My Blog

Posts for: January, 2015


If you have a tooth that just doesn't look good because of decay or injury, a porcelain laminate veneer is probably a good way to make it look as good as it ever did — and maybe even better! Dental veneers are composed of thin layers of dental ceramic material. They essentially replace the original tooth enamel and require preparation of the tooth by removing a small amount of enamel to allow room for the placement of the veneer.

Recently, more and more dentists have been using minimal prep or prepless techniques that do not require this preparation. In such cases, the porcelain is bonded directly to the outer layer of the tooth's enamel. Highly skilled dental technicians can design a custom-fit veneer that feathers into the tooth just short of the gum line.

Prepless techniques cannot be used in all situations, but when they are used appropriately the results are beautiful and very stable. Should you get prepless veneers? The following is a list of advantages and disadvantages of prepless veneers.

Advantages of prepless veneers include:

  • Tooth preparation or reduction is not needed, leaving the original tooth whole.
  • They are not placed under the gum tissue, eliminating the possibility that the restorations negatively impact the gum tissue.
  • They can be used to change the appearance of teeth that are too small or misshapen making the teeth look larger and eliminate unwanted spacing.
  • They can be used to “lengthen” teeth that have been worn down by grinding.
  • Since the underlying tooth has not been reduced, prepless veneers are reversible and practically risk-free.

Disadvantages include:

  • There are many cosmetic situations in which they cannot be used, and traditional veneers (requiring preparation) must be used instead.
  • Prepless veneers cannot be used in cases in which orthodontic treatment is recommended to move the teeth, such as improper tooth position, poor bite, or a poor facial profile.
  • Since they are added on to existing tooth structure, they do not work for teeth that are relatively large or in a forward position in a smile.
  • They do not usually work for lower teeth because of space restrictions.
  • They cannot replace lost or damaged enamel.

Working with prepless veneers requires special skills and training. Please discuss our credentials and experience with us when you inquire about this technique. We can assess your specific situation and let you know whether restoration without the drill is appropriate for you.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about prepless veneers. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Porcelain Veneers Without the Drill.”

Congratulations! You’ve just undergone your first teeth whitening procedure, and you finally have the radiant, beautiful smile you’ve always wanted. If you’re anything like most patients who receive whitening treatment, you’re probably wondering “what now?” Now that you’ve got a gorgeous smile, you need to make sure you can keep it.White Teeth

Watch What You Put in Your Mouth
Obviously, a main concern of patients who have just had their teeth whitened is making sure that their teeth stay white. But teeth whitening procedures can also have other impacts besides brightening your chompers. The procedure can also leave them sensitive for up to three days after treatment. To avoid staining your teeth and discomfort while eating, be sure to avoid consuming the following items:

  • Foods that can stain your teeth, like berries, beets, and dark chocolate
  • Dark beverages, like coffee, tea, and red wine
  • Food and drinks high in acid, like juice, soda, and citrus (oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes)
  • Ice cream and frozen yogurt

In addition to watching what foods you eat, you must abstain from chewing tobacco and smoking for at least two days after your procedure. As a general rule of thumb, though, we recommend giving them up for good.

Other Care Tips and Tricks

You’ll want to keep up on your regular hygiene routine, brushing twice and flossing at least once daily, but be sure to use a regular, white toothpaste—no gels or colored pastes. If you chew gum, make sure it’s sugar-free.

If you experience any gum or tooth sensitivity after your procedure, you can take a low-dose, over-the-counter painkiller, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to ease your discomfort. However, if symptoms persist for more than a week, see a dentist immediately.

To schedule your next teeth whitening procedure, or to learn more about cosmetic dentistry in the Fremont, CA area, call Richard Ta, DDS at (510) 573-3286 today!

By Richard Ta, DDS
January 14, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

As a member of the best-selling pop group Spice Girls, Mel C (AKA Sporty Spice) enjoyed her share of musical superstardom. At the band’s peak in the Nineties, the young singer’s signature look featured baggy sweatpants, an assortment of tattoos, a nose stud and a gold-capped incisor, front and center in her mouth. Today, Melanie Chisholm is still singing — but now she’s a mom, an amateur triathlete… and that gold tooth is just a memory. Not only that, her smile looks more evenly spaced and whiter than it did when she was referred to as the “tomboy” of the group.

What happened? In our view, it all boils down to changing tastes — plus a little bit of help from dental professionals. As the “wannabe” singer proves, there’s no single standard when it comes to making your teeth look their best. Your own look is unique to you — and your smile can reflect that individuality.

For example, crowns (caps) are substantial coverings that may be placed on teeth when they are being restored. They are available in three types: gold, all-porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. The latter two are tooth-colored, while the gold is — well, shiny like gold bling. Which one is right for you? In many cases, it’s your choice.

Likewise, dental veneers — wafer-thin shells that can correct cosmetic issues by covering the surface of your teeth — can be made in a variety of shades. Their hues may range from natural ivory to Hollywood white, and everything in between. What’s the best color for you? Only you can say.

Some people opt for a “smile makeover” that uses small irregularities in the spacing and color of teeth to create a more “natural” look. Other folks want a perfectly even, brilliant white smile that dazzles the eye. Still others are looking to match or restore the smile they once had — perhaps even re-creating a signature gap between the teeth. As long as there are no other dental issues involved, the choice is yours.

So if you’re unhappy with your smile — or if you feel it doesn’t reflect the person you “wannabe” — why not talk to us about a smile makeover? Just call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”

By Richard Ta, DDS
January 06, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Gum Disease  

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common, yet dangerous mouth disease that is caused by a lack of proper oral hygiene. When the bacteria in the mouth are allowed to build up, they can get into the gums and cause an infection--first gingivitis, then periodontitis.

Gum disease is a serious condition that can lead to missing teeth, a compromised immune system and even health complications including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Yet, many Americans who have gum disease don't even know they have it, as the Gum Diseasedisease doesn't usually show symptoms until it has already progressed. This is why regular visits to your Fremont dentist, Dr. Richard Ta, DDS, are so important. These visits can help prevent gum disease and catch it immediately should it start to develop.

Here are four symptoms of gum disease to watch out for.

1. Red, Swollen or Bleeding Gums

While a little bleeding during flossing is normal, especially if it's been a while since you last flossed, if your gums are persistently red and swollen, it is usually a sign of infection. Furthermore, if your gums are bleeding or if you notice pus, you will want to visit Dr. Ta right away.

2. Gums that are Pulling Away from Your Teeth

As the infection makes its way into your gum line, your gums will begin to pull away from your teeth. Not only can this be unsightly and leave the roots of your teeth unprotected, but it can lead to increased tooth sensitivity as well.

3. Sores in Your Mouth

Sores can be caused by a number of reasons, including gum disease. If you notice sores in your mouth, make sure you visit Dr. Ta to determine and treat the cause right away.

4. Loose or Missing Teeth

Gum disease doesn't just affect your gums; it can also compromise your teeth as well. As the gum disease progresses, your teeth may become so loose that they shift and fall out.

The thought of plaque may not keep you up at night, but if you aren't taking care of your teeth, gum disease is a serious disease you should be worried about. Don't wait until your gums are already infected. If it has been a while since your last Fremont dentist appointment, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ta today.