Common Dental Injuries – Emergency Dentistry

Dental injuries affect millions of people annually. While athletes and active children run the highest risk of damage, we are all vulnerable to falls and other unforeseen accidents that cause dental trauma. Chipped teeth are the most common dental emergency, followed by accident tooth loss from impact or injury.

Protecting Teeth during Sports and Active Play

Using a mouth guard while participating in sports or other high risk activities can significantly reduce the risk of dental trauma and the expense that goes along with it.
It is important to have a guard that is custom fitted by a dentist to assure the best fit and keep teeth as protected as possible. 80% of dental injuries affect the front teeth. Damage to the tongue and cheek is also common. A good rule of thumb for protecting one’s teeth is that if a helmet is recommended, a mouth guard should also be used.

To put things in perspective: the use of mouth guards prevents about 200,000 mouth injuries a year among football players.

How are Dental Injuries Treated?

If there has been trauma to the mouth, the injury may be obvious or you might not notice anything out of the ordinary. There could be damage that can only a trained professional can see.

It is imperative to get to an emergency dentist immediately! Even if a tooth seems only cosmetically broken or chipped, damage could be significant enough to cause infection inside the tooth.

Treatment for your dental problems depends on the type of injury, location, and severity.

  • Dislodged Baby Teeth don’t need to be replaced; however the child can seen by a medical professional if damage to soft tissue was part of the injury.
  • Dislodged Adult Teeth can be gently cleaned and placed back into the gums. Place a napkin over the tooth, after you’ve put in in the right spot, and bite down softly on the way to the dentist. Permanent teeth lost by a child can be placed in milk, or slightly salted water to avoid choking.
  • Minor Chips and Cracks can be repaired by composite bonding or veneers.
    For any dental injury, until you can be seen, keep the area clean by using a soft toothbrush and antiseptic mouthwash. Eat only soft foods and avoid continued participation in sports or other high impact activities.

If you are in the Rutherford, NJ area and need a broken tooth repaired, or a dislodged tooth replaced, call Frost Dental Group for emergency dental care.

Considering Invisalign®? Compare it to other Braces!

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If you’re looking for a way to achieve straighter teeth, and stay away from the appearance of metal orthodontics, you have several options. Two of the most popular ways to meet those goals are Invisalign® and a more traditional braces system that utilizes white brackets and wires to be more discreet.

As a provider of Invisalign®, Dr. Frost invites patients to consider the following about their options:

Invisalign®: This system of clear, removable orthodontic aligners straightens teeth as patients switch out trays every few weeks. Invisalign® is custom-created to fit patients’ smiles and is typically recommended for minor to moderate teeth alignment needs.
Pros: The clear aligners are smooth and do not cut or injure the inside of your mouth. Patients also enjoy being able to remove their orthodontic appliances to eat, drink, and brush their teeth. Best of all, perhaps, is that others will generally not be able to tell that you’re wearing braces at all.

Many of the considerations to keep in mind with Invisalign® come down to care and compliance. While metal braces stand up to a bit more wear and tear, Invisalign® needs to be handled gently to avoid breaking, scratching, or clouding the plastic. Because this appliance is removable, patients also have to be committed to wearing their aligners full-time day and night.

Traditional Braces Variations: With standard braces, brackets are bonded to teeth and wires and bands are attached to exert the force needed for realignment. Through modern dental treatment, more discreet bands, brackets, and wires can be utilized to ensure your smile looks as natural as possible.  Brackets can also be bonded to the backside of teeth (lingual orthodontics). Tooth-colored and hidden treatment options are provided to make this a more aesthetic choice for patients dealing with severe cases of bite and teeth misalignment.

Compared to traditional metal braces, this system provides predictable treatment that looks attractive.

Remember!: This treatment option does require more care and attention than removable orthodontics to ensure teeth are kept clean and healthy. Patients will have to be diligent about brushing and flossing around/between bonded dental appliances to keep their smiles free of plaque and tartar. Patients who choose lingual braces will also need an adjustment period to get used to the feeling of appliances on the backside of teeth, as this may change speech and eating habits.

Our Rutherford dentist is here to help you find the procedure that meets your needs for aesthetic appeal and performance.  Our office is able to provide Invisalign® for a variety of patients with differing dental needs. To learn more about what Invisalign® can do for you, contact our office to schedule your consultation.

