My Blog

Posts for: March, 2015


It's no surprise that plenty of teenagers go in for an orthodontic evaluation and come out wearing braces. But sometimes, an observant orthodontist may notice that an adult's smile could use a little bit of improvement, too. Even an adult like — Tom Cruise?

That's exactly what happened to the star of Top Gun, Rain Man and the Mission Impossible franchise. Cruise, then 39, was taking one of his children for orthodontic work when it was pointed out that the leading man's teeth were also out of alignment. So he opted for braces too.

“Yes, Tom Cruise has braces,” said his publicist when the star appeared, sporting his new orthodontic appliances. “To him, it's no big deal.” Cruise chose to get the relatively inconspicuous ceramic type, with only a thin wire visible in front of his teeth. He wore them for about a year and a half, having them temporarily removed when it was time to make a movie.

Ceramic braces are a popular choice among adult orthodontic patients, many of whom find that less noticeable orthodontic appliances fit in better with their personal or professional lifestyle. Clear aligners also provide a virtually invisible option. We can help you decide which appliance would best meet your needs. But the first step is a thorough evaluation of your periodontal health.

Is it Risky Business to get braces as an older adult? Not usually — but if you do show signs of periodontal disease, which is more prevalent in adults than teens, it's important to bring it under control before beginning your orthodontic treatment. There are also a few medical conditions, such as heart-valve disease, severe uncontrolled diabetes, and leukemia, which might preclude treatment.

For most people, however, orthodontics offers a great way to improve your appearance and boost your self-confidence — even if you're not a movie star. It is estimated that three-quarters of adults have some form of orthodontic problem; and studies have shown that orthodontic treatment can enhance an adult's career opportunities and social life.

So, if you're looking for a better smile at any age, don't hesitate to contact us or schedule an appointment to discuss your treatment options. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Orthodontics For The Older Adult.”

Teeth WhiteningWhen it comes to the epitome of dental satisfaction, a pearly-white smile has to be it. Unfortunately, many of us don't have the confidence in our grins to show off that beautiful look. But at the dental office of Ashley Harrison, DDS, you can find the results you've been hoping for for your mouth, as teeth whitening solutions abound with professional in-office procedures that accomplish a safe, effective way to perfect the grin you're in.

Dr. Harrison's in-office whitening procedure can actually whiten teeth between three to eight shades in as little as one hour, as this professionally-supervised method for treating stained, discolored, or simply not-white-enough teeth has lasting effects that are superior for both gum protection and tooth-root protection than over-the-counter whitening options.

Take a look below at the two primary ways Dr. Harrison can whiten your teeth using the most highly concentrated bleaching gels that aren't offered elsewhere.

  • In-Office Whitening — During this procedure, your gums and tooth-root surfaces will have a protective barrier placed on top of them, while a dental retracting device is used to ensure that surrounding oral surfaces (your lips and the insides of your cheeks, for example) don't get in the way of your teeth during the treatment. A powerful hydrogen peroxide solution is applied to your enamel and is left there for an hour or so, whitening your teeth instantly for real results.
  • Take-Home Whitening — Your dentist will first require a mold of your teeth to be created, before dental technicians create a pair of plastic mouth trays that are individually personalized for your two sets of teeth. Using whitening gels that deliver lasting results, you'll be in charge of filling your trays with the solution before placing them over your teeth for an hour each time once you get home.

Once you've had your teeth professionally whitened, you must remember to maintain your results by continuing to practice a healthy dental routine, which includes:

  • brushing at least twice each day, though preferably after every meal
  • flossing daily
  • attending a routine schedule of professional cleanings
  • staying away from foods and drinks that discolor your teeth, like:
    • hard candies
    • berries
    • soy sauce
    • red wine
    • coffee
    • tea
  • avoiding tobacco use

For more information on how you can get lasting results for a whitened smile right here in Chico, CA, give one of Dr. Harrison's dental associates a call today at (530) 894-5454!


With its life-like color and texture, dental porcelain can restore a smile marred by decayed or damaged teeth. This durable ceramic material not only matches the varieties of individual tooth colors and hues, its translucence mimics the appearance of natural teeth. But perhaps its greatest benefit is its adaptability for use in a number of different applications, particularly veneers and crowns.

Veneers are thin layers of dental porcelain laminated together and permanently bonded to cover the visible outer side of a tooth to improve its appearance. Crowns, on the other hand, are “caps” of dental porcelain designed to completely cover a defective tooth.

Veneers and crowns share a number of similarities. Both can alter the color and shape of teeth, although crowns are used when more extensive tooth structure has been damaged. They’re also “irreversible,” meaning the tooth must be altered in such a way that it will always require a veneer or crown, though on some occasions a veneer can require no removal of tooth structure and can be reversible.

They do, however, have some differences as to the type of situation they address. Veneers are generally used where the affected teeth have a poor appearance (chipped, malformed or stained, for example) but are still structurally healthy. And although they do generally require some removal of tooth enamel to accommodate them (to minimize a “bulky” appearance), the reduction is much less than for a crown.

Crowns, on the other hand, restore teeth that have lost significant structure from disease, injury, stress-related grinding habits or the wearing effects of aging. Since they must contain enough mass to stand up to the normal biting forces a tooth must endure, a significant amount of the original tooth structure must be removed to accommodate them.

Which application we use will depend upon a thorough examination of your teeth. Once we’ve determined their condition and what you need, we can then recommend the best application for your situation. But regardless of whether we install a veneer or crown, using dental porcelain can help achieve an end result that’s truly life-changing — a new, younger-looking smile.

If you would like more information on dental porcelain 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 “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”