Dentistry FAQs

Houston Cosmetic Dentist Serving Sugar Land, The Woodlands, Pearland, & Nearby Areas of Texas

Many of our patients have the same initial questions during their dental exam and consultation. In an effort to help answer some of these questions before your meeting with our cosmetic dentist, Dr. Ronald Konig, we have collected and answered the most common questions by procedure and treatment. Please visit the sections and pages below to view our frequently asked questions:

We at the Konig Center for Cosmetic & Comprehensive Dentistry can answer any questions you have prior to your appointment. Call Dr. Konig today at (713) 668-2289. You may also fill out a confidential contact form. We serve clients in Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, and The Woodlands, Texas.

Dental Bonding Questions

Q: What is dental bonding?

A: Dental bonding is a procedure which utilizes a composite resin and is used for a variety of structural and cosmetic purposes. Our cosmetic dentist can restore your chipped or broken teeth, fill in gaps between your teeth and reshape or recolor your smile.

Q: What is the difference between bonding and porcelain veneers?

A: Bonding involves putting a tooth-like substance onto the existing tooth to build it up and/or change its shape. Often, no tooth structure is removed prior to adding the bonding material, so it is usually only used to fix broken or chipped teeth. The benefits of bonding are that it is conservative, simple and less expensive than other treatment methods. However, the bonding material may discolor over time, as well as being more susceptible to breaking.

Porcelain veneers and dental crowns don’t have the same disadvantages. They won’t get discolored, and they are more durable. These treatments have some disadvantages as well: higher cost and more intensive tooth preparation. This trade-off may be well worth it if you want a more natural-looking appearance following treatment. Veneers cover all surfaces of your tooth except the back so they effectively become part of your teeth. They also have the benefit of being repaired if they ever break or chip.

Q: What happens during the dental bonding procedure?

A: Dr. Konig will use a special composite bonding resin to build-up, re-form or whiten your tooth. This dental bonding agent adheres to your tooth. After it hardens, it can be similar in hardness to your natural tooth enamel. The shade of the bonding agent can be customized to ensure a close match with your surrounding natural teeth. Combined with your dental bonding, Dr. Konig will sometimes recommend tooth whitening as well to ensure that you receive a bright, uniform color and smile.

Q: How long does dental bonding last?

A: Depending on how well you maintain your new tooth bonding and how frequently you visit our office for a dental exam and cleaning, your dental bonding may last seven years or more.

Porcelain Veneers Questions

Q: What are porcelain veneers?

A: Veneers consist of porcelain shells that provide a fresh facade for a tooth. They are thinly formed pieces of porcelain shaped like a tooth, which our cosmetic dentist affixes to the front of your teeth. Porcelain veneers are considered the foremost standard of care in cosmetic dentistry.

They are permanently attached to the front surface of a tooth in order to restore or improve color, form and location. Veneers can immediately provide an impressive, positive transformation of your smile and overall facial look. They are highly effective for fixing common problems.

Q: Is there a difference between the porcelain veneers you can get from one cosmetic dentist to another?

A: Because veneers are custom made, no two sets will be the same. The highest-quality cosmetic dentistry is a combination of art as well as science that creates aesthetically pleasing results. Dr. Konig has extensive schooling in the art of smile design including training from the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI). Smile design takes into consideration several features, which are specified when Dr. Konig works with his ceramist:

  • Color
  • Angle
  • Line
  • Shape
  • Thickness
  • Translucency
  • Occlusion (bite)

Based on these provisions, our laboratory custom-creates the veneers to Dr. Konig’s design specifications. The veneers are made to fit your face, gender, personality and smile.

When they are properly prepared, porcelain veneers look and feel like your real teeth. You are welcome to be as much a part of the veneer selection process as you wish, but remember that the reason you select cosmetic dentist specialists is for their knowledge and artistry in creating a healthy, beautiful smile.

Computer imaging along with our Smile Gallery of other patients will help you decide on the color, shape and style that work best for you.

