Category Archives: Crooked Teeth

Improve Your Smile. Porcelain Veneers Can Make A Beautiful Difference!

In about anything these days, what defines ‘quality’ and enhances longevity begins with the material — from clothing to tires to furniture and on and on, your investment in the very best pays off by giving the results you most desire.

When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, the materials used and the skills of the dentist are significant components of getting the most from your investment. Most of us have seen people who have had obvious dental work – NEVER the goal! In cosmetic dentistry, the goal is to create a beautiful smile that looks like you were born with!

Smile enhancement typically focuses on the front 6 – 10 teeth most visible in a full smile. These are the teeth you want to have the most natural look and feel possible in shape, shade, opalescence (the way light is reflected) and luminosity (the opaqueness).

In most cases, we use porcelain veneers to re-create appealing smiles that are balanced to facial features. Porcelain is the closest thing in durability and appearance to natural teeth and provides the best longevity of all dental materials. Additionally, porcelain resists staining better than other materials.

When replacing fillings, porcelain can be also be used for inlays or onlays to give the most natural appearance. When laughing, for example, using porcelain means the ‘tops’ of teeth won’t reveal signs of dental work. It can be precisely shade-matched to blend into existing teeth and, again, with excellent durability.

Yet, we all know even the best materials can disappoint when applied by substandard skills or inexperienced hands. For example, investing in a beautiful cashmere coat can be a waste of exquisite material if cheap thread is used and the workmanship is shoddy.

Choosing the right cosmetic dentist for you begins with a consultation appointment. During this time, you can ask questions, such as:

• What advanced training have you had that qualifies you in cosmetic dentistry?

• How will you check my bite after this treatment to ensure a proper fit?

• How do you select the dental lab who creates the veneers (or other ‘restorations’)?

• How long have you been in dentistry and what do you do to fine-tune your skills as new techniques and materials come available?

Also, visit the dentist’s web site Smile Gallery to see some examples of before-&-after’s. Look for patient quotes on the site to see if their words are reassuring to you personally.

Patient of Dr. Ban Barbat

When visiting the dentist’s office, look to see if he or she has displayed examples of their work, either in framed photography of actual patients or in albums in the reception or consultation rooms. A dentist who is skilled and experienced is confident showcasing her work!

Porcelain veneers will give you a beautiful result, if in the right hands. Your new smile should make you FEEL wonderful and inspired to share it often! An attractive smile should also get complimented by others, even strangers! That’s a terrific feeling and a sure sign that your investment was a wise one!

Discuss your smile during a free consultation. Call 586-739-2155 to arrange a time when we can sit together and determine what may be best for you.

While you’re here, we can also have our Financial Coordinator explain easy payment plans that can help you make affordable, monthly payments while enjoying your fabulous, new smile!

 

Frequent Headaches Or Migraines?

If you suffer with frequent headaches or migraines, you probably live with a shadow of dread hanging over you. Often, these seem to pop up with no predictability. And, they often arrive at the worst possible moments. They can be dreadful interferences to being active, having a career, raising a family and social involvement.

For a moment, imagine the wear and tear your automobile’s tires and body structure endure when one wheel is out of alignment. Now, imagine the wear and tear your head receives when your bite is misaligned.

Like the interworking components of a car, there are many integrated parts that comprise our dental make-up, each part designed to integrate harmoniously with the others. When one component is off-kilter, however, it tends to create a domino effect.

Bite alignment goes far beyond how teeth meet together. Think about the intricate combination of muscles, joints and teeth that come in to play each time we smile, speak, chew, or even yawn.

In this light, it’s easier to see how upper and lower teeth meet could be the cause of headaches, jaw pain, stuffy and ringing ears, grinding and clenching teeth, dizziness, sore muscles, neck and back pain, limited range of motion of the neck, poor posture, fatigue and more.

As a Neuromuscular Dentist, I have an advanced understanding of how  the temporo-mandibular joints (TMJ) relies on the harmonious unity of the joints, muscles, bones and teeth. This includes the levelness of the teeth that distribute the forces of the bite. A bite that is tilted will misdirect these forces and result in an abnormal wear and tear similar to that of a tire being out of alignment.

