Restorative vs. Cosmetic

What are the Differences Between Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry?

For many patients, it is easy to use cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry as interchangeable terms. Both focus on improving the aesthetics, function, and look of your teeth. A main difference between the two is whether or not the treatment is voluntary or needed for health reasons.

Cosmetic Dentistry vs. Restorative Dentistry Treatments

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dental treatments improve the shape, color, and and overall appearance of an individual’s teeth. This includes the alignment and position of the teeth as well as the shape of the gums. In many cases, cosmetic dental treatments are optional, and do not necessarily improve the function of the teeth. The most common types of cosmetic procedures include teeth whitening (link to teeth whitening post) and veneers.

What is Restorative Dentistry?

As implied by the name, restorative dentistry is focused on restoring health and function to a tooth and its supporting structures, such as gums. Restorative dental treatments are often necessary for patients who have experienced dental trauma, have missing or broken teeth, suffering from gum disease or a cavity. Common restorative treatments include dental implants, (link to dental implants post) crowns and bridges, dentures, and fillings.

The Key Difference Between the Two

The difference between cosmetic and restorative dentistry is a lot like a lesson we learned in geometry class: a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not always a square. In much the same way, while restorative dentistry do have cosmetic benefits for patients — and many of the procedures overlap — cosmetic dentistry does not always have explicit restorative benefits. Meaning, not every cosmetic dental procedure is aimed at restoring tooth function and health, i.e. teeth whitening.

Both types of dentistry, however, can benefit your oral health.

How Can Cosmetic or Restorative Dentistry Benefit My Health?

By nature, restorative dental treatments are designed to help improve a patient’s oral and overall health.
The aim of restorative dentistry is to return a patient to their best overall health, whether it is closing gaps between teeth through dental bridges or implants or removing a cavity and placing a crown. Good oral health is directly tied to good overall health.

Cosmetic dentistry procedures are not intrinsically aimed at improving a patient’s oral health, but this isn’t to say they don’t have health benefits. When our teeth are bright, white, and look healthy, we are more likely to take care of them. Services and products like teeth whitening and porcelain veneers can help you achieve the smile you have always wanted. Once that look is achieved, you are more likely to want to preserve your smile’s health and appearance.

Improving Your Health, Boosting Your Confidence

One of the biggest benefits to receiving restorative or cosmetic dental procedures is renewed confidence. A healthy, bright smile can help you make a lasting, positive impression on the people you meet each day. At the practice of Falbo, Monday, & Graziani, PLLC we are dedicated to helping you achieve your best dental health. We work with patients in every stage of life and are proud to be a trusted team for general, cosmetic, and restorative dental services.

For more information about our practice, please give us a call at at 304-343-1216 to reach our Charleston office or 304-562-6301 to reach our Hurricane office.

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Dental Implants: Restoring Health & Beauty to Your Smile

Your smile is often one of the first things people notice about you. Keeping your smile healthy can not only help you preserve your self-esteem, but also maintain good oral and overall health. For individuals missing teeth due to extractions or tooth decay, it is important to close these gaps in your smile. These can look unsightly, and limit your ability to speak and eat. In addition, leaving these gaps untreated can result in bone loss and changes to your facial structure.

For over 50 years, dental implants have offered patients across the world a long-lasting, effective way to restore their oral health and aesthetics to their smile.

What is a Dental Implant?

Dental implants consist of titanium posts/screws which replace tooth roots and provide a strong foundation for fixed or removable replacement teeth. These posts are surgically inserted into the jawbone. Through a process called osseointegration, the screw bonds with the surrounding bone structure, forming an anchor for a replacement tooth.

Once the screw is bonded with the jawbone — a process which may take up to six months — an abutment will be placed on the top of the dental implant. This serves as a connector for the replacement crown or bridge. For certain implants, the abutment is built into the implant post. After the abutment is attached, the replacement tooth is placed.

Implants can be used to replace an individual tooth or multiple teeth. A single tooth restoration requires a single post to be inserted into the jawbone. For implant-supported bridges or dentures, multiple posts are required.

Am I a Good Candidate for Implants?

In order to be a good candidate for this procedure, you must be healthy enough to undergo routine dental surgery. In addition, you must have sufficient bone structure and healthy gums. For some patients, their jawbone is too soft or isn’t thick enough to support a dental implant. In such instances, bone grafting may be necessary. This provides the implant with a more solid foundation.

Our dentists will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan to fit your needs. Together, we will address any questions or concerns you have regarding your dental health and how implants will benefit you.

What to Expect When Receiving Dental Implants

This is an outpatient procedure, and usually results in minimal discomfort. You may experience swelling in your face and gums, as well as bruising and minor bleeding at the implant site. We may prescribe prescription pain medication to relieve any pain after the procedure. Your diet should be restricted to soft foods for five to seven days after the procedure.

It can take up to three months for the titanium posts to bond with the jawbone. Fitting your replacement crowns or bridges may take up to one month, depending on your individual treatment needs and care plan. We will work closely with you to monitor your progress.

What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

Designed to Last a Lifetime

Above all, the biggest benefit to dental implants is restoring your dental health.When maintained properly, dental implants will last a lifetime. After your implants have been placed, it is essential that you practice good oral health habits.

