7 ways to improve your Smile
Jan 27th, 2023
by Shenilee Hazell
- Cosmetic contouring
Cosmetic Contouring: aka “enameloplasty”
- A quick and relatively simple teeth rejuvenating process.
- Minor contouring and polishing can smooth chips and fractures.
- It can also reshape pointy teeth and redefine flat or worn teeth.
- It causes minimal discomfort and typically is done without the need for an injection.
- Although it is very stable it can usually make a huge impact.
The eye often seems drawn to the tiny chip in a front tooth; the slight mismatch in tooth size among adjacent teeth; the extra-pointy canine.
A relatively inexpensive procedure known as tooth contouring (reshaping) removes a tiny amount of tooth enamel with a contouring drill to sculpt a more pleasing shape and make the tooth fit in better with its neighboring teeth. The tooth is then polished for a smooth finish. The procedure is most often used on the upper front incisors and canines, which are your most visible teeth. Tooth contouring only involves the removal of a bit of enamel — the hard outer covering of the tooth. Because enamel is not living and contains no nerves, you will likely not need even a local anesthetic.
Cosmetic problems that can be corrected with tooth contouring include:
- Small chips
- Uneven tooth length
- Sligh overlaps
- Tooth edges that are too flattened or pointy
- It can even be used to correct minor bite problems from teeth touching unevenly during contact
- It can also be used to give teeth a more feminine or masculine shape, simply by rounding or squaring the edges
2. Tooth Whitening
While over-the-counter use-at-home toothpaste and strips are readily available, your dentist is best qualified to determine if you need teeth whitening and the best way to get long-lasting results. They can determine the type of discoloration and the cause, and therefore advise the most effective treatment for you. DIY bleaching comes with all sorts of risks, and anecdotal treatments such as rubbing strawberries, lemons, or even bicarbonate of soda on your teeth, can do a lot of irreversible damage to your teeth and gums for no real whitening gain.
Dental-Grade hydrogen peroxide is the main chemical that oxidises the stains that become embedded into your enamel. The process of applying hydrogen peroxide onto the surface of the enamel essentially whitens your teeth. For a more gentle release of this, carbamide peroxide is commonly used as this will eventually break down to slowly release hydrogen peroxide. This would be given to you by your dentist to apply overnight. There are two distinct ways we whiten teeth:
- An in-office power whitening procedure is a newer dental tooth whitening procedure designed for patients who want to achieve more instant whiter teeth. Using a light-activated whitening gel and a special Led lamp, Power whitening results are achieved within an hour to an hour and a half. Some people experience faster treatment times depending on the extent of their tooth discolouration
- With Supervised take-home whitening, your dentist custom-creates your tooth whitening treatment for you to take home and apply, along with guidance for safe application. The gel is pre-inserted into the trays you use to fit over your teeth. With dental monitoring for safe usage, the treatment is applied at home overnight with results appearing typically within a month. The downside of this method is that lights are not used in home whitening, which may mean that results take longer to appear.
3. Stain removal cleaning
Traditional cleaning involves a standard descaling of the teeth to remove calcified plaque and then polishing surfaces away using a slow polishing drill but the development of new technology has led to a new alternative form of cleaning known as Airflow Stain Removal Cleaning.
This is an advanced method of tooth polishing which utilises a machine that combines water, compressed air and non-abrasive fine powder particles in a highly targeted flow which leaves the teeth feeling and looking ultra-clean and stain free.
Although most dentists can offer a variety of teeth whitening treatments able to lift the brightness of the patient’s teeth by several shades, there are still some stains that are impervious to bleaching. These generally take the form of stains that are deeply embedded within the pores of the patient’s enamel and appear as dark brown/yellow or grey lines and spots which mar the surface of the teeth and can sometimes be seen by others when you smile.
The Air Flow technology directs a stream of water, compressed air and extra-fine sodium particles at the surface of the teeth, and this mixture removes deposits at the same time as gently polishing away minor stains caused by tea, coffee, nicotine and plaque build-up but it can also reach into gum pockets along the line of the gums.
The use of Air Flow technology is a major leap forward in the field of dental hygiene and professional cleaning as it can offer quicker and more effective results compared to the standard polish done after scaling.
4. Changing silver fillings to white fillings
White fillings or composite resin fillings are cosmetic fillings made from a synthetic resin and are an excellent alternative to silver amalgam fillings. Since these materials are bonded to teeth, they are strong, durable and require minimal removal of tooth structure. The fillings are tooth coloured and are carefully matched to the shade of your tooth. When in place, they are virtually invisible. Unlike traditional fillings, invisible fillings restore between 85% and 95% of the original strength of your tooth, improving your overall dental health. These also don’t include any Mercury, making them safer.
5.Invisible braces eg: Invisalign®
If you are self-conscious about crooked, spaces between your teeth or misaligned teeth and don’t like the idea of walking around with obvious traditional metal braces you may be a candidate for the Invisalign® system. The Invisalign® teeth straightening system discreetly and gently slides your teeth into a more aesthetically pleasing position providing you with a more attractive smile.
Although there are many brands of clear aligners, Invisalign® has been around treating 5 million patients worldwide. When combined with tooth whitening this is a great way to rejuvenate your smile
Invisalign® offers a number of benefits beyond the teeth-straightening benefits of traditional braces. Because the Invisalign® aligners are removable, regular dental hygiene routines are easier and more effective to perform. There is no metal tracking for food or plaque to build up on. The aligners are also clear and discreet, eliminating any stigma or embarrassment that may result from traditional metal braces. Finally, the Invisalign® aligners are a more gentle way to shift your teeth, reducing any discomfort that may be experienced from traditional braces.
Dental bonding is often used to repair small chips or cracks and cover-up troublesome tooth-stains. A thin coat of acrylic resin is added to your teeth. We can sculpt the resin as it hardens so that it evenly covers and fills the damaged areas.
The acrylic is meticulously matched to the natural shade of your teeth. The results will look so natural that even you may not be able to tell which teeth you’ve had work on. The results are comparable to improvements accomplished by our porcelain veneers, only less expensive.
A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain or composite resin custom made to fit over the front surface of a tooth, to improve the look of crooked or worn down teeth, gaps and discoloration, They usually require replacing after a certain amount of time.
A veneer can make a chipped tooth look whole again. The veneers cover the whole of the front of the tooth, with a thicker section replacing the broken part. Veneers can also be used to close small gaps when orthodontics (braces) are not suitable. If one tooth is slightly out of position, a veneer can sometimes be fitted to bring it into line with the others.
How are teeth prepared for a veneer?
Procedure for veneers
A Small amount of outer enamel surface of the tooth is drilled away, to make sure that the veneer can be bonded permanently in place later. A local anesthetic (injection) may be used to make sure that there is no discomfort, Once the tooth has been prepared, the dentist will take an ‘impression’ (mold). This will be given to the dental technician, along with any other information needed to make the veneer. The colour of the surrounding teeth is matched on a shade guide to make sure that the veneer will look entirely natural.
A veneer takes at least two visits. The first is to prepare the tooth and match the shade, and the second is to fit it. Before sticking it in place, your dentist will show you the veneer on your tooth to make sure you are happy with it. Bonding a veneer in place is done with a special adhesive, which holds it firmly on the tooth.
Research has shown that porcelain veneers usually last from 9 to 15 years, Composite veneers are usually cheaper and require more maintenance but they usually require less drilling away of your natural tooth.