Dental Veneers in Southwest Houston: What Are They and Why Might You Need Them?

Dental Veneers in Southwest Houston: What Are They and Why Might You Need Them?

Dental veneers are one of the most common procedures our Southwest Houston patients choose to undergo. It is a rather quick and simple process and on top of that, they get to benefit from a stunning smile almost immediately.

What Are Dental Veneers and How Can Some Patients Benefit From Them?

Dental veneers are placed on the tooth’s surface. They are a thin, lightweight shell that hides any dental flaws, such as the tooth’s shape and/or any crookedness or crowding. Many of our Sharpstown and Bellaire patients benefit from them because they have also effectively hidden chipped areas, cracks, spaces, and even discoloration, meaning they work wonders at making our patients experience a new level of confidence.

How Does The Dental Veneers Procedure Work?

Getting veneers takes about two visits with our multi-specialty dentist in Southwest Houston.

When you come in for your first appointment, we will first discuss the goals you wish to achieve. Afterward, we will match the ideal shade you wish to have for your new smile.

Next, we will shave down your teeth ever so slightly in order to ensure they easily fit behind your veneers, but don’t worry–our dentists’ advanced training and gentle methodology helps us make certain you don’t feel any significant discomfort. If you struggle with sensitivity, though, we may use a local anesthetic.

After we prepare your teeth, we will take an impression and send it to the dental lab so they can make veneers that fit comfortably. Because we had to wear down some of your enamel, we will place temporary veneers onto your teeth. This is simply to ensure your teeth remain protected until it’s time for you to get your permanent veneers.

At your second appointment, we will place the completed veneers on your teeth and thoroughly check that they are a perfect fit prior to permanently attaching them to your teeth with a special dental-quality glue. Afterward, we will evaluate your bite, trim off any excess veneer material and remove excess glue. It is crucial you are 100% honest in how you feel with the veneers on so that we can make any necessary adjustments. Remember, veneers last several years, so you will want to be comfortable with them.

Dental Veneers at Our Family Dentist Office in Sharpstown and Bellaire

Dental veneers can dramatically change your smile, subsequently making you feel so confident that you won’t be able to stop smiling. If you are interested in veneers, please request an appointment with our caring dentists. We will happily complete a consultation and further educate you on life with veneers.

Wisdom Teeth - What Are They and Why Do We Extract Them?

Wisdom Teeth - What Are They and Why Do We Extract Them?

Dental extractions may sound intimidating, but this is a procedure we safely and successfully complete on a regular basis. Our Southwest Houston patients commonly undergo tooth extraction when it comes to impacted wisdom teeth.

What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

To begin, a wisdom tooth is also known as the third molar; humans typically only have two molars in each quadrant of the mouth. It is not uncommon for our Bellaire and Sharpstown dentists to see patients that have one wisdom tooth in each quadrant, but we have also seen patients with no wisdom teeth at all, more than four, and even less than four.

A wisdom tooth is “impacted” when it does not have enough room to erupt, which is most often the case. This is because, throughout human evolution, third molars stopped being necessary because we stopped using our teeth to tear up our hard, raw food and switched to cooking it and eating it with utensils. Today, wisdom teeth typically begin to appear between the ages of 17 and 21, but in some people, their wisdom teeth appear at age 13 or 14. If wisdom teeth have not yet appeared by 25, chances are they never will. Interestingly enough, many believe that eventually, over the following generations, wisdom teeth will no longer appear.

Why Should Wisdom Teeth be Extracted?

One reason why we recommend extracting impacted wisdom teeth is because they tend to cause a lot of pain in the jaws.

The main reason why we extract them, though, is because they can easily cause damage to other teeth. Since the wisdom tooth is trapped beneath the gums, it is possible for a patient to develop painful cysts. An impacted wisdom tooth may also cause damage by making the neighboring teeth crooked in an attempt to make room for itself. By causing this crowding and crookedness, it becomes more difficult to brush and floss between all teeth, making our patients more vulnerable to dental cavities and gingivitis.

