucks on hard candy, rather than biting it. A lot of hard candies can be sour, which tend to be very acidic and damaging to teeth.

Lastly, one of the greatest classic Halloween treats is the popcorn ball. While delicious, the kernels can become lodged in between teeth and into the gums. This creates areas where bacteria can flourish and eat away at the teeth.

Your Dental Saviors

At the end of the day, there is no particular candy that you should go out of your way to avoid. All candies have the potential to cause damage to the teeth. If you are mindful about what you are consuming and how you are consuming it, you will be just fine. It is important that you floss once a day and brush twice per day. Mouth rinses can also be beneficial after eating.

Happy Halloween and good luck Trick-or-Treating!

Going All-In on All-On-Four?

Having a healthy smile that you’re proud of has a major positive impact on your self-confidence. On the flip side, poor dental health can have a major impact on your physical health, but also on your emotional health as well. When you don’t feel confident in your smile, it can be difficult to feel sure of yourself at all. Losing a singular tooth or multiple teeth makes you confront the physical and emotional issues that ensue. Thankfully, there is hope to have a full smile once more!

There are numerous kinds of dental implants that are available in the dental world today. Some implants cover a single tooth, while dental bridges cover multiple teeth. For some people, there are no viable teeth left in the mouth. Previous implant surgeries would require 6-8 different implant points in order to restore a dental arch (all of the teeth on either the upper or lower jaw). In the early 1990s, a new technique revolutionized the dental world: the All-On-Four implant was created.

What is the All-On-Four and Why is it Special?

As the name implies, the All-On-Four technique implants all of one of your dental arches (all of the teeth on either the upper or lower jaw) and it only uses four points of the implant. This significantly reduces the number of implant points needed to restore your smile. By only using 4 implant points as opposed to the previously used 6–8, it significantly reduces the amount of post-implant pain, recovery time, and risk of complications. For people who have osteoporosis or other issues where there isn’t a lot of bone material to work with, the All-On-4 technique requires no bone grafting in order to place the implants. For just 4 points of contact, you can have an entire arch of teeth put into place. While this still may be a bit uncomfortable, IV sedation is available to help with the discomfort that may be experienced.

What are the Limitations of All-On-Four?

As with any type of dental implant, there are limitations that apply to All-On-Four as well. One of the main disadvantages of the All-On-Four technique is the cost involved. In order to do the procedure, doing just one dental arch can cost upwards of 10-30 thousand dollars, varying widely by what kind of material is used. Luckily, most insurances cover a portion of the cost. Another disadvantage is that depending on the material used, dental restorations may be necessary later down the road. This could be a potential financial burden. However, most dental All-On-Four implants last well over 20 years with the potential to last a lifetime.

If you are ready to have a full smile and learn more about the All-On-Four technique, give us a call at 978-534-9216 or visit our website to see all our services.

What Is The Best Teeth Whitening Option?

Teeth can become discolored for a variety of reasons and many people want their teeth to be bright and white, so they look into teeth whitening. When it comes to getting a brighter smile, you can whiten your teeth at home or get a professional treatment. At home whitening typically includes over-the-counter products like whitening strips, pens, or toothpaste. Professional whitening includes custom-made whitening trays you take home or an in-office appointment. What might work best for some, might not necessarily work best for another. So what’s the best teeth whitening option for you?

Both over-the counter and professional treatments use peroxide bleaching agents as the main active ingredient. The difference between each option is the amount of peroxide it contains. Over-the-counter solutions use 3 – 20 percent where professional solutions contain 14 – 43 percent. Solutions with higher amounts of peroxide should be left on for a shorter amount of time. Keeping the solution on longer will dehydrate your teeth and make them more prone to sensitivity.

Professional Whitening

Professional teeth whitening options are much safer and more effective. Additionally, it ensures that all of the proper precautions are taken. So, when it comes to protecting your gums, the whitening agent only gets on your teeth.

