What are Craze Lines?

Craze lines are hairline cracks in the outer enamel of the teeth and can appear as vertical lines on the surface. These cracks do not extend into the interior of the tooth, which is also known as the pulp. Craze lines often develop as you age and are not usually an indication of poor oral health. Although they are purely a cosmetic concern in most cases, some patients are unhappy with the appearance of their smile due to these small cracks. There are various aesthetic treatments that may be beneficial.

How Do I Avoid Craze Lines?

Normal wear and tear and time are usually the cause of craze lines, and these cannot be entirely avoided. However, there are a few ways that you can help minimize the formation of craze lines. Avoid putting stress on the teeth by reducing bad habits such as nail biting, eating ice cubes, using your teeth for anything other than eating, or knocking on your teeth with oral jewelry like a tongue piercing. If you play contact sports, you also may be more vulnerable to developing craze lines. It is important to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from cracks in the enamel.

Another culprit can be bruxism, which is the medical term for grinding your teeth. Work on eliminating stress and unconscious clenching and grinding. This will help lessen the chances of craze lines. If you suffer from bruxism, ask your dentist about a mouthguard or night guard. Getting treated for bruxism can reduce jaw/tooth pain and prevent serious damage.

An uneven bite can also lead to craze lines. When your bite is uneven your teeth do not meet where they are supposed to when you close your mouth. For many patients, an uneven bite can be corrected by Invisalign, which will shift the teeth to form an even smile.

When Are Craze Lines a Problem?

While craze lines are usually harmless, sometimes they can become stained and can impact your appearance. If you drink coffee, red wine, tea, dark sodas, or smoke or chew tobacco, these can further darken these lines. Craze line stains rarely respond to brushing. Don’t let these stains keep you from smiling. If you are unhappy with the look of these lines, then we can help with professional teeth whitening. Porcelain veneers may also be beneficial to cover surface-level cracks.

Craze lines are usually purely cosmetic but if you suffer from pain, sensitivity, or swollen gums, you will need to see your dentist immediately to be assessed and treated. These symptoms can be an indication of a cracked tooth that extends into the pulp. If left untreated, this can damage not only the exterior of the tooth, but the interior as well.

While craze lines are cosmetic in nature, it is still important for your overall oral health to get the proper dental care for them. Treatments like veneers and dental bonding not only make you look better, they also have restorative benefits and make your teeth stronger. Straightening your teeth and correcting your bite can have many positive effects like an easier time eating, talking, brushing, and flossing and a reduction of pain in your teeth or jaw and other more serious issues.

Treatment for Craze Lines

If you have questions about craze lines or any other marks in the enamel of your teeth, our team at Smith Dentalworks can help. We have many cosmetic treatments available to remove staining or repair damage.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss craze lines and what we can do to treat them.

What is Dental Bonding?

If you have damaged or discolored teeth, dental bonding can help repair and create a natural-looking, aesthetically pleasing, brighter smile. Bonding is a cosmetic dental procedure that uses composite resin material to repair minor issues and to restore and improve your natural look. This procedure can fill in and eliminate small cracks, chips, fractures, and reduce gaps between teeth. It can also help hide discoloration, help fix excessive wear and tear on your teeth, and can reshape teeth to remove inconsistencies and make them appear more uniform. Additionally, bonding is one of the easiest and least expensive cosmetic dental options.

Dental Bonding Procedure

At Smith Dentalworks, we use the same composite material for our fillings as we use for our dental bonding treatment. After examining and cleaning the tooth or teeth, we will roughen up the tooth enamel slightly. We will then apply a mild conditioning liquid that will help the material adhere. This bonding material is applied in several coats and shaped to match the tooth size. Next, it is hardened with a specially designed light. Once the tooth has been built up enough, the bond is then sculpted to the desired shape and texture to match the surrounding natural teeth.

Advantages of Dental Bonding

Dental bonding can help repair your teeth and unlike veneers or crowns, this procedure removes little or none of the original tooth. It’s quick, non-invasive, and painless. The tooth remains intact so most people do not need anesthesia or pain medication for the bonding procedure. It is typically less expensive than dental crowns or porcelain veneers. This is because all work is done in the office without the need for a dental lab.

