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Posts for: February, 2018

By Signature Smiles, LLC
February 17, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dentures  
DenturesRequirePlanningandAttentiontoDetailtoLookNatural

Twenty-six percent of American adults between 65 and 74 have lost all their teeth to dental disease. This isn’t an appearance problem only—lack of teeth can also harm nutrition and physical well-being.

Fortunately, we have advanced restorative options that can effectively replace missing teeth. Of these, there’s a tried and true one that’s both affordable and effective: removable dentures.

Dentures are simple in design: a plastic or resin base, colored with a pinkish-red hue to resemble gums to which we attach prosthetic (false) teeth. But while the design concept isn’t complicated, the process for creating and fitting them can be quite involved: they must conform to an individual patient’s jaws and facial structure if they’re going to appear natural.

If you’re considering dentures, here’s some of what it will take to achieve a successful outcome.

Positioning the teeth. The position of the prosthetic teeth on the base greatly determines how natural they’ll appear and how well they’ll function. So, we’ll need to plan tooth placement beforehand based on your facial and jaw structures, as well as photos taken of you before tooth loss. We’ll also consider how large the teeth should be, how far to place them forward or back from the lips, and whether to include “imperfections” from your old look that you see as part of your appearance.

Simulating the gums. While the teeth are your smile’s stars, the gums are the supporting cast. It’s important that we create a denture base that attractively frames the teeth by determining how much of the gums show when you smile, or adding color and even textures to better resemble gum tissue. We can also add ridges behind the upper teeth to support speech.

Balancing the bite. Upper and lower dentures don’t operate in and of themselves—they must work cooperatively and efficiently with each other during eating or speaking. So while appearance matters, the bite’s bite adjustment or balance might matter more. That’s why we place a lot of attention into balancing and adjusting the bite after you receive your dentures to make sure you’re comfortable.

This is a detailed process that we may need to revisit from time to time to make sure your dentures’ fit remains tight and comfortable. Even so, modern advances in this traditional restoration continue to make them a solid choice for total tooth loss.

If you would like more information on denture restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor article “Removable Dentures.”


By Signature Smiles, LLC
February 13, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers   cosmetic dentistry  

Do you want stronger, more attractive teeth? Have small flaws impacted your smile aesthetics? Why not investigate a very popular veneerscosmetic dental treatment called porcelain veneers? Placed Dr. Carmela LaFalce in Toms River, NJ, veneers permanently strengthen and beautify teeth. Thousands of adults and older teens have veneers--maybe even someone you know personally. However, when they smile, all you see is a dazzling set of teeth.

No braces, no crowns

Dr. LaFalce's porcelain veneer treatments replace more extensive restorations such as dental crowns and orthodontic correction. In just a few visits to Signature Smiles, veneers can remake a smile by permanently covering the front sides of teeth which have:

  • Deep staining
  • Cracks, fissures, pits, and chips
  • Gaps
  • Mild crowding
  • Congenital problems with shape, size, and length

In fact, Dentistry Today says that veneers remake teeth so completely and quickly that patients are pleasantly surprised at the results.

Here's how it goes in Toms River

The steps to your new smile are simple:

1. Think about how you'd like to enhance your smile. Be realistic. Are you dissatisfied with tooth color, a gap between your front teeth or something else?

2. Contact Signature Smiles to arrange a cosmetic dentistry consultation with Dr. LaFalce.

3. Dr. LaFalce performs a complete oral exam, including digital imaging. She wants to make sure your mouth is free of decay, gum disease, and extensive restorative work.

4. Discuss a treatment plan and make your desires known to the doctor. She'll give you options and also take oral impressions.

5. At the next appointment, Dr. LaFalce removes a small amount of enamel from each tooth to be treated with veneers. This enamel resurfacing (about 1/2 mm) allows the veneers to fit and bite properly. The dentist also installs temporary veneers which you'll wear until the permanent ones are ready.

6. When you return to Signature Smiles, Dr. LaFalce will remove the temporary veneers and bond the new ones in place. She can vary the color of the bonding cement to achieve the right shade for the veneers. She also adjusts the bite and fit.

7. Expect some dental and/or gum sensitivity for a few days. This resolves quickly.

8. Brush and floss just as you normally do, and see Dr. LaFalce for follow-up per her instructions.

The lifespan of veneers

Porcelain veneers last 10, 15 and even 20 years. Just be careful not to eat hard candy, chew ice or open bottles with your teeth! If you clench or grind your teeth, ask Dr. LaFalce about a customized mouth guard to protect your smile.

Are you intrigued?

If you are, contact Signature Smiles for a one-on-one consultation with Dr. LaFalce in Toms River, NJ. She'll be happy to explore your cosmetic dentistry options and show you what veneers could do for your smile. Call today: (732) 244-4114.


By Signature Smiles, LLC
February 02, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: baby teeth  
WhyitsWorththeEfforttoSaveaProblemBabyTooth

There are usually two moments when primary (“baby”) teeth generate excitement in your family: when you first notice them in your child’s mouth, and when they come out (and are headed for a rendezvous with the “tooth fairy”!).

Between these two moments, you might not give them much thought. But you should—although primary teeth don’t last long, they play a pivotal role in the replacing permanent teeth’s long-term health.

This is because a primary tooth is a kind of guide for the permanent one under development in the gums. It serves first as a “space saver,” preventing nearby teeth from drifting into where the permanent tooth would properly erupt; and, it provides a pathway for the permanent tooth to travel during eruption. If it’s lost prematurely (from injury or, more likely, disease) the permanent tooth may erupt out of position because the other teeth have crowded the space.

That’s why we try to make every reasonable effort to save a problem primary tooth. If decay, for example, has advanced deep within the tooth pulp, we may perform a modified root canal treatment to remove the diseased tissue and seal the remaining pulp from further infection. In some circumstances we may cap the tooth with a stainless steel crown (or possibly a white crown alternative) to protect the remaining structure of the tooth.

Of course, even the best efforts can fall short. If the tooth must be removed, we would then consider preserving the empty space with a space maintainer. This orthodontic device usually takes the form of a metal band that’s cemented to a tooth on one side of the empty space with a stiff wire loop soldered to it that crosses the space to rest against the tooth on the other side. The wire loop prevents other teeth from crowding in, effectively “maintaining” the space for the permanent tooth.

Regular dental visits, plus your child’s daily brushing and flossing, are also crucial in preventing primary teeth from an “early departure.” Keeping them for their full lifespan will help prevent problems that could impact your child’s dental health future.

If you would like more information on the right care approach for primary teeth, 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 “Importance of Baby Teeth.”




Carmela LaFalce, DMD
Dentist - Toms River
616 Washington St
Toms River, NJ 08753

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