Q: How are veneers created?

A: Veneers are permanently bonded to the teeth using a thin shell of porcelain. The ceramists in the laboratory create the veneers not only from impressions of your teeth, but also from color-mapping specifications. Every veneer is custom-designed to fit comfortably and naturally like a glove. Custom-designed porcelain veneers can make a remarkable improvement to your appearance and still look completely natural. They are bonded into place using a highly concentrated light, which cures the bonding material. The end result is precise veneer placement.

Q: What problems can veneers correct?

A: Veneers can be used to correct:

  • Alignment
  • Color
  • Shape
  • Size
  • Chips
  • Cracks
  • Crookedness
  • Fractures
  • Malformation
  • Stains

The shape of veneers combined with occlusal adjustments (adjustment to the bite) can have a profound result on the entire look and feel of your face, not just your smile. This can effectively give the appearance of a facelift or wrinkle treatment without having any plastic surgery. While generating your unique smile, Dr. Konig also takes into consideration how to attain such a complete new look. A number of our patients actually look 10 years younger after Dr. Konig creates their new smiles.

Q: What’s the difference between bonding or plastic veneers and porcelain veneers?

A: Composite bonding refers to a plastic tooth-colored resin material. Such bonding can usually be finished in one visit and is often used to repair a smaller chip in a tooth or to make visual enhancements to several teeth. Bonding doesn’t usually require anesthesia or much tooth reduction.

Porcelain veneers, however, are created from porcelain in a lab, so they offer a larger capability for:

  • Range of colors
  • Realism
  • Translucency

Veneers more closely resemble the look and feel of your natural teeth than their plastic counterparts. They also offer a more enduring solution than bonding, because veneers don’t discolor or stain and are more durable.

Q: How quickly can veneers give me a beautiful smile?

A: Veneers typically only require two office visit: the initial visit to get the teeth ready, and the follow-up visit to place the veneers.

During the first visit, three things will happen:

  1. Your teeth will be prepared for veneers.
  2. You will have impressions taken of your teeth.
  3. You will be fitted with temporary custom veneers.

During the second visit, your veneers will be permanently bonded to your teeth. Imagine getting your beautiful new smile in only a month—a custom-made smile that not only fits your face and personality, but also provides you with the self-assurance to express who you really are!

Q: Can veneers help fix my crooked teeth more quickly than braces?

A: Porcelain veneers and dental crowns are an ideal substitute to braces in many cases. In fact, they are often referred to as instant orthodontics. Adult patients who have always wished for straighter teeth, but had no inclination to endure years of treatment with braces, typically love this alternative treatment. Instead of years in braces, crooked teeth can be fixed in a few visits using veneers. Even if you have had braces in the past, porcelain veneers may be the perfect solution if you aren’t completely satisfied with your orthodontic results.

Q: How are teeth prepared for veneers?

A: Veneers are a conservative treatment. A thin layer of enamel is removed from your teeth, creating room to bond the veneers without them seeming unnaturally thick. Typically around .3 to .5 millimeters of enamel is removed from the surface of your teeth, in contrast to crown treatment, in which much more tooth surface is removed. The amount of enamel removed depends on each person and even each individual tooth.

Q: How are veneers attached to teeth?

A: Advances in technology have made bonding agents used to attach veneers to teeth stronger than ever. The process involves two steps:

  1. After your teeth have been readied by reducing the amount of enamel on them, they are then prepared with a bonding agent, which sticks to your teeth using special resin cement as an adhesive. This resin cement comes in many different colors to match your tooth color as closely as possible.
  2. The resin cement is cured using a special dental curing light, which permanently bonds the veneers to your teeth, creating a long-lasting, sturdy bond between your teeth and the veneers.

After you have your veneers, you will come into our office for a follow-up visit to ensure they are seated properly and to allow Dr. Konig to fine tune or re-contour your veneers for your individual look and smile. If you have a tendency to clench or grind your teeth, especially at night, we can create a custom-made soft night guard to minimize the pressure put on your teeth and veneers.

