1) How can I prevent my teeth from wearing down and breaking?
I recommend the use of a night guard to protect your teeth from night time grinding.  We all grind our teeth at night (some more than others), but everyone will see wear and breakage over time unless their teeth are protect.  Some people grind during the day as well and they need to catch themselves and think “lips together – teeth apart” to put their jaws in the rest position.

2) How do I select a good cosmetic dentist?
There is no specialty after dental school for cosmetic dentistry (such as with orthodontics or endodontics).  Therefore, it is important to look at additional education, experience and past successes.  Interview two or more dentists and base your decision on how comfortable you feel after a thorough examination and consultation.  The upfront cost of multiple consultations is a long-term investment in ensuring you are confident in your decision.   It is always a good idea to check a dentist’s background with the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners.

3) Do crowns or veneers work better for cosmetic dentistry?
Veneers offer the benefit of little or no tooth reduction and look great.  Crowns and partial crowns require more tooth reduction than veneers.  However, the end result is stronger, less expensive and looks fabulous.  We often design our cases with a combination of these treatments because of the different conditions that are discovered in the diagnostic work up.

4) Is there a method that is less costly than porcelain crowns and veneers that will enhance my smile?
Direct resin veneers are an excellent choice when you want a big change for less cost.  They require the same pre-planning, but are completed in one visit and do not incur the laboratory costs.  Since these are not as durable as porcelain veneers, they will not last as many years and will usually need some maintenance and repairs over time.  I have had many patients find this to be just right for their needs.

5) How long do dental bleaching treatments last?
The benefits of bleaching typically last several years.  However, results will depend on individual habits, such as smoking and coffee consumption.  Keeping your teeth properly cleaned by brushing, flossing and regular check-ups will assist in maintaining white teeth

6) I am concerned about getting too many X-rays.  How safe are they?
Dental X-ray examinations provide invaluable information to the dentist and allow him/her to view what is happening beneath the surface of the patient’s teeth and gums.  X-rays must always be taken sensibly because the amount of exposure incurred over one’s lifetime is important.  Fortunately, dental X-rays give off very little radiation.  Dr. Thompson’s office has further reduced the amount of radiation exposure by changing over to a digital X-ray system.  As an additional precaution, all X-rays are taken with a lead apron worn by the patient to further deflect the radiation.

The risk factors associated with dental X-rays are little-to-none and the benefits are substantial.  X-rays allow dentists to detect problems before they become visible, preventing major problems from developing.  This saves teeth, promotes health and saves patients money.  In addition, dentists are also able to detect tumors, joint abnormalities, abscessed teeth and bone diseases.

For more information on dental X-rays, click here to view information provided by the American Dental Association and to view a chart that shows the various sources of radiation and the levels of exposure.

Have a question for Dr. Thompson?  Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments and we will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.