Dental Procedures

Quality Dental Team in Houston offers to you all the necessary dental procedures & cosmetic dentistry to maintain your oral health.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dental procedures are esthetic treatments to correct imperfections or enhance the appearance of the mouth.

Tooth color, shape, alignment, spacing as well as irregularity of the teeth are the characteristics that give the overall appearance. Any of these characteristics can be enhanced to provide a stunning new smile.

Veneers

A veneer is a type of dental prosthetic. It is a covering that is placed over the front of your natural tooth. Veneers are usually only applied to the part of the tooth that is visible when talking or smiling. The procedure can be direct or indirect.

The direct technique usually involves bonding composite resin on the outside of the tooth. This method is usually referred to as bonding.

The indirect technique usually involves two appointments, due to the need for the dental laboratory to fabricate the veneers.  At the first appointment, the teeth are prepared, impressions made, and then the teeth are given a temporary or provisional. Typically, two weeks later the veneers are ready from the laboratory, the temporaries are then removed and the veneers are bonded to the teeth. The laboratory fabricated veneers are generally made using porcelain or pressed ceramic and are very aesthetic.

The advantage of veneers versus crowns is that substantially less tooth structure is removed, and the procedure is generally less uncomfortable. Veneers are recommended for teeth that have large fillings or little tooth structure.
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Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is an extremely popular procedure to make teeth whiter, brighter, and overall more attractive. The teeth are bleached to whiten stains and discoloration, or simply to enhance a dull lackluster smile.  Either way, tooth whitening is a safe and relatively painless procedure ideal for most patients.  Our office offers two methods of whitening: in-office whitening and in-home custom tray whitening.

In-office whitening is ideal for anyone wanting immediate results.  The entire process takes approximately an hour, making it the perfect choice for busy individuals.  For the whitening process, a protective gel is first applied to your gums to protect the soft tissue.  A special light-activated gel is then applied to your teeth. Next, a special light is used to enhance or activate the whitening agent - making your teeth whiter and brighter.  As a final step, we take impressions of your teeth to create custom trays for at home touch-ups, and give you instructions for keeping your smile radiant. The result is dramatically whiter teeth that will last for quite some time.

Tray whitening is a less expensive whitening alternative you can use while in the comfort of your own home.  We will first take an impression of your mouth to create a customized clear whitening trays for you to wear.  Within a few days your trays will be ready to be picked up and we will show you how to apply the special bleaching material to the trays.  The whitening gel trays should be worn 30-60 minutes a day until you achieve your desired results.  Typically, it takes about two weeks for you to see maximum whitening results.  After that, occasionally you will need to wear the trays to maintain your new smile.

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Fillings

When a tooth is damaged by decay or trauma a filling is placed to restore it. When a tooth requires a filling, the dentist modifies the shape of the tooth by removing the dental decay. The affected area is then cleaned and refilled with a type of filling material.  This bonded material helps to restore the tooth back to its original shape and function.Your dentist will work with you to determine which of the many varieties of filling material is best for you. Many factors determine what should be used such as extent of repair, location or cost. We will elaborate on each filling materials below:
  • Composite resins come in many color variations therefore it is possible to create a natural appearance by matching the shade to your natural teeth.  These “tooth colored” fillings are less noticeable than other materials, but may chip or wear over time.  Every 3-10 years they need to be replaced, because they often become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco etc…
  • Porcelain fillings are typically called inlays or onlays and are made in the lab specifically to bond to your tooth. They can also be matched to your natural tooth color, and the porcelain is more resistant to staining.  This particular restoration covers most of the tooth, which makes the filling nearly undetectable. Porcelain fillings generally cost the same as gold fillings.
If a large portion of the tooth is damaged by decay or fracture then a filling may not be the best restoration and a crown may be indicated.
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Crowns and Bridges

We place a crown on a tooth when fillings are not recommended.  Crowns and bridges are used to restore and replace teeth that are damaged or missing. A crown (also referred to as a cap) covers a damaged tooth in its entirety. A crown not only strengthens a tooth, but it can drastically improve a tooth’s appearance and alignment.

  • Replace large fillings when not enough tooth structure remains
  • Replace bad veneers
  • Restore a fractured tooth
  • Protect a weak tooth
  • Restore a dental Implant
  • Restore an endodontically treated tooth
  • Cover a discolored tooth
  • Cover a poorly shaped tooth


A bridge is one or more pontic (artificial) teeth that rest on the gums and are held up by the teeth on either side of the edentulous area. Bridge work can sometimes be challenging as the lab technician must visualize the missing teeth and make them flow with the rest of the natural dentition while also making sure that the teeth are functional for speaking and eating.  Gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy or all ceramic material are most commonly used for bridge fabrication.  As with a filling or crown the choice depends on multiple factors.

