This is a question I’m frequently asked, especially when a patient is considering a significant investment of time and money into some form of cosmetic dentistry, such as:
- Porcelain veneers
- Bonding (tooth-colored fillings)
- Porcelain crowns and bridges
- Teeth whitening
- Even Six-Month Braces
It’s a very understandable question, and the simple answer to the question, “How long will my dental work last, Dr. Payet?” is “It depends.”
Just like a car, your teeth and gums require regular care to ensure that they are working properly. Sure, you can go 10-20,000 miles between oil changes given how improved cars are nowadays, but do you really want to take the risk? Same thing with teeth……….some people go for 5-10 years with no dental check-ups and are fortunate when they come in to find no problems, such as cavities or gum disease. But it’s not many people that are so lucky!
I always remember a quote from some lecturer at a dental conference years ago telling us his response whenever a patient asks the question, and it’s really the most honest, best answer that can be given, “Clearly the teeth that God gave you haven’t lasted your entire life, and since I can assure you that my work is not nearly as good as God’s, unless you die first, the work I do (no matter how excellent) will not last forever either.”
So what can cause your dental work to fail?
- Grinding your teeth — when the human jaw clenches, it can create an amazing amount of force, and over time, enough clenching will cause teeth to crack and break.
- Acidity — anything that increases the acidity in your mouth is good for the bacteria that cause cavities in particular, including Acid Reflux, Sodas, Power drinks (Monster, Red Bull, etc), Sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, etc).
- A very sugary diet — the bacteria that cause cavities love sugar. High sugar content means the bacteria feed like crazy, produce acid, and the acid is what eats away the teeth to cause cavities.
- A compromised immune system — your saliva contains important antibodies that help keep the cavity-causing bacteria under control. If your immune system is knocked back due to a disease or some medication, those antibodies will be decreased, allowing the bacteria to grow uncontrolled.
- Decreased saliva (dry-mouth syndrome) — again, due to medications or illness, the amount of saliva may be decreased. With less saliva, there is less “washing” action of the teeth.
- Trauma — obviously. LOL One of my patients a few years ago fainted and fell face-first into a brick wall, shattering a front tooth. Another ran into a pole, shattering another front tooth. Clearly, if you are injured in such a way that your natural teeth would break, any dental work will break, too.
- Bad habits like chewing hard candy or ice regularly — hard candy and ice are just that — HARD! Ice, in particular, is easily as hard as your enamel and as porcelain or bonding. So if you bite down on ice frequently enough and/or hard enough, you can break your teeth and dental work.
That covers most of the major causes of dental work failing. With regular care, use of appropriate mouthrinses and toothpastes, proper brushing and flossing, regularly scheduled check-ups and dental x-rays, using a nightguard, and being aware of diet, etc, your dental work can and should last a very long time.
But always remember — my dental work isn’t as good as the natural teeth God gave you, so my work probably won’t last forever either. 😉
Obviously, the single biggest advantage for patients with our CEREC machine is the ability to have beautiful, all-porcelain restorations completed in a single visit. Here’s an example of how nice that can be. This patient had 10 porcelain veneers done about 2 years ago; due to her grinding habit, she had knocked off and broken one of the veneers. Rather than make a yucky impression and send it to the lab, while she had to wait several weeks with a temporary veneer, we made it right in the office. One visit porcelain veneer, no temporary, no second visit, and her smile was back to beautiful! See if you can guess which one was done by us on CEREC and which were done by the lab?
If need your any tooth fixed, not just if it’s a porcelain veneer, CEREC CAD/CAM can do it for you. Call our office 704-364-7069 or Request an Appointment Online.
This will be the last cosmetic dentistry/Smile Makeover video that I will post for a little while, as I next want to devote some time to showing how destructive “Grinding” of the teeth can be and why it is NOT something that you should take lightly. Bruxism/Parafunction (the general term for both grinding and clenching, which are 2 separate things) can cause major problems for patients, and often in ways not easily visible because it takes time to develop or they’re under the surface. I believe this is an area of dentistry that is often neglected, and it only makes things worse for patients.
With that said, I do hope you enjoy the way we combined different kinds of treatments to achieve a dramatic Smile Makeover for Daniel, as visible in this video.
Don’t forget – if you want to see all of the videos for our practice, check out our YouTube channel: SmilesbyPayet.
Combination Porcelain Veneers and Short-Term Braces
Smiles by Payet Cosmetic Dentistry: Porcelain Veneers
Here’s another video to enjoy of patients for whom we’ve done Porcelain Veneers to achieve some remarkable smile transformations.
As a professional photographer on the side (I don’t plan on quitting my day job any time soon), I have a passion for both the taking of pictures and the digital developing/use of those pictures, and software today is so remarkable in how it can be used. With increasing levels of integration among Photoshop programs and others, it is becoming increasingly easy to take the pictures, edit them as desired, and then quickly convert them into a usable format. I will be adding more videos to both our Blog and to SmilesbyPayet.com in coming weeks, so stay tuned for more!
