What are Your Dental Esthetic or Dental Treatment Options for Your Front Teeth that are Minimally Invasive? Read and Know More About It.
In our desire to look good or even the real necessity to improve your front teeth and be functional again requires your dentist, more often than not, to remove much of the tooth structure to the point that even the sound part becomes collateral damage. It is like having chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells that along the way even the good cells get killed, thus, the body weakens and the patient ends up dead due to complications normally brought upon by the untoward effects of the main medical treatment, which is chemotherapy. Although, in dentistry, you will not die in the procedures we do to repair your front teeth by restorative means but your tooth might. As a patient you don’t normally and immediately get to totally understand and see the extent of probable damage our treatment may bring to you if not conscientiously executed by us. The destructive effects of most of the dental treatments take time to manifest. Your concerns are mostly about what is now rather than the value of what should be. Because, typically, your judgement for the end result of your dental treatment are largely based on the following factors:
(a) No pain
(b) To what just looks good
(c) Functional enough that you can eat and won’t hassle you
(d) And, most of all, a relatively good price or even better if it is cheap
It doesn’t mean you are bad and stupid thinking that way, it just means you are being human. We have an automatic built-in trust for people with positions like priests, doctors, dentists, etc. We feel that we don’t have to ask questions and listen to your treatment plan because your dentist already knows what he/she is doing especially if you know your dentist for a long time. Unfortunately, dentists are humans too. Some don’t update what they know in their fields of practice, hence, they do it the old ways. There’s nothing wrong with that but you and I know that some of the old ways may not always be the right way. Some are even resistant to learn and try new methods because they simply don’t want to. There are a lot of reasons why your dentist may not opt to provide you minimally invasive treatments to your current dental problem, so, you need to arm yourself with knowledge for certain treatment options you may ask your dentist if it can be done to your current situation. I will not go to technical details because I will leave these parts to your dentist to know. So, what are your options for minimally invasive technique treatments?
I. Tooth Whitening - a lot of the supposed untoward effects of Tooth Whitening maybe true before but certainly not now. All of the formulation of QUALITY tooth whitening materials have evolved with the times that some can even make your teeth stronger while making it whiter due to its fluoride content. So, where does the complications come from? Well, it mostly comes from the way you use it, in case of take home whitening treatment due to your lack of understanding from the instruction of your dentist. Or, for in-office whitening treatment, misused of the material due to lack of understanding and knowledge this time of your dentist. Tooth Whitening treatment is a TREATMENT. Having said that, Tooth Whitening is a good option for you if your problem is just the shade of your front teeth due to stains, age, and specific medical conditions. If your front teeth doesn’t have any decay and your enamel (the outer layer of your teeth, which is the strongest bone in our body) is still sound, then, I strongly recommend that you consider this treatment and give this a chance. If it ends badly like it didn’t change its shade, then, at least your teeth remains intact. The worst thing that could happen to you on this treatment is spending more money than you should which in the long run you can still earn in the future but if your teeth is reduced due to tooth preparation just to change the color and it turns out to be the wrong choice of treatment, you will not only lose money but your tooth/teeth will never grow back to its actual state no matter how rich you maybe.
IN-OFFICE TOOTH WHITENING
II. Veneers - a veneer is covering the facial aspect of your tooth/teeth. So, the tooth reduction is not as much when your tooth/teeth are replaced by a cap or crown or bridge. This is an ideal option if your case have a much larger caries destruction or decay, minimal space or gap in between teeth, and discoloration of non-vital tooth (means your tooth is dead and this normally happens if you had root canal treatment before), moderate to extreme fluorosis and tetracycline stains IF whitening can’t successfully solve your current condition. On this type of treatment your dentist can do it in two ways, directly or indirectly. Direct Veneer Restoration means your dentist will do the restoration or build up your tooth/teeth directly at that given time without having your veneer fabricated via dental laboratory. While the Indirect Veneer Restoration means your veneer is fabricated by a dental laboratory and your dentist will reduce your tooth/teeth only on its facial area and cement the veneer created by the dental laboratory. Each style of choice has its own pros and cons. Indirect veneer restoration maybe more durable in the long run but this may require more tooth reduction. As since we are discussing minimal tooth destruction, the direct veneer restoration is a much better option for this part of consideration. It is important to take note that the durability of your direct veneer lies highly to the talent of your dentist, the quality of the composite resin used (the dental material commonly used by the dentists on direct veneer restoration) and the way you take care of your teeth meaning your oral hygiene.
Before, the problems of direct veneer restorations largely lies on the talent of the dentist especially when it comes to its shape and shade. Shaping the restoration to look like the rest of your remaining teeth takes a lot of artistic ability from your dentist. So, your dentist can do it through 3 options.
