My Blog

Posts for: August, 2019

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
August 29, 2019
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

Cosmetic dentistry changes the appearance of people's smiles so they look and feel their best. Cosmetic dentists such as Dr. Gary Machiko in Pittsburgh devote time and effort to excellent aesthetics which complement a patient's oral health. Which cosmetic dentistry treatment is right for you?

A look which looks like you

Together, you and your Pittsburgh cosmetic dentist will talk about your smile goals. Your job is to tell Dr. Machiko how you want your smile to improve. His job is to tell you what's possible. Because he has delivered wonderful smiles for years, he can tell you what treatment will work for your specific preferences and needs.

For example, think about how wide and high your smile is. Does too much gum tissue show? What about tooth color? Does it truly complement your skin tone? Does some mild crookedness bother you, or do your want your teeth perfectly straight?

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) says that the information and ideas you and your dentist communicate to each other drive the perfect smile makeover. And, that makeover can be as simple as brightening your tooth enamel to as complex as receiving dental implants. Ultimately, the choices are yours, and Dr. Machiko and his team will help you make them.

Plus, did you know that your dentist can show you how your finished smile will look? Three-dimensional models, photo mock-ups, and more give you a realistic preview and shape the decision-making process.

Some featured cosmetic services

From tooth color to smile alignment, you can improve several aspects of your smile. For instance, Dr. Machiko may recommend Zoom! Whitening. Its active ingredient, hydrogen peroxide, is accelerated by a special light, improving tooth color by about eight shades. For any cosmetic dentist, teeth whitening is his or her most popular aesthetic treatment because of its dramatic results, relatively low cost and ease of treatment. Zoom! Whitening is available in both at-home and in-office versions.

Another sought-after service is porcelain veneers. These high-quality laminates custom-cover the front of teeth flawed by cracks, stains, cracks, odd shape or weak structure. They also reinforce enamel, rendering a Hollywood look and increasing tooth longevity.

In addition, most cosmetic care plans include composite resin bonding. This innovative blend of glass and acrylic reshapes chips, craze lines, cracks, and small gaps. Sculpted, trimmed, hardened, and polished by your cosmetic dentist, composite resin looks and acts just like real tooth enamel. Dr. Machiko also uses it to repair tooth decay for a filling which simply blends in with the rest of the tooth and flexes just as natural enamel does.

Learn more

Dr. Gary Machiko offers other aesthetic dental treatments, too. To learn how they could help you achieve your dream smile, contact his office team for a consultation appointment in Pittsburgh, PA, at (724) 719-2866.

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
August 28, 2019
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: dental implants  

Have extractions created smile gaps which mar your oral function and personal appearance? Have you considered how your facial structure actually deteriorates due to tooth loss? If so, why not ask your Pittsburgh cosmetic dentist, Dr. Gary Machiko, about dental implants, the best tooth replacement option available today? He'll be happy to give you the details.

Dental implants are amazing

That's no exaggeration. Dental implants behave, look and even feel just like natural teeth. A single-tooth implant has three basic parts:

  • A titanium screw or cylinder inserted into the jaw bone by your Pittsburgh cosmetic dentist
  • An abutment post made of a durable metal alloy
  • A custom-fabricated porcelain crown which shows above the gums, normalizing chewing and smile appearance

Dental implants may support fixed, multi-tooth bridgework, and full dentures, too, with a process called All-on-4 (specifically, four titanium implants).

Implants strengthen your jaw and more

How do dental implants from your Pittsburgh cosmetic dentist do that? The secret lies in a bonding process called osseointegration.

Through this natural phenomenon, human bone adheres to the titanium screw forming a nearly inseparable bond. And, once the surgical site has healed, that bond continues to improve as biting and chewing exert pressure on the implant.

Other tooth replacement options, such as conventional bridges and dentures which set on top of the gums, cannot improve jaw bone quality. So, if you're eligible for the treatment, your implant(s) will deliver:

  • Excellent oral function
  • Clear speech
  • Youthful facial contours and healthy bone and gum tissue
  • Dental aesthetics which are completely realistic

The implant treatment

Dr. Machiko evaluates his implant patients with a complete oral examination, review of medical history and three-dimensional scans. Good overall health is essential to implant success as is sufficient bone in your jaw to anchor your new teeth.

If you qualify, Dr. Machiko performs the entire oral surgery and implant restoration right in the office. The implant placement takes about an hour, and healing/osseointegration takes several weeks. When that's complete, you'll return to the office so your dentist can uncover the implant and bond on the abutment and porcelain crown. All-on-4 dentures proceed on a similar schedule.

Caring for dental implants

Expect your implants to last for the rest of your life, says the Institute for Dental Implant Awareness. To prolong their life, it is important to:

  • Brush and floss as your dentist and hygiene instruct to keep implant sites clean and healthy
  • Get six-month cleanings and check-ups at the office
  • Stop smoking because tobacco usage harms implant sites and may cause implant failure

Learn more

Have a complete smile once again with state-of-the-art dental implants from Dr. Gary Machiko. Contact his friendly office team in Pittsburgh, PA, to arrange your personal consultation with this award-winning dentist. Phone (724) 719-2866.

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
August 28, 2019
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: veneers  

Have you had a bathtub resurfaced or a laminate placed over old flooring? If you have, then you understand dental veneers, thin, tooth-shaped shells of fine ceramic bonded to the front of selected teeth. Veneers from Dr. Gary Machiko, your cosmetic dentist in Pittsburgh, improve the size, shape, and color of front teeth, making them look realistically attractive.

Veneers and you

People with healthy teeth and gums frequently qualify for porcelain veneers. When you see your cosmetic dentist in Pittsburgh, you'll discuss how you wish to improve the appearance of your smile. Dr. Machiko will examine your gums and teeth and explain how veneers work. If they're appropriate for you, you'll undergo a two-step treatment and learn how to keep your veneers shining for years to come.

