Enhancing the smile's aesthetic appearance can lead to increased self-confidence, improved social skills, and even a more positive outlook on life. Modern cosmetic dentistry merges advanced technology with fine art, and can often produce amazing results in less time than you would expect.
A smile is one of the simplest gestures that we can make, but it can also be one of the biggest. A bright smile is considered a reflection of friendliness, honestly, happiness and health.
An attractive smile can be beneficial in social situations, help attract a partner and also make you more confident and outgoing. We are bombarded with pictures of celebrities flashing mega-watt grins, which unfortunatelymakes many people feel self-conscious about their own smile. These people often try and smile without showing their teeth which can look unnatural and forced.
The enamel covering the teeth can become stained over time for a number of reasons, and as such, teeth whitening is considered to be one of the easiest and most economical ways of enhancing the appeal of your smile.
White teeth are universally considered more youthful largely due to the fact that infant/first teeth are almost always whiter than their adult counterparts.
Smoking – one of the biggest contributors to yellowed teeth!
Use of antibiotics as a child/teenager
Exposure to high levels of fluoride
Food/drink containing tannins such as oranges,
carrots, red wine and coffee
Trauma to the tooth
Damage to nerve or blood vessels inside the root canal
Genetics – the thickness of the enamel covering your teeth is usually determined by genetics. Thinner enamel can often show the color of the dentin beneath it, giving the tooth a darker appearance.
Ageing – our teeth naturally darken as we get older
There are dozens of products on the market that claim to be able to improve the whiteness of your smile without the need for you to visit your dentist. However over the counter products are simply not able to provide the same strength of whitening as professional-grade treatments that your dentist is able to offer.Not only are the results usually only mediocre, but they also fade quicker and as such require regular treatments.
We highly recommend that you have the first treatment at the very least performed by a dentist who is qualified in providing successful teeth whitening procedures.
Dental whitening is a painless procedure, but one that may require several visits to your dentist in order to achieve the final color that you are aiming for. During your consultation visit your dentist will likely photograph your teeth to provide a starting point for comparison so that he/she can effectively monitor the progress of your treatment. Your dentist will perform a thorough examination to ensure that no other treatment is required ahead of the whitening process, and may ask you a number of questions to get to the cause of the discoloration.
Next your dentist or dental hygienist will give your teeth a thorough clean to remove any residue or bacteria that may prevent the whitening process from working properly.
After this, it is time for the whitening to begin. There are two main types of tooth whitening performed.
The most common variety, vital whitening, is able to be performed on teeth with current active nerves and involves whitening the tooth purely on the outside.
The whitening product is usually a gel which contains a form of hydrogen peroxide and is applied directly on to the surface of the tooth.
Your dentist will then shine a special laser or light onto your teeth, creating a chemical reaction that begins the bleaching.
You can expect vital whitening to take between 30 and 90 minutes and depending on the extent of your staining/the level of whiteness you wish to achieve, you may require between one and three visits to your dentist’s office.
Non-vital whitening is most commonly used in teeth that are stained from the inside out, usually as a result of damage to the interior nerves.
In non-vital whitening your dentist will place the whitening agent inside the tooth and cover it with a temporary filling. Again, you may require multiple treatments in order to achieve the extent of whitening that you desire.
Teeth whitening is actually a very safe procedure and is highly unlikely to cause serious side effects. However, you may find that your gums and teeth are a little more sensitive for a short time after the procedure. Not enough is known about the effect of teeth whitening on unborn babies and as such, pregnant women should refrain from having their teeth whitened until after delivery.
Unfortunately, teeth whitening is not a one-off procedure. However, the speed with which the whiteness will fade will vary depending on a range of factors including whether or not you smoke and if you consume a lot of stain-causing foods and drinks. If you participate in these activities, you could see the whiteness beginning to fade as quickly as six weeks after your procedure. If you avoid stain-inducing activities and maintain a rigorous oral care regime, then you may not require another teeth whitening procedure for between six and twelve months after your initial treatment.
Teeth that are chipped, discolored, uneven, stained or gapped.
Bonding with composite resin. The composite resin used in bonding is a tooth-colored material that is applied directly to the enamel of teeth and shaped to correct the patient's aesthetic concern. When exposed to a special ultraviolet light, the resin hardens into place.
Veneers are not an ideal choice for patients with tooth decay, advanced periodontal disease, or severe misalignment. In cases where veneers are not advisable, orthodontic treatments and porcelain crowns may be better choices.
A veneer is an ultra-thin moulding of porcelain that is custom-created for your tooth and bonded to the surface of an affected tooth in order to restore it. They are most commonly used to restore teeth that are chipped or misshapen, although some people do like to get them for their cosmetic value.
If you think you need dental restoration treatment, we recommend that you speak to your dentist who will be happy to advise you which is right for your dental requirements.
When the enamel of the tooth has become too weak, small holes will start to develop in the actual tooth. If this is the case, your dentist must fix the problem or else it will become worse. It is likely that
your dentist will recommend a filling.
Fillings are placed when dentists remove all the damaged tooth and other material from the small hole. They must then fill the hole with a substance to block any future damage to that part of the tooth. Fillings are made with resins or a combination of materials to protect the tooth.
