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By Dr. Stephanie ML Wong, DMD, Inc.
November 06, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
JimmyFallonCanrsquotCatchaBreak-ExceptinHisTooth

Want to know the exact wrong way to pry open a stubborn lid? Just ask Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC-TV’s popular “Tonight Show.” When the 40-year-old funnyman had trouble opening a tube of scar tissue repair gel with his hands, he decided to try using his teeth.

What happened next wasn’t funny: Attempting to remove the cap, Fallon chipped his front tooth, adding another medical problem to the serious finger injury he suffered a few weeks before (the same wound he was trying to take care of with the gel). If there’s a moral to this story, it might be this: Use the right tool for the job… and that tool isn’t your teeth!

Yet Fallon is hardly alone in his dilemma. According to the American Association of Endodontists, chipped teeth account for the majority of dental injuries. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a number of great ways to restore damaged teeth.

If the chip is relatively small, it’s often possible to fix it with cosmetic bonding. In this procedure, tough, natural-looking resin is used to fill in the part of the tooth that has been lost. Built up layer by layer, the composite resin is cured with a special light until it’s hard, shiny… and difficult to tell from your natural teeth. Best of all, cosmetic bonding can often be done in one office visit, with little or no discomfort. It can last for up to ten years, so it’s great for kids who may be getting more permanent repairs later.

For larger chips or cracks, veneers or crowns may be suggested. Veneers are wafer-thin porcelain coverings that go over the entire front surface of one or more teeth. They can be used to repair minor to moderate defects, such as chips, discolorations, or spacing irregularities. They can also give you the “Hollywood white” smile you’ve seen on many celebrities.

Veneers are generally custom-made in a lab, and require more than one office visit. Because a small amount of tooth structure must be removed in order to put them in place, veneers are considered an irreversible treatment. But durable and long-lasting veneers are the restorations of choice for many people.

Crowns (also called caps) are used when even more of the tooth structure is missing. They can replace the entire visible part of the tooth, as long as the tooth’s roots remain viable. Crowns, like veneers, are custom-fabricated to match your teeth in size, shape and color; they are generally made in a dental lab and require more than one office visit. However, teeth restored with crowns function well, look natural, and can last for many years.

So what happened to Jimmy Fallon? We aren’t sure which restoration he received… but we do know that he was back on TV the same night, flashing a big smile.

If you would like more information about tooth restorations, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers” and “Artistic Repair Of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”

By Dr. Stephanie ML Wong, DMD, Inc.
September 07, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
AToothlessTiger

Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?

Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?

Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.

Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.

But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?

In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.

Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.

What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.

If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”

By Dr. Stephanie ML Wong, DMD, Inc.
March 25, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns   Bridges  

Missing teeth do more than just upset the balance of your smile. Sagging facial muscles due to bone atrophy cause premature aging crowns and bridgesand potential issues with self-esteem. Crowns and bridges can help you repair your smile to prevent tooth loss and replace already missing teeth. Learn more about these dental restorations with help from your Honolulu, HI dentist, Dr. Stephanie Wong.

What are crowns and bridges? 
Crowns and bridges are dental restorations usually made from porcelain. A dental laboratory customizes crowns and bridges specifically for you based on a mold of your teeth. Crowns are a cap-like structure which fits over the tooth to stabilize and strengthen it. A bridge is made up of 3 prosthetic teeth in a row, with crowns on the outer two teeth. The crowns anchor the bridge into place using the healthy teeth surrounding the gap to replace the missing tooth.

When are crowns and bridges needed? 
A crown helps strengthen a weakened tooth. Some situations where crowns are necessary include:

  • to stabilize a broken tooth
  • to strengthen a tooth with a large filling
  • to give new life to a worn tooth
  • to improve the appearance of a misshaped or heavily stained tooth
  • to cover a dental implant

Those with a gap surrounded by healthy teeth benefit from a bridge. The teeth on both sides of the gap must be strong enough to support the restoration.

Are crowns or bridges right for me? 
Anyone considering a crown or bridge should be in good general dental health and maintain an excellent at-home oral care routine. Brushing twice a day and flossing once keeps your natural teeth and dental restorations alike healthy and clean. Additionally, seeing your Honolulu dentist at least twice a year for an examination and cleaning allows them to find and treat any problems early and prevents tooth decay and gum disease.

