A smile makeover: Are veneers my only option?

A smile makeover is a term that refers to a combination of cosmetic dentistry procedures that address various issues with your smile. The procedures chosen depend upon your personal goals and what you’d like your teeth to look like after treatment. Your dentist can help assemble a personalized treatment schedule to give you the smile you’ve always wanted.

Options for a Smile Makeover

If you wish to have a smile makeover, the first thing you’ll do is consult with your dentist. You’ll talk about what you’d like to change about your smile and then discuss what the most effective approach would be to accomplish those goals. Some of the procedures often included in a smile makeover are:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Porcelain veneers
  • Inlays or onlays
  • Tooth-colored crowns or fillings
  • Invisalign
  • Gum Contouring
  • Dental implants

These procedures can correct problems ranging from minor stains to missing teeth, giving you a smile you can be proud of.

After you’ve decided how your makeover will proceed, you’ll schedule appointments. Another advantage to this approach is that you can often combine two or more procedures into one visit to your dentist, reducing the time it takes to create your perfect smile.

Why Get a Smile Makeover?

Your smile is one of the most important tools you have to make a first impression. If you don’t feel confident about your teeth, it can have a negative impact on how you present yourself to people. It can also affect your quality of life if you are constantly self-conscious or nervous about showing your smile.

A smile makeover can eliminate this problem, giving you a smile you’re happy to show off. Whether you have missing teeth, severe staining, misaligned teeth or gaps, a smile makeover could be the answer to your best smile yet.

Call our office and talk to one of our dental specialists today to find out how a smile makeover can help.

Nightguards: A solution for teeth clenching and grinding

Clenching and grinding your teeth can lead to a number of long-term problems. Unfortunately, most people who clench and grind do so at night, when they are unable to control the action. Because clenching and grinding are something you do unconsciously, use of a nightguard is one of the best ways to keep the habit from damaging your teeth. You can find out more about nightguards from our dentist, who is dedicated to keeping your teeth strong and healthy.

Causes of Clenching and Grinding

The causes of clenching and grinding can vary. In addition, clenching and grinding can be a symptom of other problems that need to be addressed. Some issues that can cause grinding include:

  • Misalignment
  • Stress
  • (TMD)

If clenching or grinding are symptoms of misalignment or TMD (also known as TMJ), your dentist will probably want to investigate the root cause and provide appropriate treatment. In addition, your dentist might recommend a nightguard to reduce the side effects of clenching and grinding.

Using a Nightguard

A nightguard is a latex appliance that is custom-molded to fit your mouth. Your dentist uses a special gel to make a mold of your teeth. The nightguard is then manufactured in an offsite lab. When it returns from the lab, your dentist will have you try it on and make any necessary modifications so that it is comfortable.

For the best results, you should wear your nightguard all night, every night. The hard latex helps protect the surfaces of your teeth from damage when you clench and grind. It won’t stop the actual grinding, but it will greatly reduce the risk that you might inadvertently damage your teeth.

If you do not wear the nightguard every night, not only will your teeth possibly be damaged, but after a couple of weeks the nightguard might not fit properly anymore. This is because your teeth might move in small increments that cause the mold of your bite to no longer be accurate. So, for the best possible results, wear the nightguard regularly.

For more information about clenching and grinding and how a nightguard can help, please contact our team today.

When can I return to work after implant surgery?

Implant surgery, like any type of oral surgery, requires time to heal properly. You will probably be able to return to work in a day or two, but be sure to follow the instructions of your implant dentist to be sure you heal thoroughly. Without proper healing, your implants are much more likely to fail.

Taking Care of Yourself after Implant Surgery

Proper healing is vital to the long-term success of implant surgery. Once the dental implants are set into your jawbone, the bone must be given time to bond with the artificial roots. This ensures that your new teeth will remain stationary and that the roots will help stimulate long-term growth in the jawbone. Without this bond between the bone and the implant, your new teeth will be loose and will probably fall out.

The best way to ensure proper healing is to take good care of your self after your surgery. Your implant dentist will provide aftercare instructions, which will probably include:

  • Stay home from work for one or two days
  • Avoid strenuous activity for a week or so
  • Take prescription medication, like antibiotics or pain medicine, as instructed
  • Use pressure and gauze to reduce bleeding
  • Use cold and hot compresses to reduce swelling and discomfort
  • Rinse carefully with salt water and/or a prescription mouthwash to help prevent infection

If you notice any unusual symptoms like excessive swelling or bleeding, talk to your implant dentist right away. This is particularly important if you experience any problems that could indicate infection is setting in, such as a fever or an overall achy, flu-like feeling.

