Most people know that the teeth are the hardest and strongest part of the body. There's more than meets the eye, though. Teeth are actually a living part of your body that has blood vessels and nerves. If you used to judge your teeth like a book by its cover, then you're in for one big surprise. Teeth anatomy is a lot more complicated than you ever thought.
Your teeth are by far one of the most important things you use every day. Many people end up neglecting their teeth with improper oral hygiene. You should take care of them by brushing at least twice a day, flossing once per day, and going for regular dental checkups at least twice per year.
New developments include the implantation of artificial teeth or binding posts into the gums or jawbone; antibiotic fiber for periodontal disease; root canal surgery, a procedure that ameliorates pain while permitting teeth to remain in place; and nearly painless lasers to repair dental cavities, usually making local anesthesia unnecessary.
At some point or other in ours lives, most of us wind up with a cavity. In most cases, a cavity calls for your dentist to remove the decay and to fill in the tooth area that was removed. There have been a number of advances in the field over the past few years, so if you're one of the lucky ones and haven't had a cavity in a while, you should read up on what is available today so that you understand the choices available to you.
Your dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area. The dentist then prepares an access to the decayed area of the tooth and removes the decayed portions. This is accomplished with traditional drills, micro air abrasion or even with a dental laser. With a composite filling, your dentist will preserve more of the natural tooth as the composite resin can be bonded to the tooth in thin layers. If your tooth's decayed area is close to a nerve, a special liner will be used to protect the nerve.
Composite resin fillings are applied in thin layers, and slowly built up to form the complete filling. A bright dental light will harden each layer before the next is applied. Once your filling is completed, your dentist will use a special paper, articulating paper, to adjust the height of your dental filling and that your bite remains correct. Your tooth is then polished.
If over half of your molar tooth's biting surface is decayed an inlay or onlay may be a better option than a filling. These options are basically for when more than a filling is needed but less than a crown will do. An inlay is placed in between the cusps of the tooth, whereas an only will cover one or more of the cusps. They can be made of a gold alloy, porcelain or tooth-colored resin and are cemented into place.
There are two main types of dentures. Both Complete Dentures and Partial Dentures are finely crafted, custom-fitted. If you properly maintain your dentures they will appear natural and provide a perfect smile. Additionally, dentures help strengthen muscles controlling your expressions that require the support of your teeth, rid you of pronunciation problems caused by missing teeth and aid with chewing.
If you've lost, or are losing, all of your teeth a Complete Denture is something to discuss with your cosmetic dentist. If some of your teeth remain and are healthy, a partial denture may be your way to a great smile.
This procedure should be thoroughly discussed with your dentist as there are several personal and medical factors to take into consideration. You may instead be a candidate for dental bridges and dental implants as optional procedures.
Your cosmetic dentist will make an impression of the tooth and a dental laboratory will create the crown. You will typically leave the office with a temporary crown to wear while the permanent crown is being made - this takes about two weeks. The permanent crown is then cemented onto your tooth. Typically, only two visits are required for this part of the procedure. Often, a preliminary restoration of your tooth may be needed before a crown can be placed. To stabilize your tooth, a filling must first be put in place prior to placing a crown due to the loss of original tooth structure. Tooth crowns usually last ten to fifteen years.
Be sure to discuss with your cosmetic dentist that the cement color used for your permanent crown will be the same as used for your temporary crown. A try in paste is used for this purpose. The color of the cement does affect the overall color of a porcelain crown, so this needs to be discussed long before your temporary crown is placed.
In some cases your cosmetic dentist may choose to use a Flipper instead of a temporary crown. A Flipper is a false tooth to temporarily take the place of a missing tooth before the permanent crown is placed. A Flipper can be attached via either a wire or a plastic piece that fits in the roof of your mouth. Flippers are meant to be a temporary solution while awaiting the permanent crown.
The classic metal orthodontic braces are the most familiar method of teeth straightening. Consisting of a bracket glued to the front of each tooth and a metal wire connecting them, orthodontic braces usually require several years of wear for effective teeth straightening. They can be uncomfortable, expensive, and embarrassing for older patients. However, they are still the most effective method of teeth straightening and can correct overbites and underbites as well as individual teeth alignment.
Lingual braces are similar to classic orthodontic braces but are attached to the backside of the teeth, rather than the front. Although they still have many of the problems of standard braces, they are not visible and may be chosen by adults who do not wish for visible braces. Lingual braces are more expensive than standard braces but the fastest method of "invisible" teeth straightening.
Some tenderness and soreness is to be expected with any method of teeth straightening, especially soon after an adjustment is made. The bone on one side of each tooth socket will be compressed, and the other side must be filled in with new bone as the tooth moves through the jaw. Standard orthodontic braces may cause superficial irritation to the interior of the mouth, a symptom that can be reduced with salt water gargles and a soft wax on the surface of the brackets. Severe side effects to teeth straightening are nearly unheard of, and the process is considered very safe.
Basically, bonding will cover any natural flaws applying a thin coating of a plastic material on the front surface of your teeth. After this, your cosmetic dentist will apply a bonding material and sculpt, color and shape it to provide a pleasing result. A high-intensity light then hardens the plastic, and the surface is finely polished.
