Category Archives: cosmetic dentistry

Tetracycline Staining of Teeth

some medications stain teethWhen it comes to teeth whitening, there are two main types of dental stains that discolor teeth and cause cosmetic dental problems for patients. Extrinsic stains are those caused by food and drink or smoking. These stains reside on the outside of the tooth and stain the enamel. Extrinsic stains can often be removed with a thorough dental cleaning or professional teeth whitening.
Intrinsic stains are stains which are embedded within the tooth structure itself. One of the most common intrinsic dental stains occurs with the use of a prescription antibiotic called tetracycline. From the 1950’s to the 1980’s, the antibiotic tetracycline was commonly used in children for anything from an ear infection to acne treatment. The problem with tetracycline is that in young children, from prenatal through about age 8, the tetracycline became calcified within the structure of developing teeth, resulting in tooth staining from within the tooth itself.
Although harmless, tetracycline staining of the teeth is often severe and extremely unattractive. Because the stains cannot be removed with cleaning or dental bleaching, eliminating the stains is often not possible. Tooth discoloration from tetracycline staining is often dark gray or brown. It usually covers the tooth entirely or occurs in a linear pattern on the tooth structure. The most often recommended treatment for tetracycline staining on teeth is to cover the stains with cosmetic dental veneers or dental crowns.
Adults are not at risk for developing tetracycline staining on their teeth, because the staining only occurs during tooth development. Tetracycline is still commonly used today, although it is no longer prescribed for children under 8 years old or pregnant women.

Dental stains from antibiotics can be corrected with cosmetic dentistry. If you have dental discoloration caused by antibiotics or other factors, talk to your dentist about possible treatment options.
Only your dentist can determine whether your tooth discoloration can be corrected with professional teeth whitening or cosmetic dentistry. Contact Dr. Ban today to schedule a consultation and find out the best way to correct tooth discoloration and regain a beautiful bright smile today!

Smile Enhancements- Porcelain Crowns vs. Metal

Which Smile Do You Prefer?  Traditional porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) dental crowns can result in a small edge of exposed metal along the gumline.  This dark line can be unattractive when it shows in your smile line.  Replacing porcelain to metal crowns with 100% porcelain crowns can improve your cosmetic results and give you a healthier, younger looking smile.

gray line on crowns
Porcelain to metal crowns can be unattractive


porcelain crowns
All porcelain crowns eliminate exposed metal along the gumline

Advantages of Porcelain Dental Crowns

There are several advantages to consider when replacing old crowns with porcelain restorations.  Over time, dental crowns can weaken or crack.  Your dentist can check for signs of wear or damage in older crowns and may recommend replacement if indicated.  Gum recession can cause the margins (edges of the crown) to become exposed, putting the underlying tooth at risk for tooth decay.  The metal in the margins of your crown can be unattractive, especially if is shows when you smile.  Some problems you might encounter with porcelain-metal crowns are:

  • A dark line at the gumline caused by the exposed metal edge of the PFM crown
  • Opacity of the tooth restoration because light cannot pass through metal as it does in natural teeth.  Porcelain restorations allow for natural areas of transparency in the crown.
  • Unnatural appearance of tooth restoration

Natural Looking Porcelain Crowns

You might consider porcelain crowns when a restoration is needed in the aesthetic zone (the part of your smile that shows most often).  Porcelain crowns are strong and durable, but allow for a more natural looking restoration that more closely matches the surrounding teeth.  Because there is no metal inside, light passes through the thinner edges of the tooth crown more naturally, providing a pleasing cosmetic result.  Porcelain dental crowns provide more options for cosmetic dental enhancement.

Should You Replace Your Porcelain-Metal Crowns?

The best way to find out if replacing your old dental crowns with porcelain crowns is to schedule a consultation with your Saratoga dentist.  Dr. Ban or Dr. Fox will perform an examination to determine whether replacing your crowns is the best option.  You can schedule an appointment with us here.



Dental Implants Replace Missing Teeth

tooth implant
Natural Tooth vs. Implant

Missing teeth are a big concern for millions of Americans.  In fact, 69% of American adults age 35-44 have lost at least one permanent tooth.  More than 25% of Americans over the age of 65 have lost all their permanent teeth.

People with missing teeth often suffer from changes in their bite, difficulties eating and speaking, as well as psychological effects such as decrease in self-confidence and self-consciousness about their appearance.

Dentistry provides a number of solutions that can help replace missing teeth and preserve dental function and aesthetics.  Some solutions are dental bridges, partials and dentures.  One solution stands out above the rest as the ‘gold standard’ for tooth replacement- dental implants.

A dental implant is the most permanent, natural looking and feeling method of tooth replacement.  They are reliable, predictable, and designed to last a lifetime.

