Archive for June 24, 2015
It is an unfortunate reality that people are judged by how they look. Though everyone is intellectually aware that it is impossible to glean insight into one’s health by assessing his or her physical appearance, it is all but impossible to prevent those assessments from occurring. People go to great lengths to alter their looks so they can be perceived as younger, fitter and more aspirational overall. Teeth play a major role in how young and healthy an individual looks. Teeth naturally grow yellow and brittle with age, and tooth damage is a somewhat accurate reflection of physical health. Anyone who is interested in looking dramatically younger should seek out a cosmetic dentist and explore his or her options for attaining a whiter, healthier smile.
The least invasive cosmetic procedure is basic whitening. Most people are familiar with at-home whitening methods involving toothpastes, strips or gels. It can take several months for the results to become apparent, and stubborn stains and discoloration may never budge at all. These products are good for mild brightening, but they contain harsh bleaching agents that can make the teeth sensitive. They can also erode enamel over time, permanently weakening the teeth and making them susceptible to future damage and intense staining.
Professional whitening involves lasers and is completed in one short treatment. The lasers penetrate far more deeply than topical treatments are able to. They treat the deepest layers of enamel for a uniformly white glow, and the procedure is completed before any damage can occur. Patients are often sent home with lightening gel to help them maintain their results in between treatments. It is recommended that people schedule professional whitening appointments on a regular schedule of once or twice a year. This enables the dentist to use a lighter hand with the laser because there is not enough time between treatments for new stains to fully set into the teeth.
If the structure of the teeth have been damaged, the patient may want to consider veneers. Veneers sit on top of the surface of the teeth, providing a new, fresh finish. Getting veneers is a great way to prevent further damage, since any weak spots are protected. It is sometimes better to opt for veneers instead of trying to whiten teeth that are already weak.
Crowns are the most extreme type of cosmetic dentistry and should only be considered if the patient’s real teeth are deemed to be beyond repair. Crowns can only be placed into the mouth after the real teeth have been filed down to points, so the procedure can never be undone. Many famous actors have gotten crowns to get straighter teeth very quickly, but this is not a good reason to get dental implants. Crowns are not meant to be orthodontic solutions. Traditional braces are still the best tool for straightening the teeth.
Maintaining a clean, strong smile is a key component of general health. The judicious use of cosmetic procedures in conjunction with good hygiene will keep the teeth looking young and vibrant.
Dental checkups help patients avoid common problems such as dental caries and periodontal disease, but what happens when our smile is no longer as bright, straight, or aesthetically pleasing as we would like it to be? For these patients, it may be time to consider the many benefits of an experienced cosmetic dentist. Here is a look at some of the most common aesthetic issues that patients deal with and what their treatment options are for each.
Dingy and Discolored Teeth
Daily oral hygiene habits including brushing and flossing will help delay discoloration, but it is often an uphill battle. Luckily, professional teeth whitening services are more effective than ever and will often leave patients with a smile that is multiple shades brighter in just a single appointment. Unlike home whitening kits that are uncomfortable and can even damage the outer enamel of the teeth, professional whitening is both safe and effective with comfortable mouth guards, peroxide-based whiteners, and a UV light to activate the mixture.
Missing One or More Teeth
Tooth loss is an aesthetic issues, but it will also affect how a patient speaks and eats. Removable dentures are a good option in some situations, but those that want a permanent fix should consider dental implants. Implants are comprised of two parts including a titanium rod and a crown. The rod is anchored into the jaw where it will form a powerful bond in a process known as osseointegration. Once it has healed, the crown is attached to the rod to restore the form and function of the patient’s smile. The crowns can often last for 15 years or longer while the rod will last a lifetime when cared for properly.
Cracks and Chipping
Teeth will crack or chip for a wide variety of reasons over the years. This is another problem that is not only aesthetic in nature, but it could also lead to some serious medical issues when left untreated. Depending on the severity of the cracks and chips, there are a wide variety of treatments that can be used to preserve the health of the tooth and renovate its appearance. Some patients may benefit from options such as porcelain veneers that will allow them to recreate their smile completely. These custom-made strips of porcelain are exceptionally durable and will last for upwards of 15 years.
Tooth decay takes place when bacteria in a patient’s mouth begins to attack the outer layers of the teeth. Also referred to as dental caries or cavities, this is one of the most common oral health problems in the world. For many years, metal fillings were one of the only options for minor tooth decay, but many patients want to avoid the appearance of these fillings. As an alternative, “invisible” fillings can be used to restore the structure of the tooth with a resin that perfectly matches the natural color of the tooth.