Caring for Your Bonded Teeth

While restorative bonding is a long-lasting solution, you should always follow the same good oral health practices that you do for your regular teeth. You should floss daily and brush your teeth twice a day with a soft brush. Practicing good oral hygiene and getting regular dental care can help ensure that your bonded teeth last.

The composite material can be more prone to stain than other types of restorations. As a result, it is best to avoid food and drinks like wine, coffee, tea, berries, brightly colored candies, and colored drinks like sports drinks as much as possible. (This helps keep your natural teeth bright as well.) Porcelain veneers may be a better option if you are concerned about staining.

This material can also be more fragile than a veneer or crown and can chip. For the best and longest-lasting results, avoid biting your nails, or chewing on ice or other hard food objects. In general, these are good tips even if you have not had any dental bonding done. If you do notice that it feels odd biting down or if you develop a sharp edge on your bonded tooth, it is important to call us.

Quick, Non-Invasive Cosmetic Dentistry

Dental bonding is an excellent procedure for fixing minor damage and cosmetic problems with your teeth. At Smith Dentalworks, we will take the time to get to know your needs and help you choose the treatment that best fits you. We can meet with you, examine your teeth, and discuss how dental bonding or another cosmetic procedure can help improve your smile.

Contact our Oro Valley dentist office today to schedule an appointment to learn more about dental bonding and other dental procedures.

Fixing Gap Teeth

An overly-large space between two teeth is known as diastema or gap teeth. This can occur between any two teeth and a person can have multiple gaps. The type that is most noticeable and therefore usually presents the biggest concern for patients is a gap between the upper front teeth. There are some situations where this can cause other oral health issues but in most cases it is just a cosmetic concern. While some individuals like the appearance of this space, others are bothered by it. Luckily, there are many options for fixing gap teeth.

These include:

Invisalign Clear Aligners

Orthodontic treatment can close the gap between teeth in addition to fixing other types of misalignment. Invisalign is a great solution for many patients. The clear aligners are discreet and you remove them while eating so you can still enjoy all of the foods you love. The timeline varies depending on your unique situation, but the average time for treatment is approximately 12 months. Clear aligners may be the right option for you if your gap teeth are severe or if you have other orthodontic issues you would like to address at the same time. Dr. Atty Smith is a preferred Invisalign dentist and can evaluate whether this course of action is best for you.

Veneers

Veneers are thin porcelain shells that cover your teeth and can address a wide variety of cosmetic dental concerns, including gap teeth. One of the major benefits of porcelain veneers is that they can give you a new smile in as little as two appointments. They are also durable and stain resistant. However, enamel does need to be removed during the preparation process, so this is something to consider before getting veneers. Additionally, this may not be the best option if you have a very wide gap or if your gap is related to other oral health issues, such as gum disease.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is the process of using tooth-colored resin to make repairs or adjustments to your smile. This can be a good option for a small gap. Our cosmetic dentist is highly skilled and will ensure the bonding looks natural and that you are completely satisfied with the results. This is the quickest option for fixing gap teeth and is typically done in one appointment. This is also a more affordable option. However, bonding will need to be replaced or redone sooner than veneers and is typically less durable. The resin is also less resistant to stains than porcelain.

A Gap From a Missing Tooth

Instead of a gap between two teeth, you may have a gap in your smile caused by a missing tooth. In this case, we would discuss either a dental implant with a crown or a dental bridge. An implant prevents bone loss and will typically last longer. However, a bridge may be more affordable and could be a good solution if the teeth on either side of the gap need crowns due to tooth decay or another concern.

Cosmetic Dentistry in Oro Valley, AZ

At Smith Dentalworks, we can evaluate your tooth gap and can recommend a solution that would be best for you. We take your aesthetic goals, financial considerations, and other oral health concerns into account to develop a customized treatment plan.

To discuss solutions for gap teeth, contact us today.

Teeth Straightening by our Invisalign Dentist

If you have crooked teeth, our Invisalign dentist can help give you a straighter and more beautiful smile. Compared to traditional metal braces, Invisalign clear aligner trays are more discreet and can be a great option for orthodontic treatment.

