Professional Tooth Whitening
Tooth whitening is now a very popular, safe and fast way to improve the appearance of your teeth.
Tooth whitening when done at home using the night whitening technique is still the safest and most effective method available. The main reason for this is because a much lower concentration of the chemical used to whiten teeth is required compared to that used in a chair side power whitening techniques. The advantages of using the lower concentration over a longer period are:
- Longer lasting and more predictable results.
- A marked reduction in sensitivity.
- Minimal risk of trauma to soft tissues through the use of custom made mouth trays which fit preciously.
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What is a veneer?
A veneer is a thin slice of ceramic, a bit like a “false nail”, that is bonded to the front of a tooth. Where teeth are uneven, have unsightly gaps, discolouration or frequently a combination of all of these factors, multiple veneers can be an excellent solution giving a naturally white, even appearance. The so called “Hollywood smile” is very often created by veneers.
Do having veneers involve cutting of your teeth?
Yes. A minimalistic preparation is made in the tooth or teeth to be veneered. Although very thin this preparation does mean that veneering your teeth is an irreversible procedure unlike tooth whitening.
How long do veneers last?
Veneers like any restoration will last many years provided they are looked after which means good oral hygiene and diet. Any restoration, whether it is , a crown, veneer or a simple filling, will decay if the patient’s diet is too high in sugar, sweets, fizzy drinks, chocolate etc.
Can anyone have veneers done?
Yes. Veneers are applicable to most people as long as they are aware that having your teeth veneered is irreversible and is also a purely aesthetically driven treatment. However, as with any restorative treatment whether it be fillings, crowns or bridgework, there are situations where veneering is not appropriate. For example: if there is uncontrolled decay present, underlying gum disease, acid erosion or a destructive grinding habit.
What is a crown?
A crown is a made to measure restoration designed to replace the part of the tooth above the gum. Unlike in the case of a dental implant, the tooth’s root is still present in the patient’s mouth. However, the bulk of the remainder of the tooth is typically heavily filled, decayed or fractured, and therefore in a very weakened state.
A crown is often made from a gold shell with a layer of aesthetic porcelain fired on top. This is known as a bonded crown and as well as restoring the integral strength in a tooth, it will transform its appearance making that , “dirty black tooth “ look “ brand new” again.
The jaws are like a set of nut crackers and therefore at the back of the mouth where the bite is tight, space limited, and the patient’s aesthetic needs less important, crowns can be made from solid gold alloy. Because gold can be cast and is strong in thin section, these crowns can be made to fit very accurately and will stand up to the heaviest of bites.
Where the tooth or teeth are visible, in what is known as the “aesthetic zone” all ceramic crowns are the preferred choice. Over the past thirty years these ceramics have evolved beyond recognition, going from what were weak and dull restorations to being life-like, vibrant and extremely strong. In fact because of the improved strength of these new materials, crowns at the back of the mouth are being increasingly made as all ceramics.
What is a bridge?
Where a tooth is missing but there are other teeth present either side of the space, a bridge can be a restorative option.
Two main types of bridge exist :
These restorations are used where the teeth either side of the space themselves need strengthening with crowns. For example, these adjacent teeth may already be heavily filled. Once cemented in position the bridge is in effect a number of crowns fused together, the ones covering the adjacent teeth being the supporting piers, while the crown in the space left by the missing tooth is the span. A bridge can of course connect a space greater than one tooth’s width. However, the ultimate length of a bridge is determined by how sturdy the roots are of the supporting teeth.
Conceived at the university of Maryland and hence the name, these bridges were designed to fill the spaces left by missing teeth but with minimal preparation of the adjacent teeth involved. So where a tooth needed replacement and healthy, intact adjacent teeth did not warrant the provision of a conventional bridge, the Maryland bridge proved the solution. As all modern dentistry is based largely on the principle of tooth tissue preservation, these bridges have become increasingly common alongside the increasing strength of the new generation of dental cements.
What are the advantages of a bridge over a denture?
A bridge is fixed in the mouth, therefore it does not move but behaves more like a natural tooth or teeth, enabling the patient to eat food stuffs a denture would not allow, (steak, crusty bread, apples etc ).
Because a bridge does not have the palate that is usually part of a denture, it is much less bulky and therefore more comfortable, less inclined to effect speech and less likely to collect plaque and bacteria which encourage decay and gum disease.
The gum and palate need to breath, they can not do this under a denture. If a denture is worn continuously the gum underneath becomes unhealthy. Because the gum supports the teeth, an unhealthy gum leads to unhealthy teeth and eventually tooth loss.