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How Long Do Porcelain Veneers Last?

Published on October 25, 2016

porcelain veneers last

Porcelain veneers are an excellent way to disguise minor imperfections with your smile, such as discolored or cracked teeth. Since this is typically a cosmetic procedure, most dental insurance companies don’t provide coverage. However, you should check with your individual carrier to see if coverage is available in the event of facial trauma.

At Alpha Dental, we understand that two of the biggest patient concerns with this procedure are cost and durability. Like many people who are considering this elective cosmetic dentistry enhancement, you probably want to know “How long do porcelain veneers last?”

Typical Lifespan is One Decade

The results of several research studies indicate that patients can expect a lifespan of 15 years on the high end and five years on the low end for their porcelain veneers. In a 2007 study of 300 dental patients who opted for porcelain veneers, 96 percent of patients had their original veneers after five years. At 10 years, this percentage fell just three percentage points to 93 percent. By the 15-year mark, 73 percent of the 300 people still had the same veneers.

Since dental technology has improved in the intervening eight years, you can expect even greater longevity when you have your porcelain veneers placed by Dr. Ahmed or Dr. Pasha at Alpha Dental. We will provide you with detailed care instructions once the veneers are in place to ensure maximum longevity.

Factors Affecting the Longevity of Porcelain Veneers

Approximately one-third of the patients in the study referenced above requested their dentist to remove their veneers because they were no longer satisfied with the aesthetics. In some cases, patients developed an additional dental issue that a single veneer could no longer cover. Yet another cause of failure was the adhesive coming loose and causing the veneer to fall off. Patient behavior plays a large role in the latter case. To avoid a problem with the adhesive, it’s important to use gentle tooth brushing techniques and avoid habits such as teeth clenching and chewing on ice.

Contact Alpha Dental to Learn More about Porcelain Veneers

If you’re considering getting a porcelain veneer to improve the appearance of your smile, please contact our office to request a consultation. One of our dentists will gladly answer your questions in addition to showing you before and after photos of other patients who have chosen this procedure.

When Do You Need A Root Canal?

Published on August 29, 2016

root infections

Root canals are performed on teeth suffering from root infections within the teeth themselves, rather than in the gums.

It’s important to see the signs of infection before heading into the dentist’s office, though not all of these signs are obvious, and would have to be checked on in the dentist’s office regardless. However, there are some warning signals you can look out for. The earlier you catch the signs of infection, the easier and less painful the surgery and recovery will be.

Some risk factors for infection include recent facial trauma, chipped or cracked teeth, the presence of large fillings, or too many dental procedures on one tooth.

Severe Toothaches

Frequent and repeated toothaches while eating may be a sign of root infections. In this case, it could be that the deep root nerves in your teeth are inflamed, and react abnormally to pressure. You should give your Nashua dentist a call if you notice that chewing induces sharp pain deep in the gums.

Prolonged Temperature Sensitivity

When your teeth are exposed to extreme temperatures in foods, a bit of root freeze or root burn is natural to feel at first. However, if this sensitivity is staying around long after you’ve eaten the food, it may be a sign of an infection.

Darkening Teeth

The color of the dentin (main tooth tissue) may especially darken compared to your other teeth in the presence of infection. This is a fairly serious symptom; if you notice one of your teeth growing especially darker, call Dr. Ahmed as soon as possible.

Swelling of Gums

This can be a root or pulp infection or even a periodontal (gum) infection. Either way, if you notice that your gums are swollen or tender, regardless of what it might be, you should talk to Dr. Ahmed as soon as possible.

Persistent Periodontal Pimples

Pimples on the gums are another tell-tale sign of infection, though they are less urgent than swelling. If they recur often after they pop, or do not fully recover, it would be wise to schedule a checkup.

Remember: sometimes root infections don’t have visible or noticeable symptoms, and it’s important to visit the dentist regularly so as to preemptively stop the infection before it develops into a painful abscess.

Call us or make an appointment online to discuss a checkup with Dr. Ahmed and make sure you know the state of your teeth.

The Importance of Dental Check Up

Published on July 13, 2016

dental check up

Perhaps you wonder why it is important to come in for your bi-annual preventive check-up when you take such good care of your teeth at home. Isn’t the whole point of a quick oral examination to polish your teeth and determine if you have any cavities? The answer to that question is yes and no. Professional cleaning is important for the long-term health of your teeth, and Dr. Ahmed does need to routinely check for cavities. However, your twice-yearly appointment is about so much more than teeth cleaning.

The Typical Dental Check-Up at Alpha Dental

While she is busy looking for tooth decay, Dr. Ahmed also checks for gum disease and oral cancer. Spotting either of these conditions early gives you a much better chance of treating them successfully. If you normally wear a dental restoration, such as partial dentures or a dental bridge, Dr. Ahmed checks the condition of those as well.

