Teeth whitening (Or Bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to whiten the colour of the natural tooth enamel in order to achieve a brighter, beautiful smile! Having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients.
Reasons for teeth whitening:
- Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development).
-Stained teeth due to medications e.g tetracycline or illness.
-Yellow or brown stained teeth from some food like coffee, tea, herbs.
–Teeth discolouration from aging.
-Dying or dead tooth from trauma.
There are two major professional teeth whitening system:
Home teeth whitening systems: At-home products usually come in a gel form that is placed in a custom-fitted tray, created from a mold of your teeth. The trays are worn either twice a day for approximately 30 minutes per session, or overnight while you sleep. It usually takes several weeks to achieve the desired result depending on the degree of staining and the desired level of whitening.
In office teeth whitening: This treatment is done in the dental office and you will see results immediately. It may require more than one visit, with each lasting 30 to 60 minutes. While your gums are protected, a bleaching solution is applied to the teeth. A special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent in achieving the teeth whitening.
Some patients may experience teeth sensitivity after having their teeth whitened. This sensation is temporary and subsides shortly after you complete the bleaching process, usually within a few days to one week.
Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to consider replacing old restorations, crowns, veneers after the bleaching process to match the newly bleached teeth. Tooth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up may be needed every several years, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, herbs or wine.
Veneer is a layer of material placed over a tooth, either to improve the aesthetics of a tooth or to protect the tooth’s surface from damage. There are two main types of material used to fabricate a veneer: Composite and Porcelain veneers. A composite veneer may be directly placed (built-up in the mouth), or indirectly fabricated in a dental lab and later bonded to the tooth. In contrast, a Porcelain veneer may only be indirectly fabricated. They are bonded unto the front of teeth to create a beautiful and attractive smile. Veneers are very durable and will last many years. They can often be alternatives to crowns and the ideal treatment option for many dental conditions.
Reasons for Veneers:
–Worn or chipped teeth.
–Severely discolored or stained teeth.
–Teeth too small or large.
–Unwanted or uneven spaces.
–Cosmetically, to create a uniform, white and beautiful smile.
–Crooked or wrongly positioned teeth.
–Badly shaped teeth.
As with most dental restorations, veneers are not permanent and may someday need replacement. But proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new veneers.
Dentures and flexible dentures
What are dentures?
A denture is a removable prosthesis used to replace missing teeth. Commonly referred to as ‘false teeth’, a denture is usually made of acrylic or in combination with metal. A partial denture is fitted to replace some missing teeth whilst a complete denture is indicated when all natural teeth are missing. A good set of dentures helps you to eat, speak, function and often improves a person’s appearance. Depending on the complexity of each case, the duration of this treatment will vary. After the initial visit of examination and diagnosis, the subsequent visits will include; taking impressions of the mouth, bite registration, try-in of the denture, fitting and review.
What to expect?
New dentures always feel strange when first placed in your mouth. Several days or weeks will be required before you get accustomed to them. Adaptation varies with different persons, so experience is very essential before dentures can be worn comfortably and function effectively.
Useful suggestions to help you adapt to the new dentures
Eating: This will take a little practice. Start with soft foods, and foods cut into pieces will help. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent dentures from tipping. Once you become accustomed to chewing, include other harder foods until you return to normal diet.
Increased salivary flow: You may experience an increase in salivary flow when the dentures are first inserted. This is a natural response of the salivary glands that will return to normal after a few weeks. You can improve the situation by swallowing more often.
Speech: New dentures may alter your speech initially. Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating troublesome words will speed up the adaptation process. This problem rarely persists beyond two weeks.
Sore spots: Minor irritation caused by surface irregularities or pressure spots on the denture-bearing areas are quite common. Your dentist will relieve the discomfort by adjusting the denture surface. Stop wearing the denture if the irritation is very painful. Consult your dentist immediately.
A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface, restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens a tooth that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restoration. Though crowns are inarguably beneficial to dental health, the procedure and materials can be relatively expensive.
Reason for crowns:
To cover large fillings
–Broken or fractured teeth.
–For cosmetic enhancement, to cover a discoloured or poorly shaped tooth.
–To cover a dental implant.
–To protect a weak tooth from fracturing.
–Tooth that has undergone root canal therapy.
A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth that are cemented into place using the teeth on either side for support, hence the name. This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. A bridge replaces the missing tooth both functionally and cosmetically. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material made to match your natural tooth colour. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or aesthetics.
The ‘’traditional bridge’’ is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. This type of bridge consists of two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to artificial teeth (pontics), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
Reason for bridge:
–Fill the space created by missing teeth.
–Maintain facial shape.
--Prevent teeth from drifting out of position.
--Restore chewing and speech functions.
--Restore your Smile.
–Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated, the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward. Since teeth use their neighbor for support, if one is missing, they begin to ‘fall’ and shift into the open spaces. This may worsen the bite due to changes in pressure and can eventually result in problems with the jaw such as temporomandibular joint disorder.
Getting a bridge usually requires two visits. They are made by first preparing the teeth for the crown (abutment teeth) after which an impression of the prepared teeth is taken. The impression is sent to the dental laboratory where the bridge will be custom made to fit your mouth and match your natural tooth colour. A temporary bridge will be placed into your mouth until the permanent bridge is ready. When ready, the permanent bridge on the second visit will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit. Occasionally, the bridge may be temporary cemented, allowing your teeth and tissue time to get used to the new bridge before it will be permanently cemented on a later date.
Bridges are very durable and can last a lifetime by practicing good oral hygiene.