Achieving and Maintaining White Teeth

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Even if you take good care of your teeth, they will eventually stain over the years. This discoloration can be the result of various habits and life style choices, including cigarette smoking, exposure to tannins in tea, and heavy pigment of coffee and wine. Regular brushing with toothpaste helps to limit severe stains, but cannot effectively remove discoloration that has built up over a long period of time.

Professional teeth whitening is an effective way to get your teeth looking bright again. We offer this service to boost patients’ confidence and support aesthetic results from restorative dental care.

At-Home Whitening Provided by a Dentist

While there are many varieties of whitening, some use light beams and are administered in a dental practice, while other are whitening systems you use at home for convenience and control over your treatment. The in-office option provides results in an hour, but may not be suited for patients with especially sensitive teeth.

Take-home kits gently and effectively whiten your teeth at your pace. Treatments can be spread out over a few weeks and trays can be worn while you are relaxing at home. As trays provided by a dentist are customized to the shape of your smile, results from whitening meet patients’ expectations for brighter teeth.

Finding the Right Whitening Regimen

You might think that the one hour in-office method of whitening would win hands down in terms of patient popularity. However, many prefer the control of the home-based system. You will only discover which teeth whitening system is best for you after your schedule a cosmetic dentistry consultation. During your visit, we can examine your smile to determine level of staining and expectations. Patients who have heavily discolored teeth and are looking for a significant improvement may be recommended a longer whitening program. The shade and condition of existing restorations are taking into account as well.

Ask Our Cosmetic Dentist about Lasting Whitening Results

Keeping your smile bright includes wearing your whitening trays for the recommended times and keeping up with a thorough at-home brushing and flossing routine. Dr. Frost can also provide touch-up kits after every preventive teeth cleaning appointment. With excellent at-home care, routine professional dental cleanings, and touch-ups twice a year, your teeth can remain bright and healthy.

For more information about our whitening services, please call us today for an appointment.

Dental Implants: Titanium vs. Zirconia

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In the past, the only available material used for implants was titanium. The emergence of zirconia as an alternative has not only opened up more restorative options, but created conversations among dentists about which is best suited for their patients.

At Frost Dental Group, Dr. Lee T. Frost believes in a collaborative approach to dentistry between doctors and patients. In order to contribute to this ongoing dialogue, let’s take a look at what makes these selections unique:

For most of their lifespan in the dental field, implants have been made of titanium and are one of the most well documented and researched materials used. Even today, 95% of placed implants are composed of titanium alloys. These provide anywhere from twenty to thirty-five years of functionality after their original placement.

The key to titanium’s popularity lies in its special properties. As a durable metal, titanium is not prone to fracture and integrates well with the jaw bone. Titanium is valued for this great biocompatibility, working with the jawbone for a secure fit.

Titanium is also versatile in the way the implant posts can be made and used. Implants made of titanium can be created as either a traditional single prosthetic or as part of a two piece system. In a two-piece system, the screw, or fixture, replaces the root and the abutment, where the prosthetic crown is attached separately.

Zirconia Implants

First approved for use in Europe in 2005, full zirconia implants were developed, in part, to provide a metal-free alternative to their titanium counterparts. Structurally speaking, zirconia is a transitional metal, but has the appearance and feel of ceramic.

The white crystalline appearance of zirconia implants more closely resembles natural dentition, compared with titanium implants, alleviating concerns about metal showing through the restorations.

Advocates of zirconia implants have noted the hygienic benefits the material offers.  As full zirconia implants are available as one piece systems only, there is little space for bacteria to hide and grow. Compared to other metal prosthetics, implants made of zirconia are resistant to corrosion. In addition, zirconia implants run no risk of aggravating sensitivities and allergies to titanium or nickel.

Though it is adaptable, zirconia can be more fickle than titanium. While strong enough to support most restorations, zirconia implants are not recommended to replace teeth that are constantly under pressure, such as the molars. Patients who grind or clench their teeth may be better suited for titanium implants.

Both titanium and zirconia dental implants have enough distinct advantages, promoting treatment success for diverse dental needs. If you are ready to discuss implant options, contact Frost Dental Group today!

