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What Exactly Is Cosmetic Dentistry?

 

It’s that one seemingly innocent little word that has the potential to cause so much hesitation when it comes to taking care of our teeth: "cosmetic." Cosmetic dentistry might not sound like something for everyone, especially those who already have a healthy, beautiful smile. But believe it or not, cosmetic dentistry isn’t just for people with imperfect teeth. Cosmetic dentistry is for everyone - and it encompasses a wide variety of different procedures.

So, what is considered cosmetic dentistry, anyway?

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What Is Dental Bonding?

 

When you think of bonding, what comes to mind? Perhaps a nice campfire retreat with your family? Getting acquainted with your new baby? Well, when it comes to dentistry, bonding means something a little different. Dental bonding is a resin composite that is adhered (or bonded) to the tooth to repair chips, cracks, decay and discoloration on the teeth. It’s called bonding because the resin is literally bonded to the tooth, creating a natural-looking surface that is usually undetectable to the naked eye.

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All About Dentures


 

It’s been estimated that up to 40 million American adults wear a full set of dentures - and each year, that number increases. Dentures, both full and partial, are prosthetic teeth that secure to the inside of the mouth to replace teeth that have been lost or that maybe never developed in the first place. But while dentures look a lot like a natural set of teeth, the way you care for them is very different.

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What to Consider When Considering Invisalign

Do you have teeth that are out of their ideal alignment? Do you have a bad bite? Are you interested in straightening your teeth, but unwilling to deal with traditional wire and bracket braces? Invisalign may be the solution!

Founded in San Jose, California, in 1997, Invisalign braces have quickly become a household name. In the 20 years since their founding, Invisalign braces have perfected over 2.6 million smiles around the world. But despite their popularity, there are still a few misconceptions about Invisalign. If you are interested in straightening your teeth without the hassle of getting traditional braces, check out these lesser-known facts about Invisalign.

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Why Cosmetic Dentistry Isn’t Just Cosmetic


If you’ve ever considered getting veneers to improve the color and shape of your front teeth, you may be surprised to learn that not everyone is a good candidate for them. That’s because veneers are simply a covering for your teeth. If your teeth need more than just aesthetic work, or if there are conditions present in the mouth that would lower the success rate of your veneers, Dr. Simpson may advise you to put your aesthetic dentistry procedure on hold until corrections can be made.

 

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Is It Time to Reconsider Dental Implants?


If you’re missing one or multiple teeth, chances are you've considered replacing them. Replacing lost teeth not only looks and feels better, but it is also better for your teeth and jaw. That’s because when you leave open spaces in your mouth, you can experience bone loss and the shifting of the rest of your teeth. Shifting teeth isn’t just an aesthetic problem, it can also cause uneven wear, excess tooth decay, and even headaches and jaw pain.

 

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A Good Smile is Still a Major Player in Modern Dating


Dating site Match.com has released its seventh annual "Singles in America" dating survey, and it’s got a lot to say about what single Americans are looking for in a partner.

The survey, which quizzed singles on everything from their social media habits to who should pick up the check, also inquired about what qualities are important in selecting a partner.

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The World’s Most Famous Teeth


For nearly a century, movies have been capturing our hearts and imaginations in a way no other medium could. From fantastic wardrobes to stunning makeup effects, so much can be conveyed about a character without that person ever speaking a word of dialogue. In that spirit, we have compiled a list of the most memorable teeth in Hollywood history! 

 

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Veneers Aren’t Just for Your Teeth


 If you’re one of the 81 percent of people who believe their smile is unattractive, or the 28 percent who refuse to show their teeth in photos on social media, you could be a candidate for porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are thin porcelain strips that are fitted onto the tooth and then adhered into place. Porcelain veneers can improve the look of the color, shape and texture of the teeth. Usually placed on the front-facing surface of your teeth, veneers give you the beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of, without having to undergo lengthy procedures like braces, crowns, or dental implants.

But the benefits of veneers go way beyond just your teeth! Having a beautiful smile doesn’t just improve your appearance, it can improve your entire life! And here are the facts to back that up. 

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Reading Teeth: What Morphopsychology Says About Your Personality


We recently read a fascinating article about the art of "morphopsychology," which is essentially reading the shape of one’s teeth to determine their personality type- but is there any merit to it?

In morphopsychology, there are supposedly four shapes of teeth, each shape possessing its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Individuals possessing that tooth shape are said to personify the traits associated with their tooth shape. The shapes are as follows:

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Dentists Caution Against Growing Foreign Dental Tourism Trend


As health insurance costs skyrocket and more and more employers are declining to offer dental coverage as part of their compensation packages, Americans with costly dental work are feeling the pinch in their wallets. To get the care they need without breaking the bank, many patients are traveling beyond borders to undergo procedures that can often cost three or four times more in the US. But a growing number of dentists are cautioning patients that when you undergo dental procedures in some foreign clinics, you may not be getting the bargain you think you’re getting.