In Neuromuscular Dentistry, we understand how to incorporate its principles in treatment to resolve problems — many of which patients have been suffering with for years.

We have treated patients who have wandered from doctor to doctor for years, seeking solutions that fell short. Many were lead to believe their unexplained pain was related to stress, hormones or poor posture. Too many were prescribed medications or led to believe the problem was imagined.

In our office, we utilize advanced computer technology to capture information for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. This also provides a basis for appropriate treatment and allows patients to monitor their progress during treatment.

When the delicate balance of everything that makes up your smile and beyond is in proper position, years of headaches, migraines and other symptoms can disappear – for good! Begin with a no-cost consultation to discuss your personal situation and learn the options to help you live life without the dread of headaches! Call 586-739-2155.

Avoid Losing Teeth By Decisions You Make Now

Imagine standing on the side of the road, stranded beside a car that has stopped running. For most of us, there is a sense of dread for this type of situation since we know the time, expense and frustration that comes with correcting the problems involved.

Now, imagine learning that the car is stranded because you failed to add necessary fluids, fell behind on oil changes and ignored warning lights.

As a dentist, I see a fair number of patients who have lost teeth. While some have lost them due to an accident or injury, most have lost them because of inadequate oral hygiene, failing to have regular dental care, and poor health choices (such as smoking).

For those who have lost teeth due to these choices, any one of them will tell you if they could go back in time, they would have taken better care of their teeth.

A tooth lost must be replaced or else neighboring teeth will shift. This shifting can cause chipped, broken or worn teeth. As the fit of upper to lower teeth moves out of its proper position, it can lead to headaches, migraines, night-time grinding and clenching, dizziness, ear ringing and sore jaw joints.

With poor oral hygiene and lack of regular dental check-ups, continued tooth loss is almost assured. As each tooth is lost, the one adjacent to it is at the highest risk to be the next you’ll lose. It’s a vicious cycle.

Teeth are easy to take for granted, They are hard and strong, giving the appearance of being ‘rock solid.’ They can weather an enormous amount of force. Yet, teeth are a natural part of our overall makeup. and do have vulnerabilities. This is why cavities and breaks can occur.

The main reason we recommend crowns for teeth at risk is to save the tooth. While the portion of a tooth you can see is important, it’s the portion beneath the gum line that we are even more concerned about.

Tooth roots nurture and ‘feed’ not only the tooth, but the jaw bone that supports them. Without these roots in place, the bones begins to atrophy. In dentistry, this is known as resorption. Simply put, it’s a melting away of jaw bone where tooth roots were once held.

As the bone shrinks, a number of things begin to occur. The tooth roots adjacent to the area of resorption are more vulnerable. The tooth above or below elongates, creating risk for damage mentioned prior (chips, breaks, etc.).

Facial changes can be seen as the bone thins further. For example, when the mouth appears collapsed into the face and the chin points, this is referred to as a ‘granny look.’ This occurs due to severe resorption of someone who has lost all of their teeth.

Earlier facial changes can also be seen when someone is missing natural teeth. Deep wrinkles form around the mouth, the corners of the mouth turn downward even in a smile, jowls form from the detachment of facial muscles, and the nose moves closer to the chin.

As unfortunate as these changes in appearance are, trying to eat properly when the jaw bone has declined is worse. People who wear dentures or partials often struggle when chewing or biting when their denture lacks a high foundation on which to balance.

When the bone shrinks, the ‘arch’ where tooth roots were once held begins to flatten. This is a slow but continual process that gives a denture an ever-decreasing surface. After a while, even denture adhesives or pastes are of little help.

To replace missing teeth, we often recommend dental implants. Implants recreate stimulation to the jaw bone, halting the rate of bone loss. Because they are supported by the jaw, implants restore the same, dependable foundation your natural teeth once had.

Another advantage of dental implants is their ability to ‘stand alone.’ Since implants are held by the jaw bone, they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support, as with crown-&-bridge combinations. This means you won’t need to have otherwise natural, healthy teeth crowned for the mere purpose of supporting a bridge.

To correct a common misconception, an implant is NOT always needed for each missing tooth. In many cases, one implant can support a bridge of two or more teeth. When a full arch of teeth is needed, several strategically-placed implants can provide adequate support.

