Mailloux Dentistry offers a number of different cosmetic treatment options for patients wanting to improve the overall appearance of their smile. Components we analyze when determining if someone’s smile is attractive can include tooth shape, size, and shade of color, gumline, how lips frame the teeth, overall alignment, spacing and bite, and the relationship between upper and lower jaw. We simultaneously consider all of these factors in full context of symmetrical face layout with lips, eyes, and skin.
Cosmetic treatments are designed to improve your smile, boost your self-esteem and enhance your quality of life. Advances in dental technology provide cosmetic solutions to fix every dental insecurity to the standard of each patient. With each cosmetic procedure, Dr. Mailloux takes a comprehensive approach to assure proper function.
Treatment plans will often include a combination of cosmetic and restorative procedures. And some individual treatments can offer both cosmetic and restorative value. For example, crowns and veneers both improve the superficial appearance of a tooth. Because a veneer only partially covers a tooth on one surface, a crown may be the treatment proposed as it also doubly functions as a restoration to protect the tooth’s structure and support longevity.
Crowns are dental restorations used to improve the strength and appearance of teeth by providing both protection and cosmetic value. Because crowns completely encircle a tooth or dental implant, they are often referred to as “caps”. In some restorative cases, a crown is necessary to preserve tooth structure when there is a large amount of decay and a filling may not be sufficient. Teeth that have had root-canal treatment often need to be crowned to prevent cracking and possible infection.
There are various types of crowns and the combination of materials used depends on what Dr. Mailloux determines will be successful for each individual situation. A ceramic, or porcelain, material is commonly used because it can be sculpted to closely replicate tooth enamel. All-ceramic crowns are used on front teeth because the material’s translucent properties naturally mimic how tooth enamel transmits light. While a crown made entirely of ceramic is quite resilient, sometimes a porcelain layer needs to be fused to a stronger base material, like metal. These types of crowns are opaque and typically used on back molars where they will need to withstand the pressure of chewing on a daily basis.
Designing a crown starts with a dental impression of your teeth at the initial crown “prep” appointment. If the tooth being crowned does not have enough existing structure for a crown to be effectively mounted, a crown build-up would also be necessary at the initial appointment. A crown or “core” build-up functions exactly as it sounds. Composite material is used to build up the existing tooth structure so a crown can be properly cemented. This ensures a solid fit so that the crown will be less likely to come loose and fall off.
At Mailloux Dentistry, patients will leave the initial appointment wearing a temporary crown made within the office. The impression models are sent out to a lab for a technician to manufacture the final crown. This process can take a few weeks but then the patient returns to the office for their “seat” appointment so the final crown can be permanently cemented. Dr. Mailloux has developed great working relationships with several area labs to ensure your crown is made with the highest quality materials and ultimate craftsmanship.
Crowns are often a necessary investment for your future oral health. If you think you may need a crown or have an existing crown that has come loose, please contact our office today at (616) 392-3717.
Laser Gum Recontouring
The way your gums frame your teeth affects the overall appearance and balance of your smile. Even if a patient has straight, symmetrical teeth, an uneven or disproportional gumline can tarnish a smile. Just as teeth can be cosmetically altered to have a more desirable shape, alignment and color, your gums can be improved to complement your smile using laser recontouring.
Dr. Mailloux can use a soft-tissue diode laser to remove excess gum tissue and lengthen the visible crown part of a tooth for patients who are self-conscious about having a “gummy” smile that causes their teeth to look shorter. Laser recontouring is a simple and virtually painless remedy. The laser’s heat vaporizes minuscule amounts of tissue while smoothing and sealing the resculpted edge to prevent bleeding.
For most patients, laser gum treatment is purely cosmetic and not medically necessary, but the treatment can also be used in conjunction with routine periodontal maintenance to reduce deep gum pockets and regenerate recessed tissue. Healthy gum tissue shaped firmly around your teeth creates a necessary foundation for the longevity of your smile.
Veneers & Lumineers®
A veneer is a thin outer covering layered over a tooth to give a superficially valuable or pleasing appearance. Tooth-colored veneers are used to cosmetically improve your smile by covering up unsightly staining, chips or cracks, large gaps, and misaligned or crooked teeth. Because veneers are cemented onto the surface of your real teeth, they are an effective way to immediately improve the existing shape, size, length and/or color of those teeth.
When veneers are part of a treatment plan, the process typically takes a few appointments. Like most cosmetic procedures, the process begins by having impressions taken of your teeth. These impression models are used by lab technicians to effectively design and manufacture your custom veneers. Patients will often wear temporary veneers during an interim period because a series of adjustments are necessary to ensure a good fit. When it comes time to cement the final veneers, the outer enamel shell of the tooth to be fitted will need to be reduced in order to achieve a natural look.