Caring for Your Implants

Proper care will also keep your implants healthy in the long term. Be sure to brush and floss daily. This ensures the health of your remaining natural teeth. It also helps prevent gum disease. People with implants have a higher risk of gum disease, so it’s important to floss around your abutments to remove food particles and plaque, and to brush regularly to stimulate your gums and remove any plaque buildup on your prosthetic crowns.

Do Genetics Play a Role in Overall Health of Teeth?

As with other systems and tissues in our body, genetics do play a role in the health of teeth but there are measures a person can take to enjoy vibrant oral health and prevent disease. The oral system’s health is connected to the rest of the body, too. Some conditions that predispose a person to diseases such as diabetes can have an effect on the health of teeth and gums. Following is some helpful information about genetics, preventive measures patients can take, and how our dentists can help safeguard your oral health.

Genetics and Oral Health

Sometimes, congenital and developmental abnormalities can affect the oral health system. Some folks are born without tooth enamel, for instance. Tooth enamel is the mineralized coating around teeth that prevents tooth decay. Without enamel, a tooth is susceptible to harmful oral bacteria forming caries. Other issues such as the growth rate of the jawbones or cleft palates can affect oral health as well. For example, if one jaw is denser and larger than the other one, it can result in a malocclusion, which can cause tooth wear, TMJ dysfunction, and a host of other problems.

If congenital or developmental abnormalities are present, they are most often easily detected through routine checkups with our dentist. Oral examinations and diagnostic technology can reveal potential problems in any of the oral cavity’s structures.

Protecting Your Oral Health

While genetic and developmental issues can affect the health of your teeth and gums, you can still take measures to prevent common oral disease. Commit to a thorough and consistent oral hygiene routine that involves at least twice daily brushing and daily flossing. We encourage our patients to limit sugar intake, drink plenty of water, and avoid bad habits such as chewing on ice cubes, pen caps, or one’s nails.

Preventive Dental Treatments

If your teeth or gums are at risk for disease, preventive services are available. To prevent gum disease, it is very important that patients schedule regular dental cleanings. For those whose teeth are weak, we can apply dental sealants or administer fluoride treatments. Broken or diseased teeth can be treated with restorations as well.

Call Community Shores Dental at 231-865-6945 today to reserve an appointment with one of our skilled dentists.

Do I have to live with tooth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity can be both a quality of life issue as well as signify a need for professional treatment from a dentist. Having sensitive teeth can make drinking a hot or cold beverage very uncomfortable. In fact, sometimes enjoying a hot bowl of soup or even a spoonful of ice cream is unbearable. While tooth sensitivity can affect your dietary habits, it doesn’t have to become a permanent part of your life. There are measures you can take to reduce sensitivity and treatments are available that can increase the health of your teeth while offsetting uncomfortable symptoms.

What causes tooth sensitivity?

A few different things can cause sensitive teeth. Sometimes, patients whose gums have receded due to vigorous brushing practices or gum disease can experience sensitivity. This is because the roots of teeth aren’t coated with tooth enamel and therefore more prone to sensitivity because the tubules inside dentin are more likely to be exposed to debris and bacteria.

Thinning tooth enamel due to damage, disease, or developmental issues is also a common cause for tooth sensitivity. As with the roots of teeth exposed to debris and bacteria, thin or weak enamel can make the tubules of dentin quite sensitive to temperate foods and beverages.

What can I do about sensitive teeth?

One thing patients can try at home is to avoid overly hot or cold drinks and food. We recommend that patients also avoid brushing to hard or vigorously as it can cause the gums to pull away from teeth. Toothpastes formulated for sensitive teeth may also be helpful as they contain ingredients that help seal the outside of teeth to prevent discomfort.

What are my treatment options?

If our dentist determines that a patient requires treatment for sensitive teeth, restorations may be necessary to strengthen tooth structure and prevent future damage from decay or breakage. Sealing the outer surface of a tooth may also be a method of treatment that can reduce discomfort.

To learn more about your treatment options, contact our office to schedule an appointment.