According to the North Carolina-based research firm Patients Beyond Borders, an estimated 500,000 patients per year cross the border to Mexico for dental care each year, and that number is on the incline. In fact, Patients Beyond Borders estimates that global dental tourism is increasing at a rate of about 15-25% a year, with most Americans heading to Mexico or Costa Rica for dental procedures, followed by Turkey, South Korea and Malaysia, to name a few. So, what’s the big deal? If patients are saving money and getting the care they need, that can’t be a bad thing, right? Not so fast, says Wilmington, North Carolina dentist Dr. Michele Simpson."When you cross the border to any foreign country for care, you could be putting your health at risk," Simpson said. "In the US, we have numerous safeguards in place to protect the patient from unsanitary or unsafe practices or practitioners. In foreign countries, while there may be standards, you don’t know how strictly they’re enforced, or if there is recourse at all if something goes wrong." Whereas in America, doctors have a litany of organizations in place to make sure the highest standards are met, not every country requires as much "That’s part of why the costs in the US are higher," Simpson said. "Because doctors must carry malpractice insurance, licenses, permits- many of these safeguards are expensive, but they’re worth the investment in your health and safety."

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When Dental Implants Don’t Work


When dental implants were introduced to consumers in the late 1960’s, they offered new hope to patients who thought they’d never have the look and feel of ‘real’ teeth again. Since then, dental implants have steadily increased in popularity, earning a reputation as the luxury alternative to dentures. Today, though still expensive (the average cost of a full set is around $35k, though some sets have cost nearly triple that), dental implants are now becoming more mainstream. But like any medical procedure, they are not without risks. We spoke to Dr. Michelle Simpson of Wilmington, NC about what happens when dental implants don’t implant.To most people who get dental implants, they are well worth the time, pain, and expense incurred to have them installed. But many patients do not realize that implants carry with them a risk of failure – and when they fail, it can cause irreparable damage to your gums and jaw bone. That’s why it’s important to know the risks associated with dental implants."Dental implants are titanium screws that are implanted into the jaw bone. Once the screws have successfully adhered to the bone (a process called osseointegration) and the bone and gum have healed, an abutment is placed on the titanium post. From there, artificial teeth are created and attached to the abutment," says Dr. Simpson. The implant process is done in stages, which are completed over several months. This allows for healing between each stage. But according to Dr. Simpson, "Sometimes, even despite the allotted healing time the implant doesn’t properly bond to the bone."While there are many factors which may cause the osseointegration process to fail, new research is shedding some light on a surprising reason. A recent study by McGill University in Montreal found that certain medications may be to blame for some osseointegration failure. In the study of 728 patients, those who took antacids during the osseointegration process had more than double the risk of implant failure (6.8%) than those who did not take them (3.2%). On the other hand, patients who took beta blockers (a medication is taken to reduce blood pressure that works by blocking the hormone epinephrine) were found to have the lowest risk of implant failure – just .6%, whereas those who did not take beta blockers had a 4.1% chance of implant failure. It is believed that because antacids decrease calcium absorption (and have been found to increase the risk of bone fractures), they make it harder for dental implants to osseointegrate to the jaw successfully. Conversely, according to Dr. Simpson, "Beta blockers have been shown to increase bone formation in other studies- so their use in dental implant patients actually increased the body’s ability to accommodate the implant."What this means for future implant patients is still unknown, there is a good chance that beta blockers may play a role in the healing process. In the meantime, Dr. Simpson says the research can help dentists provide more information to their patients about what to avoid during the implant process. "Now we know to tell patients to limit their use of antacids. Whether that means they need to cut back on certain foods or find a different medication that doesn’t affect the bone metabolism, it will empower them to have the best odds at a successful implantation."

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Veneers vs. Crowns: Which is Best for You?


If you read a lot of celebrity news, you’ve probably already heard a lot about porcelain veneers- which celebrities have them, which celebrities need them, and how much better their teeth look after getting them. If you’ve ever wondered if veneers are right for you, keep reading. Dr. Michelle Simpson discusses these handy little porcelain facings, and the many ways they can benefit your smile.

One of the most common questions we get about porcelain veneers is, what are veneers- and how are they different from crowns? Veneers are porcelain facings that are adhered to the front of your tooth to improve the look of your smile. They are often used on teeth with chips, undesirable shapes, permanent discoloration, or other damage that is only on the front facing surface of the tooth. Conversely, crowns are cap-like fillings that offer 360-degree coverage that encompasses the entire tooth’s surface- so, it not just the front of the tooth. Crowns are most often used when a tooth is broken, or when too much of the original tooth has already been replaced by fillings and attempting another filling or veneer carries too much of a risk. In terms of insurance, whereas veneers are usually considered cosmetic, crowns are generally considered more of a necessity and are often at least partially covered by some insurance plans.

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Meet Dr. Michele Simpson!


For over 22 years, Dr. Michele Simpson has been practicing the art of dentistry – but did you know that her original passion was not for teeth, but for music? That’s right- Dr. Simpson initially majored in music in college and intended to be a musician or music teacher. She even dreamed of touring Europe, playing her bassoon with the symphony. In fact, she still plays the bassoon today!

So how does one go from gifted musician to gifted dentist? It all started with a part-time, after school job. A college student at the time, Dr. Simpson answered an ad for a dental assistant- no experience necessary, and was hired on the spot. She remained on the job for several years, and as graduation neared, she realized that she not only loved the practice, she loved the work, too. It was then that she decided she no longer wanted to pursue a career in the music industry- and broke the news to her family that she wanted to go to dental hygienist school. Thankfully, her mother had loftier goals for Dr. Simpson. "My mother said ‘are you kidding me you’re almost finished with four years of college, please just go to dental school and be the dentist.’" And the rest, as they say, is history.

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Michele Simpson DDS

Wilmington Dental Office

3317 Masonboro Loop Rd • Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28409

(910) 550-3959

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3317 Masonboro Loop Rd
Suite 140
Wilmington, NC 28409