Although the process varies from patient to patient, veneer treatment can be finalized within a couple weeks. The veneers, and the material used to bond them to the tooth, are both strong and can last several years with proper dental maintenance. They resist staining and mimic how natural teeth would reflect light.
Lumineers® are a specific brand of ultra-thin veneers and Dr. Mailloux is certified to offer them as a cosmetic dental solution for patients. Unlike veneers, Lumineers® are digitally designed and there is no need to remove as much essential tooth enamel when cementing them in place. This results in less sensitivity and a more precise fit. Lumineers® typically eliminate the need for patients to wear a temporary covering. Dr. Mailloux has received specialized training to work with Lumineers® and can determine if they are an effective cosmetic solution to improve your smile.
White teeth are naturally associated with being healthy and attractive, so it’s no surprise that most people desire to have brighter teeth. At Mailloux Dentistry, professional ZOOM!®Whitening is a more effective option to whiten teeth than time-consuming home remedies and messy over-the-counter “trays” and “strips” that can be ill-fitting and uncomfortable while delivering disappointing results.
Dietary and lifestyle choices such as consumption of red wine, coffee or tea, and use of tobacco can all cause staining. Tooth decay, trauma, exposure to high levels of fluoride, strong medications and genetic disorders can also cause teeth to appear discolored. Additionally, as we age, the inner part of our teeth naturally darkens and often a professional method of whitening is the only effective solution.
ZOOM!®Whitening is a cosmetic chair-side treatment used to professionally whiten teeth instantly and with long-lasting effects. The treatment involves a high-concentration hydrogen peroxide solution applied directly to your teeth, which is then activated by a heated light source to maximize the effectiveness. The oxidizing agents in the whitening solution actively attack the organic molecules responsible for tooth discoloration. Your teeth are isolated during the procedure to protect sensitive gum tissue.
While the effects of ZOOM!®Whitening are powerful and results can typically last anywhere from six months to several years, occasionally patients like to “touch-up” where surface stains have begun to reappear. Mailloux Dentistry makes custom whitening trays for patients to take home for periodic future maintenance.
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about ZOOM!®Whitening. But please contact our office today at (616) 392-3717 if you have any additional questions or want to set up a consultation.
Will my dental insurance cover any portion of ZOOM!®Whitening treatment?Most likely not. The treatment is considered to be an elective cosmetic procedure and we have never encountered an insurance plan that allows ZOOM!®Whitening as a covered benefit.
Will my teeth be sensitive during or after treatment? Commonly there will be some minor sensitivity as a result of ZOOM!®Whitening but it is often temporary. Younger patients will tend to experience more sensitivity as their teeth are softer and more susceptible to feeling than older patients with thicker, harder teeth. Sometimes Dr. Mailloux will recommend that patients use a prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste for up to two weeks prior to treatment to help strengthen and desensitize the outer enamel of your teeth.
My regular dentist doesn’t offer ZOOM!®Whitening. Can I come to Mailloux Dentistry for only that procedure without having to permanently switch dentists? Yes. In fact, we’ve had several individuals take advantage of the fact that our practice offers ZOOM!®Whitening but then they return to their general dentist for routine care visits. In this case, the initial consultation appointment is even more important as Dr. Mailloux will want to meet and evaluate you to make sure you are a good candidate for the treatment.
I would like to give the “gift” of ZOOM!®Whitening to a friend or family member. How does that work? Mailloux Dentistry does offer gift certificates for ZOOM!®Whitening treatment and they’ve been purchased for a number of occasions such as graduations, anniversaries, birthdays and stocking-stuffers. The receiver does not have to be a current patient at Mailloux Dentistry but they will be subject to a consultation/evaluation appointment to ensure they have good oral health. Please contact the office if you are interested. A method of payment will be collected but will not be processed until a determination has been made that the recipient is a good candidate for ZOOM!®Whitening treatment.
Your smile is your signature and Mailloux Dentistry is passionate about giving patients the smiles they’ve always wanted. Dr. Mailloux understands that patients may be hesitant to begin a smile makeover due to feelings of embarrassment or financial constraints. But she enjoys consulting with patients to determine their goals for smile design and to educate them about the various types of treatment available.
“We strive to create a smile that not only looks beautiful, but fits, feels and functions properly,” said Dr. Mailloux.
A treatment plan considers everything from oral health and jaw relations, to alignment, shape, size and color of the teeth. The art of smile design can encompass a combination of cosmetic techniques and restorative treatments, depending on the unique needs of each patient.
A typical consultation includes collecting valuable records such as dental impressions, photographs and X-rays. Dr. Mailloux uses the information to show patients the potential of their smile and builds a treatment plan that recognizes there is no such thing as “one smile fits all”. Often there are multiple options to accomplish the desired end result so finding the proper solution for you is the number one priority at Mailloux Dentistry.