Lansing's Dental Discussion

Posts for tag: cosmetic dentistry

PorcelainVeneersTransformRealHousewivesStarsSmileSpoiledbyTeethGrinding

Dorit Kemsley isn't shy. Best known to fans as an outspoken and sometimes outrageous cast member of the reality show Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Kemsley is never reticent about “mixing it up” with fellow castmates or their significant others. Recently, though, she confessed to something that left her less than confident: her smile.

Kemsley has been self-conscious about her smile because her teeth looked noticeably short, worn down from an unconscious habit of grinding her teeth. Although teeth grinding is more common among children (who normally grow out of it by adolescence), it can persist into adulthood, usually from difficulties managing high stress (a likely component in the fashion designer/reality show star's busy life).

Stress-induced teeth grinding can occur during waking hours or, more likely, during deep sleep. The accumulating, long-term effects from the habit can lead not only to worn teeth but to weakened gum support, a high risk of tooth fracture or jaw pain and dysfunction.

So, how do you know if you grind your teeth, especially if it's only happening at night? Typical signs include sore jaws after awaking from sleep, increased tooth pain or sensitivity or, like Kemsley, a noticeable difference in your tooth length. Your family or sleeping partner may also complain about the “skin-crawling” noise you make during the night.

There are ways to lessen the effects of teeth grinding. The first step is to have us verify the underlying cause for the habit. If it's tension from stress, then you might reduce the habit's occurrences by learning better stress management or relaxation techniques through individual counseling, group support or biofeedback therapy. We can also fit you with a mouth guard to wear at night or through the day that reduces the force generated during teeth grinding.

And if you've already experienced accelerated tooth wear like Kemsley with a resultant “small teeth” smile, you might pursue the same solution as the RHOBH star: dental veneers. These thin, life-like wafers of porcelain are custom-made to mask imperfections like chips, staining, slight tooth gaps and, yes, worn teeth.

Veneers are often less expensive and invasive than other cosmetic techniques, yet they can have a transformative effect, as Kemsley's Instagram followers have seen. In conjunction with other dental treatments needed to repair any underlying damage caused by a grinding habit, veneers are an effective fix for the smile you present to the world.

If you suspect you may have a grinding habit, see us for a complete examination. From there, we'll help you protect your teeth and your smile.

If you would like more information on teeth grinding habits and their effects, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Grinding.”

AGTsSimonCowellUpdatesHisSmileWithVeneersandSoCanYou

It's been a rough year for all of us, but especially for Simon Cowell. The famous entrepreneur and brutally honest talent judge on American Idol and America's Got Talent underwent emergency back surgery in August after an accident on a new electric bike. But the good news is he's well on his way to recovery—and well enough in October to undergo another, less-stressful, procedure: a smile makeover with dental veneers.

This latest trip to the dentist wasn't Cowell's first experience with the popular restoration, wanting this time to update his smile to more closely resemble what he had when he was younger. He even brought along some older photos for reference.

Veneers aren't exclusive to celebrities like Simon Cowell, as thousands of people who get them every year can attest. These thin wafers of porcelain bonded to teeth can mask a wide range of defects, from chips, wear or discoloration to slight tooth gaps or misalignments. And every veneer is custom-made to match an individual patient's dental dimensions and coloring.

If you're thinking about a smile upgrade, here are a few reasons to consider dental veneers.

More bang for your buck. Compared to other transformative cosmetic options, veneers are relatively affordable, with the cost dependent largely on the extent of your dental needs. Still, dental veneers are an investment that can give long-lasting yields of a more attractive smile and even a completely new look.

Little to no tooth alteration. In most veneer cases, we need only remove a small amount of enamel so the veneers don't appear bulky (the alteration is permanent, though, so you'll need a veneer on the tooth from then on). It's also possible to get “no-prep” veneers requiring little to no alteration.

Durable and long-lasting. Continuing improvements in porcelain and other dental ceramics have led to stronger forms that can better withstand the biting forces your teeth encounter every day. Although you'll still need to be careful biting into hard items, your veneers can last for several years.

Easy to maintain. Veneer cleaning and maintenance is much the same as with natural teeth—daily brushing and flossing, and regular dental cleanings and checkups. Outside of that, you'll need to watch what you chomp down on: Veneers are strong, but not indestructible, and they can break.

As Simon Cowell knows, getting veneers isn't difficult. It starts with an initial visit so we can evaluate your dental health and needs. From there, we can present options on how to update your smile.

If you would like more information about dental veneers, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers” and “No-Prep Porcelain Veneers.”

