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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.  

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