At-Home Whitening Products

Over-the-counter products are cheaper, generally take longer to see results, and have limitations depending on your tooth color and health prior. If used incorrectly, at-home teeth whitening kits can lead to burned gums, tooth sensitivity, or pain. It’s always best to talk with your dentist to decide the best treatment option for you.

If you choose to go for an over-the-counter solution, we recommend that you use one from the list of bleaching products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Bleaching Products with ADA Seal of Acceptance Learn More About Teeth Whitening

How To Prevent Cavities & Tooth Decay

Cavities, often referred to as tooth decay, are tiny holes that develop in the hard surface of your teeth. They are most common in children and teenagers, but they can affect everyone including infants and toddlers. Take a closer look at what causes cavities and how you can prevent them.

Causes of Cavities

Cavities typically occur as a result of poor oral health habits but other various factors can increase the risk of getting a cavity, including:

  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when there is a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps wash away food stuck on the teeth and it counters the acid produced from bacteria in the mouth, which reduces the chance for cavities.
  • Foods and drinks. Certain foods aren’t as easily washed away from saliva, making them more likely to cause decay. Foods you should limit include: ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, cake, chips, cookies, and hard candy.
  • Constant snacking or sipping. Drinking or eating frequently throughout the day results in increased bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria produce the acids that attack tooth enamel.
  • Lack of fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps prevent cavities and can reverse the early stage of tooth decay. Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to help reduce your chance of cavities.

Cavity Prevention

Regular dental visits and daily brushing and flossing are the best protection against cavities. If you get a cavity, it should be treated right away. But, cavities left untreated get larger and larger, affecting the deeper layers of your teeth. Deeper cavities result in higher chances of experiencing severe toothache and infection. So, when it comes to cavities, prevention is key. Below are some of our cavity preventions tips:

  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Brush and floss twice a day, ideally after each meal.
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Professional teeth cleanings remove plaque that builds up overtime which isn’t removed by regular brushing and flossing. Going to the dentist twice a year is one of the best cavity prevention options.
  • Dental sealants. Sealants protect the tooth enamel from harmful plaque and bacteria.
Learn More About Fillings and Sealants

What is the Role of Fluoride in Dental Care?

Fluoride is one of the most researched nutrients, with over 50 years of peer-reviewed scientific studies confirming its various dental health benefits. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by remineralizing and strengthening your teeth. It also lowers the risk of cavities and strengthens tooth enamel

Fluoride, a component of saliva and the hardest natural substance found in the earth’s crust, when combined with calcium and phosphate to form tooth enamel, is often referred to as a cavity-fighting mineral. Nevertheless, water fluoridation has been around since the 1940s. And its importance has not diminished; today, fluoride continues to play a crucial role in dental care.

Why Do You Need Fluoride?

Fluoride is absorbed by the teeth and protects against tooth decay.Your teeth are constantly under attack by acids and bacteria. If these are left unchecked, these acids and bacteria will break down your teeth over time by causing tooth decay in the form of cavities. Cavities usually begin as microscopic damage to your tooth, but fluoride acts as concrete poured into a crack, protecting against such damage and even reversing early tooth decay.

How Do You Receive Fluoride?

Unfortunately, the amount of fluoride obtained through food is not sufficient to protect your teeth. Throughout both childhood and your adult years, your dentist will apply fluoride treatments at appropriate intervals. These fluoride treatments are put directly on your teeth and are usually in the form of a rinse, gel, or foam. You leave the fluoride in your mouth for a minute or so before either spitting it out or having it rinsed away. This is typically the part in your dentist visit where your dentist asks you the type of flavor you want!

 

Fluoride is an incredibly important part of your oral routine. You should go to your dentist every six months for a checkup, where you should get a fluoride treatment. This will help prevent tooth decay and help fight any decay that has already happened. Give us a call today at 978-534-9216 and we’ll schedule an appointment for you to come in and get a fluoride treatment with your cleaning.

How to Know If Your Tooth’s Enamel Is Damaged

Enamel isn’t something we think about every day, or even all that often. However, it is one of the most important things about your oral health. Enamel is the tooth’s outer covering. Over time, enamel can become chipped, worn or even lost due to dental trauma, dental procedures or problems with the supporting tissues of the mouth. While calcium can naturally repair to some degree, damage sustained over time may leave your tooth vulnerable to further enamel loss.

