What makes a healthy mouth?
In general, there are two diseases that many of us as adults will suffer from. The first is gum disease, which is entirely preventable. It is important to thoroughly clean your teeth, not only with just a toothbrush, but also to clean between the teeth. Classically, that is done with floss, but simply wiping between teeth with a piece of string is not always that effective, so we recommend little brushes that can be inserted between your back teeth.
The other disease is dental decay, and again, this is largely preventable. I think we all know it is caused by sugar, but what we don't maybe appreciate is that it is really the frequency of the sugar intake that can be an issue. Other diseases that we check for are tooth erosion and general tooth surface loss from tooth to tooth contact, which we call attrition, and as long as we have all of those stable, we can ensure we have a nice healthy mouth to achieve the long-lasting restorations that we may be considering.
What are the options for straightening teeth?
I am a general dentist and I will refer patients to specialist orthodontists for what we would call comprehensive orthodontics, but that generally takes 18 months to two years. What we now have are some options that mainly straighten the front teeth and that can happen in as little as five or six months.
These are clear removable trays that each move your tooth a little bit. The positive is that they are removable, but the downside is that they are removable! This is because you need to wear them for 22 hours a day and therefore you need to be quite disciplined.
The alternative is, we can fix braces to your teeth and those can be tooth coloured on the outside (labial braces) or even on the inside of your teeth (lingual braces) and we can straighten most adults’ teeth in as little as five to six months. Once they are straightened, we can look at correcting the colour with many different treatment options.
What teeth whitening treatments are available?
Tooth whitening, as long as it is carried out by a dental care professional, is completely safe.
We would recommend home whitening where moulds are taken of your teeth and a very close-fitting tray is made in which you put hydrogen peroxide gel. The trays are worn either overnight or for two to three hours in the evening. Whilst you are whitening your teeth with these trays, you may expect your teeth to be a little bit more sensitive, but at the end of the whitening process, they will be no more sensitive than they were before.
Whitening, as long as it is maintained with a day of whitening every other month, will maintain the colour of your teeth so much so that we are happy to match porcelain or plastic filling restorations to the whitening shade. Power whitening is available, but you would still need to wear trays for about the same amount of time as if you were not power whitening. With the concentrations that we are allowed to use, we would generally recommend home whitening as being the best option.
If you are considering having smile design, arrange an appointment with Dr Bloom via his Top Doctors profile.