Q: How many porcelain veneers are needed to improve my smile?

A:  If you only want to fix a single discolored or malformed tooth, then one veneer may achieve your desired results. However, to achieve balanced, symmetrical results, Dr. Konig may recommend several veneers (anywhere from 4 to 8 or even more). If you have large gaps which need closing, 6 to 10 veneers may be necessary. He treats each case individually based on the needs and desires of the patient. Dr. Konig will evaluate your teeth and help determine whether you’re a candidate for porcelain veneers.

Q: How long will veneers typically last?

A: There are no firm rules of thumb about how long veneers typically last. You can certainly expect your veneers to last many years, especially because they are made of stronger material (porcelain instead of plastic) and use more advanced bonding agents than in the past. Although it is idealistic to think they will last forever, you can extend their life by treating them with excellent care and taking care of your oral health. If you take these precautions, your veneers will likely last over 10 to 15 years. Some people with veneers have had them for 20 years or longer!

Q: Will my teeth be sensitive following veneer placement?

A: Some people do have tooth sensitivity to pressure or cold or hot temperatures in food. This is perfectly normal and tends to disperse after a few days or, at most, a few weeks. This happens because of the amount of enamel remaining on the tooth, the closeness of the nerve or many other reasons. If you continue to experience sensitivity problems, contact us and we will work with you to resolve the issue.

Q: Should I change my diet following veneer placement?

A: You should be able to eat a normal diet after getting your veneers. The porcelain and bonding agent are both extremely strong, especially for biting straight down. If you are eating anything that might bend or twist the veneers, you should exercise some caution. Just like with natural teeth, you should avoid doing things like chewing ice or using your teeth as a tool. In general, they are maintenance free.

Q: How should I care for my new veneers?

A: Veneers require the same basic care as natural teeth. You should brush twice daily with a nonabrasive toothpaste, as well as floss before bedtime. You should also continue to visit our dentist regularly. With proper home care, your veneers should provide you with a beautiful smile for years to come.

Sedation Dentistry Questions

Q: What is sedation dentistry?

A: Sedation dentistry is an area of cosmetic dentistry in which you are sedated for your dental procedure. If you are nervous or anxious about your dental procedure, sedation dentistry can be used to ease your stress. You will either be conscious, but sedated, or completely unconscious (in a sleeping state). The sedation will allow you to be relaxed and comfortable. You will glide through your entire procedure in a pain-free state. Afterward, you will see your beautiful, new smile.

Q: What methods of sedation are available?

A: You may choose from a variety of different sedation methods. Each method provides you with the level of relaxation necessary depending upon the procedure and your individual needs. The benefit of full sedation is you remember very little or nothing about your visit.

Sedation dentistry methods include:

  • Oral sedatives
  • Intravenous (IV) sedatives performed by an anesthesiologist
  • Nitrous oxide or "laughing gas"
  • Comfort measures

Each type of sedation has different benefits. Dr. Konig will work with you to determine the right method of sedation for you based on your individual needs.

Q: Are there any side effects of sedation dentistry, and is it safe for me?

A: You may feel a little drowsy or lightheaded on the day of your cosmetic procedure. You could also experience some slight nausea if you have not eaten, but this will disappear as soon as you are able to eat and drink again. Any side effects are minor and quickly dissipate. The sedation methods Dr. Konig recommends for you are completely safe and effective.

Q: How long does the sedation take to wear off?

A: Depending on the method of sedation you use, you may need someone to drive you home from your cosmetic procedure. Some sedatives take several hours to completely wear off after your procedure is complete.

Tooth Whitening Questions

Q: What types of stains can tooth whitening remove?

A: The tooth whitening systems used by our cosmetic dentist can remove just about every type of stain, including discoloration caused by:

  • Foods such as blackberries and tomato sauce.
  • Beverages such as coffee, tea and wine.
  • Smoking and chewing tobacco.
  • Aging.
  • Prescription medications including tetracycline.

