4146 Carmichael Road, Suite A
Montgomery, AL 36106
Jebeles, Chris A D.D.S.
4647 Highway 280 # E
Birmingham, AL, 35242-5032
Ballard, James F D.D.S.
1771 Independence Ct # 4
Vestavia, AL, 35216-1232
Barfield, Robert D.D.S.
1919 7th Ave S
Birmingham, AL, 35233-2005
Sutton, Donald W D.D.S.
813 Riverbend Dr
Gadsden, AL, 35901-2556
The color, size, and shape of your teeth all have a profound impact on your appearance. While it is often the desire of people to improve the look of their smiles, it should be the goal of aesthetic dentistry, or cosmetic dentistry, to do this while still maintaining a "natural" appearance of the teeth. This often requires addressing one or all of the above-mentioned criteria. How is it that alterations in these three characteristics enhance your smile?
Tooth color is most commonly what people see first. As you get older, your teeth get darker. The reasons for this include normal changes that occur within the tooth and repeated insults from environmental conditions (coffee or tea stains, for example). Generally, then, darker teeth are associated with older age. The easiest way that cosmetic dentistry can correct this is by teeth bleaching. But this alone may not entirely create a natural-looking appearance.
Size and shape also are major factors that define the appearance of teeth. The most common cause of changing tooth size and shape over time is tooth wear; and the most common cause of wear is tooth-to-tooth contact, or grinding. Wear on the edges of the teeth can give the appearance of aging because you do not show as much of your teeth when you smile. Another factor that affects how much of your teeth show when you smile is the loss of skin tone as you age.
This loss of tone causes your face to sag, thereby showing less of your upper teeth and more of your lower teeth. The aesthetic dentistry treatment to enable more teeth to show when you smile will depend on the cause. If the cause is due to wear of the teeth, dental veneers or dental crowns can be used to regain the lost length and fill out the smile. On the other hand, this may not have a significant effect if the cause is due to the loss of skin tone associated with age. If this is the case, plastic surgery may be indicated as part of the treatment.
Wear on teeth also will make the edges of the front teeth very flat. As this occurs, the edges of the front teeth will form a straight line rather than the more youthful appearance when the two front teeth are slightly longer than the teeth next to them. Also, as they wear, the proportion of length to width will be altered. Teeth will start to appear more square in their shape rather than rectangular.
Basically, any treatment that counteracts the above-mentioned appearance changes has the ability to enhance the appearance of your teeth and smile. The aesthetic dentistry treatment can vary from teeth bleaching to dental crowns or dental veneers. Depending on the severity, other forms of treatment such as braces and gum surgery also may be indicated to enhance the appearance and function of your teeth. It is important to remember that all areas need to be addressed. If treatment for teeth that are worn and dark only involves teeth bleaching, the final result will be whiter teeth that are still worn and short. The teeth will not appear natural, as there will be a conflict between white teeth (youthful) and worn teeth (aged) that do not work together. Instead, it is necessary to correct the color, size, and shape to create a more natural appearance.
By Greggory Kinzer, DDS, MSD
Have you had esthetic enhancements to your teeth or just naturally have great looking, perfect teeth? Here are some tips to maintain your picture perfect smile.
In order to maintain a healthy smile, you have to know what types of things are damaging to the teeth. Identifying and eliminating bad oral habits is the key to retaining a great smile for many years. Sometimes we are not aware that we are harming the health of our teeth. Do you:
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are in danger of causing a detrimental effect on your new smile.
No one can predict the exact effects that the habit will have on your newly perfect teeth, however, the longer the duration of the habit, the greater negative effect it will have on the longevity of your smile enhancements.
The first step to eliminating a bad habit is to identify and acknowledge that you have one. If your habit is crunching ice, you must alter or eliminate it from your day-to-day routine.
Other habits are harder to break like grinding your teeth. Grinding the teeth is generally an involuntary action and usually occurs when asleep. Because the habit is difficult to break, a plastic night guard is the best solution to prevent excessive wear of your teeth.
A night guard is a clear plastic mouthpiece that is custom-fitted to snap over your teeth, much like an athletic mouth guard. The night guard is designed so your teeth grind on the plastic, not your teeth. The night guard will wear out, but your teeth will not.
Do not neglect your teeth, especially if you have had esthetic enhancements. Your enhancements will not last forever, so in order to preserve your perfect teeth, visit your dentist regularly and do your best to eliminate bad oral habits.
By Benjamin O. Watkins, III, DDS