Category Archives: Dental

The Magic of Veneers

The Magic of Veneers

With these thin porcelain coatings on your teeth, you can brighten, straighten, and even correct spaces in your teeth, says Dr. Thomas Dudney. And they last 20 years.


“There’s a myriad of reasons to get veneers,” says Thomas E. Dudney, DMD, from his practice in Birmingham, who’s applied tens of thousands of veneers over the past 20 years. “Many patients are surprised at the kind of compliments they get. They expect better smiles, but the veneers exceed their expectations.”


What are veneers exactly? “They’re a thin shell of porcelain bonded to each tooth that allows you to change its shape and color,” describes Dr. Dudney. “They’re very thin, about .5mm, like the thickness of a fake fingernail.”


Why would I want them? “Veneers can change tooth color, but, in addition, you can fix spaces between teeth or short, crooked or overlapped teeth too,” says Dr. Dudney. “They can restore the look of your teeth to their natural size and shape.”


Are they better than bleaching? “Bleach only works on enamel, so if you have exposed dentin or don’t have thick enamel or it’s worn, eroded or cracked, bleaching isn’t beneficial. But veneers work, and work well if done well,” explains Dr. Dudney.


What’s the best part? “Women over 50 get surprised by how veneers support their lips and soft tissue around the mouth,” says Dr. Dudney. “They make their lips look fuller and decrease wrinkles around their mouth and lips.”


Can anyone get them? “There’s a very small percentage who aren’t candidates for veneers if it’s financially affordable for them,” states Dr. Dudney. “They need enough tooth to hold the veneer, but I don’t think there’s anyone who’s too old for them.” His oldest veneer patient so far was 86.


How’s it done? “Because the veneers are so thin, there’s very minimal drilling to make space for the veneers to fit on the tooth,” says Dr. Dudney. “Initially, we fit you with temporaries to check that your bite and speech aren’t affected. Then two to three weeks later you come back, and we bond the finished veneers in place.”


Don’t skimp here. “You can’t do just a couple of teeth, especially if you’re changing color or size and shape, so expense is a factor,” explains Dr. Dudney. Veneers generally run hundreds per tooth minimum and can reach over $10,000 for the 8 to 10 teeth you should have done initially. “This is not something you want to price shop for, and it can be thousands of dollars in difference per tooth,” continues Dr. Dudney. “But we expect them to last 20 years, and that’s a long time to be unhappy.”


How do I choose the right dentist to do my veneers? “If you’re going to make a major investment like this, find a dentist who’s shown they’re willing to spend the time to learn about these procedures in-depth,” suggests Dr. Dudney. Also ask to look at their before-and-after book of their patients, not the purchased books they can buy from the manufacturers.

by Jane Ehrhardt

To read more about Dr. Thomas Dudney, click here.

For more on Thomas E. Dudney Aesthetic & Restorative Dentistry in Birmingham, click here.

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Sleep through your next dental visit

Sleep Your Way through Your Next Dental Visit

Hate needles? Despise the drill? Don’t delay seeing the dentist anymore, no matter how long it’s been, says Dr. Edward Daniel. There’s a way to not feel a thing. And he means it.


If you’re afraid of the dentist, maybe it’s just time to find the right one. “Most people who fear the dentist had something go wrong at their last visit, so they’ve stayed away for years. We understand that,” says J. Edward Daniel, DMD with Daniel Family Dentistry in Birmingham.


Sweet, sweet slumber. “No one should stop seeing a dentist because they’re afraid,” says Dr. Daniel. “So many dentists will offer sedation as part of any office visit for any procedure.” He once sedated a man who knew he had such a strong gag reflex he couldn’t even get fitted for dentures while he was conscious.


What happens. “You come to the office, and we put you under for the procedure. You don’t need to see any needles or drills,” says Dr. Daniel. “You wake up and go home and just rest for the rest of the day. You get a nice night’s sleep, and the next day, you wake up without any pain. You won’t remember anything about your dental appointment.”


Once may be enough. “The funny thing is that we rarely have to sedate a patient again,” says Dr. Daniel. “When they get their dental work done under sedation, they don’t wait so long to come back, so it’s rarely an invasive procedure they need the next time. But we’ll certainly sedate again, if they request it.”


Ask about sedation. “If you’re apprehensive about seeing a dentist, call and find out if you’re a candidate for sedation,” says Dr. Daniel. Don’t hesitate to call no matter your health or dental situation. You might be surprised to find you easily qualify for sedation.


Any criteria? “Generally, most dentists will need you to come in for a consultation and exam, so we can see what you need taken care of,” says Dr. Daniel. Then for the procedure, like with any sedation, you’ll need to follow some pre- and post-op diet rules and make sure someone drives you home.


“Our goal is to make you comfortable while you’re getting your dental work done,” sums up Dr. Daniel. “If you want sedation, great. If you don’t, that’s great.”

by Jane Ehrhardt

To read more about Dr. J. Edward Daniel, click here.

