The Test Drive

The Test Drive

Excellence in function and aesthetic dentistry is never achieved by accident.  It is with heavy planning in the form of data collecting, diagnosis and communication that leaves to highly predictable outcomes that helps us meet and exceed our patient’s aesthetic expectations. 

Whenever someone comes to our office as a new patient, your first visit is for data collection.  The goal of data collection consists of acquiring medical and dental information.  We obtain prior dental history, photograph your existing dental condition, check for oral cancer, establish caries risk, evaluate how the teeth come together, and the health of the periodontium (the gum and bone, supporting structures of the teeth). 

Aside from gathering clinical details, the most important data we collect is the needs and desires of our patients.   From there, we establish whether our office is the best solution for your needs.   Existing and new patients that have cosmetic needs will get the opportunity using photography and digital smile design to get a preview of any requested or proposed changes. 

So what is digital smile design?  Digital smile design utilizes your photographs, from there we can alter the teeth shape and color in accordance to your desires.  From there we can preview the proposed changes digitally.  After the patient signs off, we will then send molds of your teeth and the appropriate photographs to a ceramist who will then create in wax (diagnostic) the proposed changes.  Once we receive the diagnostic wax-up back, we will then do a test drive in the mouth, using temporary material you will get to evaluate the proposed changes while staying in a reversible state. 

The following video highlights the process of evaluation to diagnostic wax-up to the test drive. 

Composite Veneers

Composite Veneers

I commonly get asked by patients-- I want to change the shape and color of my teeth but I don't want my teeth shaved down or I'm on a budget.  In the past, dentistry may have been a bit more black and white, but there is a new grey area...maybe grey is the new black? 

Dental composites have been around since the 70's.  Prior to that, silver amalgam filings (and arguably up to recently) have been consider the gold standard.  Today, dental composites are much stronger, esthetic, and economical than before.  Dental composites when used correctly with the right situations, can be a very long lasting, esthetic, highly functional alternative to more costly materials.  In the following link, see how our practice is able to provide dental composites as an alternative to traditional porcelain veneers.  

Blending Art and Science

Blending Art and Science

In this photo, a preparation was scanned and a 3D model was printed.  The STereoLithography (STL) file was sent to two separate labs with two different price points.  Both labs were given the same amount of time to work on the restoration and each unit was tried on the same model to check for the accuracy of fit.  The results are clear as shown by the restorations on the right side--a high quality lab technician is irreplaceable, irrespective of the costs. 

In this photo, a preparation was scanned and a 3D model was printed.  The STereoLithography (STL) file was sent to two separate labs with two different price points.  Both labs were given the same amount of time to work on the restoration and each unit was tried on the same model to check for the accuracy of fit.  The results are clear as shown by the restorations on the right side--a high quality lab technician is irreplaceable, irrespective of the costs. 

At SiliconBeach.Dental, we are very proud and honored to work with such an amazing team of staff and network of specialists.  There is one team member that rarely gets the credit they deserve, our lab technicians.  In dentistry, crowns, veneers, dentures, and partials are made in a laboratory by a technician.  

A highly skilled lab technician is able to blend the eye of an artist with the precision of a scientist.  With the use of CAD/CAM technology, 3D Printing, digital scanning, 3D facial analysis, cloud computing and digital photography,  these artists can create restorations that truly mimic what nature had given us.

Thank you Makomic, Beverly Hills Dental Lab, and Ultimate Styles for helping me provide the best for our patients from Playa Vista, Culver City, Fox Hills, Ladera Heights, and many other neighborhoods within Silicon Beach.  

http://www.makomic.com/

http://www.beverlyhillsdentallab.com/

http://ultimate-dl.com/

Sincerely, 

Dr. Lawrence Fung, DDS

 

Whitening Traumatized Teeth

Do you have a front tooth that has turned dark over the years?  As we age, our teeth naturally become more yellow, and in some instances more grayish due to the natural wearing of enamel.  There are certain situations where a tooth can become dark very quickly, its cause being trauma or a root canal.   In a healthy tooth with a healthy pulp (the nerve), blood is cycled in and out.  In a tooth that has lost the vitality of the nerve, blood is no longer able to be cycled in and out and so the expired cells become to accumulate leading to the dark color. In the past, many would immediately restore these rather unaesthetic presentations with a conservative veneer or a crown.  In many situations, dependent on the amount of healthy tooth structure available, these are still the preferred methods of treatment for root canaled or traumatized teeth.  In situations where the teeth are preserved, the root canal treatment is done conservatively, then the treatment options to address color issues can be even more conservative.  In this situation, we have elected to whiten the tooth from within.  The process is as easy as two or three visits. The first visit is an evaluation after the tooth has been seen by an endodontist (a root canal specialist).  Once the tooth is determined healthy enough to proceed to bleaching or "restoring", can we begin the process.  For internal bleaching, we will make a small access hole without the need for anesthetic so we can place a special type of bleaching material.  Depending on how dark the tooth is, there may be a need to have multiple follow-up appointments to reapply the bleaching material inside the tooth.   Once the tooth color has become stable, we flush all of the bleaching material out, place a temporary and wait for 10 days before placing a final filling.  The reason we need to wait between flushing out the bleaching material and placing a filling is to allow for all of the bleaching material to stop oxidizing, as this can interfere with the adhesion of the bonding system.  If the bonding is unable to be at its maximum strength, we run the risk of decreasing the life of the restoration.  The following is a video of our latest case that outlines the steps involved.  Enjoy!  

