Patient Services

Cosmetic Dentistry

Your smile is the first thing people see. It instantly portrays your personality, self-confidence, joy and vitality. Does your smile say it all, or do you hide it due to insecurity, embarrassment, or anxiety? Cosmetic Dentistry is the art of enhancing your smile. This can be achieved using a variety of advanced techniques including porcelain veneers, cosmetic bonding, and whitening. We offer free consultations and can enhance your smile, often in as little as three weeks.

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Smile Design

Smile Design is truly a work of art. The term Smile Design applies to the enhancement of a smile using a combination of methods, and a collaboration of the dentist, patient, and lab to create your desired look. A patient’s eye, lip line, coloring, gum tissue contouring and face are all considered when when a new smile is designed for you.

Dr. Kelly offers free consultations to discuss your smile design, and steps to get the look you’ve dreamed of. You are welcome to bring photos and other examples of smiles you desire, or peruse our smile gallery for additional ideas and options.

After the initial design process, a wax model is created, which allows you and the doctor to see what your teeth would look like, before making any alterations to your actual teeth. Once the wax model style is approved, Dr. Thomas preps the teeth and you will be in a temporary smile trial for three-weeks. When both you and Dr. Thomas are happy with the shape, length, and look of your temporaries, Dr. Thomas will seat your porcelain veneers and/or crowns, and your smile design will be complete!

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Porcelain Veneers

Dr. Thomas can perform a smile makeover and get you in your new, beautiful smile in a few weeks. A veneer is a thin layer of restorative material placed over a tooth surface, either to improve the aesthetics of a tooth, or to protect a damaged tooth surface. There are two main types of material used to fabricate a veneer, composite and dental porcelain. A composite veneer may be directly placed (built-up in the mouth), or indirectly fabricated by a dental technician in a dental laboratory, and later bonded to the tooth, typically using a resin cement. In contrast, a porcelain veneer may only be indirectly fabricated.

Dr. Thomas will do a complete examination of your teeth and will determine if veneers are indicated for you. Usually with veneers it is possible to improve the esthetics of your teeth and smile dramatically.

Veneers can improve the shape of your teeth, make your teeth as white as you want and give you the smile you have always wanted. Veneers are bonded to your tooth structure, which gives them strength.

Also because they are very thin, they are considered one of the most conservative cosmetic treatments available.  Ask us how veneers can improve your smile.

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Restorative Dentistry

Tooth colored fillings (mercury free)

Dr. Thomas prefers to place composite resin fillings, which are shaded to match a patient’s existing dentition (color of your existing tooth). Having trained at LVI, she understands how to create healthy, functional, beautiful smiles – and tooth-colored fillings are one simple way to maintain a smile’s beauty. Traditional amalgam (silver) fillings are dark and contain mercury, a harmful heavy metal. They also expand and shrink in response to temperature changes, resulting in tiny fractures within your teeth. Over time this stress, caused by the silver filling, can cause the tooth to fracture. Composite resins are a better alternative because they are non-toxic and help create an attractive smile. The final result is virtually invisible! Dr. Thomas can replace your existing amalgam fillings with composite resin if you want an all-white smile.

Amalgams/Mercury Fillings – Why Not?

For years there has been debate in the dental profession regarding the pros and cons of using silver amalgam fillings, which contain about 50% mercury, to restore cavities. While it has not been proven scientifically that mercury can harm you, we have chosen to not use silver amalgam/mercury fillings, as the technology involved with them is well over 100 years old. There are also several drawbacks to them, which can cause trouble for teeth with silver fillings.

Away with Silver

At our office we prefer to provide our patients with the newest and best alternatives available, which are bonded ceramic composite resins. Not only do they look natural, they provide a much better service and protection for your teeth, as they eliminate all the shortcomings of  silver fillings. They seal the teeth better, insulate against hot and cold better, and if they wear down, they can be repaired more easily. Many people who are undergoing a cosmetic improvement on their front teeth elect to have dark silver fillings in their back teeth replaced with the bonded ceramic resins to provide a total cosmetic improvement.