Patients with significant plaque and tartar build-up may need to return to Alpha Dental for additional treatment. Your dentist will let you know at your check-up if you are a good candidate for a procedure known as root planing and scaling. This can also be part of a treatment plan for gum disease.

Your dental check-up usually includes a set of x-rays to help Dr. Ahmed spot anything out of the ordinary. This includes such things as deep tooth decay, cavities between teeth that may be hard to spot, infections, oral cysts, and impacted wisdom teeth. If your x-rays uncover a problem, Dr. Ahmed may refer you to another dental professional for additional treatment.

Keep Teeth Extra Bright with Professional Teeth Whitening

Even when you brush and floss your teeth twice a day and come in for regular preventive teeth cleaning, your smile may not be as bright as you would like. If not, consider our affordable dental cleaning package that you can use at home. Our staff would be happy to provide additional details by phone or at your next appointment.

What Are Dentures?

Published on March 21, 2016

Post11If you’re missing some or all of your natural teeth, you have probably spent considerable time considering your options for tooth replacement. After researching several of them, you may still be wondering “What are dentures?” Dentures are a removable appliance that conceals your tooth loss in addition to returning the full functionality of your mouth. You are able to chew, speak, and smile with ease again. You risk infection as well as alignment problems when you don’t replace missing teeth.

What Type of Denture is Right for You?

Dr. Ahmed will install complete dentures when you have lost all of your natural teeth to dental disease, trauma, or decay. Complete dentures consist of a row of 14 teeth for your top jaw and 14 for your lower jaw. This is the normal number of teeth that adults have without including the wisdom teeth. When you’re missing two or more consecutive teeth on the same arch, he will install partial dentures. You can replace a single missing tooth with a dental bridge to secure the replacement tooth in place.

You can choose to get immediate or conventional dentures when all of your natural teeth have been extracted or lost. With the first option, we make your replacement teeth on-site and install them in one appointment. You will need to visit Dr. Ahmed a few times in the weeks immediately following the procedure just to make sure that the dentures fit correctly and that your jaw and gum tissues have healed properly.

With traditional dentures, you may need to wait several weeks or months from the time Dr. Ahmed extracts your teeth to when he can install the new dentures. This allows for optimal gum tissue healing, but it does leave you without teeth in the meantime. We are happy to provide you with a set of temporary dentures until your customized permanent dentures are ready.

Schedule a Consultation to Learn More About Dentures

The staff at Alpha Dental knows that choosing among the various options for teeth replacement is a big decision. We encourage you to make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Ahmed so he can discuss dentures with you in more detail. He is also open to discussing other alternatives if you decide against removable dentures.


What is a Tooth Filling?

Published on March 7, 2016

Post10When Dr. Ahmed tells patients they have a cavity and need to get a filling, they often ask “What is a tooth filling?” When you receive a filling, Dr. Ahmed removes the diseased or infected part of the tooth with a dental drill. He then uses filling material to cover the open spot. Dental fillings help to preserve your tooth in addition to protecting it from additional decay. You could eventually lose a tooth if you neglect to have a simple cavity filled. A filling may also be necessary if one of your teeth has sustained a minor fracture.

Differences Between Composite and Metal Tooth Fillings

Alpha Dental is pleased to offer patients the option of composite fillings. This tooth-colored filling material closely matches the shade of your teeth, making it almost impossible for others to detect. Many patients prefer composite fillings for the improved aesthetics alone. It takes just one appointment for Dr. Ahmed to complete the process of applying a composite filling. These fillings resist staining better than other alternatives, but they can also be bulkier. To ensure that a ceramic filling remains firmly in your mouth, Dr. Ahmed may need to remove a small amount of tooth enamel before placing it.

Mercury makes up about half of the materials used in traditional metal fillings, which also go by the name silver amalgam fillings. Other materials include zinc, copper, tin, silver, and mercury. This was the treatment of choice for decades in the field of dentistry. However, many patients expressed concern about their appearance after receiving a metal filling as well as the remote possibility of mercury breaking free from the filling and entering their bloodstream. Since both types protect and preserve your tooth, you’re free to decide what works best for you.

Contact Us with Questions

Dr. Ahmed or a member of his staff would be happy to discuss the types of fillings in more detail when you discuss treatment planning with him. He will also let you know exactly what you can expect. If you suspect that you may have a cavity, we urge you not to delay in seeking treatment at Alpha Dental.


What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Published on February 21, 2016

Patients who feel dissatisfied with some aspect of their smile often ask Dr. Saeed Ahmed at Alpha Dental, “What is cosmetic dentistry?” They may have a specific procedure in mind, but often don’t understand this dental discipline as a whole. Cosmetic dentistry is any voluntary procedure that you undertake for the primary purpose of improving your appearance. Our clinic is pleased to offer several options for your consideration.

Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures Available at Alpha Dental

Below is a list of the services we offer to improve your aesthetics.

  • Clear Connect Braces: These invisible braces are an excellent alternative to typical orthodontic treatment with metal wires and brackets. With Clear Connect, you wear clear plastic aligners that you swap out at an interval Dr. Ahmed determines during your initial treatment planning. Besides the discrete appearance, having your teeth straightened with Clear Connect generally takes less time than with metal braces.
  • Composite Fillings: Unlike traditional filling material made of mercury, these types of fillings are white and blend in better because they match the shade of your teeth. Another benefit is that you don’t have to worry about the small chance of a mercury filling breaking free and causing an infection in your mouth.
  • Dental Crowns: A crown or a cap goes over a tooth to provide additional support when it has been weakened by tooth decay or any number of dental diseases. It also helps to conceal slight blemishes of the teeth such as a stain or a crack.
  • Fixed Dental Bridges: A dental bridge is a permanent option to replace a single tooth or several teeth in a row that are missing. Dr. Ahmed places brackets behind the teeth on either side of the missing tooth to act as support for the new dental bridge.
  • Porcelain Veneers: A dental veneer is a wafer-thin piece of ceramic that Dr. Ahmed affixes to the front of your tooth to disguise gaps, stains, chips, and other cosmetic issues. He sometimes needs to remove up to an eighth of a millimeter of tooth enamel to give the porcelain veneer a snug fit.
  • Teeth Whitening: Your lifestyle habits, such as smoking, drinking coffee, or eating dark-colored foods, can all have a lasting effect on your teeth. You can brighten the shade of your teeth by several times with professional teeth whitening. During this procedure, Dr. Ahmed places a tray of whitening gel on your top and bottom rows of teeth that brighten them at a deep level.

We encourage you to schedule an in-office consultation to learn more about the specific cosmetic dentistry procedure that interests you.

How to Clean Dentures

Published on February 7, 2016

When you receive removable dentures from Dr. Saeed Ahmed at Alpha Dental, it is very important that you commit to keeping them clean. That being said, many patients are unsure of how to do this and ask our staff how to clean dentures. Although it will take some practice to get into a routine, it won’t be long before cleaning your dentures will become second nature.

Best Practices for Cleaning Dentures

One of the major benefits of dentures is that they allow you to chew your food normally again. To keep them in good condition, remove your dentures from your mouth after every meal and run them under sink water. If you’re concerned about breaking your dentures, place a towel in the sink or fill it up with water first and rinse them that way.

Be sure to brush your dentures at least one time each day. You will need a toothbrush and a non-abrasive denture cleanser to complete the cleaning. This removes food particles, plaque, bacteria, and adhesive glue from your dentures. Be sure to rinse the dentures thoroughly before you put them back in your mouth.

Never sleep with dentures in your mouth as they could fall out and get damaged. You could even choke on them in your sleep. Before bed each night, place your dentures in a glass of water with a denture cleansing tablet. It’s important to do this for cleanliness as well as to help your dentures keep their shape.

When cleaning your dentures, avoid using hot water, bleaching gel, whitening toothpaste, or any type of abrasive material. All of these could cause significant damage that will require replacing your dentures too soon.

Contact Dr. Ahmed with Additional Questions

Dr. Ahmed is happy to answer your questions regarding how to clean dentures. He is also available for a consultation if you are still considering all of your options for permanent tooth replacement. Please contact Alpha Dental at your convenience.

Home Remedies for Teeth Whitening

Published on January 21, 2016

Although your permanent teeth are a bright white color when they first come in, they tend to darken in color over time. By the time you’re a young or middle-aged adult, they may take on a yellow or gray appearance. Some of the common reasons for this include poor oral hygiene habits, smoking, drinking coffee or carbonated soda, taking certain medications, or frequently eating dark-colored food. If you have discolored teeth, you have probably tried searching for home remedies for teeth whitening. Below are some of the most common:

  • Brushing your teeth with baking soda and lemon once a week. It’s important not to use this combination more frequently as it could wear away tooth enamel. When used properly, baking soda mixed with lemon can help your teeth be a slightly whiter shade.
  • Drink coffee, tea, wine, or soda with a straw to prevent direct exposure to caffeine or dark colors. However, this isn’t always possible due to the temperature or beverages or a straw not being available.
  • Eat more crunchy fruits and vegetables to remove excess bacteria and food from your teeth. Celery, apples, and carrots in particular can help keep your teeth whiter for longer.
  • Make it a point to floss your teeth twice a day. While most people are great about brushing their teeth that often, they tend to forget about flossing. According to the American Dental Association, flossing is even more important than brushing because it removes the bacteria that can cause decay and discoloration.

