In this section, you’ll see some of the most common questions that we receive from patients. Click on the tab to see the question and the plus sign to see the answer. If you have additional questions, you’d like us to answer, just give us a call or send us an email!
Tooth whitening, the process for lightening discolored teeth, can be accomplished in the dentist’s office or with dentist-supervised, at-home systems.
Teeth can be whitened to the desired shade over several office visits. At-home systems should be individually fitted by a cosmetic dentist.
Bleaching is effective in lightning most stains caused by age, tobacco, coffee, and tea. Based on clinical studies, 96 percent of patients with these kinds of stains experience some lightening effect. Other types of stains, such as those produced by tetracycline use or fluorosis (too much fluoride), respond to bleaching less reliably. If you have a tooth-color filling when your teeth are bleached, the filling will stay yellow—dental restorations do not change color when tooth whitener is applied.
That will vary for each person, depending on his or her needs. Sometimes, you can dramatically improve your oral health and appearance in just a couple of visits. Our team of dentists will work to make your treatment as convenient as possible, perhaps choosing slightly longer visits instead of more trips to the office. Talk to Dr. Garita about your goals and concerns so the best plan can be developed for your individual situation. If you start today, a new smile can be yours sooner than you think.
Like most services, cost will vary based on the time required and the difficulty of the procedures. Generally, improving a smile will require a combination of treatment options such as whitening, reshaping gums and using bonded materials (resin or porcelain) to improve the appearance of teeth. Improving your smile is an investment in you.
A wide variety of options are available to improve how your teeth work and the way your smile looks. Check out our “Procedures” section to see how other patients with similar problems were helped.
With good home care and regular visits to your dentist, modern materials can last for many years and possibly decades. Like most things, excellent maintenance will extend the life of your dental restorations.
New advances in tooth-colored porcelain and composite materials not only allow fillings to go unnoticed, but are stronger and more wear-resistant than silver and gold.
Yes. Bonded veneers can close gaps and help create the smile you desire. Bonded resins generally require one office visit, while porcelain veneering takes two. Bonded veneers, along with good oral hygiene and a healthy lifestyle, are effective ways to enhance a smile. A cosmetic dentist in Costa Rica can explain the various techniques and help determine which is the best suited to your specific needs.
A great smile should improve your self-confidence, which can have a positive impact on the social and professional aspects of your life. Cosmetic dentistry is not just about pretty smiles though. New techniques and materials are available for back teeth as well as the ones you see when you smile. Now your mouth can look great, get healthy and function better at the same time.
Some general dentists choose to provide a variety of procedures, while our specialists focus on specific areas of treatment. Many times, cosmetic and restorative dentistry requires a team approach to achieve the best results. A consultation is a great way to determine your needs and plan with your cosmetic dentist how to achieve your goals. Either way, our members will work to give you the smile you want and deserve. Some of the procedures we provide include dental implants, porcelain crowns and veneers.
Research has not yet determined all the possible causes of TMJ diseases. Many theories of causation have been proposed, but few have been scientifically validated. We do know that TMJ can be precipitated or aggravated by trauma, certain health care procedures, oral habits and postures, and other diseases such as osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. However, TMJ symptoms are known to occur without an identifiable cause.
TMJ syndrome is difficult to diagnose, not only because of its potentially large number of disparate symptoms, but also because any of those symptoms can be associated with other conditions. Before arriving at a diagnosis of TMJ syndrome, the doctor must first eliminate other conditions that could be producing the symptoms. A professional diagnosis is necessary, Dr. Garita will be glad to help.
A “locking” episode can occur during opening or closing movement. What happens is that the patient experiences an interruption of jaw movement – a “catch” or a “stop”, and in order to complete the movement must jiggle, or somehow, self manipulate the jaw.
TMJ is diagnosed more frequently in certain demographic groups. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) of the National Institutes of Health reports that there are over 10 million people in the US who have symptoms of TMJ problems at any given time. A large majority are females between the ages of puberty and menopause.
The greater prevalence of TMJ problems in women during child-bearing years suggests a need for research examining the influence of gender-specific hormones on temporomandibular joint structure and function.
Because of the close proximity of the ear tissues to the TM Joint. It is not uncommon to find on x-ray that the Condyle Head is improperly positioned in the Joint space such that it is in intimate contact with the Tympanic bone. The consequence often is ear pain in the absence of infection, a sense of fullness, or stuffiness, in one or both ears, and sometimes ringing in the ears.
Bridges appear natural and blend in well with your existing teeth. They can also usually be set in only two office visits to your dentist. With a regimen of good oral hygiene they can last as many as ten years or more.
The biggest risk in having a dental bridge is the possibility of gum disease if a serious commitment to oral hygiene is not made. Another minor side effect is a mild sensitivity to extreme temperatures during the laboratory process, while you are wearing your temporal crowns.
An alternative to Dental Bridges would be Dental Implants.
A dental bridge is basically a false tooth (also known as a pontic) which is placed in the space left by a missing tooth. Porcelain crowns on either side of the tooth are bonded with resin to the pontic in what is known as a fixed bridge. This procedure can be used to replace one or more missing teeth.
When having Dental Bridges inserted, a commitment to serious dental hygiene is necessary to maintain them.
Bridges reduce the risk of gum disease and help correct some bite issues. They can last as many as ten years.
Dental implants are a dependable and life long cosmetic dentistry procedure. Compared with bridges that require certain degree of adjacent tooth reduction, and dentures which sometimes feel loose and unstable, they provide a permanent solution that is both functional and natural appearing.