It can be difficult to know if your tooth’s enamel is permanently damaged. We’ve created a list to know if yours is damaged to make it easier for you!

Tooth Sensitivity

One of the most common signs your tooth’s enamel is damaged is sensitivity. You may notice discomfort while eating or drinking something with hot or hot temperatures. The more your enamel gets damaged, the more extreme your sensitivity will become. If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, make sure to talk with your dentist as soon as possible!

Color

Another way to know if your enamel is damaged is if the color of your teeth has changed. This color change often occurs first on the central incisors, which are your very front teeth. Those teeth might become transparent around the outer edges. As the enamel continues to erode, your teeth might turn a gray or yellowish color.

Shape

If your teeth change shape, it’s a good indicator that you have enamel damage. Your teeth may begin to appear rounded, develop ridges, and often the gaps between teeth will become more substantial. Eventually, you may notice cracks in your teeth.

How to Stop Enamel Erosion

Tooth enamel loss puts your teeth at increased risk for tooth decay. Some tooth enamel loss occurs naturally with age, but you can help stop harmful tooth enamel loss by following a regular oral care routine of brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly. Your tooth enamel is the first line of defense for your teeth against the tooth decay.

Here at Leominster Family Dentists, we are always happy to help. If you think you are experiencing enamel damage, give us a call at 978-534-9216, and we’ll set up an appointment. We’ll look at your teeth for any signs of erosion, and talk with you about your options if you do have damage.

Why Are Baby Teeth Important?

Tiny, but important ― that’s how baby teeth are referred to, especially by dentists. While most parents would look at their babies’ tiny teeth and wonder what in the world they could be thinking about, dentists realize early on that these tiny teeth aren’t just for looking at cute smiles and giggles.

Taking good care of your baby’s teeth early on is crucial to their oral health now and for the rest of their lives. We’ve come up with several reasons why you want to keep your baby’s teeth in tip top shape.

  • These teeth are crucial to your child’s health and development. They help with the development of permanent teeth by saving space for them in the jaw. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift to the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in.
  • Baby teeth aid in speech development. Taking care of your child’s teeth will help them speak and communicate better.
  • They help your child maintain good nutrition by permitting him/her to chew properly.
  • Baby teeth help children feel good about themselves and their smile. It’s so important for children to feel confident from a young age and keeping their teeth healthy is imperative.

What happens if baby teeth aren’t taken care of?

Baby teeth can get cavities, just like adult teeth. In addition to the pain caused by cavities, they can also lead to dental infections. Tooth decay is a serious, infectious, and transmissible disease that can spread quickly and lead to infection. If a tooth needs to then get extracted, this can cause the teeth to drift, which may lead to overcrowding and difficulty for the adult teeth to grow in.

Be sure to visit a dentist within six months of your child’s first tooth appearing and definitely by the time they reach the one year mark. Our team will check for cavities and any other pediatric dental problem. We’ll also help show you and your child how to properly take care of their teeth. Give our office a call today at 978-534-9216!

Tips For Getting Rid of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a very common mouth problem among people of all ages. People who have gingivitis may experience little to no symptoms of this dental condition, while others may experience bleeding when flossing or brushing. Gingivitis can become worse over time and can need to be healed by a dentist if left untreated.

Here are some ways you can get rid of Gingivitis.

Saltwater Rinse

Rinsing your mouth with salt water has been shown to be very beneficial in healing gums inflamed by gingivitis. It can also help reduce pain and bacteria, relieve bad breath and remove particles of food.

To make the rinse, you can add one half to three fourths teaspoons of salt into a glass of lukewarm water. After mixing the solution well, you can swish it around your mouth for up to 30 seconds, and then spit out. You can repeat two to three times a day.

Be sure to not rinse for too long or too often as this could hurt the enamel of your teeth and cause them to erode because of the mixture’s acidic properties.