How are crowns, veneers and bonding used in cosmetic dentistry

Crowns, veneers and bonding are all used in cosmetic dentistry, but for slightly different applications. Your cosmetic dentist can determine which treatment or combination of treatments is best for your individual needs. These procedures are used for different types of cosmetic problems and can also be used for restorations.

Dental Veneers

Porcelain veneers are a popular treatment for the front teeth. They can be used to correct a variety of cosmetic issues, including:

  • Severe discoloration
  • Chipping, pitting or minor cracking
  • Slight misalignment
  • Slight gaps

Veneers are affixed to the tooth surfaces with a special bonding agent. They are carefully color-matched and custom-made so they are indistinguishable from your natural teeth. Veneers are now used in many cosmetic applications for which crowns were previously the only option. [pullquote]Crowns, veneers and bonding are all used in cosmetic dentistry, but for slightly different applications. [/pullquote]

Crowns and Bonding

Dental crowns are a more invasive treatment than veneers and so are used less often. To place a crown, the dentist must reshape the tooth to make room for it. The crown is then secured over the tooth and cemented in place. Crowns can be made of metal, porcelain, or metal that is bonded with porcelain. In general, metal or porcelain-bonded metal are better materials for the back teeth, as they must withstand higher levels of pressure. Porcelain crowns are better for the front teeth, since they provide a more natural appearance.

Crowns are used to restore severely damaged teeth, cracked teeth, or teeth with decay that have already had large fillings placed. They are also used to repair teeth after a root canal.

Bonding uses a resin to repair breaks or chips in the teeth. Your cosmetic dentist might also recommend it for misshapen or asymmetrical teeth. The resin is placed on the tooth, cured with a light, then sculpted into the correct shape. Bonding is a much easier way to correct the shape of the tooth than a crown, which used to be the treatment of choice for this type of restoration or cosmetic application.

Contact our skilled team at Artistic Smiles to learn more about which of these procedures is right for you.

The connection between bone health and dental health

Many people think of dental health as a separate topic from overall health. However, your overall health, including the health of your bones, can affect your dental health. Conversely, your oral health can affect your overall health. This is one of many reasons it is important to take good care of your teeth and see your dentist regularly.

Bone Health and Dental Health

Problems with the health of your bones can lead to problems with the health of your teeth. This is particularly true for women, who are at greater risk for osteoporosis, or weakening of the bone tissue. Osteoporosis causes the bones to become thinner and more brittle, increasing the risk of breaks. This systemic problem occurs in approximately half of women over fifty years old, and in about one-quarter of men over fifty years old.

As the bone tissue becomes weaker, the tissue of the jawbone can also deteriorate. The teeth need healthy bone tissue in the jaws to properly anchor the tooth roots. People suffering from osteoporosis are likely to have fewer teeth than those who have healthy bones due to this deterioration of the bone tissue. Osteoporosis can also affect your ability to have dental implants placed. In addition, if you are taking certain medication for osteoporosis, it can greatly increase your chance of an unsuccessful implant procedure.

Keeping Your Teeth and Bones Healthy

If you attend to the health of your bones and teeth throughout your life, you are less likely to have problems related to osteoporosis. This includes eating a healthy diet that includes sufficient calcium, vitamin D, and other minerals and vitamins that support bone health. These vitamins and minerals also help support your dental health. You should also be sure to visit your dentist regularly so that any problems that might be developing can be diagnosed and treated promptly.

If you do discover you are suffering from osteoporosis, be sure to follow treatment guidelines provided by your doctor to keep your bones healthy and strong as long as possible. You should also be sure to let your dentist know you are being treated, in case your treatment could affect your candidacy for dental implants if you happen to lose a tooth.

Call our office to reserve an appointment with our experienced dentist today.

Root canal: When is it necessary?

Brushing twice a day, flossing, and visiting your dentist for exams each year is essential for your oral health. Unfortunately, you still may require involved dental treatments even after following your dentist’s recommendations for healthy teeth and gums. Considering millions of people undergo a root canal treatment, learning when this common procedure is necessary is smart.

Broken Tooth

A chipped, broken tooth not only affects the appeal of your smile, but it can also cause damage to your underlying nerves. If the tooth is hit with severe trauma, it can also sever the nerve completely. This kills the nerve, decreasing your chances of successful tooth repair.