More information about the process of straightening your teeth with Invisalign:

Initial Invisalign Dentist Consultation

During an initial appointment, Dr. Atty Smith will examine your teeth and will take photos and X-rays. As a preferred Invisalign provider, Dr. Smith can verify whether this method is best for your needs or can recommend alternative options. Our office uses state-of-the-art 3D image technology to create a treatment plan and design your first aligner.

How Invisalign Works

Invisalign aligners work by getting progressively tighter. This process moves your teeth into alignment and usually targets one or a small number of teeth at a time. Typically, you will switch the plastic aligners every two weeks. You will need to wear the aligners for at least 22 hours every day and should only remove them for eating, brushing, and flossing.

When You Need to See Your Invisalign Dentist

Unlike with braces, you will not need to visit your dentist every time you tighten your aligners. The switch to a new set can typically be completed at home. Every few weeks, you will come into the office and we will make sure the treatment is progressing properly.

Length of Invisalign Treatment

If your teeth are mildly crooked, you may be able to complete treatment in as little as six months. Other patients have a timeline of closer to 12 months. This will depend on your unique circumstances and Dr. Smith will discuss the amount of time you can expect to wear your aligners.

After Invisalign

After your teeth have been straightened, they may shift due to changes in your jawbone during orthodontic adjustments. As a result, it’s important to wear a retainer after your treatment in order to make sure your smile stays straight. Once you finish your initial treatment plan, we will fit you for a retainer. You will need to wear this full-time at first but as your teeth become more stable in their new positions, we can discuss adjusting how often you need to wear the retainer. Our Invisalign dentist is happy to answer any questions you may have about this or any other aspects of the teeth straightening process.

Fixing Crooked Teeth

Crooked teeth can impact your self-confidence and oral health. At Smith Dentalworks, we can help you get a new smile that you will love. We are a preferred Invisalign provider and also offer a variety of other cosmetic and restorative dental treatments including veneers, teeth whitening, crowns, and more.

To schedule a consultation with our Invisalign dentist, contact us today.

Tips for At-Home Dental Hygiene

Seeing your dentist regularly is essential for your oral health. In addition to this, the steps you take at home are also important. Day-to-day maintenance of your teeth and gums helps keep them healthy. This can prevent a wide range of issues from gum disease to tooth loss. It’s worth the time to create good at-home dental hygiene habits.

Maintaining Dental Restorations

If you have dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, dentures, et cetera, there may be specific oral hygiene instructions you need to follow to maintain them. Your dentist can help you understand how to do this.

Flossing

You should floss once daily. Whether you do this in the morning or at night is up to you, but it is usually recommended that you floss before you brush. This is because brushing clears away any food particles that may become dislodged.

To floss properly, you should wind the floss around your middle fingers, leaving one to two inches in the middle. Place this portion between your teeth and gently move it along the gum line on both sides. Then, move the floss to reveal a new, clean portion, and continue until you have cleaned between all of your teeth. If you prefer, you can also use a water flosser.

Brushing Your Teeth

Choosing a Toothbrush

When choosing a toothbrush, make sure to choose one with soft bristles. Harder bristles can wear away at your enamel and damage your teeth over time.

When it comes to manual vs electric toothbrushes, both can be good options. Electric brushes make it slightly easier to clean your teeth effectively but are more expensive. A manual toothbrush is usually okay to use and the most important thing is that you brush regularly no matter what type of brush you use. You also need to replace either type of brush once the bristles begin to wear down or after four months at a minimum.

Choosing Toothpaste

The toothpaste you use should have at least 1,000 parts per million of fluoride and a seal of approval from the American Dental Association. Beyond this, which brand you choose is usually a matter of personal preference. If you have sensitive teeth, you should choose a toothpaste that is specifically made for this problem. If over-the-counter sensitive toothpastes are not able to help, it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist to get a prescription option and to check for any underlying issues.

Toothbrushing Technique

Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gently move it back and forth, making sure to reach all the surfaces of each tooth as well as your gums. Continue this process for at least two minutes and repeat twice daily.

Preventive Dental Care in Oro Valley, AZ

At Smith Dentalworks, we can help you maintain your oral health and provide teeth cleanings, check-ups, and other types of preventive dentistry. Our dentist can also give you helpful tips for maintaining your dental hygiene at home.

