Cosmetic Dentistry Services
Brushing, flossing, seeing Dr. Fong every six months — we all know the tenets of good oral hygiene and taking care of the general health of our teeth. But most of us would also like to have a smile we could see on a celebrity up the road in the Hollywood Hills.
That’s where Dr. Fong’s expertise with cosmetic dentistry comes into play. He offers a variety of treatments whose sole aim is to give you a dazzling, perfect smile.
Our Cosmetic Dentistry Services
What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
You normally think of dentistry as addressing problems such as decay or tooth damage. These are generally functional treatments to keep your oral health in good order. For Dr. Fong, his general dentistry offerings are wide ranging, everything from placing a composite filling to saving a tooth with a root canal or remaking a smile with Teeth-in-a-Day.
Cosmetic dentistry is a sideline of general dentistry that is focused on the aesthetic appearance of the teeth, but not necessarily their function. Cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry can have the same goal, for instance when a dental implant is used to replace a damaged tooth. But usually cosmetic dentistry has the goal of giving you a dazzling smile without addressing issues such as gum disease, decay, or other functional problems. Dr. Fong uses cosmetic dentistry to improve patients’ tooth shape, position, whiteness, alignment, and overall appearance.
Would I Be A Good Candidate For Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures?
No one has a perfect smile. We all have some flaws with our teeth. It could be a small chip here or a misshapen tooth. There could be a couple small gaps between teeth. You could have deep staining from tetracycline you received as a child, or surface staining from drinking red wine and eating raspberries. You could have some black triangles where your front teeth meet your gums.
These are all cosmetic problems that Dr. Fong could fix with cosmetic dentistry.
The question is one of the overall health of your teeth and gums. If you have teeth with decay, gum disease, teeth that are in danger of needing extraction, and other serious general dentistry problems, cosmetic dentistry fixes aren’t for you. Problems such as gum disease would need to be tackled first. Once these are taken care of, then you could consider the cosmetic attributes of your smile and if you’d like to improve them. But your teeth and mouth need to be healthy first.
What Are The Different Tools Used For Cosmetic Dentistry?
Dr. Fong offers a variety of cosmetic procedures to give our Orange County patients dazzling, perfect smiles.
- Porcelain veneers — Ultra-thin porcelain shells are placed over the front sides of the teeth. They can aesthetically correct unevenly spaced, crooked, chipped, oddly shaped, or badly discolored teeth.
- Bioclear — Bioclear uses flowable composite that is shaped by clear mylar wrapped around the tooth. The composite then flows to the shape and makes a perfect looking tooth. Dr. Fong uses Bioclear as a more affordable alternative to porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns for changing the shape and appearance of a tooth. It also is perfect for filling black triangles.
- Composite Fillings — We place only composite resin fillings, which are the color of your natural teeth and invisible once in your tooth. For cosmetic purposes we replace silver amalgam fillings with these tooth-colored alternatives.
- Pinhole Surgical Gum Technique — Dr. Fong is one of the few dentists trained in this simple method for addressing and reversing receding gums. It involves very little pain, which is a stark contrast to traditional treatment for gum recession.
- Teeth Whitening — We use laser energy to activate professional whitening gel for our 45-minute, in-office whitening treatments. We also offer at-home teeth whitening custom-fit trays and professional gel.
- Invisalign — Who wants to be a metal mouth? Invisalign® uses clear acrylic aligner trays to move the teeth. So much more comfortable, so much less medieval torture than metal bands, wires, and rubber bands. Our Santa Ana teens and adults love Invisalign®!
What’s The Difference Between Invisalign and Traditional Braces?
Invisalign® is an alternative orthodontic system. Instead of using bands cemented to the teeth with wires strung through them, Invisalign® uses clear aligners that the user wears for 20-22 hours per day but can removed for eating and cleaning his or her teeth.
Traditional braces create movement by adjusting the pull of the wires and using various rubber bands. This leads to a fair degree of soreness every month for a few days after the wires are tightened.
Invisalign® instead uses aligner trays that the patient wears for two weeks. At the onset of treatment, Dr. Fong uses our 3D imaging to create a model of the patient’s overall bite and teeth positions. He then plots out the course to move the teeth to where they need to be. This data is used to create the series of aligner trays. Each pair of upper and lower aligners gently move the teeth closer and closer to their final positions. After wearing a set of aligners for two weeks, the pair is discarded and replaced by the next pair. This process continues until the teeth are aligned and in position.
What Dental Treatments Can Cause Issues That Need To Be Addressed With Bioclear?
Certain dental treatments can inadvertently lead to a cosmetic issue with your teeth, colloquially known as “black triangles.” These are dark triangular spaces between your teeth where your teeth meet the gums. The gum tissue isn’t filling the space, so the blackness of the dark mouth is showing through.
The formation of black triangles can be an unforeseen result of tooth movement with Invisalign or other orthodontic treatment. This can also happen when early stage gum disease is addressed with root scaling and root planing. This can exacerbate black triangle formation, as the gums react to the trauma caused by the work under the gumline.
What Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments Can Be Replaced With Bioclear?
Bioclear is designed to be an alternative to porcelain veneers. It also provides far longer lasting results than dental bonding with composite tooth resin. Although not as enduring as a porcelain crown, Bioclear can also be used in lieu of placing a crown on a tooth. This is only when a crown is used for cosmetic purposes, however, not to save a heavily damaged tooth.
How is Bioclear Different from Porcelain Veneers?
When Dr. Fong places porcelain veneers on a patient’s teeth, he must first remove from 0.3mm to 0.5mm of the natural enamel from the front of the teeth receiving the veneers. This makes room for the thin porcelain veneers to then be placed on the teeth without them looking larger. When this porcelain is removed, this is a permanent situation — those teeth will now always need to be covered by veneers.
Bioclear is different. Bioclear uses clear tooth-shaped forms to mold composite resin, allowing Dr. Fong to change the shape of a tooth. Unlike porcelain veneers, he doesn’t have to remove healthy enamel to make room for the veneers. With Bioclear, he uses the clear tooth-shaped form to enlarge the upper parts of the teeth where black triangles form. He can do this at a lower cost than porcelain veneers or crowns. Plus, with Bioclear he can change the tooth or teeth in just a single office visit.
These are the advantages of using Bioclear instead of porcelain veneers or crowns:
- Doesn’t require the removal of healthy tooth structure as with veneers
- Restorations last longer than dental bonding and as long as veneers
- Great for closing black triangles
- Less expensive than porcelain veneers
- More resistant to staining than dental bonding
- Treatment may be completed in a single visit
- Safe for the gums
- Easily repaired if damaged