Do you have a front tooth that has turned dark over the years?  As we age, our teeth naturally become more yellow, and in some instances more grayish due to the natural wearing of enamel.  There are certain situations where a tooth can become dark very quickly, its cause being trauma or a root canal.  

In a healthy tooth with a healthy pulp (the nerve), blood is cycled in and out.  In a tooth that has lost the vitality of the nerve, blood is no longer able to be cycled in and out and so the expired cells become to accumulate leading to the dark color.

In the past, many would immediately restore these rather unaesthetic presentations with a conservative veneer or a crown.  In many situations, dependent on the amount of healthy tooth structure available, these are still the preferred methods of treatment for root canaled or traumatized teeth.  In situations where the teeth are preserved, the root canal treatment is done conservatively, then the treatment options to address color issues can be even more conservative. 

In this situation, we have elected to whiten the tooth from within.  The process is as easy as two or three visits. The first visit is an evaluation after the tooth has been seen by an endodontist (a root canal specialist).  Once the tooth is determined healthy enough to proceed to bleaching or "restoring", can we begin the process.  For internal bleaching, we will make a small access hole without the need for anesthetic so we can place a special type of bleaching material.  Depending on how dark the tooth is, there may be a need to have multiple follow-up appointments to reapply the bleaching material inside the tooth.  

Once the tooth color has become stable, we flush all of the bleaching material out, place a temporary and wait for 10 days before placing a final filling.  The reason we need to wait between flushing out the bleaching material and placing a filling is to allow for all of the bleaching material to stop oxidizing, as this can interfere with the adhesion of the bonding system.  If the bonding is unable to be at its maximum strength, we run the risk of decreasing the life of the restoration.  The following is a video of our latest case that outlines the steps involved.  Enjoy!  


Minimally Invasive Cosmetic Options

Minimally Invasive Cosmetic Options

No longer is it necessary to remove more tooth structure than necessary to get an aesthetic result. In the earlier days of dentistry, due to limitations of materials and techniques, it was common for dentists to recommend multiple porcelain veneers or crowns in the front to fix simple shade and shape issues.  With better materials and a clearer understanding of how to use these new materials, no longer are such invasive solutions necessary.  While porcelain is a great material for crowns and veneers, teeth whitening and direct composite bonding can be a very aesthetic yet cost effective way to address your various cosmetic needs.  In this video, the steps to do a direct composite veneer are demonstrated.   Contact our office to make an appointment for a consultation to see if you are an ideal candidate for this minimally invasive procedure!  #smilesbd #hellobetter

Eat, drink and be merry!

Eat, drink and be merry!

Does drinking wine through a straw really help prevent wine staining? Do those at-home whitening strips work? 


Before we dive into some stain treatment tips, lets go into what it is, how does it occur? After I go into the various types of stains can we then find out what are some options for treatment, when do we know we need to bring a professional in? And most important of all, how do we prevent it?  

What is it? 
There are three ways teeth can get staining- either internally or on the outer surface, or by natural aging.  For internal staining, that can be developmental (born with it) in origin, or in some cases where a young infant ingests too much fluoridated water (which is rare but happens more often in parts of the country where there is a higher unregulated natural occurring concentration of fluoride in the water), too high of fluoride intake during development can lead to staining of the permanent teeth even if the baby teeth were unaffected. For external stains, those are usually caused by our office favorites; wine and coffee. The last kind, which is less talked about, is how the dentin (the inner portion of the tooth) is naturally yellow and our teeth naturally appear more yellow as we age since the enamel that covers the teeth get thinner.  

How to treat? 
So what can we do about these stains?  Depending the cause of the staining treatment options vary.  The easiest stains to deal with are the surface stains.  Most common, especially on social media is teeth bleaching.  For teeth whitening bleaching, they can be purchased from the store or from your dentist.  Whitening toothpaste is a great option, however they aren’t very effective in many cases. Whitening toothpaste also has a higher abrasive content and so if you have gum recession, it may not be the best choice.  In a future post, we’ll go over whitening; at-home versus in-office, to the stuff you see all over on social media.  

When should I call my dentist? 
It is highly recommended that you consult with your dentist before attempting to address any staining concerns. In our practice, our job is to help our patients find out the root cause of the staining problem and present the most conservative treatment option to address that. Like most things in life, there isn’t a one-size solution that fits all.  You dentist should be able to recommend the appropriate treatment options- whether an at-home remedy or in-office option.   

Most importantly
Ok, now to the most important part of this post.  As always, we like to save the best for last.  Prevention, prevention, prevention.  No matter what type of procedure you decide to go with to whiten teeth, there are relapses that occur.  So unless you want to keep purchasing whitening in perpetuity, here are a few tips that I recommend.  


Keep up with your brushing!  Brush at least twice a day.  Rinse with water after having wine, coffee, or other drinks and foods that can stain your teeth.  Also, keep up with your regular cleanings.  The cleanings will help reduce the amount of plaque and calculus (tartar) buildup, which will allow your teeth to stay stain free as well.  And yes, drinking things through a straw can help but not as much as you would think.  The fluid will still make contact with your teeth.   Glass Dharma makes a great reusable glass straw so you can keep enjoying you glass of yummy merlot from Malibu Wines or that cup of joe from Blue Bottle!  


For more tips, follow us on our instagram which can be found on our office website-- http://siliconbeach.dental