Thomas & Harmon Family Dentistry - 329 Iberia St. - Youngsville, LA  70592  Office Phone: 337-856-7268  Fax: 337-856-7210 337-856-7268 329 Iberia St. Youngsville, LA Our Services Cosmetic Dentistry Today's common cosmetic dental treatment options include: Whitening, or "tooth bleaching", is the most common cosmetic dental procedure. While many whitening options are now available, dentist-supervised treatments remain the recommended procedures for lightening discolored teeth. Enamel Shaping - removes parts of the contouring enamel to improve the appearance of the tooth. It may be used to correct a very small chip. The removed enamel is irreplaceable, and may sometimes expose dentin. It is also known as enameloplasty, odontoplasty, recontouring, reshaping, slenderizing and stripping. Contouring - also known as tooth reshaping, is one of few instant treatments now available in cosmetic dentistry. Dental reshaping and contouring is a procedure to correct crooked teeth, chipped teeth, cracked teeth or even overlapping teeth in just one session. The dental contouring procedure can even be a substitute for braces under certain circumstances. It is also a procedure of subtle changes. A few millimeters of reduction and a few millimeters of tooth-colored laminate is involved. Tooth reshaping, or dental contouring, is commonly used to alter the length, shape or position of teeth. Bonding - is a process in which an enamel-like dental composite material is applied to a tooth's surface, sculpted into shape, hardened and then polished. Dental Bridges - are false teeth, known as a pontics, which are fused between two porcelain crowns to fill in the area left by a missing tooth. The two crowns holding it in place that are attached onto your teeth on each side of the false tooth. This is known as a fixed bridge. This procedure is used to replace one or more missing teeth. Fixed bridges cannot be taken out of your mouth as you might do with removable partial dentures. In areas of your mouth that are under less stress, such as your front teeth, a cantilever bridge may be used. Cantilever bridges are used when there are teeth on only one side of the open space. Bridges can reduce your risk of gum disease, help correct some bite issues and even improve your speech. Bridges require your commitment to serious oral hygiene, but will last as many as ten years or more. Veneers - are ultra-thin, custom-made porcelain laminates that are bonded directly to the teeth. They are an option for closing gaps or disguising discolored teeth that do not respond well to whitening procedures. Lumineers - similar to veneers are thin porcelain shields that are bonded to the front of the teeth to improve the appearance of a smile. Lumineers do not require the reduction of teeth structure, unlike veneers. Gum Lift - is a cosmetic dental procedure that raises and sculpts the gum line. The procedure involves reshaping the tissue and/or underlying bones to create the appearance of longer or more symmetrical teeth. Sedation Dentistry Sedation dentistry is used to provide a relaxing and anxiety-free experience for certain people receiving dental treatment. It enables individuals too afraid to go to the dentist to receive the dental care they need while avoiding the common apprehension known as dental phobia. According to the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS Education), a professional dental organization dedicated to ensuring that patients receive safe, comfortable and anxiety-free dental care, 30 percent of the population avoids the dentist due to fear. This all-too-common dental phobia prevents people from receiving necessary routine dental care, potentially compromising the health and functionality of their mouth and smile. Preventive Dentistry Healthy teeth and gums promote general body health.  It is scientifically proven that people with healthy mouths have fewer medical problems and live longer.  Dental health requires regular cleanings and checkups. Oral cancer screenings are an integral part of the dental examination.  Dental x-rays are taken to detect dental and general health issues that are not visible during an oral examination. Scaling and Root Planning are procedures used to remove hard deposits of tartar or calculus off of the teeth and root surfaces.   If not removed, these deposits on the teeth can lead to periodontal disease and the eventual loss of teeth. Polishing removes accumulated stains and plaque from your teeth and is the final step of the dental cleaning, also called a Prophylaxis or Prophy.  If the plaque (a bacterial film) is not removed regularly it causes inflammation of the gingival (gums) called Gingivitis. Benefits of Sedation Dentistry One of the major benefits of sedation dentistry is that people often feel like their dental procedure lasts only a few minutes, when in fact it might have taken hours to perform. Therefore, complex dental procedures such as smile makeovers or extensive rebuilding procedures that normally require multiple visits can often be performed in fewer appointments. If you are reluctant to change the appearance of your smile because you are afraid or anxious about undergoing long or complicated dental procedures, sedation dentistry can make you feel comfortable during the treatment process and help you achieve a smile you can be proud of. Also, because sedation dentistry addresses some of the fears that keep people from going to the dentist on a regular basis, sedation dentistry patients are more likely to receive recommended routine care. As a result, they are less likely to neglect their oral health or allow oral health problems to build to the point when drastic dental treatments become necessary. Common Dental Problems and Terminology Sleep Apnea Devices - In certain specific cases an appliance similar to a football mouth guard on the upper and lower teeth may be used to alleviate sleep apnea episodes. In some patients these devices can be used instead of the CPAP Machine currently being used. Halitosis - (Bad Breath) can be caused by a number of factors including diet, medications, and disease.  