Looking presentable has now become a requirement more than a luxury. Your dentist helps you to achieve good aesthetics and improve your appearance, it is called as cosmetic dentistry. They do this in the same way, a surgeon does a cosmetic surgery or a hairstylist does your hair. The treatments can be used to straighten, lighten, reshape and repair teeth. Cosmetic treatments include veneers, crowns, bridges, tooth-coloured fillings, implants and tooth whitening.
Veneers are thin slices of porcelain. These are made to fit precisely over the visible surface of your front teeth, so that they can cover the discoloured or unsightly teeth, close gaps between front teeth, or to repair chips and cracks. The look of a veneer is almost like a false fingernail fitting over a nail. A veneer is made by removing a small amount of enamel from the tooth, usually the same thickness as the veneer will be. The dentist then takes an impression and send it to a dental technician, who makes the veneer in a laboratory. The veneer is then bonded to the tooth to form a strong and natural-looking repair.
A veneer is simply a thin slice which only covers the part of your tooth which is visible in the oral cavity. A crown on the other hand, covers the entire tooth structure. When a tooth is badly broken or heavily filled, the dentist may need to crown or ‘cap' it to restore its appearance and strength. Crowns can be made from a variety of different materials, such as porcelain or porcelain bonded to gold. New materials are continually being introduced. It is a good idea to talk to your dentist about which crown would be best for you.
Bridges are ideal for people who don't like removable dentures and only have a few teeth missing. Bridges are usually made by taking support from the adjacent healthy teeth, putting a crown on the teeth on either side of the gap and attaching a false tooth in the middle. The bridge can't be removed. These bridges are usually made of precious metal bonded to porcelain. Porcelain is preferred as it gives good aesthetics.
Many times, gaps may develop between two teeth, either as a consequence of large skeleton to tooth size or even due to trauma from constant incorrect bite. This gap between teeth, especially in the front area can be corrected with various techniques. However, the exact cause of this gap is first determine by the dentist to avid the recurrence in future.
Yes. Tooth whitening is a good option of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surfaces. It cannot make a complete colour change, but it should lighten the existing shade. Tooth whitening can be done both at your dentist and at home. A specially made tray, which fits into your mouth like a mouth guard, is used to deliver the tooth whitening agent. As the active ingredient is broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel on the teeth and the tooth colour is made lighter.
Recently, laser whitening or ‘power whitening' has been introduced. During this treatment a light or laser is exposed on the teeth to activate the chemical. This light speeds up the chemical reaction of the whitening product and the shade change can be achieved more quickly. Laser whitening can make teeth up to five or six shades lighter. This treatment usually takes about one hour and you must be seen by a qualified dentist before starting treatment. It is important to remember that in all tooth whitening procedures, only natural teeth will be whitened, and that any crowns, bridges or dentures you have will stay the same shade.
Teeth can be straightened with orthodontics (braces). This is usually done during the teenage years, when the jaws are going through a period of growth as the ability of the teeth and jaws to more and adapt is better in a younger age. However, many adults also have treatment to straighten their crooked teeth or to improve their appearance. The treatment can take much longer in adults and is therefore more expensive. As metal braces can be an embarrassment in some situations, many people now opt for less visible braces. These include porcelain brackets, which less obvious as compared to the metal brackets. There are also now ‘invisible' braces. Your dentist will provide you with a series of clear plastic shields (like a mouth guard) which need to be worn all day to gradually move your teeth into a new position. But the decision regarding the type of treatment best suited for your condition is best done by your dentist.
Cosmetic contouring can be used to improve the appearance of teeth. It is ideal if you have irregular-shaped or slightly crowded teeth. However, in contouring the teeth, a small amount of enamel would be lost during the shaping of the tooth. Contouring can also be used to improve the shape and appearance of your gums. However, these treatments are not recommended for young children.
An incorrect bite is when the teeth do not meet together properly or are not in balance with the rest of the face, or if teeth are lost and not replaced. This can cause the face to sag, the chin to stick out or the smile to droop. This can cause issues not only with your looks, but also alter the facial balance, leading to alterations in the muscles of the face and TM joint which can cause pain, fatigue etc.,
There are a number of treatments, but most often, orthodontic corrections can be done or replacement of the missing teeth must be given. These can be done based on your aesthetic needs. Kindly read the sections on orthodontics/braces for further details.
Tooth jewellery is placement of small jewels onto the teeth using dental cement. They should be fitted by a dentist, who can easily remove them if necessary. It is important to keep the area around the jewel clean, as plaque can easily build up around it and you will be more likely to get tooth decay.
Last updated on 02 December, 2018.