All-On-4 Dental Implant System is one example of several implants supporting a full arch of teeth.

If you’ve lost teeth, the best way to halt the process is to replace those you’ve lost (and the sooner, the better). Then, be ultra-committed to your oral health. Brush twice a day and floss daily. Drink plenty of water and limit snacking and your intake of sugar and carbs. If you have teeth at-risk, have them crowned or other necessary repairs.

In our office, we respect all patients. We pride ourselves on being a ‘lecture-free zone’ and are here to support each individual, regardless of what brought them here. For those who have lost natural teeth, our goal is to restore them to a healthy, confident smile they’ll feel good about.

Begin with a free consultation to discuss your oral health needs and the smile you’d like to have – and share, often! Call 586-739-2155 and ask to meet with me personally. I look forward to meeting you!

 

NEURO-MUSCULAR DENTISTRY MADE SIMPLE

Do you suffer with frequent headaches or migraines? Frequent headaches affect nearly 50 million Americans. And while many sufferers search for a solution, many fail to connect the dots between these headaches and their dental anatomy.

Amazingly, the position of how our upper and lower teeth meet is a typical cause for headaches, jaw pain, sore muscles, neck and back pain, limited range of motion of the neck, poor posture, stuffy and ringing ears, grinding and breaking teeth, dizziness, fatigue and more. All of these symptoms can be due to one’s bite being off, perhaps by only a millimeter (1/25th of an inch).

Your dental make-up is an intricate composition of muscles, joints and teeth and plays a major role in your overall comfort and health. Because humans are incredibly adaptable, the body’s muscles, bones and joints can function although these are not in ideal alignment. This is as true with the bite as with other parts of the body, such as when one leg is shorter than the other. However, there are times when the body cannot adapt, which is just as true with dental problems.

Neuromuscular Dentistry is a modern advancement based on the understanding that the temporo-mandibular joints (TMJ) need to be in a comfortable resting position for the ultimate comfort of the joints, muscles, bones and teeth. When this occurs, all structures work together harmoniously.

The levelness of the teeth is just as critical.  The forces of the bite must be distributed down the length of the body. If the bite is tilted, then the forces are misdirected. This can cause as much of a problem for a patient as if the hips are not level.

When dentists are trained in Neuromuscular Dentistry, they have a unique understanding of its impact and how to incorporate it into restorative and esthetic treatment in order to help patients avoid future problems or correct those they may have been dealing with for years.

In my office, we have successfully treated patients for symptoms not normally associated with what people consider a dental problem can occur. Some examples are:

  • One patient was unable to close his eyes without falling for 27 years. This was resolved immediately when his bite was properly aligned.
  • Another patient who couldn’t turn his head to the left due to neck pain regained full range of motion once his bite was restored properly.
  • A patient who required massive amounts of pain pills for neck and back pain and headaches stopped taking them once his bite was restored.

As mentioned earlier, humans adjust to flaws. Yet, having flaws for years confuses the body’s perception of comfort over time. Unexplained pain is often attributed to other aspects of the patient’s life, such as stress, hormones or posture. Some are told it’s all in their head. They are given drugs or sent for therapy to deal with these problems, having no awareness that the source may be dental.

Today, advancements in computer technology enable dentists trained in Neuromuscular Dentistry to capture information for more effective treatment. It also gives visual ‘proof’ of treatment requirements so patients accept the authenticity of the diagnosis.

Neuromuscular Dentistry is such an important part of all implant, restorative (crown-&-bridge, partials, etc.) an cosmetic procedures in our office, so much so that we have invested in advanced technology. This allows us to measure the electrical activity of the muscles and determine the ideal resting position of the mandible (lower jaw). Throughout treatment, patients can monitor their progress by comparing before-&-after data.

Many people do not realize that bite misalignment is often due to more than crooked teeth. We’ve seen patients who’ve experience years of migraines, simply because of one crown being too high. The delicate balance in the mouth when it comes to the muscles, joints, bones and teeth working together is amazing.

If you have frequent headaches, migraines, jaw soreness, ear ringing, dizziness, tingling fingers, pain in the neck or shoulders, jaw popping or difficulty opening the mouth fully, bite misalignment is likely the culprit. These problems will only worsen without treatment.