Cosmetic Laser Dentistry

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Laser-guided procedures in cosmetic dentistry offers our dentist the ability to sculpt more attractive smiles while remaining gentle in his approach – to the point where local anesthetic is no longer necessary.

When providing cosmetic dental restorations, Dr. Lee T. Frost identifies the best application of laser technology for your unique situation. As laser dentistry is new to many patients, consider common applications of dental lasers before your appointment:

Soft Tissue Contouring with Lasers

A laser meant to treat soft tissue operates at a strength safe to use on gums. The wavelengths of light used in these lasers permits them to precisely target tissue without harming healthy areas. Candidates for soft tissue laser treatment are typically patients who require surgical treatment for periodontitis, though soft tissue lasers can also be used to effectively shape your gum line. In this way, lasers can be used as pre-treatments before veneers, crowns, and other restorations are applied to ensure prosthetics are situated appropriately against the gum line for best aesthetics.

Cosmetic dentistry with the use of lasers takes advantage of the unique properties of this technology for conservative treatment. The lasers used in soft tissue procedures also seal tissue and eliminate bacteria from the site, promoting fast recovery and minimizing the risk for post-operative infection.. Recent studies report that patients enjoy greater comfort and improved healing following laser procedures.

The Flexibility of Cosmetic Procedures with Lasers

The wavelength a laser operates at is calibrated to ensure that only the specific treatment area is affected. These lasers offer an alternative to traditional treatment options for the removal of old restorations and placement of aesthetic prosthetics.

Laser cosmetic dentistry can accomplish all of the following:

• Reduce the appearance of excessive gum tissue
• Balance the gum line, so soft tissue height is even
• Shape tissue around a restoration for natural aesthetics

Treatment with lasers during cosmetic procedures is both conservative and hygienic. Surfaces left behind after treatment are sterile and teeth are not impacted. Lasers offer the perfect complement to aesthetic dental treatment, helping to create a balanced and appealing aesthetic, where the appearance of health enamel and soft tissue is even and symmetrical.

Through the use of dental lasers in cosmetic treatments, Dr. Frost can help you discover a minimally invasive, effective option for a completely renewed and attractive smile. Contact our office today to learn more about adding laser treatment to your chosen cosmetic procedure.

How Bone Grafts Restore Oral Health

Patients may need bone or tissue grafting to improve oral health overall or specifically before certain treatments can be provided. Bone grafting procedures help improve stability and functionality and can ensure that facial shape and aesthetics are preserved. These procedures restore jaw bone strength and reverse recession. If your smile is evaluated and it’s determined that a bone graft should be applied, we provide this service in-house.

We encourage patients with missing teeth or a history of oral health issues to learn more about how bone grafting can positively affect their smiles.

Why is bone grafting necessary?

Bone grafts are used to heal and bolster areas of your jaw that have been impacted by oral health problems.

When teeth are extracted or lost, the jaw resorbs bone in the area vacated by the tooth. Without teeth there to stimulate bone density, and when the areas of the jaw have nothing to support, tissue begins to deplete. Within a single year of missing a tooth, as much as 25 percent of the bone in that area can be lost. A bone graft replaces lost bone volume and provides sustained strength to the upper or lower arch – wherever you have teeth that have been lost or extracted.

Over time, the graft merges and grows into surrounding tissue, becoming a natural part of your smile. Bone grafts can take a while to heal and integrate; however grafting is highly successful and an important part of ensuring that later treatments provide lasting results. A graft also helps prevent additional bone resorption until treatment is complete.

How do I know if I need a bone graft?

Dr. Frost recommends bone grafting techniques after tooth extraction or before implant placement. During planning stages, Dr. Frost determines which areas require treatment with a thorough oral exam. Using advanced 3D scanning technology, Dr. Frost is able to pinpoint areas where bone has depleted and needs to be restored before additional treatment can be provided. If you have had a missing tooth for a year or more, there is a good chance a graft is necessary.

Ask our dental office about treatment planning and your desired procedure to learn more about what pre-treatments may be necessary.