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
June 16, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
5WaystoaBeautifulWeddingDaySmile

Since the early Roman times, couples have prized the month of June as the most favorable time to exchange their marriage vows. If you and your betrothed are planning a June wedding this season, you no doubt want everything to be beautiful. That would include your smile—and with the appropriate techniques we can help you make it as bright and attractive as possible.

Here are 5 ways to a more attractive wedding day smile.

Dental Cleaning and Teeth Whitening. A routine dental cleaning right before the ceremony can remove stains and dental plaque that dull your teeth's appearance. For an added level of brightness, we can also whiten your teeth in time for your big day.

Repairing defects with bonding. Do you have a chipped tooth, or a broken or discolored filling? We may be able to repair minor defects like these in a single visit by bonding lifelike dental materials directly to the tooth. We color-match and sculpt these materials so that they blend seamlessly with your natural teeth.

Advanced enhancements. In whatever ways your teeth may be flawed, there are dental solutions to transform your smile. We can correct minor to moderate chips, stains or slight gaps with porcelain veneers that cover the teeth's visible surface. We can cap a viable but unsightly tooth with a life-like crown. Missing teeth? A fixed bridge or dental implants could restore them like new.

Plastic gum surgery. Teeth may be the stars of your smile, but your gums are the supporting cast. Smiles with too much of the gums showing can be corrected through various techniques, including periodontal plastic surgery that reshapes the gums and can help the teeth appear more prominent.

Orthodontics. The original "smile transformer," braces and other orthodontic methods move misaligned teeth to better positions. Not only can orthodontic treatment result in a more attractive appearance, it can improve overall dental health.

You have an array of options for enhancing your wedding day smile, and we're more than happy to help you develop an individualized treatment plan. One caveat, though: some of these techniques could take weeks or months to complete, so don't delay!

If you would like more information about what you can do to have the most attractive smile for your wedding day, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “Planning Your Wedding Day Smile.”

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
May 27, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
DentalMagicTransformsSmiles

Magician Michel Grandinetti can levitate a 500-pound motorcycle, melt into a 7-foot-tall wall of solid steel, and make borrowed rings vanish and reappear baked inside bread. Yet the master illusionist admits to being in awe of the magic that dentists perform when it comes to transforming smiles. In fact, he told an interviewer that it’s “way more important magic than walking through a steel wall because you’re affecting people’s health… people’s confidence, and you’re really allowing people to… feel good about themselves.”

Michael speaks from experience. As a teenager, his own smile was enhanced through orthodontic treatment. Considering the career path he chose for himself — performing for multitudes both live and on TV — he calls wearing an orthodontic device (braces) to align his crooked teeth “life-changing.” He relies on his welcoming, slightly mischievous smile to welcome audiences and make the initial human connection.

A beautiful smile is definitely an asset regardless of whether you’re performing for thousands, passing another individual on a sidewalk or even, research suggests, interviewing for a job. Like Michael, however, some of us need a little help creating ours. If something about your teeth or gums is making you self-conscious and preventing you from smiling as broadly as you could be, we have plenty of solutions up our sleeve. Some of the most popular include:

  • Tooth Whitening. Professional whitening in the dental office achieves faster results than doing it yourself at home, but either approach can noticeably brighten your smile.
  • Bonding. A tooth-colored composite resin can be bonded to a tooth to replace missing tooth structure, such a chip.
  • Veneers. This is a hard, thin shell of tooth-colored material bonded to the front surface of a tooth to change its color, shape, size and/or length; mask dental imperfections like stains, cracks, or chips, and compensating for excessive gum tissue.
  • Crowns. Sometimes too much of a tooth is lost due to decay or trauma to support a veneer. Instead, capping it with a natural-looking porcelain crown can achieve the same types of improvements. A crown covers the entire tooth replacing more of its natural structure than a veneer does.

If you would like more information about ways in which you can transform your smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the techniques mentioned above by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Whitening,” “Repairing Chipped Teeth,” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”

RestoreaFlawedToothinasLittleasOneVisitwithCompositeResin

You have a winning smile except for one small flaw — one of your front teeth is chipped. In functional terms the defect is insignificant: your tooth is healthy and can still do its job. But with regard to your smile that chip is like a smudge on a masterpiece painting: it stands out — and not in a good way.

The good news is you have options to repair the chip and vastly improve your appearance. One option is to bond a custom porcelain veneer to the outside of the tooth to cover the chip. But that would also mean removing a slight bit of tooth enamel so the veneer won't appear too bulky. Although not as much as with a crown, the alteration still permanently affects the tooth — it will always require a restoration of some kind.

