In addition to tooth whitening, veneers, crowns, and tooth-colored restorations, Smile New Braunfels also provides a range of other cosmetic services.
Sealants are very effective in preventing decay on the biting surfaces of your chewing teeth. Sealants are a simple procedure in which a tooth-colored acrylic “coating” is painted onto the surface of the tooth. This effectively “seals” the deep grooves, acting as a barrier protecting enamel from plaque and acids.
Sealants protect the depressions and grooves of your teeth from food particles and plaque that brushing and flossing can’t reach.
Sealants take only a few minutes to seal each tooth. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and can last several years before a reapplication is needed.
Children and adults can benefit from sealants in the fight against tooth decay.
Inlays and Onlays
When over half of the tooth’s biting surface is damaged, we may recommend an inlay or onlay.
What Are Inlays & Onlays?
Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. These pieces are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay (which is similar to a filling) is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay, but extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth.
Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays and onlays. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color that can potentially match the natural color of your teeth.
How Are They Applied?
Inlays and onlays require two appointments to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay. To ensure proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth will be taken and sent to our on-site lab for fabrication. Dr. Peck will then apply a temporary sealant on the tooth and schedule the next appointment.
At the second appointment, the temporary sealant is removed. Dr. Peck will then make sure that the inlay or onlay fits correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish.
Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent. As an alternative, since inlays and onlays are bonded directly onto the tooth using special high-strength resins, they can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent. As a result, they can last from 10 to 30 years. In some cases where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide a very good alternative.
A denture, or a complete denture, is an appliance that is inserted in the mouth, replaces natural teeth and provides support for the cheeks and lips. Most dentures are made of acrylic material and can be fabricated two different ways. A conventional denture is made after all teeth have been extracted and the tissues (gums) have healed. An immediate denture is fabricated and inserted immediately after the teeth are extracted and the tissues are allowed to heal under the denture. An upper denture has acrylic, usually flesh colored, that covers the palate (roof of the mouth). A lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to leave room for the tongue. The denture teeth are made of plastic, porcelain or a combination thereof. Dentures can be fabricated to fit over endodonticly treated teeth and a complete denture can be attached to dental implants to allow for a more secure fit of the appliance. Dentures, over a normal course of time, will wear and need to be replaced or relined in order to keep the jaw alignment normal. The alignment will slowly change as the bone and gum ridges recede or shrink due to the extraction of the teeth. Regular dentist examinations are still important for the denture wearer so that the oral tissues can be checked for disease or change.
Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
Nitrous oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe; the patient receives 50-70 percent oxygen with no less than 30 percent nitrous oxide. It is a sweet smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which is inhaled. The patient is able to breathe on his or her own and remain in control of all bodily functions.
The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.
There are many advantages to using nitrous oxide:
- The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
- There is no after effect, such as a 'hangover'.
- Inhalation sedation is safe, with no side effects on your heart or lungs.
- Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
- It works rapidly, reaching the brain within 20 seconds. In as few as two to three minutes, its relaxation and pain-killing properties develop.
Though there are no major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, chest problems, multiple sclerosis, a cold, or other difficulties with breathing. You may want to ask Dr. Peck for a five-minute trial to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder with symptoms ranging from abnormal pauses in breathing or low breathing during sleep. The pauses in breathing are called apnea, and can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 5 to even 30 times an hour. Sleep apnea is diagnosed through an overnight sleep study.
There are three forms of sleep apnea: central (CSA) at 0.4% of cases, obstructive (OSA) at 84% of cases, and complex or mixed sleep apnea (a combination of the other two) at 15% of cases. In CSA, breathing pauses due to a lack of respiratory function. In OSA, breathing is interrupted by a physical block to airflow.
Usually, a person with sleep apnea will not know they have it. They may feel extremely tired and fatigued during the day. Often, a person sleeping the same room will notice the person’s lack of breathing regularity. A night mouthpiece may be a helpful solution for mild to moderate sleep apnea or snoring if a CPAP machine is not appropriate. These devices hold the lower jaw forward and help relieve the physical blockage to breathing.
Clinching and Grinding
At some point in their life, most people will clinch or grind their teeth. This occasional occurrence is typically harmless. However, when teeth grinding happens on a regular basis, it can be a big problem. Teeth grinding can be a symptom of stress or anxiety and often occurs during sleep, so people are sometimes unaware they’re doing it. Headaches, a sore jaw, or someone who sleeps nearby are often how a person discovers the issue. Grinding can cause your teeth to break, become loose, or wear down. It can also affect your jaws, resulting in hearing loss, or TMJ. A night guard is a simple, very effective solution to teeth grinding. Dr. Peck and quickly fit one to a person’s mouth structure and give instructions on how the wearer can adjust the device at home for an even better fit.