However, a common cause of bad breath is a buildup of bacteria on the surface of the tongue which may be removed by brushing or with use of a tongue cleansing device. TMJ or Tempormandibular Joint -  (where the jaw bone connects to the skull) problems may present as clicking or popping noises in the jaw or as pain upon opening and/or closing and eating.  Headaches and ear pain are other commonly occurring problems in patients with jaw joint problems. Bruxism - (grinding or clenching of the teeth) is a very common problem that often occurs when sleeping.  This condition may lead to severe wear (attrition) of the teeth and contribute to headaches and jaw pain. Decay - Cavities are caused by bacteria penetrating the tooth surface and destroying healthy tooth structure.  If left unchecked, the decay can penetrate into the tooth deeply enough to destroy the blood supply and nerve tissue.  Root Canal Therapy - This procedure is performed when the blood supply and nerve tissue of the tooth are irreparably damaged by decay or trauma.  In this procedure the damaged nerve and blood supply are removed from the inside of the tooth and replaced with a material called Gutta Percha to prevent any subsequent bacterial infiltration inside the tooth.  The tooth itself remains in the mouth and is fully functional. Restorations - Fillings are used to replace the tooth structure destroyed by the bacteria in a cavity. Amalgam Fillings - These are the silver fillings in teeth.  Although still in use, they are being largely replaced with tooth colored non metallic fillings. Composite Fillings - This is the tooth colored micro filled resin material commonly used to fill cavities today.  This material chemically bonds to the teeth to form a seal between the filling and the tooth. Bonding - Composite (tooth colored) fillings used to resurface teeth where the enamel is defective or damaged.  It can also be used to fill gaps between teeth (diastemas) caused by poor alignment. Sealants - A protective coating placed on the chewing surface of teeth to prevent bacteria from colonizing to pit and grooves in teeth. Crown - (cap) is a covering placed over a tooth to protect the remaining tooth structure should the tooth become structurally compromised due to large fillings, breakage, or trauma. Abscessed Tooth - This is an infection in the gum or bone surrounding the tooth caused by bacteria in the mouth.  Commonly, it is a painful condition requiring immediate dental care.  But can present as a generalized ache or even a tooth that feels spongy or sore to bite on. Toothache - This painful condition can be caused by an abscessed tooth or gums, a cavity, a broken or fractured tooth, and even sinus problems can present as toothaches. Impacted Teeth - These are teeth that fail to erupt properly and is most commonly associated with wisdom teeth (3rd molars). Invisalign /Orthodontics - This is a method used to straighten teeth without using braces.  This method uses a series of clear plastic trays that fit over the teeth to speed up the process of aligning the teeth.  The trays must be worn all the time, except when eating.  The trays are changed usually at two week intervals and treatment times vary according to the amount of tooth movement required. Extractions - This is the dental term for pulling teeth.  Each extraction is different as determined by the tooth size, shape, and condition as well as the position in the mouth and the condition of the bone supporting the tooth. Implants - These are manmade titanium pieces placed in the jawbone to support a new tooth where one is lost of missing, or to support a prosthetic device if multiple teeth are lost or missing.  The end result is identical to a natural tooth with a crown. Bridge - This prosthetic device is used to replace missing or lost teeth by attaching the replacement teeth to crowns placed on the teeth next to the space where the teeth are missing.  Bridges are NOT removable and are cemented in place.  They are commonly made with tooth colored porcelain material, but can be made with gold or other metals. Removable Partial Denture - (RPD) is a removable device that replaces missing or lost teeth and is held in place by metal or plastic clasps that grip the teeth to keep it in place.  These prosthetic devices are also used as a temporary device for esthetic reasons when a tooth is lost or missing and procedures like implants are being performed that require healing time prior to finalization. Complete Denture - This prosthetic device is used for the totally edentulous (toothless) patient and is often used in conjunction with implants that stabilize the denture and allow for much more efficient function and retention. Veneer - This is a thin shell or porcelain composite material used to cover the front of the teeth. They are used to create symmetry or cover defects or unsightly stains in the teeth. They can also be used to create a "Perfect" smile as seen in "Smile Makeovers". Botox, Dermal Fillers Botox injections are the most commonly performed non-invasive cosmetic procedures in the United States with millions of injections given every year. It is also one of the safest cosmetic procedures. Botox injections relax facial muscles to reduce lines and wrinkles, improving skin smoothness and effects of aging and environmental factors such as smoking and excessive sun exposure. Dermal fillers used by us are composed of a naturally occurring substance in the body called hyaluronic acid. This compound has a simple chemical structure and is identical in all tissues, so it is non-immunogenic. This material is found in all vertebrates including humans and has the exact same structure in every place it occurs. Dermal fillers are used to “fill in” facial areas that may have deep wrinkles or lines to achieve a more youthful appearance and smoother, fuller, facial features. These procedures have been incorporated into our practice in order to help our patients achieve the youthful, healthy, appearance and dazzling smile they have always wanted.