To discuss your options and the diagnostic process, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to request a no-charge, no-obligation consultation. I’ll gladly answer your questions so you can determine the best course of action for your specific needs.

 

Adults Gravitate To ‘Invisible Braces’ For Comfort & Easy Care

Would you be surprised to learn that one-fourth of people who are in treatment to straighten teeth are adults?

Apparently, the benefits of properly aligned teeth have gained due recognition in recent years. While the number of teens in braces has nearly doubled over the past 20 years, the number of adults in orthodontic treatment rose almost 40% between 1996 to 2015. And, there seems to be no slow down in sight.

The power of an appealing smile in the U.S. has taken on its own persona. Other than make-up, cosmetic dentistry represents the largest non-surgical beauty industry. In one study, 38% of Americans stated they would decline a second date with someone with crooked teeth. The study also showed the same percentage perceived that those with straight teeth are more intelligent.

While beautiful smiles have been known to enhance facial appearance while boosting self-esteem and self-confidence, they can come at a steep price. For a smile makeover (porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns  applied to teeth most visible in a smile), costs can easily reach $12,000 and above.

While it is far more economical to move your natural teeth into their proper positions for a more appealing smile, there are health benefits to doing so as well. Straight teeth are easier to keep clean. Crowded, crooked teeth form tight angles that allow debris and food particles to accumulate. These tight nooks make brushing more difficult, providing a breeding ground for oral bacteria.

As oral bacteria multiply, a sticky film known as plaque forms. When not thoroughly removed, it can form cement hard colonies of bacteria known as tartar, or calculus. Tartar cannot be brushed or flossed away and requires the use of special tools by dental professionals to remove.

These hardened masses may seem dormant but are actually thriving colonies of bacteria that attack gum tissues and tooth enamel. As they continue to thrive and reproduce, the damage can result in cavities and periodontal disease. Periodontal (gum) disease is an inflammatory disease caused by infectious bacteria. Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S. and affects nearly 47% of the population.

Another bonus of properly-aligned teeth is their role in keeping the TMJ (jaw joints) in healthy position. The jaw joints are located just in front of the ears. Proper bite alignment aids these joints in moving fluidly in their sockets. When misaligned teeth disrupt the ease of jaw joint movement, the result is typically stress and strain on the joints.

When stressed or strained, a domino effect tends to radiate out in a number of ways. TMJ disorder can lead to migraines, frequent headaches, sore jaw joints, difficulty opening the mouth fully, worn or chipped teeth from night-time clenching or grinding, ear ringing, jaw popping and dizziness.

For adolescents in braces, many proudly draw attention to their treatment with colored bands. However, adults often feel awkward when it comes to wearing wires and brackets. This method of realignment also makes eating difficult, creates challenges with oral hygiene and is physically uncomfortable. For adults in social and business settings, traditional braces can also cause discomposure.

Fortunately, today’s dentistry offers an effective, comfortable and affordable alternative to the challenges associated with braces.  Invisalign is an ‘invisable’ tooth realignment system that uses custom-made molds to gently ease teeth into proper positions. There are no brackets or wires, so the gums and lips are not subject to sore spots or tears. The molds are nearly undetectable, so patients avoid uneasiness when speaking or smiling.

As a dentist, I’m especially pleased that Invisalign helps patients be more thorough with their oral hygiene while in treatment. Since the molds are removable for eating and brushing, you can eat the foods you want and properly clean your teeth without the brushing and floss-threading challenges required for traditional braces.

We offer Invisalign for both teens and adults. However, we’ve seen that Invisalign is most appealing for adults, especially those who wore braces in their teen years and have experienced shifting over the years. The Invisalign process eases teeth back to their proper positions simply and comfortably.

Invisalign isn’t appropriate for all situations, however. Some bite realignment requires the more-involved process of traditional orthodontics. For these needs, we have an orthodontic specialist on staff. Dr. Jerry Wesley is an Orthodontist who can provide traditional realignment with braces. He and I are both certified Invisalign providers.

Let’s discuss the option best for you. Begin by calling 586-739-2155 to schedule a no-charge exam and consultation. I will explain the process and determine if Invisalign is appropriate for the degree of realignment you need. During this time, we can also discuss payment plans, many with no down payment required and interest-free.

