November 4, 2015 As we enter the holiday season, we all have a lot to be thankful for. But are you teeth one of them? If your teeth don’t top your thankful list, you’re not alone. According to the American Association of Orthodontics, more than one third of Americans are unhappy with their smile. By the same token, more than 99 percent of adults believe a smile is an important social asset, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. That belief has lead to a rise in patients seeking Sparks cosmetic dentistry procedures in recent years. Many patients start to see the quality of their smile decline in their 30s and 40s, often due to lifestyle and health habits that wear on teeth over time. But the younger generations aren’t immune. Among young adults ages 18 to 24, 48 percent have untagged themselves from a Facebook photo specifically because they didn’t like their smile. Of Americans who are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth, 36 percent believe they would have a better social life with an improved smile, 22 percent think better teeth would lead to a better love life and 14 percent think their smile could be the reason they are missing out on a better job. Don’t spend this holiday season wondering if an enhanced smile could improve your life. Regardless of whether you desire a crooked tooth to be fixed or even a full mouth restoration, we can put your smile back at the top of your thankful list this year. Improvements in cosmetic dentistry As cosmetic dentistry procedures like whitening, dental bonding and porcelain veneers have increased in popularity, so have the procedures themselves improved. The movement away from metal-based restorations toward more natural all-ceramics has meant better looking teeth and improved performance. Technology advances have improved the ability to bond porcelain to tooth structure, and consequently more minimally invasive cosmetic dentistry procedures. Technology has also allowed us to use computer simulations to show patients exactly what their new smiles will look like. For example. our digital imaging program gives patients a smile preview of their Sparks porcelain veneers, made in the shape, color and style customized to look most natural on them. One hour to a whiter smile Professional teeth whitening is a quick way to improve your smile, and the best teeth whitening method to ensure maximum results and minimal sensitivity. In fact, for those seeking immediate white teeth results our in-office whitening, complete in about hour, will brighten your teeth six to 10 shades whiter. Those results will last one or more years, and we’ll ensure they meet your expectations while still looking natural. Our in-office teeth whitening methodology includes a special gel on your gums to protect the soft tissue and a light-activated gel on your teeth to gently remove stains and discoloration. Unlike over-the-counter whitening agents, your tooth enamel is protected from damage and you’ll benefit from a much lower likelihood of resulting sensitivity. We can also help you achieve white teeth at home with our professional tray teeth whitening, which is a less expensive option than in-office teeth whitening. We’ll discuss your personal teeth whitening plan, and you’ll receive custom whitening trays and detailed instructions on how to apply the bleaching materials to the trays. Our patients typically wear the trays 30 to 60 minutes per day, up to twice a day, with maximum results being 10 shades whiter at the end of your treatment plan. Both in-office and professional at-home Reno teeth whitening options come with the opportunity to touch up your smile at home as needed. After a teeth whitening procedure, patients should avoid drinks like red wine, grape juice, tea and coffee, as well as smoking, all of which can discolor teeth. While brushing after each meal may not always be feasible, try to rinse with water to proactively prevent stains from developing. As a cosmetic dentistry procedure, teeth whitening can be best for patients who: Want to improve the appearance of discolored teeth Aren’t currently dealing with gum disease, damaged teeth, incomplete dental work or exposed roots Are over age 14 Aren’t pregnant or lactating Fix chipped or misaligned teeth in one appointment Tooth bonding is one of the easiest and least expensive cosmetic dentistry procedures. In just one appointment, our Sparks tooth bonding can correct a chipped, misaligned or slightly imperfect tooth, giving you increased confidence when you flash those pearly whites. Compared to porcelain veneers or a dental crown, the least amount of tooth enamel is removed in this procedure, and anesthesia is usually not required. We will select a liquid composite resin that blends seamlessly with your tooth’s natural color. Once hardened with a curing light, the resin is sculpted and polished to match the sheen of your teeth’s surface. A bonded tooth has the advantage of lasting many years, and it’s a more affordable alternative than porcelain veneers. However, while the bonded area is somewhat stain resistant, it won’t resist stains as well as a dental crown. Also, the bonded area won’t discolor naturally as your normal tooth enamel does, so touch-up whitening or bonding replacement will likely have to be considered in the future. Sparks dental bonding is ideal for those patients who desire to : Repair chipped or cracked teeth Improve the appearance of discolored teeth Close spaces between teeth Make teeth look longer or change the shape of teeth Protect a portion of a tooth’s root that has become exposed Restore your dazzling smile with porcelain veneers While more involved than either teeth whitening or tooth bonding, porcelain veneers can completely restore your smile in just a few appointments. If you have several teeth that need correction, Sparks porcelain veneers are the best option to replicate the strength and look of your own natural teeth. The dental veneers process typically takes about three appointments to complete, with the first being a thorough consultation and a preview of your new smile with our digital imaging program. Your second appointment will include taking impressions of your teeth and preparing them to be fitted with porcelain veneers, which includes removing a very small amount of the original tooth enamel. This process is minimally invasive and leaves your natural teeth largely intact. A set of temporary dental veneers will be placed while our ceramists craft your permanent set. Our Elite dental veneers ceramists take great pride in developing an incredibly natural look for your new smile, matching the color of your teeth and applying multiple layers of porcelain sheaths to allow for a translucent quality replicating natural teeth. Once your permanent dental veneers are ready, they will be bonded to your teeth. Dental veneers will last longer than a bonded tooth, up to 20 years when cared for properly. Unlike a bond that covers a portion of the tooth, a veneer completely covers the front of the tooth, which makes touch-up whitening unnecessary. And unlike natural teeth, porcelain veneers won’t discolor or fade over the years. Porcelain veneers are best for patients who have: Discolored or stained teeth, especially when teeth whitening has not been successful Chipped, broken or worn down teeth Crooked, uneven, misaligned or irregularly shaped teeth Gaps between teeth Healthy gum tissue The first step to being thankful for your smile again is a consultation to discuss which of our Sparks cosmetic dentistry procedures is right for you. We’ll discuss your goals in enhancing your smile and provide guidance on which procedure will best meet your expectations. Don’t spend the holidays hiding your smile! Give us a call today at 775-358-1555.