Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates
January 02, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry   veneers  

Dental VeneersA survey released by the American Association of Orthodontists found that about a third of Americans admit that they wish they had better-looking teeth. The quality of your smile has professional, social, and personal ramifications. Could your teeth benefit from veneers? After one visit to Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates in Kensington and Gaithersburg, MD you’ll know exactly what dental veneers can do for you and your smile.

Dental Veneers Hide Imperfections
Your teeth can be perfectly healthy except for visible imperfections on the outer enamel. Veneers hide these imperfections, no matter how unsightly they may be. Though a veneer is made of ultra-lightweight, translucent porcelain, the dental bonding agent used is colored to perfectly match your other teeth. Even dark, discolored, and chipped teeth can look smooth, white, and brand new with veneers.

Dental Veneers Protect
Porcelain is a high-quality ceramic material that is made through a special heating process. It is very durable and resists cracking or chipping. The toughness of the material gives your front teeth a certain level of protection for as long as the veneers are installed. However, it’s still a good idea to wear a mouthguard created by your Kensington or Gaithersburg, MD dentist whenever possible so that the veneers and your teeth have an additional safeguard. This is especially true if you have a tendency to clench your teeth or you participate in sports.

Dental Veneers Save Time
In order to change the positioning of your teeth for an ideal alignment, you would have to wear braces for at least a year or two and visit the dentist about every month. Veneers only take about a month for installation and you’ll only have to attend about two or three total appointments. Furthermore, each appointment with your dentist will only take about 45 minutes to an hour. You won’t have to wait very long to show off your smile to the world!

Learn More about Veneers
You don’t have to continue to be dissatisfied with your smile when you have a good cosmetic dentist on call. Find out what dental veneers can do for you by dialing (301) 933-1833 or (240) 683-3833 to schedule a visit with Dr. Kenneth Woo, Dr. Edmond Woo, or Dr. Ho Kai Wang at their Kensington or Gaithersburg, MD, offices.

By Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates
December 29, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
ADifferentKindofChipShotforProGolferDanielleKang

While the sport of golf may not look too dangerous from the sidelines, players know it can sometimes lead to mishaps. There are accidents involving golf carts and clubs, painful muscle and back injuries, and even the threat of lightning strikes on the greens. Yet it wasn’t any of these things that caused professional golfer Danielle Kang’s broken tooth on the opening day of the LPGA Singapore tournament.

“I was eating and it broke,” explained Kang. “My dentist told me, I've chipped another one before, and he said, you don't break it at that moment. It's been broken and it just chips off.” Fortunately, the winner of the 2017 Women’s PGA championship got immediate dental treatment, and went right back on the course to play a solid round, shooting 68.

Kang’s unlucky “chip shot” is far from a rare occurrence. In fact, chipped, fractured and broken teeth are among the most common dental injuries. The cause can be crunching too hard on a piece of ice or hard candy, a sudden accident or a blow to the face, or a tooth that’s weakened by decay or repetitive stress from a habit like nail biting. Feeling a broken tooth in your mouth can cause surprise and worry—but luckily, dentists have many ways of restoring the tooth’s appearance and function.

Exactly how a broken tooth is treated depends on how much of its structure is missing, and whether the soft tissue deep inside of it has been compromised. When a fracture exposes the tooth’s soft pulp it can easily become infected, which may lead to serious problems. In this situation, a root canal or extraction will likely be needed. This involves carefully removing the infected pulp tissue and disinfecting and sealing the “canals” (hollow spaces inside the tooth) to prevent further infection. The tooth can then be restored, often with a crown (cap) to replace the entire visible part. A timely root canal procedure can often save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted (removed).

For less serious chips, dental veneers may be an option. Made of durable and lifelike porcelain, veneers are translucent shells that go over the front surfaces of teeth. They can cover minor to moderate chips and cracks, and even correct size and spacing irregularities and discoloration. Veneers can be custom-made in a dental laboratory from a model of your teeth, and are cemented to teeth for a long-lasting and natural-looking restoration.

Minor chips can often be remedied via dental bonding. Here, layers of tooth-colored resin are applied to the surfaces being restored. The resin is shaped to fill in the missing structure and hardened by a special light. While not as long-lasting as other restoration methods, bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique that can often be completed in just one office visit.

If you have questions about restoring chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers” and “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin.”

By Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates
November 19, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
BobbyBonesDancesHisWaytoDentalDamage

The long-running hit show Dancing with the Stars has had its share of memorable moments, including a wedding proposal, a wardrobe malfunction, and lots of sharp dance moves. But just recently, one DWTS contestant had the bad luck of taking an elbow to the mouth on two separate occasions—one of which resulted in some serious dental damage.

Nationally syndicated radio personality Bobby Bones received the accidental blows while practicing with his partner, professional dancer Sharna Burgess. “I got hit really hard,” he said. “There was blood and a tooth. [My partner] was doing what she was supposed to do, and my face was not doing what it was supposed to do.”

Accidents like this can happen at any time—especially when people take part in activities where there’s a risk of dental trauma. Fortunately, dentists have many ways to treat oral injuries and restore damaged teeth. How do we do it?