At your next dental appointment, you may find that your dentist suggests that you undergo an inlay or an onlay. It’s important to understand what these procedures include before agreeing to move forward with the procedure. Traditional inlays were used instead of fillings to replace a small amount of tooth loss that was due to decay. Onlays are similar, but instead of just fitting inside of the tooth, they also cover the chewing surface. Onlays are typically used on the back teeth and will cover one or more of the cusps of the tooth.
Inlays were initially made of gold and looked like fillings. Today, medical advances have allowed for inlays to be made of substances that more closely mirror the appearance and function of the tooth.
Inlays may be made of ceramic, porcelain or a type of dental composite. If you’ve had previous fillings that are failing or that appear unsightly, your dentist can replace or repair them with a modern inlay. This will improve the function and appearance of the filling.
Onlays also fit inside of the tooth but also cover one or more cusp of the chewing surface. These types of fillings are typically used on the molar teeth. Like inlays, onlays were previously made of the same material as fillings, gold. New developments have allowed for ceramic or porcelain onlays that more closely match the original tooth color. These material types also allow for bonding of the material to the tooth. Recent research suggests that these onlays and their bonds strengthen and improve the tooth.
It’s tough for a patient to understand all the details that make an inlay or onlay the best option to use. While your dentist will typically consider their use, you may also raise the question about them if your dentist is considering a crown or cap. All these treatments have specific benefits and drawbacks, so you should make sure to clarify any questions with your dentist before agreeing to a particular treatment.
Inlays and onlays are like crowns. However, they require less removal or altering of your existing tooth structure. For this reason, they may be preferred for many patients over a crown. Once the tooth has been adequately prepared, and all the tooth decay and debris have been removed, an impression of the tooth is made. This impression can be made digitally or with a putty like material that will create a physical cast of your tooth. This impression is then sent to a laboratory where they create a model of your tooth. The final restoration is created in the lab and is designed to perfectly fit your tooth.
If you have opted for a color-treated inlay, it should also match your existing tooth color.
Dental crowns are a very common and popular solution to damaged or unsightly teeth. They take the form of a tooth-shaped ‘hat’ that sits over the problem tooth, encasing it entirely right down to the gum line. Crowns are an ideal way to restore the strength, shape, size and overall appearance of any damaged teeth.
Crowns can be made from a variety of different materials including metal, porcelain fused to metal and 100% porcelain/ceramic. This means that there is usually at least one type of crown that is suitable for every patient.
Crowns are usually only given to adult patients. Your dentist may recommend a crown as the best course of action if:
You have a broken or severely worn down tooth.
You have a cracked tooth that needs to be held together.
If you have a severely weak tooth that is at risk of breaking.
If you are also having a dental bridge,
as crowns can help hold them in place.
If you have a tooth that requires a larger filling than is possible (usually due to broken/eroded parts of the tooth).
To cover a dental implant.
If you have a discoloured tooth.
If your tooth is severely misshapen.
Occasionally a dentist may recommend a crown for infant/first teeth. This is usually because:
The child has a first tooth that is decayed beyond the treatment of a
normal filling and a crown is the best option to protect it.
The child is, for whatever reason, unable to complete or withstand
proper oral care techniques, putting them at a much higher risk
of tooth decay and its associated problems.
There are many different treatments available for badly damaged or decayed teeth, but unfortunately sometimes a tooth is beyond repair, leaving an unsightly gap in your smile. Gaps between your teeth can seriously knock your confidence, and can even have a negative impact on the functionality of your other teeth and the overall use of your mouth. This is due to the fact that after time, your remaining teeth can take advantage of the space to shift around slightly, causing misalignment and a range of other associated dental problems.
Dental bridges fill the gap where the missing tooth would have been. They do this using a false tooth, which looks and feels just like the real thing. The false tooth also holds the remaining teeth either side in place so that they don’t shift into the space.
Dental bridges are comprised of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap. These act as anchors for the false tooth/teeth that will fill the gap. Once your dental bridge is in place, it should be virtually imperceptible. The anchored teeth are often referred to as abutment teeth and the false teeth are often called pontics.
The pontics can be made from a number of different materials including metal alloys, gold or porcelain, depending on what cosmetic finish you want to achieve. If you choose porcelain, they can be color-matched to your existing teeth so that they look completely natural.
There are a number of benefits of having dental bridge. They can:
Prevent your remaining teeth from shifting position.
Help you bite and/or chew properly.
Correct your bite.
Properly align your jaw.
Maintain the shape of your face.
Give you a great smile.
There are three main varieties of dental bridge, and the type your dentist recommends will vary depending on where in your mouth the missing teeth are located.
A traditional bridge is the most commonly recommended treatment for missing teeth. It involves creating crowns to go on the teeth either side of the gap which act as anchors for the pontic which sits in-between them. Traditional bridges are usually made from porcelain that has been fused to ceramic or metal.
Also sometimes referred to as a Maryland bonded bridge, this type of bridge can be created in a variety of material including porcelain fused to metal, complete porcelain or sometimes plastic teeth and gums that are supported by a porcelain or metal framework. The wings found on each side of the bridge, usually made from metal or porcelain, are securely bonded to your natural teeth.
Cantilever bridges are used when there are only existing teeth that can be used as anchors on one side of the gap. In the past there have been problems with cantilever bridges being used in the back of the mouth as they were found to exert too much pressure on the anchor tooth, causing damage and even breakages.