10660 West 143rd Street, Suite E
Orland Park, IL 60462
Complete Smile Center
9839 Southwest Hwy
Oak Lawn, IL, 60453-3672
Libertyville Dental Associates
1730 W Terra Cotta Pl
Chicago, IL, 60614-4447
Park Dental Specialists
1960 N Lincoln Park W
Chicago, IL, 60614-5487
PerioCare - Dental Implant Solutions
7447 W Talcott Ave Ste 227
Chicago, IL, 60631-3713
It used to be that only movie stars had those dazzling brighter-than-bright teeth. But in recent years many new cosmetic dental techniques have sprung up.
Nowadays, there's no reason you can't have a pretty smile that's the equivalent of Marilyn's (or Tom Cruise's). Here are just a few of the ways a cosmetic dentist can improve the looks and appeal of normal teeth:
Teeth Whitening - Just over the past two to three years new and safe professional teeth whitening systems have been developed. The teeth are covered with gauze and the tooth bleaching (carbamide peroxide) solution carefully applied. After three or four half-hour sessions, you can really see the difference. There are also home tooth whitening products with step-by-step procedures that enhance tooth color over several weeks.
Dental Bonding - Tooth bonding is a simple, single-visit cosmetic dentistry procedure that closes unsightly gapped teeth. We polish and prepare the teeth with a fine etching, then cover them with a composite overlay. There's usually no anesthetic needed, little or no drilling, and the teeth are protected as well as being cosmetically enhanced.
Dental Veneers - Today we have exciting new biomaterials to straighten crooked teeth, as well as brighten and close gaps. We call them porcelain laminate veneers. They're microscopically thin ceramic shells that cover problem teeth - and leave you with something to smile about!
Everyone, even your dentist, knows that when we age, we see certain changes in our face (for example, wrinkled skin, less skin tone, shrunken appearance). The soft tissue in the lower one-third of the face is supported by the teeth and jawbone, and gives support to your smile. As we age, we lose support to our smile and we begin to appear older.
Anatomically, the face is divided into thirds: the upper, middle and lower one-third. The space between your nose and your chin is referred to as the lower one-third. The teeth support the vertical height of your lower face, and more specifically the back teeth support your lower face.
Most dentists agree that minimal and gradual wearing away of the top enamel of the teeth is considered normal during the lifespan of a patient. However, excessive wear on the top surfaces of the teeth can result in abscessed teeth, an irregular bite, decreased chewing capacity and esthetic disharmony. Patients with these types of problems often require extensive restorative cosmetic dentistry treatment.
Although the prevalence of tooth wear, or attrition, is not known, it is thought to be very common in adults over the age of 40. The wearing of the top surfaces of the teeth is most often attributed to attrition, which is the wearing away of one tooth surface by another tooth surface. Attrition is the result of bruxism, or the involuntary grinding of the teeth against each other.
Attrition can be the result of one or a combination of problems such as:
Depending on the severity of the tooth wear, teeth may be broken, shortened and unattractive. Having worn teeth can result in jaw joint pain (TMJ), a decreased ability to chew and a sunken appearance to the lower face. All of these results can make a person appear more wrinkled and older.
Generally, the worn teeth will have to have new fillings placed or redone. When severe wear occurs in the mouth, a dental crown or multiple crowns may be the only solution.
Yes, tooth wear can be prevented, but only if you make regular visits to the dentist. If detected early enough, your dentist may prescribe a plastic night guard to protect your teeth, much like an athletic mouth guard.
By Benjamin O. Watkins, III, DDS