Look & Feel Like Natural Teeth

Your replacement teeth are designed to look and function like your natural teeth. A dental implant can help restore your full chewing power and your ability to eat and speak. To restore aesthetics to your smile, we will carefully match the color of your replacement crown or bridge to your adjacent teeth.

Prevents Bone Loss & Facial Sagging

When you leave gaps in your smile, it can cause your jawbone to deteriorate and move minerals to other parts of your body. This results in facial sagging and premature aging. A dental implant not only prevents this, it stimulates healthy bone growth and helps you maintain a healthy, youthful appearance.

Helps Prevent Gum Disease

Gaps in your smile can provide the perfect area for food and bacteria to collect, which can lead to gum disease. By filling these gaps and practicing good oral hygiene habits, you can prevent periodontal disease from developing.

Keeps Adjacent Teeth from Shifting

After losing a permanent tooth to decay or an extraction, it is important to replace the tooth, otherwise it may destabilize your bite. If your teeth begin to shift, it can affect your ability to chew, and make it difficult to replace the tooth later. A dental implant keeps your remaining teeth aligned and helps prevent shifting.

Providing Dentistry That Makes You Smile

At Drs. Falbo, Monday, & Graziani, PLLC, we are proud to serve patients of all ages with comprehensive dental services. Our doctors and staff strive to provide compassionate, personalized treatments and care to every patient.

To schedule a consultation about dental implants, please contact us today at 304-343-1216 to reach our Charleston office or 304-562-6301 to reach our Hurricane office.

Benefits of In-Office Teeth Whitening vs. Whitening Strips

Helping You Find the Whitening Treatment to Fit Your Needs & Budget

It’s no secret why teeth whitening is such a popular service for many individuals. Having a brighter, luminous smile can boost your self-confidence. In addition, when our smiles are brighter, we are more likely to take care of our teeth to preserve the luminescence.

The next time you visit the store, take look at the array of tooth-whitening products available. From toothpastes to whitening strips to gels, there are a range of products on the market which all claim to help whiten your smile and remove stains. The real question is, how do these over-the-counter techniques measure up when compared to in-office, professional whitening treatments?

With Whitening Toothpaste, It’s All Superficial

It’s a common misconception that whitening toothpastes actually whiten teeth. In reality, a whitening toothpaste is great for removing surface stains and not much else. After 2 to 6 weeks of continuous use, it is common for individuals to see results, as the surface stains have been lifted, but the natural color of the tooth remains unchanged. These products typically include special chemicals and abrasives to help lift stains caused by food, coffee, tea, and smoking.

For patients who want a cost-effective way to brighten their smile, whitening toothpastes can yield great results. It is important to use brands that have been proven safe and effective for removing stains, while not causing damage to the tooth’s enamel. When shopping for whitening toothpastes, look for seals by the American Dental Association or other reputable dental organization. For further questions or recommendations, feel free to ask a member of our team or your dentist.

How Do Teeth Whitening Strips Work?

Whitening strips are another popular and inexpensive tooth-whitening treatment. Unlike whitening toothpastes, whitening strips do change the natural color of your teeth. Each strip is coated in a whitening gel which contain peroxide or bleach. When applied to the teeth and placed in contact with the tooth enamel, these chemicals work to restore a natural, white color to the front of the tooth. This whitening method is typically easy to use, simple to apply, and you can see usually results within a few days of continued use.

It’s important to note, while many whitening strips are safe to use — when applied properly — there are also some risks and problems involved. If the strips come in contact with the gums, they can cause damage. While this does not typically happen, it is essential to keep the peroxide away from your gums. Additionally, it is possible to overdo it and cause damage to your teeth. If you are using whitening strips, make sure to read the instructions so you do not overexpose your teeth and damage your enamel. This can cause tooth sensitivity and pain.

Professional Whitening Options & Treatments

While in-office teeth whitening treatments cost more than over-the-counter treatments, they do yield the fastest results. Unlike at-home systems, in-office treatments utilize a higher concentration of bleaching gel, as well as tools such as heat, specialized lighting, or laser application.

During this treatment, the whitening formula is applied directly to the teeth, and kept in place between half an hour and a hour. This application typically accelerates the whitening process. Because your dentist is present there is a lowered risk of tooth damage.

Another professional whitening option is custom-made whitening trays, which are formed after taking impressions of your teeth. This method provides a truly personalized option for patients, as the trays fit to your unique tooth shape and structure. Custom whitening trays also ensure all surfaces of your tooth come into contact with the hydrogen peroxide gel — which means both the front and the back of the tooth are lightened.

Which Whitening Option is the Best?

Every patient has their own unique needs and goals for their dental health, so there isn’t a single best tooth-whitening method. Above all, safety is the most important factor to consider for choosing the right whitening option. While many treatments can help you achieve a more luminescent, bright smile, it’s essential that you are not causing damage to your teeth or gums in the process. Our team and dentists will work with you to determine which whitening option best fits your needs and oral health.

Helping You Achieve the Smile You Deserve

Drs. Falbo, Monday, & Graziani, PLLC, offer a range of general and cosmetic dental services in Charleston, WV and Hurricane, WV to patients of all ages. From our beginning, our dentists and staff have been committed to the highest quality of care and services.

To schedule a consultation or your next appointment, please contact us today at 304-343-1216 to reach our Charleston office or 304-562-6301 to reach our Hurricane office.