Dental sealants are very thing coatings used to fill in deep grooves and pits in teeth that can harbor bacteria. Sealants are applied to healthy chewing surfaces of the teeth to prevent decay and cavities – especially among children. According to the Centers for Disease Control, tooth decay affects more than half of children ages 6 – 8, and even more older children and teens. By applying sealants, families can prevent decay and the save on the costs associated with filling cavities. If you plan to get dental sealants in Patchogue, the CDC recommends doing so shortly after the molars have erupted from the gums – usually beginning around age 6.
Did you know…
Dental sealants can last up to 10 years in the average patient.
Many Patchogue parents choose sealants for their kids because it is more affordable and less invasive to prevent cavities than it is to treat irreversible dental decay.
Sealants are white or clear in color, making them virtually invisible when talking, smiling or eating.
Dental sealants cover approximately 90 percent of the tooth structure and are 100 percent effective when fully preserved on the teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if Patchogue dental sealants are right for my child?
Sealants may be right for your child if he or she has molar teeth that are healthy and free of decay. Schedule a dental consultation for a complete examination to determine if dental sealants could be a preventative health solution for your children.
What should I expect when my child gets dental sealants?
Your child will not experience any pain when sealants are placed. There is no drilling, and the entire tooth is left intact for the procedure. The tooth will be thoroughly cleaned and treated with a special gel before the sealant is painted on and cured. Although your child may at first feel the sealants on his or her teeth, the sealants are very thin and easy to adapt to.
Are there any special care instructions to follow after the sealants are placed?
Normal eating habits can be resumed after dental sealants are applied, although the sealants should be checked at every dental appointment for deterioration. Sealants that are damaged or missing can be replaced.
TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, which is the bone structure, muscles and connective tissues that surround the jaw and control chewing. When patients experience disorders of this joint, they are said to have a temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. Symptoms of TMD include pain and tenderness near the jaw, as well as popping or clicking in the joint when speaking or chewing. There are many ways of treating TMJ disorders in Patchogue, ranging from non-invasive therapy and bite splints to injections or surgery. Left untreated, however, TMJ disorders can lead to headaches, muscle pain, malocclusion and tooth damage from grinding or clenching.
Did you know…
that TMD alone is not a disorder, but instead a collection of disorders that affect the temporomandibular joint? It is the second most common pain-causing musculoskeletal condition in the U.S. according to the U.S. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, as many as 12 percent of Americans may suffer from some type of TMD, with women twice as likely to be affected than men. But despite the prevalence and wide availability of treatment, only one out every three people with TMD fails to seek treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if Patchogue TMJ treatment is right for me?
You will first need to be formally examined and diagnosed with TMJ disorder. You Patchogue dentist will evaluate the extent of the condition and determine what course of treatment is best for you. Usually, the initial approach involves conservative treatments, such as self-care, physical therapy and bite guards. Medications may also be used to relax the jaw or relieve pain. Patients who do not respond to conservative treatments may be considered for surgery or joint injections.
What should I expect if I undergo treatment for TMJ
Patchogue TMJ treatment varies from patient to patient, so your experience may be very different than someone else’s. You’ll probably be asked to adopt certain lifestyle changes to help facilitate rehabilitation in your jaw. For example, you may be asked to avoid sudden jaw movements, such as yelling or yawning. You may also need to begin sleeping on your back and take steps to reduce your stress levels.
Will I need to follow any special post-care instructions while being treated for TMJ?
Your post-treatment care instructions will vary according to the type of treatment you receive. If you undergo an aggressive treatment, such as surgery, you may be temporarily subject to an all-liquid diet. You’ll also need to apply ice to the face to minimize swelling and also keep the surgical site clean and dry.
Inlays and onlays are dental restorations that are more extensive than dental fillings but less so than caps and crowns. They are typically formed in a dental lab and are made of gold, porcelain or resin depending on the patient’s needs and aesthetic goals. An inlay refers to a restoration that is formed to fit the center of a tooth, whereas an onlay refers to a restoration that encompasses at least one cusp of the tooth. Both inlays and onlays are bonded to the surface of damaged teeth and matched to the color of the surrounding teeth.