Position Of Each Tooth Can Effect More Than You May Realize

In dentistry, precision is everything. As a neuro-muscular dentist, I know just how true that is.

Good oral health relies upon a delicate balance of upper teeth to lower teeth as well as the unity of teeth on both sides. What occurs when a tooth is lost and not replaced is a perfect example of the the problems that can occur without each tooth in its proper position.

When a tooth is lost, the tooth above or below the open space is left without an opposing tooth. The opposing tooth helps to keep its upper or lower ‘neighbor’ at a proper length. Without it, the tooth grows longer. Additionally, the teeth adjacent to the open space are no longer held in their proper positions. These teeth can soon tilt into the open space and lean into range of the elongated tooth.

The longer tooth can now ‘hit’ the leaning teeth in chewing or speaking. Initially, this may cause a dull tooth ache. As the tooth grows longer and the others tilt further, chips, fractures or breaks can occur. The effects of bite misalignment don’t stop there, however.

Bite misalignment tends to put stress and strain on the jaw joints. These are the joints just in front of your ears that hinge the lower jaw to the skull. Stress on these joints is referred to as TMJ disorder.

When the bite is misaligned, the jaw joints become so as well. During sleep, there becomes a subconscious struggle as the jaw joints search for a proper relaxation point during sleep. As the jaws seek this out, clenching and grinding can occur. This can result in worn teeth, frequent headaches, migraines, soreness when opening the mouth, ear ringing, facial muscle pain and dizziness. Jaw Joint

Yet, you don’t have to be missing a tooth for these problems to occur. A crown that is placed at an improper height can just as easily disrupt the balance required for teeth and jaw joints to work together harmoniously.

My advanced training in neuromuscular dentistry and modern technology are ways I help our patients avoid the long list of problems that can easily occur when the delicate balance of occlusion is disrupted. Proper bite alignment is an important element in the overall skeletal alignment. Without it, a domino effect is set into motion.

If you are experiencing any of the problems related to bite misalignment or TMJ disorder (as mentioned above), call to arrange a no-cost consultation. During this time, I’ll discuss ways that we can determine if your bite is truly the source of your problems. If so, there are several options available to help restore the balance of a healthy bite.

If you are not experiencing these problems, you can rest assured that the work you have performed in our office will be done in a way to help you avoid them. It’s simply a perk of our commitment to exceptional care for each patient!

Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a consultation time that works for you.

Smile Makeovers Have Positive Effects Inside and Out!

While the visual impact of the smile makeovers we create for our patients is obvious, what cannot be seen, just by looking, is the significant effect a more flattering smile can have when it comes to (what we refer to as) “smiling from the inside out.” It’s the uplifting feeling these patients have when their smile truly reflects their inner joy.

An attractive smile tends to boost one’s self-esteem and level of confidence. Our ‘smile makeover’ patients often tell us they find themselves smiling more often and feel more outgoing. From what we witness, it’s no surprise that research has found that the mere act of smiling gives a boost to one’s mood.

Apparently, the brain reacts to smiling by releasing endorphins, which are our ‘natural high’ chemicals that make us happy. Even ‘faking’ a smile seems to prompt this reaction, according to research.

When it comes to smile improvements, however, having a ‘makeover’ isn’t always needed to make a positive result in both appearance and perception of how one feels about their smile. Sometimes, even small changes can have a tremendous effect. In some cases, we’ve placed just four veneers on upper, front teeth for a marked improvement.DrB Pt Mirror copy

Porcelain veneers are the ‘gold standard,’ providing optimal durability, longevity and natural appeal. Veneers give a opalescense like that of natural teeth, even reflecting light in a similar way. Yet, there are a number of ways to improve the appearance of a smile.

Whitening teeth can create a notable improvement for those who have stains or discoloration from foods, aging, smoking or medications. A whiter, brighter smile tends to camouflage flaws and projects a cleaner, healthier appearance of teeth.

Bonding is another way to repair minor flaws, such as chips, uneven teeth, or gaps between teeth. Although not as durable as porcelain veneers and less resistant to staining, bonding is a less expensive method for improving small issues. And, when it comes to a smile, these small issues can have a dramatic effect on how one feels about their smile.

