Posts for: November, 2014

November 20, 2014
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: Contouring  

Everyone Wants a Beautiful Smile

We live in a culture and time where more and more people choose to undergo dental treatments in order to get that perfect smile they have always dreamed of. One of the best choices in dental treatments available today for anyone wanting a great smile is cosmetic contouring. In simple terms, this medical procedure is the reshaping of a patient's own teeth in order to achieve a more desirable appearance. Fractured or chipped teeth are smoothed , while specific edges or angles can be squared or rounded to achieve a more pleasant appearing smile.

Why Cosmetic Contouring?

This procedure can be used instead of braces in order to enhance the appearance of your teeth. You can now correct chipped, crooked, overlapping or cracked teeth in only a few visits. When combined with bonding and minor tooth movement, this procedure can dramatically alter the shape, length and position of your teeth, enabling you to achieve a flawless smile that is contagious.

Here are some reasons to undergo a cosmetic contouring procedure:

  • No discomfort and no anesthetic. Another huge benefit of this procedure is that it is done with no discomfort to the patient and with no anesthetic. Doctors can correct crooked or cracked teeth using modern techniques and devices in a short span of time without affecting your positive mood.
  • Easy to attain good results. This procedure is based on subtle changes. Only a few millimeters of reduction and shaping can have a significant impact on your teeth. This is great, especially for busy people who are always on the go.
  • Enhanced bite. When you have crooked or chipped teeth, biting is a daunting task. On the other hand, perfectly-aligned teeth help you enjoy an enhanced bite.
  • Less costly than traditional braces. Undergoing a cosmetic contouring procedure costs less money than getting braces. While the traditional option is braces, an increasing number of people are coming to realize the huge benefits of contouring and tooth reshaping.

The Bottom Line

Everyone enjoys the benefits of a nice smile. It can boost your confidence, and help you live a healthier life. With these things in mind, you may want to consider having a cosmetic tooth reshaping and contouring procedure. If you would like to learn more, Dr. Howell would be happy to take a look at your situation and develop a plan to improve your smile. To start the process, click here to request an appointment online.


Rock star Steven Tyler fell and broke his two front teeth while on tour with his band Aerosmith not long ago. But Tyler was back on stage the very next day, thanks to modern dental implant technology.

Dental implants are the most optimal tooth replacement system in use today. The reason we say “system” is because replacing teeth with implants involves two, or sometimes three, components: the implant itself, which replaces the root-part of the tooth; the dental crown that sits on top of it to replace the part of the tooth that's visible in the mouth; and a connecting piece placed in between the implant and crown, known as an abutment.

The implant itself, made of titanium, is placed directly into the jawbone with a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has the unique ability to fuse to bone, creating a very strong connection. An implant provides virtually the same function as a natural tooth root, including stabilizing the bone underneath and preventing its loss — something that naturally occurs when a tooth is lost.

This fusion process takes a period of weeks, which is why the implant needs time to heal before a permanent crown is attached. One reason for early implant failure is “loading” them with biting forces too soon. But in experienced hands, implants are extremely successful. Documented research and clinical studies indicate success rates of over 95% — which is higher than any other tooth replacement option. Once integrated and functional, implants can last a lifetime. That's why, though they are a bit more expensive initially than other tooth-replacement options, they are more cost-effective in the long term.

Of course, another advantage of implants is that they look and feel completely natural. Just ask Steven Tyler!

If you would like more information about dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants.” Dear Doctor also has more on “The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”

By James B. Howell, D.M.D.
November 03, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Dental implants are considered the premier option for tooth replacement. While all implant procedures follow the same general concept — a titanium post surgically inserted into the jawbone with an attached life-like crown — the installation process can vary.

From their earliest history, implants have usually been installed through a two-stage process. In the first stage, the surgeon inserts the titanium post in the bone and leaves it “submerged” below the gum level to protect it from oral bacteria and the effects of chewing and biting. About three months later after the bone attaches to the titanium (a process called osseointegration), the surgeon then performs the second stage by re-exposing the implant and attaching a temporary abutment and crown for the patient to wear while the permanent abutment and crown are fabricated and later attached in 2-6 weeks.

In recent years, advancements in materials and design have made possible a one-stage process that allows the implant to protrude above the gum line during osseointegration and shortens the process. After the initial three-month healing period, the implant is ready for “loading” with the permanent crown.

The choice between which of these two procedures should be used for your implants will first depend on the type of tooth being replaced. A front tooth benefits from the one-stage procedure for cosmetic reasons because the surgeon can install a temporary crown to the exposed abutment during osseointegration (as long as the temporary tooth isn’t in functional contact with other teeth). An implant for a back tooth, on the other hand, doesn't have a large cosmetic demand so those one stage procedures usually end up with an exposed healing abutment but no temporary crown.

The strength of the bone is also a factor. Some bone tends to be softer, particularly in the back of the mouth. There’s a chance the implant could move in this softer bone, adversely affecting the outcome. For this reason, the two-stage procedure can be the preferred approach for posterior teeth as it offers more protection from movement.

You can be sure we’ll consider all these and other factors during your initial examination, and then advise you on the best approach. Above all, we want to make sure — whether a one-stage or a two-stage implant process — the result is a smile you can be proud of.

If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “Staging Surgery in Implant Dentistry.”

Louisville, KY Cosmetic Dentistry
James B. Howell, D.M.D.
3936 Dutchmans Lane
Louisville, KY 40207
(502) 899-7766



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