In today’s age of technology, your dentist has a range of options to help your teeth look great. Stained teeth, dark teeth, chipped teeth, crooked teeth, and even teeth that are missing altogether, can be repaired or replaced. Cosmetic or aesthetic dentistry is the broad heading under which many dental procedures that improve the appearance of teeth may be described.
There are many excellent ways to whiten the teeth and all have advantages and disadvantages. Since each case is different there is no one best way.
When staining is present on the surface, an ADA dentist can professionally clean the teeth, often producing a fresher, whiter appearance.
On the other hand, when staining is actually in the tooth, below the surface, there are a number of ways to whiten the teeth. Sometimes simply replacing old, worn out fillings that are failing at the edges can produce better looking front teeth. Alternatively, when the enamel is heavily stained, crowns or facings may be the best option. ADA dentists have access to continuing education in the latest dental techniques and they can give advice as to the best choices for you.
Early dental caries is reversible. Mineral can be deposited back onto the tooth surface if you can modify your diet and oral hygiene. Your dentist can treat early areas of caries with topical fluoride, and if you are careful with your diet and cleaning no other treatment may be required.
A more advanced area of dental caries will require a “filling”. Your dentist will remove the damaged and infected soft tooth structure and repair the tooth. It is important to have this done as early as possible to preserve the strength of the tooth and prevent bacteria damaging the tooth pulp.
It is very important to listen to your dentist’s advice on how to eliminate the cause of your caries. Don’t think that just fixing a cavity will stop the disease from occurring in other areas of the mouth.
If you have a sensible diet, a good flow of saliva, a cleaning routine and your teeth get an appropriate fluoride exposure, you are unlikely to get decay. So, you can prevent decay by:
1. being careful with how often you eat sugary foods or have sugary drinks.
2. brushing and flossing your teeth carefully to reduce the amount of bacteria on their surfaces.
3. using fluoride toothpaste. This will make the surfaces of teeth more resistant to acid. The fluoride in our water supply strengthens the developing teeth of infants and children.
Dental caries, or dental decay, is a common disease, which causes cavities and discoloration of both permanent and “baby” teeth. As the disease progresses in a tooth it becomes weaker and its nerve may be damaged.
What are the advantages of composites?
Aesthetics are the main advantage of composites, since dentists can blend shades to create a color nearly identical to that of the actual tooth. Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes.
What are the disadvantages?
After receiving a composite, a patient may experience postoperative sensitivity. Also, the shade of the composite can change slightly if the patient drinks tea, coffee or other staining foods. The dentist can put a clear plastic coating over the composite to prevent the color from changing if a patient is particularly concerned about tooth color. Composites tend to wear out sooner than silver fillings in larger cavities, although they hold up as well in small cavities.
Following preparation, the dentist places the composite in layers, typically using a light specialized to harden each layer. When the process is finished, the dentist will shape the composite to fit the tooth. The dentist then polishes the composite to prevent staining and early wear.
A composite filling is a tooth-colored plastic and glass mixture used to restore decayed teeth. Composites are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.
Dentists replace amalgam fillings for a variety of reasons including recurring decay, fracture, endodontic treatment and appearance.
If you seek replacement of quite satisfactory amalgam fillings for other reasons, such as a concern about the effects of mercury, you may create problems that otherwise would not have occurred, such as:
> Possible damage to or weakening of teeth.
> Sensitivity or pain after the filling.
> Financial problems.
Amalgam fillings are used to repair teeth for hundreds of thousands of people each year in Australia. Dental amalgam is a popular choice, as it is strong, relatively inexpensive and can last a lifetime.
Dental amalgams (silver fillings) are made from a silver/tin/copper alloy that is mixed with mercury. The alloy is in powder form prior to mixing with the mercury, which is liquid at room temperature.
Dental composite (tooth coloured fillings) consist of a resin matrix with filler particles. The resin is the liquid component that hardens with time by chemical reaction. The filler particles are made from solid substances such as glass or pieces of set resin.
With proper attention to diet, oral self-care, regular dental check-ups, and the correct use of mouthguards to prevent injury, the need for fillings can be eliminated, and the frequency of filling re-placement can be extended.
You may not know if you need fillings in your teeth. Many small to medium holes in teeth are asymptomatic, giving no pain. In fact, decay can sometimes eat out two-thirds of the tooth from the inside and you would have no idea it is happening.
Dental radiographs (X-rays), which are taken on a regular basis as part of your check-up, may show early decay that has not yet given any symptoms. You may be able to see a change in the colour on some of your teeth which may indicate early decay.
If your teeth are sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet food and drink, you may need fillings. All persistently sensitive teeth should be checked by your dentist. Toothache that lasts for more than a few minutes at a time should be investigated by your dentist. Teeth that cause severe pain may require fillings, or in some cases will require more extensive treatment such as root canal treatment.
Most teeth with small to moderate decay or fractures are easily restored to function with fillings. Where decay is extensive or fractures are large, more complex treatment may be required. Some teeth can be so badly broken down or fractured that they are unable to be saved.
A filling is a plug of material that is placed into a tooth to replace missing tooth substance and/or structure.
They can be clear or white in colour and because they are on the back teeth they cannot be seen .
It is quick and straight forward taking only a few minutes per tooth. A dentist or dental hygienist will clean and prepare the tooth with a dental hygienist will clean and prepare the tooth with a special solution. The tooth is dried with air. The liquid is then applied and set hard using a special light. It is pain free.
Fissure sealants are a safe and painless way of protectingyour children’s teeth from tooth decay. It is a plastic coating which covers the chewing surfaces of the back adult teeth. The sealant forms a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth. Most tooth decay in children occurs in the back teeth.
Visit your dentist, who will examine your gums as part of a normal dental check-up. X-rays are often needed to help diagnose any gum problems.
Good dental hygiene is one of the most important factors in preventing gum disease. Your dentist will show you proper brushing and flossing techniques that will help ensure healthy teeth and gums.
You may need to be referred to a Periodontist who is a specialist in treating gum disease. Treatment involves careful, deep cleaning of the teeth to remove the cause of the problem. This can be done with local anaesthetic.
> Bleeding gums when you brush your teeth.
> Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.
> Receding gums.
> Sensitive teeth or gums.
> Loose teeth or teeth that have moved.
No. Bleeding gums are common but not OK. In a healthy state gums do not bleed. Bleeding is often an indication that the gums are inflamed. The inflammation is generally a response to the bacteria on the surface of the teeth. The surface inflammation is Gingivitis. The bleeding may also arise from Periodontitis or traumatic cleaning. Bleeding gums are sometimes associated with serious medical conditions.
A dental practitioner should check bleeding gums.
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria. Bacteria form a ‘plaque’ which is a sticky, colourless film that forms on your teeth, particularly around the gum line. Other bacteria thrive deep in the gap between the gum and the tooth (the ‘pocket’). Some people are much more at risk of developing periodontal disease — smoking is one of the major risk factors. Other conditions such as diabetes, stress, pregnancy and various medications can all be contributing factors.
“Gum disease” describes a range of conditions that affect the supporting tissues for the teeth. The supporting tissues comprise both the surface tissues that can be seen in the mouth and also the deeper tissues of the bone, root surface and the ligament that connects the teeth to the bone.