Everybody loves a bright white smile, and there are a variety of products and procedures available to help you improve the look of yours. .
Many people are satisfied with the sparkle they get from brushing twice daily with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, cleaning between their teeth once a day and the regular cleanings at your dentist’s office. If you decide you would like to go beyond this to make your smile look brighter, you should investigate all of your options.
You can take several approaches to whiten your smile:
• In-office bleaching;
• At-home bleaching;
What is in-office bleaching?
If you are a candidate for bleaching, your dentist may suggest a procedure that can be done in his or her office. This procedure is called chairside bleaching and may require more than one office visit. Each visit may take from 30 minutes to one hour.
During chairside bleaching, the dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the oral soft tissues. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth, and a special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent. Lasers have been used during tooth whitening procedures to enhance the action of the whitening agent.
What are at-home procedures and products?
There are several types of products available for use at home, which can either be dispensed by your dentist or purchased over-the-counter.
Bleaching solutions. These products contain peroxide(s), which actually bleach the tooth enamel. These products typically rely on percent carbamide peroxide as the bleaching agent, carbamide peroxide comes in several different concentrations (10%, 16%, 22%).
Peroxide-containing whiteners typically come in a gel and are placed in a mouthguard. Usage regimens vary. Some products are used for about twice a day for 2 weeks, and others are intended for overnight use for 1-2 weeks. If you obtain the bleaching solution from your dentist, he or she can make a custom-fitted mouthguard for you that will fit your teeth precisely. Currently, only dentist-dispensed home-use 10% carbamide peroxide tray-applied gels carry the ADA Seal.
You also may want to speak with your dentist should any side effects become bothersome. For example, teeth can become sensitive during the period when you are using the bleaching solution. In many cases, this sensitivity is temporary and should lessen once the treatment is finished. Some people also experience soft tissue irritation—either from a tray that doesn't fit properly or from solution that may come in contact with the tissues. If you have concerns about such side effects, you should discuss them with your dentist.
Dental veneers are custom-designed shells of tooth-like ceramic material that, when applied over the surface of a tooth, can cover worn tooth enamel, uneven tooth alignment or spacing and chips or cracks.
Dental veneers fall into the category of cosmetic dentistry because they create a bright, white smile with beautifully aligned, shapely teeth. Even better, the translucent ceramic quality of today's veneers provides a more natural look than what’s been available in the past.
Regardless of what causes unattractive teeth, dental veneers may solve most or even all of your cosmetic dental issues, including:
• Worn enamel: Over time, the thin, hard white substance covering your teeth (enamel) may become worn, dulled, and discolored. Such wear and discoloration may be natural or the result of a genetic predisposition; however, it is often a result of your habits (soft drink, tea, or coffee consumption, smoking, medication use, etc.).
• Wear and tear: Teeth naturally wear down as people age. Aged teeth are more likely to have chips, cracks or a generally uneven appearance.
• Genetics: Certain people may be born with abnormal spacing between the teeth that grows wider as they age.
• Uneven teeth: Uneven teeth can result from tooth grinding or general wear and tear.
Porcelain Veneers and Composite Resin Veneers
The two most common materials used in the manufacture of dental veneers are composite resin and porcelain veneers. Both porcelain veneers and composite veneers can be fabricated by a dental technician in a dental laboratory; composite veneers can also be directly fabricated inside your mouth at the dental office.
Dental veneers that are indirectly fabricated — fabricated in a dental laboratory — are bonded to the teeth with various types of resin cement. Of the two options, porcelain veneers are longer lasting and more expensive.
When are Veneers Appropriate?
Bonding often serves as an inexpensive and effective restoration for small chips and cracks in the teeth. Such minor problems may be functionally and cosmetically repaired with a composite "white filling." A composite resin material is bonded to the tooth in order to fill in the chip or crack and better protect the surrounding tooth structure. But for more severe cases of dullness, wear, discoloration, mild chipping, cracking, spacing, or uneven teeth, dental veneers may be recommended as a more appropriate solution.
Dental crowns, also known as “caps,” preserve the functionality of damaged teeth. Crowns may be used to protect a cracked tooth, restore functionality of a tooth with excessive decay, or replace a pre-existing crown. The purpose of a dental crown is to encase a needy tooth with a custom-designed material. Dentists today have a variety of conservative treatment options through which to restore teeth. If possible, these options should be explored and discussed before selecting the full coverage crown.
The predominant material choice for all-ceramic crowns today is either zirconia, or aluminous materials. They provide a metal-free esthetic option with a number of benefits.
By eliminating the need for the supportive metal core, an esthetic all-ceramic crown can be created with a reduced thickness of material. This makes them a more favorable treatment choice in areas with limited space. Additionally, the elimination of the metal core allows for light transmission through the porcelain for better optical, life-like properties and a higher level of esthetics.
All-ceramic materials continue to evolve in strength and durability, but caution should still be exercised for areas of the mouth requiring heavy function. Continuing research is exploring the significant vulnerabilities of the porcelain systems in such areas.
