Dental Veneers

tooth-status-happyDental porcelain veneers are very aesthetically focused restorations. We typically use these restorations in the front of the mouth. They are made of a tooth-colored porcelain material either meticulously stacked in layers, or in one single monolithic piece. Even though we do not market ourselves as a cosmetic dentistry we still place great emphasis on making sure we take the utmost care in providing you with the most beautiful and long lasting restorations we can possibly provide. This starts on day one, when you come in for our exams and cleaning. We focus first on proper home care for you. This way we can be certain you are armed with the knowledge to properly take care of your new beautiful teeth. Second comes with color and shape selection. We ask for your input/interaction each step of the way, after all it is you who’s going to wear them for the rest of the time. We will make sure the color, shape and feel of the veneers are just right before we finalize the restoration. Third, we select the highest quality dental lab for fabricating your new smiles. They not only uses the best porcelain materials but also use precision to make sure your veneer is fixed as tightly to your teeth as possible. Lastly we employ the strongest and most durable bonding material to make sure these veneers will stay and last in your mouth. We are here to restore your smile, and we want you to be thoroughly satisfied with the work we do. That is why we put extreme care and focus on each and every restoration, so you can be confident when you smile!

Dentures

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Tooth loss is something we strive to prevent for our patients here at Little Big Smiles. Even though we have many options to restore your teeth, there will be times where the tooth needs to come out, or the patients come in with missing teeth. So for an area with large span of missing teeth or having no teeth at all, we offer removable partial denture and full dentures to our patients. If you have an area with a lot of missing teeth, but still have some good strong teeth left, a partial denture is an economical way to give you something to chew with, or some teeth to show when you talk or smile. We use your existing teeth as anchors and make clasps on the partial denture to hold it down. If we are covering both the left and right side of your mouth, or covering a large missing area, a metal based partial will be the best choice for you. This is because when we chew, we put a tremendous amount of force on our teeth, and having a metal framework will resist the pressure and keep the partial from fracturing. Don’t worry, the metal framework will be mostly covered by our gum matching acrylics and the teeth will be matched to the color of your existing teeth. The downside of this option is the clasps of this partial will be in metal, and can sometimes show through. If having no metal showing through is a priority to you, we do offer gum colored flexible clasps that can blend in a little bit better. If all your teeth are gone, our full denture can be used to help you restore that smile you used to have. To ensure a good fitting denture, it’ll require a few visits to our office so our dentist can make sure we make good impressions for accurate fitting dentures. The last thing we want to hear from you is your dentures coming out when talking in the public! Stability of the full denture can sometimes be hard to achieve no matter how precise we make the denture to be, so we do have the option to stabilize these dentures with some dental implants. With proper planning and placement, these dental implants can anchor your dentures so you can eat and talk like never before!

Pain, Swelling Or Abscess

Tooth-bacteriaWhen your teeth or gums have an infection, you can end up with pain, swelling or abscess in your mouth. There are a lot of bacteria in our mouths, some are beneficial, while some can injure or damage our teeth and gums. A cavity is basically a bacterial infection of your tooth and gum disease is an infection of your gums. If either of them are left untreated, the infection can spread and sometimes an abscess is formed where the infection is draining. Abscess is usually filled with pus from the infection and it can form as quickly as one to two days after the infection starts. If the cavity or gum disease is not treated, the infection can damage surrounding bone or teeth and can sometimes form a hollow tunnel from your bone to skin called a fistula or sinus tract. You can sometimes see or feel this fistula as a pimple like bump around your gums. If the fistula is draining pus you can sometimes notice a bad taste in your mouth or even bad breath. Pain can occur if this fistula is not draining and the pressure builds up to an abscess. Sometimes if this abscess is left untreated and spreads to other areas, it can lead to serious health problems. This is why whenever we hear you are having pain, swelling or abscess, we will do our best to see you right away. We can resolve the infection by treating the cavity or gum disease and if the swelling is large enough drain your abscess at the same time. We will make sure to clean the area really well for you so that it will be easier for your body to heal.

