COSMETIC AND DENTAL CARE

Cosmetic Dentistry

Your smile is the first thing someone notices about you, and people often make a judgment about your personality based on your smile. Thanks to the growing field of cosmetic dentistry and professionals dedicated to appearance related dental care, people no longer have to live with the smile they were born with. A great smile is not just for celebrities and Hollywood actors, anyone these days can get the smile they've always dreamed of with the help of an experienced and trained dentist.

There are many different procedures in the field of cosmetic dentistry to help a variety of smile problems from teeth whitening, crowns and dental bridges, white fillings, dental implants and of course porcelain veneers. With cosmetic dentistry your new smile can make you more self confident, have greater self esteem and drastically improve your personal life and career. We've seen it many times over on the dental makeover shows; the teeth make the most dramatic improvement to one’s appearance and far outweigh any other cosmetic surgery procedure.

Orthodontics

Orthodontics is the correcting of tooth alignment and bite problems. It deals with the straightening of teeth and with fixing over or underbites. A perfect smile should consist of straight teeth, be gap and overlap-free, and the top teeth should align with the bottom. Mouth injuries, prolonged pacifier use in infancy or thumb-sucking in early childhood can all cause misalignment. Most often, though, orthodontic problems occur simply because the teeth and mouth are growing at different speeds.

Orthodontic appliances such as braces and retainers put pressure on your teeth and/or jaw, forcing them into a more aligned form. These appliances are popular for their aesthetic benefits; they can pull teeth together to close gaps and push teeth apart to avoid overlaps. However, straightening your teeth improves more than just your smile. Crooked or overlapped teeth can impair chewing (and, therefore, digestion) and complicate dental hygiene. Poorly aligned teeth can lead to other complications (such as when teeth bite down on the tongue or gums).

Jaw irregularities can cause the roof of your mouth to block your nasal cavities, leading to breathing difficulties. All of these potential problems can be prevented with the use of orthodontics. Finally, recent evidence even suggests that braces might play an indirect role in preventing cardiovascular disease: former braces-wearers learn to care for their teeth, thus reducing the amount of oral bacteria; a oral bacteria dissolves calcium in the mouth and pushes it into the arteries, possibly leading to cardiovascular disease.

How to survive braces

If you're one of the 4.5 million teens donning braces, you know that wearing them takes a certain amount of discipline—including diet changes, regular use of the necessary appliances like headgear, and extra time brushing and flossing."You have to be more diligent," notes an expert orthodontist. "The good thing about that is that once the braces are off, these good habits tend to carry over well."

Aside from brushing after every meal and flossing regularly, you may want to invest in an electric toothbrush, like dentist–favorite Sonicare. "The objective is to clean teeth and stimulate blood flow in the gums," explains George. "The teeth will move more quickly if you do that."Once your braces come off (they take, on average, 24–30 months), speak with your primary care dentist if you have any concerns with staining, and are interested in a whitening program. But the assurance is that if you practised good oral hygiene while the braces were on, there shouldn't really be any staining.

Orthodontic treatment

Orthodontic treatment can occur at any age, although dentists recommend starting the process while the child is still growing, as the teeth and jaw will move into place quicker. Most orthodontic patients are in their early teens; however, orthodontists recommend interceptive orthodontic treatment, wearing a face brow and/or palatal expander to stretch your jaw and/or widen your mouth, at the age of eight or nine, in time for the permanent teeth to come into place.

With interceptive orthodontic treatment, once the child's permanent teeth have grown and he or she is ready for braces, the mouth has already been shaped in such a way that the teeth can easily fit into place. Interceptive treatment can reduce the braces-wearing period down to 3-6 months in some cases. Successful orthodontic treatment can occur later in life, too, but in general, the earlier you start, the less the process hurts.

On average, orthodontic treatment tends to take about two to two and a half years. After a few initial assessment appointments, the orthodontist will glue metal or clear brackets to your teeth, held together by a wire. If you have an over or underbite, he or she may also assign headgear or a facebow to push or pull your jaw into place. Expect to see your orthodontist at least once a month, to have your braces checked and the wire holding your brackets together tightened. When the braces are removed, you will have to wear a retainer for a specified period of time to keep your new smile in place.

Teeth whitening

Teeth darken over time for a variety of reasons: coffee, tea or tobacco consumption, antibiotic use, excessive fluoride, or simply age. Should you find yourself unsatisfied with the colour of yours, several options are available to whiten your smile:

1. In-office bleaching
2. At-home bleaching
3. Whitening toothpastes

In-office bleaching (also called chairside bleaching) requires two or more visits to your dentist. He or she will apply a bleaching agent to your teeth, and may use extra light or heat to quicken the work of the agent. Your gums will be protected from the bleach by either a gel or a rubber shield. Each visit can last anywhere from half an hour to an hour.

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