Repair Your Smile
Are you somewhat unhappy or even embarrassed by the way your teeth look when you smile? If so, you are not alone, since it is a common problem, but, in this day and age, there is an awful lot that can be done to correct smile problems and enhance your appearance, and even your whole life!
It is nature’s way that in any population, animal or human, there is a slight difference between each and every individual, and no two are exactly the same. This individual variation is part of the mechanism of a varied gene pool that allows beneficial characteristics to be selected and passed on through the generations. We humans all share the same features but there are many differences in size, shape, and colouring of various ones, and as long as our appearance doesn’t deviate too far from the norm we are usually happy enough.
Sometimes nature isn’t so kind, or genetic problems occur that can impact adversely on our appearance, and this can affect the teeth and/or jaws. A skeletal class 3, for instance, where the lower jaw is too pronounced in proportion to the rest of the face, is unattractive in most people’s eyes, but fortunately even this extreme anomaly can usually be corrected, although surgery may be necessary.
Fortunately most problems are not nearly so severe and can usually be overcome by means of modern dental treatment procedures such as orthodontics or cosmetic restorative dentistry.
A common situation is of course, the crowded mouth, with jumbling of teeth that looks unattractive and makes oral hygiene difficult, but orthodontics applied at the right time will usually sort this out fairly easily.
Occasionally a second tooth will fail to erupt, i.e. come into place in the mouth, but stays put under the gum, usually due to a genetic problem in the way it develops or the position in which it forms. The tooth most commonly affected is an upper lateral incisor or canine, and this may require orthodontic intervention to create space, a surgical exposure of the crown of the unerupted tooth, plus further orthodontic treatment to bring the tooth down into the arch and alignment. This is usually preferable to having to construct a prosthesis such as a bridge in a young person, especially in the case of the canine tooth which is at the corner of the mouth and subject to considerable forces when chewing.
Such is the range of modern dental treatments that you do not have to go through life with a spoiled smile, whatever the cause.
Apart from inherent problems, teeth can suffer trauma which causes varying degrees of damage, or discolouration from poor calcification during enamel development, fluorosis, certain types of antibiotic therapy during teeth development, or from lifestyle habits such as smoking or drinking excessive regular amounts of tea, coffee or red wine.
Depending on the cause, the answer to these problems may range from straightforward bleaching to whiten the teeth, to the provision of porcelain veneers or crowns to cover discolourations, or repair broken enamel.
Technology has improved the scope of cosmetic dentistry with newer, better materials, such as composites (tooth coloured filling materials), that are more densely packed with hard particles and therefore more resistant to wear and to staining, plus porcelain that can be made thinner and yet still very strong.
Having a nice smile involves having a regular appearance to your teeth that show, and a pleasantly white colour. As far as the dentist is concerned he or she will attempt to make your teeth look as attractive as possible, and hopefully will listen to your wishes and understand the failings with regard to your teeth as you see them at present. The dentist is a professional of course, who has seen a lot of teeth and has considerable experience in how to make them look their best. It is not therefore always a good idea to push for your preconceived ideas particularly when it comes to colour. Many patients long for really white teeth because they see pictures of celebrities with them in magazines, but, it is not unknown for such photos to be digitally manipulated and so they don’t always give a true representation of the subject matter. A patient given glowing white teeth by their dentist might be shocked and disappointed because they would look instantly artificial. One might liken the situation to that of some women who have breast implants that are grotesquely large and thus obviously false. So, as much as you think you want a Hollywood smile there is a limit to the degree of whiteness you should aim for, and it is best to talk this through carefully and be guided by your dentist.
It is up to the dentist to know what works and to use his knowledge of dental anatomy, colouration, and smile design to convince the patient of the best course of treatment in any particular case. Because some patients may think of their dentist solely as an artisan or tooth repairer they may need to be tactfully educated by means of visual aids such as pictures or video in order to reach an amicable agreement about the colour their teeth are going to be for the next ten years.
As a patient it certainly helps if you are able to describe to your dentist exactly what you don’t like about your teeth at present, and perhaps give examples of celebrities that you believe to have nice smiles. The better you can explain your desires and the mental image you have of how you would like to look the more likely it is that your smile makeover will be successful.
Often a dentist will take impressions of your teeth and make plaster models from these that help to demonstrate just how the teeth are arranged at present. From these models it is often possible to make provisional restorations that can be placed in the mouth to give a better idea as to how a permanent restoration might appear. This can be extremely useful with regard to agreeing on tooth colour, shape, and arrangement.
If your teeth are not quite as perfect as you would like then it is well worth a visit to your cosmetic dentist to see what can be done to improve matters. You might be pleasantly surprised at the range of options available, and, with a new smile, more doors will open for you!
Principal Dentist Dr. Sonika Sharma provides patient-centered excellence in Cosmetic dentistry! Dr Sharma is a professional member of Australian Dental Association, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and is dedicated to the highest levels of excellence in the art and science of cosmetic dentistry. For more information or to book a consultation, contact the friendly team at Comprehensive Dental Care today.