17Jul

If you're trying to choose between crowns and veneers and wonder which of these will last longer, any indecision would be understandable. That's because in addition to longevity, the appropriate choice for any one person will vary in accordance with problem it will have to solve.

The Benefits of Veneers

Ceramic veneers are enjoying a renewed popularity, and many dental professionals have found that if properly maintained, they will generally last between 10 and 20 years before needing replacement.

Ceramic veneers could be the best choice for anyone whose teeth are relatively sound but unsightly due to:

  • Slight discolorations.
  • Unattractive spacing.
  • Cracked enamel.
  • Excessive or insufficient length.
  • Crooked placement.
  • Unsightly stains.
  • Moderate decay.

However, ceramic veneers are not for everyone. Poor candidates will include people who:

  • Have already lost a considerable amount of dental enamel. The process of placing veneers will involve some abrading of existing enamel, and if that abrasion would work its way through to the interior dentin, the placement of veneers is inadvisable.
  • Have seriously crooked teeth. Braces will always do better than veneers at correcting dental misalignment.
  • Tend to grind their teeth. The night-time tooth-grinding habit known as bruxism can exert as much as 500 pounds of pressure on dental work, and the fact that it happens during sleep makes it impossible to consciously control. Since veneers are as thin as a sheet of paper, the damage caused by bruxism could be extensive.
  • Are afflicted with numerous severe dental caries. When cavities become sufficiently deep, they can extend entirely through the enamel and into the dentin. Teeth that have lost a great deal of enamel are poor candidates for veneers.
  • Have teeth whose colors vary between shades of gray, yellow and white. Veneers have always been hard to match to surrounding teeth, and because they allow some underlying tooth color to show through, they won't do much to cover up this type of discrepancy.
Veneers do have another downside. When applied too thickly or with insufficient skill, they can make the teeth look bulky or overly large.

The Benefits of Crowns

Although they may seem sturdier on the face of it, crowns do not routinely enjoy the longevity of veneers. The general life expectancy of a dental crown will range between five and 15 years. However, some have been known to remain in service for up to three decades while others can last for a lifetime.

Crown failure can occur for many reasons. These include:

  • Decay of the underlying tooth.
  • Crown breakage resulting from bruxism, chewing hard objects or using the teeth as bottle openers.
  • Poor dental hygiene.
  • An underlying tooth that was already failing.
  • Periodontal disease.
  • Unsound adjacent teeth.
  • Poor physical health causing gum issues.
  • Dry mouth that leads to dental decay.

The material of which the crown is made will also play a role in extending its life. Gold crowns tend to be extremely durable. They are also thinner than crowns made of other materials, and their placement can be accomplished with less damage to the underlying tooth. However, where front teeth are concerned, many people prefer to wear crowns composed of a more natural looking material.

Porcelain crowns look like natural teeth, but they are less strong than are those made of gold. They also tend to be brittle and prone to cracking. Furthermore, because the material is harder than ordinary tooth enamel, porcelain crowns have been known to damage adjacent natural teeth.

Crowns made of porcelain fused to gold or zirconia present another option. These are stronger than crowns made of porcelain alone and therefore less likely to fracture. However, the tendency of the underlying material to show at the gumline will make them less desirable for cosmetic reasons.

Which Is Better, Crowns or Veneers?

If your teeth have suffered severe cracks or undergone root canal treatment, a crown will help to preserve what's left, keeping the tooth relatively intact by shielding it from further damage. In many cases, the placement of a crown means the difference between saving a tooth and losing it to extraction. However, it's important to keep in mind that preparing a tooth to receive a crown could necessitate the removal of up to 75 percent of the portion above the gumline.

On the other hand, when conditions are right, veneers are preferable to crowns for several reasons. The main benefit is the fact that their placement involves minimal invasion of the underlying teeth. They also have a talent for correcting minor misalignments.

If you'd like to improve your dental appearance with crowns or veneers, Dr. James White can assist you in making the proper choice. To take the first step toward the smile you've always wanted, call our office today to schedule an appointment. Your shiny new smile is waiting.

19Jun

Pankey Trained DentistWhen you make a visit to a dental professional, your oral well-being is certain to be uppermost in your mind. There is something else to think about: Does your dentist care as much about that as you do?

The sad fact is that many dental professionals will cut corners, overload schedules and in general attempt to get the job done as quickly as possible while inflicting the least strain and stress upon themselves. With dentists like these, would your teeth need any enemies?

If you want to ensure that the dentist you're seeing cares as much about your teeth as you'd prefer, there's a painless way to do that. Just make sure that the dentist you see is a Pankey-trained professional.

The Pankey Philosophy

When Dr. L.D. Pankey began his dental career back in the 1920s, tooth extractions were the order of the day. Few dentists bothered with anything more difficult, and in those simpler times, Dr. L.D. Pankey pulled teeth with the best of them.

Nevertheless, on the day in which he found himself removing a total of 81 teeth from only eight patients, Dr. Pankey became convinced that there had to be a better way. He resolved that from that day forward, instead of automatically pulling a patient's natural teeth, he would do all he could to save them.

This became the Pankey philosophy, and it is the philosophy to which Las Vegas dentist Dr. James White strictly adheres today. If your dental health means anything to you, you will want to seek out a Pankey-trained dentist who believes in:

  • Giving you the benefit of a complete and thorough examination.
  • Treating you like a valued individual.
  • Listening to your concerns.
  • Answering your questions.
  • Discussing your treatment options.
  • Counseling you on making the best decision.
  • Working hard to save your teeth rather than to destroy them.

