Many of us would like a whiter smile, but what is the best way to achieve that goal? A wide range of products are available for teeth whitening, but which of these will be safe and effective for you? If you are considering whitening your teeth, it’s a good idea to consult your dentist regarding which whitening products are suitable for your teeth, and which will work most effectively to attain the level of whitening that you are looking for.
Some teeth are more receptive to whitening treatments than others, so your dentist can help you determine if whitening is for you, or if there are more suitable alternatives for your smile. Importantly, if your teeth are in need of restorations, you should complete these before using any whitening products because further damage or sensitivity may result from using whitening products on teeth that are in need of repair. Here is a brief overview of some of the whitening aids available.
Drug store whitening as good as it gets?
In your local drug store you will find whitening toothpastes and tooth whitening kits. Most whitening toothpastes act by polishing off external stains using abrasive materials. While this type of cleaning action can make the teeth appear whiter in some cases, it does not address the overall darkening of the teeth that occurs naturally as we age.
Furthermore, the abrasive action of some over the counter products can damage certain dental work, such as crowns or veneers. Other over the counter whitening products contain lower levels of whitening agents used in multiple treatments that can be effective in whitening the teeth by a shade or two, and this might be change enough for some people, depending on what level of whiteness they wish to achieve.
Quick powerful in-office whitening or take it home and whiten at our own pace.
An alternative to over the counter products is to have your dentist do an in-office whitening or use take home whitening trays made by your dentist. In-office whitening is completed in 45 to 60 minutes and uses a stronger concentration of whitening agent so that the procedure is complete in a single visit. Sometimes, the agent is used in combination with a light to hasten the process. Because the whitening agents used are more potent than those sold over the counter, it is essential that a qualified dentist carries out the treatment.
Alternatively, your dentist can take moulds of your teeth to create custom whitening trays that you can use with a whitening agent at home. The custom made trays allow less whitening agent to be required, and the close fit of the tray to your teeth keeps the gel next to the tooth enamel, where it will be maximally effective. Take home whitening trays are typically used for 7 to 14 days to achieve the initial result. After a few months, you can repeat the whitening as needed to maintain your desired smile color.
Some patients choose to combine an in-office whitening with take home trays that they can use in six months to a year after the in-office treatment, when they wish to refresh their white smile.If you are interested in teeth whitening, keep in mind that some patients do experience transient tooth sensitivity and/or blanching of the gums, which typically disappears in 24 to 48 hours. Avoiding over-filling the whitening trays and trying to keep the whitening agents off of gums areas will help minimize blanching of the gums. For more information, contact us in downtown Victoria at Broad Street Dental Centre.
A smile draws people in – it shows you are friendly, approachable and engaged. Yet, many people do not smile often because of teeth that they are embarrassed to show. At Broad Street Dental Centre, we believe that no one should miss out on smiling. Your teeth might not be in optimal health for numerous reasons: staining or decay, tooth loss, chipped or broken teeth, age-related darkening and/or wear, poor alignment, damage from smoking or otherwise. At Broad Street Dental Centre, we strive to improve your smile – at your pace and on your budget.
Unique, Eunique, YOUnique
Your smile is as unique as you. Whether you are looking for a minor change to brighten up your smile, or you are hoping for a complete smile makeover, a consultation with Dr. Huynh at Broad Street Dental can help to determine the best path to achieving the smile of your dreams. Dr. Huynh will discuss your smile goals and what concerns you about your teeth, for example, their color, shape or alignment. Some patients would like a “Hollywood” smile because it suits their personal style, while others would prefer subtle improvements over time so that the change is not so obvious.
Test drive your new smile
Once you have decided on the changes you wish to make to your smile, several techniques can be used to preview the proposed work. Using models of your teeth, a diagnostic wax-up can be done the show you the way the finished teeth will look and function. Alternatively, photographs can be taken and computer software can be used to simulate the proposed changes.
A great technique to give you an idea of what the changes will look like in your own mouth is for Dr. Huynh to use composite resin to build directly upon your teeth. Once you are satisfied that the changes suit your facial shape, size and complexion, photographs and models of the composite resin can be taken and the composite resin shells can be removed easily and painlessly. The photographs and models can then be used as guidance in the completion of your work. Throughout the process, further changes or small alterations can be made at your request so that you feel satisfied with the look and feel of your new smile.
