“Smile, an everlasting smile, a smile can bring you near to me,” goes the popular song from Boyzone. A smile can heal tiffs with your friends, make a bad date turn good, seal a business deal and make a photograph special! It’s fun, fast and easy, but infectious. With inputs from Dr.Ranjani Iyer, Orthodontist.
Hilary Duff did it. So did Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kylie Minogue and Sarah Jessica Parker. Most of the celebrities we see today flashing their winning smiles have had them surgically enhanced. As we age, changes in our body become inevitable. Our pearly molars can get yellow, stained, cracked, chipped or even fall out. Tartar (hardened dental plaque) build up can cause gum diseases and gaps between each tooth. Some of us who have ‘unattractive’ teeth feel self-conscious and hide our smiles and subsequently the warm side of our personality. But now, thanks to cosmetic dentistry, you can say cheese with ease!
Teeth alignment and correcting crooked teeth are achieved by the application of small ceramic or metal braces or retainers to the teeth. It is advisable to start doing this at an early age of 11-13 but age is no bar. Patients at the age of 30 and 40 today opt for teeth alignment procedures. The braces are attached to a wire that helps in shaping the teeth. Wearing those for two years gives effective results. Rubber bands and springs are also used to align the teeth.
Teeth whitening and bleaching is a very popular cosmetic procedure today. It is used to correct discoloration by removing brown or yellow staining. There are different whitening techniques like chemical, mild acid, abrasive and laser. Laser whitening which is a recent addition is an in-office technique where a bleaching gel is applied and laser light is passed to activate the crystals. Ask your dentist to show you a shade card which will have 9 shades. A change of two or three shades will make a significant difference to your smile. Studies reveal that bleaching is effective in more than 78% of people. In case of serious discoloration, veneers or crowns can be placed. Bleaching is a highly specialised technique and requires expert guidance. Get acquainted with each procedure and its pros and cons before opting for your chosen option.
Dental veneers are wafer-thin laminates or shells of tooth-coloured material that are used to close gaps. They are made of either porcelain, ceramic or composite bonding material. They are cemented to the surface of the teeth which will thus enhance the cosmetic appearance.
The oral hygiene guide
-Schedule an appointment with your dentist for a check up every six months and get your teeth cleaned.
-Brush twice a day and floss regularly but remember vigorous brushing can cause enamel problems. Rub an orange peel or a strawberry over your teeth and rinse immediately. This will polish your teeth pronto.
-Rinse your mouth well after meals. It is advisable to use mouth wash only once in a while.
-Deal with bad breath using sugar-free gum which is effective for bad breath.
-Have water before sleep and first thing in the morning because the mouth is a breeding ground for germs and when we keep it closed for 8 hours a day germs have a field day.