Did you know…
that Patchogue inlays and onlays can serve as alternative treatments to dental crowns when you have a broken or damaged tooth? When fillings are not enough to adequately repair a tooth, an inlay or onlay can be custom-created to fit securely onto the tooth’s surface. Depending on the materials used, the restoration can be created to appear natural and will have the same function of an organic tooth. Inlays and onlays have extremely high success rates and because they are custom made for each patient, most last longer than traditional fillings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a candidate for an inlay or onlay?
You could be a candidate for an inlay or onlay in Patchogue if you have moderate tooth damage or decay and are in search of an alternative restoration option to a crown or cap. Schedule a dental consultation for a complete examination and to find out if an inlay or onlay is right for you.
What should I expect when I get my Patchogue inlay or onlay restoration?
Your inlay or onlay restoration will be completed over multiple dental treatments. First, your tooth will be prepared for treatment, and an impression will be taken to serve as a mold for your new restoration. You may be fitted with a temporary restoration while your permanent inlay or onlay is fabricated. Once completed, you will return to have the temporary restoration removed and the permanent one bonded to the surface of the teeth.
Do I need to follow any post-treatment care guidelines?
Special care needs to be given to your teeth while temporary restorations are in place. It is important to avoid sticky or hard foods that could cause significant damage to temporaries. Once you receive your permanent inlay or onlay, you can resume normal eating, brushing and flossing habits.
Root canals are valuable dental procedures used to treat and preserve teeth with badly infected roots. The pulp is the live portion of the tooth that extends into the root and contains nerve endings and tissues. When it becomes infected, patients can experience pain, swelling and even total tooth loss unless treated. Root canals remove the damaged parts of the tooth and infected root. In some cases, an antibiotic is prescribed to help prevent further infection within the tooth. The organic portion of the tooth that remains may be restored using a cap or crown that provides a natural appearance and normal tooth function.
Many patients associate root canals with pain and discomfort.
But local anesthetics and advancements in modern dentistry have made root canals highly tolerable procedures that are often no less comfortable than getting a standard filling. Upon completion, a restored tooth that has undergone a root canal will blend in with surrounding teeth – virtually undetectable to the average eye. More than 9 out of 10 Patchogue root canal procedures are successful, and most treatments last many years or even a lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a candidate for a Patchogue root canal?
You could be a candidate for a root canal if decay or damage has allowed bacteria to infect the pulp inside your tooth. A root canal could also be the right treatment for you if you prefer to preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible instead of extracting both the healthy and diseased portions of your tooth. For more information about Patchogue root canals and whether they are right for you, schedule a dental exam and consultation at your earliest convenience.
What should I expect during my root canal treatment?
If you decide to undergo a root canal, the first step in your procedure will involve a local anesthetic. Once your tooth root is numb, the diseased portion of your tooth pulp will be removed and potentially treated for bacterial infection. The tooth will then be sealed and filled before being restored with a crown.
What type of post-treatment care is required after a root canal?
It is normal for teeth to become inflamed after a root canal, potentially causing sensitivity for the first several days following treatment. However, normal brushing and flossing habits can be resumed immediately after treatment and restoration is complete.
Dental implants are surgical-grade root devices that support permanent tooth prosthetics that are manufactured to last a lifetime. These artificial roots are anchored in the bone beneath the gums where they become fused into the jaw. A crown is mounted atop the implant for a long-lasting and natural looking smile. Many dentists and patients prefer dental implants because they offer the same function as natural teeth and also help prevent bone atrophy in the jaw. Dental implants may be used to replace a single missing or damaged tooth or to restore an entire smile.
Did you know…
that approximately 30 million people live with no natural teeth in one or both jaws? But more and more dental patients are opting for dental implants as a means of tooth replacement. The American Academy of Implant Dentistry reports that 3 million people currently have dental implants – a number that is rapidly growing by about 500,000 per year. Modern titanium implants were first developed in the 1950’s, but archeologists have determined that ancient Egyptians and Mayans were the first cultures to implant artificial teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are dental implants right for me?