It is important that missing teeth are replaced as soon as possible.  This is because, teeth use their neighbors to stay in line and support each other.  If not restored, the teeth surrounding the space begin to shift inward. Even the opposing teeth begin to super erupt into the space. These movements can cause issues with the bite, because the pressure has now changed and this could ultimately lead to TMJ issues.

Crowns and bridges are made by taking an impression of your teeth. The impressions are given to the dental lab technician who will custom make your crown or bridge to fit your teeth and match your natural tooth color. In the meantime, a temporary crown or bridge will be placed until your permanent crown or bridge is ready and permanently cemented into place.Bridges and crowns are very durable and with good hygiene can last a lifetime.

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Tooth Extraction

The loss of a single tooth can have major impact upon your appearance and oral cavity. Dentists typically try to use every measure to prevent tooth loss, but sometimes you find out that you have an unrestorable tooth. When this is the case, it is necessary for the dentist to remove the tooth.  A tooth may need to be extracted for the following reasons:
  • Severe decay
  • Severe decay
  • Advanced periodontal disease
  • Infection or abscess
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Impacted teeth
  • Fractured teeth or roots


When your dentist determines the tooth needs to be removed, radiographs will be taken to understand the shape and position of the tooth under the gingiva and bone that cannot be seen from a visual exam.  If it appears that complications may arise you may be referred to an oral surgeon who specializes in the removal of teeth.  If the extraction is straight forward it will be completed in office.

For a straight forward or simple extraction your dentist will first apply a local anesthetic to prevent any discomfort during the procedure. Next, the tooth will be loosened with an instrument called an elevator. Lastly, dental forceps will be used to remove the tooth. Once the procedure is complete, the area may be closed with sutures. You will then be provided post-operative care instructions to ensure proper healing and reduce the likelihood of infection.

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Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment (endodontic therapy) is made necessary when an untreated cavity makes it to the nerve of the tooth or when trauma occurs resulting in nerve damage. Once the pulp becomes infected, the surrounding bone can become compromised resulting in an abscess. If the pulp is infected, severe pain and swelling can persist until treatment is rendered. Symptoms that indicate the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain from bite pressure, even a bad taste in the mouth. Nevertheless, sometimes no symptoms manifest and you are unaware of anything until a checkup.

A root canal is performed to clean out the infected pulp tissue and disinfect the canals of the tooth. Alternate treatment would be to remove the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal is filled in to prevent any further infection. Typically, a crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy.

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Dental Implants

Dental implants are ideal restorations for people who are missing one or more teeth. Tooth loss could have resulted from injury, infection, or any other reason. A dental implant is a metal post that is positioned into the jaw. Once in place, the surrounding bone must be given time to heal. Lastly, a replacement tooth will be attached either through cementation or screw retention. While tooth implants are typically more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, they provide superior benefits. Screw dental Implants are stronger than natural teeth and generally standalone making them more favorable than bridgework.  A single front tooth implant can add a tooth, and it will not be necessary to modify the surrounding environment.

To receive single tooth implant, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. You must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits as these are critical to the long-term success of dental implants cost.
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Dentures

Dentures are removable prostheses used to replace missing teeth and restore your smile and oral function. There are two types of dentures.  The first type of denture is a partial denture. Partials are indicated when some natural teeth are still present.  Partial dentures have clasps and rest that fit on your natural tooth structure to secure and stabilize the prosthesis. The second type is the complete denture, which is indicated when we need to replace all teeth. It rests directly on your gingiva and ridge. When a denture is custom made for you it is fabricated to come as close as possible to resemble your natural teeth, but if desired can be fabricated to change your appearance or even improve your smile.

There is a learning curve with dentures.  They may feel bulky or loose in the begging, but after a few weeks your cheek muscles and tongue learn to keep them in place. Complete dentures often require modifications and adjustments to achieve a proper fit.  They rest on your gingiva so they must be broken in as you would a new pair of shoes.  With practice you learn to become comfortable talking and eating with them.  Ultimately, you will enjoy the perks of having a full mouth of teeth again.

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Nightguards and Mouthguards

Customized mouthguards and nightguards are fitted to your teeth from a moldable material.  Mouthguards help to protect your teeth and jaw during sports activities such as football, basketball or boxing.  Nightguards are indicated for people who may grind their teeth or clench at night.  Guards help to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining also.  

To fabricate a custom mouthguard or nightguard we first take an impression of your teeth.  The lab will then make a customized guard that fits snug to your teeth. Guards typically last anywhere from 3-10 years, but younger individuals who are still growing may have to replace their guards more often. If you have decided a guard is right for you, we will take an impression of your teeth and then our lab will make a custom fit guard. On average, guards last between 3 and 10 years.
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TJM

TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint. Temporal, as in temple area of skull; mandibular as in mandible, or lower jaw; joint as in where the head and jaw connect. People experience problems in this joint from misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excessive muscle tension. Five muscles meet in this area along with two bones with supporting cartilage. Problems in this area can result in pain, discomfort and even difficulties biting or speaking.

Symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Pain in the jaw muscles
  • Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face


There are many options for treatment including replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, or bite adjustments.  Mouthguards and nightguards aid in prevention of clenching and grinding which affects the muscles.  Every person is different and therefore with TMJ issues we sometimes have to do trial and error to see what works best to alleviate symptoms. In severe cases if relief can be obtained from adjustments or a guard surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.

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Cleanings

Professional cleanings are important for establishing a strong healthy foundation in oral health.  The general recommendation is to have prophylactic cleanings performed once every 6 months by your dental hygienist.  If periodontal issues exist, you are prone to heavy calculus/tarter build-up or you have dental prostheses that require more maintenance your doctor will then recommend shorter intervals between cleanings such as 3-4 months. During a routine 6 month cleaning your teeth are polished, flossed and mild to light calculus build up above and at the gumline is removed by hand scaling.  Sometimes the cavitron, a tool that uses water to break up debris and remove stains, may be used to aid in cleaning.

When bone loss and gingival inflammation is present your doctor and hygienist may recommend a deeper cleaning or SRP.  SRP stands for scaling and root planning, which is the process of removing plaque, bacteria and calculus from teeth, root structure and pockets below the gumline. Build-up located below the gumline is usually visible on the radiographs and requires some form of anesthesia to make you more comfortable during the procedure.

Your dental professional determines how far down that build-up may be and the severity of bone-loss and attachment loss by measuring with a periodontal probe.  Numbers will be called out measuring the pockets characterizing the gingival disease with the additional of other factors such as bleeding, mobility, and gingival appearance.  Once your gingival health is classified, we can determine the type of cleaning needed, anesthetic needs, and recall intervals.  

Lastly, during your routine cleanings a check-up or exam is usually performed.  This gives the doctor the opportunity to check on existing work and perform maintenance that may be required.  Radiographs may be requested which allows the doctor to diagnose new carious lesions, failing restorations or fractures.  When the doctor is able to check up on restorative work in this manner it should lead to less problems in the long run, because problems can be discussed and addressed before they get out of hand.  Again, for a strong foundation and peace of mind with dental treatment professional cleanings are necessary.
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Bone Grafts

Bone loss to the jaw is one of the most severe consequences associated with missing teeth.  Bone loss begins to occur as soon as the first permanent tooth is lost. Once you begin to experience bone loss, the next will be the loss in gum tissue.  Overall, bone loss can completely alter your facial appearance which ages you more rapidly.  Bone grafts are essential to rebuild and replace the damaged or missing bone needed to adequately support dental implants. A surgical procedure is performed to place an allograft or autograft in an area of the mouth where lost, diseased or damaged bone is located. Damaged bone can be a result of tooth removal or severe trauma. Diseased bone can be a result of severe dental decay, a dental abscess or gum disease. Periodontal disease leads to the progressive loss of supporting bone and gingiva which leads to teeth becoming loose and eventually falling out. With routine deep cleanings, bacteria and gingival inflammation can be reduced creating a more healthy, receptive environment for the bone graft and implant to take. After grafting a patient may experience only mild discomfort that is usually controlled with anti-inflammatory medications and possibly antibiotics.  In addition to halting accelerated bone loss, opting to have the graft can help you to expand your restorative options.

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Invisalign

A revolutionary change in orthodontics has made its way through the dental field in the form of clear aligners.  Clear aligner therapy offers many benefits to the patient over traditional fixed braces.  The aligners require no dietary restrictions for the patients, they can be removed and cleaned thoroughly also allowing for one to clean their teeth well, but most favored by the patient is the fact that they are very esthetic. From a clinician’s perspective it allows for digital treatment planning, which gives step by step instructions for guided teeth movement giving us a more realistic time-frame for results.

With the advancement of clear aligner therapy Quality Dental Team is now able to correct deep bites, open bites, and even class II and Class III jaw discrepancies.  In the past patient’s that presented with these malocclusions originally would have been deemed not a candidate.  But with the accuracy of intra-oral scanning and digital treatment planning, we have been able to push the limits of clear orthodontics to aid in implant placement, veneer set up, and other dental treatments.

You may ask, why not try mail-order or DIY Aligners and save money?  For some this may be an option, but for most people just be sure that you understand that aligning teeth is not just cosmetic.  There is a science behind it.  You need to be able to eat properly, speak properly, and not cause further damages to your supporting bone or gingiva if periodontal issues are present.  To understand how to properly move teeth to give one an esthetic outcome and proper function the clinician needs to first understand development of the skeletal structures causing the discrepancies.  The aligners alone are not treating your teeth.  There are other fragile systems involved in the background that need to be understood to not cause further issues.
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