For more information on crowns and bridges, please contact Dr. Stephanie Wong, your Honolulu, HI dentist. Call (808) 732-3072 to speak with an associate about scheduling your appointment today!

By Dr. Stephanie ML Wong, DMD, Inc.
February 03, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns   Bridges  

Do you want to restore your smile? Do the options seem overwhelming and you are not sure which way to go? Stephanie Wong, D.M.D in Honolulu wants to help you make the best decisions possible when it comes to restoring your smile.

Two options that can be considered when restoring your smile are a crown or a bridge, but how do you know which is best for you? CrownsHere are some important facts to know about both options.

Crowns

A crown is also called a cap. A crown fully covers a damaged tooth to the gum line. You may need a crown when the tooth has become weak, fractured, discolored, or is misshapen. A crown can be used when the tooth can be saved. A crown can be made of a variety of materials, including: porcelain, ceramic, gold, or other metal alloys. A crown placed on a tooth will strengthen the tooth and improve its appearance.

When you have a crown placed, Dr. Wong will reduce the tooth down to leave behind the healthy part of the tooth. Next, she will take an impression of the tooth so the crown can be made to blend in with your natural teeth. While the permanent crown is being made, you will be given a temporary crown to wear. Once the permanent crown is ready, your temporary crown will be removed and the permanent crown will be cemented onto your tooth.

Bridges

A bridge may be recommended when your damaged tooth is beyond repair or when you are missing one or more teeth. When you have a missing tooth or teeth, the remaining teeth in your mouth begin to shift which will result in a poor bite alignment. The missing teeth can also result in gum disease and TMJ disorders.

When you have a missing tooth, the teeth on either side of the gap will be reduced down so crowns can be placed on them and the replacement tooth or teeth will be attached in between. Unlike dentures, bridges are permanently fixed in your mouth. Bridges are made out of the same materials as crowns.

Both crowns and bridges can last a lifetime with proper care. Brush and floss your teeth regularly and continue to see your dentist for regular check-ups.

Choosing a crown or a bridge will largely depend on your unique needs. Dr. Wong will fully examine your mouth and discuss with you the best options for restoring your smile. In Honolulu, call her today at (808) 732-3072!

By Dr. Stephanie ML Wong, DMD, Inc.
December 10, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns  

Dental crowns are a restorative dentistry procedure that involves placing a tooth-shaped cap or covering over your existing tooth to protect the inner portion. Thanks to a crown at our Honolulu, HI dentist's office, you may be able to save a tooth that would otherwise require extraction. Crowns are placed after a root canal, on a tooth that is severely cracked or chipped or to improve a tooth's appearance.

While crowns can be made from many materials, some of the most common are porcelain, resin and porcelain over metal. A material that many patients may not consider -- but should -- is gold.

Gold crowns offer several distinct advantages over other crown options. First, these crowns require less removal of surrounding tooth enamel to place. Gold crowns are naturally sturdy, so they require less material to provide strength. For example, a porcelain crown requires a greater thickness to withstand tough chewing and wear and tear placed on the teeth.

In addition to being a tough material, gold crowns are long-lasting. They can last anywhere from 20 to 40 years while other materials may require replacing after only a decade. Gold crowns are also less likely to cause wear and tear on the teeth they meet with, which is advantageous for those who grind or clench their teeth.

While gold crowns may not offer the same aesthetic benefits of porcelain crowns on the front teeth, they are an excellent option for molars in the back of the mouth that are not in plain view. However, some patients prefer the gold crown for its appearance.

If you haven't made a trip to Dr. Stephanie Wong's Honolulu, HI, dentist's office for a six-month check-up, now is the time. She can answer questions regarding gold crowns to replace or to strengthen a chipped or damaged tooth.



Stephanie Wong

Dr. Stephanie Wong is unlike any other dentist you've ever been to.  The reason she became a dentist was her yearning to help and heal her patients.  Her goal was to "Create Life Changing Experiences".  She is also well regarded...

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