To schedule an appointment with our general dentist, contact us today.

The Process of Getting Implant-Supported Dentures

If you are missing all or most of your upper or lower teeth, dentures are typically the best restorative solution. They can allow you to eat, speak, and smile with confidence again. Although well-made conventional dentures will fit snugly and comfortably in your mouth, implant dentures are even more secure and have the added benefit of supporting the health of your jaw. If you are interested in getting implant-supported dentures, Smith Dentalworks can help.

The steps of the implant denture process:

Initial Implant Dentures Consultation

The first step to getting implant dentures is a consultation with your dentist. We will examine your mouth, take X-rays, and discuss your goals. This allows us to determine whether or not implant-supported dentures are a good fit.

Other Dental Treatments, As Needed

Depending on your specific circumstances, other types of dental care may be necessary before you can get implant-supported dentures. For example, if you have some remaining teeth, these will need to be extracted. We will discuss your treatment plan with you in detail so you know exactly what to expect.

Dental Implant Surgery

Your dentures will be supported by dental implants, which are titanium posts implanted in your jaw. These act as artificial tooth roots and stimulate your jawbone, which helps prevent bone loss. In order to get dental implants, you will need to undergo surgery. At Smith Dentalworks, we work with an experienced and trusted oral surgeon and they will complete the placement of the implants. If you have already experienced substantial bone loss, bone grafting may be necessary prior to surgery.

Healing and Temporary Dentures

After your surgery, you will need time to heal so your implants can fully integrate with your jaw bone. This process is known as osseointegration and typically takes between three and six months. We will fit you for temporary dentures that you can wear until your final ones are ready. Temporary dentures are not designed for long-term use, but look natural and are durable enough for the period between surgery and getting your final dentures.

Implant-Supported Denture Placement

Once your dental implants have healed, we can place your final dentures. We will make sure you love the way they look and feel and you will be able to make any adjustments necessary. After this, you will be able to enjoy your new smile.

Maintaining Your Implant Dentures

Implant-supported dentures are easy to maintain and clean at home. You will need to brush twice daily with a non-abrasive denture toothpaste and should also clean between the dentures and your gum line. You should also visit our office regularly for professional cleaning and check-ups.

Smile with Confidence Again

If you are ready to restore your smile, we can help. Implant dentures are an excellent option and may be the solution for you.

To make an appointment to discuss implant-supported dentures, contact us today.

How We Use Laser Dentistry for Cavities

Our innovative Solea® Laser makes dentistry pain-free and can be used for a wide variety of procedures. One example is utilizing laser dentistry for cavities. During this process, we use our dental laser to remove decayed parts of the tooth and prepare the area for a filling. There is no need for a needle or noisy drill, and there is no pain.

How the Solea Laser Works

Our dental laser produces a beam of infrared light using electricity and carbon dioxide gas. This invisible light reflects off a series of mirrors that intensify it. The final laser is optimized based on the type of tissue is that is being cut. In the case of cavity filling, the laser cuts through the enamel and has a wavelength of 9.3 microns. This is the peak absorption of hydroxyapatite, the major component of tooth enamel, and using this wavelength makes it possible for the laser to make precise and accurate cuts.

Filling Preparation

If left untreated, tooth decay will continue to spread. As a result, treatment requires removing the damaged tissue from the tooth and filling the space left behind. When we use laser dentistry for cavities, we cut through enamel with the high-intensity infrared beam. We make sure to remove all affected tissue and the fact that the laser also sterilizes as it cuts makes it process easier. Once we have cleared away the decay, we fill the tooth using tooth-colored composite resin. This blends in with the tooth and looks natural.

Benefits of Laser Dentistry vs Traditional Filling Preparation

Pain-Free

The beam produced by the Solea Laser vibrates at a frequency that your nerves are unable to process. This means that the process is pain-free. This means there is no need for a needle and your experience is more comfortable.

Less Time in the Office

Because anesthesia is usually unnecessary, the process of preparing the tooth and filling the cavity is quicker. This means you don’t need to spend as much time in the office. Additionally, you won’t leave with a numb mouth, as is often the case when the procedures are done with local anesthesia.