Dental restorations after grafting

When patients have healed completely, they are ready for further treatment. Dental implants can be placed into ample new bone, which provides the support for successful integration and lasting stability. Patients, who are interested in removable dentures, can also benefit from grafting procedures to ensure dentures have a stable foundation on which to rest, for improved comfort. Bone health should be a priority for all individuals who want to have durable dental restorations for a lifetime.

Questions about bone grafts? Ask Dr. Lee T. Frost!

With modern dental technology and years of experience, Dr. Frost is equipped to provide bone grafting from his dental office and can later place your implants in-office as well. Please contact our office at 201-438-8870 for more information about how we can help.

Dental Implants vs. Dentures

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For many adults, missing teeth are a real and persistent problem that can worsen with the aging process. Given that facial trauma, disease, decay, and fracture are all likely causes of tooth loss, this issue is more common than some think. If untreated, patients may find themselves facing structural changes to their smiles, among other concerning effects. Many treatments exist to replace missing teeth and restore the structure of your smile. Two common procedures that meet this goal involve the use of dental implants, which incorporate the jaw bone as a base, or dentures, which rest on the gums.

So, which should you choose? Let’s take a closer look to see what each has to offer.

Dental Implants

For patients looking for a secure and long-lasting solution to missing teeth, dental implants are rapidly becoming the standard of care. Unlike other prosthetics, implant-supported teeth don’t slip or slide, creating a more secure and natural feeling during eating or speaking. Since they are supported by the structure of the jaw, the risk of jaw resorption is limited.

Implants offer great versatility, and are ideal among dental restorations. Dr. Lee T. Frost works with patients to make sure their new smiles look as natural as possible. Implants can also be used in combination with dentures or bridges to give greater support.

Given the more complex nature of the procedure, not all patients will be immediate candidates for dental implants. Implants are not recommended where there is significant gum disease. There also needs to be an adequate amount of healthy bone present for implantation. Bone grafting techniques can help build bone in preparation for implant.

For patients without adequate bone to support the implants, bone grafting procedures can help prepare for effective implant treatment.

With good oral hygiene, your implants can last more than twenty years on average to forever.

Dentures

Dentures are removable appliances that sit directly on the gums and replace missing teeth, as well as return some of your smile’s former support and shape. Full dentures are used when there are no remaining teeth present, and partial dentures, which rest on a metal framework, are used when sufficient natural teeth are present.

All denture types have an adjustment period following placement, where patients get used to caring for and utilizing their new teeth. Dentures rely on adhesive and the natural suction to keep them in place, so they don’t cause discomfort. Additionally, as the natural shape of your jaw changes, dentures will require annual check-ups for relining.

While dentures are less costly than dental implants, they provide flexibility that may serve both your budget and health needs, including hybrid dentures and implant-supported full prosthesis.

Don’t Wait – Call Frost Dental Group Today

It is critical to seek out tooth replacement options sooner than later. Bone loss and changes to facial structure around the missing teeth will only worsen your situation the longer you go without care. Let our implant dentist and staff work with you to get your beautiful self and smile back. Call today to schedule your consultation!

What are My Restoration Options?

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If you have noticed that your teeth have become worn, damaged, and decayed over time, you are not alone. Over the years, disease, trauma, diet, and the aging process itself can cause your smile to lose its former appearance and strength.

With a variety of restorative solutions, Dr. Lee T. Frost creates treatment plans that recapture your smile’s aesthetic appeal. With so many choices, deciding which restoration will work best for you may seem daunting. To alleviate some of that confusion, getting familiar with some common restorations can help you decide what will best serve your needs:

Direct Restoration

Conservative options for correcting damage and decay, such as fillings or dental bonding, are included in the category of direct restoration. These procedures are recommended in cases where the majority of your tooth’s structure is intact. Unlike indirect restorations, preparation of the tooth during these treatments is minimal and can typically be completed in a single visit.

There are a variety of materials that can be used for fillings, with benefits varying depending on which option you choose. Amalgam fillings are made up of mostly mercury, along with other metals like silver, tin, and copper, and are considered to be the least expensive material for restoration. They are strong enough to withstand routine oral function and have shown to last for at least ten years, but will not match your teeth’s natural shade. By contrast, the ability of composite resin to resemble the color of natural teeth without as much tooth preparation has made it favored among dentists and patients.

