Your Smile And You – Part-I

your smile and youA beautiful, perfect, attractive smile is something everyone aspires to have since the time fairy-tales were woven into our lives! Ancient Egyptian mummies and Etruscan excavations have been found to have wires woven between teeth, and varied types of tooth jewels placed for the effect of increasing the individual’s attractiveness.

There are various aspects of dentistry handled by different branches which deal with the making of those beautiful perfect teeth. It can roughly be divided into Hard tissue (Teeth) and Soft Tissue (Gums) procedures.

Procedures in Aesthetic Dentistry are performed under Hard Tissues (Teeth-related) and Soft Tissues (Gum-related). Hard Tissue procedures include Enameloplasty; Orthodontics (Braces) and Dentofacial Orthopaedics; Laminates/Veneers; Surgical Procedures; and Bleaching/Tooth whitening procedures. Soft Tissue procedures encompass Gingivectomy and Gingivoplasty; Depigmentation procedures of the gum; and gum grafts.

Enameloplasty, or the reshaping of enamel to contour it, is performed rarely as it involves removing the enamel and any procedure to remove the enamel is best avoided.  It may be used to correct a small chip, or to alter the length, shape or position of teeth.

Orthodontics And Dentofacial Orthopedics: Orthodontics is the straightening of teeth using braces. Dentofacial Orthopedics deals with straightening of the face by adjusting the position of the jaw without using surgical procedures. It means changing (aligning) the shape of the facial bones and jaws and involves the guidance of facial bone growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood. Sometimes when the lower jaw does not keep up with the pace of growth of the upper jaw, the upper teeth appear to be forwardly placed/protruding, but actually the defect lies with the smaller lower jaw. If caught at the right time (which essentially means while the child is still growing), this can be corrected. This is done through ‘myofunctional appliances’. Benefits to the child could include possibility of avoiding braces altogether; reduced time period for wearing fixed braces and increased chances of avoiding extractions during the process of wearing fixed braces.

your smile and you 2Laminates/ Veneers: Are custom made shells, typically made of porcelain, that cover the front sides of the teeth to change their colour and/or shape. Veneers last longer and provide a superior appearance. They are less expensive than crowns. Veneers can improve teeth that have spaces between them; have become chipped or worn; are permanently stained; are poorly shaped; and are slightly crooked.
Veneers can be used as a quick solution to close gaps between teeth, but should not be used for correction of crooked teeth or teeth placed front-and-back, as it would involve cutting too much enamel, leading to sensitivity. In such cases, short term braces should be used, followed by veneers. Average age they last is around ten to fifteen years and they then may have to be redone which involves further removal of enamel. They other-wise give a beautiful smile!

Watch this space for ‘Your Smile And You – Part-II’

Dr. Nilofer Currawala
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About Dr. Nilofer Currawala

In our daily practice we come across so many queries and doubts and fears and most of them turn out to be nothing but myths! Dr. Nilofer Currawalla, Parsi Times Guest Columnist and Orthodontist, addresses and busts relevant dental myths.

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