It’s Annual Dental Health Week, so there’s no better reminder to take care of your teeth, and it seems we need it. According to the Australian Dental Association (ADA), 65 per cent of the adult population has not visited a dentist in the past two years.
This raises the question: is the increase in cosmetic dental procedures because people try to reverse the damage of lazy hygiene, or is it because they want to project the image of a healthier smile?
“The Internet and social media have reinforced this trend by showing procedures to celebrities and their “dental” makeovers,” explains Dr. Fadi Yassmin, founder of DFY Dental. But he adds that no matter what his reason for undergoing a cosmetic procedure, brushing twice a day, flossing and visiting his dentist regularly should not be negotiable.
“It’s important to know that dental cosmetic procedures make teeth look a lot better, but they don’t necessarily make them healthier,” says Dr Yassmin. “Sometimes patients’ desires are not aligned with their dental needs and a professional dentist can help with that decision process.”
Quality Dental founder Dr Luke Cronin adds that while dental health is a factor, in his experience, cosmetic procedures have more to do with appearance. “If your main concern is poor dental health, it is essential that you address that first, before any cosmetic dental procedure,” he says. “I realize that I have two types of clients: younger patients who want to have a “perfect smile” and patients over 45 who want to repair damage and pre-existing problems now that they can afford it. There is no longer a taboo associated with cosmetic procedures. The change I’m no one I’m saying is that people want to pay more for better service and outcome.”
Dr Cronin recommends “buy” for the right dentist. “This can be a daunting task,” he says. “Always ask to see before and after photos of similar cases of dentist patients before committing to treatment, as this is crucial to understanding the dentist’s experience. How often the dentist performs the procedure is a good indication of his skill and experience as well.”
Help or Harm?
They may be “green”, but these natural alternatives could damage your teeth and your health.
It has become the green ingredient for teeth, but most charcoal products are highly abrasive, scrape tooth enamel and increase the risk of cavities. The ADA discourages the use of charcoal products to brush due to the effects on enamel, but also because many of them do not contain fluoride, an important ingredient that protects teeth. Recent studies have also raised concerns that some ingredients in popular charcoal toothpastes may be carcinogenic.
Bicarbonate of soda
This staple of the pantry has been titled the best cleaning and teeth whitening solution in the home for decades. Sodium bicarbonate has its place due to its ability to neutralize pH, but it can also be abrasive, so it is best to avoid it whenever possible.
apple cider vinegar
By duplicating as a less abrasive and natural alternative to mouthwash, apple cider vinegar is actually high in acetic acid, so it could be eating tooth enamel and causing sensitivity. Vinegar has an average pH level of between 2 and 3, so if you are going to drink it, it is important to dilute it with water, rinse your mouth immediately and avoid brushing within an hour to avoid causing even further damage.
Digital smile design
Using the latest digital technology, dental professionals can design a treatment and show the patient the expected results before performing a procedure. A combination of 3D images, x-rays, facial measurements and proportions, diagnostic modeling, and photo and video analysis are used to design a smile that best suits your needs. It is often used in combination with veneers, bleaching and alignment procedures.
Made of porcelain or composite resin, veneers are a personalized treatment where each veneer is designed for each individual tooth. They then attach to the teeth after minimal preparation. When carefully planned with digital smile design (as noted above), the results can change both the shape and color of your teeth. The structure of the veneers can mimic the reflection of natural teeth light to combine perfectly and get a natural-looking smile.
A modern tooth straightening treatment works like braces, but is touted as more lifestyle-friendly. The technology uses 3D simulation and printing software to create “aligners” that are used as transparent bleaching trays. The result is an efficient and almost invisible way to straighten your teeth.
Red wine, tea, coffee, turmeric lattes: almost everything you consume will have some kind of stained effect on your teeth, especially if you don’t brush after eating. Teeth whitening has never been more popular or accessible. Here’s the deal…
In the chair
Having whitened teeth at the dentist is often more effective and lasts longer than doing it at home. Dentists are qualified to evaluate your dental health and can address underlying discoloration. In addition, the treatment is personalized, the strongest whitening solution and the teeth are professionally cleaned before treatment so that they are fully prepared. Treatments take about 45 minutes. Find Philips Zoom, Opalesence Boost or SDI PolaOffice systems at your dentist. TEST: My Smile Cosmetic Dentistry Teeth Whitening
Great for long-term maintenance, home solutions deliver affordable, smoother results. Available at the dentist, or to purchase over-the-counter kits at home, you should not exceed more than 6 percent hydrogen peroxide, unless your dentist tells you otherwise.
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