A root canal may be able to repair the damage to the nerve, reconnecting it to the existing tooth. After saving the damaged nerve, your dentist can bond the surface enamel to restore the broken tooth.


An abscess develops when an infection develops in the tooth pulp and spreads to its roots. An abscessed tooth is painful, but very serious. If this infection is left untreated, it may spread to the bone, resulting in serious complications.

Antibiotics will be necessary to treat the infection, but your dentist will also perform a root canal treatment to remove bacteria and dead tissue from the tooth pulp and roots.


Cavities are also common reasons to undergo a root canal. Since cavities form over time, they can cause bacteria to spread deep into the tooth pulp, decaying the tooth and infecting the pulp and roots. If you have a deep cavity, you may experience tooth sensitivity, pain in and around the mouth, head, and jaw, and tender, bleeding gums.

The best option for repairing deep cavities is to remove the decay by cleaning out the root canals. In many cases, removal of the damaged nerve will also be necessary.

A root canal treatment may be common, but it deserves serious thought and consideration. Contact our caring team at Artistic Smiles to learn if this procedure will benefit you and your dental health.

What signs and symptoms are associated with an impacted tooth?

An impacted tooth can lead to extreme discomfort and other unpleasant symptoms. If left untreated, impaction can cause serious side effects and can even prove fatal. If you experience symptoms of an impacted tooth, you should see your dentist as soon as possible for evaluation and treatment.

Symptoms of an Impacted Tooth

An impacted tooth is one that does not emerge properly. The most common teeth to become impacted are the wisdom teeth, but impaction can occur with any tooth that does not move into the correct position. Your regular X-rays can help determine if teeth are impacted well before any symptoms occur.

Symptoms can include:

•    Swelling or redness in the gums
•    Headache or discomfort in the jaw
•    Bleeding gums
•    Halitosis and/or a bad taste in the mouth

Symptoms of an impacted tooth should be brought to your dentist’s attention as soon as possible. Impacted teeth can become infected, and the infection can migrate into the sinuses and even into the brain or the circulatory system. This can lead to heart disease, brain damage or even death if left untreated.

Treatment for an Impacted Tooth

In most cases, the recommended treatment for an impacted tooth is removal. After evaluation, your dentist will explain treatment. If the tooth has become infected, you might need to take antibiotics to treat the infection before an oral surgeon can safely remove the tooth.

In some cases, impacted teeth never exhibit symptoms and cause no difficulty and it might not be necessary to have the teeth removed. It is best to have your situation evaluated to see if leaving the teeth in place is likely to cause problems with the rest of your teeth.

If you believe you might need a tooth extraction, please contact the office of Dr. Nawrocki to make an appointment. We’ll evaluate your tooth and recommend an appropriate treatment to alleviate your discomfort as soon as possible.

Increase your quality of life with dental implants

Whether it’s self-consciousness about your smile or an inability to eat healthy foods, missing teeth can have a detrimental effect on your quality of life. Today, there are many options available for tooth replacement that will restore your confidence. From traditional dental implants to All-on-4, there’s a workable replacement option available for you.

Why Choose Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that replaces both the visible part of the tooth and the tooth root. This provides a complete functional tooth that will not only enable you to bite and chew normally, but will also help keep your jawbone healthy. In the long term, implants help maintain your health far better than dentures, bridges, or other tooth replacement options.

Some of the major advantages of dental implants include:

  • Stimulate jawbone regeneration
  • Remain stationary
  • Allow you to eat anything, including apples and corn on the cob
  • Are permanent—do not require periodic re-tooling

With implants, you’ll always have confidence in your smile and know that your teeth will stay in place even when you bite and chew.

What are All-on-4 Implants?

If you’ve worn dentures for a long period, or if you’ve had missing teeth, it’s likely that you won’t have sufficient bone mass to support the numerous implants required to replace each individual tooth. Some people simply lack sufficient bone mass due to the way their jawbone is structured. This is more common in the upper jaw, where the size of the sinus cavities affects the thickness of the bone that supports the teeth.

All-on-4 dental implants offer the advantages of implants to people without sufficient bone mass. This technique uses four implants to support a denture. Unlike standard dentures, a denture secured with implants remains stationary and will not shift or move when you eat. It can be removed for cleaning and to floss around the abutments of the implants. With proper care, this type of implant can provide you with a full, functional smile for many years to come.

Call our office to speak with a caring team member ready to answer any questions you may have.