In real life he was a hard-charging basketball player through high school and college. In TV and the movies, he has gone head-to-head with serial killers, assorted bad guys… even mysterious paranormal forces. So would you believe that David Duchovny, who played Agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files and starred in countless other large and small-screen productions, lost his front teeth… in an elevator accident?
“I was running for the elevator at my high school when the door shut on my arm,” he explained. “The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the hospital. I had fainted, fallen on my face, and knocked out my two front teeth.” Looking at Duchovny now, you’d never know his front teeth weren’t natural. But that’s not “movie magic” — it’s the art and science of modern dentistry.
How do dentists go about replacing lost teeth with natural-looking prosthetics? Today, there are two widely used tooth replacement procedures: dental implants and bridgework. When a natural tooth can’t be saved — due to advanced decay, periodontal disease, or an accident like Duchovny’s — these methods offer good looking, fully functional replacements. So what’s the difference between the two? Essentially, it’s a matter of how the replacement teeth are supported.
With state-of-the-art dental implants, support for the replacement tooth (or teeth) comes from small titanium inserts, which are implanted directly into the bone of the jaw. In time these become fused with the bone itself, providing a solid anchorage. What’s more, they actually help prevent the bone loss that naturally occurs after tooth loss. The crowns — lifelike replacements for the visible part of the tooth — are securely attached to the implants via special connectors called abutments.
In traditional bridgework, the existing natural teeth on either side of a gap are used to support the replacement crowns that “bridge” the gap. Here’s how it works: A one-piece unit is custom-fabricated, consisting of prosthetic crowns to replace missing teeth, plus caps to cover the adjacent (abutment) teeth on each side. Those abutment teeth must be shaped so the caps can fit over them; this is done by carefully removing some of the outer tooth material. Then the whole bridge unit is securely cemented in place.
While both systems have been used successfully for decades, bridgework is now being gradually supplanted by implants. That’s because dental implants don’t have any negative impact on nearby healthy teeth, while bridgework requires that abutment teeth be shaped for crowns, and puts additional stresses on them. Dental implants also generally last far longer than bridges — the rest of your life, if given proper care. However, they are initially more expensive (though they may prove more economical in the long run), and not everyone is a candidate for the minor surgery they require.
Which method is best for you? Don’t try using paranormal powers to find out: Come in and talk to us. If you would like more information about tooth replacement, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework,” and “Dental Implants.”
So, you're about to have a tooth capped with a crown. Do you know what you need to know before you undergo this common dental procedure?
Here's a short true or false quiz to test your knowledge of dental crowns.
All crowns are the same. False — while all crowns have the same basic design — a life-like prosthetic tooth fitted over and bonded or cemented to a natural tooth — their compositions can vary greatly. Early metal crowns consisted mainly of gold or silver and are still used today. Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns — a metal interior for strength overlaid by a porcelain exterior for appearance — became popular in the latter 20th Century. Although still widely used, PFMs have been largely surpassed by newer all-ceramic materials that are stronger than past versions.
Crowns can differ in their artistic quality. True — all crowns are designed to replicate a natural tooth's function — in other words, enable the tooth to effectively chew again. But a crown's appearance can be a different story, depending on how much attention to detail and artistry goes into it. The higher the individual craftsmanship, the more lifelike it will appear — and the more expensive it can be.
With digital milling equipment, dental labs are obsolete. False — although technology exists that allows dentists to produce their own crowns, the equipment is not yet in widespread use. Â The vast majority of crowns are still produced by a trained technician in a dental laboratory. And just as you base your choice of a dentist on your confidence in and respect for them, dentists look for the same thing in a dental lab — good, reliable and consistent results.
Your insurance may not cover what your dentist recommends. True — dental insurance will typically pay for a basic, functional crown. Aesthetics — how it will look — is a secondary consideration. As a result, your policy may not cover the crown your dentist recommends to function properly and look attractive. A new crown, however, is a long-term investment in both your dental function and your smile. It may be well worth supplementing out of pocket your insurance benefit to get the crown that suits you on both counts.
Coffee is delicious, satisfying and gives you a boost in the morning, but it can also wreak havoc on the appearance of your teeth over time. The dark liquid can yellow the outer enamel, discoloring your smile significantly with each sip. Learn how you can hide the effects of regular coffee drinking with teeth whitening at Lansdowne Smile Design and Herndon Smile Design in Lansdowne and Herndon, VA.
The Negative Effects of Your Coffee Habit
For many people, the best part of their morning is that first sip of hot Java. The National Coffee Association says that 54 percent of American adults drink coffee every day. But as common as the coffee drinking habit is, it's not the best choice for your smile. Not only does it create stains on the teeth, it also aids the development of enamel-eroding bad bacteria in the mouth. Enamel erosion significantly contributes to tooth discoloration.