Smiles by Payet Cosmetic Dentistry
Oh, it feels so good to finally be able to announce this, as I’ve been working on it so hard for so many nights after my family has gone to bed, but FINALLY I have begun producing some new Patient Education videos to help explain a number of options that we offer by using pictures of many similar cases.
Over the last 4 years, I have amassed a catalog of about 38,000 digital photographs of the work that we do. You can see my Photography Blog post on the subject of Patient Communication with Digital Photography for more info on how/why we take pictures of our work, but now I’m finally able to turn a lot of those photos into various video formats to highlight problems that many patients have, often without even realizing it, and to let our patients actually see what they can expect once the treatment is completed. It’s really quite exciting! We’re not talking about “stock” photography here, of work that someone else did. EVERY SINGLE ONE of the pictures that you’ll see were taken by Dr. Payet (me), and every completed procedure was performed by Dr. Payet (me) and my Team. (Hope you don’t mind me talking about myself in the 3rd person for a moment there; I was having a Bob Dole flashback after reading some political articles. 🙂
We’ll look forward to showing you these new videos when you come in!
Don’t have any of those videos in Web format quite yet, but keep an eye on our website, Smiles by Payet Dentistry, for them to begin appearing there within the next few weeks. You’ll be able to see and understand so much more easily, I promise!
Porcelain veneers are one of the most requested cosmetic dental procedures in dentistry, and they can make a dramatic difference. Here’s another case that we did a number of years ago. Craig wasn’t happy with either the color or the shape of his teeth, he’d tried whitening before with little success (this was back before we offered Deep Bleaching), and he also just didn’t have the patience to do touch-up whitening on any kind of regular basis. So veneers became the logical choice. In 1 fell swoop we gave him a dazzling white smile and changed the shape of his teeth to a less angled, less square, more flowing line of a smile from the sharply angled, very square with fang-like eye-teeth smile that he never liked.
For more examples of what cosmetic dentistry can do, don’t forget to visit our website: Smiles by Payet Dentistry
In the last post, I talked about the ways that Porcelain Veneers (laminates) could be used to correct crowding of the front teeth. Veneers are an excellent option, but there are 2 primary drawbacks:
1) There is usually irreversible loss of tooth structure to allow the lab to make the porcelain look truly beautiful, and because all dentistry fails eventually, you will need the veneers replaced 1 or more times during your life, and
2) They require a significant financial investment.
Given those 2 issues, many people have avoided doing anything about the crowding of their front teeth because they assumed that otherwise they would have to go through braces for 2-3 years. However, that is really not the case for all patients; in fact, for many patients, assuming that your bite is stable and you have no jaw pain/tooth pain, it is often possible to correct crowded front teeth in 4-6 months with limited orthodontics. All orthodontists can do this, of course, but their usual goal is to help you achieve a more ideal, overall result. The good news is that, here at Smiles by Payet Dentistry, we also offer this exciting service that offers a couple significant advantages over veneers:
1) No real loss of tooth structure or dental restorations that will eventually have to be replaced, and
2) The investment is much much lower.
With no further ado, let me introduce Jeremy, whose case we just finished today. He plans on whitening his teeth in 2009 to complete the Short-Term Ortho Smile Makeover. And please keep in mind: We achieved this result for Jeremy in only FOUR MONTHS! Needless to say, he was a very happy camper when we took off the brackets today. Wouldn’t you be, too?
We’re often asked what is the “BEST” way to make a person’s smile the way they’ve always wished; should they do orthodontics (braces), should they have a “gum lift” (esthetic crown-lengthening), should they choose veneers? Of course the answer is, “It depends.” Each has advantages, each has disadvantages, so you must personally weigh each option very carefully to make the most informed decision for yourself. The option that many choose for correcting crooked teeth, though, is that of Porcelain Veneers.
Veneers, also known as Laminate Veneers, are very thin porcelain shells, individually hand-crafted by a skilled laboratory technician, that are bonded onto the teeth. There must be clear and excellent communication between the patient, the dentist, and the laboratory, for veneers can truly be customized to create the look that you want: Shape/Contour, Translucency, Color, Brightness…..
Veneers single biggest advantage over Braces is the speed with which a smile makeover can be completed. Unless there are complicating factors (and there often are, so it’s wise to be prepared), a Smile Makeover can be completed with veneers in only 3-4 weeks. Of course, the disadvantages are that some healthy tooth structure must be removed so the teeth don’t look like horses’ teeth, and the fee is usually significantly higher.
To demonstrate the remarkable difference that can be achieved with Porcelain Veneers to correct crowded teeth, here’s Linda:
Linda’s veneers (10 on the top, 10 on the lower teeth) were completed 6 years ago and are still providing Linda the smile she’d wanted since she was a child but never had.
Coming very soon: Short-Term Adult Orthodontics, or “Get your crowded front teeth straightened in just 6 months, not 2-3 years, with braces!”