Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures for a Smile Makeover
Root canals, tooth extractions, and other procedures for improving a person's oral well-being are what usually come to mind when dentistry is mentioned. Although oral health is a priority in dentistry, aesthetics is also important, which is the reason many people go in for cosmetic dentistry procedures. Among the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures are teeth whitening, bonding, veneers, fillings, and crowns. These procedures are done not just for aesthetic purposes but also for the restoration of damaged teeth.
Teeth Whitening and Bleaching
Teeth whitening and bleaching are two different procedures that give slightly different results. Both cosmetic dentistry procedures are used mainly for aesthetic reasons. There is no health advantage to having whiter teeth, but a set of white teeth can help boost a person's confidence.
Teeth whitening may involve the application of a whitening gel and the use of a special laser (in-office teeth whitening) or wearing whitening strips for a few hours (at-home teeth whitening). Bleaching, on the other hand, involves the application of hydrogen peroxide to whiten the teeth. With bleaching, the teeth tend to look too white to be natural, but it is the method preferred by people with very yellow or stained teeth.
A few years ago, if you wanted to have your teeth whitened, you had no other option but to go to a dentist to have the procedure done. Today, however, there are alternatives, such as using a do-it-yourself teeth whitening kit that you can buy in most pharmacies.
This versatile cosmetic dentistry procedure can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Whether you want to remove a wide gap between your teeth, reconstruct a tooth that was chipped during a hockey game, or just fill in cracks that have somehow appeared on your teeth, dental bonding can provide a solution for you. In fact, almost all aspects of cosmetic dentistry involve some kind of bonding procedure.
Just as the name suggests, a veneer is a thin layer applied onto the surface of a tooth to conceal imperfections such as cracks and stains. Veneers are usually made from a strong porcelain material that has the same color as the patient's tooth. When veneers are applied, the tooth will look flawless and completely natural at the same time.
Fillings are used to even out the surface of damaged teeth. These damages usually result from cavities and tooth decay, which in turn result in a person's failure to observe proper dental hygiene. Most dentists recommend dental fillings instead of extraction to save the teeth. However, if the teeth are damaged well beyond repair, they will have to be taken out.
The application of dental crowns is pretty much like the application of dental fillings. In fact, many people use these two terms interchangeably. Before putting in a dental crown, the decayed tooth has to be cleaned out thoroughly to eliminate all risks of infection.
All these cosmetic dentistry procedures are very effective in improving the smile of any person. Although these treatments are done in separate procedures, most patients prefer to have a combination of cosmetic dentistry procedures done in a single session.
Brush Your Teeth the Right Way
Remember those demonstrations in health class where the instructor would stroke away oh-so-gently at an oversized pair of false teeth with a toothbrush made for the Jolly Green Giant? The right way to brush, she insisted, was up and down. Specifically, on the lower-jaw teeth we were to brush up and vice versa for the top teeth. We were assured that this north-south technique would dislodge food particles caught between teeth as well as keep them from being jammed up (or down) into the gum line. If you are like most people, though, you never quite trusted that you could do a thorough job without throwing in some vigorous side-to-side motion.
Well, the curious news is your health teacher was mostly right: brushing too hard or side to side can cause damage, especially to the dentine – that hard, calcareous tissue that forms the major portion of a tooth, surrounds the pulp cavity, and is situated beneath the enamel and cementum. These days, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing up and down for the front and back of the teeth (just like your instructor said) and then brushing in circular motion to clean all the teeth surfaces. To get a clean, clean mouth, though, brushing shouldn’t be restricted to teeth and gums. The ADA advises that the cheeks and tongue should be brushed as well to capture, eviscerate, and expel harmful bacteria from the mouth that can lead to bad breath and even gum disease. It turns out that how we brush does matter a lot!
How to Choose the Right Dentist
23% of adults and 16% of children in the US have untreated dental caries, and less than 2/3 have visited a dentist in the past 12 months. Neglecting oral health can cause pain, infections and tooth loss, and eventually require much more drastic treatment than if regular check-ups are carried out.
Because of this, choosing the right dentist is a serious matter, and there are many different factors to take into account. Whether you are terrified or tolerant, few people enjoy their dental visits, but they are undeniably necessary for good dental health.
The first thing is to ensure that the dentist you are considering is properly trained. A fully qualified dentist will have either D.D.S. or D.M.D. after their name. The former indicates that they hold a Doctorate of Dental Surgery, and the latter a Doctorate of Dental Medicine. They then undertake further study to specialize in a particular area, such as pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, or oral and maxillofacial surgery.
It is important that you feel comfortable with the dentist you choose. Their job is to help you to manage your oral and dental health, and a trusting and respectful relationship is vital. If they make you feel uncomfortable or rushed, or you lack confidence in their abilities, the relationship will always be strained.