You may qualify for dental implants if you have missing, broken or severely decayed teeth and are in relatively good overall health. The only way of determining your eligibility for implants is to consult with an oral care provider to identify whether you have adequate bone support and healthy gums that will support the new tooth structure.
What should I expect if my dentist and I decide dental implants are right for me?
The placement of dental implants is a multi-step process that typically takes between 6 and 9 months to complete. It begins with a surgical procedure during which a titanium rod is placed where a previous natural tooth root once was. The gums are sutured shut over the implant, where is will stay for several months while it heals and begins fusing with the surrounding bone. Due to the nature of implant placement and its average procedure time of between 1 and 2 hours, you’ll be sedated and/or anesthetized for the duration of the treatment. At the conclusion of the healing period, you’ll return to be fitted for permanent crowns and have them placed.
What type of post-treatment care will I require?
It is normal to experience some discomfort, including bruising and swelling following a dental implant procedure. However, inflammation and pain may be managed with over-the-counter medications, hydrocodone, or codeine. You may be asked to eat only soft foods for approximately 2 weeks until the surgical site heals.
Dental crowns and bridges are custom-fitted tooth prosthetics that are used to replace or restore damaged or missing teeth. Crowns – also known as caps – are fixed over the surfaces of natural tooth structures or dental implants. Bridges are used to fill in the gaps left by missing teeth and are anchored in place by the natural teeth or crowns nearest the empty space. Both crowns and bridges are non-removable and must be cemented in place by a licensed dentist. Patients who get crown or bridges to restore their smiles achieve both the function and appearance of natural, healthy teeth.
Did you know…
that the Etruscan civilization were the first to use crowns as a means of restoring damaged teeth? In fact, the materials they used – ivory, gold, and bones – were still the standard in dentistry as recently as the 20th century, when porcelain crowns were first invented. Today, crowns and bridges are customized specifically for the patient’s bite and can usually be placed in as little as one or two dental visits. With proper cleaning and regular dental check-ups, crowns and bridges can last many years, or even a lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a crown or bridge right for me?
If you have a tooth that is damaged or decayed, but still intact, a dental crown may be right for you. If your tooth is missing, but its former position is surrounded by other tooth structures, a bridge may be the solution for you. Schedule an office consultation to determine whether you could benefit from crowns or bridges.
What should I expect when I have my crown or bridge placed?
If you are a candidate for a crown or bridge, your teeth will be reduced to ensure a proper fit. An impression will then be taken of your bite and used to fabricate a mold for the crown or bridge. If you are choosing porcelain prosthesis, its color will be matched to the natural shade of your other teeth. If a dental lab is making your crown or bridge, you may be fitted with a temporary restoration until the permanent one is ready for placement.
Do I need to follow any post-treatment care guidelines?
Your teeth will need time to heal following the crown and bridge placement process, so it is normal for you to experience some sensitivity – especially to hot and cold. Additionally, you may experience soreness in the gums surrounding your restorations, though this is usually manageable with ibuprofen and should subside within a few days.
Teeth whitening procedures are used to brighten the appearance of a patient’s smile – sometimes by as many as 5 to 10 shades in a single session. According to the American Dental Association, teeth whitening procedures have become some of the most popular esthetic dental treatments among patients throughout the country, including Patchogue. Professional teeth whitening services can be performed in an office setting or prescribed for take-home use by a patient. In comparison to over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments, professional whitening uses stronger whitening agents that deliver faster and more effective results.
Before and After
Did you know…
that the teeth naturally darken as we age? Furthermore, certain foods, beverages, medications and habits can contribute to a darker, yellowed, or stained smile. However, it is possible to erase years of stains in a single professional whitening session and sustain those results for many years with proper maintenance. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, professional whitening is best maintained by a combination of good oral care and take-home whitening treatments as recommended by your dentist.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a Candidate for Teeth Whitening?
You may be a candidate for professional teeth whitening if you are experiencing discoloration, but otherwise have healthy teeth and healthy gums. Schedule a consultation with a Patchogue dentist to find out if tooth whitening could be right for you. Some patients, such as those who are pregnant or sensitive to whitening agents, may not be candidates for professional whitening.
What Should I Expect When I Get My Teeth Whitened?