No Drill

The sound of a dental drill can be unnerving for many patients. Our dental laser makes the drill unnecessary so there’s less noise and less stress.

Laser Dental Care at Smith Dentalworks

At Smith Dentalworks, we use our Solea Laser to give you a better experience at the dentist. We can use this technology to prepare your tooth for a filling. This process is suited for both children and adults in most cases. Innovation is one of the focuses of our dental practice and we are committed to using the best technology available for our patients.

To learn more about how we can use laser dentistry for cavities, contact us today.

Tooth Decay Prevention and Treatment

Tooth decay, also called dental caries, is the breakdown of a tooth’s structure and is one of the most common health issues in the world. Since your teeth cannot regenerate themselves, decay will continue to get worse once it starts, unless you seek treatment. It’s important to practice good dental hygiene to prevent decay and to see your dentist if you notice any signs of an issue so that it can be resolved as soon as possible.

What Causes Tooth Decay?

When you eat foods that contain carbohydrates (sugars and starches), the bacteria in your mouth break them down into acids. These acids can combine with food particles, saliva, and bacteria to form plaque, a sticky substance that sits on the surface (enamel) of your teeth. The plaque will continually produce acid which, over time, breaks down the tooth structure. This will eat through the tooth enamel first and then progress into the dentin below. When this results in a hole in the tooth, this is known as a cavity.

Symptoms of Cavities

If you notice any signs of tooth decay, you should call your dentist to schedule an appointment.

These can include:

  • Toothache
  • New or increased tooth sensitivity
  • Pain when biting down
  • A visible pit or hole in a tooth

You should be aware that it is possible to have a cavity without noticing any symptoms. This is one reason why it’s important to visit your dentist for regular check-ups.

Preventing Tooth Decay

Dental Hygiene at Home

To prevent decay, practice good oral hygiene at home. Although preventive in-office care is beneficial, your day-to-day habits make a huge difference. You should brush your teeth twice daily using a soft-bristle brush. Make sure to clean all the different areas of your teeth, including the front, chewing surfaces, and back. Flossing is also incredibly important for your oral health and you should do this once a day.

How Your Dentist Helps Prevent Cavities

At your regular check-ups, your dentist will check for signs of decay and can address any issues before you even notice them. They also complete professional cleaning to remove dental plaque and calculus, which is a harder form of plaque. Fluoride treatments are common for children, although some adults can also benefit.

Treatments for Tooth Decay

Fillings

One of the most common treatments for decay is a filling. In the past, these would be made of metal but recently, tooth-colored composite fillings are most common. At our dental office, we use our Solea Laser® to prepare the tooth for the filling.

Dental Crowns

If the decay is more advanced, a crown may be appropriate. This is a porcelain cap that covers and protects the tooth. The crown will be designed to look natural and match nearby teeth.

Tooth Extraction

When decay is left untreated, it will continue to spread and damage the tooth more and more. After a while, this could progress to the point where extraction is necessary. If this is the case, your dentist can work with you to find a solution to replace the lost tooth. This could include a dental implant or bridge.

Dental Care in Oro Valley, AZ

If you suspect that you are suffering from tooth decay, contact our Oro Valley dentist office today.

 

Finding the Best Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening can help you get a brighter smile. Compared to store-bought whitening strips or toothpaste, dentist-supervised whitening treatments are often stronger, safer, and tailored specifically for you. At Smith Dentalworks, we offer three different types of whitening treatments. We can help you find the best teeth whitening option for you during your appointment. This article also gives a brief overview of the methods available at our office so you can get a general idea of which might be a good fit.

In-Office Teeth Whitening

How It Works

We use a highly-concentrated whitening gel for our in-office treatments. This is significantly stronger than any of the products you can get over-the-counter. We will apply to this your teeth while protecting your gums. After we complete the treatment, we will often apply fluoride to help reduce the risk of tooth sensitivity. This depends on your specific needs. With only one or two visits, teeth can become six to eight shades lighter using this method.

When This Method Could Be Best

In-office gel application could be the best teeth whitening method for you if you need quick results for an upcoming event. However, one thing to keep in mind is that no whitening treatment is permanent. Over time, your teeth will start to stain again. If you think you will need to make touch-ups in the future, you may prefer a take-home method.

