Straighter, Whiter Teeth...
November 20, 2014
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Straighter, Whiter Teeth…

            To be a good dentist, one must listen to patient needs. Quality dental care can only happen if it fits into your lifestyle, your timeframe, and your budget. The art and science of dentistry starts with a basic question, “What can we do for you today?”

            In our office, we also have a new patient checklist that asks what patients would like to change about their teeth. Invariably, 80 to 90 percent of our patients answer that they want their teeth to be straighter and/or whiter.

            Nobody ever checks that they need a root canal or their sub-gingival calculus removed.  That would be too easy.

            So how does one get straighter and whiter teeth?

            Looking at the big picture, there are three ways to get whiter teeth. You can lighten what’s there, you can cover what’s there, or you can replace what’s there. Lightening (or whitening) teeth works if your teeth are aligned well and free of fillings and crowns.  Whitening can be done in a single office visit or at home with custom-fit whitening trays. Results will vary based on individual tooth porosity and the amount and type of staining accumulated through the years. 

            If your front teeth have fillings and crowns, whitening is not always a good option. This is because the filling and crown material will not lighten the same as your natural tooth structure, leaving an uneven shade match. Restored teeth need to be masked to make them whiter. This may include tooth colored fillings, ceramic veneers, or ceramic crowns to cover the stained, underlying structure. Today’s modern materials can make your teeth look natural and brilliant at the same time.

            The third option for perfect, straight, white teeth is to remove them and get new teeth. This is usually the last treatment option, but can be accomplished in a variety of beautiful and predictable ways. Dental implants can really make a difference in getting your teeth back.

            Straightening crooked teeth is a similar process. You can align the teeth that are already there, you can re-shape the teeth to make them look straighter, or you can replace the crooked teeth all together. Orthodontics (braces or no-show clear aligner trays) is the tried and true way to straighten teeth. Teeth can be straightened at most any age.  You are never too old for straight teeth and a healthy bite! Minor crowding (semi-crooked teeth) can sometimes be fixed with the above mentioned tooth colored fillings, ceramic veneers, or ceramic crowns (caps).  This can often be accomplished in one or two dental visits. Sometimes, teeth are severely damaged and crowded such that the best option is to remove them and start fresh. Again, dental implants make replacing these teeth more functional and more esthetic than the old days of floppy dentures and partial plates.

            Only 35 days until Christmas.  There may still be time for a whiter, straighter smile before the Holidays!

            Until next week, keep smiling.

-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish through