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Frequently Asked Questions

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry not only improves the health of teeth and gums, it also addresses many aesthetic issues that patients have with their teeth.  Cosmetic dentistry can improve your bite, alignment of the teeth, whiten your smile, and correct small imperfections such as gaps or chips.

How do I know if cosmetic dentistry is right for me?

Most individuals are good candidates for cosmetic dentistry.  If your list of concerns includes discolorations, crooked teeth, gaps, an overbite, or any number of dental conditions, this may be a perfect option for you.  However, it is important to understand that each case is unique, and a consultation is needed to best determine the appropriate course of action.

Can I replace my old silver fillings, even if they aren’t falling out?

Yes, you can.  Old fillings can result in ongoing tooth damage and are often the reason dental help is being sought.  The edges of these fillings are not secure and they actually weaken the teeth.  However, dentists are now able to use materials other than metal to fill the teeth.  Porcelain and composite fillings do not strain or weaken the teeth, and they last longer.   These can be used to replace old silver or mercury fillings.

I need to have a cavity filled.  Is there an alternative to silver?

Yes, our office offers white, or composite, fillings.  These are customized to match the shade of your teeth and give a more natural appearance.  They may be used to repair defects or restore decayed teeth.  They are most commonly used on front teeth but may be used for back teeth as well.  They are more natural looking than silver fillings.

I have yellow teeth.  What can I do?

We offer both in-office and at-home whitening systems.  The choice between these two may depend on the cause of discoloration or the speed with which you wish to whiten your teeth.

What is the difference between a crown and a bridge?

A crown is prosthetic which may be placed over the original tooth to enhance appearance, durability and strength.  For badly decayed teeth or those that have been fractured or have old fillings, crowns are often the best solution.  They types of crowns available include all-metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, and all-porcelain.

A bridge consists of interconnecting crowns which will not only replace missing teeth, but will also support the remaining teeth, and prevent further damage.  It can lessen the risk of gum disease, correct bite problems, and may even improve speech.  When performed correctly, a bridge offers long term replacement of missing teeth, lasting beyond ten years if cared for properly.

Can porcelain veneers correct gaps in my teeth?

Yes.  Porcelain veneers are very thin, porcelain shells which are customized and affixed to the teeth to create a straighter, more perfected appearance.  They can not only correct small gaps in between teeth, but also discolorations and chipped or damaged teeth as well.  Larger gaps may require orthodontics.

I’ve been careless with my teeth and am not sure where to start fixing them.  Help!

This is the case for many patients.  Oftentimes, proper dental habits are not learned until the damage has already been done.  Schedule a consultation with your chosen dentist and form a plan with him or her that will best address all of your concerns.  X-rays and photographs will be taken, and a step-by-step plan will be customized for you to begin your journey towards good oral health again. Even though damage may already be done, it isn’t too late to start working toward the smile you desire.

Can I whiten my own teeth with over-the-counter products?

You can use over-the-counter whitening products.  However, there are some considerations that you should make.  First, you must consider the cause of your discoloration.  In some cases, traditional whitening methods may not be able to change the color of your teeth.  Next, you should know that these products are all weaker than those offered by a cosmetic dentist and are slower to provide results.  Finally, if you choose to use over-the-counter strips, you will often find that they do not cover completely, meaning that some areas will end up whiter than others.

Regardless of the method you choose, it is important to first visit your dentist to rule out cavities, have your teeth cleaned, and check the health of your gums.

If you live in the Baton Rouge or surrounding areas and are considering any form of cosmetic dentistry, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.

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