Debris Between Teeth

Fotolia_45782508_32We all love to eat, but sometimes, for whatever reason, some food debris can get stuck between our teeth. One common offender is the popcorn kernel. Because of the hard cellulose fibers, popcorn kernels do not breakdown over time and can remain trapped between your gums for a while. Other times you might have chipped your fillings or your crown and the pieces get lodged between your teeth and gums. It is important to get these debris out of your gums, not only for your comfort, but if the debris is trapped for some time, it can lead to more pain or infection in that area. Sometimes these things can be easily teased out with gentle flossing around your gums, or you can use a toothpick and run it around the gum line. Just be careful to not use too much force to prevent either cutting your gums or forcing the food deeper into your gums. DO NOT attempt to use any sharp instruments to try to fish it out. You can cause irreparable damage to your teeth, your existing fillings, restorations, or the surrounding area.

If using floss or a toothpick not working out for you, please contact your dentist or contact us and we will be happy to bring you in and see what is going on. We have specialized tools that will allow us to see more clearly in that area, so we can find whatever is trapped in there and get it out for you comfortably.Tooth-floss

Loose Tooth

Child missing front tooth pointing at it with her fingerThere are many situations where your tooth can be loose. It could be as simple as your baby teeth coming out, adult teeth are growing in, so the baby tooth is loose. Or it could be from dental trauma where the tooth got knocked loose or out. Also keep in mind with moderate to severe periodontal or gum disease, your tooth might become loose. Usually with gum disease it will involve more than one loose tooth. This is because periodontal disease affects your jaw bone, and your jaw bone is what holds your teeth together. If the bone has disappeared because of periodontal disease, your teeth will start to feel loose or even start to shift positions.

Treatment for loose teeth can vary based on the situation. If it’s just a loose baby tooth and no associated abscess or cavities, you can just wait for it to naturally fall out. If your tooth got knocked out, please see our page on knocked out teeth. As for loose teeth due to gum disease we’ll need to treat the gum disease first, and sometimes after treatment and good home care your teeth will naturally start to firm up. There are many ways a tooth can be loose, if you have any questions or are not sure what is going on, please let us know and we will do our best to guide you through it.

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Chipped Or Broken Teeth

 

tooth-chippedOur teeth are made up of one of the strongest materials in our body. The mixture of minerals and organic materials make our teeth strong enough to withstand our daily eating habits. However, sometimes, due to either factors of our own or not, these teeth can become chipped or broken down. This can be a frightening experience since we usually take the strength of our teeth for granted, until it is damaged or you are holding your tooth’s fragments in your hands. If you are unfortunate enough to chip or break your teeth, do not worry, instead contact us. As your family dentist, we are also your emergency dentist. If your tooth is chipped or broken from a recent trauma (ie. Fall or accident) please come see us as soon as you can. Before you come in, if there is bleeding in the area, please apply a clean gauze to the area, to minimize the bleeding. With a broken or chipped tooth it is very important to see a dentist right away, since whatever had caused the chip might cause fractures in your teeth and if not treated soon, these fractures can grow over time and there might be a chance that we might not be able to save your tooth. As extra advice, we caution against chewing ice all the time. Frequent ice chewing can lead to many micro fractures in your teeth, and over time these fractures will connect and lead to sensitivity or severe tooth pain. This is because the vertical fractures that have formed have spread into the nerves of your teeth.

 

Half-length portrait of nice smiling blonde sitting in the dentist chair looking at us

Knocked-out Tooth

tooth-xLife can be hard to predict sometimes. One moment you can have a set of perfectly nice teeth, but next moment, you can be holding some of those teeth in your mouth. We want to let you know that we can take care of your problems. Dr. Chen is trained to be the dentist you go to for emergencies. If your adult tooth has been knocked out, pick it up by the white crown part and quickly rinse it under cold water. Please makes sure to plug the sink! And do a quick rinse, no more than 10 seconds rinsing! If possible put the tooth back in the mouth matching the direction and shape of teeth next to it. If you are unsure of how to put it in, you can place the tooth in a glass of milk or saline, avoid putting it in water. You need to contact your dentist as soon as possible. The likelihood of saving your tooth is the greatest if you can be seen by a dentist within 30 minutes of your tooth coming out. If the tooth is not fully knocked out, use a clean gauze or towel and try to reposition the tooth to where it was before. Again, if you are not sure what to do, just keep the area clean and contact your dentist right away. Depending on the condition of the tooth we might be able to splint it for a short period of time and once the tooth is stabilized, it will need a root canal treatment, to make sure there is no infection coming from the roots. If the tooth does not seem to be able to survive the re-plantation or repositioning, then we have many options for replacement like: dental implants or dental bridges. Having a tooth knocked loose or out can be a frightening experience, we will work with you to make sure your visit is as comfortable as we can make it to be.