Hide the Effects with a Teeth Whitening Treatment
With professional bleaching agents, your Lansdowne and Herndon dentist can make your coffee stained teeth up to eight shades whiter. The lips and cheeks are held back by a retractor tool that allows your dentist to carefully apply the tooth whitener. A light activates the whitener to remove the discoloration. Best of all, the entire process of having your teeth whitened professionally takes the span of an average lunch hour.
Ensuring Long Lasting Effects
A professionally whitened smile can stay white for years, but when you're a habitual coffee drinker the effects may fade away more quickly. Here are a few tips to avoid this:
- Drink coffee and similar dark beverages through a straw
- Avoid drinking coffee when it's piping hot as that could cause discoloration to set in more rapidly
- Brush and rinse more regularly throughout the day
- See your dentist for cleanings and tooth polishing every few months
Protect Your White Smile
You love coffee, but you’ll also love the new whiter smile you get at Lansdowne Smile Design and Herndon Smile Design in Lansdowne and Herndon, VA. Call 703-468-0000 for Herndon or 703-724-4220 for Lansdowne today to schedule a teeth whitening appointment with Dr. Amirreza Rafaat.
Professional teeth whitening is an easy and effective way to significantly brighten your smile in a single visit. If you have ever wondered whether professional teeth whitening is necessary since a variety of over-the-counter products are available, consider the many benefits of professional treatments. They deliver superior results much more quickly than any over-the-counter whitening product. At Smile Design in Leesburg and Herndon, VA, teeth whitening treatments are professionally applied under the supervision of Dr. Amirreza Rafaat.
Benefits of Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening treatments offer several benefits. Whether you are having the whitening product applied in office or are utilizing a take-home kit provided by your dentist, the bleaching agent in professional treatments is of significantly higher quality and concentration than over-the-counter products. The professional quality means the teeth will be dramatically whiter in less time and the results will last much longer than with over-the-counter products. In fact, professional teeth whitening results can last for up to five years before fading.
In addition to achieving superior results much more quickly, the results of professional teeth whitening treatments are always consistent. The quality and level of bleaching agent in over-the-counter products can vary by brand and product. The bleaching agent in professional teeth whitening treatments is always of high quality and at the right level for safely achieving maximum results. In Leesburg and Herndon, teeth whitening treatments can be applied in-office for fastest results or a professional take-home kit can be used to whiten teeth.
Professional teeth whitening is necessary when you want to achieve exceptional long-lasting whitening results in the shortest amount of time. Achieving a whiter smile through professional whitening treatments will give you significantly brighter teeth, as well as a confidence boost. Dr. Rafaat of Smile Design offers professional teeth whitening at two convenient locations. To schedule an appointment for teeth whitening in Herndon, call Herndon Smile Design at (703) 464-0000. For Leesburg, call Lansdowne Smile Design at (703) 724-4220.
Magician Michael Grandinetti mystifies and astonishes audiences with his sleight of hand and mastery of illusion. But when he initially steps onto the stage, it’s his smile that grabs the attention. “The first thing… that an audience notices is your smile; it’s what really connects you as a person to them,” Michael told an interviewer.
He attributes his audience-pleasing smile to several years of orthodontic treatment as a teenager to straighten misaligned teeth, plus a lifetime of good oral care. “I’m so thankful that I did it,” he said about wearing orthodontic braces. “It was so beneficial. And… looking at the path I’ve chosen, it was life-changing.”
Orthodontics — the dental subspecialty focused on treating malocclusions (literally “bad bites”) — can indeed make life-changing improvements. Properly positioned teeth are integral to the aesthetics of any smile, and a smile that’s pleasing to look at boosts confidence and self-esteem and makes a terrific first impression. Studies have even linked having an attractive smile with greater professional success.
There can also be functional benefits such as improved biting/chewing and speech, and reduced strain on jaw muscles and joints. Additionally, well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and less likely to trap food particles that can lead to decay.
The Science Behind the Magic
There are more options than ever for correcting bites, but all capitalize on the fact that teeth are suspended in individual jawbone sockets by elastic periodontal ligaments that enable them to move. Orthodontic appliances (commonly called braces or clear aligners) place light, controlled forces on teeth in a calculated fashion to move them into their new desired alignment.
The “gold standard” in orthodontic treatment remains the orthodontic band for posterior (back) teeth and the bonded bracket for front teeth. Thin, flexible wires threaded through the brackets create the light forces needed for repositioning. Traditionally the brackets have been made of metal, but for those concerned about the aesthetics, they can also be made out of a clear material. Lingual braces, which are bonded to the back of teeth instead of the front, are another less visible option. The most discrete appliance is the removable clear aligner, which consists of a progression of custom-made clear trays that reposition teeth incrementally.
How’s that for a disappearing act?!
If you would like more information about orthodontic treatment please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”
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