Dental implants are not without their downside. Other than the considerable expense involved, the procedure can also be time-consuming once preparation and healing time are factored in. Finally, as with any form of complex surgery, there is always the risk of complication.
Dental implants are titanium bolts which are surgically screwed into your jawbone to allow for a realistic looking crown to be anchored in place. Implants can be a welcome alternative for people missing most or all of their teeth and can also be used to replace a single missing tooth. The procedure requires surgery with a Periodontist or a Maxillofacial Surgeon, which are the two only Dental Specialists trained in such procedures and, depending on the size and shape of your jawbone, might also require a bone graft. However, once it has “taken,” the implant will last a lifetime. The dental crowns anchored to an implant do have to be replaced every ten to fifteen years.
There are also a number of variables depending mostly on the shape of the jawbone and the number of implants that need to be placed. The surgery to insert the implant into your jawbone can require a three to six month healing period. In certain cases it might be possible to connect the prosthesis, whether it be a crown, a bridge or a full denture immediately after the surgery, this depends on each individual case.
But once the implant has fused with the surrounding bone, the resulting anchor is very strong and durable and makes for excellent results.
There are a variety of factors that may contribute to the deterioration of teeth over the course of time. Age, tooth decay, defective fillings, improper bites and chewing patterns all play a role in the eventual wearing down and cracking of teeth. Dental crowns can reverse the effects of time by covering the entire visible surface of a tooth with enamel and porcelain to both strengthen the tooth and increase its durability. Crowns also improve the appearance of worn down and damaged teeth. Your Costa Rica dental crowns dentist can tell you which problem areas in your mouth might be helped by the placement of a crown.
Crowns come in two basic types: porcelain fused to metal and full porcelain crowns. Porcelain fused to metal crowns are an option in cases where extra resistance is needed for any given reason. Full porcelain crowns are very popular as they can be made to closely resemble natural tooth color and transparency. Zirconia crowns are now available when both extra resistance and high aesthetics are needed.
The first step in getting dental porcelain veneers is to have Dr. Garita cast moldings of your teeth. Once these moldings are cast, the veneers themselves are created. Veneers are essentially thin slices of porcelain or plastic molded to the shape of your teeth. Dr. Garita will then lightly buff the outer layer of your teeth to allow for the added thickness of the veneer. In certain cases, he may also have to remove a part of your tooth. Dr. Garita will then use cement to bond the veneer to your tooth with light beam to achieve a durable bond.
Dental Veneers can be a less expensive and less invasive alternative to crowns. They are an ideal choice for people with severe staining and discoloration caused by coffee, soda or cigarettes. They can also be used to correct crooked, chipped, misshapen and oddly shaped teeth. Unlike tooth crowns, Veneers do not require the dentist to remove much of the tooth itself, although in certain circumstances removing a part of the tooth might be necessary. Be sure to discuss these requirements with Dr. Garita before the procedure. Veneers will not stain and they are very durable, lasting anywhere from ten to fifteen years. They are perfect for people looking to acquire a pleasant smile.
Bonding veneers are composed of a resin which is not as durable as the lab processed porcelain veneers and because they are a resin, they do tend to stain/ darken over time. Porcelain veneers are lab processed and are custom made to fit perfectly over the existing tooth. Both procedures require some reduction of the enamel to make room for the veneer or bonding. The porcelain veneers require two visits since lab work is involved; whereas the resin veneers may be performed in one visit.
In some studies, patients have experienced uncomfortable short-term side effects when having teeth bleached. Hydrogen peroxide can increase temperature sensitivity in the teeth, particularly at higher concentrations.
Therefore, bleaching is a procedure best done under the care of an oral health care professional . Still, the general health risks of bleaching systems are minimal as far as your body is concerned. Applications are controlled so that you don’t swallow hydrogen peroxide.
Most of the whitening products (such as the strips) on the market will either take much longer (3 weeks) to obtain less/similar results and some products such as the whitening toothpastes or gels are just not effective. A lot of the whitening toothpastes are very abrasive and are meant to just get rid of surface stains and not to actually bleach the teeth. In addition due to their abrasiveness they may cause tooth sensitivity in the long run.
Yes, should the restorations be visible when you smile, bleaching is advised to be performed before any cosmetic restorations to guarantee a perfect shade match.
Ask Dr. Garita about tooth-whitening options. They include a number of over-the-counter whitening systems, whitening toothpastes, and the latest high-tech option laser tooth whitening. Some have better results than others, depending on each individual case. For maximum whitening, experts agree that peroxide is usually the way to go.
Supervised bleaching procedures that are done in-office and at-home have become among the most popular treatment options. In some cases, the procedure is performed entirely in the office, using a light or heat source to speed up the bleaching process. In other cases, an oral health care professional gets the procedure started during an office visit and then gives you what you need to complete it at home. Still another popular procedure is one that you complete entirely at home.
At home procedures, sometimes called nightguard vital bleaching, consist of placing a bleaching solution, usually a peroxide mixture, in a tray (nightguard) that has been custom fitted for your mouth by an oral health care professional. The bleaching solutions may vary in potency and may be worn for an hour, or throughout the night. Your oral health care professional can advise you on the appropriate type of application and the length of time needed to whiten your teeth, based on the severity of tooth discoloration and your specific needs.
Most stains are caused by age, tobacco, coffee, or tea. Other types of stains can be caused by antibiotics, such as tetracycline; or too much fluoride.