No matter what extent of change you are seeking for your smile, a detailed treatment plan will help achieve your goals and make to process easier and more pleasant throughout. To discuss the cosmetic options available to improve the look of your smile, call to book an appointment with Dr. Huynh at Broad Street Dental Centre.
Also known as enameloplasty, cosmetic contouring is a technique used to reshape teeth in cases of mild misalignment in patients with healthy teeth. For example, if a patient has healthy but slightly worn or crooked teeth, enameloplasty can be used to reshape the tooth enamel in certain areas to create a more uniform or desirable shape. The treatment is painless and simply uses a dental handpiece with plenty of air and water. Enameloplasty can be used in cases of slight orthodontic relapse or in combination with other cosmetic treatments, such as veneers.
If enameloplasty is of interest to you, discuss your smile goals with your dentist. Careful treatment planning is important, as enameloplasty only removes small portions of the teeth, is a permanent change, and does not add to areas where fillings or tooth build-up may be required. It is also important to remember that the enamel is what gives the tooth its white appearance; removing too much enamel can lead to a less aesthetic result, so judicious use of enameloplasty is essential.
Dental veneers are thin shells made of different materials, depending on the type of veneer, that are custom made to fit over your teeth. The most common reason that people choose veneers is to remedy unaesthetic-looking teeth, particularly those that are dark, stained, chipped or cracked, misshapen, worn or not symmetrical. A veneer may be created for a single tooth, several teeth, or for the full upper and/or lower mouth arch. There are three general categories of veneers, depending on the material the veneer is made of: composite resin veneers, porcelain veneers and Lumineers®. Read more about them below.
Bonding – Composite Resin Veneers
If you decide that veneers are for you, composite resin veneers placed by a technique called bonding are a great option because they are relatively inexpensive and can significantly improve the look of your smile in just one or two dental visits. Composite resin veneers use improved formulations of white filling materials, bonding the resin directly to your teeth, and building a resistant, protective layer over your natural tooth. With an artistic and practiced eye, Dr. Huynh uses various tints and opacities of resin to create an aesthetic covering over stained, dark chipped or crooked teeth.
Most often, the process does not required any significant removal of the existing enamel, which means that anesthetic is not required. Furthermore, the composite resin veneers are fully removable, and can be adjusted or altered over time if you wish to make further changes to your smile. If you do choose composite resin veneers, you should keep in mind that they are less resistant to stains than porcelain and do require regular (semi-annual) cleaning and polishing.
When most people think of veneers, traditional porcelain veneers come to mind. Porcelain veneers are thin shells made of ceramic material that is bonded to the front of the teeth. Because the placement of the cement bond and the porcelain tooth over existing teeth would usually create a bulky or large appearance, preparation of the existing teeth is usually required to place porcelain veneers and give a natural appearance.
Various types or brands of porcelain veneers are available, and working with Dr. Huynh and a skilled ceramist, careful color matching can be done so that the veneers match existing teeth and your smile goals. Typically, porcelain veneers are quite resistant to staining, which is one advantage.However, preparation of the teeth for porcelain veneers is usually an irreversible procedure, so if you choose porcelain veneers, they will be a long-term commitment. While porcelain veneers are generally more conservative (in terms of maintaining tooth structure) than crowns, they are less conservative than composite resin veneers or Lumineers®.
Lumineers® are proprietary, ultra-thin porcelain veneers that have recently become available to the field of cosmetic dentistry. Their main advantage is that they can be placed over the teeth with minimal or no preparation, which allows a complete smile makeover without pain or injections. In addition, the Lumineers® can most often be removed, which means that the change to the smile is reversible.
Lumineers® are made by the Lumineer Smile Design Studio in California, have a limited 5 year guarantee, and require your dentist to have special training in order to fit them. They may be suitable for you if you wish to enhance your smile but are worried about the long term consequences of preparing your teeth for more traditional veneers. Contact us at Broad Street Dental Centre for a consultation if you want to know more about Lumineers®.