It all depends on how much of the tooth is missing, whether the damage extends to the soft tissue in the tooth’s pulp, and whether the tooth’s roots are intact. If the roots are broken or seriously damaged, the tooth may need to be extracted (removed). It can then generally be replaced with a dental bridge or a state-of-the-art dental implant.

If the roots are healthy but the pulp is exposed, the tooth may become infected—a painful and potentially serious condition. A root canal is needed. In this procedure, the infected pulp tissue is removed and the “canals” (hollow spaces deep inside the tooth) are disinfected and sealed up. The tooth is then restored: A crown (cap) is generally used to replace the visible part above the gum line. A timely root canal procedure can often save a tooth that would otherwise be lost.

For moderate cracks and chips, dental veneers may be an option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells made of translucent material that go over the front surfaces of teeth. Custom-made from a model of your smile, veneers are securely cemented on to give you a restoration that looks natural and lasts for a long time.

It’s often possible to fix minor chips with dental bonding—and this type of restoration can frequently be done in just one office visit. In this procedure, layers of tooth-colored resin are applied to fill in the parts of the tooth that are missing, and then hardened by a special light. While it may not be as long-lasting as some other restoration methods, bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique that can produce good results.

If you would like more information about emergency dental treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor articles “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries” and “Knocked Out Tooth.”

By Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates
November 09, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
4SignsYourChildMayHaveaPoorBite

Although tooth decay is a major problem to watch for in your child’s teeth, it isn’t the only one. As their teeth transition from primary (“baby”) to permanent, you should also be on the lookout for a developing poor bite or malocclusion.

Although the signs can be subtle, you may be able to detect an emerging malocclusion, starting usually around age 6, if you know what to look for. Here are 4 signs your child may be developing a poor bite.

Excessive spacing. This is something that might be noticeable while the child still has their primary teeth. If you notice an excessive amount of space around the front teeth, the sizes of the jaws and the teeth may be disproportional.

Abnormal overlapping. The upper teeth normally just cover the bottom teeth when the jaws are closed. But a malocclusion may be forming if the lower teeth cover the upper (underbite), the upper teeth extend too far over the lower (deep bite) or there’s space between the upper and lower front teeth (open bite).

Different overlapping patterns. Watch as well for some of the teeth overlapping normally while others don’t, a sign of a cross bite. For example, the back upper teeth may cover their counterparts in a normal fashion while the lower front teeth abnormally overlap the top front. The roles here between front and back teeth can also be reversed.

Abnormal eruptions. Permanent teeth normally follow a pattern when erupting, but certain factors could disrupt the process. For example, a jaw that’s developed too small can cause crowding as incoming teeth vie for space; as a result, some permanent teeth may erupt out of their proper position. Likewise, if a baby tooth is out of its normal position or prematurely lost, the permanent tooth may erupt out of position too.

The good news with each of these developing bite problems is that we can correct them or at least minimize their future effect if caught early. So if you notice any of these signs or anything else out of the ordinary, see an orthodontist as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to have your child undergo a thorough orthodontic evaluation around age 6.

If you would like more information on bite problems in children, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Problems to watch for in Children Ages 6 to 8.”

By Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates
October 23, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Porcelain VeneersMillions of people from around the world are turning to porcelain veneers as a hassle-free way to improve their smile. Dental veneers are thin, ceramic shells that fit over the teeth to make a dazzling smile. Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates, located in both Gaithersburg and Kensington, MD, offer a full range of dental services—the following information will help you determine if you're a good candidate for their veneers.

1. You want to whiten your smile. 

Tooth staining affects many patients. There are several causes of tooth staining including poor dental hygiene, beverages, foods, smoking, and certain medications. Several diseases that affect enamel can also lead to tooth discoloration. Porcelain veneers can give you the bright-white smile you've always wanted, and unlike real teeth, they resist dental stains remarkably well. 

2. You want to close a tooth gap.

Diastemas are gaps between teeth. These spaces can form anywhere in the mouth. This condition affects people of all ages and may be caused by missing teeth, under-sized, teeth, or bad oral habits such as thumb-sucking. Veneers are used to fix these gaps by being placed over your teeth to create an evenly-spaced smile. 

3. You want to restore a broken tooth.

Cracking or chipping a tooth is a common phenomenon, and veneers can restore these damages. If you have a broken tooth, a veneer can revitalize both its appearance and function by covering the tooth's front with a thick section porcelain, replacing the flawed parts. 

4. You want to fix your crooked teeth.

For some people, having a crooked smile can affect their self-esteem and self-confidence. Contrary to what you might think, you may not need orthodontic treatment to fix your crooked smile. Veneers can straighten your teeth without the discomfort and hassle of dental braces! Veneers are effective in covering up dental imperfections and giving patients the appearance of a perfect smile. 

5. You want to look years younger.

Our teeth play an important role in defining how old we look. If you want to look younger, getting veneers is a good place to start. Dental veneers will enhance your smile and instantly make you look younger—that's why it's such a popular cosmetic dentistry procedure among Hollywood stars!

Interested? Call our Kensington or Gaithersburg office today!
The best way to find out if you're a viable candidate for porcelain veneers is to consult with a dentist. Call Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates at (301) 933-1833 right now to schedule a dental consultation in Kensington, MD, or (240) 683-3833 for the Gaithersburg location. Porcelain veneers will do you and your smile a world of good!