Patchogue teeth whitening consists of a thorough cleaning and polishing of the teeth, with all debris carefully removed. Your dentist will then protect your gums before applying a whitening agent to the surface of your teeth. The product will be activated and left on the teeth for several minutes before being washed off with water. Your results will vary according to the natural shade of your teeth and degree of discoloration, but it is normal for patients to experience a lightening of several shades in a single visit.
What Type of Post-Treatment Care is Required After Having My Teeth Whitened?
It is normal to experience some tooth sensitivity following a professional whitening treatment. You may be instructed to avoid consuming highly pigmented beverages for at least 24 hours to prevent the teeth from becoming stained again. Examples include tea, coffee and wine. Depending on your results and long-term teeth whitening goals, you may also be sent home from your procedure with an at-home whitening kit for later use.
Dental veneers – also known as laminates – are used to cosmetically enhance the appearance of one or more teeth. Veneers are very thin, porcelain or resin shells that are customized for a desirable color and shape. They are bonded to the surface of the teeth to reshape broken, misshapen or irregular teeth, as well as provide a solution for discolored teeth that do not respond to traditional whitening treatments. Patchogue patients with veneers typically achieve a natural tooth appearance that is well-tolerated by the gums and also resistant to future stains.
Did you know…
that dental veneers are a conservative way of completely making over your smile? In fact, veneers are a go-to cosmetic procedure that has become popular with celebrities who want a brighter and more symmetrical smile. Miley Cyrus, Hilary Duff and Ben Affleck are just some of Hollywood’s elite who have seen a cosmetic dentist for laminates. Fortunately, affordability and accessibility make it easy for anyone to get dental veneers – including Patchogue patients.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a candidate for dental veneers or laminates?
Dental veneers may be right for you if you are looking for an alternative to crowns and caps. Veneers can help you if you have gaps between your teeth or teeth that are broken, chipped, irregularly shaped or misaligned. To find out more about whether dental veneers are right for you, contact a cosmetic dentist in Patchogue to schedule a consultation.
What should I expect when I get my dental veneers?
Before dental veneers can be placed on the teeth, the surface of the teeth must be prepared for bonding. After administering a local anesthetic, your dentist will buff away approximately half a millimeter from the surface of the teeth. You’ll then bite into a mold that will be used to form your veneers in a dental lab. When the veneers are ready, you’ll be asked to return to have them fitted, bonded and adjusted for shape and color.
Will I need to follow any post-treatment care instructions?
There is no special care required for dental veneers, and normal brushing and flossing can be resumed immediately. Because veneers are usually placed over the course of two appointments, it is normal to experience some sensitivity between the first and second visit when the teeth have been reduced in preparation for bonding.
You and your dentist
How to get the most from your partnership
Think of the relationship between you and your dentist as a partnership,your dentist can offer a range of dental treatment options for many oral health problems. Theses option will vary in complexity, durability and cost but working together, you can choose the treatment options that best suit your needs and budget.
A good dentist will explain each treatment option, including it’s benefits and drawbacks. It is important that you tell your dentist about
yourself and your needs and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask the dental team questions if necessary in order to help you understand their oral treatment recommendations.
The key to all good relationships is trust and understanding as it should be between you and your dentist, you should therefore try to
build a relationships based on open and honest communication. A good dental team will be more than happy to explain the oral care program they are proposing for you but if you don’t understand any aspect you may want to ask some or all of the following questions.
Can you give me a step by step breakdown as you make your oral examinations?
What are the treatment options in respect of my specific needs?
Are there any alternative treatments I should consider?
Which of these options would give me the best outcome?
What needs to be treated now and what can wait to be treated later?
What can I do in future to avoid similar problems reoccurring?
Confidence and trust are key factors when visiting your dental team, a dental expert said, “Dentists are trained to understand their patients worries and cam empathize with them. Your dentist should be an expert, not just in technical dentistry but in communication, empathy, understanding and be able to deliver care in a professional manner”. He also stated “that cost was actually quite low on their list of concerns, a hygienic, friendly environment is more important for most people”.
Many people have a level of anxiety when visiting their dentist, probably based on a bad experience from their childhood when dental
techniques were not as good as they are today. Things are somewhat different today as modern dental care and new techniques and advances mean that the discomfort you may remember from your childhood is considerably less today.