For more on Daniel Family Dentistry in Birmingham, click here.

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But the Baby Teeth Aren’t Gone Yet!

But the Baby Teeth Aren’t Gone Yet!

You’ll be surprised at what age your child should be seeing an orthodontist. But having your child’s teeth assessed early can mean cheaper and easier corrections while their bones are still growing.

When you think kids and orthodontists, you think braces. If so, you’re thinking about orthodontists too late.

About the time they start school. By 7 years old, some molars have begun to show and baby teeth are dropping out. So things are shifting in the mouth and that’s when kids should be seen by an orthodontist to have their bite evaluated. “We’re looking for habits, like thumb sucking or mouth breathing in asthma sufferers, and for protrusive teeth or bad bite alignment,” says Stephanie B. Whitehead, DMD, MS, an orthodontist since 1988 in Birmingham.

The bones are in motion. “Certain things correct more easily while children’s bones are still forming,” says Dr. Whitehead. “It lessens the severity of the correction later if you catch some problems early.” For instance, a child who tongue thrusts while swallowing can drastically deform their tooth alignment and form speech impediments.

Parents! Listen to this.
“I think what most parents ignore about their children’s teeth is the potential for skeletal problems,” says Dr. Whitehead. “If you catch a bite problem in a girl by age 10 or 11, before her growth spurt, you have a much better chance of correcting it permanently and without surgery, than if you wait until 13, when most girls are done growing.” The CDC has growth charts here.

It’s free!
Most orthodontists don’t charge for that initial assessment visit. “We want to get a baseline for the child,” says Dr. Whitehead. “So isn’t it better to eliminate any possibility that there’s a problem forming rather than assume it’s all normal and then face serious corrections in the future?”

They’re wrong about orthodontists. Dr. Whitehead says the one piece of advice she wishes parents would hear is that “orthodontists are more about perfecting the bite of their child for functional purposes rather than about their pretty smile.”

I feel good. “Another reason to bring your children in early to see an orthodontist is for their self-confidence,” says Dr. Whitehead. “If they’re very embarrassed about their teeth, it can affect their whole psyche.” Protruding teeth, funny chewing habits, and gaps will mean teasing. A better bite early on means another area of themselves you’ve given your child to feel good about. And a healthy, confident child is what every parent strives for.

by Jane Ehrhardt

To read more about Dr. Whitehead, click here.
For more on her practice in Birmingham, click here.

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Professionally Pearly Whites for the New Year

Professionally Pearly Whites for the New Year

Treat Your Smile to a Deep Bleaching Like No Other

It cannot be denied that an extra bling in your smile makes people notice you. So as you kick off your New Year’s resolutions, you might consider adding this unique teeth whitening to your list and put some punch in your pearlies.


Not found at every dentist’s fingertips. In Birmingham, you can find this unusually powerful teeth whitening option at Greystone Smile Design. “Like most dentists, we’ve been frustrated at not getting the whitening results our patients want,” says Dr. Trenton Buchanan. “But the Kor Deep Bleaching system solves all our concerns.”


Whitens even tetracycline-stained teeth. “Everyone tells these patients that whitening can’t be done, and they’ll have to get veneers. But the first Deep Bleaching we did on a tetracycline patient, their teeth improved by 8 to 10 shades,” says Dr. Buchanan. Age and congenital teeth stains don’t hold any barriers to this system either.


The trays actually fit. “These are the perfect trays, and they’re what make your teeth just unbelievably white,” says Dr. Buchanan. Using highly detailed impressions, the company creates a fit so perfect to your teeth that the solution stays active at full strength for almost six hours each night. “With other trays, saliva leaks in, so you’re only getting about two to three hours of bleaching.”


No discomfort. “One of our patients recently told me that he started eating breakfast before he realized he still had his trays in,” laughs Dr. Buchanan. “It’s the superbly tight fit. It makes for a comfortable fit and keeps the solution away from your gums.”


It’s cool. Even room temperature drains the potency from a bleaching solution. At Greystone, the solution stays cold during shipping, in their office cooler, and then into your fridge. “I don’t think anybody else pays attention to this detail,” points out Dr. Buchanan. So unlike with other whitening systems, your teeth receive the full power of the 16% carbamide peroxide.


How it’s done. With Deep Bleaching, you use the trays to apply the solution every night for 2 weeks. Deeper stained teeth may require up to 8 weeks. After a final hour-long office visit, where you get 3 short treatments of a more powerful solution, you use the trays as needed for maintenance. It’s a one-time process, fit for anyone from 19 to 90, at the cost of less than one veneer.

by Jane Ehrhardt


For videos showing before/after examples or more about Deep Bleaching, click here.

To read more about Dr. Buchanan, click here.

For more on Greystone Smile Design, click here.

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