Elements of Cosmetic Dentistry and Smile Enhancement

People used to think of cosmetic dentistry only as the procedures to enhance the teeth. However, your smile includes the teeth in the foreground, the gum in the background, and the lips that frame it all. Therefore, modern cosmetic dentistry procedures now include enhancement of the teeth and gum through cosmetic dental procedures, and enhancement of the lips through facial esthetic procedures.

What treatments are involved in enhancing a smile

  • Color enhancement with teeth whitening
  • Restorative treatment such as veneers & crowns
  • Cosmetic orthodontic treatment
  • Cosmetic gum surgery
  • Teeth replacement
  • Facial esthetic treatment such as lip augmentation with fillers and Botox

Cosmetic dentistry can enhancement tooth color, shape, or size. This can be achieved by teeth whitening or porcelain restorations. Teeth whitening can be done at home with tray material or strips that gradually lighten the teeth over a period of seven to tent teeth. Teeth whitening can also be done at the office, which takes about an hour. In-office teeth whitening provides better results, especially when dark or uneven colors are involved. Dramatic color changes may require either veneers or crowns. Ceramic restorations mask dark teeth colors and can be fabricated to be very bright. Veneers only cover the front of the teeth while crowns encircle the teeth. New materials such as E-Max and Zirconia, can create very thin veneers with colors that are as bright as the patient desires. Veneers and crowns can also correct teeth size or form and can close gaps between teeth.

Crocked teeth can now be straightened in few months with modern orthodontic treatment. Advances in brackets and wire technology allow amazing results that can be achieved in as little as 6 months. Orthodontic treatment can be done by traditional braces or by removable aligners such as Invisalign or ClearCorrect. Orthodontic treatment can level gum lines, correct protruded teeth, straighten crowded teeth or close gaps between teeth. It can also fix bite problems and improve lip support.

Cosmetic periodontal/gum surgery is an important part of cosmetic dentistry. The pink color of the gum forms the background of the smile. In addition to treating gum disease, gum surgery can correct short teeth to improve that proportions of teeth length to width. It can also level gum line to create a symmetric smile. Additionally, gum surgery is used for the treatment of gummy smile. A gummy smile shows excessive display of gum tissue when the patient smiles. A gummy smile can be corrected either by gum surgery, orthodontics, lip repositioning surgery, or Botox injections.

The lips and peri-oral areas play crucial roles in smile appearance. The lips frame the smile and enhance the entire picture. Lips that are disproportioned or asymmetric can be easily corrected with lip augmentation procedures. Lip augmentation is usually done with hyaluronic acid lip fillers. Lip fillers restore proper lip proportions, enlarge a thinning lip, and correct lip asymmetry. Fillers are also used to correct deep nasolabial folds and correct corners of the mouth. Additionally, thread lift is used to lift sagging peri-oral tissue and to give a more youthful look to the smile.

What’s in Your Mouthwash?

You may use mouthwash as a part of your at-home oral hygiene routine. It may be because your dentist recommend you use it or maybe you have an extra sense of oral cleanliness that mouthwash offers. Regardless of the reason behind you use mouthwash, the use of mouthwash adds an additional level of cleanliness and protection from tooth decay and gum disease.

While there are many types of mouthwash, there are two main categories of mouthwash: therapeutic and cosmetic. The vast majority of mouthwashes are therapeutic, providing treatment from tooth sensitivity, bad breath and dry mouth, while also strengthening and cleaning teeth and gums to protect them from disease and decay. Cosmetic mouthwashes often have the sole purpose of whitening teeth. These cosmetic mouthwashes have additional ingredients in them that help remove stains from the surface of teeth.

What about the therapeutic mouthwash you use each night before you go to bed? What ingredients are in it?

Traditional mouthwashes have a variety of active ingredients that are to do everything from killing bacteria to giving the mouthwash a pleasant, sweet flavor. Most mouthwashes have at least 11 active ingredients plus ingredients for the flavoring. Below are the common mouthwash ingredients:

Active Ingredients:

  • Benzalkonium Chloride-Used for its antibacterial properties
  • Benzoic Acid-A common mouthwash ingredient that has good buffering and antiseptic properties
  • Calcium Hydroxide-An inorganic compound that acts as a depository of an additional layer of dentin.
  • Camphor-Used for its aromatic properties as well as a pain reliever
  • Cetylphyridinium Chloride-Acts as an antimicrobial mouthwash agent
  • Chlorhexidine Gluconate-An antiseptic disinfectant used to treat periodontal disease
  • Domiphen Bromide– Used for its antiseptic properties
  • Alcohol-An antiseptic that gives mouthwash its characteristic burning sensation
  • Methparaben-Used for its antimicrobial properties
  • Methyl Salicylate-Used for it aromatic and antiseptic properties
  • Sodium Benzoate– Used as a preservative

Active Ingredients for Flavor

Different mouthwashes will have a different mixture or concentration of different flavoring ingredients depending on what the overall mouthwash flavor is.

  • Clove Leaf Oil
  • Cubeb Oil
  • Cedarwood Oil
  • Eucalyptus Oil-Used for its antibacterial properties
  • Lemon Oil
  • Myrrh Oil
  • Redistilled Mentha Arvensis Oil
  • Sweet Orange Oil
  • Peppermint Oil-Used for its aromatic and antibacterial properties
  • Sucralose-An artificial sweetener to enhance flavor
  • Saccharin Sodium-An artificial sweetener to enhance flavor
  • Spearmint Oil

Emulsifier and Surfactant Ingredients

Emulsifiers and surfactants are what make the mouthwash foam after being swished around in the mouth.

