My Blog

Posts for: September, 2015

By Jeffrey A. Harris, D.D.S.
September 21, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: fillings  

For over a hundred years dental amalgam — a combination of silver, mercury, tin and other metals — has been an effective filling material for teeth damaged by decay. But it has one major drawback — its metallic appearance stands out in stark contrast to the natural color of teeth.

As an alternative, composite resin fillings can match the color, shape and texture of natural teeth. These materials and the techniques used to bond them are proving just as effective as and more aesthetically pleasing than dental amalgam.

Fillings help protect and preserve a decayed tooth. By first removing decayed tooth structure through drilling, the resulting void is filled with durable material that strengthens the tooth and provides it protection from further decay.

The ultimate goal for restoration is to return the tooth to as near normal form and function as possible. Dental amalgam serves well in terms of function, providing the tooth strength in the face of the daily biting forces it encounters. In contrast, composite resins excel in appearance, but haven’t always matched the durability of amalgam. They’re material construction has improved over time, though, as well as the techniques used to bond them to teeth.

Most of these bonding techniques incorporate layering. The first step is to seal the dentin (the porous, living tissue just below the enamel); we then build up the composite material layer by layer within the tooth using special bonding adhesive and curing lights. In some cases where a large volume of tooth structure must be replaced, the restoration is first formed on the tooth and then removed for curing before being cemented into the tooth or a separate restoration is formed by a dental lab.

The end result is a tooth which both looks and functions like a fully intact tooth. Though care must be taken not to subject composite resin restorations to undue forces (no cracking open nutshells, for example), your new filling should continue to serve you and look great for a long time to come.

If you would like more information on metal-free restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Natural Beauty of Tooth Colored Fillings.”

By Jeffrey A. Harris, D.D.S.
September 13, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Magician Michel Grandinetti can levitate a 500-pound motorcycle, melt into a 7-foot-tall wall of solid steel, and make borrowed rings vanish and reappear baked inside bread. Yet the master illusionist admits to being in awe of the magic that dentists perform when it comes to transforming smiles. In fact, he told an interviewer that it’s “way more important magic than walking through a steel wall because you’re affecting people’s health… people’s confidence, and you’re really allowing people to… feel good about themselves.”

Michael speaks from experience. As a teenager, his own smile was enhanced through orthodontic treatment. Considering the career path he chose for himself — performing for multitudes both live and on TV — he calls wearing an orthodontic device (braces) to align his crooked teeth “life-changing.” He relies on his welcoming, slightly mischievous smile to welcome audiences and make the initial human connection.

A beautiful smile is definitely an asset regardless of whether you’re performing for thousands, passing another individual on a sidewalk or even, research suggests, interviewing for a job. Like Michael, however, some of us need a little help creating ours. If something about your teeth or gums is making you self-conscious and preventing you from smiling as broadly as you could be, we have plenty of solutions up our sleeve. Some of the most popular include:

  • Tooth Whitening. Professional whitening in the dental office achieves faster results than doing it yourself at home, but either approach can noticeably brighten your smile.
  • Bonding. A tooth-colored composite resin can be bonded to a tooth to replace missing tooth structure, such a chip.
  • Veneers. This is a hard, thin shell of tooth-colored material bonded to the front surface of a tooth to change its color, shape, size and/or length; mask dental imperfections like stains, cracks, or chips, and compensating for excessive gum tissue.
  • Crowns. Sometimes too much of a tooth is lost due to decay or trauma to support a veneer. Instead, capping it with a natural-looking porcelain crown can achieve the same types of improvements. A crown covers the entire tooth replacing more of its natural structure than a veneer does.

If you would like more information about ways in which you can transform your smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the techniques mentioned above by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Whitening,” “Repairing Chipped Teeth,” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”

By Dr. Jeffrey Harris
September 11, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Clear Correct   Clear Braces  

Clear CorrectAre your teeth crooked, gapped or crowded? Would you like to achieve a beautiful, straight smile, but you don't want to spend months in embarrassing traditional metal braces? If so, then Warrenton dentist Jeffrey A. Harris, D.D.S. has just the solution for you: Clear Correct.

What is Clear Correct?

Clear Correct is a clear braces alternative that offers nearly all of the benefits of traditional metal braces without all of the drawbacks. Most importantly, Clear Correct allows you to get the beautiful smile you've always wanted without having to spend months stuck in unsightly metal braces.

How Does Clear Correct Work?

Clear Correct from Dr. Harris in Warrenton works in a similar manner to braces, except that it uses clear aligners instead of metal wires to gradually shift your teeth. Wear each set of aligners for at least 22 hours a day and switch to a new set of aligners as often as recommended by your dentist. Over time, your teeth will gradually shift into their new positions as each subsequent pair of aligners bring you closer to your goal.

What Advantages Does Clear Correct Offer?

The main advantage Clear Correct offers is simply that it is clear. No longer do you have to worry about showing off a mouth full of metal; with Clear Correct, no one has to know that you are wearing aligners but you. Clear Correct is also removable, easier to clean than metal braces, and made in the United States.

Is Clear Correct a Good Option for Me?

Many of Dr. Harris's Warrenton patients have already used Clear Correct with great results. Could you be next? If you want a beautiful smile without sacrificing your looks in the meantime and you can be responsible enough to wear your aligners as often and as long as you should, Clear Correct may be just the treatment option for you.

Only a qualified dentist can let you know if you qualify for Clear Correct for sure, however, so call Dr. Harris to set up a consultation today. Your beautiful, straight and vibrant smile may just be closer than you realize!