Dr. Machiko offers both traditional veneers which require removal of a 1/2 millimeter slice of tooth enamel. An altermative, Lumineers, are made from patented Cerinate porcelain and are so thin they require no enamel preparation whatsoever. As such, Lumineers are a reversible cosmetic dentistry treatment.

Whether you choose traditional veneers or Lumineers, you'll love the benefits of a bright, even smile. Porcelain veneers cover problems such as:

  • Hairline cracks
  • Chips
  • Deep stains which cannot be corrected with professional teeth whitening
  • Tooth rotation
  • Uneven tooth length
  • Worn enamel

In fact, Dentistry Today maintains that porcelain veneers even may be a great way to cover mild orthodontic problems such as crowding and gaps. Weakened tooth structure is reinforced by these porcelain beauties, too.

Caring for Veneers and Lumineers

Brush twice daily, floss once a day and see Dr. Machiko for your semi-annual cleanings and check-ups. These practices comprise basic veneer care.

In addition, consider wearing an acrylic bite guard if you grind or clench your teeth. And refrain from super-hard foods such a peanut brittle and candy apples. They chip and dislodge veneers.

Find out more

Porcelain veneers may be just part of a comprehensive smile makeover. Combined with composite resin bonding, crowns and other beautiful refurbishments, the smile which once disappointed you can shine for years to come. Call Dr. Machiko's office in Pittsburgh, PA, now for a cosmetic dentistry consultation, won't you? Phone (724) 719-2866.

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
August 26, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: porcelain veneers  

Your teeth are sound and healthy—but appearance-wise, they're nothing to write home about. It's nothing major: a chip, some heavy staining or perhaps a slight gap between the front teeth. But whatever the blemish, it bothers you every time you look in the mirror.

There's an affordable way to improve your smile without a lot of extensive treatment: porcelain veneers. These thin layers of dental porcelain are bonded to the teeth's exterior to mask the blemishes beneath. All you and others can see, though, are beautiful teeth blending seamlessly with the rest of your natural teeth.

Changing your smile with veneers begins with a consultation with your cosmetic dentist. During your visit you'll discuss what you would like to improve and how you would like your smile to appear afterward. It's helpful to take along magazine photos or other images of how you'd like your teeth to look.

After making impressions and getting other necessary measurements, your dentist may then be able to show you what your new veneers will look like. One way is through computer software that superimposes your proposed new look onto a photograph of your face. Your dentist may also be able to create test veneers with acrylic or other dental materials and apply them to your teeth. These aren't your permanent veneers, but they can still give you a realistic view of your future smile.

Once your measurements are on the way to the dental lab to custom create your veneers, your dentist must prepare your teeth for bonding. Although veneers are quite thin, they may still appear bulky when bonded to the teeth. To create a more natural look, you'll probably need some of the enamel layer of your teeth removed to accommodate the extra width. Even though this is a small amount, it will permanently alter your teeth and require some form of restoration from then on.

After your veneers arrive, the dentist will attach them with a translucent cement that will bond them seamlessly to the natural teeth. You and others won't be able to see where the veneer ends and the natural tooth begins. What you will see, though, is a new look for your teeth and a more attractive smile.

If you would like more information on porcelain veneers, 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 “Porcelain Veneers: Strength & Beauty as Never Before.”

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
August 16, 2019
Category: Oral Health

Ever since childhood, when her career as a model and actress took off, Brooke Shields has enjoyed worldwide recognition — through advertisements for designer jeans, appearances on The Muppet Show, and starring roles in big-screen films. But not long ago, that familiar face was spotted in an unusual place: wearing a nasal anesthesia mask at the dentist's office. In fact, Shields posted the photo to her own Instagram account, with the caption “More dental surgery! I grind my teeth!” And judging by the number of comments the post received, she's far from alone.

In fact, researchers estimate that around one in ten adults have dental issues that stem from teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism. (Many children also grind their teeth, but it rarely causes serious problems, and is often outgrown.) About half of the people who are teeth grinders report problems like persistent headaches, jaw tenderness and sore teeth. Bruxism may also result in excessive tooth wear, and may damage dental work like crowns and bridges; in severe cases, loosened or fractured teeth have been reported.

Researchers have been studying teeth grinding for many years; their findings seem to indicate that it has no single cause. However, there are a number of factors that play a significant role in this condition. One is the anatomy of the jaw itself, and the effect of worn or misaligned teeth on the bite. Another factor relates to changes in brain activity that occur during the sleep cycle. In fact, nocturnal (nighttime) bruxism is now classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. Still other factors, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and a high level of stress or anxiety, can make an individual more likely to experience bruxism.

What can be done for people whose teeth grinding is causing problems? Since this condition may have many causes, a number of different treatments are available. Successful management of bruxism often begins by striving to eliminate the factors that may cause problems — for example, making lifestyle changes to improve your health, creating a soothing nighttime environment, and trying stress-reduction techniques; these may include anything from warm baths and soft music at bedtime, to meditation and mindfulness exercises.

Several dental treatments are also available, including a custom-made occlusal guard (night guard) that can keep your teeth from being damaged by grinding. In some cases, a bite adjustment may also be recommended: In this procedure, a small amount of enamel is removed from a tooth to change the way it contacts the opposite tooth, thereby lessening the biting force on it. More invasive techniques (such as surgery) are rarely needed.

A little tooth grinding once in a while can be a normal response to stress; in fact, becoming aware of the condition is often the first step to controlling it. But if you begin to notice issues that could stem from bruxism — or if the loud grinding sounds cause problems for your sleeping partner — it may be time to contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more about bruxism in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress and Tooth Habits.”