Custom-Fit Take-Home Whitening

How It Works

In our office, we will fit you for a custom whitening tray by taking a digital impression of your teeth. This prevents the whitening agent from coming into contact with your gums. We will then give you a high-strength gel and clear instructions for how to use this kit at home. The tray will be yours to keep and you can pick up more of the gel as you need it for touch-ups.

When This Method Could Be Best

If you are looking for a highly-effective and safe method for getting whiter teeth, a custom-made kit can be an excellent option. Since the process is supervised by a professional, it’s easier to make sure everything is progressing as it should. Although the whitening agent is not as strong as our in-office treatments, it is well-suited for at-home application.

Ready-Made Teeth Whitening Trays

How It Works

Our office also offers ready-made take-home teeth whitening kits. These feature strong whitening agents and you get all the benefits of dentist supervision, but don’t have to wait for a custom impression.

When This Method Could Be Best

Ready-made whitening is quicker than custom trays, although not as quick as in-office treatment. This is the most cost-effective option and still provides effective and safe results.

Get a Bright and Beautiful Smile

If you want whiter, beautiful teeth, Smith Dentalworks can help. We offer a variety of cosmetic treatments, including whitening, that can help you love the way your smile looks.

Schedule an appointment and we can help you find the best teeth whitening treatment.

Causes and Solutions for Cracked Teeth

Many dentists across the country are reporting that cracked teeth are becoming more common. Because of increased stress levels, more individuals may be grinding their teeth, which contributes to cracks and other wear and tear. If you are noticing this or any other issues with your oral health, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a dentist. These problems typically become worse over time and seeing your dentist sooner can help prevent the need for more extensive work.

Different Types of Cracked Teeth

Cracks can range from very small lines on the surface of your teeth to deep fractures that impact the entire tooth structure. The causes and solutions vary depending on the severity of the chips or cracks.

Craze Lines

If you look closely at the front surface of your teeth, you may notice tiny cracks in the enamel. These are very common and form over time due to natural pressure on your teeth from chewing. They can occur more quickly if you grind your teeth or have any misalignment. These do not cause any pain and unless you are specifically looking for them, you probably won’t even notice them.

Treatment is not usually necessary for craze lines except for cosmetic reasons. If you are self-conscious about surface-level cracks, porcelain veneers are a great way to cover these imperfections.

Cracked Teeth Above the Gum Line

Cracks that are deeper in the tooth are not only unsightly, they can cause tooth sensitivity and pain. If you have a crack that extends beyond the enamel and into the dentin (the next layer of your tooth), you will likely begin to notice it. Over time, it is likely that the crack will extend below the gum line and become even more serious. These cracks can be caused by trauma to the tooth, long-term grinding, or continued pressure from misalignment. If you see any cracks in your teeth, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

Cracks above the gum line may be treated with dental bonding. During this process, your dentist will use a composite resin material, which is the same type for tooth-colored fillings. We will make sure that it matches your tooth and looks natural while also sealing the crack and stopping further damage.

Deep Cracks and Split Teeth

A crack that starts above the gum line can extend downward if left untreated. It’s also possible for an impact or serious trauma to the tooth to immediately cause a deep crack. In severe cases, this can cause the tooth to split in half. If the crack is very painful, bleeding heavily, or if any portion of the tooth has fallen out, this is a dental emergency. You should save any portion of the tooth that fell out and place it in a glass of milk if possible.

The available treatments for a severely cracked tooth depend on how much of the tooth structure has been impacted. If the crack extends into the root, extraction may be necessary. An implant and crown or a bridge can be used to restore your smile after removing the damaged tooth. It might also be possible to save some of the tooth and cover it with a crown. This is highly dependent on the circumstances of the crack and your dentist will likely need to take X-rays and fully examine the damage to determine what your options are.

Repairing Cracked Teeth

At Smith Dentalworks, we offer cosmetic dentistry services for minor cracks and can also conduct more extensive repairs for seriously cracked teeth. If you are a current patient with us, emergency dental appointments are available in some cases.

If you have cracked teeth, contact us today.