My Blog

Posts for: January, 2018

By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
January 18, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   veneers  

What's an actor's most important feature? According to Vivica A. Fox, whose most recent big-screen role was in Independence Day: Resurgence, it's what you see right up front.

"On screen, your smile and your eyes are the most inviting things that bring the audience in" she said. "Especially if you play the hot chick."

But like lots of people, Vivica reached a point where she felt her smile needed a little help in order to look its best. That's when she turned to a popular cosmetic dental treatment.

"I got veneers years ago," Ms. Fox told Dear Doctor magazine in a recent interview, "just because I had some gapping that probably only I noticed."

What exactly are dental veneers? Essentially, they are thin shells of lustrous porcelain that are permanently attached to the front surfaces of the teeth. Tough, lifelike and stain-resistant, they can cover up a number of defects in your smile — including stains, chips, cracks, and even minor spacing irregularities like the ones Vivica had.

Veneers have become the treatment of choice for Hollywood celebs — and lots of regular folks too — for many reasons. Unlike some treatments that can take many months, it takes just a few appointments to have veneers placed on your teeth. Because they are custom made just for you, they allow you to decide how bright you want your smile to be: anywhere from a natural pearly hue to a brilliant "Hollywood white." Best of all, they are easy to maintain, and can last for many years with only routine care.

To place traditional veneers, it's necessary to prepare the tooth by removing a small amount (a millimeter or two) of its enamel surface. This keeps it from feeling too big — but it also means the treatment can't be reversed, so once you get veneers, you'll always have them. In certain situations, "no-prep" or minimal-prep veneers, which require little or no removal of tooth enamel, may be an option for some people.

Veneers aren't the only way to create a better smile: Teeth whitening, crowns or orthodontic work may also be an alternative. But for many, veneers are the preferred option. What does Vivica think of hers?

"I love my veneers!" she declared, noting that they have held up well for over a decade.

For more information about veneers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
January 10, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Do you need a crown but don't have enough room in your schedule for multiple dental appointments? Same-day CEREC crowns offer a dental crownsconvenient alternative to the two-appointment crown process. Columbus, GA, dentists Dr. Phillip Tully and Dr. W. Newton Sharp explain how CEREC works.

CAD/CAM technology simplifies crown production

Thanks to computer aided design/computer aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM), crowns can be created in the dentist's office, rather than a dental laboratory. Versatile crowns are used to strengthen, stabilize and restore fragile or damaged teeth, but also offer an excellent way to improve the appearance of a crooked, discolored or short tooth.

Traditionally, the crown process involved reducing the size of your tooth, making an impression of your mouth with gooey dental putty, then sending the impression to a dental laboratory for fabrication of the crown. You left the office with a temporary crown and were given a list of foods to avoid to prevent damaging or dislodging the temporary crown. Two weeks later, you returned for the new crown.

When you receive a CEREC crown, you'll only need to visit our Columbus, GA, office once. After preparing your tooth, we'll use a digital camera to create a virtual impression of your mouth. Many patients are particularly happy to hear that there's no longer any need to use uncomfortable putty impressions, thanks to the virtual impression process.

After we create the virtual impression, we'll manipulate a 3D computerized image of your mouth to design a crown that will fit your mouth perfectly. With just a click of a button, the design will be sent to our in-office milling machine, where it will be crafted from a block of ceramic. The entire process only takes about an hour and completely eliminates the need for a temporary crown. Should there be any issues with the fit of your crown, a new crown can be created while you wait.

Are you interested in finding out if a CEREC crown is a good option for you? Call Columbus, GA, dentists Dr. Phillip Tully and Dr. W. Newton Sharp at (706) 323-6491 to schedule an appointment.

By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
January 03, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   gum disease  

Periodontal (gum) disease causes more than simple gum swelling—this bacterial infection can harm and destroy your teeth’s supporting structures, including the bone. Its aggressiveness sometimes requires equally aggressive treatment.

Gum disease usually begins with dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth and gum surfaces. Without proper oral hygiene plaque builds up with large populations of bacteria that can trigger an infection.

The growth of this disease is often “silent,” meaning it may initially show no symptoms. If it does, it will normally be reddened, swollen and/or bleeding gums, and sometimes pain. A loose tooth is often a late sign the disease has severely damaged the gum ligaments and supporting bone, making tooth loss a distinct possibility.

If you’re diagnosed with gum disease, there is one primary treatment strategy—remove all detected plaque and calculus (tartar) from tooth and gum surfaces. This can take several sessions because as the gums begin responding to treatment and are less inflamed, more plaque and calculus may be discovered.

Plaque removal can involve various techniques depending on the depth of the infection within the gums. For surfaces above or just below the gum line, we often use a technique called scaling: manually removing plaque and calculus with specialized instruments called scalers. If the infection has progressed well below the gum line we may also use root planing, a technique for “shaving” plaque from root surfaces.

Once infection reaches these deeper levels it’s often difficult to access. Getting to it may require a surgical procedure known as flap surgery. We make incisions in the gums to form what looks like the flap of an envelope. By retracting this “flap” we can then access the root area of the tooth. After thoroughly cleansing the area of infection, we can do regenerative procedures to regain lost attachment. Then we suture the flap of gum tissue back into place.

Whatever its stage of development, it’s important to begin treatment of gum disease as soon as it’s detected. The earlier we can arrest its spread, the less likely we’ll need to employ these more invasive procedures. If you see any signs of gum disease as mentioned before, contact us as soon as possible for a full examination.

If you would like more information on preventing and treating gum disease, 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 “Treating Difficult Areas of Periodontal Disease.”