Please call our office to make an appointment if you want to look into replacing any of your old, silver fillings.
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Inlays and Onlays

Onlay

When decay or fracture incorporate areas of a tooth that make composite restorations inadequate, an onlay might be indicated. Similar to an inlay, an onlay is an indirect restoration which incorporates a cusp or cusps by covering or onlaying the missing cusps. All of the benefits of an inlay are present in the onlay restoration. The onlay allows for conservation of tooth structure when the only alternative is to totally eliminate cusps and perimeter walls for restoration with a crown. Just as inlays, onlays are fabricated outside of the mouth and are typically made out of gold or porcelain. Gold restorations have been around for many years and have an excellent track record. In recent years, newer types of porcelains have been developed that seem to rival the longevity of gold. If the onlay or inlay is made in a dental laboratory, a temporary is fabricated while the restoration is custom-made for the patient. A return visit is then required to fit the final prosthesis.

Inlay

An inlay is an indirect restoration (filling) consisting of a solid substance, such as porecelain, fitted to a cavity in a tooth and cemented into place. An onlay is the same as an inlay, except that it extends to replace a cusp. Crowns are onlays which completely cover all surfaces of a tooth.

Sometimes, a tooth is planned to be restored with a composite filling, but the decay or fracture is so extensive that a filling would compromise the structural integrity of the restored tooth or provide substandard opposition to occlusal (i.e., biting) forces. In such situations, an indirect porcelain inlay restoration may be indicated. When an inlay is used, the tooth-to-restoration margin may be finished and polished to such a super-fine line of contact that recurrent decay will be all but impossible. While these restorations might be ten times the price of direct restorations, the superiority of an inlay in terms of resistance to occlusal forces, protection against recurrent decay, precision of fabrication, marginal integrity, proper contouring for gingival (tissue) health, and ease of cleansing offers an excellent alternative to the direct restoration.

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Porcelain Crowns

A crown is a type of dental restoration which completely caps or encircles a tooth or dental implant. Crowns are often needed when a large cavity threatens the ongoing health of a tooth. They are typically bonded to the tooth using a dental cement. Crowns can be made from many materials, which are usually fabricated using indirect methods. Crowns are often used to improve the strength or appearance of teeth.

The most common method of crowning a tooth involves using a dental impression of a prepared tooth by a dentist to fabricate the crown outside of the mouth. The crown can then be inserted at a subsequent dental appointment. Using this indirect method of tooth restoration allows use of strong restorative materials requiring time consuming fabrication methods requiring intense heat, such as casting metal or firing porcelain which would not be possible to complete inside the mouth.

The most common crown restoration placed by most general dentists today utilizes a metal lining covered with porcelain. These types of restorations are not as natural in appearance because light is not able to pass through porcelain-metal crowns as it does with a natural tooth, resulting in an opaque or flat looking tooth. Often times these types of traditional crowns leave a dark or gray line next to the gum-line. Dr. Thomas is proud to offer a natural looking alternative-all-ceramic, non-metal crown! With these newer restorations you will notice the “life-like” appearance that mimics natural teeth and does not produce the black gum line so common with so many porcelain-metal crowns.

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KoR Teeth Whitening

During a person’s lifetime, a variety of food and beverages (soda, spicy food, coffee, red wine, etc.) have a tendency to stain teeth. Dental bleaching, also known as tooth whitening, is a common procedure in general dentistry but most especially in the field of cosmetic dentistry. According to the FDA, whitening restores natural tooth color and bleaching whitens beyond the natural color. There are many methods available, such as KoR and Zoom laser whitening, or whitening gel application with custom trays.

Bleaching methods use carbamide peroxide which reacts with water to form hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide has about a third of the strength of hydrogen peroxide. This means that a 15% solution of carbamide peroxide is the rough equivalent of a 5% solution of hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide oxidizing agent penetrates the porosities in the rod-like crystal structure of enamel and bleaches stain deposits in the dentin. Power bleaching uses light energy to accelerate the process of bleaching in a dental office.

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Dental Implants

A dental implant is a “root” device, usually made of titanium, used in dentistry to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth to replace missing teeth.

Virtually all dental implants placed today are root-form endosseous implants, i.e., they appear similar to an actual tooth root (and thus possess a “root-form”) and are placed within the bone. The bone of the jaw accepts and osseointegrates with the titanium post. Osseointegration refers to the fusion of the implant surface with the surrounding bone. Dental implants will fuse with bone over time.