Don’t wait for your dentist to sort out your problems, our expert stated “Avoid problems by sticking to a good mouth care routine in the first place, healthy teeth are within everyone’s reach”. Remember you and your dentist are a team and good oral health is your goal.
About the Author
Tony Forster has a keen interest in dental care and bad breath treatment and has compiled many useful resources at: www.eliminate-bad-breath.info
The content of this article is for information purposes only, it is advisable to consult your medical or dental practitioner before implementing any program or change to your current regime.
If you’re anything like me you’ll feel varying degrees of anxiety when you find yourself sitting in the dentists chair, perhaps you can remember a specific incident from your childhood that brings back painful memories or maybe you don’t like the sounds and smells involved. Being afraid of the dentist is nothing to be ashamed of and is something most of us experience at sometime in our lives.
The good news however is that modern dentistry is is now a different experience, modern dentists have a greater understanding of their
patients fears and concerns and have undergone additional training to meet these concerns. Dental practices have also greatly improved with less painful treatments, more efficient practices and quicker dental
treatments along with your dentists empathy make for a much nicer experience.
Lie back and think of something nice…
5 things you can do to make the experience more enjoyable…
1. Arrive relaxed, calm and on time – Plan your visit with care, be sure to allow plenty of time to arrive and park your car if driving. If you
are running late or have difficulty getting there on time you will naturally be more stressed. A high level of stress can make you irritable and that makes it more difficult to control your level of anxiety.
2. Try exercising your brain – Don’t just sit in the dentists chair thinking about nothing or worse still imagining what might happen but
use the time effectively by thinking about something that will tax your brain. Why not have brain puzzle already prepared or perhaps you’d
prefer to think about planning your next holiday or a home improvement. Whatever you do make sure you have something to occupy your mind other than what is going on…
3. You are in control – It is important that you let your dentists know how you will signal that you want them to stop now because you need a break before the dental treatment can start again. The mere fact that you can now control the situation often helps reduce anxiety and makes the treatment more bearable.
4. Music can help – A personal stereo that allows you to play your own choice of music or a talking book can help distract your mind and hide the sound of treatment.
5. Hypnosis and relaxation – Perhaps your dentists offer these techniques which are a little like day dreaming, these techniques allow you to gain control over your feelings of distress, panic or fear, if your dentist doesn’t offer these services they will most likely be able to suggest somebody suitable.
Most importantly speak to your dentist and explain any fears and concerns you may have about your treatment, a good dentist will be able
to empathize with your feelings and by carefully explaining what they are about to do and how, it will go a long way to resolving your issues without the need for any other technique, you may even find yourself looking forward to next visit???
Many people have a deep-seated fear of root canal (endodontic) treatment. They will say ?not as bad as a root canal? ? as if it is one
of the worst human experiences. Such fears are unfounded. In professional hands, root canal treatment is the best way to keep your natural teeth and preserve good dental health. By having better information about this treatment, you will understand why it is often called ?the tooth saver’, says endodontics specialist Dr. Tony Druttman www.londonendo.co.uk
Life doesn’t always play us a fair hand. Most of us try to keep our teeth in reasonable condition because we know that long-term neglect can be painful, both in the mouth and pocket. Yet there are occasions when unnoticed changes take place to our teeth. We only become aware of this when we have dental pain or our dentist discovers an underlying problem during a routine inspection. The following advice about root canal treatment will help to put your mind at ease.
A dental microscope allows precise inspection of the tooth root. Should anecdotal evidence influence you?
Very often patients describe their root canal experiences with terms like ?it was very painful? and ?I had to go back six times?. That’s unfortunate, but not the way things need to be. When carried out correctly, the endodontics procedure is no worse than having a normal filling, although it may take a little longer. People often agree to root canal treatment with reluctance, when there seems to be little other choice. In fact it is the best solution in cases of substantial dental damage or decay. Advice by a dentist will give you a clearer picture than advice by other patients.
Why do teeth need root treatment?
