The visible part of a tooth, otherwise known as the crown, is only a small portion of the living system. The crown is made up of enamel, the hardest substance found within the body. It is bone that has been enriched with large percentages of calcium. That's why people who drink lots of milk or take calcium supplements have strong bones and teeth. The enamel is thickest at the crown, and thinnest near the roots of the teeth.
Throughout your life you end up having 2 completely different sets of teeth. The initial set is the baby teeth (deciduous teeth) that eventually fall out. They are whiter, softer, and less sturdy than adult teeth. Hence, they tend to wear out much faster than permanent teeth, but they also fall out to make room for them. Making sure that there's enough space in the vacancy caused by a lost baby tooth is important for healthy adult teeth.
The permanent teeth are the second set of teeth that will last the rest of your life. They tend to be more yellow (and not just because of coffee) and are extremely hard. The final set of teeth is made up of 32 teeth, or 16 on each jaw. There are two central incisors for biting, two lateral incisors for biting, two canines for tearing and cutting, four premolars for chewing, and six molars for chewing.
Veneers provide a durable solution to the color and shape problems that are common to so many people. Veneers are applied to fronts or visible areas of the teeth. The enamel (outside layer of the tooth) is ground down or reduced by just fractions of a milimeter in order to allow for the thin (contact lense thickness) veneer to be permanently attached to the tooth.
Teeth enamel discoloration can be caused by staining, aging, or chemical damage to teeth. Some of the more common causes of teeth discoloration are medications, coffee, tea or cigarettes. People who drink significant amounts of cola soft drinks can experience similar staining.
While no alternative to veneers will create the exact same effect, there are some popular procedures that may seem worthwhile. Crowns, while more expensive, also act to cover the tooth with a protective coating. For individuals who simply want to brighten their teeth, many clinics now offer tooth bleaching, though this is a much less permanent procedure.
Teeth whitening can be accomplished many different ways. Considered a cosmetic procedure, teeth whitening has become very popular in recent years with the development of various methods that range from drugstore products to dental visits.
There are many different causes that lead to stained or discolored teeth. Some of the most common causes are everyday foods and drinks--coffee, tea, soda, and red wine all have a staining effect on tooth enamel. Smoking will also darken teeth. Some medications, if taken during early childhood, can result in teeth that are discolored.
The simplest type of teeth whitening is the use of products that can be picked up from the drugstore. These products, which use a very mild bleaching solution, usually require extended use over a period of several weeks. They may be brushed on, squeezed into one-size-fits-all trays, applied as strips, or used in conjunction with normal toothpaste and mouthwash. While these products are very popular, their mildness makes them less effective.
Mild side effects are to be expected with any teeth whitening procedure, and may range from slight discomfort to sensitivity to hot and cold. While serious side effects are extremely rare, any extended sensations of pain should immediately be reported to a dentist. Irritation to the gums and mouth tissues should also be watched for and reported if persistent.
In other instances, crowns are used to replace a actual missing tooth. These crowns are anchored to the teeth on either side, with a bridge section connecting the two crowns. Instead of bridges, single tooth dental implants may be used that eliminate the need for supporting the crowns.
Your cosmetic dentist will make an impression of the tooth and a dental laboratory will create the crown. You will typically leave the office with a temporary crown to wear while the permanent crown is being made - this takes about two weeks. The permanent crown is then cemented onto your tooth. Typically, only two visits are required for this part of the procedure. Often, a preliminary restoration of your tooth may be needed before a crown can be placed. To stabilize your tooth, a filling must first be put in place prior to placing a crown due to the loss of original tooth structure. Tooth crowns usually last ten to fifteen years.
Be sure to discuss with your cosmetic dentist that the cement color used for your permanent crown will be the same as used for your temporary crown. A try in paste is used for this purpose. The color of the cement does affect the overall color of a porcelain crown, so this needs to be discussed long before your temporary crown is placed.
In some cases your cosmetic dentist may choose to use a Flipper instead of a temporary crown. A Flipper is a false tooth to temporarily take the place of a missing tooth before the permanent crown is placed. A Flipper can be attached via either a wire or a plastic piece that fits in the roof of your mouth. Flippers are meant to be a temporary solution while awaiting the permanent crown.
The classic metal orthodontic braces are the most familiar method of teeth straightening. Consisting of a bracket glued to the front of each tooth and a metal wire connecting them, orthodontic braces usually require several years of wear for effective teeth straightening. They can be uncomfortable, expensive, and embarrassing for older patients. However, they are still the most effective method of teeth straightening and can correct overbites and underbites as well as individual teeth alignment.
Lingual braces are similar to classic orthodontic braces but are attached to the backside of the teeth, rather than the front. Although they still have many of the problems of standard braces, they are not visible and may be chosen by adults who do not wish for visible braces. Lingual braces are more expensive than standard braces but the fastest method of "invisible" teeth straightening.
- Dental fillings are inserted as restorations in the treatment of dental cavities, after drilling out the cavities.
- Dental implants are surgically fixed substitutes for roots of missing teeth. Embedded in the jawbone, they act as anchors for a replacement tooth, also known as a crown, or a full set of replacement teeth.
- Removable complete dentures are full-mouth false teeth, which are used when a patient has no teeth left on either the mandibular arch, the maxillary arch, or both.
- A layer of tooth-colored material, usually porcelain or acrylic resin, attached to and covering the surface of a metal crown or natural tooth structure.
- Total or partial loss of sensation, especially tactile sensibility, induced by disease, injury, acupuncture, or an anesthetic, such as chloroform or nitrous oxide.
- Local or general insensibility to pain with or without the loss of consciousness, induced by an anesthetic.
- A drug, administered for medical or surgical purposes, that induces partial or total loss of sensation and may be topical, local, regional, or general, depending on the method of administration and area of the body affected.
- A dental bridge is a prosthesis used in place of missing teeth and may be removable or permanently attached.
- The formation of cavities in the teeth by the action of bacteria; tooth decay.
- Also known colloquially as tooth decay.
- Full-coverage restoration (sometimes incorrectly called a cap) is a prosthetic tooth designed by a dentist and usually created by a lab technician.
- A hard, white, translucent ceramic made by firing a pure clay and then glazing it with variously colored fusible materials.
- The medical study of the mouth and its diseases.
- Also known as tooth whitening.