Cosmetic Dental Treatments
What is cosmetic dentistry?
Dentistry is not just a case of filling and extraction of teeth, as it was for many years. Today a lot of people are turning to cosmetic dentistry, or ‘ aesthetic dentistry, for improving the appearance of their teeth, much as they would use cosmetic surgery or even a new hairstyle. Cosmetic dentistry is used to straighten, lighten, reshape and repair teeth. Cosmetic treatments include fillings, tooth-coloured, implants, veneers, crowns, bridges, teeth whitening.
What is a veneer?
Veneers are thin slices of porcelain. These are made to fit over the visible surface of front teeth. Like a false fingernail that fits over a nail.
Why should l have a veneer?
Veneer is an ideal option for treating discoloured or unsightly teeth, closing gaps between front teeth, or repairing chips and cracks.
How are veneers made?
From the tooth, a small amount of enamel is removed, normally the same thickness as the veneer are. An impression taken by the dentist is sent to a dental laboratory for making the veneer. Then veneer is bonded to the tooth to form a strong and natural- looking repair.
Can l have white fillings?
For over 150 years silvery-grey material called ‘amalgam’ is used for filling. This is considered as one of the strongest and longest-lasting materials available for fillings. However, a lot of people find it unattractive and some are concerned about possible health risks. Today there is an alternative to the amalgam fillings known as white fillings. The new dental material is a perfect match for the shade of a tooth. In many cases, it is impossible to notice that the tooth has a filling. Sometimes white filling material is used to cover unsightly marks on teeth, similarly to veneers.
How is a crown made?
The usual procedure for fitting a crown includes shaping the tooth using local anesthesia and then a rubber-like material is used for taking an impression. This impression is sent to the dental laboratory along with the details of the shade to be used, and the technician makes the crown.
What happens to my teeth while the crown is being made?
Until your crown is being made, a temporary crown is used to protect the prepared tooth. This temporary crown can be easily removed just before fitting the permanent crown. In maximum cases, the temporary crown is placed for approximately two weeks.
What is a crown made of?
Variety of different materials like porcelain or porcelain bonded to gold are used to make a crown. New materials are continuously being introduced. It is best to talk to your dentist to know which crown will be best for you.
My tooth is badly broken- what can I do?
When a tooth is badly broken or damaged, the dentist may use ‘crown’ or ‘ cap’ on it to restore is appearance and strength.
How can my dentist fill a gap in my teeth?
In the event that a tooth is missing, or needs extraction, there are a few different ways to fill the gap that is left.
It is very important to replace any missing teeth to maintain the balance between your jaw bites.
If you have more than one missing tooth, that means remaining teeth are under a lot of pressure which can cause broken fillings or jaw problems.
A partial denture is the easiest way for the replacement of missing teeth.
In any case, a few people find partial dentures are not comfortable and in the end choose to consider other alternatives.
What is a bridge?
For people who are not comfortable with dentures or only have one or two teeth missing Bridges are ideal. Conventional bridges are made by drilling the teeth on both sides to the gap and attaching a false tooth in the middle. They are fixed similarly as crowns. These brides are usually made of precious metal bonded to porcelain.
What if I don’t want my remaining teeth to be drilled?
Adhesive bridges are another alternative to bridging a gap and the tooth that needs lesser removing. These bridges are made of a false tooth with metal ‘wings’ on both sides. These wings are made to bond with the teeth on both the side, with very little drilling required. Rather, the teeth are roughened then the bridge is fitted by using a very strong composite also known as resin.
Can implants be used to replace missing teeth?
Implant is the best alternative to denture or bridgework, but they are more costly. An implant is the titanium rod, which is surgically placed into the jawbone and act as an anchor for supporting dentures or crowns.
A complete denture or partial denture can be attached to the number of implants.
Can l lighten the colour of my teeth?
Tooth whitening is the most effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the teeth surfaces. It does not make a complete colour change, but it does lighten the existing shade of your teeth.
What does tooth whitening involve?
Most common form of tooth whitening is ‘professional bleaching’. With the use of a specially made tray which fits into your mouth like a gum-shield, your dentist will apply the whitening product to your teeth. The ‘active ingredient’ in the product is hydrogen peroxide or car amide peroxide. As the active ingredient it breaks down, oxygen reacts with enamel on the teeth and the teeth colour is made brighter.
Once your dentist starts the treatment you will be given the trays to take home and continue the treatment, or you may need further appointments at your dentist. This treatment is usually completed within 3 to 4 weeks. It depends on how long you keep the trays in your mouth each time, and how much whiter you want your teeth to be.
What other procedures are there?
There is now laser whitening or ‘ power whitening’ During this treatment a light or laser is shone on the teeth in order to activate the chemical. The light speeds up the chemical reaction of the whitening product and helps achieve the shade more quickly. Laser teeth whitening can make teeth up to five or six shades brighter. This procedure normally takes an hour.
What is an incorrect bite?
Incorrect bite occurs when the teeth in the jaw are not properly fitted or teeth are misaligned with the rest of the face or when you have unreplaced missing teeth.
What can happen if it is not treated?
Face can ‘ collapse’ if an incorrect bite is not treated. This can be a reason for the face to sag. The chin to stick out and the smile is drooped. It can even lead to headaches, neck pain and other pains in the body.
How can it be treated?
There are many treatments, including crowns, bonding, and braces (orthodontics). Ask your dentist which treatment is best for you. Ask an estimated cost of treatment and a written treatment plan before you start the treatment.
Can my crooked or twisted teeth be straightened?
Teeth can be straightened with braces (orthodontics). This is normally done during the teenage years. When the teeth are in the period of growth. However, many adults also take the treatment to straighten their crooked and misaligned teeth or to improve the appearance of their teeth. The procedure takes a lot of time in adults and is, therefore, it is more costly.
For cosmetic reasons, clear or plastic braces are also used. Which are nearly impossible to notice. In case you are thinking for orthodontic treatment, first go to your dentist and get his advice Your dentist can discuss your treatment option and if necessary he can also refer you to the best orthodontist.
Are there any alternatives to orthodontics?
Cosmetic contouring is used to improve the appearance of teeth. It is ideal if you have irregular-shaped or crooked/crowded teeth.
However, in contouring, a minimum amount of enamel is deprived. It ends up enhancing the shape and appearance of your gums. These treatments are not recommended for young children.
What is tooth jewelry?
Tooth jewellery includes sticking small jewels onto the teeth using dental cement. It should be strictly done by a dentist so that if needed they can remove it easily. Another caution is that it should be kept clean since there is a higher chance of plaque development which leads to cavities.
Dr Fatima Zuhara Shaikh is a bachelor of dental surgery. She has graduated from TPCT’s Terna Dental College,Navi Mumbai. She is well versed with general dentistry. She has special interest in Endodontic procedures. She is currently practising in Colaba.