Conservative mini smile makeovers
Dentistry is changing all the time. Technology advances and techniques change and improve. Patients are more dentally educated and discerning than several years ago.
A great example for this is the conservative option for smile makeovers. Ten to fifteen years ago smile makeovers usually consisted of preparing the teeth for crowns or veneers. Nowadays with orthodontic treatment being much more accepted amongst the adult population and we find our patients usually opt for this with some whitening and composite bonding to the front teeth for their smile makeover.
This three-fold technique consists of
- aligning or straightening crooked or spaced teeth.
- whitening to improve the general colour.
- applying composite resin (tooth coloured filling material, also known as ‘bonding’) to the tips of the teeth if they are chipped, cracked, worn or broken down, to create a perfect shape.
Examples of straightening crooked teeth, using Invisalign
- Front teeth crowding
- Lower teeth crowding
- Spacing between the teeth
- ‘Severe’ crowding of the lower teeth
Orthodontic treatment or braces is now widely acceptable. Patients realise it is more conservative and, with good treatment planning and correct retention, long lasting. The more favourable options are usually ‘invisible’ braces such as fixed lingual (or inside / behind the teeth) or removable braces such as Invisalign.
Having straighter teeth not only looks better and boosts confidence, it has also been shown to improve oral health, which in turn has more general health benefits.
Invisalign consists of a series of clear, removable aligners that gradually straighten your teeth. Invisalign aligners are usually worn for 21-22 hours per day, only being removed from eating, drinking hot or sugary drinks and when cleaning your teeth. They are changed each week as they guide your teeth into the correct position. There are no brackets or wires and none of the restrictions that come with metal braces – you can eat what you want, without causing damage to the braces. It has also been shown that they are better for tooth and gum health than regular braces, as they are removed during brushing and flossing. They are virtually invisible – people often don’t notice you are wearing them and they are the most comfortable brace on the market.
An Invisalign aligner….
….and being worn.
The process begins with the Invisalign doctor examining you and checking your teeth, gums and jaw are healthy and that you are suitable for the Invisalign treatment. Photographs and a digital scan of your teeth are then taken.
This allows you to have your own, unique, 3D simulation of your proposed teeth alignment and to see the end result before you start, known as a ‘Clincheck’, as shown below:
Once you and the doctor are happy with this proposal, your aligners are manufactured and delivered 10-14 days later. Treatment times depend on the amount of movement required and how complex the case is but can range from only a few weeks to a year or so. Once the teeth are straightened, we look at the next stages to enhance the smile and move to whitening the teeth.
Bleaching / tooth whitening
Professional “bleaching” or tooth whitening treatment is usually one of three methods – in office, at home, or a combination of both (where the teeth are usually whitened over 14 nights and then a power boost in the surgery). We have found that the combination systems work best and give the most long lasting results. Enlighten whitening is therefore our go-to system for teeth whitening.
Enlighten whitening can whiten up to 16 shades, results vary, but when used correctly all natural teeth will dramatically whiten. It is the only system on the market to guarantee the results to a Vita shade B1.
Example of teeth whitening –
Bespoke Enlighten whitening trays are first manufactured for you. They are thin rubber trays and so are comfortable. They must be worn in bed, with the gel inside, for 14 nights. Then on the 15th day you need to see your dentist for the ‘in office’ part of your treatment, where a concentrated dose of whitening gel is placed inside the trays to reach your optimal shade. The process is non-invasive and can produce dramatic results.
Results can last indefinitely with some very simple maintenance. Wearing the trays for 1 night every other month.
Once alignment goals have been satisfied and the bleaching process is complete, any small chips, tooth wear or uneven edges can be restored with a process known as bonding.
Sometimes with crooked or malaligned teeth, these irregular edges may not have been noticed, but once the teeth are straighter and whiter can often stand out. Alternatively this may be the difference between a nice result and a stunning smile when the teeth are made into ideal proportions.
Bonding may be the difference between a nice result and a stunning smile
It is often possible to show the results with ‘mocking up’ or adding small pieces of composite resin, before the definitive treatment.
With this treatment, the tooth structure is built up to create a pleasing and natural appearance. We can exactly match the tooth colour and shade with a range of hardwearing tooth coloured composite resin material. This is added to the teeth as needed, in a painless, drill-free, one visit appointment for a stunning end result.
- Aligning, whitening and building up of the ‘peg shaped’ lateral incisors
- Aligning, whitening and restoring the incisor edges with bonding
Therefore to summarise, the benefits of aligning, bleaching and bonding?
- It perfects the bite and positioning of natural teeth.
- Straighter teeth often mean a healthier smile and better oral and general health.
- It significantly improves appearance and overall aesthetics.
- It is a non-invasive treatment that preserves tooth structure.
- It is an affordable cosmetic dentistry treatment.
But most of all, it makes our patients happy! They have a new, beautiful smile that boosts their self-esteem and self-confidence. It is a conservative cosmetic solution with superior patient outcomes.