An implant replaces the entire tooth structure, from root to crown.  This provides an unsurpassed level of stability, strength and aesthetics.  In addition, an implant will help maintain the jaw bone in an area that would otherwise shrink away from non-use.

The first titanium dental implant was placed in a volunteer patient by Per Ingvar Branemark in 1965.  Since then, dental implants have become the preferred method of tooth replacement.  Dental implants have a success rate of 98%.  This means, if you have one, it will most likely last you the rest of your life.

A dental implant is a root shaped titanium post which is inserted into the prepared jaw.  The titanium metal is biocompatible, meaning that the surrounding bone tissue is attracted to it and will heal right onto the surface of the implant (known as osseointegration), making it extremely stable and solid.  Once osseointegration has occurred, the implant can be completed with a porcelain crown which is made to look and feel just like the rest of your natural teeth.

A dental implant cannot decay, and with proper care and cleaning will remain healthy and stable for life.  It is important to maintain good personal dental hygiene and to see your dentist regularly to ensure the health of your implant.  An implant can still develop gum disease and bone loss from oral bacteria.

To learn more about dental implants as a tooth replacement options, visit Park Saratoga Dental.


*Sources:  American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and

The Top 5 Foods That Stain Your Teeth

worst foods for staining teethA bright, white, healthy smile is something people notice about you right away. Whitening dental products are some of the most popular beauty products on the market. In order to get the whitest, brightest smile, safely, we recommend professional teeth whitening. In order to keep teeth their whitest between professional treatments, you might want to avoid these top 5 foods that stain your teeth.
1. Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea leave behind a dark residue that can stain your teeth brown or yellow. Avoiding these beverages can help prevent staining. If you do not want to give up your morning coffee, consider brushing and flossing well after you get your caffeine kick for the day.
2. Red and White Wine
One of the worst offenders when it comes to tooth discoloration is red wine. The deep pigments can give your teeth a darkened or even bluish hue. Did you know that even white wine can promote staining on your teeth? Drinking white wine followed by foods or beverages that are known to cause staining causes teeth to stain more deeply.
3. Sodas and Sports Drinks
The high sugar and acid content in these beverages can not only damage your teeth, but they can promote discoloration and stains. Your body and your teeth will thank you for switching to water instead.
4. Berries
Dark red, blue and purple berries are great for your health, but they can stain your teeth just like wine. If you include deeply pigmented berries as a part of your regular diet, be sure to brush and floss after enjoying them in order to help prevent staining.
5. Sauces and Seasonings
Tomato sauce, soy sauce, and other condiments with deep pigment can stain your teeth. Acidic sauces can actually weaken tooth enamel, making it more porous and more likely to absorb stains.
To prevent stains from foods and beverages, make sure to follow these tips:
• Enjoy stain causing foods in moderation
• Brush and floss after consuming stain promoting foods and drinks
• Use a straw and swallow promptly
• Rinse well with water after eating or drinking
• Get your teeth professionally cleaned at least every six months
• Professionally whiten teeth to get them bright and white. Touch up your treatments with an at-home whitening kit available from your dentist.

To schedule a professional teeth cleaning and in-office dramatic dental whitening at Park Saratoga Dental, contact us today.

4 Ways Invisalign Can Improve Your Dental Health

Invisalign is the clear alternative to braces
Straight Teeth are Healthy Teeth

Most people think that straightening their teeth is purely cosmetic. Did you know that orthodontic treatment with Invisalign not only straightens teeth, but provides benefits that can actually help your teeth and gums become healthier?  Here are 4 ways straight teeth can improve your dental health and overall health.

1. Straight teeth are easier to keep clean.

One of the problems with misaligned and crooked teeth is that there are more crevices and hard to clean areas. In some cases, even diligent brushing and flossing will leave tooth surfaces impossible to keep clean. Bacteria and plaque that remain in the crevices cause tooth decay. Straightening misaligned teeth makes it easier to keep them clean and plaque-free, resulting in fewer cavities, less tartar and healthier teeth.

2. Proper dental alignment reduces the risk for gum disease

Tight spaces harbor bacteria and plaque. Some oral bacteria are known to be the cause of gum disease (periodontitis). When teeth are crooked, the tight spaces harbor bacteria that can lead to gingivitis. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth, and is caused by destructive bacteria. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and the only stage that can be completely reversed. As the disease progresses, it destroys gum tissue and bone that surrounds the teeth.

Over time, diseased teeth can become loose and even fall out. Almost half of American adults have some degree of gum disease. When teeth are properly aligned, it is easier to remove plaque and bacteria that cause periodontitis. Advanced gum disease can be prevented with Invisalign treatment and proper dental hygiene.