Poloxamer-Acts as a surfactant

Polysorbate-Acts as a surfactant and emulsifier

The majority of mouthwashes one finds in the store or dental office will contain these active ingredients. Some patients, however, may not like using traditional mouthwash because of the numerous chemicals included in them.

Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the use of all-natural mouthwashes and mouthwashes that are alcohol-free. Many of the natural mouthwashes can be made at home using common, inexpensive home products such as coconut oil, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.

What Are the Benefits of Dental CT Scans

The work of the dentists is never easy without the use of special equipment. Most of the work done by the experts revolves around the diagnosis. Unless accurate diagnosis is done, the treatment will not be beneficial. That is why dentistry relied so much on X-Ray images to identify oral infections and diseases. Despite the benefits of the X-Rays, they are inadequate. They failed to cover some parts of the mouth. That is dangerous since the hidden mouthparts might be infected without the knowledge of the dentists.

The insufficiency of X-Rays led to the adoption of the CT scans. The CT scans enable the dentists to get 3D images of the mouth. That reduces the difficulty of examining the mouth. It becomes less difficult for the dentists to identify oral infections. No special preparation ought to be done by the dental patients prior to the examination. However, they are advised by the dentists to wear loose clothes. Anything that might tamper with the imaging should not be worn. That includes hearing aids, sunglasses, and jewelry.

The CT scans offer a wide range of benefits in dentistry. Listed below are some of its great benefits.

Reveals everything in the mouth

The CT scan does not hide anything. The scan captures every part of the mouth using different angles and views. Thus, the dentists will have a better view and idea of what is happening in the mouth of the patients. In fact, the dentists prefer the scan when planning to carry out a complete evaluation of the entire mouth.

Bone and soft image tissue

The CT scan is more effective than the traditional X-Ray imaging. The typical dental X-Ray was used to capture images of the jawbone and teeth. However, the CT scan provides more details. The scan captures details of the teeth, bones and soft tissues in a single scan. Thus, dentists have a complete view of every part in one image.

It is quick

The CT scan is very quick. For a full mouth scan, the imaging process is likely to take 20 to 40 seconds. A scan targeting a specific part will take less than 10 seconds. Apparently, the patients are not supposed to be exposed to radiation for a long time. That is dangerous. The imaging process takes a short time but it is very effective.

Controlled radiation

The CT scan uses radiation. Exposure to radiation is one of the causes of cancerous growth. That is why most people believe that the equipment is risky. When a small amount of radiation is used, it does not have any bad effect. The CT scan equipment gives dentists the ability to control the radiation. That has helped in reducing the risk of getting cancer, making the equipment a safer alternative.

Common Oral Health Issues in Older Adults

As long as many of us can remember, daily teeth brushing and flossing and visits to the dentist office every six months were a regular routine, howbeit, one we didn’t particularly care for. We were told at a young age that good oral hygiene was the key in healthy teeth and gums. If proper care was done throughout our lives, we’ll have more of our teeth remaining when we got older.

Yet, you likely have a grandparent or aging parents who have partial or full dentures. In fact, so many older adults have dentures that the two have subconsciously become synonymous with each other. In certain instances, poor oral hygiene is the root cause of someone losing most, if not all, of their teeth. However, this is not the case for everyone. As we age, our teeth wear out like the rest of our bodies, and are therefore more prone to disease, infections and complications.

Many of the common oral health issues that occur as we age are exacerbated by other health issues and common medications that older adults take for those health issues. Specifically, these are the common issues of the teeth and gums that can occur:

  • Tooth loss
  • Oral cancer
  • Thrush
  • Cavities (tooth decay)
  • Gum disease
  • Infections of the mouth and sinuses
  • Inability to taste
  • Denture lesions
  • Oral candidiasis
  • Dry mouth
  • Mucosal lesions
  • Receding gums

Dry mouth can cause a variety of oral health issues, namely tooth decay and gum disease. As we age, our saliva production gradually decreases. Saliva is the body’s built-in mouth cleaner and it plays an essential role in keeping the mouth healthy, functioning properly and looking great. When not enough saliva is produced, trapped bacteria, mostly in the form of lodged food particles, have a better environment to thrive and attach onto teeth. The acid produced by this bacteria eats away at the tooth enamel, slowly penetrating deeper into the tooth. If cavities aren’t treated, they can lead to tooth death and the tooth will need to be extracted. Untreated decayed teeth can also form an infection in the root of the tooth, which is in the jawbone. The infection can spread into the jawbone tissue, making the jaw weaker.

Heart medication, and medication to treat blood pressure and cholesterol and depression have a known side effect of producing dry mouth.

In addition, the strength of seniors’ teeth and gums are naturally weakened from many years of use, wear and tear. As we age, for instance, our enamel, the hard, outermost protective covering of the tooth gradually deteriorates, making our teeth more vulnerable to injury, decay, infections and staining.

The lack of taste, whether it’s caused from medication or other underlying health conditions such as kidney disease or chronic liver disease, can lead older adults to unintentionally harm their already compromised oral health. This might include adding excessive salt to flavor food or consuming very hot foods that burn the gums.