You may be surprised that many esthetic treatments can often be completed in just one visit. And, as with all procedures in our office, comfort is a high priority. For those who desire, we make oral or IV sedation available. Both are safe relaxation methods that erase most, if not all, memory of your procedure time. Recovery is quick and you are monitored throughout treatment with advanced equipment and trained staff.

Imagine yourself with a smile that gets compliments often. Would it make you want to smile more often? Would you feel more attractive? Would it boost your confidence in social or business settings?

Yes? Then, begin with a free Consultation to learn about the latest techniques and materials in esthetic dentistry. During this time, we’ll discuss the best options to create the smile you desire. I’ll go over the specifics of treatment and estimated costs. If desired, you can also meet with our Financial Coordinator to learn about easy payment options, most are interest-free with no down payment required.

Imagine that smile you want and then take a first step to fulfilling your dream! Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a time convenient for you.

Beautiful Smiles Have Advantages That Go Beyond Appearance

While definitions of beauty vary, symmetry is a common component of how most assess a face as beautiful. A common standard used is a balanced eye alignment with both sides of the mouth, nose and cheeks mirroring one another. However, many beauty ‘experts’ agree that, regardless of meeting these standards, beauty exudes from those who possess an aura of confidence.

Being confident, however, requires one to feel confident. That sounds so simple, yet it’s not. When we stop and examine what creates confidence in a person, many say it’s feeling self-assured about the impression one makes. And, right or wrong, we know that a large part of this impression is created by what others see on the outside.

In my twenty years in dental practice, I’ve seen hundreds of patients who decided, after much contemplation, to have a smile makeover. And rightly so, since many surveys have shown that the first thing people often notice when meeting someone is their smile.DrB Pt Mirror copy

Modern cosmetic dentistry offers a number of durable, natural looking and long-lasting methods to create a smile that enhances one’s appearance and self-confidence. In some instances, for example, placing porcelain veneers on just the front six upper teeth can dramatically improve a smile’s appearance with a look and feel that is as natural as real teeth.

You may remember “Extreme Makeover,” a series on television that aired from 2002 to 2007. Each episode followed an individual who had been chosen for a total makeover. Typically, the individual was taken through weight loss and toning, plastic surgery, hair and makeup, and smile enhancement. What quickly became key criteria for the candidates selected was their need for cosmetic dentistry.  Why?

After the show began, it became very apparent to the producers that the most significant changes in appearance emerged from the smile enhancements. While losing weight, a nose job or breast lift were all beneficial, it was the smile that often had the most dramatic effect when it came to improving appearance.

When smile makeovers are completed in our office, I’ve had many patients break out in tears at the new smile they see in the mirror. And, even though the expenses associated with some smile enhancements can be a financial stretch, I’ve never had a patient who didn’t say their new smile was “worth every cent” with most adding, “I only wish I hadn’t waited so long to do this.”

Yet, it’s not what occurs in the moments after their new smile is completed as what emerges over time. I’ve seen a number of my smile makeover patients lose weight, pursue work promotions, get a new hairstyle, become more social, smile more often and seem more positive about life in general. It’s as if the new smiles released self-esteem that had been hiding behind smiles that kept their true self-confidence tucked beneath the surface.

Time and again, research has shown the dramatic effect a smile has on one’s overall demeanor. Apparently, the act of smiling causes the brain to release endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals in the brain. Findings also show that even faking a smile causes the brain to react as a mood booster.

The simple act of smiling is good for you, inside and out! A smile that enhances our appearance tends to be shared more often. This sets off a domino effect. Since our mood is boosted from our brain’s chemical reactions, it makes us feel more positive. Feeling more positive makes us feel more confident. And so on.

Whether you need to replace missing teeth, old crowns or bridgework, need to realign crooked or crowded teeth or repair broken, chipped or worn teeth, today’s cosmetic dentistry offers excellent options. And, many are surprised at the affordability of achieving the smile they desire.

Begin with a no cost, no obligation consultation. We’ll talk about what may work best for your goals, comfort options, payment plans and anticipated treatment time.

When you consider the small amount of space that a smile has on our bodies, it amazing at how significantly it can transform our appearance and mindset one way or another. Yet, what nature may have denied, modern dentistry can give back!

Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a time convenient for you.