Onlays & Inlays
Inlays and onlays are types of restorations that fit in a category somewhere between a filling and a crown. Typically, these types of repairs are used to restore decayed teeth, teeth with failing silver fillings, or cracked or broken teeth that cannot be sufficiently repaired with filling material alone, yet do not require the full tooth coverage that a crown provides.
Inlays and onlays are made outside of the mouth, at a dental laboratory, often from processed composite resins or porcelains, or more traditionally from metals such as gold. As inlays and onlays are used only on the posterior teeth, these materials provide the necessary strength and durability to withstand the forces of chewing and grinding that occur on the premolars and molars.
The difference between an inlay and an onlay basically comes down to the size of the restoration: inlays are typically smaller, fit within the tooth and do not cover the cusps of the tooth, whereas onlays are larger and cover one or more tooth cusps. Depending on the level of structural damage to the tooth an inlay or an onlay may be more appropriate.
A crown may be thought of as a cap that is made outside of the mouth and used to save and protect a tooth. A crown is an appropriate treatment for a tooth that has undergone moderate to heavy damage but which still has its root intact. In some cases, crowns are also used as an aesthetic treatment to improve the look of damaged, misaligned or discoloured teeth. Following a root canal, a crown or onlay is often recommended to protect the root canalled tooth from future fracture and/or provide an improved seal of the tooth to prevent bacterial infection.
A crown is usually completed in two dental visits. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared and molds are taken to generate a model of the tooth. A temporary crown is placed while the actual crown is being fabricated. The crown is created by a ceramist in a dental laboratory and can be made from a number of different materials, such as gold alloy, porcelain over a metal substructure, or porcelain alone. The completed crown is placed in a second visit to your dentist. Crowns are placed slightly under the gum so that there is no obvious difference between the tooth and the crown. A crown can be made for any tooth and can provide a very aesthetic, strong and durable restoration for a damaged tooth. For more information, contact us as Broad Street Dental Centre.
A dental bridge, also known as a fixed partial denture, is used to fill (or span) the space created by a missing tooth by using adjacent teeth as the supporting abutments (or pillars). The usual indication for a bridge is to restore the space created by a missing tooth to improve function and aesthetics, and to prevent the adjacent teeth from gradually shifting into the open space. Bridges can be used anywhere in the mouth where there is a missing tooth and strong adjacent teeth. The most common bridge configuration involves crowning on the teeth on either side of the space. A bridge is fabricated that resembles two crowns at either side joined in the middle with a pontic (floating tooth). With careful planning, your cosmetic dentist can make the pontic appear as if it naturally emerges from the gums. Compared to a removable denture, a bridge has greater strength, durability, aesthetic quality and feels more natural.
For anterior teeth, there is a variation on the standard bridge called an adhesive bridge, also known as a Maryland bridge. An adhesive bridge has one or two “wings” attached to the replacement tooth. When placed in the mouth, the wings are cemented against the inside of the adjacent teeth. This option is advantageous because it minimizes the need to significantly modify the adjacent teeth. While the strength of adhesive bridges does not compare to that of a traditional bridge, an adhesive bridge can be appropriate in certain situations, for example, as an intermediate treatment while waiting for an implant to be placed. To determine if a dental bridge could be appropriate for you, call to book an appointment for a free consultation with Dr. Huynh at Broad Street Dental Centre.
Gum contouring (Gingivectomy)
A beautiful smile is not just about the teeth, but also involves the gums that sit above and below your teeth. The gums provide a frame for the teeth, and for a smile to appear symmetrical, both the teeth and the gums should be even on both sides. Furthermore, gums that largely overlap the teeth can make the teeth appear small, while receding gums can make the teeth appear particularly long.
Gum contouring describes the process used to alter the shape of the gums so that their appearance is more desirable. Minor gum contouring can usually be done at your general dentist’s office with a bur or laser. In cases of gum recession or removal of thicker layers of the gums, a periodontist who specializes in the gums and supporting bone will be required to achieve to desired result.
A comprehensive treatment plan that is laid out to achieve your goals for your smile is important to work towards your ideal smile at your ideal pace, integrating the work of specialists where necessary. If you are interested in cosmetic improvements to your smile, we will be happy to discuss your options at Broad Street Dental Centre.
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Tuesday8am – 4pm
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Thursday9am – 5pm
Friday8am – 2pm
Address 1005 Broad Street
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