In rare cases, impacted wisdom teeth may become so damaging to a point where they cause an infection. The signs of infection are as follows:

  • Swelling gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen jaw
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty opening the mouth

Wisdom Tooth Extraction in Sharpstown and Bellaire

If you reside in the greater Southwest Houston area and are experiencing pain in the back of your jaw, please request an appointment so we can do an x-ray and evaluate your oral health. If you have impacted wisdom teeth, we will gladly book another appointment for dental extraction.

Teen girl wearing Invisalign clear aligners

Invisalign is an Appealing Treatment for Dental Patients in Southwest Houston

Invisalign has become a highly popular alternative to metal dental braces since its initial emergence in the 2000’s. This is mostly thanks to their clear appearance, but there are more benefits to Invisalign than simply being a colorless orthodontic appliance. Here is why Invisalign is well-favored among our Southwest Houston patients in Sharpstown and Bellaire.

What Makes Invisalign Effective?

Invisalign treatment starts with a consultation. Once our multi-specialty team determines if Invisalign is right for you, we will take impressions of your teeth. Using our state-of-the-art dental technology, we will plan out exactly how we want your teeth to move during your treatment. Our 3D mapping technology enables us to go into great detail to give you the most effective treatment. Later on, we will receive your sets of Invisalign clear aligners from the dental lab, which will be customized to your mouth.

In order to ensure your teeth move where they should, each set of clear aligners will be slightly different in shape and tightness, which will help guide your teeth to the right alignment. This works similarly to metal braces, which are tightened every so often to move your teeth. You will be instructed to wear each set of Invisalign for a few weeks at a time before getting the next set. Over time, our patients with mild malocclusions will have a beautiful, straight smile that helps them feel more confident.

Why Our Southwest Houston Patients Love Invisalign

In addition to being clear, here are some other reasons our patients in Sharpstown and Bellaire love Invisalign. 

Invisalign is a Flexible Treatment Option

Because Invisalign Clear Aligners are removable, you can–and should–remove them at mealtimes. This is an attractive alternative to metal braces because you won’t get food stuck in between your teeth as easily.

Responsible Patients Get the Most Out of Invisalign

Because Invisalign can be removed, it’s important to be self-disciplined and not misplace your clear aligners, forget to wear them, or skip a day or two. You must wear your clear aligners at least 22 hours a day because this helps ensure your teeth are constantly shifting to the right position. If you wear your Invisalign as instructed and maintain good dental hygiene, then you may actually be able to forgo your clear aligner trays on rare, special occasions.

Invisalign Treatment at Alegria Dental Care in Sharpstown and Bellaire

Invisalign is a highly sought dental treatment. If you would like to know whether you are a good candidate for Invisalign, please request an appointment. Our team will happily educate you more on Invisalign as well as your particular case, and then proceed with treatment. We look forward to helping you smile proudly and confidently!

Boost Versus Zoom Teeth Whitening at Alegria Dental Care in Southwest Houston

Boost Versus Zoom Teeth Whitening at Alegria Dental Care in Southwest Houston

Teeth whitening is just one of the many services we offer at our multi-specialty dental clinic in Southwest Houston. Many of our Sharpstown and Bellaire patients seek teeth whitening treatment ahead of important events. In order to keep your teeth looking vibrant and healthy, we use Boost in-office whitening as opposed to Zoom.

Who Should Get Teeth Whitening Treatment?

Teenagers (with parental permission) and adults may benefit from teeth whitening. This is especially true for our patients who regularly consume foods and drinks such as coffee, dark tea, red wine, curry, and tomato-based foods. Chewing tobacco and smoking may also cause your teeth to become stained and discolored.

Aging may be another cause of teeth discoloration. This is because enamel, which is white, naturally wears down as we age. When we’re young and our enamel is strong, our teeth are white because of the enamel. As we age, enamel wears down and the underlying dentin, which is yellow, begins to show through more and more. This process occurs faster if you regularly consume the aforementioned foods and drinks.

Boost vs Zoom Teeth Whitening Treatment in Southwest Houston

There are many popular in-office teeth whitening treatments that dentists across Houston use. Boost and Zoom are two common methods, and while they make your teeth white, we use Boost because of its superior qualities. Here is how they compare.