First Option, one of the techniques used to get an exact copy of the contours of your tooth/teeth is by getting an impression of your teeth prior to doing any tooth preparation and they create a mould out of it and build your restoration from there. This is more conservative in the amount of reduction your dentist will do to your tooth or teeth but the disadvantage of this is the time element involved on your treatment. It will be done and finished on the same day but it will take time for your dentist to do it properly to get the desired result especially if your case is a just a single tooth restoration.
DIRECT COMPOSITE BUILD-UP
Second Option, however, times have changed and lot of techniques and methods have been developed to reduce the time element this can be done properly. This technique will also allow your dentist to contour the facial aspect of your tooth/teeth even if he/she is lacking of that special kind of artistry. There are now moulds that they can use to contour your tooth/teeth perfectly with very simple steps.
USE OF UVENEERS
Third Option, If the main question is durability of the material, then, there’s a way wherein your dentist can do this immediately without them doing anything major except minimally and properly reduced your tooth/teeth and cement an already manufactured veneer. Simply put for better understanding, it is similar to RTW or a ready to wear clothes. Therefore, some adjustments will be done to make it totally fit your tooth/teeth. This will solve both the shape and the time element. However, in the latter, it depends on how experienced your dentist is in handling this type of material.
In regards to the shade, there’s nothing you can depend on but the accuracy of you and your dentist’s choice of shade to be used in your restoration. Physiologically speaking, females are born with better accuracy in choosing colors, so, if you are a guy, ask your dentist to include one of his/her female staff in deciding which shade of composite resin closest to your existing natural tooth if it is a single restoration. For multiple tooth restoration, then, shade won’t be much of a problem because you can actually choose the shade you would like to be placed. Make sure as well not to use bright colored clothes during your appointed treatment or wear bright lipstick especially red if your are a woman as this will affect your and your dentist’s eyes in choosing the right shade to use in your restoration.
III. Orthodontic Treatment - this is probably the most expensive option for you but it is still the most conservative way when it comes to minimally invasive treatment in regards to tooth reduction. In recent years, the extraction of some of the teeth (most of the time your premolars, the 4th and 5th teeth from your front tooth) is not being done anymore unless truly necessary. I am not an Orthodontist but I will suggests that you ask your Orthodontist for the possibility of the option of expanding your jaw bone rather than extraction of your premolars for your case. Having braces is the best option treatment for gap closure and bite problems.
Before I end this blog, I will have to mention something important on this choice of treatment. I know that most patients prefer not to take this route because of cost and time frame. To lower the cost, some patients opt to go to unlicensed dentists or dental students or untrained licensed dentists for Orthodontic treatment. And, now, even worst the DIY (Do It Yourself) braces going around and being sold by unscrupulous individuals. This is the worst of all because you or the person who will place this to you is untrained with no whatsoever background in the science of this field of Dentistry or even Dentistry per se. As I’ve said I am not an Orthodontist and even if I am a licensed dentist I will not even dare to try to put braces to any of my patients more so this DIY. Orthodontics or what you commonly called as braces may look simple to you but this require an extensive study and analysis not only of your teeth but its surrounding structures like your jaw, TMJ (temporo-mandibular joints), gums, etc. Have you ever wonder or asked why it is expensive? It is expensive because you are actually paying for the work of your Orthodontist who will do your treatment at a much longer span of time. It typically takes about 10 years to become an Orthodontist. It takes 2-4 years to obtain a bachelor's degree, another 4 years of dental school, and then 2 more years in a post doctoral program devoted to the study of Orthodontics. It is simply not a joke to even try to do it yourself. This is a treatment that requires skills and training. A full understanding of your anatomy and if you think it can be done by yourself, then, I must say you will without a doubt regret it with unimaginable consequences that may affect your health the rest of your life. So, I will strongly say DON’T DO IT.
For the time frame, well, that can’t be help, it truly depends on your case. As I’ve said, doing Orthodontic treatment is not just cementing the brackets to your teeth and placing the wires. Your dentist will have to study and analyzed your case all through out your treatment. There are external braces that may hasten your treatment but again, on this part, you have to listen to your Orthodontist and follow his/her recommendation/s because the complications for the wrong choice may end up you losing your teeth rather than saving it.
Gone are the days when wearing dentures is a fad and destruction of your tooth/teeth for sake of looking good or repairing them is a great and ideal treatment. My advise to you is listen and discuss thoroughly your case to your dentist, ask your options regarding minimal invasive technique treatments, prioritize your treatment making price as your last consideration and safety your first, and finally, choose your dentist well. If your dentist becomes defensive when you ask questions about your case and treatment and get exasperated because you read stuff from google, then, that dentist may not be right one for you. A good and professional dentist will be open to your questions and will answer them patiently without resentment or offense. It is imperative that you choose well, your dentist and your treatment. Look for value for your money. After all, you are truly worth it.
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