Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry refers to a variety of dental procedures used to help your smile look its best. Another good way to say it is "aesthetic dentistry." The term “aesthetic” lets us know that it is not just a matter of dental technology, but an art, the practice of which can achieve remarkable results in the hands of an experienced aesthetic dentist.

At the office of Scott E. Learn, DMD, MAGD, aesthetic dental procedures include teeth whitening, crowns and veneers, bonding, inlays and onlays, and more. Modern restorative techniques are little short of miraculous and can improve both your appearance and self-confidence. You will always be greeted by a caring, compassionate staff and a doctor eager to listen to your concerns.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is caused by acids released by bacteria living on your teeth. The enamel of your teeth is very hard, but it is also porous. A film of bacteria called plaque can build up on your teeth. When it does, the acids released by the bacteria enter the pores of the enamel and cause demineralization and decay. The result is a cavity. If left untreated, the decay can reach the pulp of the tooth and cause infection. Of course, brushing with a good fluoride toothpaste helps to remove plaque, prevent decay, and even create a remineralization of the enamel that is more resistant to plaque and bacterial acids. Never underestimate the importance of a regular brushing routine to dental health.
Plaque is a fact of life, a sticky film of bacteria that collects on the surface of teeth. Plaque causes decay and irritation of the gums, and when not removed by daily brushing and flossing, hardens into a substance called tartar. Tartar can only be removed during an office visit. Because everyone has a different metabolism, some people suffer more from tartar buildup than others, and tartar buildup can increase generally with age.

Of course, a few minutes brushing and flossing each day can help keep tartar's ugly yellow buildup to a minimum and make your cleaning visits faster and more comfortable. Tartar control toothpastes work by using a pyrophosphate that inhibits tartar crystals from forming in the first place.
To understand tooth sensitivity, we need to understand a bit about the structure of your teeth. Microscopic tubules or little holes in the dentin of your teeth lead to the nerves inside.

If you experience pain when eating hot or cold food, or even sweets, then some of these tubules have been exposed in a way that allows the hot or cold fluid to irritate the nerve. Your dentin can become exposed by receding gums, chipped teeth, or the inevitable aging and wear of your teeth.

Damaged teeth and gum disease need to be handled on a case-by-case basis by your dentist or periodontist. Often, tooth sensitivity can be managed by more attentive brushing habits, including the use of a prescribed fluoride rinse or gel, a desensitizing toothpaste, and/or a powered tooth brush.
Endodontics is the practice of the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases relating to dental pulp and the tissues at the root apex.

Sometimes it is necessary to clean out diseased pulp from inside a tooth. It may have become infected due to a fracture or deep cavity. These conditions can allow bacteria to infiltrate the tooth. Of your tooth may have been injured due to trauma.

What was once an uncomfortable, two or three visit procedure, today can often be completed in one visit with minimal discomfort. At the office of Scott E. Learn, DMD, we use an electronic device to quickly and accurately find the tip of the root and then clean the canal with magnification and ultrasonic instrumentation. Finally, we use the newest materials available to seal the root of the tooth completely and efficiently.
The dental specialty known as Periodontics is comprised of the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases relating to the tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth. It also includes the aesthetics, maintenance, and health of these tissues, or their prosthetic replacements. Periodontal (gum) disease refers to several conditions including:
  • Gingivitis: a mild inflammation of the gums and possible bleeding caused by plaque buildup.
  • Periodontitis: a separation of the gum from the tooth which can lead to infection and damaged supporting bone
  • Advanced periodontitis: pus may develop, the tooth loosens, and it may fall out.


Dentists and dental hygienists are trained to recognize the beginning signs of gum disease before any noticeable symptoms appear. Left untreated, gum disease leads not only to obvious symptoms, such as red, swollen, and bleeding gums, persistent bad breath, loose teeth, and difficulty chewing, but has also been directly linked to heart disease and overall health.

Treatment of gum disease may require a periodontal specialist and include periodontal surgery. At the office of Scott E. Learn, DMD, MAGD, we have excellent contacts and working relationships with some of the area's best periodontal experts. You can count on our best recommendation if your condition requires the attention of a specialist.
Your diet and personal habits affect the brightness of your smile.  While all of us will experience tooth discoloration as we grow older, some common causes of tooth staining include:
  • Tobacco products, both smoking and chewing
  • Coffee and tea
  • Red wine
  • Colored juices and soft drinks
  • Curry and soy
  • Minerals in well water
Other causes of tooth discoloration include trauma and injury, defects within the tooth, and the use of certain antibiotics during tooth development.
Many dental practices today will not perform tooth extractions, and every effort should be made to save your teeth and bring you the best dental health possible. In the event an extraction is necessary, the procedure is offered by Dr. Learn. You can be assured that an extraction, as with any procedure, will be performed in a safe, comfortable fashion, and that every effort will be made to reduce your anxiety and provide an exceptional result.
Did you know that headaches, earaches, facial pain, and tenderness of the jaw muscles may be signs of a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)? With this condition, the muscles and joints of the jaw tend to function improperly. This causes pain and spasms. There are many causes of TMJ and a variety of symptoms include teeth clenching and grinding, as well as a clicking and grating when you try to close your jaw. Treatment can include anti-inflammatory medications, biofeedback, relaxation exercises, and surgery in severe cases.
A bridge is a cosmetic dental restoration that spans a gap with no teeth. At each end of the gap, the bridge is connected to natural teeth. Bridges are often used after an accident or to replace teeth lost to severe decay. Made of porcelain or composite resin, bridges help aesthetically to restore your smile, and functionally to replicate missing teeth and bring back a more natural bite. Bridges must be carefully fitted and often require multiple visits and adjustments to get just right. Some bridges are fixed, and others are removable.
Implants can be considered both a part of General and Aesthetic (Cosmetic) Dentistry. Implants restore proper chewing, eliminate painful gums, preserve existing teeth, and stop bone loss by filling gaps between your natural teeth. At the same time, implants provide the closest thing to the look of your natural teeth, resulting in a confident smile.

What are implants? Dental implants begin with titanium posts which are placed into channels in your jawbone. This procedure does not interfere with speech or eating and leaves your jaw stronger and healthier than long term denture use. Once the titanium posts are permanently in place, an appropriate prosthetic, replacing the missing teeth, is secured to the implants.

Implants are successful more than 90% of the time and often provide patients with satisfaction for over 25 years. The functionality and natural look of the result is a tremendous benefit to patients, improving not only their smiles, but their confidence and health as well.

Pain Free Technologies

For dental injections, the VibraJect analgesic syringe vibrator induces a small, rapid vibration into the needle, producing an effect whereby the injection can barely be felt. Many of our patients have told us they appreciate the new technology a great deal.

Using a magnifying, intra-oral camera no larger than a pen, we view the interior of your mouth more effectively than ever before. The process is painless and effective. Because you can see the pictures as well as the dentist, we keep you more informed and involved in decisions regarding your own dental health. Sedation dentistry, also known as "conscious sedation" is a big advancement in making you more comfortable and less apprehensive. Sedation ranges from a simple pill to aid in calming your nerves to full anesthesia under the care of an experienced anesthesiologist.

The DIAGNOdent laser cavity finder uses a small laser to scan your teeth with harmless light, providing instant results on a small monitor. Hidden decay is found in its earliest stages, before it can destroy tooth structure from the inside out. This completely safe and pain free technology is especially useful in working with children, as it causes no discomfort and is undetectable as it does its job.

You can see the DIAGNOdent in action at KAVOusa. Note: In order to see the presentation, you will need the latest free version of Macromedia's Flash Player, available at www.Macromedia.com.
 

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