AESTHETIC DENTISTRY

OVERVIEW

Aesthetic dentistry is a field of dentistry concerned especially with the appearance of a dental restoration as achieved through its form and color. It includes:

Bonding

Teeth bonding is a fairly simple and effective cosmetic treatment that can be done in a single visit. Our dentist can close gaps between front teeth (diastema) or change defective metal fillings with a more aesthetic material known as composite resin. The composite resin is sculpted to the desired form, and "hardened" or "cured" with a blue light. The restoration is then polished and your new smile is now ready. Bonding is a fast and cost effective treatment for small gaps and cavities which do not require more extensive treatment like veneers or crowns.

Teeth Whitening

WHAT CAUSES STAINING OF TEETH?

Teeth are porous and made up of hollow tube-like structures known as dentin tubules. Staining occurs when the surface (‘enamel’) picks up stains from food and beverages through the dentine tubules. Acidic food and beverages such as carbonated drinks and red wine erode the enamel, thus increasing the pick-up rate of stains from other food substances. Some stains are actually caused by pigments embedded in plague that has become coloured.

Extrinsic stains caused by food and beverages are usually reversible and responds well to good oral care, professional cleaning and whitening treatment.

WHAT IS THE SIMPLEST AND CHEAPEST WAY TO WHITER TEETH?

The most basic step to cleaner and whiter teeth is to see a dentist for Scaling and Polishing. Cleaning the teeth will remove the yellowish-black tartar which will make the teeth appear whiter. Polishing will remove the surface stains e.g.coffee, tea, smoking etc. However, Scaling and Polishing can only return your teeth to the "original" color. If you want the teeth even whiter, you have to go for Teeth Whitening.

WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS FORMS OF TEETH WHITENING?

Take Home Teeth Whitening

Chair side/in-Office Teeth Whitening

The Dentist will take an impression of your teeth and custom make a set of trays that will specially fit your teeth. This will ensure that the whitening gel used will be applied onto your teeth and not "spill over" to the gums and tongue. The Dentist will prescribe the concentration of bleaching gel to be used after assessment of your teeth condition. You will need to wear the tray with the gel for 6 hours a day for about 5 days to 2 weeks.

CHAIR SIDE TEETH WHITENING

For the best effect, the Dentist may recommend a combination of Chair side and Take home Teeth Whitening procedures. The additional Take Home kit is to whiten the teeth further and to ensure a more long lasting result. Furthermore, the Take Home kit can also be used as maintenance after the chair side whitening.

First visit to dentist who will do a proper examination and diagnosis, followed by treatment planning. An impression of your teeth is also taken to custom make the trays for your Take Home kit. Appointment is given for the second visit where the Chair side Whitening is performed by the Dentist using Plasma Light Technology (see pictures). During the same visit, the Take Home kit is also issued, and the patient continues to use the Take Home kit for the next 4-5 days. A review appointment is given usually after 1 week to for follow-up assessment. Please visit http://www.opalescence.com/ for further information on teeth whitening.

NON-DENTIST VS. DENTIST

Tooth whitening is a non-invasive solution for mild to moderately discoloured teeth. While tooth whitening is considered a relatively safe treatment, there is still some concerns in relation to tooth whitening services provided by non-dentist, for e.g. at beauty salons.

As dictated by the prevailing regulations from the relevant authorities, teeth whitening products containing more than 0.1% Hydrogen Peroxide are only available via dentists. Hydrogen Peroxide is the chemical ingredient that whitens the teeth.

Many beauty salons claim that they use non-Peroxide whitening gels. The majority of these non-Peroxide whitening agents use Sodium Perborate to 'whiten' teeth instead.

Facts About Non-Peroxide Tooth Whitening Agent

Sodium Perborate is a salt made from Hydrogen Peroxide. It causes dehydration of the teeth, resulting in a brighter colour. However, this effect is short-lived as our teeth are re-hydrated through saliva. In short, Sodium Perborate temporarily LIGHTENs teeth, rather than WHITENING them.

On the other hand, Peroxides are "true bleaches" that whiten rather than lighten teeth. Peroxides whiten teeth by opening highly pigmented carbon rings and converting them into chains, which are lighter in colour.

What Else You Need To Know Before You Go For Teeth Whitening?

It is important that you consult the dentist to have a thorough check up first before you proceed with teeth whitening. For e.g., cavities have to be filled up first, or else you may suffer from severe sensitivity or pain after teeth whitening.

As trained dental healthcare provider, the dentist can also advise you on if you are a suitable candidate for teeth whitening procedures. Some stains are intrinsic and thus cannot be removed.

FAQs on Teeth Whitening

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON TEETH WHITENING

  • How long does the actual Chair side Teeth Whitening take?

    The actual clinical time for the chair side teeth whitening is about 45minutes to 1 hour. In most cases, an immediate whitening result is seen.

    Is it painful?

    The teeth whitening procedure itself is not painful. However a proper examination and diagnosis by the Dentist should be conducted before any form of teeth whitening procedures. This is because the teeth and gums should be healthy before starting. For instance, decayed teeth should be filled up.

    Any side effects?

    The most common "side effect" is sensitivity within the first 24 hours after the procedure. However this can be controlled with a desensitizing agent e.g Tooth Mousse or a painkiller, e.g. Paracetamol.

  • What about those teeth whitening toothpaste, gels etc as advertised on TV?

    Our outer Enamel layer on our teeth is one of the hardest substances in our body and in order to be really effective, the concentration of the bleaching agent (usually a form of peroxide) must be high enough.

    How can I reduce staining caused by some food and drinks?

    Examples of teeth-staining food and drinks are coffee, tea, red wine, fruit juices, blueberries, cherries and curry. To reduce your teeth’s exposure to them:

    • Straw to drink;
    • Finish them in one or two sittings rather than eat or sip them throughout the day;
    • Brush your teeth after eating
Veneers

Dental veneer is a custom-designed, thin porcelain layer that covers the outer surface of a tooth, to modify the colour, size or shape of a tooth to more desirable appearance. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, dental veneers can also serve a functional purpose by protecting the surface of a damaged tooth. The two most common materials used in the fabrication of dental veneers are composite resin and porcelain veneers. Composite veneers can be fitted in a single session, whereas porcelain veneers need a second visit for fitting. Of the two options, porcelain veneers are longer lasting.

Once veneers are bonded into place, they are relatively strong and durable. However, care must be taken because the thin porcelain shells can damage or break. Your dentist may advise you against certain uses or dietary tendencies. If you are a bruxer (you grind or clench your teeth unconsciously during sleep), your dentist may recommend that you wear a protective appliance at night.

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