There's another choice that doesn't involve removing any of your enamel: composite resin. This treatment is a mixture of materials with a glass-like binder in liquid form that we apply to a tooth in successive coats. As we build up the layers we can match the tooth's shape, texture and various shades of its natural color. We're able to fill in the defect and make the tooth appear as natural as possible.

Unlike porcelain restorations, composite resins don't require a dental lab or a period of weeks to prepare. We can transform your simile in our office in as little as one visit.

Composite resin isn't the answer for every tooth defect. Teeth that have become worn, fractured or have undergone a root canal treatment are best treated with a porcelain restoration such as a veneer or crown. But where the defect is relatively minor, composite resin may be the answer.

To learn if you can benefit from a composite resin restoration, you'll need to undergo a dental exam. If we determine you're a candidate, we can use this state-of-the-art dental material to make your teeth look flawless.

If you would like more information on composite resins, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Artistic Repair of Front Teeth with Composite Resin.”

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
July 24, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Even the brightest smile can become duller over time due to food and beverage stains. Teeth whitening removes the stains that make you teeth whiteningreluctant to smile and offers long-term results. Our Lansing, MI, dentist, Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler, explains how whitening can revitalize your smile.

What type of stains does teeth whitening treat?

Teeth whitening is very effective for removing stains that develop in your enamel, the outer layer of your teeth. Stains in tooth enamel can occur due to:

  • Smoking: Years of exposure to cigarette smoke can turn a white wall yellow. The same thing happens to your teeth if you smoke.
  • Eating: Foods that contain dark pigments, including berries, cherries, soy sauce and tomato sauce, stain teeth.
  • Drinking: Your morning cup of coffee may be the reason that your teeth have become discolored. Coffee, tea, cola, red wine and sports drinks are common staining culprits.
  • Aging: Tooth enamel tends to get thinner as we age. Unfortunately, when enamel thins, it exposes dentin, a darker layer of your teeth.

How does the teeth whitening process work?

Hydrogen gel, the agent used to remove stains, can lighten your teeth by three to eight shades. Before your teeth are whitened in our Lansing office, we'll clean and examine them. An examination is particularly important because it may reveal a dental problem that could cause discoloration. If we do find a problem, it must be treated before your teeth are whitened.

Your comfort is a priority in our office. A protective gel will be applied to your roots to prevent sensitivity. Your cheeks and lips will be pulled away from your teeth with retractors to ensure that the hydrogen peroxide doesn't come in contact with the sensitive tissues. Once the hydrogen peroxide gel is applied, it will remain on your teeth for about an hour.

You can also choose at-home whitening. We'll provide you with trays custom-made to fit your upper and lower teeth. You'll apply whitening gel to the trays several times a week for a few weeks. At-home whitening trays also offer a convenient way to occasionally touch up your results.

Regardless of the whitening method you choose, your teeth can stay whiter for several years or more, as long as you avoid or limit foods or beverages that can stain teeth.

Ready to schedule your teeth whitening appointment? Call our Lansing, MI, dentist, Dr. Scott-Hetchler, at (517) 487-6333 to arrange your visit.

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
June 02, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry   veneers  

Find out if these porcelain cosmetic restorations could give you the smile you’ve always dreamed of.veneers

Do you only notice dental flaws when you smile in the mirror? Does your smile make you feel embarrassed? Do you find yourself offering others a close-lipped smile rather than flashing your smile for all to see? If so, it might be time to talk to our Lansing, MI, dentist Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler about whether dental veneers could help give you your dream smile.

Dental veneers are thin restorations made from translucent porcelain that is each custom-made to cover the front of a tooth to achieve a whiter smile with a more even and uniformed shape. Veneers are pretty incredible restorations because they can completely revamp your smile without the need for invasive dentistry or even anesthesia, in most cases. Not having to deal with needles or drills can be a major pro for patients who want to alter their smile but find themselves a bit nervous about undergoing a dental procedure.

Who is a good candidate for porcelain veneers?

Any healthy individual who is looking to make minor-to-moderate improvements to the color, shape or length of their smile can often do so by getting porcelain veneers in Lansing, MI. These customized restorations are a great way to hide any of the following:

  • Worn, uneven teeth
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Misalignments and uneven spacing between teeth
  • Discolorations and stains
  • Malformed or poorly shaped teeth

When veneers are fused to the front of your teeth they can completely change the way your smile looks. Plus, very little tooth preparation is required prior to getting these restorations. While some enamel will need to be removed from the front of your teeth, this is a painless and simple process. In as little as three visits you could walk out of our office sporting a brand new smile that you won’t believe is yours.