The nerve and blood vessels in the tooth (known as ?dental pulp’) are there to help the tooth grow to maturity. They protect against bacteria within the body. Bacteria play a defensive role in the general mouth area, but can become destructive when they attack the body via the dental pulp or through gum disease.
In fact, recent research has found a correlation between gum disease and coronary heart disease. Bacteria cause decay in teeth. When the decay is deep, it can allow bacteria to invade the dental pulp ? the living tissue inside your teeth. Your dentist removes the decay in the tooth to protect the pulp and to restore the function and appearance of the tooth. However repeated bacterial attacks can weaken the pulp to such an extent that the nerve can no longer recover, and so the pulp dies.
How do you know if something is wrong?
The point is ? you don’t always know. Different nerve systems within the pulp will cause the tooth to respond in different ways. The nerve may die quietly and never cause any symptoms. It may be a chance x-ray that alerts the dentist to a problem. Alternatively the dying nerve may cause a great deal of pain and be very difficult to locate. When the nerve becomes irreversibly damaged, then either the pulp or the tooth has to be removed.
Will a root-treated tooth feel different?
The treated tooth is referred to as being dead because it has lost its internal nerve and blood vessels. However there is still a nerve and
blood supply to the outside surface of the tooth, so the successfully root-treated tooth should feel normal.
Is there an alternative to endodontic treatment?
If you choose not to have root treatment, your affected tooth will be extracted. Should you fill the space? That depends on functional and
aesthetic grounds. People today are aware of their mouth and smile, so someone displaying unaesthetic black gaps between their teeth may feel self-conscious about speaking or smiling. Back teeth may not be immediately noticed in a smile, but they are very important in terms of chewing function. Every tooth stabilizes the teeth adjacent to it and those immediately above or below. If it is removed and not replaced, other teeth may well shift from their natural positions. This will stimulate problems with gum disease, food packing (leading to further decay) and bite problems.
If a tooth needs extracting, what next?
Teeth can be replaced with bridges, implants or removable dentures and the possibilities should be discussed with your own dentist. Implants have revolutionized restorative dentistry and can be an excellent substitute for the natural tooth. The dental root has often been
described as nature’s implant, so wherever possible existing teeth should be kept in place. However there are situations when it is neither feasible nor cost-effective to keep the tooth. The options have to be considered carefully either by your general dental practitioner, or by an endodontics specialist.
How successful is endodontic treatment?
Nobody can guarantee success. However when the endodontic treatment and the restorative treatment that follows it are both carried out to a high standard, long-term success is very likely. Failure would be caused by the leakage of bacteria into the root canal system or by mechanical failure i.e. fracture of the remaining tooth.
Should endodontic treatment fail, it may be possible to re-treat the tooth. If further treatment is impossible, the tooth may require extraction. Endodontic re-treatment may be carried by your own dentist or by an endodontist, depending on the particular problems and reasons for the failure.
General dentist or root canal specialist?
General dentist are trained to carry out root canal treatment and many of them do this to a very high standard. Whether root canal treatment is carried out by your regular dentist or an endodontics specialist will depend on many factors. Is your dentist skilled, experienced and confident in performing these kinds of procedures? Is it a straightforward treatment or are there complications? The molar teeth have a more complicated root canal system than the front teeth (incisors and canines), are harder to access and may require more specialized equipment.
While endodontics specialists are usually more expensive, their training and experience enable them to deal more easily with complications. In many cases, this involves re-treating teeth where the original root treatment has failed.
We can’t stop ageing ? but we can make the best of what we already have. Looking after your skin and general appearance is one step. But what about your teeth? They are a revealing sign of ageing ? yet surprising things can be done today to reverse this process, says Dr. George Druttman, of Cap600 London City Dental www.cap600.com
Teeth are one of the first features that people look at. Our teeth deteriorate over the years, gradually taking on more and more imperfections that betray our age ? or make us look even older than we really are. In Western society, where one in six people will soon be over 65, everybody wants to stay as young-looking as possible.
So how can a 50-year old stay young-looking? Well, maybe she has
fortunate genes, looks after her skin regularly (often in addition to
great genes) and has had excellent cosmetic facial surgery. To look at
her, you wouldn’t be able to guess her true age ? until she starts
smiling. Then her mouth gives the game away. How? Because of the state
of her teeth.