Turmeric Gel

Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family and turmeric gel has been proven to help prevent plaque and gingivitis. It’s also used in many home remedies as it has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Turmeric gel is available in many health food or alternative remedy shops. To use it to treat gingivitis, people should apply it to the gums and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing with water and spitting.

Homemade Mouthwash

There are several home remedies you can make to help get rid of gingivitis. Follow these recipes to make your own:

Lemongrass Oil Mouthwash
Lemongrass oil has been shown to reduce gingivitis and the plaque that causes it. To make this mouthwash, dilute 2 to 3 drops of lemongrass oil in water. Swirl around the mouth and then spit out. Repeat up to three times daily.

Aloe Vera Mouthwash
Aloe Vera has been proven to be as effective as the active ingredient in traditional mouthwash at treating gingivitis symptoms. Aloe vera juice does not need diluting and can be used on its own, just as long as it is pure. Like other mouthwashes, you should swirl it in the mouth and spit out then repeat up to three times daily.

Tea Tree Oil Mouthwash
Tea tree oil mouthwash can reduce the bleeding associated with gingivitis significantly. To make tea tree oil mouthwash, you should simply add 3 drops of tea tree oil to a cup of warm water then use it in the same way as the other homemade mouthwashes above. Tea tree oil can interact with some medications, so it is best to speak to a doctor before using it for the first time.

These are some ways that can help you get rid of gingivitis. However, if your gums don’t heal or you continue to see symptoms of gingivitis, contact us right away. We’re always happy to help and we’ll answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at 978-534-9216 to set up an appointment.

The Different Types of Cosmetic Dentistry

What’s the first thing you see when meeting someone new? Oftentimes, it’s their smile. And if someone doesn’t have a perfect smile, it can be a source of insecurity for them. Luckily, there are ways to help you fall in love with your teeth.

Cosmetic dentistry is dentistry aimed at creating a positive change to your teeth and your smile. Whether your teeth are chipped, stained, misaligned, or worn, cosmetic dentistry can improve your smile and your confidence. Here are just a few ways cosmetic dentistry can help.

1. Teeth Whitening

Whitening your teeth is one of the most common and quickest ways to change your smile. This is the perfect solution for someone who doesn’t need anything more than a bit of brightening for their teeth or someone who isn’t quite ready for a huge commitment.

Fortunately, teeth whitening can be done in a dentist’s office, or it can be done at home. However, it’s wise to get the bleach from your dentist to make sure you’re getting the safest and best product.

2. Dental Veneers

Veneers, the gold standard for cosmetic dental procedures, are thin, custom made shells of tooth colored porcelain that cover the front surface of the teeth. About a half- millimeter of enamel from the tooth is gently shaved and then an impression is taken. Then, the impression is sent to a dental lab for custom veneers.

While you’re waiting for your permanent veneers, you’ll have temporary ones. Once you get your permanent set, they’ll be cemented to the front of the teeth and you can change the size, color, shape or length.

3. Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a great option for people who have deeply stained or chipped teeth. During this procedure, a tooth- colored, putty- like resin is applied to the tooth and hardened with an ultraviolet or laser light, bonding the material to the tooth. Your dentist can then trim, shape and polish it.

4. Enamel Abrasion

This procedure is a way to remove discoloration. The procedure uses a fine pumice in a micro-abrasion machine to remove surface stains. While this process doesn’t work for stains inside the tooth or intrinsic stains, it works wonders to remove stains caused by things like tobacco, wine, coffee and berries.

5. Invisalign Braces

These are perfect for not only kids, but adults as well because no one can tell you’re wearing them! They’ll help you get the perfect smile that you’ve always wanted.

While they’re great for straightening teeth, they also help with chronic pain caused by misalignment, such as headaches.

 

Whatever you want to do to improve your teeth, we’ve got you covered. We want all of our patients to be confident in their smiles. If you have any questions about different procedures used for cosmetic dentistry, please reach out to us at 978-534-9216. We’ll get you set up with an appointment and our team will get you the right process for your needs.