Dentists who choose to receive advanced training at the non-profit Pankey Institute do so with one aim in mind: to acquire the advanced diagnostic and technical skills they need to provide their patients with the ultimate in care. At the institute, they learn patient-centered methods from some of the world's top dentists. These methods allow the Pankey-trained dental professional to provide his patients with life-long oral health, not only relieving them of painful conditions but also helping them avoid treatments that are usually costly and often unnecessary.

Unfortunately, many dentists who understand Dr. Pankey's principles at the intellectual level come up short when it comes to applying them to their patients. In some cases, this happens because they neglect to employ them in relation to caring for themselves.

A Happy Dentist Is a Good Dentist

Beyond a mere consideration of the patients' needs, L.D. Pankey's philosophy extends to the needs of the dentists themselves. He felt that the actions taken by any dental professional must adhere to his or her personal belief system. To that end, the skills acquired at the Pankey Institute include making an effort to:

  • Balance work life with personal needs.
  • Maintain a well-organized office.
  • Make changes when needed.
  • Remain in excellent health.
  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Work toward a clear set of well-defined goals.

Dr. Pankey correctly believed that a dissatisfied dentist may cut corners, make snap decisions and decide on treatment plans that are not necessarily in his patients' best interests. On the other hand, dental professionals who are happy and contented in their personal lives are far more likely to keep a positive outlook and dedicate their efforts toward doing all they can to help patients preserve their natural teeth.

Dr. White and the Pankey Philosophy

As one of only a handful of dentists in the Las Vegas area adhering to the Pankey doctrine, Dr. James White has dedicated his entire practice to saving and improving his patients' teeth. This starts with excellent preventative care, and when his patients do require treatment of any kind, Dr. Pankey will make every attempt to provide that treatment in the least invasive way, all with the intent of preserving the patient's dental health and natural teeth for a lifetime if possible.

Now, if you don't mind the thought of gaps in your smile or of wearing dentures for the rest of our life, the assistance of any dentist can serve you well. However, the eventual loss of your natural teeth is not a foregone conclusion. You can trust Las Vegas dentist Dr. James White to bend all efforts toward seeing that yours remain safely in your mouth where they belong.


If you have recently lost one or more teeth, your dental health has reached a crossroads. It's easy to consider just letting things go, particularly if the new gap in your dentition sits in a spot where no one can see it. Unfortunately, doing nothing in a case like this will surely lead to trouble down the road.

The truth is that with nothing to prevent them from going rogue, your remaining teeth are likely to move around, tilt and shift position in your mouth. The result is a misalignment that will put your overall oral health at risk. If you neglect to replace those missing teeth, you are likely to experience:

  • Gum disease. Nature really does abhor a vacuum. It instinctively wants to fill in empty spaces, and in your mouth, it does this by allowing the teeth on either side of a gap to shift and tip toward its center. The new positioning leaves those teeth open to a buildup of tartar and plaque which can be hard to brush or floss away. The more it continues to accumulate, the greater the odds you will develop gingivitis and eventual periodontal disease.
  • Trouble chewing. If your missing teeth formerly lived in the back of your mouth, it won't be long before you notice problems with the way in which the ones that remain fit and work together. If the resulting misalignment grows sufficiently severe, it may require the intervention of an orthodontist. Furthermore, with fewer teeth in your mouth to do the job of chewing, the stress of this activity falls entirely on those that do remain. When forced to carry more of the load than they were designed to handle, their alignment can worsen and they might even break.
  • Pain in the jaw and facial muscles. As continually shifting teeth throw your bite further out of position, you'll find yourself moving your jaw in unnatural ways each time you try to eat. Muscle pain will result, and unless you take steps to correct the situation, temporomandibular joint trouble is sure to follow, bringing with it a clicking jaw, headaches and even dizzy spells.
  • Bone loss. To maintain its normal density, the bone in your jaw requires stimulation. The act of chewing ordinarily provides this, but when you're missing one or more teeth, the bone in those locations never receives the shot in the arm it needs to stay in shape. Instead, it will start to recede, causing adjacent teeth to loosen and even affecting your facial appearance in a way that you might not care for.

The worst part is that you may never realize the extent of the damage until it has progressed to a stage that could be untreatable. Fortunately, there are things you can do right at the start to reduce the risk of future problems. The choices of remedy include:

  • The fixed bridge. This appliance will do the job of filling in missing spaces. However, it does have disadvantages. The teeth to which it will attach must be ground away to a certain extent, and once the bridge is in place, the unfamiliar need to act as supports will stress them to an undesirable extent. In addition, even though it fills filled in the empty spaces, your bridge will not provide the underlying bone with the stimulation it needs to keep from disintegrating.
  • The removable partial denture. A removable partial is less expensive than a fixed bridge, and no neighboring teeth will be harmed in its fitting. Nevertheless, the appliance will be less stable, and its tendency to move can lead to discomfort while causing problems with eating and speaking. It will also do nothing to stimulate the bone in the jaw.
  • The Maryland or resin-bonded bridge. A potential solution for restoring teeth that don't receive much stress, the resin-bonded bridge attaches to your natural teeth with wing-like projections, thereby sidestepping the need to grind those teeth down. While it will improve your appearance, it is less strong than fixed or removable bridges and boasts a far shorter lifespan.
  • The full removable denture. This inexpensive solution may improve your appearance, but its size, shape and tendency to move around can cause discomfort and interfere with its wearer's ability to taste food. In the worst-case scenario, full dentures have been known to fall entirely out of the mouth, and they do nothing to combat bone loss.
  • Dental implants. A dental implant is surgically inserted into the jawbone with which it soon integrates.Implants look and act like natural teeth while preventing the bone loss that commonly occurs with other tooth replacement methods.

Some of these options will suit you better than others, but whatever restoration method you choose in the end will be better than doing nothing. Don't let one or more missing teeth cause mayhem in your mouth. Call Dr. James White today to discuss your options.