Signs of ageing ? your teeth
So how do your teeth betray your age? Their colour changes over time, losing brightness and luminosity, and becoming darker. Dental wear will shorten teeth, making them look ?stubby’. Years of food, nicotine and fluid stains can also stain teeth permanently.
Tooth shape: The natural smile line is a gentle convex. But extensive wear on our front teeth can change this to a straight or even concave line (reversed curve). Tooth grinding (prompted by stress), accelerates this dental erosion. Chipped tooth edges are another sign, creating an unbalanced and disharmonious look.
Tooth surface: The fine ridges on young teeth get smoothed away as we get older. While in early adulthood such smoothing can produce
attractive teeth that reflect light more uniformly, too much smoothing will show age.
Tooth crack lines: Over time, micro-fractures can appear on the enamel surface. While perhaps superficial, they can show up as little crack lines, which will downgrade the attractiveness of teeth.
Filled front teeth: White fillings in front teeth need to be regularly replaced or they change colour and start to look obvious. They may even
show dark lines between the edge of the filling and the natural tooth.
Smile colour: White reflects light and dark absorbs it. A mouth with silver-mercury (amalgam) fillings in many of the teeth will present an
overall dull grey colour that absorbs light and therefore looks dark. It’s another sign of ageing.
Signs of ageing ? your lips
Over time the lips lose muscle tone and become thinner and narrower. The top lip can sag, covering more of the upper teeth. The lower lip may also drop, showing more of the lower teeth.
If you had fairly thin lips when young, then they will become even more so. Also thin vertical lines appear in the lips, which are accentuated and hastened by smoking. Crease lines can also appear at the corners of the lips, often with a more significant, deeper crease line, angled downward, which can make you look permanently unhappy.
What can you do restore youthful looks?
Your smile is the key to your facial appearance. So you need to do something about any old, worn, chipped and discoloured teeth you have and remove these obvious clues to ageing. The essence in good cosmetic/ aesthetic dentistry is to combine modern techniques with artistic flair – so that nobody can guess what’s been done.
Ways of improving your teeth
Re-contouring: A little bleaching whitens the teeth and slight reshaping restores the edges of the teeth to what they were in youth.
Replacing fillings: Using modern materials for the front and most prominent teeth can cause the dental restoration work to blend in with
the general colour of the tooth.
Bonding: A synthetic material that looks like natural tooth enamel is bonded to the enamel tooth surface. Because it can be shaped and
polished, this material can alter the colour, texture, size, shape and even, to an extent, the position of the teeth. The treatment can be applied to the eight to twelve upper front teeth. It lasts from three to six years.
Veneering: A technique similar to bonding ? only more permanent. A thin, hard porcelain veneer is individually made for each tooth to the correct colour, size and shape. Porcelain is as durable as the original tooth enamel so the restored tooth will last for decades rather than years. Veneering is often done on front incisor teeth that have been damaged.
Improving your lips
Thin lips can be treated by using fillers to accentuate the lip line (vermillion border) between the red part of the lips and the normal
skin. These fillers are, for example, bovine collagen, or natural hyaluronic acid (Restylane). The effect lasts up to twelve months. The
substance of the lip can also be increased by injecting Restylane or even fat from another part of the body into the lip itself. The result,
of course, depends on how much and where it is placed.
So how can your smile make you look younger?
Look in the mirror for a few minutes. Decide what parts of your face, and particularly your smile, you would like to rejuvenate using the
techniques mentioned above. Then consult with a cosmetic dental surgeon, who can show you an accurate simulation of how treatment would look on your face. It is advisable to do this before going ahead with any cosmetic surgery on your face.
Most cosmetic medical surgeons are still not orientated or even knowledgeable enough about what cosmetic dentists are able to achieve
with teeth. A few short dental treatments can take years off your looks, helping you evaluate whether other surgery is necessary.
Dr. George Druttman, Cap600 London City Dental www.cap600.com
About the author:
Dr George Druttman is an experienced Cosmetic Dentist running a specialized dental practice Cap600 London City Dental in the UK. His web site is www.cap600.com