Perfect movie-star teeth can be a reality. Here are some of the latest dental techniques that can give you sparkling results.
Your smile is the first thing people notice and the last thing they remember,” remarks Hollywood celebrity dentist Dr Bill Dorfman and star of the hit TV show Extreme Makeover. He asserts, “A great smile will make all the difference in the world.” Y
our smile not only exudes your personality, it also portrays your confidence, impacts your health, self-esteem and relationships. But over time, everything wears out, including your smile. As time takes its toll, one of the most visible signs of ageing is your changing smile. Front teeth, back teeth – they all wear out or break down as the years pass. Most times, the loss of back teeth causes the loss of facial support, making one look older than he or she really is.
Nowadays, even the most severely dentalchallenged can achieve enviable pearly whites. Thanks to highly advanced cosmetic dental procedures, no one needs to ever know that you were not born with that movie star dazzling smile.
“We have a new world of dentistry,” explains leading Sydney cosmetic dentist, Dr David Carr. “Today we have far less invasive dental techniques that give such a natural and lasting result.”
Forget the unsightly and uncomfortable metal braces of the past – Invisalign is the invisible way of straightening teeth, using a series of removable, medical-grade plastic mouth guard-like aligners. Wearing the aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place, based on the exact movements your dentist or orthodontist plans out for you. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You just pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete. The whole treatment may last anytime from six to 12 months. “The best part about the whole process is that most people won’t even know you’re straightening your teeth,” shares Dr Jerry Lim, Director of Orchard Scotts Dental.
Porcelain veneers are thin shells of porcelain that is expertly bonded to your underlying teeth, enabling the dentist to enhance the shape and colour of your teeth. This state-of-the-art dental therapy allows the dentist to straighten teeth, close gaps, whiten teeth, and correct crowded teeth in order to provide you with a more youthful smile.
Crowns are placed over teeth to restore their shape and form when conservative restoration dentistry, such as veneers, are not sufficient to repair poor teeth. Dr Dorfman confirms, “If you have a chipped or broken teeth, this is the best way to create a good smile.”
Dr Lim says, “Technological advances in dentistry have made it possible to make highly durable, strong and yet aesthetic onlays or inlays (semi-crowns) or crowns. Using 3-D scanning cameras and 3-D designing softwares, we can create, design and mill out the final restoration within half an hour.”
Getting that White Teeth
Got 60 seconds or 60 minutes? We have the teeth-whitening solution for you
Apply a bluebased red lippie
The blue tones tend to cancel out any orange or yellow tones on your teeth. Try Laneige Serum Intense Lipstick in R12, $34, or NARS Audacious Lipstick in Shirley, $44.
Ditch the cigarettes
Nicotine and tar are the two culprits responsible for tobacco stains on teeth. Nicotine is colourless, but when mixed with oxygen it turns yellow. Quitting altogether is better for your teeth and overall health.
Try oil pulling
An Aryurvedic remedy, oil pulling is a huge trend thanks to A-list celebs who do it, like Gywneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley. The chemical reaction helps remove stains upon brushing and rinsing. Researchers say it strengthens teeth and gums and reduces the chance of plaque forming and gum disease.
“Dental implants are the standard of care now for replacement of missing teeth. Gone are the days where the only teeth replacement are dentures. In fact, the predictability of the dental implant therapy is above 95 per cent at our practice,” says Dr Lim. Often times, when a tooth is lost, the bone around that tooth will also be resorbed with time starting as soon as two weeks. It is thus important to understand that teeth replacement needs to take into consideration the replacement of lost bone and gum tissue at the same time.
A beautiful smile exudes a balance between the gums and teeth. A “gummy” smile is when you show more gum than teeth, and this draws attention to your gums and makes teeth appear shorter than they really are. It is estimated that about 14 per cent of women and 7 per cent of men have excessive gingival exposure when smiling.
“Short teeth or excessively thick gum tissue can be effectively treated with our advanced laser gum recontouring procedure. These “gummy” smiles can be corrected without extensive surgery and pain. On top of that, the healing process after laser “gummy” treatment is usually much less painful and faster than actual traditional surgery,” says Dr Lim.
When the hypermobile lip is the cause of the “gummy” smile, doctors traditionally will perform a surgery to sever the muscles that elevate the upper lip so it can no longer rise as high. Now however, people are opting for Botox instead.
Teeth whitening lightens teeth and helps to remove stains and discolouration. Whitening is among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because it can greatly improve how your teeth look. However, whitening is not a onetime procedure as it needs to be repeated from time to time to maintain the brighter colour.
Besides not taking care of your teeth, the most common reasons for yellow or stained teeth are the use of tobacco, and drinking darkcoloured liquids such as coffee, cola, tea and red wine. Ageing, too, discolours your teeth as the enamel gets thinner and the dentin becomes darker. In this instance, all you may need might just be a whitening procedure to get your smile to sparkle. However, be aware that some patients may develop temporary teeth sensitivity after treatment, warns Dr Lim, but be assured that these symptoms always disappear within one to three days after the treatment.
The most common type of teeth whitening treatment uses a gel (which contains some form of hydrogen peroxide) that is applied directly to the tooth surface. But prior to that, your dentist will need to apply a substance that covers and protects the gums around the teeth first. Then, the whitening agent will be placed on the teeth. In-office whitening allows your dentist to use a more powerful whitening gel. Some whitening agents are activated by a laser light, special light or by the heat from these lights. The procedure may take anything from 30 to 90 minutes, and what’s more, you may need more than one appointment to achieve your whiter teeth. Actually, you may require up to three sessions, depending on how severe your stains are and how white you want your teeth to be.
If they are badly discoloured, your dentist may suggest that you continue the bleaching process at home for a few days or weeks.
Do note that teeth whitening may not suitable for everyone and a dentist would be the best person to determine whether it is right for your teeth.
DID YOU KNOW?
A recent survey revealed that 27 per cent of women have skipped a dental appointment in the past year because they dread the bill. But regular dental checks are essential, even if your teeth seem problem-free. Your dentist can see parts of your mouth that you can’t, so they’re the best placed to spot the early and more treatable signs of mouth cancer.
DIY home whitening Kit
This whitening choice is performed at home at your own timing. Whitening gel is placed into custom-made upper and lower arch trays which fit over the teeth. They are typically worn for up to four hours a day for two weeks. As the contact time with the whitening gel is longer, the results tend to last longer as well.
Use whitening toothpaste
Darlie All Shiny White (ASW) Toothpaste now comes with a new formulation with added PRO-LITE on top of current Speedy Whitening Agent (SWA) to deliver two times stain dissolvability power and gentle teeth whitening, giving you a shiny white smile. Comes in five variants to suit individual needs.
As you age, Dr Dorfman notes that taking good care of your teeth becomes particularly important, as the condition of your teeth deteriorates with age. It is essential to visit your dentist twice a year to get a check-up and a cleaning treatment. At home, you need to brush and floss teeth at least twice a day.
“Maintaining good dental health could prevent major damage later” – Dr Dorfman