If dental veneers sound like the treatment you’ve been looking for, then don’t wait any longer to get the smile you know you deserve. Call our Lansing, MI, dental office today to find out if you are the perfect candidate for this treatment.

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
December 02, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

You have choices when it comes to how to improve your smile. Decide which dental treatment is right for you.

You’ve been doing a lot of research online about cosmetic dentistry but all the information just seems to get jumbled up in your brain cosmetic dentistrysomewhere. It can feel rather daunting trying to figure out what treatment or treatments could finally give you the smile you want. This is about the time you should call our Lansing, MI cosmetic dentist, Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler, who is an expert in giving you the smile you’ve always wanted.

Dental Bonding

Not all cosmetic dentistry has to be invasive or time-consuming. In fact, our Lansing dentist can cover over discolorations, chips, cracks, gaps between teeth and other minor issues with the same tooth-colored resin used to fill a cavity. However, we don’t need to use anesthesia or drills for this non-invasive treatment. We just apply the moldable resin over the flawed areas, shape it and then harden it with a laser. It’s that simple!

Tooth Contouring

Tooth reshaping and contouring often goes hand-in-hand with bonding. By filing off some enamel from your teeth we can buff out small chips, cracks or uneven areas of your smile. Contouring can be a great option for someone who hates their extremely pointy canines and wants to even them out. Contouring won’t be able to tackle more extreme issues, but can be a great and painless way to improve the shape of a tooth or several teeth.

Teeth Whitening

Are you tired of yellowing, stained teeth? Then opt for the faster way to whiten your smile. In one hour or less we can get your smile up to 10 shades whiter in just one session. Teeth that are stained due to smoking, foods, drinks or aging respond best to this amazing whitening system.

Porcelain Veneers

If the imperfections you are dealing with can’t be addressed with bonding or contouring then veneers will be your lifesaving cosmetic treatment. These wafer-thin porcelain shells are bonded to the front of your teeth to improve the shape, color and size of your smile. This is a great option for those who are dealing with uneven and misshapen teeth, as well as those who are dealing with minor crookedness but don’t want to get braces.

Cosmetic dentistry can truly be an amazing gift to your smile. Imagine a smile that’s straighter, whiter and more even. If this is something you’ve been dreaming of for a long time, then it’s time to call our Lansing, MI dental office to make this dream a reality.

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
July 10, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
5WaystoMakeYourSmileMoreConfidentandInviting

One of the most important aspects of social interaction is smiling, showing others we’re confident and outgoing.  Many people, though, are hesitant to use this important social skill because their teeth are unattractive.

But even the most unattractive teeth can be dramatically transformed through cosmetic dentistry. Here are 5 prominent ways we can restore beauty to your problem teeth.

Enamel shaping. Sometimes teeth can have an irregular shape that makes them stand out like a sore thumb. With this “sculpting” technique, we remove very small amounts of enamel, the outer protective layer of a tooth, which improves the tooth’s overall shape without harming it.

Bonding. Recent developments in acrylics now make it easier to repair chipped, broken or decayed teeth with minimal preparation. The acrylic material can be molded to resemble a natural tooth and colored to precisely match its shade and that of neighboring teeth. It’s then bonded to the tooth with a durability that can last through years of daily biting and chewing.

Veneers. These thin layers of dental porcelain are bonded to teeth to cover minor defects. Otherwise healthy teeth that are slightly chipped, stained or a bit out of alignment can get a more attractive “face” that’s durable and lasting.

Crowns and Bridgework. Sometimes teeth are too heavily decayed or lost altogether to use bonding or veneers. With porcelain dental restorations that have a strong inner core and an outer life-like appearance, we can completely cover an individual damaged tooth with a custom-made crown or replace one or more missing teeth with fixed bridgework.

Dental Implants. Introduced over thirty years ago, implants are a popular tooth replacement choice.  Its inner titanium post is surgically inserted into the jaw where bone cells grow and adhere to it to form a strong, lasting bond. Implants can be used for single teeth or as supports for fixed bridgework or removable dentures.

Regardless of your teeth’s appearance problems, cosmetic dentistry has a solution. The first step is a comprehensive examination — from there we can advise you on the best options for turning your embarrassing smile into a more beautiful and confident one.

If you would like more information on the various techniques for smile transformation, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Beautiful Smiles by Design.”



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