120 Office Park Drive, Mountain Brook, AL 35223, (205) 423-9140





Mountain Brook, AL Gentle Dentist
Mountain Brook Smiles
120 Office Park Drive
Mountain Brook, AL 35223
(205) 423-9140
Mountain Brook Gentle Dentist
Call for special pricing


Posts for: December, 2017

By Mountain Brook Smiles
December 27, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

Cosmetic dentistry can subtly tweak your smile or completely overhaul it from top to bottom. Depending on your dental situation and cosmetic dentistrywishes for your smile, cosmetic dental procedures may be the answer you have been looking for. Find out more about some common cosmetic dental procedures with Dr. Wes Samford at Mountain Brook Smiles in Mountain Brook, AL.

Popular Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures in Mountain Brook, AL

  • Teeth Whitening: Teeth whitening is a fast and easy way to renew your smile’s appearance. In just a single visit lasting about an hour, your dentist can lighten the color of your teeth significantly. However, like other cosmetic procedures, teeth whitening is versatile, allowing you to choose the strength of your treatment.
  • Bonding: Bonding uses tooth-colored materials bonded and molded directly onto the tooth to repair small issues like chips, cracks, or uneven teeth. This non-invasive and fast procedure can make a huge impact on your smile.
  • Veneers: Dental veneers change the appearance of the tooth by fitting over its surface to mask its appearance. While veneers have the ability to completely change a tooth’s appearance, they can also only subtly tweak a minor imperfection.
  • Cosmetic Fillings: Cosmetic fillings repair cavities caused by teeth decay with a tooth-colored composite resin material which blends into your smile without causing any discolorations.
  • Crowns and Bridges: These dental restorations fall under both cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry. A crown fits over the tooth to protect it from future damage and general wear and tear. A dental bridge replaces a missing tooth above the gumline to fill in a gap in your smile.
  • Dental Implants: Dental implants replace missing teeth in your smile. The implant, unlike other tooth replacement options, replaces the tooth and its root, permanently filling in the spaces in your teeth. Implants, placed directly into the jawbone, can support a single replacement tooth, several replacement teeth in a bridge, or even a whole row of teeth as part of an implant-supported denture.

Cosmetic Dentistry in Mountain Brook, AL

For more information on one of these procedures or cosmetic dentistry in general, please contact Dr. Wes Samford at Mountain Brook Smiles in Mountain Brook, AL. Call (205) 423-9140 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Samford today!

By Mountain Brook Smiles
December 19, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: x-rays  

One of the most widely used forms of dental imaging is the bitewing x-ray. So called because of the shape of the device that holds the exposable film a patient clenches between their back teeth, the bitewing x-ray is an effective means for detecting the earliest stages of tooth decay.

These early signs are small lesions on a tooth surface caused by mineral loss in the enamel. While we can identify them on front teeth through visual examination or bright lighting, they’re nearly impossible to see on the biting surfaces of back teeth. The bitewing x-ray solves this problem.

During the procedure, a narrow beam of x-rays is directed at the back teeth area. Since X-rays can transmit through solid matter, they pass through the teeth and gums to expose the film attached to the bitewing assembly.

X-rays pass through matter at different rates depending on the density of the tissue — a slower rate for harder tissues like teeth and bone and a faster rate for soft tissues like the gums. As a result, x-rays through teeth expose less of the film and appear as a lighter image than the gums. This difference is so precise even a tooth’s softer dentin appears slighter darker than its harder outer enamel.

This precision helps us identify decay lesions. Because the lesions on the enamel are less dense than the normal enamel, they’ll appear as dark spots. By detecting them at this stage we have a better chance for reversing the effects of decay or at least minimizing damage that’s already occurred.

Because x-rays emit radiation, there’s a natural concern about over-exposure and we go to great lengths to reduce it. Children may undergo a bitewing x-ray twice a year for developing teeth, while adults with healthy teeth are typically x-rayed just once a year. Advances in digital film and other technology have also helped lower the exposure rate.

Today’s standard 4-film bitewing x-ray produces about four days worth of what we receive on average from normal background radiation, so the health risk is quite negligible. The benefit, on the other hand, is much greater — the early detection of tooth decay could ultimately save a tooth.

If you would like more information on the use of bitewing x-rays in dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


Teeth can take a lot of force over a lifetime of biting and chewing, thanks to enamel, their outer layer made of the strongest substance in the human body. Unfortunately, they’re not invincible: it’s even possible for you to break or “fracture” a tooth while biting or chewing normally.

Although such a fracture might seem to occur out of the blue, it’s usually related to a condition known as cracked tooth syndrome. It usually occurs in three stages: in the first, miniscule cracks in the outer enamel known as craze lines develop. They’re not immediately dangerous since they only involve the enamel surface; but left untreated they could deepen and progress to the next stage, a larger crack that penetrates the tooth’s underlying dentin.

If allowed to grow, this crack in turn can lead to the third stage, a full fracture that could extend down to the root. A fracture can put the tooth in danger of loss, especially if its inner pulp becomes exposed. To avoid this worst case, it’s best to treat the tooth at the earliest stage possible when craze lines are just developing.

There is a difficulty, though, with detecting craze lines — they’re small, too small to detect normally with x-rays. We, therefore, rely on other methods such as using an instrument called an explorer to feel for cracks, having the patient bite on a stick or rubber pad to replicate pain symptoms or using fiber-optic lighting with special dye stains to highlight possible cracks. Endodontists, specialists in root canals, can use microscopic equipment that’s quite adept at detecting craze lines.

There are also some signs you can be on alert for that might indicate a craze line or crack. If you feel a short, sharp pain — a “wince” — when chewing and releasing food, you could have a crack that hasn’t yet affected the nerves. If a true fracture occurs, the pain will intensify and you may notice pieces of the tooth coming off. If the crack extends to the root, the pain will become greater and more chronic.

It’s important then that you see us for any recurring pain symptoms as soon as possible. If it’s a crack, the sooner it’s treated the better your tooth’s chances for survival.

If you would like more information on cracked tooth syndrome, 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 “Cracked Tooth Syndrome.”