Aesthetic dentistry

In the course of our lives teeth could be lost by decay, gum recession or accident. Front teeth are replaced mostly due to aesthetics, while molar teeth are replaced to restore the chewing function.

The missing teeth can be replaced by the preparation of the adjoining teeth. This we call as fixed replacements. These bridges are placed on metal or zirconium oxide frameworks. The ceramic is burned on these frameworks making the prosthetic the same color as the patient's teeth was prior to their preparation.

It is an important dental hygienic treatment, which is necessary before future fillings and tooth replacements as well. Nowadays, calculus removal is nearly pain-free, thanks to an ultra-sound machine. It is recommended every six months, in order to preserve our dental health.

When getting aesthetic dental work done, nowadays people rather choose light-curing white porcelain fillings, as opposed to the old amalgam fillings, which are dangerous to health. These top-quality composite fillings are used not only in case of frontal, visible teeth but also the rear occlusal surfaces too: they do not deteriorate or get discoloured, and can take pressure well, while their shrinkage is minimal. Large tooth cavities, which could previously only be treated by tooth extraction, can nowadays be cured by inlays; in these cases, the cavity is cleaned and disinfected, and a plastic or porcelain plug is inserted. The tooth, which is saved this way, adopts better to temperature changes and chewing pressure, and in the majority of cases, develops no further caries underneath the filling.

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth - covering the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and/or to improve its appearance. The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.

A dental bridge is a device used to fill the space where a tooth has fallen out or been removed. A typical dental bridge consists of a pontic (a filler tooth) that is attached to two surrounding abutments (dental crowns). Once complete, this dental bridge structure is bonded into the mouth. Without the use of a dental bridge, spaces in the mouth from missing teeth can cause multiple teeth to shift, lead to occlusion (biting) and/or jaw problems and spur periodontal disease. Dental bridges safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.

Dental bridges usually require three trips to the dentist's office. During the initial visit, the surrounding teeth are numbed with a local anaesthetic. The dentist prepares the surrounding teeth by cleaning any plaque or decay that remains and reducing them so that the dental crowns can be fitted. The dentist makes a mold of the teeth and sends it off to a dental lab, where the customized impression is prepared. The customized mold takes one to two weeks to return to the office. In the interim, patients are fitted with a temporary dental bridge constructed of acrylic resin. When the patient returns to the dental office, the dentist removes the temporary dental bridge and replaces it with the permanent one. The dentist then adjusts the dental bridge for the proper bite and fit, and the dental bridge is permanently bonded into the mouth.

There are several different types of dental bridges. The first is a fixed dental bridge, which consists of a filler tooth (a pontic) that is attached to two dental crowns. The dental crowns fit over the existing teeth to hold the dental bridge in place. The fixed dental bridge is the most popular bridge.

Another dental bridge design is a composite bond, known as a "Maryland" dental bridge. This type of dental bridge is commonly used to replace the front teeth. The pontic is attached to metal bands that are bonded to the abutment teeth, and the metal bands are hidden with a white-coloured composite resin.

A cantilever dental bridge is often used when there are teeth on only one side of the span. A typical 3 unit cantilever dental bridge consists of two abutment dental crowns that are positioned next to each other on the same side of the missing tooth space. The pontic is then connected to the two dental crowns, which extend into the missing tooth space.

If the missing tooth space has no surrounding teeth, the dentist may decide a dental implant is the most appropriate choice. When a series of teeth are missing, the dentist may suggest a partial denture as the most effective way to maintain the structure of the jawbone.

When a tooth is cracked, decayed, or damaged, a dental crown may need to be fitted onto the tooth.

During your first visit, the dentist will numb the tooth to be crowned and remove the decay in or around it. The tooth is then resculpted to provide an easy fit for the dental crown. This is a painless procedure that is performed in the dentist's chair.

An impression of your teeth is then taken and sent to the dental lab where permanent, custom-made dental crowns are created (this usually takes one to two weeks). During this interim period, temporary dental crowns made of an acrylic resin are fitted onto the teeth.

On your next visit, on the resculpted tooth the dentist makes a fitting test with the sample crown, which has been prepared upon the impression that was taken earlier. This fitting is necessary to make sure that the dental crown has the proper look and fit.

On your last visit, the dentist removes the temporary dental crown and fits the permanent dental crown onto the tooth. After making sure that the dental crown fits perfectly, he or she cements the crown into place.

The proper dental hygiene for normal teeth should be applied to any new dental crown. Daily brushing and flossing will help to keep the teeth, gums, and crown free from the bacteria that can cause gum disease. Chewing on hard foods such as ice or pistachios should be avoided because over time, they can cause dental crowns to crack or break. Given proper care, crowns can last several decades.

The other, probably most spectacular aesthetic dental treatment is tooth whitening. It can be performed after calculus removal and other preparations, and it whitens the surface of the tooth by two or three shades of white. There are quite a few techniques used for this treatment, the common thing in these treatments is that the active substance penetrates the inner layer of the tooth, and dissolves colouring materials such as cigarette smoke, tea, coffee and red wine. Following the treatment, the patient gets a younger look and healthy, white teeth. Tooth whitening at home is just as popular: in this case, a plastic rail and whitening substance are used, and results can be achieved in one or two weeks.