Category: Cosmetic Dentistry

Tooth Enamel: Tips for keeping yours healthy

What Is Enamel, and Why Is It Important?

Enamel is the smooth, hard exterior surface of your teeth. It protects the interior dentin, which is softer and contains nerves and blood vessels. Tooth enamel is translucent, allowing the color of the interior dentin to show through. An easy way to think of it is like a suit of armor, protecting the dentin and pulp of your teeth within from the ravages of decay.

Needless to say, it’s pretty important to your overall dental health.

How Does Tooth Enamel Erode?

There are many threats to the health of your tooth enamel.
Your tooth enamel is targeted for damage by many common foods, beverages and medicines.

The biggest contributors to enamel erosion may not be what you’d expect. Acidic foods are one of the biggest culprits, as they can weaken enamel and leave it vulnerable to bacteria that cause tooth decay.

A surprising (and therefore potentially dangerous) contributor to erosion is dry mouth. Saliva protects your enamel by naturally controlling the growth of tooth-attacking bacteria. When your mouth is dry, these bacteria can grow unchecked and cause long-term damage.

Of course, many other factors can work against your enamel, from acid reflux to prescription medications, drug supplements and even over-brushing your teeth.

How Should You Care for Enamel?

Comprehensive oral health must include enamel care. Some tips for keeping it strong include:

  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, as stiff brushes can actually wear away your enamel
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, particularly after meals high in acid (this includes many fruits!) or sugar.
  • If you can’t brush your teeth immediately after meals, give your mouth at least a good rinsing with water to reduce the acidity.

And of course, visit Dr. Meyers or Dr. Johns at least twice a year for professional cleaning and a full exam to catch any enamel issues early.

Can Enamel Be Repaired?

Unfortunately, enamel loss is permanent. But even thought it won’t grow back, there are many cosmetic dentistry procedures that can help to mitigate its loss. Bonding, veneers, and crowns are all safe, long-lasting solutions to problems associated with enamel loss and damage.

Worried about your enamel or have other dental concerns? Contact us today and we’ll happily discuss what Meyer & Johns can do for you.

 

What Exactly is a Veneer?

Dental veneers can dramatically improve your smile

Dental veneers are thin layers of porcelain applied to your teeth. They are custom fit in order to perfect your smile, and can potentially last decades when treated well. Although veneers certainly can make a smile truly dazzling, not everyone is a good candidate for them, and other restorative options may be more viable options for many individuals.

Function

Veneers are made from porcelain to match the color, functionality, and durability of natural teeth. They can be crafted to adjust small gaps or twists in teeth in addition to other small alignment imperfections.

An added benefit of veneers is that, unlike natural tooth enamel, they are impervious to staining, which means that they will retain their bright white color even for smokers or heavy coffee drinkers, for instance.

Application

The dentist removes a thin layer of enamel from each tooth to prepare it for the veneer adhesive. This durable, light-cured compound is very durable and tightly binds veneer to tooth. The veneers themselves must be created for your individual teeth in a lab, so there is a small wait time.

Maintenance

Caring for veneers is the same as caring for your natural teeth, with regular brushing and flossing. Regular, non-abrasive toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush will take care of them for the most part. They will need to be inspected and polished as a part of your regular dental exams, but should require no special care unless they begin to break or wear down.

Keep in Mind

Although veneers are very long-lived, they are not always permanent. They can chip, break, or wear down to the point of needing replacement. Since the application process requires removal of a thin layer of your natural enamel, natural teeth are no longer viable without a veneer to protect them. Replacement is necessary in these cases.

If you’d like to improve your smile, contact Meyer & Johns today to make an appointment. We would be pleased to discuss with you the best options for you as an individual, both in terms of dental health and cosmetic options.

Why Whiten?

Teeth whitening makes a difference

A bright, dazzling smile can do wonders for your attitude and confidence, but many of us don’t have perfectly pearly whites without a little help. Fortunately, Meyer & Johns can provide all the right ways to help your smile stand out.

Why Aren’t My Teeth Whiter?

There are many reasons why your teeth may not be as bright as you’d like, but the most common causes are external. Contributors to less-than-bright smiles include:

  • Food and Drink – Some foods (most notably red wine, coffee, and tea) can stain your teeth because of their intense pigmentation.
  • Tobacco – Both tar and nicotine can take a toll on your enamel.
  • Aging – As your enamel becomes thinner with time, the dentin, yellower than enamel, begins to show through.
  • Injury – Teeth that have been injured may darken in response to trauma.

Whitening Options

There are essentially three options for tooth whitening:

  • Whitening Toothpastes – Pastes can sometimes improve teeth by a shade, but are generally better for maintenance than for achieving new results.
  • Over-the-Counter Whitening Products – These use the same peroxide-based whitening agents that are used in dental offices, but at lower concentrations, and lower efficacy. They generally require several applications over a week or more to make a noticeable difference.
  • In-Office Whitening Products – Specially activated, professionally applied whitening compounds can really make a difference in your teeth after even just a single treatment. Hands-down the surest way to whiten your smile.

Other Options

In some cases, veneers or composite bonding may be a more suitable option, depending on your unique case. For example, bleaching won’t change the color of any fillings you may have, which could lead to uneven tooth coloration.

Whatever your situation, the best first step toward the unstoppable confidence of a brilliant smile is to come talk to Meyer & Johns. We’d be happy to take a look at your teeth and work with you to discover an individualized approach to achieve your best possible results.

Cosmetic Procedures

Cosmetic procedures can make your smile brilliant.The quality of your smile can make an incredible difference in how you look as well as how you feel—a great smile provides as much confidence as it projects. At Meyer and Johns, we’re ready to help you achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re interested in any of our cosmetic dentistry services, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please call us at (417) 881-6000 or schedule an appointment today.

Tooth-Colored Fillings

Let’s start with the basics: If you have to have a filling, let’s make it match your teeth. Instead of teeth-darkening metallic fillings, here at Meyer & Johns we use a composite custom-matched to your teeth to keep your teeth healthy and restore your smile.

Crowns & Bridges

When a tooth is far enough gone, a crown is often the best solution for restoring it to a natural appearance and function. Whether due to a root canal, to repair decay, or sometimes to address significant discoloration and staining, crowns are long-term solutions.

Bridges are custom-made to fill holes left by missing teeth, restoring teeth to a natural contour and often correcting bite issues that can occur between top and bottom teeth. And since they look and function just like (or even better than) your own natural teeth, they look great too.

Teeth Whitening

A few shades whiter can make a tremendous difference. Professional whitening is effective, safe, and can last for years. We’d be happy to discuss options with you at your next appointment.

Contouring Teeth and Reshaping Teeth

One of the least invasive changes you can make to your smile, other than whitening, is minor contouring and reshaping of your natural teeth. These techniques can often correct crooked, chipped, or misshapen teeth, and can really make a big difference.

Composite Bonding

We would be pleased to work with you, reshaping teeth, filling gaps, or simply improving the color of your teeth for the long term. With composite bonding, we can apply an enamel-like material directly to the surface of your teeth, sculpting, hardening, and polishing it to improve your smile’s beauty.

Dental Veneers

If your teeth are worn, cracked, chipped, or perhaps just discolored, veneers may be the right option for you. Veneers are made from porcelain or composite, and are directly bonded to your teeth, providing a smooth, white polish for your smile. Although a small amount of enamel is removed in the process, veneers typically last a very long time, providing your smile dazzle for many years to come.