3. Misaligned teeth can cause frequent headaches

When your teeth do not fit together properly, your bite is unbalanced. This causes improper strain on the facial muscles that can lead muscle fatigue. Many dental patients with misaligned or crooked teeth complain of frequent headaches. When the facial muscles become chronically strained and fatigued, patients can develop myofacial pain which involves painful symptoms in the facial muscles, jaws, head and neck. In addition to facial muscle fatigue, it is possible to develop dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint. While misaligned teeth are not the only cause of frequent headaches and myofacial pain, it makes sense to bring teeth into proper alignment if you are experiencing these problems.

4. A healthy bite helps support a healthy body.

When your bite is incorrect and teeth do not fit together properly, it can be difficult to bite and chew food. Some orthodontic patients complain that their molars to not meet when they chew or that they have an ‘open bite’. An open bite is when the front teeth do not come together, but the molars do. Inability to properly bite and chew can prevent a healthy diet. Softer foods tend to be higher in sugars and carbohydrates, which promote tooth decay.

Patients who cannot chew their food properly omit healthy food choices like fresh vegetables and fruits from their diet because they are too difficult to eat. A healthy diet consisting of fresh vegetable and fruit choices, lean meat and limited fats and grains helps your body stay healthy. Poor diet has been linked to systemic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
There is a lot more to orthodontic treatment with Invisalign clear aligners than just a beautiful smile. To learn more about how straightening your teeth can help improve your dental health and positively impact your overall health, contact Park Saratoga Dental.

5 Ways to Get a Superstar Smile in 2015

Invisalign Clear Braces
Invisalign Clear Braces

Self- Improvement is always a strong theme at the beginning of a New Year. If improving the appearance of your smile is on your list of resolutions, then your Saratoga dentist has what you need to get a superstar smile in 2015.

These 5 cosmetic dentistry treatments can not only make you look better, they can help improve your dental health, too! Read on to find out how you can improve your smile this year.

1. Professional Teeth Whitening
One of the most affordable and dramatic cosmetic dental treatments is professional teeth whitening. Food and drink can stain teeth, causing them to discolor over time. The best way to whiten and brighten healthy teeth is with a professional strength bleaching treatment at your dentist office. The fastest way to whiter teeth is with Zoom®. Zoom is an intense dental bleaching treatment which is performed in the dental office. With this treatment, you can achieve up to several shades whiter teeth in one visit. For whitening maintenance treatments, or for more gradual results, choose take-home whitening kits to brighten your smile several shades over one to two weeks.

2. Porcelain Veneers
Sometimes, even healthy teeth may not look as attractive as you would like. Teeth that are slightly crooked, chipped, misshapen or deeply stained can be enhanced with porcelain veneers. Veneers are a durable and natural looking covering for imperfect teeth. Think of them as a thin, porcelain ‘shell’ which covers the natural tooth, enhancing the appearance of your smile. Veneers are usually used on the front 4-6 teeth, which are most visible when you smile. Porcelain veneers are used only on teeth which are healthy except for cosmetic imperfections. They are one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments because of the dramatic results they provide.

3. Dental Implants
Missing teeth can have a big impact on your quality of life as well as your appearance. Replacing teeth with dental implants improves both dental function and appearance. Unlike dentures and partials, implants replace the tooth root as well as the crown, providing the strongest, most long-lasting and natural tooth replacement option available. With her attention to detail and aesthetics, Dr. Kathleen Ban creates beautiful dental implant restorations that are made to last. The best thing about dental implants, beside looks, is that your ability to eat, laugh and smile without worry is restored.

4. Invisalign™ Clear Aligners
When it comes to straightening teeth, many people are turned off by the thought of wearing traditional, metal braces. With frequent orthodontist visits, dietary restrictions and aesthetic concerns, patients with crooked or misaligned teeth often choose to accept an imperfect smile. The fact is, teeth which are misaligned are more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. Straightening teeth with Invisalign is an attractive option, because the orthodontic appliance is nearly invisible while worn. In addition, it can be removed for meals and personal dental hygiene, so there is no interference with your lifestyle. Complete results are usually achieved within 6-12 months, and the clear aligners require fewer office visits. Each clear aligner is worn for about 2 weeks before you replace it with the next in the series. In a matter of weeks, you will begin to see straighter, healthier teeth.

5. Tooth-Colored White Fillings
Although dental fillings are used to repair decayed teeth, they can be considered a cosmetic dental procedure. Tooth-colored fillings, such as those available at Park Saratoga Dental, blend into the surrounding tooth structure, making them virtually invisible. Unlike traditional metal fillings, white fillings are made from a composite material which contains no mercury. The color and texture blend perfectly with your healthy tooth structure, making your dental repairs a secret to everyone except you.
For more information about cosmetic dentistry procedures and treatments, contact the team at Park Saratoga Dental for a personalized consultation appointment.

Make 2015 your year to achieve the beautiful smile you want.