A very mild etching solution is applied to your teeth to create very small crevices in the tooth's enamel structure. These small crevices provide a slightly rough surface permitting a durable resin to bond materials to your teeth. The resin is then placed on your tooth and high-intensity light cures the resins onto your tooth's surface - with each individual layer of resin hardening in just minutes. When the last coat has been applied to your tooth, the bonded material is then sculpted to fit your tooth and finely polished.
You are good candidate for tooth bonding, if you have close, small gaps between your front teeth, or if you have chipped or cracked teeth, you may be a candidate for bonding. Bonding is also used for patients who have discolored teeth, uneven teeth, gum recession or tooth decay. Bonding material is porous, so smokers will find that their bonding will yellow. If you think you are a candidate for bonding, discuss it with your dentist.
While there is no medical need to whiten teeth, it is a procedure that can have a big impact on a person's self-esteem. Severely yellowed or discolored teeth can make a person self-conscious and reluctant to smile.
For individuals who are looking for a fast way to achieve dramatic teeth whitening results, in-office whitening is the way to go. Protective gel is applied to the gums, lips and other tissue around the teeth, and then a bleaching solution is applied to the tooth enamel. A high intensity laser or other type of light catalyzes the bleach, and the teeth are treated for one to two hours.
Some types of tooth discoloration are difficult to whiten and treat. Teeth that have been subjected to trauma may darken significantly, and resist any bleaching procedure. Some medications affect young children when their teeth are first forming and may also be nearly impossible to treat. Dentists will be able to tell what situations may result in bleach-resistant discoloration, and provide advice on how effective various treatments may be. In cases of extreme discoloration that cannot be subjected to common teeth whitening procedures, porcelain veneers applied to the teeth may be an alternative solution.
Mild side effects are to be expected with any teeth whitening procedure, and may range from slight discomfort to sensitivity to hot and cold. While serious side effects are extremely rare, any extended sensations of pain should immediately be reported to a dentist. Irritation to the gums and mouth tissues should also be watched for and reported if persistent.
Dental veneers (sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size or length and resulting in an improved appearance.
Teeth enamel discoloration can be caused by staining, aging, or chemical damage to teeth. Some of the more common causes of teeth discoloration are medications, coffee, tea or cigarettes. People who drink significant amounts of cola soft drinks can experience similar staining.
Veneers, porcelain or plastic, are placed over the front teeth to change color shape of the teeth. Veneers are ideal for teeth that are too small, too big, or have uneven surfaces. It is very common for people to have imperfect teeth, either oddly shaped teeth, chipped teeth, crooked teeth, teeth with small holes in them, or an inappropriate sized tooth or teeth that have an odd appearance. Veneers solve such irregularities and create a durable and pleasing smile.
While no alternative to veneers will create the exact same effect, there are some popular procedures that may seem worthwhile. Crowns, while more expensive, also act to cover the tooth with a protective coating. For individuals who simply want to brighten their teeth, many clinics now offer tooth bleaching, though this is a much less permanent procedure.
The dental contouring procedure can even be a substitute for braces under certain circumstances. It is also a procedure of subtle changes. A few millimeters of reduction and a few millimeters of tooth-colored laminate can create a beautiful smile when performed by a cosmetic dentist, with no discomfort to you. Tooth reshaping, or dental contouring, is commonly used to alter the length, shape or position of your teeth.
Tooth reshaping, or tooth sculpting, is a safe and conservative way to improve your smile. Teeth may become weaker if large amounts of enamel are removed, tooth reshaping should be limited to minor changes or combined with veneers or bonding for the best smile.
Dental reshaping and contouring is a procedure to correct crooked teeth, chipped teeth, cracked teeth or even overlapping teeth in just one session. This procedure is even a substitute for braces under certain circumstances. This is also a procedure of subtle changes. A few millimeters of reduction and a few millimeters of tooth-colored can create a beautiful smile when performed by a cosmetic dentist, with no discomfort to you. Tooth reshaping, or dental contouring, is commonly used to alter the length, shape or position of your teeth.
- Dental fillings are inserted as restorations in the treatment of dental cavities, after drilling out the cavities.
- Dental implants are surgically fixed substitutes for roots of missing teeth. Embedded in the jawbone, they act as anchors for a replacement tooth, also known as a crown, or a full set of replacement teeth.
- Removable complete dentures are full-mouth false teeth, which are used when a patient has no teeth left on either the mandibular arch, the maxillary arch, or both.
- A layer of tooth-colored material, usually porcelain or acrylic resin, attached to and covering the surface of a metal crown or natural tooth structure.
- Total or partial loss of sensation, especially tactile sensibility, induced by disease, injury, acupuncture, or an anesthetic, such as chloroform or nitrous oxide.
- Local or general insensibility to pain with or without the loss of consciousness, induced by an anesthetic.
- A drug, administered for medical or surgical purposes, that induces partial or total loss of sensation and may be topical, local, regional, or general, depending on the method of administration and area of the body affected.
- A dental bridge is a prosthesis used in place of missing teeth and may be removable or permanently attached.
- The formation of cavities in the teeth by the action of bacteria; tooth decay.
- Also known colloquially as tooth decay.
- Full-coverage restoration (sometimes incorrectly called a cap) is a prosthetic tooth designed by a dentist and usually created by a lab technician.
- A hard, white, translucent ceramic made by firing a pure clay and then glazing it with variously colored fusible materials.
- The medical study of the mouth and its diseases.
- Also known as tooth whitening.