3548 Orange Avenue Northeast,
Roanoke, VA 24012

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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Skinner Family Dentistry
January 29, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  

Trying to decide on a dental whitening procedure can be confusing.
If you're considering whitening your teeth with Dr. Gregory Skinner of Skinner Family Dentistry in Roanoke, VA, you're in good company. Tooth whitening is now the leading cosmetic dental procedure, with an estimated 100 million Americans seeking a brighter smile. This teeth whiteningsurge in popularity means that dental bleaching is extremely accessible and affordable, with dozens of options to choose from. With so many choices out there, it's important to make an informed decision about using over- the-counter whitening products or making a trip to your Roanoke dentist's office for a bleaching procedure.
Whitening your teeth at home using over-counter products such as can be convenient and fairly inexpensive. From gels to toothpastes to whitening strips, you may notice there is quite a bit of overlap in store-bought treatments and those you can take home from your dentist's office.

The main difference in these products is the overall concentration and  quality of the bleaching material and the delivery method used. For instance, the trays that Dr. Skinner makes for whitening gels will be customized to fit your teeth, ensuring direct contact with all tooth surfaces. One-size-fits-all trays are often too large and can cause irritation if too much of the bleaching agent comes in contact with the soft tissues in your mouth. With your Roanoke dentist overseeing the bleaching process, you can be sure you are using the best product for your teeth. You also have immediate access to a dental professional who can answer any questions you may have.
If your lifestyle or family history has left your teeth less than sparkling, visit Dr. Gregory Skinner of Skinner Family Dentistry in Roanoke, VA to make a positive change in your smile!

By Skinner Family Dentistry
December 03, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns  

If you have teeth that are damaged from trauma or decay, dental crowns can help restore their function and appearance. Crowns are tooth-shaped coverings made out of a strong material, such as porcelain or metal. Their purpose is to restore the shape of your natural Crownstooth, keeping your bite aligned and protecting you from further damage. If you are thinking about getting a crown to improve your smile, contact Gregory P. Skinner, D.D.S an experienced dentist in Roanoke, VA.

What Are Dental Crowns Used For?

Dental crowns are often used to cover teeth that have been fractured, severely decayed, or lost. Visible teeth are often crowned with materials such as porcelain which can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Crowns for back teeth are often made out of high strength porcelain or high strength gold, due to their superior strength and ability to withstand the pressure from chewing.

Crowns can protect teeth that have been:

  • Fractured or chipped

  • Weakened

  • Extensively decayed

  • Treated with root canal therapy

  • Replaced with dental implants

The Importance of Strengthening Damaged Teeth

The strong materials of dental crowns act as a buffer to prevent mechanical forces from further damaging weak teeth. A tooth that is covered by a crown is better protected from infection and decay.

Even if you just have one affected tooth, it’s vital to treat the initial damage early. This is because a problem in one tooth can lead to problems in the surrounding teeth as well. A weak tooth is prone to damage and decay, which can quickly lead to infection and the need for more extensive treatment. Damaged teeth can also affect the alignment of your bite. This puts excessive pressure on the surrounding teeth, making them more susceptible to future problems.

Roanoke Dental Care

If you have weak or damaged teeth, it's still possible to protect them and save your natural teeth. Take action now to keep your teeth strong for the long run.

Gregory P. Skinner, D.D.S is an experienced dentist in Roanoke, VA who can help you find the best way to strengthen and protect your teeth. Request your appointment at Skinner Family Dentistry or call (540) 344-6688 today!


One of the best restorative options for slightly deformed, misaligned or stained teeth is a porcelain veneer. Composed of thin, laminated layers of dental material, the veneer is bonded to the outside of the tooth to transform both its shape and color to blend with other natural teeth.

Veneers are more than a technical process — they’re works of art produced by skilled artisans known as dental lab technicians. They use their skills to shape veneers into forms so life-like they can’t be distinguished from other teeth.

How technicians produce veneers depends on the material used. The mainstay for many years was feldspathic porcelain, a powdered material mixed with water to form a paste, which technicians use to build up layers on top of each other. After curing or “firing” in an oven, the finished veneer can mimic both the color variations and translucency of natural teeth.

