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Posts for: October, 2016

By One Dental Care - Kunio Chan, DMD, MAGD
October 25, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry   Veneers  

Improving your smile has never been easier, thanks to dental veneers. Dr. Kunio Chan, your Billerica, MA dentist at One Dental Care, veneersdiscusses how veneers can change the things you don't like about your smile.

Change starts with a thin layer of porcelain

Veneers were invented in 1928 for a film shoot, but it wasn't until years later that dentists found a long-lasting way to attach them to the teeth. The thin porcelain shells look just tooth enamel and are ideal for making minor alterations to your small. Although veneers are about as thick as a fingernail, they're very strong and stain resistant. Dental veneers are attached to the front surfaces of teeth only and offer a quick way to make over your smile.

Veneers are an ideal solution for a variety of cosmetic issues

Dental veneers may be thin, but they're very effective at covering small defects that detract from your smile. Don't like the shape of your teeth? That tooth won't stand out any longer after you receive your custom-made veneer. A porcelain veneer can also be used to conceal a slightly crooked tooth, although orthodontic treatment may be needed if you have significant alignment problems.

Veneers also cover small chips and other flaws, including teeth shortened by grinding. In some cases, your Billerica dentist may recommend a crown instead of a veneer, particularly if your tooth has become very short. Dental veneers offer a simple way to hide discolorations and can be used to improve the look of a tooth discolored by a dental procedure or tetracycline use. If you're embarrassed by your dull, yellow teeth, veneers can be used on all of your teeth to brighten your smile. Unlike tooth whitening, which only offers an average improvement of three to eight shade, there's virtually no limit to the level of whiteness you can attain with veneers.

Are you interested in learning how you can benefit from veneers. Call Dr. Chan, your Billerica, MA, dentist at One Dental Care, at (978) 894-1166 to schedule an appointment to begin the veneer process.

By One Dental Care - Kunio Chan, DMD, MAGD
October 23, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns  

If you're in need of a crown to cover a damaged tooth, you have a lot of options. But before you choose, you need to know what you want. Would you be happy with an affordable, well-fitting crown that holds up well and allows you to chew comfortably? Or are you interested in a more expensive one that also provides the most attractive result?

Crowns have been a mainstay in dentistry for generations. The first were made of metals like gold or silver — durable and effective but not very attractive.

In time, a ceramic material known as dental porcelain began to make its appearance in crowns. Dental porcelain could be fashioned to resemble the color and texture of natural teeth, but it had a significant drawback: it could be brittle and subject to shattering under chewing pressure.

This problem was somewhat addressed with the innovation of a crown with a metal substructure fused with an outer layer of porcelain. These porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns combined the best advantages of both materials: strength and life-likeness. Up until around the mid-2000s, PFM made up over 80% of crowns.

But later porcelains continued to improve in strength, beginning in 1993 with the introduction of a Lucite-reinforced material. Newer formulations like lithium disilicate or zirconium oxide (now considered the strongest porcelain) have made all-porcelain crowns a viable option. Today, an estimated 60% of new crowns are all-porcelain.

From an appearance standpoint, all-porcelain crowns achieve the best results. The most realistic crown can be costly — not because of the material but the level of artistry required. A skilled dental technician will spend several hours, including brushing on as many as fifteen coats of liquid porcelain to the crown, to achieve the most life-like outcome. Your insurance plan, if you have one, will most likely not pay as high a percentage for that type of crown.

In the end, it's your decision as to what type of crown you wish to have. We'll help you weigh your options and decide what's best for you and your budget.

If you would like more information on crown options, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By One Dental Care - Kunio Chan, DMD, MAGD
October 08, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.

When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”

Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.

There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.

By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.

So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.

If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.