Dental implants can be used to support a number of dental prostheses, including crowns, implant-supported bridges or dentures. They can also be used as anchorage for orthodontic tooth movement. The use of dental implants permits undirectional tooth movement without reciprocal action.

Most patients with enough bone can have implants, although individual decisions are made between you, your oral surgeon, and Dr. Thomas. Usually an x-ray and a CT-scan are done to determine if you have enough bone to place the implant and also to determine the size and kind of the implant that should be placed.

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Neuromuscular/TMJ Dentistry

Do you frequently get headaches? Do your face, neck, shoulders, and jaw ache? Do your jaw joints pop or click, or do you have problems opening or closing your mouth? If so, you may have TMJ dysfunction, or misaligned jaw joints. The misalignment of the teeth causes the jaw muscles to strain and force the jaw into better alignment. This constant straining leads to pain or other symptoms throughout the head and neck area. Dr. Thomas attended the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, and as an accomplished LVI dentist, she can help relieve your TMJ symptoms with neuromuscular dentistry.
Neuromuscular dentistry involves proper alignment of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) to reduce stress on the muscles and nerves surrounding the jaw.

How Does Neuromuscular Dentistry Help?

Advances in neuromuscular dental science have taught us how to find and then maintain a comfortable jaw position. We use a TENS unit to relax muscles, increase blood flow, and help us find ideal jaw position. In some cases, dental restorations can raise or lower areas of your bite, creating a naturally comfortable position for your jaw. A custom-made oral appliance may help realign your bite, allow the muscles to relax, which will, in turn, alleviate pain in that area. In most cases, we can reposition the jaw in just a few weeks, without surgery or braces.

The Results: Look and Feel Better!

Dr. Thomas has found that many patients experience a moderate to significant change in facial appearance after neuromuscular therapy. Patients who had recessed lower jaws may enjoy a new profile, including a stronger jaw line and chin. Areas of the jaw that protruded may be pulled back into alignment. Not only will you feel better after TMJ therapy, but you may also look better!
For relief from antagonistic TMJ symptoms, call neuromuscular dentist Dr. Thomas today to schedule a comprehensive evaluation and consultation.

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Periodontal Therapy

Caring for your oral health includes regular teeth care and gum care. Neglecting your gums can eventually lead to periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, which is a culprit for the deterioration of your overall oral health. Periodontal disease affects 75% of adults over 35 years of age and is responsible for approximately 70% of all adult tooth loss. Since symptoms of periodontal disease oftentimes are unnoticeable, people never realize their mouth is under bacterial attack.

Highly recognized as a greatly progressive disorder, periodontal disease is triggered by preventable factors like plaque build-up, tobacco use, certain medications and stress. Unpreventable measures like systematic disease and fluctuating hormone levels during puberty, pregnancy or menopause may also lead to periodontal disease. Research proves up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to gum disease.

How Does this Happen?

Periodontal disease begins when plaque–a sticky substance that forms in the mouth from food, saliva and bacteria– gets inside the space between the gum line and the tooth. If incorrect or no flossing takes place, plaque will release toxins that break down the natural fibers which hold your gums to your teeth. This permits even more bacteria and toxins to invade. Plaque deposits quickly harden into calculus or tartar, which is a rough, porous substance that is impossible to remove with brushing. Over time, this progression can lead to severe inflammation, bone loss, gum recession and tooth loss.

If you notice your gums bleed consistently after brushing, you have tender or receding gums, or you notice pus between your gum and tooth, you may be at risk for periodontal disease.

How Do I Fix This?

Gum disease is treated by carefully removing the bacteria and substances that form in the pockets around the teeth. The removal of this material occurs on a microscopic level and requires great skill. Our hygienist, Breanna, will be sure that all of the bacteria is removed from your gums in order for you to lead a healthier lifestyle. This process of removing the bacteria, plaque and tartar usually requires several visits to our office. Once the bacteria has been removed, the pockets must be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis by Breanna and Dr. Thomas. Otherwise, the bacteria will return.

Please call today to schedule an appointment if you feel you are at risk for periodontal disease.