Teeth whitening enhances the brightness of natural teeth, but it may not be for everyone. Please discuss this option with us before you take action on your own, especially if you have discolored or sensitive teeth, white spots or decay, infected gums, a bridge, crowns or other dental work that involves your front teeth.
Cosmetically whitened teeth can last from 4-to-12 months, depending on the type of treatment used and the types of food or drink you consume. For example, drinks like wine, coffee or tea can more easily stain your teeth.
Dentist-supervised treatments provide faster whitening results than store-bought kits. At Southeastern Dental Group we can provide either in-office whitening or a take-home kit. Both options contain a higher concentration of whitening agent than a store-bought kit. An in-office treatment will typically whiten teeth 5-10 shades lighter in only 45 minutes using the following process:
- We prepare your mouth by covering your lips and gums so that only your teeth are exposed.
- We apply a professional-strength whitening gel to your teeth
- We expose your teeth to a special light for 15 minutes to help the gel penetrate properly.
- We reapply the gel and repeat this process 2-3 times until the whitening is complete.
- To make you feel comfortable throughout the process, we invite you to listen to music or watch TV.
You no longer need to hide your smile because of gaps, chips, stains or misshapen teeth. With veneers, you can easily correct your teeth’s imperfections. Veneers are natural in appearance and are a great alternative for patients wanting to make only minor adjustments to their smile. Veneers are thin, custom-made shells formed from porcelain that covers the front side of your teeth.
Invisalign is an alternative to traditional wire braces using customized, clear aligners to straighten your teeth while remaining virtually invisible. These comfortable aligners are worn all day, except during meals, and will gradually shift your teeth into the correct position. Each set of clear aligners is worn for two weeks. As you replace each aligner in the series, your teeth will move little by little. Total treatment time averages between 9 and 16 months. Invisalign costs about the same as traditional wire braces ($4,000 on average, depending on the level of treatment needed).
Recontouring or reshaping the teeth is done by removing small amounts of tooth enamel to change the tooth’s length, shape or surface. The procedure is usually done to improve appearance by creating more harmony or balance in the look of the smile. Recontouring is the most conservative cosmetic treatment. It is quick and painless and produces immediately noticeable results .
Recontouring is an effective method to correct minor imperfections, such as:
- Small chips
- Bulges or pits in a tooth’s enamel
- Slightly irregular shapes caused by uneven teeth
- Improper length of the canine teeth
- Crevices or overlaps between teeth where plaque or tartar can accumulate
Recontouring is not recommended if your teeth have substantial imperfections (large chips or deep fractures). Recontouring also is not a substitute for veneers or bonding, but it can be used in combination with these procedures.
Tooth Colored Fillings
Tooth decay or cavities damage the hard tooth structure. Dental cavities can be diagnosed through clinical examination or x-rays and can be treated by cleaning out the decayed portion of the tooth. The tooth is then filled with a tooth-colored composite filling. If the loss of tooth structure is extensive, then a larger restoration like an inlay, onlay or crown may be advised.