Although still in use today, feldspathic porcelain does have limitations. It has a tendency to shrink during firing, and because it’s built up in layers it’s not as strong and shatter-resistant as a single composed piece. To address these weaknesses, a different type of veneer material reinforced with leucite came into use in the 1990s. Adding this mineral to the ceramic base, the core of the veneer could be formed into one piece by pressing the heated material into a mold. But while increasing its strength, early leucite veneers were thicker than traditional porcelain and only worked where extra space allowed for them.

This has led to the newest and most advanced form that uses a stronger type of glass ceramic called lithium disilicate. These easily fabricated veneers can be pressed down to a thickness of three tenths of a millimeter, much thinner than leucite veneers with twice the strength.  And like leucite, lithium disilicate can be milled to increase the accuracy of the fit. It’s also possible to add a layer of feldspathic porcelain to enhance their appearance.

The science — and artistry — of porcelain veneers has come a long way over the last three decades. With more durable, pliable materials, you can have veneers that with proper care could continue to provide you an attractive smile for decades to come.

If you would like more information on dental veneers, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Porcelain Veneers.”

By Gregory P. Skinner, DDS, PC
September 17, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: fillings  

For over a hundred years dental amalgam — a combination of silver, mercury, tin and other metals — has been an effective filling material for teeth damaged by decay. But it has one major drawback — its metallic appearance stands out in stark contrast to the natural color of teeth.

As an alternative, composite resin fillings can match the color, shape and texture of natural teeth. These materials and the techniques used to bond them are proving just as effective as and more aesthetically pleasing than dental amalgam.

Fillings help protect and preserve a decayed tooth. By first removing decayed tooth structure through drilling, the resulting void is filled with durable material that strengthens the tooth and provides it protection from further decay.

The ultimate goal for restoration is to return the tooth to as near normal form and function as possible. Dental amalgam serves well in terms of function, providing the tooth strength in the face of the daily biting forces it encounters. In contrast, composite resins excel in appearance, but haven’t always matched the durability of amalgam. They’re material construction has improved over time, though, as well as the techniques used to bond them to teeth.

Most of these bonding techniques incorporate layering. The first step is to seal the dentin (the porous, living tissue just below the enamel); we then build up the composite material layer by layer within the tooth using special bonding adhesive and curing lights. In some cases where a large volume of tooth structure must be replaced, the restoration is first formed on the tooth and then removed for curing before being cemented into the tooth or a separate restoration is formed by a dental lab.

The end result is a tooth which both looks and functions like a fully intact tooth. Though care must be taken not to subject composite resin restorations to undue forces (no cracking open nutshells, for example), your new filling should continue to serve you and look great for a long time to come.

If you would like more information on metal-free restorations, 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 “The Natural Beauty of Tooth Colored Fillings.”

By Gregory P. Skinner, DDS, PC
July 30, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

As a member of the best-selling pop group Spice Girls, Mel C (AKA Sporty Spice) enjoyed her share of musical superstardom. At the band’s peak in the Nineties, the young singer’s signature look featured baggy sweatpants, an assortment of tattoos, a nose stud and a gold-capped incisor, front and center in her mouth. Today, Melanie Chisholm is still singing — but now she’s a mom, an amateur triathlete… and that gold tooth is just a memory. Not only that, her smile looks more evenly spaced and whiter than it did when she was referred to as the “tomboy” of the group.

What happened? In our view, it all boils down to changing tastes — plus a little bit of help from dental professionals. As the “wannabe” singer proves, there’s no single standard when it comes to making your teeth look their best. Your own look is unique to you — and your smile can reflect that individuality.

For example, crowns (caps) are substantial coverings that may be placed on teeth when they are being restored. They are available in three types: gold, all-porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. The latter two are tooth-colored, while the gold is — well, shiny like gold bling. Which one is right for you? In many cases, it’s your choice.

Likewise, dental veneers — wafer-thin shells that can correct cosmetic issues by covering the surface of your teeth — can be made in a variety of shades. Their hues may range from natural ivory to Hollywood white, and everything in between. What’s the best color for you? Only you can say.

Some people opt for a “smile makeover” that uses small irregularities in the spacing and color of teeth to create a more “natural” look. Other folks want a perfectly even, brilliant white smile that dazzles the eye. Still others are looking to match or restore the smile they once had — perhaps even re-creating a signature gap between the teeth. As long as there are no other dental issues involved, the choice is yours.

So if you’re unhappy with your smile — or if you feel it doesn’t reflect the person you “wannabe” — why not talk to us about a smile makeover? Just call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”