Friday, March 23, 2007

Cosmetic Dentistry

A smile lights up your face, as the old saying goes. Along with your eyes, your smile is the first thing a person notices when meeting you. So, when you hesitate to smile because of broken, discolored, or poorly spaced teeth, you may be sending an unintended negative message.

People choose to improve the appearance of their teeth for a variety of reasons. Some seek to correct im­perfections that have bothered them since childhood; others believe that a better appearance offers a social or professional advantage. As people keep their teeth later into life than ever before, many wish to reverse the effects of years of wear and tear.

With the advent of new materials and treatments, a better smile is now within reach of a broader segment of the population. But most dental insurance does not cover cosmetic procedures unless they are performed to correct a broken tooth, so you probably will have to pay for these improvements out of pocket.

Bleaching The natural light ivory color of enamel can turn to yellow, orange, brown, gray — even blue or green. Causes of discoloration include staining from coffee or to­bacco, injury that has damaged the pulp, ingestion of the antibiotic tetracycline or high levels of fluoride while the teeth are developing, corrosion from silver fillings, and the natural wearing away of the enamel with age. Although many stains can be successfully removed with a bleaching technique, bleaching may be un­comfortable for people with sensitive teeth or an ex­posed root. Several different bleaching techniques are available.

Chair-side bleaching Your dentist etches your teeth with an acid solution and then applies an oxidizing agent to the enamel. Your teeth are exposed to a bright light or a laser to hasten the lightening. It usually takes three to four sessions, each lasting about 30–60 minutes, to achieve the color you want. A newer technique, called power bleaching, uses a highly concentrated form of hydrogen peroxide as the lightening agent. It can deliver re­sults in just one session. Bleaching is temporary, ­how­ever. Your teeth will darken again within one to three years, and you may need to repeat the procedure. Costs vary, with some dentists charging a fee of be­tween $75 to $225 a session and others charging a single fee of $300 or more.

Home bleaching (dentist prescribed) Your dentist will make a custom-fitted mouthpiece to hold the bleaching chemicals (carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide). Then you perform the bleaching at home. Simply spread the chemicals into the mouth­piece and put it on for the recommended period (be­tween 30 minutes and several hours) each day for a week or two. This procedure generally costs between $200 and $600.

Bleaching pulp-damaged teeth When the pulp is dead or injured, the tooth will darken. To correct this problem, your dentist can rinse the pulp chamber with a bleaching agent while performing root canal therapy. If the stain persists or the tooth darkens after the root canal procedure is completed, your dentist can reopen the pulp chamber and fill it with bleach for several minutes under a heat light. This process may have to be repeated several times. Al­ter­nately, the dentist can fill the pulp chamber with bleaching solution and cover it with a temporary filling. In this case, you'll need to return after a few days to have the bleach removed and the tooth permanently sealed. Costs vary; some practices charge between $300 and $400 per tooth.

Over-the-counter bleaching kits These kits operate on the same principles as the professional products. You start with an acid rinse, then apply a hydrogen peroxide gel, and finally coat the tooth with a whitening pigment. Many over-the-counter tooth whitening strips or kits cost as little as $15 to $40. Although many consumers opt for this bleaching method because it is less expensive than other techniques, the Food and Drug Administration raises several concerns about the use of these kits. Without professional diagnosis, it's hard to determine the source of discoloration and the effectiveness of the bleaching agent, so good results cannot be ensured. In addition, there is not yet enough information to determine the long-term safety of these products.

No comments:

Dr. Group's Secret to Health Kit

Dr. Group's Secret to Health Kit

$39.94
[ learn more ]

Add to Cart

Dr. Group's Secret to Health Kit offers simple at-home solutions for cleansing internally and externally thereby reducing toxins, restoring the body's natural healing process, and helping you achieve true health and happiness.

Advanced Body Cleansing Kit

Advanced Body Cleansing Kit

$147.75
[ learn more ]

Add to Cart

Advanced Body Cleansing Kit with Livatrex™, Oxy-Powder®, Latero-Flora™ and two bottles of ParaTrex®.