During your one-on-one consultation, Dr. Konig can determine if whitening will erase the stains on your teeth. You may want to consider the benefits of veneers vs. teeth whitening.

Q: How is tooth whitening performed?

A: Dr. Konig uses ZOOM! and KoR® Whitening. ZOOM! is completed in about an hour at our Houston office, using a special type of light to activate the whitening agents in the gel placed on your teeth. KoR® Whitening is a take-home treatment. Dr. Konig can help you consider in-office vs. at-home whitening.

Q: How does KoR® take-home whitening work?

A: Our dentist will take molds of your teeth, which are used to construct custom trays. Then, over the course of two weeks, you use the KoR® gel and trays to whiten your teeth in the comfort of your own home.

Q: Is ZOOM! whitening safe?

A: ZOOM! has been clinically proven to not impact soft tissue or tooth enamel, making it one of the safest and most effective forms of tooth whitening available. The bleaching agent is carefully placed to avoid your gums. Additionally, some of the solutions we use have Amorphous Calcium Phosphate (ACP), which actually helps strengthen your teeth.

Q: Is tooth whitening a painful treatment?

A: Some patients do experience discomfort during or shortly after whitening treatments. Dr. Konig and our dental team work to prevent discomfort by providing state-of-the-art treatments and advanced techniques. Many of our patients report no pain or discomfort from whitening.

Q: How do you prevent pain associated with teeth whitening?

A: Sensitivity during or after tooth whitening can be caused by the bleaching agent coming into contact with your gums, over application and inferior solutions damaging tooth enamel. With ZOOM!, all of these potential problems are eliminated.  Our professional trays are also specially designed. There are reservoirs that allow space for the solution and they are "scored" at the gum-line to keep the bleach on your teeth. These trays are hard, making them more durable, and they offer many other advantages over soft, flimsy trays including more consistent whitening.

Q: How long do the results of whitening last?

A: Results of professional teeth whitening are long lasting. You can do your part to make your results last as long as possible by practicing great oral hygiene and having routine dental exams and cleanings. These things work to prevent stains on your enamel. Most patients continue to enjoy their results for several months or years.

Q: Are there other things I can do to prevent stains?

A: Yes. You can avoid foods and habits that can cause tooth stains, including smoking, red wine, coffee, berries and tomato sauce. Consider drinking staining beverages through a straw so the liquid bypasses your teeth. You can also prevent stains by rinsing your mouth or brushing your teeth after enjoying these items.

White Fillings Questions

Q: What types of fillings are there?

A: Dr. Konig utilizes two forms of fillings:

  1. Amalgam - Also known as silver-mercury fillings, amalgam is a mix of liquid mercury, small silver bits, and various other metals like copper, tin or zinc.
  2. Composite Resin - This is a tooth-colored plastic mix filled with silicon dioxide (glass). These white fillings are used to fix decayed teeth as well as for cosmetic changes such as color or shape corrections to teeth. These types of fillings are durable, strong and natural in appearance.

Q: Can my old, dark fillings be whitened?

A: Unfortunately fillings can’t be whitened. The only way to get them lighter is to replace them. Luckily, there are many new ways to restore your smile to a brighter, natural-looking state. It’s important to replace old fillings after professional tooth whitening, so that the new replacements can match your new tooth color.

Q: How are composite fillings put in?

A: Putting in composite fillings is a technical and sensitive process. Once your tooth surface is prepared, the composite material is applied in layers. After each layer is placed, a special light is used to harden the material. When it is all laid in, the composite material is shaped to fit the individual tooth. The composite is then polished to help it resist stains and wear.

If you have any dentistry questions or would like to schedule your consultation with Dr. Konig, call our Houston office today at (713) 668-2289. The Konig Center for Cosmetic & Comprehensive Dentistry serves patients in communities including Sugar Land, Katy, The Woodlands and other nearby areas.