The Star-Studded History of Veneers

The Star-Studded History of Veneers

hollywood smile porcelain veneersIf your teeth are cracked, stained, or otherwise damaged, cosmetic dentistry can greatly improve the appearance of your smile. Dentists use crowns, bridges, implants, onlays and veneers for smile makeovers, and many of these techniques have been used for hundreds of years. But compared to other procedures, like crowns, which have been used since as early as 200 AD, veneers are a relatively new procedure. But how did this relatively affordable option develop amongst so many other techniques?

Cosmetic dentistry has been practiced for thousands of years. Before veneers, to fix damaged teeth, people either had them filled or left them alone. Some civilizations had techniques for cosmetic dentistry. Around 700 BC, Etruscans used ivory, bone, and teeth from humans or animals for dentures, and by 200 AD, they used gold for crowns. Egyptians used to scrub stains from their teeth with pumice stones and vinegar. Later, in the 1400s, barbers were performing dental hygiene and cosmetic services, like teeth whitening with acid (which eventually destroyed the tooth enamel!).

Around 1770, the first porcelain dentures were made, and people began to focus on making prosthetic teeth look natural. Porcelain teeth gained popularity in the 1800s, and in 1903, Charles Land created a porcelain substitute for metal fillings called a “porcelain jacket crown.”

And finally, in 1928, a Californian dentist named Charles Pincus created the first dental veneers after getting a request to change the appearance of an actor’s teeth. These veneers may be the true origin of the famous “Hollywood Smile.” Pincus went on to invent veneers that were held in place by a denture adhesive, but they didn’t last very long and could only be secured temporarily.

Since they had the potential to help the general public, dentists worked on making veneers more long-lasting, and in 1959, Dr. Michael Buonocore first used etching to bond porcelain veneers to teeth more permanently. In 1982, Drs. Simonsen and Calamia found a way to increase the bond strength by using hydrofluoric acid in etching and composite resins to bond porcelain to teeth permanently. These small advances in materials and technology led to the very refined and high-quality veneers we have available now.

Today, veneers are mainly made from porcelain and can be expected to last between 10 and 30 years, depending on care and wear. The history of veneers is a perfect representation of the history of cosmetic dentistry and all of its advances—it’s a history of people innovating to help others’ smiles shine brighter!

The Importance of Caring for Baby Teeth

child with no tooth decayThere is nothing as charming and precious as a child’s happy smile. Unfortunately, we find that some parents and caregivers think of baby teeth (also known as milk teeth) as disposable. Their logic seems to be, if kids are going to lose their teeth soon anyway, it’s okay for them to get a little tooth decay or other oral problems. There are many reasons that this is not true!

Preventing Pain from Tooth Decay

First and foremost, we don’t want to see kids who are in pain. Cavities often lead to toothaches and infections in the tooth can spread to the gums and jawbone, causing more problems. We want every child to get to know the dentist in a positive way, so we want their earliest memories of the dentist to be rewarding and educational teeth cleanings and exams, not filled with tears and fear. Taking good care of baby teeth is vital to making sure we show your child that the dentist‘s office is a fun and welcoming place! Plus, the fewer oral problems your child has, the less they’ll have to be pulled out of school for trips to the dentist.

Establishing Good Habits

Taking good care of baby teeth is good practice for children. They will need to know good oral hygiene habits to keep their adult teeth healthy for the rest of their lives. Making oral healthcare a respected part of your household routine is very important. And don’t forget to set a good example by taking good care of your own teeth too!

Preparing the Mouth for Adult Teeth

As the American Dental Association says, you can think of baby teeth as “nature’s braces”. The baby teeth help prepare the mouth for the proper positions of adult teeth when they come in. But if the baby teeth aren’t cared for properly, they can’t do this very important job. For example, if a child has a baby tooth removed early due to tooth decay, the remaining baby teeth may crowd that area, leaving no gap for the adult tooth to move into when the time comes. The result can be crowded or misaligned adult teeth that are hard to clean and require more extensive orthodontic treatment (braces).

Need a Tutorial on Caring For Kids Teeth? Let Us Know!

How you should care for your child’s teeth changes as they grow. Even babies need their gums cared for before they start teething! If you need tips on how to care for your child’s teeth and teach good habits at any stage, please let us know. We’d be happy to give you instructions!

The Facts & Mysteries of Bruxism

woman with bruxism grinding her teethBruxism is what dentists call teeth clenching and teeth grinding. The symptoms of bruxism are fairly easy to spot, as are the complications that can result from it. The causes of bruxism, however, a more varied and mysterious.

Teeth grinding involves the moving of teeth back and forth across each other. Most teeth grinding is unconscious and happens during sleep. Grinding is more common in children and they usually grow out of it once they’ve finished losing their baby teeth. Most adults who grind their teeth are unaware of it until a partner tells them they can hear the grinding sound while they are sleeping or their dentist spots signs of wear on the teeth (more on this later).

Teeth clenching involves tightly pressing your top and bottom teeth together. While normal eating and chewing only exerts 20 to 40 pounds of force on your teeth, the clenching that occurs in bruxism can exert hundreds of pounds force on your teeth. Clenching is also unconscious, but it can occur both while someone is awake and while they’re asleep.

Most studies and indicators tie daytime bruxism to stress. As a result, daytime clenching can often be relieved with stress reduction techniques, massage or physical therapy. Sometimes just being made aware of the clenching problem helps sufferers change their habits.

Nighttime bruxism is trickier. Because it occurs while a person is asleep, it is impossible to treat with behavioral changes. As a result, nighttime bruxism is usually treated by your dentist, often with a dental appliance referred to as a splint or a mouthguard. This is usually a custom made rubber or plastic piece that fits over your top or bottom teeth to protect them from the forces of clenching and grinding.

In the past, bruxism was linked to misaligned teeth and was sometimes treated using orthodontics (braces). However, the link between bruxism and misaligned teeth (called malocclusion by dentists) has been somewhat disproven, so orthodontic treatment for the disorder has become more rare.

Recent studies have started to link bruxism to sleep apnea, and while more study is needed on this topic, it is possible that undergoing treatment for sleep apnea by your dentist (which often involves an oral appliance of some kind) could help alleviate nighttime bruxism.

As mentioned before, while the causes of bruxism aren’t totally clear, the symptoms are. Patients usually experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Headaches, especially in the morning
  • Ear pain (because of the jaw joint’s proximity to the inner ear)
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Sore jaw or full-blown TMJ disorder
  • Tooth sensitivity (to hot, cold or sweet)
  • Anxiety & tension

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should start a discussion with your dentist about whether you have bruxism.

In addition to uncomfortable symptoms, bruxism can have consequences for the health of your teeth. Some people with bruxism don’t have any of the symptoms listed above. They are diagnosed instead by the pattern of wear that the dentist sees on their teeth during an examination. Teeth worn down from grinding or clenching can eventually crack. Bruxism can also wear away the protective outer enamel layer of the teeth, making the exposed softer dentin more susceptible to cavities. Damage or decay in your teeth could lead to pain or even tooth loss. This is why it’s important to get treated for your bruxism once you’ve been diagnosed.

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