Zoom In-Office Teeth Whitening

Zoom is a light-activated gel. When activated, the hydrogen peroxide component gently removes stains and discoloration at the surface. Sure, it gets the job done, but the UV light it requires dries out the teeth and simply creates a short-lived illusion of whiter teeth.

Boost In-Office Teeth Whitening

Boost, on the other hand, is a gentle chemically activated formula, so there is no need to use heat or a UV light. Boost contains potassium nitrate and fluoride, which is essential to strengthening enamel and protecting against sensitivity and cavities. Boost deeply removes stains, creating longer-lasting whiteness and brightness for our Sharpstown and Bellaire dental patients.

Alegria Dental Care in Southwest Houston Helps Patients Achieve a White Smile

Our dental office is proud to serve Sharpstown, Bellaire and the greater Southwest Houston area. If you would like a white smile you are proud to show off, please request an appointment. We will discuss how white you wish for your teeth to be and provide an effective, custom-tailored treatment.

At-Home Remedies for Toothaches

It can happen at virtually any time and often without warning — a sharp pain while brushing your teeth, eating, or just generally going about your day. The discomfort and pain of a toothache can derail your schedule and make everyday tasks uncomfortable. A toothache makes it hard to eat and smile, and the mere thought of brushing your teeth sends shudders down your spine.

If you’re too busy for a trip to see us at Alegria Dental Care or your toothache strikes when we aren’t open, you’re left caring for this toothache on your own. It may sound daunting, but don’t despair. There are many at-home remedies to treat your toothache and manage your pain before your appointment with Stefanie Sunnes, DMD, at Alegria Dental Care.

OTC painkillers

Use over-the-counter painkillers as your first layer of pain management. Take your typical dose as soon as you feel the toothache starting in a bid to soften any incoming pain. Your preferred painkiller suffices here, so feel free to take ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, or aspirin. Children 16 years and under should not take aspirin.

If the pain is especially stubborn, you can go back and forth every three hours between acetaminophen and the other three drugs. Do not take ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin within eight to 12 hours of each other.

Cold compress

It may not feel like it, but your blood flow actually has something do with pain. The science behind it is pretty simple: Cold temperature constricts your blood flow, reducing the amount of blood that reaches the area. The slower the blood reaches the affected area, the less likely it is to pool and cause pain. It’s the same science that applies to swelling and bruises.

A cold compress slows the blood flow to your gums, which are likely inflamed and pressing against your tooth. The end result is pain reduction in two ways. The cold naturally numbs the area to blunt the pain and the restricted blood flow reduces swelling.

Make a cold compress with an ice pack from your local drugstore or use a plastic bag of ice.

The rinses

You can also try using a warm saltwater rinse and a hydrogen peroxide rinse. Although they use different materials, the basic principle is the same. When you swish the rinse around in your mouth, you help dislodge any debris or food particles that could be stuck between your teeth. The salt and hydrogen peroxide also act as natural disinfectants and have been shown to reduce inflammation and heal oral wounds.

Use both rinses like you would mouthwash. For the saltwater, mix a half-teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water. When using hydrogen peroxide, add equal parts water and 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.

Natural remedies

Toothaches existed long before dentists or painkillers. Our ancestors were surely thankful for the bountiful natural remedies shown to help with toothache pain.

Peppermint tea bags are known to help numb tooth pain away. As an extra bonus, the menthol in peppermint tea also acts as a disinfectant. After warming the tea bag in hot water, let it cool for a bit before pressing it on the affected area.

Clove, thyme, aloe vera, garlic, and wheat grass also have a history of easing tooth pain. If you have a favorite natural remedy, there is a good chance it can help sooth your hurting mouth.

Notice anything missing from these remedies? All of them are meant to sooth, not fix, a toothache. Only a dentist can cure a toothache and give you tips on preventing more pain.

Make an appointment with Dr. Sunnes as soon as your toothache starts. With years of experience in non-invasive dental techniques, she has the tools and know-how to treat your toothache. Make an appointment online or call Alegria Dental Care today. Your mouth will thank you.