Indirect Restoration

When the condition of a damaged tooth requires more care than a filling can provide, an indirect restoration is usually recommended. Options for treatments in this category include crowns, onlays, and inlays. Crowns cover the entire surface area of the affected tooth. This process for this treatment requires the remaining tooth to be reshaped to take on the added size of the crown, making crowns  perfect for teeth whose structure have been moderately to severely damaged. If the restoration involves just the interior section of the tooth, an inlay is used. For external damage that affects an outer wall of tooth’s structure, an onlay is used as a more conservative option than a crown.

Indirect restorations are rarely same-day procedures. In addition to any tooth shaping that is needed to fit the restoration, these replacements are custom-made by a laboratory, based on the shape of your teeth and bite pattern.

Like fillings, the effectiveness of your crown, onlay, or inlay comes from the material it is made out of. Dr. Frost provides modern, life-like, and durable options for restoring your teeth that include e.max®, zirconium, porcelain, and other tooth-colored materials.

Whether through a direct or indirect restoration, your unique dental needs can be met. Our practice prides itself on giving patients access to treatment that effectively restores their smiles.

Contact our office today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Lee T. Frost. 

How Guided Dental Implant Surgery Enables Outstanding Results

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At Frost Dental Group, Dr. Lee Frost is faced with intricate work each day; he has to study the position of the root of a tooth in the jaw, for instance, or to work out the exact angle in which to place an implant so that it maintains an efficient relationship with the teeth that surround it. These are major challenges to get around when working with traditional imaging tools.

A complex dental arrangement can seem very different from what it really is, when viewed on a static, two-dimensional x-ray that only gives you the view from one perspective. Incorrect dental angles, irregularities, and asymmetries are often simply hidden from view. Traditionally, dentists had no choice but to use this image and to rely on professional experience to imagine the view from every angle. This is where breakthrough technology in dental imaging comes in – CBCT scan technology, called Cone Beam Computed Tomography.

How Does Cone Beam Computed Tomography Work?

A CBCT device uses low-powered x-ray beams (sent out in a divergent, three-dimensional array, arranged to form a cone) to allow a connected computer to obtain more than 500 distinct images from every angle. The software uses these images to form a digital volume – an image of the desired area that can be viewed from every angle and depth. The complete visual access that this technology offers to dentists has inspired some to call it virtual surgery. The obtainable imagery is realistic and complete.

Does CBCT Make Tangible Improvements Possible in Complex Dentistry?

Cone beam imaging gives Dr. Frost the ability to perform guided dental implant surgery – as opposed to unguided surgery that’s based simply on a few static two-dimensional images. Aided by CBCT, dental implants and other complex procedures become much more predictable. Dr. Frost is able to use three-dimensional CBCT imagery to perform an implant surgery virtually on the computer first. This way, Dr. Frost can try out different implant placement angles to arrive at the best aesthetic and mechanical results, work out the clearances to see if crowns will fit, and know which tools are most likely to work. These abilities make modern implant surgery phenomenally accurate.

Improved Safety is the Number One Advantage to Using CBCT in Implant Surgery

Working safely in a specific area in the mouth for dental treatment requires extreme accuracy, as many spaces in the mouth are crowded with nerves, blood vessels, bone, sinuses, and other anatomical structures. When a dentist takes a traditional two-dimensional image of such an area, all these landmarks become flatly superimposed on one another — it becomes impossible to tell the exact position of any structure. Dentists, then, need to err on the side of caution and simply make the safest bets possible so as to not cause damage to any nerves. In other words, dentists need to choose between safety and accuracy. This is the reason why the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology found it necessary to release a positional statement in 2012 where it recommends that CBCT be used for cross-sectional assessments in all dental implant procedures.

CBCT Technology Makes Implants Less Stressful for Both the Patient and the Dentist

Patients who come in for implants have often been missing teeth for quite a while. They may have also lost bone mass and their gums are less-than-healthy. These patients come in hoping for a perfect set of teeth despite all these issues, though. Working with conventional imaging technologies, a dentist has no way of knowing how close to a perfect set of implants the patient’s dental structure will permit. If an area has little bone mass, it may only be able to handle teeth that are smaller than the healthy, neighboring ones. In this instance, the patient may be unhappy with such results in the end.

