Keeping Your Teeth Healthy
At Desert Family Dental, our primary concern is keeping our patients’ teeth healthy. We often meet patients, however, who want to improve the appearance of their teeth as well.
These patients may feel embarrassed by the way their smile looks, which can keep them from smiling. Studies show that people who smile less have a greater likelihood of suffering from depression.
Dr. Scott Lee has extensive training in cosmetic dentistry procedures. He attends continuing education courses in the field every year to stay on top of the latest techniques and technical innovations. After consulting with Dr. Lee, most patients will qualify for cosmetic dentistry procedures.
To find out more about the cosmetic dentistry procedures we perform and whether you qualify for them, call our Mesa, AZ dental office today at (480) 838-4185 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Lee.
Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures We Offer
We offer several cosmetic dentistry treatments that Dr. Lee can perform to bring out the beauty in your smile. The doctor will consult with you to determine what you like and dislike about your smile, then suggest one or more of these procedures. You will work closely with Dr. Lee to create a treatment plan that works best for you.
A few of the services available to you include:
- Dental Bonding – Dr. Lee can use dental bonding to fill in chips in your teeth, cover mild discoloration, and close gaps between your teeth. For this, he uses a tooth-colored composite resin that he can easily mold and shape to fit your tooth. The doctor can tint the resin to match your natural tooth color, making the treatment virtually indistinguishable. He applies the resin to your teeth in liquid form, then uses a curing light to harden the resin and bond it to your teeth. Dr. Lee will perform the bonding procedure relatively quickly, as it requires no anesthesia or preparation of the tooth. Many patients see dental bonding as a low cost alternative to dental crowns and porcelain veneers, although they do not last as long.
- Dental Crowns and Bridges – Dental crowns are ceramic shells that fit over a tooth like a cap. They help protect and reinforce teeth that have cracked, broken, or suffered damaged from decay or disease. A bridge replaces one or more missing teeth with dental prosthetics, called pontics. Two crowns placed over healthy natural teeth on either side of the gap hold the crown in place. We can provide crowns and bridges made from several different materials, such as gold and metal alloys, but the doctor recommends porcelain crowns. Porcelain mimics the reflective properties of natural teeth, making it the most natural looking material. Dr. Lee can also surgically place dental implants into your jawbone to support crowns and bridges while replacing the roots of missing teeth.
- Porcelain Veneers – Dr. Lee bonds these custom-made thin porcelain shells to the front of your visible teeth. They provide correction for chipped, discolored, and irregularly shaped teeth. They also work well for lengthening teeth or filling in gaps between them. Porcelain veneers require very little preparation of the tooth, due to their thinness. The doctor typically only needs to remove a minimal amount of enamel to make room for the shell. Recent technological breakthroughs have led to the development of ultra-thin veneers that require no preparation to the tooth at all. With proper care and regular dental visits, your veneers can last over 20 years.
- Gum Contouring – If you worry that excess gum tissue makes your teeth look small, misshapen, or unhealthy, Dr. Lee can perform a gum contouring procedure. The doctor will typically use a laser to gently remove excess gum tissue. The heat generated by the laser will immediately cauterize the incision, virtually eliminating discomfort and bleeding. Dr. Lee can perform this procedure quickly, and with a short recovery time.
- Whitening Treatments – If you suffer from discolored or stained teeth, our whitening treatments can brighten your smile by several shades. Dr. Lee recommends the Natural Elegance whitening treatment. To begin treatment, you will come to our Mesa office for a professional cleaning. Then, the doctor will take impressions of your teeth, which he will use to create custom-fit whitening trays that fit snugly and comfortably on your teeth. The doctor will send you home with your trays and a supply of Natural Elegance whitening agent. You will wear the trays for a short time each day. While you wear the trays, the peroxide in the agent will absorb into the enamel, releasing oxygen that will break up the chemical bonds of the stains on your teeth. After about two weeks, your teeth will become noticeably whiter. You can wear the trays until you achieve your desired level of brightness, and hold onto the trays and whitening agent to use later for touch-ups.
- Orthodontics – For patients with misaligned smiles that require more correction than veneers or bonding can provide, Dr. Lee may suggest orthodontic treatment. We offer two types of orthodontics in our office: traditional bracket and wire braces and Invisalign®. While traditional braces have come a long way in the last few decades, with shorter treatment time, fun and colorful looks, and less pain, many patients prefer Invisalign® for the clear aligners that are virtually invisible when worn. Patients typically wear the aligners for a shorter time than braces, and can remove the aligners to clean their teeth and eat, doing away with food restrictions. The product even comes in a special edition for teens, with a blue dot on the aligner that fades with wear, so parents can make sure their children stay in compliance with their treatment plan. The teen version also comes with six free bonus aligners, so if your child loses one, you can just call us and we will order a replacement. Aligners are typically worn for two weeks per set, with the average patient wearing 20 to 30 sets over a period of 12 to 18 months to complete treatment. When patients finish their treatment, the doctor will provide a retainer, to help them keep their newly straightened teeth in position.
- Smile Makeover – If you have several cosmetic issues with your smile, Dr. Lee can perform a smile makeover. This procedure involves the combining of two or more cosmetic procedures, such as a whitening treatment, gum contouring, and dental bonding to transform a patient’s smile. The doctor will create a treatment plan for the procedures, and may perform them in stages to avoid any overlaps in healing.
Selecting the Right Cosmetic Dentist
Cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty within the dental industry, and there is currently no certification in the field by the American Dental Association. Dentists must attend years of specialty training, however, to learn how to correctly perform cosmetic procedures.
Some aspects of cosmetic dentistry are covered in the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree program every dentist goes through. Since no degree exists for specializing in cosmetic dentistry, however, most cosmetic dentists have to go through additional training following their degree program.
Dr. Lee undergoes many hours of additional training every year to keep abreast of the latest cosmetic dentistry procedures and tools. He is Invisalign® certified, and has intensely studied progressive orthodontics. The doctor also maintains membership in the prestigious Frank Spear Esthetic Study Club and the Dick Barnes Group for esthetic contouring. The doctor has a keen eye for art, so he can provide you with the most natural looking results and restore your smile to beauty.