Lost Fillings Or Crowns

tooth-helmetThe fillings and crowns we place in your mouth should last a while. If the fillings and crowns are done right you should not have to worry about any of them coming out easily. However if you start to develop a cavity underneath your fillings or crowns, they can start to become loose and fall out. This is because the decay eats away at the tooth so the filling or crown will no longer have a good bond to your tooth. With the fillings or crown being out, your tooth might start to hurt or be sensitive to hot or cold foods. This is because the protection given by the fillings or crowns is gone and if there’s a cavity there it might make matters worse. If you have the loose crown or fillings please do not attempt to glue it back with household adhesive (NO superglue please!), you can cause more damage and make the situation even worse. If you have a crown or bridge that came loose please keep it in a clean towel or container and bring with you when you come see us or your dentist. Depending on why the filling or crown came loose we might be able to replace it with a new filling or re-cement your crown. Usually there are new cavities underneath those fillings or crowns, if so, we will have to re-prepare the tooth to remove all the decay and sometimes, if the decay has gone into the tooth nerve, you might need a root canal procedure. If the decay is too large, we might even have to consider extraction of the tooth. Because there are many different scenarios that can cause your filling or crowns to be loose, please either contact us or your dentist so your tooth can be properly taken care of.

Toothache

hurtHaving a toothache is not a fun. Because the source of your toothache is most likely coming from inside the tooth in your jaw bone, pain medications will simply not seem to work. This can lead to an incessantly crying child or sleepless nights. There are many causes for having a toothache. A toothache can be caused by a cavity, and this is why we recommend regular exams visits at Little Big Smiles so that we can catch the cavities early. Catching the cavities early on makes it easier for you and your dentist to handle, because once the cavity becomes bigger it can cause you severe pain. If you have any damage to your tooth either chipped or broken, please come see us as soon as possible. The sooner our dentist can see you, the more likely we will be able to save your tooth. Sometimes your “toothache” might not be caused by the tooth at all. This is because your tooth is surrounded by your gums and if you have gum disease it can cause pain in your mouth. This is also why our dentist here emphasizes the importance of proper brushing and flossing techniques to our patients. As your family dentist we are here to take care of your mouth. Our goal is to help you maintain a healthy and pain-free mouth. If there are any aches or pains in your mouth, we are always ready to help you out, so don’t hesitate to stop by or give us a call if something is wrong.

 

Bitten Tongue Or Lip

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Your lips and tongue are surrounded by hard teeth and bone. So when you eat too quickly, you can bite your lips, tongue or the inside of your cheeks. As long as the cuts are not deep and you are not bleeding profusely these areas should heal up in due time. Just make sure to keep from eating hot, spicy food so you don’t end up irritating the area, and to use warm salt to rinse it until it heals. Also keep away from eating hard, crusty food like chips or anything fried since they can scrap against the area and cause more damage. If your body is healthy this should heal in a week or two.
A fall or blow to the face can also cause lip and tongue injury. This is commonly seen in children and people in active sports. This is why we recommend wearing a sports guard during active sports to not only prevent injury to your teeth but also protect your tongue and lips from being bitten or damaged. If you do experience a fall or blow to the face, and there is a deep cut, punctured lip, or bleeding you cannot stop, please contact us or head to the nearest ER. The injury site will need to be thoroughly cleaned and if teeth are knocked loose or out, it needs to be treated right away. If there is a lot of soft tissue damage we might have to refer you to an oral surgeon or plastic surgeon so they can suture the wounds right to lessen the scarring effect. With proper management and care the injury should heal quickly with no problems.