Consider ZOOM! Professional Teeth Whitening

Dr. Saeed Ahmed of Alpha Dental is pleased to offer his patients the ZOOM! professional teeth whitening option. In just two appointments, you can see results that are up to eight times brighter than your current shade. At the first session, Dr. Ahmed takes measurements of your upper and lower rows of teeth so our laboratory can create customized mouth trays. When they are ready, we contact you to come in for a second appointment. This session lasts approximately 45 minutes while you sit with the bleaching gel in each of the mouth trays.

The major benefit of professional teeth cleaning is that it cleans your teeth beyond the top layer of enamel. This is due to the reaction between silica molecules and the chemicals present in the solution. With home remedies, the best you can hope for is a slight color improvement at the surface level of your teeth. If it seems like you have tried every home remedy imaginable, it may be time for ZOOM! teeth whitening at Alpha Dental. Please contact us with additional questions or to schedule your first appointment.

What is a Root Canal Procedure?

Published on January 7, 2016

Tooth decay, dental disease, and trauma to the face are just some of the reasons a tooth may become infected and require a root canal. Indications that you have developed an infection include:

  • One or more of your teeth causes constant throbbing pain
  • The pain worsens when you drink a beverage not at room temperature or bite into your food
  • The pain worsens when you stand up or lie down
  • You notice swelling of your neck or face
  • You have bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth despite brushing and using mouthwash regularly
  • The painful tooth looks darker than your other teeth
  • You notice a pus-filled sac formation on or near your gum line

The last point is especially important because pus leaking from underneath a tooth can damage the supporting bone and cause a tooth abscess. This extremely painful condition is a dental emergency requiring prompt treatment. We encourage you to contact Alpha Dental about any new, unusual, or worsening symptoms so we can evaluate the problem right away. Because some patients have an infected tooth without experiencing pain or any other symptoms, it’s also important to keep up with your bi-annual cleaning appointments. Dr. Pasha and Dr. Ahmed occasionally spot tooth infections during a routine exam and schedule a root canal to treat them.

What Happens During a Root Canal?

Some patients feel anxious about getting a root canal because they have heard that it’s painful. They may also feel confused and ask, “What is a root canal procedure?” First, we’d like to put your mind at ease by letting you know that most people who have had root canals say they didn’t find them especially uncomfortable. Dental technology has advanced rapidly to make having a root canal as fast and pain-free as possible.

To prepare you for the process, your dentist numbs the affected tooth and surrounding gums. Removing the infected pulp from the tooth root comes next. Once this is complete, Dr. Pasha or Dr. Ahmed cleans your tooth from the inside and then surrounds the tooth with a sealant to prevent bacteria from invading it. The last step involves having a crown placed on the tooth that received the root canal. This helps to keep it strong as well as acts as an additional guard against infection. It also allows for normal chewing once the procedure is complete.

Types of Dental Fillings

Published on December 7, 2015

When your dentist at Alpha Dental discovers that you have tooth decay, removing it as soon as possible preserves the structure of the tooth. Once Dr. Ahmed has successfully removed the decay, the next step is to apply a dental filling. The materials to create the different types of dental fillings include:

  • Ceramic Fillings: Porcelain is the main component of these types of fillings. Although ceramic fillings are typically more expensive than all but gold fillings, they are durable and aesthetically pleasing. One downside is that they are more brittle and bulky so your dentist must reduce the tooth size to fit them comfortably. Fillings made from ceramic are highly resistant to staining.
  • Glass Ionomers: The ingredients in this filling type include glass and acrylic. Longevity averages five years, which makes them the least durable of all filling materials. Glass ionomers are most appropriate for children whose teeth are still growing and changing. One major advantage is that they release fluoride to protect the tooth against further decay.
  • Gold: Gold fillings are not common because they are much more expensive and difficult to place. One benefit is that gold is non-abrasive when used as a dental filling.
  • Silver Amalgam: This is the most popular type of dental filling. It contains a mixture of mercury, copper, zinc, tin, and silver. However, mercury accounts for at least half of the total mixture. Silver amalgam fillings are durable and can last for decades with proper care. They have fallen out of favor with patients in recent years due to not being aesthetically pleasing and concern about the mercury breaking free and causing an infection. This situation is extremely rare.

Composite Fillings Make a Superior Choice

Composite fillings, also called tooth colored, are extremely popular with patients for good reason. Of all filling types, they match the shade of your teeth most closely. This allows you to disguise the fact that you have cavities at all. The primary materials are resin and plastic. Since Dr. Ahmed use a curing light when placing a composite filling, it hardens almost immediately. You typically have to wait up to several hours for other types of fillings to harden in place. Composite fillings help you feel more confident about your smile as well.

Request a Consultation to Learn More about Dental Filling Options

With so many choices available, patients need more information about each option to make the right choice. We encourage you to ask questions of your dentist at Alpha Dental to ensure that you choose the right type of filling for your situation.

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