GINGIVECTOMY AND GINGIVOPLASTY
Gingivectomy is the surgical removal of gum tissue or gingiva. Gingivoplasty is the surgical reshaping of gum tissue around your teeth. These two procedures are performed by a periodontist. A periodontist is a dentist that specializes in treating gums and the other supporting structures around your teeth.
What is gingivectomy used for?
Gingivectomy was originally developed to treat periodontal disease but nowadays it is used more commonly for cosmetic procedures. You may have to remove your gum tissue for two reasons:
• There are gaps or pockets that have formed between your teeth and your gums. These pockets will trap food particles, harbour colonies of bacteria, and make it difficult for you to clean. If the pockets only involve soft tissues then these gaps may be removed by simply trimming the gums through gingivectomy.
• There is too much gum tissue for your teeth. Aside from cosmetic reasons, too much gum tissue for your teeth will make it hard for you to keep your mouth clean. In severe situations, this condition can interfere with the way you eat and the way you talk. Overgrowth in gum tissue is caused by certain anti-seizure medications. Sometimes, other drugs may cause it. On some occasions, there could be no cause at all.
What is gingivoplasty used for?
Reshaping your gums through gingivoplasty could make your gums look more natural. The gingivoplasty procedure could be used to correct asymmetrical gums, badly formed gums, diseased gums, genetically malformed gums, trauma, or for purely cosmetic purposes. Gingivoplasty is usually done alone although it can also be done after a gingivectomy or a gum graft. Gum grafts are additions of gum tissue to the gum line.
Gum contouring - for the "gummy smile"
Patients are often concerned that too much gum is showing when they smile or that their teeth look too short. This problem, commonly referred to as a “gummy smile”, can be easily remedied by gum reshaping or contouring.
Excess gum tissue is marked out by the dentist and then trimmed away using a special laser, which also cauterises (seals) blood vessels, and so minimises bleeding.
After the procedure, the gum is left to heal. Results are immediate. In some cases where a large amount of gum tissue is removed, the healing process may take longer and it may be necessary to trim bone on the front of the tooth root to prevent regrowth of the gum tissue. The results are usually permanent and relatively inexpensive.
A smile makeover is the process of improving the appearance of the smile through one or more cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as dental veneers, composite bonding, dental implants and teeth whitening.
Essentially, a smile makeover is something that you choose to have performed, while a full mouth reconstruction is something that you need to have performed.
Smile Makeover Considerations
A smile makeover takes into consideration your facial appearance, skin tone, hair color, teeth (color, width, length, shape and tooth display), gum tissue and lips to develop your ideal smile. Smile makeovers are performed for many reasons and customized according to your unique considerations.
What is it that you like or dislike about your smile or your teeth? Some aspects of your smile that your cosmetic dentist will review with you and that could be improved with a smile makeover include the following:
Tooth Color: Silver or amalgam dental fillings can be replaced with natural, tooth-colored composite restorations, while teeth whitening can improve the color of stained or dulled teeth. Tooth color and shading are important considerations during the evaluation of and preparation for various procedures, including porcelain veneers, crowns, bridges, composite bonding and dental implants.
When considering the color of your teeth, keep in mind that dark or discolored teeth may suggest an aged mouth. A well-shaped smile comprised of bright, white teeth lends to a youthful appearance. The shade your dentist selects for teeth whitening and veneers is carefully evaluated with special consideration given to the tone and color of your face and hair. Cosmetic dentists are skilled at finding the right balance between providing you with a brighter, whiter smile and maintaining a natural tooth color.
Alignment and Spacing: Teeth that are crooked, overlapping or have gaps between them can be straightened and aligned when necessary through orthodontics or Invisalign and improved with veneers.
Missing Teeth: One or more missing teeth can negatively affect the appearance of your smile — as well as affect your bite and increase your risk for tooth decay — making replacement an integral part of oral health and facial esthetics. Missing teeth can be replaced by dental implants, bridges or partial dentures.
Harmony and Balance: Uneven, chipped and cracked teeth can be cosmetically bonded for an improved appearance, and a gummy smile can be re-contoured to help improve the overall look of the smile.
Fuller Lips, Smile and Cheeks: An unshapely or aging face can be improved or rejuvenated with certain procedures in the smile makeover category, including orthodontics and/or oral maxillofacial surgery. A cosmetic dentist will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan designed to achieve exactly what you want from your makeover. This treatment plan may consist of many cosmetic and functionally restorative procedures, potentially including teeth whitening, composite bonding, veneers, dental crowns, orthodontics (braces), oral maxillofacial surgery and gummy smile reduction.
The etiology of congenital absence of teeth is believed to be involved in heredity or developmental anomalies. It can be isolated or as part of a syndrome. There are a number of options available to restore space generated by missing teeth. Dental treatment can vary depending on the severity of the disease and generally requires a multidisciplinary approach. Treatment options include orthodontic therapy, implants, adhesive techniques, and removable prosthesis.