Exceptional Hygiene Knowledge and Care

Some professional maintenance procedures that are often used on natural teeth can actually ruin the beauty of all-ceramic or composite (bonded) esthetic work. Our hygienists have been specially trained in the careful use of many hygiene products and techniques. The following are a few examples:

  • Power polishing equipment, such as the Prophy-Jet, which creates a powerful spray of typically sodium bicarbonate to clean your teeth, works nicely for natural teeth, but with repeated use can microscopically roughen the surface of porcelain or composite resin (bonding) and make them stain more easily. It will make your teeth look great at the end of the hygiene appointment, but in time you’ll notice an increase in staining and plaque retention. The Prophy-Jet should also be avoided around dental implants. In addition, sodium bicarbonate spray should be avoided in patients with high blood pressure because of its high sodium content.
  • Regular pumice-based polish, used routinely by hygienists to remove the protein pellicle layer from teeth, can scratch composite bonding. Even for durable porcelain veneers, the pumice can scratch the porcelain. Hygienists should use polishing agents made specifically for cosmetic dental work.
  • Fluoride treatments have to be done carefully. There is a difference between acidulated and neutral fluoride in how they affect cosmetic dental work. The acid in acidulated fluoride has the ability to etch porcelain and the tiny glass particles in many composites, thus making them more susceptible to staining. It can even alter the color of some porcelain crowns! If you have any fluoride treatments after cosmetic dental work, be sure that the fluoride used has a neutral pH.
  • Ultrasonic scalers, if used at the margins of porcelain or composite resin cosmetic work, can chip the margin and make the tooth more susceptible to recurrent decay.

If a porcelain crown or bonding starts to stain or look lackluster, there are polishing techniques that can restore the shine. A dentist or hygienist specially trained in cosmetic work can often accomplish this.