21. A THOUSAND MILLION SMILES

Questions :

21. A THOUSAND MILLION SMILES

Contributed by:

Dr. Wong Foot Meow

BDS, FDSRCPS, FICD, AM Oral Surgeon

100 Watt Smile

Happiness in life is being able to keep smiling and eat well. The first thing that people notice about you is your smile. If your smile is regarded as a curve that sets everything straight, imagine what miles of smiles can do. Only a healthy smile with bright sparking teeth and fresh breath can be termed the 100 watt smile. So how do you go about flashing a 100 watt smile? The first step is to consult a dentist who will analyse your problem and suggest the appropriate smile management plan.

Problems

Many dental problems can compromise a beautiful smile. Among the problems routinely identified in a smile analysis that would adversely affect your smile include :-

  1. Bad breath.
  2. Teeth which are not of one colour.
  3. Uneven front teeth which may be crooked, protruding or overlapping.
  4. Staining of teeth with white or brown stains.
  5. Rough, non matching and discoloured anterior fillings.
  6. Diseased unhealthy gums and gum recession.
  7. Worn down and / or fractured teeth.

How to improve your smile

Depending on the problem or combination of problems, teeth may be improved by repairing, straightening, reshaping and whitening (bleaching) essentially aesthetic dentistry restores decaying, broken or defective teeth to improve your smile. Your friendly dentist may use any of the following or a combination to make your smile sparkle, but most importantly you must practise total oral hygiene.

  1. Fresh breath.
  2. Composite resin bonding and cosmetic contouring.
  3. Bleaching.
  4. Laminate veneers.
  5. Porcelain bonded crowns.
  6. Bridges.
  7. Orthodontics (Braces).

Fresh Breath

Principal causes of bad breath is the release of two main gases : methymercaptan and hydrogen sulphide. Keeping bad breath at bay is really quite simple i.e. by brushing your teeth and gum but more importantly the tongue.

Composite Resin Bonding

Composite resins are tooth coloured filling materials which can be bonded on the tooth surface roughened by acid etching. The dentist can custom shape and contour the tooth with the appropriate shade (colour) of bonded composite resin giving the exquisite aesthetic appearance and beautiful smile. It is a quick, painless and inexpensive method of improving your smile but has a short life expectancy of 3 -5 years requiring frequent repair or replacement.

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Bleaching

Bleaching is an effective method of lightening the teeth. People request for teeth whitening for many reasons. There are many causes of teeth discolouration. The commoner causes include extrinsic stains ( coffee, tea or tobacco ). Tetracycline ( antibiotic ) stains, non vital or root treated teeth and yellowing of aging teeth.

Age related discolouration begins from inside the tooth and is reflected out through the enamel. Bleaching must always be done in consultation and under the supervision of the dentist. Two bleaching techniques are recommended.

  1. In-office type version using concentrated bleaching gel.
  2. At home dentist - supervised version using less diluted bleaching gel.
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The custom-made plastic mouthguard is filled with bleaching gel (normally carbornide peroxide which turns into hydrogen peroxide) and placed over the teeth. The bleach will slowly penetrate the enamel spitting up your teeth like it does your laundry whites.

The end result is teeth that sparkles a few shades lighter than when you first started. This usually last for a few years. Rebleaching may then be necessary.

Laminated Veneers

Usually made of porcelain, these thin plastics shells or they are "false fronts" (like false fingernails) which are bonded to the enamel of the front teeth. Laminate can make teeth discolouration, contour teeth and reduce create even, straight and aesthetic looking teeth.

Porcelain Bonded Crowns

A crown is a cap or cover replacing that portion of the tooth exposed in the mouth. Crowns are aesthetically designed to look and feel like real teeth. Badly fractured, discoloured or uneven teeth may be repaired or reshaped if desired. All porcelain crowns e.g.. Dicor resemble real teeth and look very natural.

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Orthodontics

Braces are utilized by the orthodontist to straighten teeth, close gaps and improve smiles. Nowadays tooth coloured braces using porcelain brackets are socially acceptable as they are not so noticeable.

Conclusions

With all the advances outlined earlier there is no excuse for not having an attractive smile. An attractive smile can exude the warmth and self confidence that you want to convey. Happiness in life is also able to keep smiling and eat well. In addition, in order to maintain your smiles, remember to : * Visit your dentist once a year.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day (minimum of 3 minutes per session)
  • Floss daily
  • Eat a well proper balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
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