With CBCT technology, Dr. Frost can actually show the patient, in advance, what the limitations of his dental anatomy are, and what the final results will look like – all in 3-D. With everything laid out in the open, both the patient and Dr. Frost can have a far smoother time working on correcting the issue.

The other area of stress for most dentists appears in the actual procedure. Implants done with traditional two-dimensional methods require considerable guesswork. With only 2mm or 3 mm of clearance to any neighboring nerve, a dentist needs to work 2 or more hours to locate the best way to place an implant, which is stressful for both parties involved. With surgery guided by CBCT technology, most implants are done in under a half hour. A full arch of implants can be done in less time today than it used to take for one implant.

CBCT is the Future of Dentistry

CBCT technology helps in exactly the right way — it helps dentists in defining the problem in front of them with great accuracy. With the problem half solved, they are able to concentrate on the most efficient solution possible.

For more information on how you can restore your smile with dental implants, contact our office today for your consultation.

The Latest Advances in Dental Veneers

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Years ago, certain cosmetic dental procedures were the exclusive domain of celebrities. Many popular treatments went mainstream when regular people began to look for ways to emulate the superstar smiles that they loved. Today, dental veneer technology has advanced to the point that it is a viable alternative to anyone who is seeking a beautiful, healthy smile.

Dental Veneers – One of the Most Sought-After Cosmetic Dental Treatments

A dental veneer or laminate is a thin, but strong, custom-made shell constructed out of porcelain or composite. Many people tend to think that dental veneers are simply a solution for dental discoloration. They can be so much more, though. Since a veneer is an entirely new outer layer for each tooth, you get to change the shape of the tooth too. Dentists recommend veneers to help restore structure and naturally appealing appearance to teeth. Structural problems involving minor crookedness, chips, and gaps are easily treated with veneers.
 
What Do the Latest Advances in Veneer Technology Offer the Patient?

The best dental veneers are made of porcelain. The way a porcelain veneer is constructed, though, makes all the difference.

Up until 15 years ago, porcelain veneers were handmade by dentists. These were called feldspathic veneers. Dentists would paint porcelain veneer over each tooth, cure it in an oven and try it on again, which allowed dentists to try artistic effects. The downside of this method was that the end product tended to be thick. To make room for such a veneer over each tooth, the dentist would buff each tooth down considerably. Unpredictable results were also a problem – when cured in the oven, for instance, veneers would often warp or shrink.

With the latest advances in veneer technology, manufacturers are now able to turn out ultra-thin, super-strength porcelain veneers in a dental laboratory. Ultrathin veneer technology is a significant advance. It isn’t just that very thin veneers make for more aesthetically pleasing results, the main benefit comes from the fact that dentists installing these veneers need to do practically no tooth buffing. Modern, ultrathin veneers are actually called “no-prep” veneers.

Patients approaching Dr. Frost for veneers at Frost Dental Group often do so for discolored teeth. If a coffee or smoking habit is behind the discoloration, modern porcelain veneers can be particularly effective – tobacco and coffee have no effect on these materials. Modern advances in porcelain veneer technology make the material effective in another way related to color too – they allow precise color matching so that the patient’s veneers are the exact shade as their regular teeth.

More Affordable Veneers Are Now Available – But Choose Carefully

While a porcelain veneer is far more affordable today than it used to be, quality can still be expensive. Some dentists try to accommodate every budget by offering inexpensive porcelain when their patients can’t afford the best kind. This isn’t always a good idea, though.

Inexpensive porcelain veneers tend to be fragile – they are unable to take the tremendous biting force that teeth are subjected to each day. While superior porcelain veneers can last as long as 20 years, the inexpensive kind can begin to crack in as little as five.

Porcelain Veneers are Nearly Maintenance-Free

Modern porcelain veneers are strong and require no special care in most instances. You simply brush and floss as always. Dr. Frost usually recommends nonabrasive toothpaste, as abrasion can be a concern in patients who have the habit of clenching their teeth or grinding them.  Such habits can quickly cause porcelain to wear down. For this reason, Dr. Frost may suggest that patients wear nighttime bite guards to protect their smiles.

For more information on how you can improve your smile with porcelain veneers, contact our office today for your consultation.