A dentist whose style of working matches your needs is essential. Some people prefer someone who works quickly and without fuss, while others like a dentist to take their time and explain everything they are doing. Interviewing a dentist before you register with them, or asking their reception staff about their approach, can make the difference between finding someone who works in a way that lets you relax, and someone who, while being perfectly capable, has an ethos which grates on you.
Different dentists offer different services. Some specialize in cosmetic dentistry, while others focus more on preventative and routine work. Considering the services you expect to be using in the medium- to long-term will go a long way to ensure that the dentist you choose is a good match.
Ask for recommendations from friends and family. Do they rate their dentist? If you are looking for a specialist, who does your routine dentist advise you see? While choosing a dentist is a personal decision, advice from people you trust can be invaluable.
There are also practical considerations. How far away is the dentist's office? Is it easy to get an appointment? Are the staff friendly and helpful? How does the dentist handle emergency care? Your own priorities will vary, but you do need to find out their arrangements for dealing with emergencies early on. Being awake at 4am with agonizing toothache is the worst time to find out that they do not prioritize emergency dental care, or have any arrangements in place for out-of-hours treatment.
Look at their advertising and consider its focus. Are their aims similar to yours? Do they appear to care about helping you and your family to employ good preventative dental hygiene, or do they predominantly promote expensive, one-off procedures and ignore day-to-day care?
Online reviews of healthcare services are becoming ever more popular as hospitals, doctors and dentists are subject to unmoderated, anonymous praise and criticism on websites. The anonymity offered by these sites can mean that patients are able to feel free to be honest about the treatment and care they receive, without fear of repercussions. However, it is also ripe for abuse, risking malicious, untrue comments from disgruntled patients or even rivals. While online review sites can provide valuable information, excessive praise or criticism should be taken with a pinch of salt.
No matter how much preparation you carry out, sometimes the dental practice that looked perfect on paper disappoints in reality. If the quality of care is not what you hoped for, or the work seems low quality or does not last, do not hesitate to start the process again. Use the research you have already undertaken to look again at your shortlist and try someone different.
The two most important aspects of choosing the right dentist are research, and instinct. Find out what others say about the dentist you are considering, and check their website and promotional material. Similarly, ask yourself whether you feel comfortable with what you have learned, and how you have been treated. The decision about whose services you employ is down to you, and it is crucial to make the right choice.
Help Your Dentist to Help You
You may not need to visit your dentist often. If you are lucky, you will only need routine check-ups and, now and again, a quick scale-and-polish.
Some people seem to inherit perfect teeth that need very little in the way of treatment, while others find themselves in the dentist’s chair more often than they would like. There are many ways in which you can maintain your teeth so that the time and money you spend at the dental surgery is kept to a minimum. Your dentist will help you to look after your teeth, but there is a lot you can do, too.
Make sure you clean your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and again before you go to bed. Brushing your teeth gives them more than a nice taste; it helps to reduce the tartar that causes plaque and removes bacteria-causing food particles from along the gum line, the surfaces of the teeth, and the spaces between them, so reducing the risk of gingivitis (gum disease). Many toothbrushes today have a tongue cleaner incorporated into the design; using this every time you brush your teeth will keep the tongue clean and healthy.
Flossing is another essential part of your daily teeth-cleaning regime, although only if it is carried out correctly. Many people find it difficult to floss efficiently; in this case, you will find other tools and materials available to make the job easier but just as effective.Interdental brushes, that look like mini bottle-brushes and are available in various sizes, are on sale wherever you find teeth-cleaning products. Another item to try is dental tape. It is slightly wider and bulkier than floss, and a lot easier to manipulate.
A mouthwash is a great idea but only if the one you choose contains the right ingredients. Buy one that contains chlorohexidene and you will have chosen the best one to help with all dental conditions including gum disease.Bear in mind that chlorohexidene temporarily stains the teeth, but the staining is removed with brushing.
Keep an eye on the amount of sugary drinks and snacks you take. Sugar is the number one cause of tooth decay andis found, either naturally or as an additive, in many of the foods we eat today.
Make and keep regular appointments with your dentist. You may feel it is a waste of time if you never need treatment, but part of the dentist’s job is to make sure that you are cleaning your teeth properly. He will also advise on the tools and techniques to use and, just as important, your diet. Another vital aspect of the dentist’s work is to check for signs of disease, including oral cancers. If he suspects anything, he will be able to refer you to the correct specialist for further investigation.
If you decide you would like to have your teeth whitened, always seek your dentist’s advice before buying an over-the-counter product to use at home.Using an inferior product may cause long term damage to the teeth. Some whitening products that are available in supermarkets and pharmacies can actually increase the sensitivity of teeth and should be avoided. Your teeth may not even be suitable for such a procedure, and your dentist is the best person to advise.
Your dentist will arrange for you to have dental check-ups every six months. If your teeth are very good, he may suggest yearly visits instead, but leave it to him to decide how often you need to see him.He is the expert so respect his advice and guidance.
By following the advice and tips in this article, you will be doing all you can to ensure that your teeth last for as long as possible, even for the rest of your life.