All you ever wanted to know
Well, let’s start with whitening teeth. Surveys tell us that crooked but white teeth make someone appear healthy and young… while “perfect” but yellow smiles make someone look older! Try it yourself, get a beautiful smiling model from a magazine and colour the teeth in lightly with a yellow pencil! It ruins their appearance… just colour alone.
The three basics are that you can simply whiten them more by:
–cleaning them well,
– removing old discoloured fillings
-and bleaching. These are always carbamide or hydrogen peroxide
Now the first two are obvious and fortunately bleaching is easy as well. Once we know the teeth are healthy, bleaching is the simplest and most cost effective way to get a younger looking whiter teeth. Fortunately it doesn’t damage the teeth and helps to counter the natural yellowing from genetics, aging and food stains. You can use a strong solution for a short burst in the surgery if you are time hungry or use weaker solutions at home in thin custom made trays. As a guide, you want the teeth at least as white as the white of your eyes. You will be guided as to the best approach, the best and safest materials and the ideal timing for your smile.
More sophisticated techniques are also available to you. These are mainly when we want to straighten the teeth, soften their look, deal with lost gum or bone, replace missing teeth or deal with heavily worn or filled teeth and so on. It’s always best to start with a plan. Frankly the more knowledgeable the dentist and the greater their level of craftsmanship and artistic flair… the better your result will be. There really is no getting around that one. When advanced longer lasting options are what you prefer then it’s critical to have a plan first that addresses your needs, your unique situation, looks at why your mouth got how it did (prevention) and covers all your options. You will want to understand these with the key pros and cons so you can make a wise and informed choice. It’s your mouth and it must be done the right way. Too many smiles are ruined through a lack of foresight, rushing in and doing things without factoring the bite, joints, habits and principles of art and design.
So how do we start? Planning for more complex situations involves a detailed examination with X-rays and sometimes taking models of the bite to study how your teeth meet and work and perhaps photographs to assess the cosmetic improvements we want to assess. We need to know more than what is going on. We need to know why! It would be crazy to fix something only to have it reoccur! To get value from dentistry, it makes sense to stop the process that leads to problems… in other words putting a fence at the top of the cliff, not an ambulance at the bottom of it.
Once you have a customised plan, you then want to understand your options and be comfortable about choosing the best plan for your lifestyle. It’s very important you feel good about your choice!