How to Get a Perfect Smile
If you shy away from smiling because of your teeth, you should consider undergoing cosmetic dentistry to fix them. In the recent past, cosmetic dentistry’s popularity has soared and is now seen as commonplace within society as higher standards of living and new dental technology & techniques lead to quicker and better results. In the US alone, about $2.75 billion is spent on cosmetic dentistry.
What is cosmetic dentistry?
Generally, cosmetic dentistry is dental work that is done to improve the appearance of your smile by fixing your teeth, bite, or gum. It includes;
- Adding dental material to your gums or teeth like composite or porcelain veneers, crowns gum grafts, and bonding
- Removing gum tissue or tooth structure through procedures like gingivectomy, and enameloplasty
- Whitening the teeth through teeth whitening
- Straightening the teeth through orthodontics
Below are some dental problems, their causes, and how they can be solved to achieve a perfect smile.
Crooked Teeth and Gaps
Crooked teeth and gaps are common in adults and children. And though they may not put your health at risk, you can have them straightened for a beautiful smile.
Causes of crooked teeth
Both milk and permanent teeth can erupt in a crooked position or become crowded after eruption. Most times, teeth are misaligned due to lack of space in the particular jaw/s.
Also, prolonged habits, including sucking on a thumb or a pacifier, can cause baby teeth to become crooked. In some cases, genetics also play a significant role.
However, having crooked baby teeth doesn’t necessarily mean that your child will have permanent crooked teeth as well. But if the baby teeth are crowded in the mouth, permanent teeth have a higher chance of also being crowded.
The other causes include trauma and tooth decay. These may result in baby teeth being lost prematurely. When this happens, the neighbouring teeth can drift into the space left by the lost tooth causing the permanent teeth to erupt in a misaligned position due to lack of space.
Other causes include;
- Mouth breathing
- Misaligned jaw
- Poor dental care
- Poor nutrition
Solutions to crooked teeth
Braces – fixed metal braces are attached to teeth with flexible wire bands and brackets. These are the best choice for individuals with complex dental alignment problems. Sometimes, dentists add headgear to the treatment regime to help with the correction process.
Lingual braces – these are a form of invisible braces. But unlike traditional braces, they are attached to the back of the teeth. Lingual braces are quite expensive and aren’t recommended for severely crooked teeth.
Invisalign – these are multiple sets of transparent and removable aligners. They are used to straighten teeth gradually and can be removed when eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth.
Porcelain veneers – these are an alternative to braces. They are placed over natural teeth to hide imperfections, thus straightening teeth.
Lumineers – these are similar to veneers only that they are thinner and translucent. They replicate the look and feel of natural teeth. Given that they are thin, tooth reduction isn’t normally required.
Causes of stained teeth
Teeth stains are caused by a variety of factors, including certain foods and beverages. Teeth staining is a biological process that involves the enamel. Some of the causes of teeth stains include;
- Food and drinks
- Poor oral hygiene
- Disease or trauma
- Medical treatments such as chemotherapy, antihistamines, and blood pressure medication
- Long-term use of chlorhexidine mouthwash
Remedies for stained teeth
Whitening toothpaste – these are special kinds of toothpaste that include ingredients designed to remove surface stains with the help of gentle brushing. Note that the whitening process is usually gradual. Certain whitening toothpastes are very abrasive and long-term use can damage the enamel.
In-office whitening – this is done by a dentist who uses a potent whitening gel containing bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide, which chemically whitens teeth to the natural shade. The process takes between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the level of staining.
Whitening kits – these are over the counter products that mimic professional teeth whitening. They normally contain a bleaching agent, a light that accelerates the bleaching and a mouth guard. Other kits include extra products like remineralisation and vitamin E gels, which reduce tooth and gum sensitivity, respectively.
Chipped and Broken Teeth
Causes of broken teeth
The possible causes of chipped and broken teeth include;
- Trauma to the mouth or face
- Poor hygiene
- A bad bite
Remedies for chipped & broken teeth
Filling and bonding – if only a small piece of the enamel is chipped, your dentist may repair the damage using a filling. If the damage is on the front teeth, then a process called bonding is done. Bonding uses a tooth-colored resin to match the color of the teeth. Tooth numbing is not required during bonding.
Crowning and capping – these processes are used to repair damage when a large piece of the enamel chips off. Your dentist will file and grind the remaining tooth and cover it with a cap or a crown to improve its appearance and protect it from further damage.
Enameloplasty – in this process, small amounts of the remaining tooth enamel are removed to reshape the tooth. Enameloplasty is used when a small piece of the tooth chips off.
Nighttime bite guards – these guards are worn when going to sleep to cushion the teeth and prevent teeth grinding, which may lead to chipped teeth or worsen the situation.
Causes of missing teeth
Some of the most common causes of missing teeth include;
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Dental injuries
- Dental Extractions
- Wear and tear
Remedies for missing teeth
Dental implants – false teeth are installed on top of titanium implants that are fitted directly into the jawbone
Bridges – a bridge uses support from the neighbouring teeth to replace a missing tooth. It involves trimming down the adjacent tooth/teeth for bridge fitting.
Dentures – depending on the number of the missing teeth, your dentist may recommend a partial or full denture. You can also have a temporary partial denture as you wait for a bridge to be installed or implants heal before being fitted with the permanent tooth/teeth. Dentures are custom made to fit your mouth.
Causes of receding gums
Some of the factors that can cause receding gums include;
- Periodontal diseases
- Brushing aggressively
- Tobacco products
- Hormone levels
- Poor dental hygiene
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Misaligned bite and crooked teeth
Remedies for receding gums
Gum rejuvenation – this is a procedure that involves techniques from periodontal surgical processes, including coronally positioned flaps and guided bone regeneration to reverse gum recession.
Gingivoplasty – this is the process of reshaping the gingiva to correct gum deformities. It is a local anesthesia procedure.
Dental exams and deep cleaning – regular dental exams and deep cleaning help to get rid of tartar and plaque. The process results in smooth root surfaces and makes it hard for bacteria to attach to the gum and cause damage.
Brushing and flossing regularly – brushing your teeth twice in a day using a medium-bristled toothbrush and flossing once daily will reduce plaque and bacteria levels in your mouth. This will help to prevent the gums from receding.
And there you have it. A guide to some of the problems related to imperfect smiles and ways you can solve each of them. Bear in mind that you need to visit a dentist for professional guidance and treatment for excellent results.
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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.